Fun, pleasure, connection! I loved exploring recent findings about sexuality, sex toys worth considering and practical ways to spice up sex this Valentine’s Day, or any at-home date night, with Dr. Megan Fleming for Girl Boner Radio.
Stream the episode on Apple Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Spotify or below! Or read on for a lightly edited transcript.
“Sex Trends, Hot Toys and Spicing Up Scheduled Sex”
a Girl Boner Radio episode lightly edited transcript:
Do you remember back at the start of the pandemic when people were joking about a baby boom happening because of many straight folks having more time for and access to sex? We heard jokes about a new generation known as “coronials,”“quaren-teens” or “baby zoomers”. Instead, that’s turning out to be what some experts have called a “baby bust.”
A study released by Modern Fertility in December showed that about 30% of folks with ovaries are changing their family plans, and most are deciding to put off conception.
Personally, I don’t think that’s a bad thing; it’s not like the world is under-populated. And making thoughtful choices, and being able to make those choices, about whether or not to have kids, and when, are both so important. I’m guessing those findings mean that sexually active folks are using some form of protection–another good thing.
Of course, baby-making is only one of many reasons humans get busy. And given all that’s been happening—from social distancing and having to stay home, if possible, to factors around illness, stress and anxiety—some folks are having more sex and others are having less, if any. No matter where you fall there, I promise you, it’s normal.
I asked subscribers to my newsletter recently how they’ve felt about sex through the pandemic. Here are a few responses:
Pretty good, since my partner is in my bubble.
Increased desire, more frequent solo play and more frequent sex with my husband
It varies. The same person wrote, I guess it’s helped me figure out what I truly want…
Another wrote, completely uninterested at times and so in touch with myself and my sexuality at others.
Sex, what’s that?
Great sex, not frequent
A couple of people wrote that they feel “fine” about it.
Another wrote, “in my new lovership it has been essential after being so touch deprived it has brought my partner and I much closer.”
And the last I’ll share today: Hooray! I’m not the only one not getting any at the moment. *smile emoji*
A sense of un-aloneness is always a good thing. And again, all of that’s normal, pandemic or not.
Another study, conducted by the Kinsey Institute, showed that when folks are having pandemic sex (there’s a sexy term!), many are getting more creative. I loved hearing that because I really believe that trying new things and exploring, whether we’re partnered or not, can be so helpful and nourishing, regardless of how often we get busy. And these novel activities don’t need to be drastic.
One fantastic way to invite new fun and sensations and experiences to your sex life is through sex toys, which is what we’ll explore today–specifically, some hot and trending options you may want to consider.
I spoke with our resident sex and relationships therapist, Dr. Megan Fleming, about these findings, that show that folks are getting more adventurous in bed—or elsewhere—lately.
I think couples are getting more adventurous because, you know, there’s a huge opportunity here to sort of up-level… What we definitely know is that when couples introduce novelty, it actually contributes to a much more satisfying sex life. In general, acts of sexual novelty are one of the key differences between the most and least sexually satisfied couples.
And the couples trying new things are the most likely to report keeping passion alive, long term.
She brought up findings from another study that was published in the Journal of Sex Research in 2017, which involved 40,000 adults. It looked at the link between sexual satisfaction and factors like sexual communication, sexual variety and sex frequency. The findings about trying new or adventurous activities were pretty striking.
And there were 17 novel acts that satisfied couples were more likely to be doing than dissatisfied couples. And that included things like sex toys, trying new positions and sharing fantasies.
Other activities linked with high satisfaction included showering together and watching spicy films. Those novel things don’t have to be sex-specific to benefit sexuality. In other words, new experiences outside of sex—traveling someplace new, pursuing a new passion, or even trying a new restaurant—can release those “feel good,” falling in love hormones that benefit all types of intimacy and connection. Given that the pandemic has so many folks staying home, though, simple adventures during sex provide an especially practical and hot option.
I think people are really taking advantage of lockdown as an opportunity to become more of those couples who are sexually satisfied and really adding more tools in their toolbox.
Now onto those toys. When we think of sex toys, many people immediately envision a vibrating toy for people with a vulva. And indeed, those toys can be awesome. But, they are far from the only option. Toys for people with a penis, usually marketed as “men’s sex toys,” are plentiful and popular as well.
Several people have asked me why there aren’t really sex toys for men—and trust me, there are. We just hear less about them. Partly because there’s a myth that if you have a penis, everything’s simple: Just use your hand!
Dr. Megan knows this from what she’s heard from clients, as well as from personal experience.
Even my own husband would sort of say, “I got my hand, why would I need to expand!” I’ve actually had a lot of fun recently, giving gifts and giving him opportunities. You know, we all can expand different ways to feel and know and own our pleasures.
A category of toys you may want to consider if you or a partner has a penis is known as “male masturbators” or “strokers.” They often function as a sort of vagina—the same way many dildos have a penis shape. Others have more of a mouth shape. Also similar to “women’s dildos,” some have an anatomical look and others do not.
They come in all different textures and materials, and like all toys, it’s wise to go with one that’s body safe. Silicone tends to be a great option. What Dr. Megan shared about a pleasure stroker from Arcwave made me want torush out and buy one.
The full name is the Arcwave Ion Air Smart Silence Male Masturbator. What’s really cool about it is it uses stimulation from air pressure, which the company says results in “the closest thing to a female orgasm for men.”
This idea of this particular toy is that airflow at the frenulum, which is really the most sensitive part of the penis. And so, again, you can sort of start not aroused, not even thinking about sex, but you put a little lube on your penis, you put a little lube inside of this toy, and I’m going to tell you, at least that’s what I’ve even heard from my husband, who’s when it comes to male sex toys, the person I sort of get the firsthand feedback. And what was so striking is like his head wasn’t even in the game. I hear this from clients. Like, “my head’s not even in the game, but it’s like, oh, wow!” Like there’s just this feels amazing, from not even being aroused to getting an erection to a really sort of an amazing orgasm.
I love that Megan compared it to the Womanizer, which is another incredible toy for folks with a vulva who prefer external cliteral stim. And, just like the Arcwave Ion toy, it’s whisper quiet. You might recall that last year, I had brilliant engineer Makenzie Mizell, from Period Network, test out the Womanizer Premium and share her thoughts:
What your toy has is a smart silence feature, so that you can have your sessions completely silent and discreet, if you want to, and it has 12 intensity levels. What was your experience like?
I first have to say I had a houseguest the past few days and I had fun in my room. I don’t have a door in my bedroom, and she was none the wiser. So yeah, it really lives up to the silence.
I have no idea whether or not this is something that’s common, but for me personally, I like a little bit higher intensity and then right when I start coming, I need it to be very, very gentle. And I really like this toy because it jumps back and forth so quickly and so easily. And it helped me reach new levels that I’ve never experienced with a partner or with any other toy.
Makenzie’s review is one of my favorite we’ve had on Girl Boner, so if you haven’t heard that episode, I hope you’ll check it out. It’s called Sex Toy Trends and Sensual Healing and released in March, 2020.
Another popular toy you may remember from the show is the Osé, from Lora Dicarlo. I spoke with the creator and marketing director for the company back in January, 2019 about the hands-free toy that was making serious waves. Here’s a bit about how the toy originated, from founder Lora Haddock Dicarlo herself:
When I was about 28, I had this just stupid blended orgasm that landed me on the floor and I was staring at the ceiling going, how do I do that again? And that’s kind of how we ended up here.
I’d love to talk a bit about this toy that is not a vibrator [laughter], which actually makes me more interested… Was that the beginning of creating it?
Yeah. I mean, that was that was a few years ago and what I realized, it wasn’t “oh, I’m gonna go start a company around this concept” right away. It just kind of kept building and I started realizing there’s really not a product on the market that really serves this need. And that need was for it to stimulate both the G spot and the entire clitoris.
Some people don’t understand that the clitoris is actually much larger than just the tiny piece that you do see. It’s actually about the size of the have to avocado and reaches from the glans clitoris, the little bit you see, all through underneath the labia majora and labia minora and a small bundle of nerves that reaches to the inside of the vaginal canal on the anterior wall, which creates the G spot.
What I wanted to do was create a device that could stimulate the whole clitoris from the inside to the outside, using biomimicry, or the mimicry of human emotions and sensations…
See why so many people have asked me about this toy since that episode?
Now in its updated model, the Osé 2, is still designed to mimic human touch while combining G-spot massager and what they call a “clitoral mouth.” Dr. Megan told me there’s a lot she loves about this toy:
So the thing I really love about the Osé is she really takes part of that pulsating tech, because that is for the clitoral stimulation and that in some ways might feel similar to say a Womanizer or Satisfyer, but then what she adds is the robotic piece and that is for the blended orgasm.
So, the robotic is for the G spot stimulation. And she’s the first, that I’m aware of, her sex toy that is really including the robotic aspects. And so, it’s instead of just sort of pure vibration, it’s like, it’s almost like these, these balls inside that move and you can certainly change, right, the speed with which, sort of that come hither motion that you use with your fingers, only they’re like internal little balls that are inside of this sex toy, which really creates a very interesting and worthwhile experimenting with sensation.
Couples sex toys are also trending up, and for good reason. This category name is a bit of a misnomer in some ways, too, given that virtually all toys can be used for couple play. Often, though, toys marketed toward couples are designed specifically for use during penis-in-vagina play.
Megan told me that her top recommended line comes from WeVibe, which happens to be a favorite of mine as well. They have a bunch of varieties, all shaped like a U. The partner with a vulva wears it during sex and the thinner side of the U goes inside the vagina to reach the G-spot while the thicker side of the U sits outside to stimulate the external clit. And a penis can fit inside the personal wearing it at the same time, too. You can find good diagrams on the WeVibe website. Here’s what Dr. Megan appreciates about it:
And what’s unique and nice about it is it’s both for clitoral stimulation as well as G spot, but it’s wearable when you’re having penetrative sex, and so both your partner, also, can benefit from the vibration. And for some women, they might even say it provides a little bit greater sense of fullness. But overall, when people are experimenting with new toys together, I think the WeVibe is kind of like a foundational new tool for your toolbox.
What if you aren’t big on vibrating toys? Maybe the vibration feels too intense or you’re more into pressure sensations and fullness, versus a buzz. Or maybe you just want to expand your toy experiences with different sensations, beyond your favorite vibe. That is a great time to consider a non-vibrating toy.
My personal favorite is a simple silicone, non-vibrating dildo. A bunch of brands make them and many have the option of being used as a strap-on as well. One example is the Fun Factory Limba Flex. It’s turquoise and sort of velvety to the touch, and it flexes a bit, so you can reach your favorite places.
It comes in two sizes: 5-inch and 7-inch, which tends to be plenty for most people. I wouldn’t recommend going much larger, unless you’re sure that larger size is something you desire and enjoy. And definitely make sure you check the size before ordering dildos, in particular, online. Dildos can be much larger than they appear.
Dr. Megan’s favorite non-vibrating toy is the NJoy Pure Wand.
Well, I’ve mentioned it many a time on your show in my Q&Asbecause I happen to love the Pure Wand, the NJoy Pure Wand. And it is stainless steel. I’ve had people say to, say to me it can look intimidating, like a kitchen appliance. And it’s heavy, it’s like a pound and a half.
But what’s so amazing about it. So stainless steel, first of all, amazing for cleaning, right? Just hot, sudsy water, but also the weighted aspect of it. So, it’s kind of like a sort of a not fully U shape. It’s more like a curve. And there are two sort of stainless steel balls on either side, but one is larger than the other.
And so you really get to play around. It’s so angled right for G spot [stimulation]. And it’s the weightiness of the toy. For a lot of women, it’s about pressure. Like one of the things that really is a turn-on is the level of when we’re calibrating pleasure is the love of pressure.
And so what’s really fantastic about the Pure Wand is you get the weighted aspects, you have the two different sizes sort of pinpoint the right place but it’s also the way that it’s angled. So, I think for G spot stimulation, in particular, it is definitely a toy worth trying.
Another trend I am loving is the emergence of more gender-neutral toys. Because really, sex toys are just sex toys. They tend to be build for primarily particular body parts—but gender is in the mind, not the genitals. Making and marketing toys without assigning a certain gender is both more accurate and more respectful to trans and nonbinary folks.
Toward that end, I cannot recommend Enby enough. Their tagline is “all bodies deserve affirmation and pleasure” and a portion of all profits are donated to a rotating list of small, underfunded organizations focused on improving the lives of Queer/Trans People of Color. If you want to purchase a sexy gift for someone and you’re not sure what they might want, purchase an Enby gift card. That way they can shop to their heart, and boner’s, content. You can even shop by Zodiac season. As they say on the site, the gift cards are a “gift that keeps cumming” (intentional pun). Head to shopenby.com to start shopping.
So Dr. Megan wanted you all to know that, particularly with Valentine’s Day on the horizon, finding ways to have sexy fun at home is especially important right now. It’s also really doable, whether you want to plan a hot date for the holiday or any time.
One way to do so, she said, is to put sex on the calendar and then, when the time comes, create a tantalizing atmosphere, starting with a sex blanket, such as the Fascinator Throw by LiberatorFascinator. It’s plush and comes in three sizes.
A lot of people don’t necessarily think about scheduled sex as sexy but the thing is, is like it’s almost if you think about a ritual, you throw this blanket down and one side is like satin silk, like it’s just like luxurious, right? And the other’s like sort of like a comfy sensation. And so the point being is like you throw this down, and it’s machine washable.
So the amazing part of this is, you can use massage oil, massage oil candles, squirting, body fluids, lube, you name it, and you’re not in your head thinking about making a mess or who’s gonna sleep in the wet spot, right? So, it’s a great thing to just know you can throw it in the washer, but also, I’m saying the psychological piece is it sort of represents when we put this play sheet down, we get to think about what is the experience that we want to create tonight. And I think just sort of, you know, the anticipation of it, the planning of it, the, you know, what’s on our menu tonight. I just think it’s sort of symbolic as well as practical. So even though it’s not a toy, it’s really one of my favorite recommendations for couples.
Given that a night on the town isn’t an option for most couples this Valentine’s Day and through the pandemic, Megan said that creating a sensual mindset is key for scheduled intimate times. It’s something she recommends to her therapy clients often.
I have some couples that used to travel a lot for work, and they’re not now so I’m like, when they go into another room, or it’s the, say the basement, it’s like that is now Japan or San Francisco, the idea is like when this door closes, I’m in a different state or different country. And so, you know, having playful ways to play and think about creating distance.
But also, in this case, for Valentine’s, it’s like, put on, you know, the sexy heels, the lingerie again. Lingerie sales have gone up equally with sex toys. You know, what makes you feel good and sexy in your body?
Part of that before play as wellas, you know, the flirtation, the sexy notes that you might want to leave; that Valentine’s is really just sort of an opportunity to even give a gift, right, of pleasure. And that might include a new sex toy or sharing sort of the fantasy, one of your top fantasies, or one that you really are looking forward to exploring, either just in ideas, because a lot of fantasies don’t necessarily translate to reality, but like in ideas, or, as you know, I say, put a toe in the water not jumping in the deep end.
You know, what are ways that could look like for you, as a couple, say if it’s a little bit on the kinky side? It might just be a blindfold or like light restraints. Using Valentine’s Day is, you know, my expression is sort of like playing in the yellow like, what is that excite, terrified place that it’s not in the, your go to feels good, I call it your vanilla and chocolate, you know, favorite sexual positions but the opportunity to explore and trying something new.
And if you’re still a bit hesitant about the idea of scheduling sex, you may want to reframe it. Because for one thing, that “spontaneous sex,” or sexy time, intimate time, you might look back on fondly may not have been as spur of the moment as you recall.
Culturally there are these ideas about what is sex. You know, this idea is often that it’s spontaneous. Like, you know, even when you were dating it wasn’t so spontaneous as when you had the opportunity. And then people also say, they didn’t feel like they put an effort. I’m like, you probably gave a lot of thought to what clothes you’re gonna wear, what you were going to do, where you’re going to go. And so, you know, we plan for vacations and actually have a lot of fun, sort of building that anticipation and the planning. So, it’s so fascinating that we don’t have that same mindset. And I’m inviting, right, for couples to have that same mindset around sex.
I mean, I’m, you know, married 20 years, two kids. And I’m at the point now, I’m like, when are they gonna be out of the house so that you can be loud and not self-conscious? When your kids are younger you might just be when are they not gonna knock on the door. But most importantly, if you don’t plan it, lives are so busy and scheduled, maybe a little bit less so, you know, in terms of COVID, but that, if you don’t plan it, it’s not likely going to happen.
And I think the turnoff about scheduled sex is how do I know if I’m going to feel turned on Saturday at 2. Like, totally get that. I don’t know and you don’t know. We don’t know how we’re gonna feel until we’re in the moment. But the advantage here is because you carved out the time, you get to sort of decide as a couple—in fact, you might plan sexy time for yourself and solo play as well—then you can sort of say, what would feel good in this moment?
For some couples they want to connect first so it might be talking about the day a little bit or it might be through the body and doing massage but it’s like what feels good in connecting. For others that might be what will feel playful. For others it might be, you know, what might be sort of a turn-on or go-to like stroking the hair, kissing behind the ear, the nape of the neck, the lower back, exploring a little of the Tantra.
I’m really encouraging couples to see planning the scheduled sexy time is the prioritization of it in your relationship. But knowing that, sure, you’re not going to know how you’re gonna feel until you’re in the moment but you can create the conditions where those spontaneous feelings and responsive desire really do emerge in a very reflective and natural organic way.
Regardless of how you’re feeling about sex and intimacy right now or how often you’re engaging sexually, Dr. Megan wants all of us to keep the ideas of novelty and adventure alive.
You know, I sort of often say like our biggest sex organ is our mind. And so it really starts with like, just knowing it’s possible, no matter what you know, or don’t know. It’s almost like asking yourself through the question like have I yet experienced my best sexual experience? And I’m hoping everyone out there listening is like the answer’s no.
You know, no matter what peak experience you’ve had thus far, in my mind, we should always be in the pursuit, in some ways, of having our go-to favorites, as well as exploring some of those new turn-ons. You know, my recommendation there is always keep learning. Always keep growing. Always keep expanding. Always keep discovering and owning and knowing and communicating your turn-ons.
Find links to Dr. Megan’s toy recommendations from this episode at greatlifegreatsex.com/resources.
Megan told me that answering a listener’s question, as she does in most episodes, is a highlight of her week. Moving forward, once a month, in lieu of a Q&A, she’ll be sharing a Pleasure Pick—a product she loves and thinks you could enjoy, too. I am really looking forward to those segments.
To support Girl Boner Radio and get fun extras, such pleasure guides, Ask Me Anything, occasional videos and mini bonus episodes, please join me on Patreon at patreon.com/girlboner. For as little as $2 or $5 a month, you can get bonuses I’ve shared so far, as well as the fun things I have in store.
If you’re enjoying the show, I’d also love it if you would tell your friends about the show and leave a rating and review. Thanks so much for listening and have a beautiful, GB embracing week.