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May 12 2014

Silicone Explained

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by Kate M.

lorax of sex silicone

We get it. You keep hearing that silicone is an amazing material, but you’re not supposed to use it with silicone lube, except that maybe sometimes you can?

And, wait, can you store silicone toys with other silicone toys?

What’s this I’ve been hearing about testing the rubber by setting my toys on fire?

Blogger Lorax of Sex has answered all of these questions and more in this epic fact-fest. If you’re buying or using silicone, you definitely want to check it out.

Apr 21 2014

Toy Cleaning & HPV: a PSA

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by Kate M.

toy cleaner

A new study from the Indiana University School of Medicine examined the possibility of spreading HPV through shared sex toys. The results are mostly unsurprising, but very worth reading. They had twelve women each provide vaginal samples and samples from two different vibrators – one made of thermoplastic elastomer and the second made of silicone – just after use, just after cleaning with soap, and after 24 hours. Here, we’ll break the results down for you. The percentages refer to the number of samples in which HPV was detected.

Vaginal samples: 75%

Vibrator 1 (thermoplastic elastomer)
After use: 89%
After cleaning: 56%
After 24 hours: 40%

Vibrator 2 (silicone)
After use: 67%
After cleaning: 44%
After 24 hours: None

Okay, let’s review what we’ve learned!

1) Elastomer toys (and, we can assume, other porous toys) should not be shared with a partner with whom you’re not fluid bonded (unless you’re using a barrier).

2) It looks like silicone toys are safe to share 24 hours after cleaning, but there’s still a risk of HPV transmission immediately after cleaning.

The second one surprised us, but we’re glad to know it. Now we just have more questions! Were they using hand soap or toy cleaner? Which brand? What would the numbers look like using different kinds of cleaners? Or with several more groups of women?

Isn’t science exciting? Find out more here.

Mar 22 2014

Are Bisexuals Real?????!??!

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by thepleasurechest

munch pain and suffering

Following yesterday’s New York Times Magazine article about “The Scientific Quest to Prove Bisexuality Exists,” we just have to ask why.

Why do we need to prove that bisexuality* exists?

Okay, so some people think that it doesn’t exist. A lot of gay people once identified as bisexual in order to soften the coming-out process, or because they weren’t ready to face the idea of being gay, or even because they were interested in a wider range of people back then. That’s cool. Maybe you’ve been that person, or known that person, or dated that person.

Let’s say that you’re bisexual, and that person – the one who used to be bisexual before they realized that they were Actually Gay All Along – comes up to you and tells you that you are not bisexual, and that no one is really bisexual.

You argue with them. You roll out your sexual history, your crushes, your large archive of straight porn and slash fan fiction.

Why are you arguing with this person?

Okay, here’s another hypothetical. (Stay with us here.)

You’re a kid again. Another kid comes up to you on the playground.

“I saw your mom yesterday,” the kid says, “Eating dirt in the empty lot next to the laundromat.”

“That’s not true,” you tell the kid, “My mom was at home with me.”

“Don’t lie,” the kid says, “I know it was her. She was picking up fistfuls of dirt and eating them.”

“No, she wasn’t!” you exclaim, getting upset. “She was at home.”

“Prove it,” says the kid.

You have options. You could tell the kid exactly what your mom did yesterday, at home. You could say that you played crazy eights three times, and that she won twice. You could describe the meal that you ate together, where she burned the grilled cheese sandwiches.

But really: why are you arguing with this person?

You know that your mom wasn’t eating dirt. You know that you’re bisexual. The person that you’re arguing with is a bully, or is, at best, too invested in their own point of view to be worth arguing with.

The New York Times article includes a section about a study that the American Institute of Bisexuality is funding and that vomitous researcher J. Michael Bailey is running. In it, Bailey and members of the A.I.B. discuss what kind of pornography to include in a study that measures its subjects’ genital arousal while watching different kids of porn.

Why? When our own desires and patterns of arousal are so complex, so emotional, so tied to our individual memories and associations, why do we assume that someone can make a definitive statement about someone else’s sexuality just because they had increased blood flow in their genitals after looking at a few porn stars?

Want to prove that bisexuality exists? If you’re bisexual, keep being bisexual. If you want to come out, and you feel like you can come out, then come out. If you’re not bisexual, and someone tells you that they are, believe them. If the schoolyard bully tells you that you (or your friends, or your favorite TV actor) are not bisexual, tell them to stop being ridiculous and then go talk to someone better.

Do you want studies? That’s great, studies can be really interesting! Read about scientists measuring people’s genitals, pupils, whatever, but always take what you read with a grain of salt. Then, go read about people’s sexualities in their own words. What you read there will be less quantifiable and more true to life.

*We decided to use the same language as the New York Times, for clarity, but feel free to substitute in your preferred term (queerness, pansexuality, etc.). 

Jan 03 2014

The Man with Two Penises

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by thepleasurechest

double dildo

A man with a condition called Diphallia – which, yes, means that he was born with two penises – took to Reddit (using the name DoubleDickDude) for a no-holds-barred Q&A session about his unusual condition. Here’s our takeaway:

His attitude is awesome:

Worst [part of having two penises]? Briefs/underwear. I wear a small/medium in the waist (28-30″waist) so briefs that can hold it all together are too big, and briefs that fit everywhere else, i fall out of both sides.

Best? having two cocks.

His relationship is awesome.

I’ve been in a serious relationship with a girl and a guy for a while now. I call it monogamous because we are exclusive.

They were a couple before they mutually started dating me. She is straight, and he is bisexual and discovered he was when after four months of them both knowing me, they found out about my cocks. It clicked and we’ve been together since.

His mom is awesome. In reply to a question about memorable reactions from doctors:

Yeah, one grabbed like five others in the building. That was the last time my mom let anyone examine me for any reason besides personal check-ups. She said “my son is not a freak show” and slapped one of them.

His one medical problem could be a lot worse:

My prostate gets inflamed if I dont ejaculate enough. I’m probably the only guy with a legit reason to orgasm at least once every day or two days. My prostate gets stimulation from both cocks and creates a lot of seminal fluid.

It looks like some the more sexually explicit questions and answers have been deleted, but you can still read about them on Nerve. You can even check out a picture (NSFW).

Dec 16 2013

Sex Doll in Space: The Incredible Journey

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by thepleasurechest

blow up doll in space

We get a lot of customer requests for blow-up dolls, mostly for gag gifts and bachelor/ette parties. Some folks want a doll that’s as realistic as possible. Some want one that’s as cartoonish as possible. Some want dolls that are shaped like farm animals. No one has yet asked us for a doll that doubles as an astronaut.

Enter Missy, the blow-up doll who was recently sent into space. And why not?

We highly, highly recommend watching her daring voyage.

 

Dec 13 2013

Insects Getting it On

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by thepleasurechest

boatmen

Most of us don’t wonder about how bugs have sex unless they’re doing it on our picnic blanket. In case you’re curious, though, Buzz Hoot Roar explains some of the ickier and more unusual facts about how some insects get it on, complete with fanciful illustrations. (Fair warning, some of the mating practices it covers are quite violent.)

Nov 25 2013

The Future of Condoms

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by thepleasurechest

condom with tabs

It’s an exciting time to be a condom user.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded eleven $100,000 grants to scientists who designed condoms that people might be more likely to want to wear. The grants will fund research into the condoms’ safety, efficacy, and manufacturability. After eighteen months, the winners can apply for a million dollar grant to go toward production and clinical trials.

The winners sound amazing and/or bewildering. One team made a more skin-like condom out of collagen from beef tendons and fish scraps. Another designed a condom out of a material that clings to the skin, so that the condom doesn’t have to fit so tightly in order to stay on. Others are creating new, more effective applicators. You can read the full list here.

h/t NPR

Nov 15 2013

Can You Get Herpes From Library Books? (No, but we’re glad you asked.)

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by thepleasurechest

Copies of the book "Fifty Shades of Grey

Here’s the story: two university professors in Belgium ran toxicology and bacteriology screenings on the ten most borrowed books at the Antwerp library. Fifty Shades of Grey contained traces of herpes. (They didn’t say whether it was HSV 1 or 2.)

Don’t panic. The traces of the virus weren’t enough to infect anyone. You’re not going to catch an STI from your library book.

Still, this seems like a good time for an etiquette lesson: if you are going to masturbate while reading a book, please buy your own copy. Do not make out with your library book. Do your best not to get your bodily fluids on your library book. It’s common courtesy. 

You might also take this as a lesson in common sense: consider buying your own erotica and using the library for less bodice-ripping books.

On the other hand, you might want to be more careful about library books in general. The Belgian professors found traces of cocaine in every single one of the books they tested – not enough to get you high, but enough that you could fail a drug test after handling one of the books. If you have a drug test coming up, consider using latex gloves with your library books.

h/t Time

Nov 12 2013

Why Is Your Penis So Sensitive?

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by thepleasurechest

meissner corpuscule

Have you ever wondered why the foreskin and frenulum are so sensitive compared to the rest of the penis? As it turns out, you can thank your Meissner’s corpuscles: nerve endings that are especially sensitive to light touch and vibration. Meissner’s corpuscles are also present in your palms and fingertips. Try running your fingers along the back of your hand and then along your palm, if you want to feel the difference.

Thanks for the good sex, Meissner’s corpuscles!

h/t The Whole Network