As many of us know, masturbation is a normal and healthy sexual activity laden with numerous physical, emotional and mental benefits. Not only does invoke those feel-good hormones, but it can also improve your health, sleep, and sex life. May is National Masturbation Month, an excellent opportunity to prioritize your self-pleasure and self-love, while indulging in much-needed me time.
Masturbation is a great way to learn about your sexual likes and dislikes (without putting yourself at risk for pregnancy and STDs), as well as helping to relieve quarantine tension and social distancing stress. As a matter of fact, with many of us still staying at home, with or without a quarantine bae, now is the perfect time to get more in touch with yourself (pun intended)!
However, as sex positive as our generation has become, there are still masturbation misconceptions that need to be put to bed. To help debunk some of the stigma and shame about this sensual form of self-care, we've enlisted the help of Dr. Donna Oriowo, (LICSW, CST) licensed clinical social worker, certified sex therapist and owner of AnnodRight.
Myth: Too much masturbation can ruin partnered sex.
Fact: "It is false that masturbation will ruin sex with a partner -- the opposite is actually true," Dr. Oriowo said. "Knowing your body and what brings you pleasure, gives you the ability to speak to your partner about what you like, which in turn increases pleasure in partnered sex."
"We can debunk this myth by trying it out! Mutual masturbation, or masturbating with your partner, allows you and your partner to learn more about each other's body, while getting a better hold on what brings each other pleasure," Dr. Oriowo said. "You can masturbate each other, or masturbate in front of one another, which brings a new whole level of erotic play!"
Myth: Vibrators can numb your lady parts.
Fact: "It is true that vibrators can temporarily numb genitals. The key words here are 'can' and 'temporarily'. Everyone is not necessarily going to experience this," Dr. Oriowo said. "There are a couple of factors to consider, including the strength of the vibrator, the length of use, how flush the vibrator is against the skin, and how often the vibrator is being used. If you find that you're feeling a little numb, you can cut back for about an hour, and then you should return back to full sensation."
Myth: You shouldn’t masturbate every day.
Fact: "I personally don't believe it's possible to masturbate too much, unless your 'too much' means that it gets in the way of your everyday life, including your ability to work," Dr. Oriowo advised. "It is definitely OK to masturbate every day – in fact, I personally challenge people to pleasure themselves every day during National Masturbation Month. Seeking pleasure on a daily basis is not going to ruin things. Do what you like!"
Myth: Women in relationships don’t masturbate.
Fact: "I believe that even within the context of a relationship, masturbation should continue. Being able to bring yourself pleasure can actually serve as a moment of mindfulness and reconnection," Dr. Oriowo explained. "Additionally, our likes and dislikes will continue to grow and change as we move through each stage of life. Continuing to masturbate gives us a leg up on our new sexual interests, which in turn can help us inform our partners about our new desires and fantasies."
Myth: Masturbation reduces sex drive.
Fact: "Masturbation does not decrease your sex drive," Dr. Oriowo said. "It may offer temporary satisfaction, but it's like having a snack or a meal. Just because you ate breakfast doesn't mean that you won't be interested in lunch or dinner. As a matter of fact, similar to how breakfast can jumpstart your metabolism, masturbation can jumpstart you sex drive! You can actually find yourself in a sexy mood more often, which could lead to more masturbation and more partnered sex!"
As you become more acquainted with the magical gift that is masturbation, here are three expert-approved tips and tricks to help you take your solo sex session to the next level:
Set the Scene: If you are feeling extra romantic, try lighting candles or incense to engage your sense of smell. Playing music in the background is also a great way to get in a sexy mindset.
DIY Date Night: We could all use a little bit more love! Don't be afraid to treat yourself to a solo Netflix and Chill date. Pamper yourself with a nice meal, a glass (or two) of wine, and then get lucky halfway through your movie!
Switch It Up: Changing up your masturbation routine can help keep things spicy and exciting. If you only masturbate in certain positions, try out a new technique! Add new sex toys, try manual manipulation, or feel free to move from one typically-used room to another. Variety is the spice of life!
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Featured image by Gif/Beyonce
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Watching Angela “Blac Chyna” White’s transformation in real-time has truly been a sight to see. It wasn’t that long ago that she announced that she was reversing her cosmetic surgeries in an effort to go back to who she was before the world came to know her as Blac Chyna. In previous interviews, she stated that she was dissolving her facial and lip fillers, removing her breast implants, and getting a butt reduction, as well as removing the dimple piercings that enhanced her fame and controversial tattoos.
In a recent Tamron Hall interview, the mother of two said that she has “fully recovered” from the procedures. She is also celebrating one year of sobriety and opened up about being worried about how her new journey would be received by others.
“I’ve been in the entertainment industry for so long, right, and of course, like, you know, coming out, I’m like young, I’m gonna do wild things as we all have,” she said.
“...I feel like by me being vocal and showing everybody you can change your life and things can get better, like through myself, that right there is an accomplishment, and that’s a part of freedom, too.”
But as she started on her journey, many people have shown her grace, which is something she’s grateful for. “And then the fact that people have been showing me grace, it’s like amazing,” she said. “And I feel like when I did it, I just did it. It was more so like spiritual thing and I feel like people see that, and I’ve always been like my authentic self, so what you see is kinda what you get with me, and that’s just kinda what it is.”
Chyna, who recently received an honorary doctorate from Sacramento Theology Seminary and Bible College, has also repaired her relationship with her mom, Tokyo Toni. The social media celebrity surprised her daughter on the Tamron Hall Show. Prior to the sentimental surprise, Chyna dished on the reconciliation and having a better understanding of her mom.
“I must say, some of the things I have to take accountability for because, like my actions. As a mother, you don’t want to see your daughter doing certain things ‘cause it’s like it doesn’t matter what my past was or what we’re going through, I didn’t raise you that way,” she admitted. “So, it’s like, okay, maybe I was a little bit wrong. Maybe I was acting out a little bit. But I feel like as we grow older, I kinda see more, and I understand more.”
Chyna will be starring in season two of Fox's reality competition show Special Forces: World's Toughest Test.
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Feature image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images