photo by jswieringa
Hereâ€™s a quick science lesson for you: Scented and colored candles often contain plasticizers, which make them burn much hotter, i.e., way too hot for your sweetieâ€™s fleshy parts. Black candles and beeswax candles burn the hottest of all. (Besides, what are you doing with black candles anyway? Thatâ€™s so Trenchcoat Brigade.) Youâ€™re better off with the plain white paraffin candles sold at grocery and hardware stores for “emergencies” — but buy extra, please; no filching from your actual emergency supply kit! Better still are soy candles, which burn cleaner and at an even lower temperature than paraffin. (Even better, the soy candles sold at GoodVibes turn into massage oil when the melt onto your skin. We recommend avoiding the sweeter scents.) The stop, drop, and rolls of hot-wax play: Blow the candle out before dripping the wax; test the wax on the back of your hand first; once the wax hits your partner’s skin, rub it in to disperse the heat; do not drip the wax on your partnerâ€™s face or delicate mucous membranes (you know, those areas where STDs and infection get passed the most); and, finally, do not indulge in candle play on your brand-new Tempur-Pedic bed with your $500 Calvin Klein sheet set, because we have no freakinâ€™ idea how to remove wax stains.
photo by Foxtongue
You might think “novelty” means â€śnice, fun sex toys,â€ť but youâ€™d be wrong. Itâ€™s actually a legal term for products not intended for serious use. And thanks to A) bullshitty obscenity laws still on the books in some states (we’re talking to you, Alabama), B) no government regulation overseeing the safety and package labeling of sex toys, and C) manufacturers who focus on quantity over quality (i.e., male customers over female customers), many toys in your average adult store are marked â€śfor novelty purposes onlyâ€ť (read: â€śDonâ€™t use this anywhere near your genitals!â€ť). These cheap, crappy, gimmicky toys are about as likely to get you off as an episode of Larry King Live. Theyâ€™re often made in China, most likely under dubious labor conditions. And they donâ€™t come with instruction manuals or ingredients listings (which more often than not would include “phthalates,” a potentially carcinogenic material in soft plastics and jelly rubber); if they did come with use, care, and content info, theyâ€™d be considered medical devices and would be subject to expensive safety regulations. â€śScrew that,â€ť say the big-biz manufacturers. â€śWeâ€™ll just keep doing what weâ€™ve been doing for the past thirty years, thank you very much.â€ť Good for them, bad for you. So if you’ve got a toy that has rough seams, smells of stinky soft rubber, gives you a rash, feels uncomfortable, is a cheap knock-off of a popular toy, didn’t come with instructions, and/or came in a box with a cheesy naked lady on it, probably best to break up with it.
For more info, please check out our book, “SEX TOY: An A-Z Guide to Bedside Accessories.”
photo by psalms133
Who wants to paint the town red when you can stay home and paint each other? Playing with edible finger paints is like having a smokinâ€™-hot Montessori teacher encourage you to “indulge your inner Picasso” while going down on you to help “unleash your creative juices.” (And if that just turned you on, we donâ€™t want to know about it.) We bet you ten bucks the first time you try body paint, you wonâ€™t be able to resist painting cheeky arrows and “open for business” signs. Oh, who are we kidding? We bet you paint cheeky arrows every time you try it. The Kama Sutra Loverâ€™s Paintbox is all chocolate (in three flavors!), if thatâ€™s what you fancy — donâ€™t forget a glass of milk for the nightstand. GoodVibes also stocks a chocolate body paint, and Babeland has a sweet fruity kit if that’s more to your taste. And if you’re having a James Bond moment, try liquid latex body paint and make like Goldfinger. Liquid Latex dries in minutes, and, unlike paint, it allows the skin to breathe — itâ€™s your very own, custom-fitted fetish outfit. Get black latex and Catwomanâ€™s got nothing on you! Or get the Black Light Liquid Latex Body Paint Kit for some after-dark fun. This kit even comes with a jar of glitter dust for glamming the whole thing up. Letâ€™s see those jazz hands!
photo by turydddu
We don’t recommend attempting intercourse in the shower — there are just too many possibilities for water-related injuries! Plus, you could be setting yourself up for failure — it’s often impossible to get in the right positions for pleasurable penetration, considering the cramped spaces and slippery surfaces. But we do understand that for some people, sex in the shower is the ultimate in good clean dirty fun. So instead, why not just focus on manual sex and oral sex? For the former, you could use soap, but that can be drying — and since water can wash away your natural lubricant, you might try adding some manmade silicone-based lubricant like Eros Pjur (since silicone won’t wash away, unlike standard water-based lubes). And remember, you don’t have to wait until you’ve both been satisfied and are head-to-toe prunes before you leave the shower: there’s something kind of sexy about rolling around on a towel together with wet hair and damp skin. And just think how comfortable you’ll be exploring each other’s nooks and crannies when you’re squeaky clean and you can lie down.
photo by jlcwalker
Are you trying to get over your ex? Or are you trying to gain “hand” in a booty or dating situation? Or do you simply have no shame? If any or all of the above apply, then you need to designate a dialer before heading out on the town. A designated dialer is a friend who agrees to monitor your cellphone usage and watch for you waxing nostalgic with that misty look in your eyes, which usually precipitates a drunken-dial. This friend has your prior, sober permission to confiscate any mobile calling or texting devices, should he or she find your judgment to be seriously impaired. If you’re a truly needy case, then you might want to consider asking this friend to go above and beyond the call of duty and walk you home, in order to prevent a booty drive-by i.e. ringing someone’s doorbell and slurring, “So I jussss happened to be in the neighborhood…”
photo by Just_SallyRye
Once you get over the slightly seedy feeling of using a baby product for sex, youâ€™ll realize what an ingenious invention baby wipes are. Use them to wipe off a sex toy immediately after use, or grab one after any kind of back door exploration or money shot. (A note to lazy fuckers: Theyâ€™re no substitute for a good scrub with soap before and after your sesh.) Discretion would suggest that you not keep them prominently displayed on your nightstand, though within armâ€™s reach (perhaps in your “party drawer”) is handy. And good taste would suggest that you purchase a brand that doesnâ€™t feature a snuggle-butt baby on its packaging — try Cottonelle Fresh Flushable Moist Wipes (alcohol-free, though they do contain fragrance). Three cheers for a new way to kill the rain forests!
photo by ellie
Sometimes it’s nice to take things slowly, to undress each other as an act of love, to undo every button with unrushed focus. Other times, you just want to rip off each other’s clothes, literally! But this is often impractical. People pay a lot of hard-earned money on their wardrobes, and as much as they’d like to be the kind of people who’ll sacrifice anything for passion, most don’t want to have their outfits ruined during every enthusiastic romp. So here’s an idea: go to a cheap second-hand store and buy yourself (and/or your partner) something you’re okay with only wearing once. You don’t even have to wear it outside the house. It just needs to be worn long enough to be torn off — either worn by you and torn by you (a la Demi Moore in Striptease) or worn by your partner and torn by you (a la the entire bodice-ripper genre). Button-downs are great for the visual effect of the buttons flying, but anything that tears easily will do (nothing worse than a stubborn t-shirt gagging you as you try — and fail — to tear it off like a sexy Incredible Hulk).
photo by mikebaird
Dates are not unlike weddings: None of the traditions are trite when they’re happening to you. For this reason, there is absolutely nothing wrong with going for long walks on the beach, making out on a shag rug in front of a roaring fire, buying each other a single red rose from someone selling them out of a bucket in a bar, visiting an Italian restaurant where they serenade you at the table, dedicating a song to each other on one of those late-night call-in radio shows, and cruising gallery openings and museum exhibits hand-in-hand. (Though don’t ever refer to a piece of art as “banal” on an early date. In fact, don’t ever do that, period.) One of the best things about falling in love (or at least like) is that you get to enjoy all those things you used to make fun of other couples for. So go on, embrace the cheese!
When you consider the long history of condoms (they’ve been around since people started putting tortoiseshells on their jammies), one of the more recent developments is polyurethane: the material of the future, a Walt Disney wet dream, plastic. The benefits of polyurethane are myriad: Much, much thinner, odor-free and tasteless, transparent and thus respectful of every erection’s inherent beauty, not as sensitive to direct heat and light, compatible with any and all lubricants (including oil-based ones), more heat-conductive than latex (a major factor in men’s pleasure), and hypoallergenic. But â€” and there’s always a but â€” it’s not as elastic as latex, so it can’t stretch as much before breaking (which is just another great reason to use lube â€” it helps reduce the likelihood of breakage). You might also find them a bit “crinkly.” A few years ago, a Slate author rated the Trojan Supra polyurethane condom as the best (for himself). Apparently back then they were only available with Nonoxynol-9 (bummer!), but now they’re just lubricated without spermicide (yay!). (We wish Trojan was paying us, but they’re not.)
photo by eyeliam
Just a week ago we told you to leave something on in bed every now and then — just not your socks. But we feel it is our duty to report that scientists have found that keeping your socks on makes it easier for both men and women to have an orgasm. But wait! This is not a carte blanche to prance around the bedroom in nothing but your argyles. Here’s the deal: During a sex study a few years back, participants — both male and female — reported that they found it easier to climax when they were allowed to keep their socks on because the lab where they were doing it was chilly. In other words, socks don’t have some mystical orgasmic power — maintaining a comfortable body temperature does. And we can think of about a hundred ways to stay warm that are hotter — as it were — than leaving your business socks on: Cuddle up under a blanket, share a sleeping bag, do it in front of a log fire, focus on positions with the most skin-to-skin contact. And if you’re too broke — or too green — to crank up the heat in winter, then we think there could be something kind of sexy and endearing about getting down in nothing but a woolly hat and scarf.