Sex­ual heal­ing

Turns out well­ness is mi­grat­ing from your kitchen to your bed­room with ve­gan con­doms, crys­tal cocks and sa­cred sex here to level up your life. Get ready for some good clean fun

Women's Health Australia - - MARCH - By Penny Car­roll

Well­ness has taken over your kitchen, now it’s made its way to the bed­room too

You start the day with a squeeze of le­mon in warm wa­ter be­fore med­i­tat­ing for 20 min­utes. Next up? A su­per­food-packed smoothie to go in your Bpa-free re­us­able bot­tle. Af­ter work you’ll swing by the yoga stu­dio for a stress-bust­ing sesh, then head home for some qual­ity time with your rose-quartz dildo. If that last bit made your brows shoot up, wel­come to a new world – one where the ul­ti­mate well­ness lifestyle now in­cludes your yoni (aka vagina), with an in­trigu­ing land­scape of prod­ucts and prac­tices to ex­plore. There are the crys­tal toys that prom­ise or­gasms with a side of heal­ing, the ve­gan con­doms that preach sex­ual and en­vi­ron­men­tal re­spon­si­bil­ity, the vi­bra­tor you can com­post post-cli­max and, of course, a whole lot of co­conut oil. It’s clean sex – but not the kind your teach­ers were talk­ing about. The sex in­dus­try is in the throes of an em­pow­er­ing makeover, and while it’s still plenty raunchy, now it’s woke, too.

Cum­ming clean

It prob­a­bly shouldn’t come as a shock that we’re fi­nally adding sex­ual well­be­ing to our health goals. Af­ter all, if we’re con­cerned about the tox­ins in our food and beauty prod­ucts, we should be equally mind­ful of the chem­i­cals left be­hind by lube and la­tex. It’s this rea­son­ing that in­spired the three fe­male founders of new Aussie con­dom brand Jonny to en­sure their product was as nat­u­ral as pos­si­ble. The con­cept? They de­vised a biodegrad­able dis­pos­able bag for the used product, in­sisted on dou­ble­wash­ing the la­tex to re­move tox­ins and, when they learnt that con­doms aren’t al­ways ve­gan (true story – milk de­riv­a­tives are of­ten used in the man­u­fac­tur­ing process), they sought out a sup­plier that doesn’t use an­i­mal prod­ucts. “It was about cre­at­ing a product that peo­ple would be proud to use,” says co-founder Bec Vil­lanti. The com­pany is just over a year old, but its con­scious con­doms have been so suc­cess­ful it’s al­ready plan­ning a global launch and a range of product add-ons. “Well­ness has been a grow­ing in­dus­try for a long time and I think Jonny def­i­nitely taps into that,” Vil­lanti adds. “Peo­ple think, ‘Great, now I can tick [off] my con­tra­cep­tion [as] fit­ting into that box.’”

Ve­gan con­doms are just the be­gin­ning: health-con­scious con­sumers are driv­ing up sales of eco-friendly and chem­i­cal­free sex prod­ucts across the board, from biodegrad­able vi­bra­tors to or­ganic lube. Case in point: nat­u­ral beauty e-tailer Nour­ished Life says its range of sex­ual health prod­ucts – in par­tic­u­lar, its la­tex-free Smile Mak­ers vi­bra­tors – is now one of the fastest-grow­ing cat­e­gories on the site.

Sex­ual awak­en­ing

So what’s with the urge to clean up be­tween the sheets? “Peo­ple seem to be more com­mit­ted than ever to holis­tic health and feel­ing good in gen­eral,” ex­plains sex­ol­o­gist and coach Juliet Allen. “En­joy­ing a healthy sex life is just as im­por­tant as en­joy­ing healthy food and ex­er­cise – it feeds our soul on a deep level and the ben­e­fits are end­less.”

Allen, who cov­ers top­ics such as ‘mag­i­cal anal sex’ and even ‘the sa­cred slut’ on her pop­u­lar Au­then­tic Sex pod­cast, says this holis­tic health view nat­u­rally over­laps with con­scious sex, a con­cept rooted in Tantric prac­tices. “The foun­da­tion of con­scious sex is great com­mu­ni­ca­tion, deep pres­ence and know­ing that sex isn’t just me­chan­i­cal – it’s so much more than that, emo­tion­ally and spir­i­tu­ally,” she ex­plains. “It’s about re­ally hon­our­ing our body and only open­ing our­selves sex­u­ally to oth­ers who re­spect us.”

While it’s not a new con­cept, it’s a buzzy one given to­day’s cul­tural cli­mate where gen­der equal­ity, sex­ual em­pow­er­ment and con­sent are hot top­ics. Con­sciously en­gag­ing in sex of­fers a clear frame­work for clar­i­fy­ing con­sent and al­low­ing both part­ners to ex­plore their de­sires safely. Clin­i­cal sex­ol­o­gist Naomi Hutch­ings says, “It’s won­der­ful that peo­ple are hav­ing th­ese con­ver­sa­tions. It’s get­ting peo­ple to be re­ally in the mo­ment, be­ing cu­ri­ous of them­selves and oth­ers, and ask­ing ques­tions, as in, ‘What do you want to get out of sex?’”

Cru­cially, adds Allen, prac­tis­ing con­scious sex helps to dis­man­tle the shame many of us feel about sex, mas­tur­ba­tion and our se­cret fan­tasies, a mis­sion shared by om­gyes.com. The US web­site trans­lates sci­en­tific re­search on fe­male plea­sure into in­ter­ac­tive videos that teach spe­cific tech­niques. It’s one of a hand­ful of in­no­va­tions, along­side on­line zine Tabú and the Aus­tralian site Par Femme, that aim to re-ed­u­cate men and women on sex, plea­sure and con­sent, mi­nus the judge­ment.

“I think the long-term im­pact of this shift will be that our younger gen­er­a­tion fi­nally gets the ed­u­ca­tion that they de­serve from their par­ents and teach­ers,” says

Allen. “And then we can break the cy­cle of dis­em­pow­ered peo­ple, and slowly stamp out the shame and guilt around sex that is passed down through the gen­er­a­tions.”

Rock on, get off

What goes hand-in-hand with con­scious sex? Crys­tals, obvs. Gleam­ing ‘plea­sure wands’ of rose or clear quartz, dainty jade eggs and even proud ob­sid­ian cocks look New Age cool on the ’gram, and come com­plete with mag­i­cal tales of deep or­gasms and even deeper heal­ing.

“Peo­ple put a crys­tal around their

neck and feel the en­ergy, so can you imag­ine putting a crys­tal in your body? It’s am­pli­fied,” says re­la­tion­ship coach Rosie Rees, who sells crys­tal toys on her site

Yoni Plea­sure Palace. Rees first dis­cov­ered the po­ten­tial of crys­tal sex prod­ucts at a work­shop on the an­cient Chi­nese prac­tice of strength­en­ing the pelvic floor us­ing an egg-shaped jade stone (also known as a yoni egg). “I had this in­cred­i­ble ex­pe­ri­ence of con­nect­ing to my body in a way that was sa­cred and con­scious and re­ally up­lift­ing,” she re­calls. It prompted her to cre­ate a range of crys­tal and glass toys in 2013, the first of its kind in Oz.

Th­ese aren’t just pretty dil­dos you don’t have to hide: Rees, who also teaches naked yoga work­shops, guides women to use the toys for fos­ter­ing self-love as well as self-plea­sure. She en­cour­ages cre­at­ing a “nest or sa­cred space” in which you can ex­plore spir­i­tual con­nec­tion, emo­tional heal­ing and even try your luck at squirt­ing. They might be cold, hard rocks, but, teamed with co­conut oil and an open mind, the po­ten­tial, it seems, is end­less.

So is the crys­tal con­nec­tion real? Madeleine Ki­ley, 23, is a be­liever. She in­vested in a rose-quartz wand af­ter suf­fer­ing an ec­topic preg­nancy, and says us­ing it helped her heal from the trauma of emer­gency surgery to re­move a fal­lop­ian tube, and a dif­fi­cult re­la­tion­ship with her then-part­ner. “It brought warmth when I felt like I was bro­ken,” Ki­ley ex­plains, adding that the wand, which she slept with un­der her pil­low each night, mys­te­ri­ously split in two “the day I fi­nally felt a re­lease from the event”.

Rees adds, “At the end of the day, whether you be­lieve in the en­ergy of crys­tals or not, it’s about the in­ten­tion that you give it. If you give it an in­ten­tion, like, ‘Please help me love my­self more,’ or, ‘Help me heal af­ter a bad break-up,’ you’re go­ing to feel that.”

The care fac­tor

Re­plete with gor­geous crys­tals, mind­ful ex­pe­ri­ences and non-toxic ac­ces­sories, the con­scious cou­pling of the well­ness and sex in­dus­tries seems like a no-brainer. But, just as a diet stacked with al­mond

Out of the Aussies who bought a sex toy on­line, this per­cent­age of women used it for solo plea­sure, com­pared with 30 per cent of blokes. The rab­bit is still the most pop­u­lar pick. (Crys­tal ver­sion any­one? We sense a side hus­tle com­ing on!) Source: Love­honey

milk and avo­ca­dos doesn’t equal #health, ex­perts say it pays to take care in adopt­ing an ul­tra-‘clean’ ap­proach to sex. While open, in­clu­sive con­ver­sa­tions around sex are great, there’s a chance you could end up feel­ing less-than if your at­tempts at, say, com­muning with your crys­tal dildo, or gush­ing when you cum, fail to fly. “There’s a risk of say­ing, ‘Well, if I’m not do­ing that, then I’m wrong,’” ac­knowl­edges Hutch­ings. “I would def­i­nitely warn in that sense, and say just be care­ful that you don’t get to this point where you’re an­gry be­cause you’re not hav­ing four-hour sex ses­sions. It’s more about say­ing, ‘Look at the di­ver­sity in us,’ and also un­der­stand­ing that we might not al­ways have this mind­blow­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, which is ab­so­lutely OK.”

Like­wise, if a crys­tal wand turns you on more than a rub­ber rab­bit, em­brace it, but psy­chol­o­gist Jo­ce­lyn Brewer warns against re­ly­ing on rocks for heal­ing. “There is no ev­i­dence to show that sex toys – crys­tal or oth­er­wise – can heal sex­ual or emo­tional trauma,” she says. “Th­ese kinds of is­sues are gen­er­ally psy­cho­log­i­cal in na­ture, so work­ing with ev­i­dence-based treat­ments and ex­pe­ri­enced, qual­i­fied prac­ti­tion­ers is valu­able.” That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use sex toys at all, but if you’re grap­pling with emo­tional trauma it’s wise to con­sider them as one part of a mul­ti­fac­eted ap­proach. Hutch­ings agrees, “I usu­ally sug­gest some ther­apy for trauma. Some folks might get great ben­e­fit from trau­macare yoga, and yes, if they are want­ing to in­cor­po­rate sex­ual plea­sure into this heal­ing, [crys­tal toys] can be help­ful too.”

Just how clean and con­scious you want to get un­der the cov­ers is to­tally up to you, but, as Rees notes, you can ex­pect an em­pow­er­ing ride from go to oh re­gard­less. “I think women are re­ally forg­ing ahead at the mo­ment in awak­en­ing their sex­ual en­ergy and I think it’s be­cause they’ve had it re­pressed for so long,” she says.

“We are ris­ing up and we are not be­ing si­lenced any­more, and we are al­lowed to be ex­pres­sive and or­gas­mic and share that with the world.” Bang on.

Clean, green pro­tec­tion

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