A Winter Sexual Wellness Guide with CEC / Navigating Reality.

· By Team PLEASE

A Winter Sexual Wellness Guide with CEC / Navigating Reality.

Please co-founders Mira Leibowitz and her partner and husband Greg Sher to talk about, well sex of course. But more specifically, the ultimate guide to feeling teased and pleased this winter.

Today, we are skipping the formalities, skipping the usual anecdotes and personal insertion, skipping the negative Nelly diatribes about this and that because today we are talking about HOT, STEAMY, SEX, baby. Ok, not quite, but we have teamed up with our friends at PLEASE to talk about pleasure, pain and putting yourself first.

Let’s not beat around the bush. The conversation about what we do under or on top of the sheets has long held this ominous air of taboo around it. I’d argue that it isn’t even a cultural thing but rather a symptom of South Africa and the traditional base from which we draw our societal norms. But let that not detract from the fact that you, me and probably your mom have entertained the idea of butt stuff at one point in our lives. So here we are to open the floor and guide you to getting to the big O, over and over and over again.
Actually, let’s start on that note.

Although this may make the topic about as unsexy as it could possibly be, I think that it is essential to note that, ultimately, sexual pleasure is not only derived from the orgasm. As defined by Abramson and Pinkerton in their study With pleasure: Thoughts on the nature of human sexuality, “Sexual pleasure consists of those positively valued feelings induced by sexual stimuli. Notice that this conceptualisation encompasses a broad range of sexual pleasures, from the soothing sensations of sensual massage to the explosion of feeling that accompanies orgasm.

Well, damn, that is just about the most interesting form of academic sexting I’ve had the pleasure of reading in a while, but this serves to illustrate that not only are sexual pleasure and desire extremely natural, but hardcoded into our DNA despite the endless preaching surrounding shame and abstinence. But remember, it’s not all about the big O. It’s about the friends (with benefits) we meet along the way.

In the conversation with Mira and Greg, it became evident that the team at Please wants to open up the conversation around sex and pleasure, along with shifting the narrative away from the shame that is often so present in these conversations—reframing the conversation around self-pleasure in a way that makes the self-care aspect of it the central focus.
I think that a lot of people obviously grow up thinking that it’s a “sin” or that they’re doing something they’re not supposed to, although I hope things are shifting away from this” says Mira. Greg frames his own relationship with self-pleasure outside this frame of shame, saying,”I think self-pleasure makes you feel more comfortable with yourself and your own feelings towards sexuality and understanding what you like, which then ties into when you are with a partner or with someone new. You know, the feelings that you like and you’re able to guide someone through making your experience better and the experience together, better.” A sentiment shared by Mira, as she puts it, self-pleasure is a practice, “I do feel like it is something that you have to be doing consistently because obviously we’re all human. Things change, and your preferences change, you are constantly evolving and growing, so the need for practice and exploration is essential.
I asked the duo which of the products on the Please site they would recommend for readers trying to up their self-pleasure game. First and foremost, they both suggested Lube, and I’d like to join this campaign as an ambassador and spokesperson for just how underrated (a good) lube is. The duo also recommended a set of toys to satiate and satisfy whatever might be lurking below the belt with the Dame Dip and the Tenga Flex, both options that won’t break the bank while being an excellent introduction to the endless amounts of fun toys that can be for yourself and your partner.

This brings me neatly onto the topic of toys and their introduction into the bedroom. For many couples, the idea of toys can be a bit of a daunting topic. Deep down, a lot of us are scared that our partner’s interest in introducing something additional into the bedroom is due to us lacking something. We inherently want to be able to fulfil every need and desire our partner may have, but that isn’t always possible. He, she’s, they’s, and them’s, may I introduce the concept of the pleasure gap. Now, the concept of the pleasure gap has had an extensive list of interesting and informative articles written about the lack of sexual satisfaction and the deadening of sexual desire that partners experience within relationships. The pleasure gap is mainly the male vs female orgasms and the vast difference : while men reach orgasm during 85% of intercourse, straight women do so only 63% of the time (gay women have it much better with 75% of orgasm-inducing sex). Another survey, conducted in the US in 2017, further increases the gap to 95% for (straight) men versus 65% for (straight) women.

I think it’s so important for people to understand that exploring with sex toys that at the end of the day, they’re add-ons, they’re not a replacement in any way. And I think when people start to understand that, then they’ll understand that this is not about not being enough or that my girlfriend, wife, partner, lover is only going to climax if we use a toy.” Mira says. Greg also beautifully captures an often overlooked and inherently important point. Sex is about connection and intimacy and well, pleasure, but unfortunately, we often focus only on our pleasure and not that of our partners. “From a male’s perspective, sometimes I know that I’m too excited in the sexual encounter, and then I actually suggest bringing a sex toy into it because I know that I’m going to reach a climax before Mira. So we bring that in to know that she’s going to be pleasured as well in the same sense because more, more often than not, there is a pleasure gap.
That in my mind, is one of the most beautiful elements about sex and pleasure, the very act of going beyond focussing on your own sexual pleasure and truly concerning yourself with the pleasure of someone else. Often I think that when people think about introducing toys into the bedroom, they think of vibrators, butt plugs and all kinds of leather, but the team over at Please actually suggested a product that I was also recently introduced to Ohnut. Here’s the thing: toys don’t always have to be something that adds a bunch of stimuli. More often than not, the key to great sex is through communication and creating a scenario where it’s as comfortable as possible for your partner in both a physical and emotional sense. Pain during penetration is not the kind of pain we like in the bedroom, and from personal experience, I can vouch that Ohnut can be a game changer in bed. Mira says, “It’s such a simple but incredible product, and I think it goes across the board for men and women; it’s just such a simple solution for pain during penetration.

I want to elaborate further on the above-mentioned point. Inherently, sex and the pleasure derived from it manifest in the connection or desire of two (or more, you little freaks) people. Now, I’m all for a nasty, dirty hookup, as that definitely has its place, but I want to focus a bit more on the connection and intimacy aspect of sex and pleasure. Far too often, in far too many rocky relationships, we find that one point of tension is the lack of sexual connection. This horrid world where sex becomes a chore, a routine, an exercise that is more closely masturbation than connection. Mira and Greg agree that simple communication is the first and most important step to minimising this. Speaking about your sexual needs, desires, and even frustrations definitely comes more naturally to some than others. Still, it is invaluable for couples and singles to be able to communicate what they want and need. Now, this can’t just be me, but foreplay starts way before there is even a semblance of skin showing. Words are powerful and have a way to tease and tempt like few other things.

This brings me to some of the items couples could try to stay in the present and connect on a deeper level during sex. Sex is always hard to bring up in some form of analogy, but to my mind, it’s always closely resembled a dance or a beautifully composed piece of music. It ebbs and flows, builds and subsides, and is never rushed. Far too often, as mentioned above, we are focused on the destination of the orgasm and not on the journey. Mira and Greg have got you covered there. They suggest a more sensory experience. Maybe pop on one of the Please playlists to set the mood, light some candles, and offer to give your partner a massage. I’m not talking about the half-assed one you give when they complain about sore shoulders.
“We have massage oil, and we also have a massage oil candle, which is a beautiful intimate act of you know, being able to massage your partner. It’s a very sensory experience.”
It’s actually so funny because even amongst friends, you know, sex as a topic is still a little bit of a stigma, and it’s not spoken about as much as it should be. When we started Please, it really just opened up this door for communication between friends, and family. It was just such a beautiful thing to have been a part of, basically, where our friends felt like they could come to us and chat about like butt plugs and you know… It opens people up. They look at us, and they feel okay, cool, it’s normal, and sex is normal. It’s absolutely the most natural thing humans can do and it’s just so wild that it feels like this taboo subject when it’s so much more than that” Mira ends off.
So, where does that leave us? Well, I think we can safely say that this conversation still has a lot of room for growth. Sexual wellness may have been stigmatised in the past, but simply put, it’s time to reframe and rethink the relationship we have with sexual pleasure, not only with ourselves but the partners, lovers, fuckbuddies, and one-night stands we may meet along the way. So remember, cuties, say please, and you may just get exactly what you want.


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Written by: Casey Delport