4 Things You Need To Know About Your (Beautiful) Vulva

Don’t play with her heart. Play with her vulva. It feels better. 

I couldn’t find a single happy vulva quote archived online. Can you believe that? Considering the mighty wonder of the area, it’s remarkable that vaginas get most of the attention. Don’t get me wrong—vaginas rock!  But what do you say we take some time to celebrate its pleasure-centric, splendiferous sister, Ms. Vulva?

vulva quote

4 Things You Need to Know About Your Vulva

1. It’s not your vagina. 

If your first thought when spotting this post was, “My vulva… I know it’s somewhere down there, but…what is it again?” you’re far from alone. Many folks confuse vaginas with vulvas. Your vagina is the passageway into your body. Your vulva is everything outside of it—including your labia (lips), the mounded area over your pubic bone, your clitoris. To see medical drawings via the Cleveland Clinic, click here.

2. You shouldn’t scrub it.

The vulva secretes oils that protect its delicate skin from friction we all experience regularly. Scrub away those oils with cleansers or douche, and you’re likely to experience irritation. Keep it clean by washing it gently with warm water when you shower and letting it be. For added health and safety, avoid thongs, girdles, feminine sprays, scented tampons and rough toilet paper.

3. It’s super capable of pleasure. 

Women experience intense amounts of pleasure outside the vagina—which is one reason intercourse alone doesn’t bring most women to climax. The combo of both, however, inner and outer “down there” play paves the way for mind-blowing, intoxicating pleasure.

4. It’s beautiful as it is.

Your vulva isn’t ugly, stinky, oversized or wrongly hairy. Far too many women feel pressured to futz with their genitals in order to feel beautiful or merely okay. Do what makes you feel most comfortable, keeping safety and well-being your top priorities. When you feel pressured to alter your gorgeous girl parts, ask yourself why. Chances are it’s societal messages that need changing—not you. ♥

For more on this topic, check out my DAME Magazine article: Stop Futzing With Your Vagina!

My Latest Product Fave!

Speaking of vulvas, I have to tell you all about my latest product crush. *drum roll* …VULVA BALM! Did you know it was a thing? Sensuous Beauty makes it, and it’s fabulous.

Vulva balm

Dab it on your gorgeous vulva to prevent chafing or manage dryness. Vulva Balm is formulated for menopausal women, but as a younger woman, I found it luscious and fun. (Even when we’re wet inside, some added gliding power outside is nice, IYKWIM!) You can also use it as a gentle lube. The body and eco-friendly deliciously scented balm has a smooth, decadent texture you’ll wanna slather on (think Carmex, only natural + sexy. ;))—but you won’t need to. A small amount goes far.

Disclosure: This is an honest review for a product sold by Good Vibrations, a company I’m affiliated with. If you purchase Sensuous Beauty Vulva Balm for $12.99 – $18.50 through this link, a portion will support all-things-Girl Boner.

You can also support GB by purchasing other products. Simply click the Good Vibrations image in the sidebar (or below, if you’re reading on your phone) to shop away! The company is women-friendly, discreet and all around AWESOME.

What do you love about your vulva? Did any of these facts surprise you? Think you might try Vulva Balm? Remember, there’s no shame or judgment here—just gratitude, love and respect. 

Girl Boner: The Sex Ed Story That Started it All

Eighty weeks and episodes ago, I sat down before the mic at Global Voice Broadcasting and nearly peed my pants from giddy excitement. Seconds later, I was hooked. Girl Boner® Radio has been, and continues to be, a wild and gratifying ride.

Now that much of that ride is being filmed, I decided to share the story that started it all on YouTube. The video below isn’t Hollywood-“perfect” visually (not that that’s ever my aim), but it’s chock-full of heart and was a blast to make.

Stream below to hear a shortened version of my premiere episode set to a slideshow featuring fabulous guests, Charlie Brown as you’ve never seen him, my dynamic dog’s radio debut and more. I hope you enjoy it!

GB quote

What did you think of the video? What was your sex ed experience like? Wishing you a beautiful, Girl Boner-embracing week! ♥

8 Surprising Facts About Female Orgasm

Happy National Orgasm Day! Nope, I didn’t make that up. Today folks across the country are celebrating the big and luscious O. Fabulous, right?

I thought I’d celebrate by sharing some tantalizing facts about Girl Boner-gasms. Check them out, then let me know what you think! I LOVE hearing from you. ♥

IMG_1262

1. You could have one without realizing it. Don’t believe me? Listen to my episode on brain-gasms and my orgasm MRI. In short, some women mistake the feel-good sensations of climax with simply feeling good or, sadly, experience so much shame around sexuality that they don’t allow themselves to recognize or embrace what’s happening.

2. They’re POWERFUL! Unlike guys’ orgasms, which are also groovy, she-gasms send shimmery pleasure and elation throughout the whole body—from our heads to the tips of our toes. No wonder they help everything from pain and tension to low moods.

3. And contagious. Now there is something worth catching—yum. Our partners may literally get-off on our getting off. This is one reason men delight in facilitating orgasm meditation—the slow stimulation of a woman’s clit with the fingers alone.

4. Self-stimulation rocks! Did you know that self-sexy-TLC is the easiest way for most women to climax? It’s also a beautiful way to learn more about your body and connect more deeply with your partner, if you have one. I’m also a big fan of couple masturbation. Sharing in each other’s pleasure side-by-side or face-to-face without going pelvis-to-pelvis can be hot on multiple levels.

5. Some women climax through breath or thoughts alone. If a sexy dream has ever sent you over the edge physically, you’ve done so. You can also experience breath-gasms through tantric exercises, as I explored with Dawn Beck on Girl Boner® Radio this week.

6. Our attitudes count. Women who embrace their bodies and sexuality tend to have more frequent and stronger orgasms. This is one reason so many of us experiences greater intensity and fulfillment in the bedroom as we age. (Yes, that we peak in our 30s is a myth.)

7. It’s okay to desire or experience them more than your guy. As Dr. Megan said on my show recently, guys shouldn’t be expected to be superheroes in the bedroom. Similarly, we gals shouldn’t criticize ourselves if we desire sex more than our partner.

To learn more about females having higher sex drive, check out my latest column for The Good Men Project: When You Want Sex More Than He Does – What’s a Girl to Do?

8. There’s no right or best way to have one. Whether you climax frequently or some of the time, namely on the outside of your gorgeous body or deeper within, engage your G-spot or not or reach orgasm quickly or over time, you’re a-okay in that department. Our orgasms are as unique as we are, and 1000% embraceable.

**Another fab way to celebrate! Click the Good Vibrations ad in my sidebar and purchase a sexy product or two. A portion of your purchase will go to all-things-Girl Boner. Thanks so much for any support.

Which fact struck you most? What’s your favorite thing about she-gasms? How will you celebrate this glorious day?

#GirlBoner Science: Highlights From My Orgasm MRI

“Biology gives you a brain. Life turns it into a mind.” ― Jeffrey Eugenides

When I first learned that a journalist had participated in orgasm research, bringing herself to climax in an MRI scanner, I thought, Awesome! Great for her! I also wondered, Why not me? I got over my envy, but never lost my admiration. I pictured myself on a hospital bed, wires hooking my head to machinery, having a good ol’ time in the name of sexual science—a modern-day Masters of Sex experiment, with extremely scrumptious perks, and the chance to see my most important organ doing some of its most important work. Something vital was missing from that daydream, I would learn: the actual MRI machine, which changed just about everything…

"Uh… You want me to do what?"

“Uh… You want me to do what?”

Last Friday, after emceeing North America’s 2nd Annual World Sexual Health Day celebration in New York City on Thursday (an awesome experience I’ll share more about soon!), my sexuality/research fetishist dream came true! I headed to Rutgers University to participate in the orgasm study I’d read about. Led by brilliant researchers Barry Komasurak, PhD acnd Nan Wise, PhD, the study aims to recognize how different areas of the brain are affected during arousal, sensual and non-sensual thoughts, genital and non-genital touch and—assuming I could get there—orgasm.

In the days leading up to the procedure, I learned that my notions of sexy-play on a bed with movable wires were far off and questioned my ability to contribute fully, IYKWIM. I would be asked to self-stimulate on my back, a position I never use for solo sex, in a cramped space many folks find claustrophobic, lying as still as possible with my head secured down in a custom-made brace that’s so snug, I could barely speak.

Here I am, in all of my human colander glory:

And yes, I got to keep it!

And yes, I got to keep it!

As un-sexy as all of that looks or sounds, I ended up finding the experience enlightening and profoundly beautiful. Cozied into the small space full of loud mechanical noise some have compared to gunshots while a crew of scientists sat opposite a large window, a sense of intimacy, challenge, femininity, excitement and exploration set in. I was part of a team, and there was no pressure to do anything other than my best, given the circumstances. If I felt uncomfortable at any time, in fact, I could hit an emergency button and come shooting back out. (Bizarre pun not intended!)

Whew! No tumors!

Whew! No tumors! #NeuroSelfie

Once in the machine, which was remarkably comfortable, it tracked my brain activity and eye movements, capturing countless images, which will be processed to determine which brain areas ignited and to what extent. For each of my two sessions, the screen above me prompted me to rest, contemplate various scenarios, touch various body parts or stimulate myself to climax.

Every so often, I took moments to relish the fact that I was participating in landmark sexuality research and an experience I’d only dreamed of. And while I surprised myself by climaxing—twice and a little too quickly, apparently—I was even more surprised that those moments weren’t the most luscious of the event.

I gained appreciation for aspects of my body and sexuality I hadn’t much considered, such as the value of intentional, sensual mindfulness as foreplay and how my body reacts to clitoral stimulation alone. Fantasizing, it turns out, may be the most powerful turn-on of all (followed closely by nipple stimulation), non-sexy thoughts, such as pondering the speculum used for vaginal exams, are a major buzzkill, and women, including me, can orgasm without fully realizing it. (What?!?)

Team O!

Team O!

I’m happy to say that the while the marks the mask left lingered only temporarily, the memories and lessons derived from my MRI experience will last a lifetime—assuming my brain remains as healthy as my neuro-selfie suggests.  *knocks on laptop*

For more on my MRI-gasm experience, tune in to:

 Girl Boner Radio: Brain Turn-Ons and Orgasm Myths

The episode also features a chat on orgasms with adult star turned comedian, Alia Janine, and an interview with Dr. Barry R. Komisaruk, the professor and researcher who led the fMRI study. I’m also writing about my experience for an upcoming issue of Indie Chicks magazine.

Would you leap at the chance to have an orgasm in an MRI scanner? What other study would you like to participate in? Any thoughts or questions on my experience? If you listened to my latest show, what did you think of Alia and Dr. Komisaruk’s insight? I love hearing from you! ♥

10 Common Fetishes and My Chat with Sexy Superstar Gia Nova

fe·tish noun \ˈfe-tish also ˈfē-\

: a strong and unusual need or desire for something

: a need or desire for an object, body part or activity for sexual excitement

Miriam-Webster

Why is it that when I first think of the word fetish, my brain conjures an image of a creepy dude enthusiastically sucking (read drooling all over) a woman’s bare heel? Hmm….

[Stock photo deleted. You’re welcome!]

You don’t have to answer that. 😉 Lucky for us non-foot-suck fans, no offense to you who are, there’s so much more to fetishes! Based on the above definitions, we all have fetishes. Healthfully celebrating them is an awesome thing. Why? Because excitement makes us happy. Happy people have more sex. Consensual sex increases happiness. In other words, the more excitement we seek out in our lives, the more gratifying our whole darn lives will be.

10 Common Fetishes

1. TRICHOPHILIA: being aroused by hair

Body hair can be seriously hot, if you’re a trichophilac. While this passion may only involve hair on someone’s head, genital, chest and even arm or leg hair can also entice.

2. AUTOANDROPHILIA: when a woman who identifies as female, imagining herself as a male for arousal

Who doesn’t love a little role-play daydreaming now and then? Wearing or evening imagining wearing a strap-on can be HOT. The male equivalent, imagining himself as female, is known as authogynephilia.

3. VOYEURISM: getting turned on by seeing others having sex

Unless you’re asexual, I hope you relate! Research shows that women are sexually stimulated by a broad range of sexual imagery, including heterosexual, homosexual and even animal sex, whereas straight men tend to be namely turned on by straight women. So basically, we’re turned on by ALL sex. It’s important to let ourselves feel aroused, however; too often, a woman’s body is turned on, but her thoughts and feelings—such as shame or anxiety—put up barriers. This also works the other way—arousal from being or imagining being watched during sex. (Yum.)

4. SADISM: experiencing or inflicting pain on another for sexual pleasure

I don’t personally relate to pain as a turn-on, but it’s super common, healthy and normal. As long as you aren’t causing injury and whatever you do is consensual, BDSM (bondage, discipline, domination, submission, sadism and masochism) can enhance sexual intimacy and pleasure. If you do engage, Laura Berman, PhD recommends having a “safe word,” which either partner can state to end whatever’s happening if it grows uncomfortable.

Spank ecard

5. PYGOPHILIA: a sexual passion for butts

Are you a “butt person?” Apparently many folks are, deriving huge arousal perks from rear ends. And we’re not just talking looking at or grabbing them. Many women enjoy inserting toys or fingers in a partner’s anus or having the same done for them. If you’d like to experiment with this, I have one word: MOISTURE. Diving in without lube, natural or commercial, can be pretty uncomfortable for the, er, pokee.

6. STIGMATOPHILIA: an  intense attraction to piercings and tattoos

A 2012 Harris Poll showed that of the 2,016 adults in the U.S. surveyed, 21 percent had a tattoo and about one-third said the skin art made them feel more attractive and strong. If piercings and tattoos make you feel or consider a partner sexier, both can be major turn-ons.

7. MAZOPHILIA: sexual interest in breasts

Yep! Women, regardless of sexual orientation, find breasts enticing—probably partly because our own are so erogenous. Contrary to popular belief, breast size usually doesn’t matter, unless the only breasts you look at or think about during arousal and orgasm are a particular size.

8. METROPHILIA: being sexually aroused by poetry

If reading or hearing poetry melts you into a puddle of SIGH… there’s a good chance you’re turned on. Talk about romantic foreplay! If this little diddy turns you on, it may be more of a cheesy humor fetish.

penis poem

 

You’re welcome to nab and share this “poetic” gem image on Facebook—just be sure to tag the Girl Boner page: Facebook.com/MyGirlBoner. 🙂

9. PODOPHILIA: foot fetishism

Okay, so my initial thought about foot-sucking wasn’t far-fetched. While this one is more commonly claimed by men, many Girl Boner’s are tickled by well-kept feet, foot stimulation and foot massage. Some podophiliacs are also attracted to foot odor and taste.

10. UNDERWEAR FETISHISM: sexual attraction to observing or handling underwear

This fetish goes beyond the fun of wearing or seeing sexy lingerie. If you have this fetish, you enjoy watching another dressing or undressing from their skivvies or the touch and feel of sexy undergarments. Seems pretty common, right? If you’re not comfy bearing it all, check out How to Feel Sexier Naked for useful tips!

To learn more about fetishes and hear my chat with Gia Nova, a celebrated burlesque and fetish performer who not only dances with fire (literally), but designs her own costumes., visit this link on iTunes:

Common Fetishes and Sexy Dancer Gia Nova on Girl Boner Radio

Gia and I talked about her path from a curious but shy young woman to a feature dancer who’s appeared in world-popular publications, including Hustler, Playboy and Penthouse, what her glamorous performances are like behind the scenes, tips for stepping into the BDSM world, if you’re so inclined, and more. I could’ve gabbed with her for hours!

FetishCon Gia Nova

You can also tune in via Global Voice Broadcasting or Stitcher Radio. If you’ve subscribed, you’ll also receive today’s episode in which I explore whether sex work should be legalized with renowned sociologist, Dr. Chauntelle Tibbals!

What’s your favorite fetish? Or the oddest one you’ve encountered? Any sex-tastic questions you’d like answered on the air? I love hearing from you! ♥

Hot and Hungry: 6 Signs of Female Sexual Arousal

“Arousal begins within the mind, then seeps out where fantasy propels physicality.”  — Kristie LeVangie

Do you remember the first time you were sexually turned on? I don’t. But I do recall when my internal crush-struck butterflies began flapping their wings during grade school and boys stimulated more giddy perspiration than disgust. Then something foggy and confusing known as adolescence happened. (Hmm…) During high school, I remember feeling insanely turned on by my first serious boyfriend. Even when the relationship became sexual, I had little clue about the specifics of what I was feeling. The unquestionable mix of curiosity, intrigue and supercharged hormones, I quickly called love.

To learn much more about female sexual arousal, listen to August on Girl Boner® Radio!

Girl Boner Sexual Arousal August McLaughlin

Giddy butterflies + whoppers of orgasms = BLISS!

Confusing lust or general horniness for emotional connect and love are mistakes many of us make early on. How can we differentiate when most of us scarcely understand our sexuality at all? Add the facts that female sexual arousal is less straightforward and varied than men’s, discussion of personal sexuality remains fairly taboo and female sexuality wasn’t even studied until fairly recently and its mysterious is, well, no mystery.

Even with the aforementioned odds stacked against us, maturity and experience often bring clarity. (Thank  flipping’ goodness!) We ideally learn much about our bodies and their supreme abilities to be turned on and experience mind-blowing, gratifying pleasure. We learn what stokes our frisky fires and puts them out and hopefully share wondrous sexual intimacy not only with ourselves, but with trusted partners. Love and lust need not always pair up, but it’s pretty dang wondrous when they do!

While different strokes (scrumptious pun!) work for different folks and we all display arousal* a bit differently, here are some common ways it shows.

*Some women aren’t fully aware of their arousal, particularly if haven’t learned to fully embrace their sexuality. If you’re one of them, please check out Sexual Confidence: How to Feel Sexier Naked and Solo Sex and Body Image for some tips and inspiration!

6 Signs of Girl Boner Giddiness (i.e., We’re Turned On!)

1. We start fantasizing. You know what I’m talking about ladies! You’re sitting across the dinner table from your beloved and suddenly he isn’t wearing a sweater and chomping on pizza, but naked and licking his sexy lips. No, YOUR sexy lips. Yum! You really, really want some…

2. We have wanton eyes. There’s a reason Hungry Eyes is among the most sexually arousing tunes, according to a Spotify study. Our fantasies and wants can’t help but show in our eyes—for some of us more than others. If a lover locks eyes with us meanwhile, we’ll want him or her even more. Our pupils may dilate as our Girl Boners grow.

3. We use want-filled words. Depending on our comfort level and personality type, we may use words to subtly or overtly essentially say I WANT SEX! If there’s any confusion about your arousal level, talking is arguably the most powerful tool for clarification. Make sure to keep your words positive when communicating arousal to your partner. “I’d love to see you naked right now” will work much better than a frustrated, “Can you not tell that I’m turned on?!?

Girl Boner arousal woman

4. We reach out and touch. This one also varies with personality, a topic I’ll likely explore here soon. Regardless, touch is a  powerful, natural and nearly involuntary way to express sexual desire. Touching a partner in intimate places—areas not often touched by others, such as the inner thigh, or even touching his hand or cheek often shows turn-on. If we venture into the crotch area—NEON FLASHING LIGHTS! 😉

5. We arch our backs. (The mere thought makes me want to purr…) Many of us naturally arch our backs during arousal, which exaggerates particularly sensual body parts, such as our rears and breasts. It also creates a sort of “come hither” physique that can turn both parties on. This can all happen during foreplay, sex and even casual exchanges, such as chatting with your lover.

6. We lick our lips, blush, swell and moisten! As we discussed in Girl Boner Physiology: The Female Body Turned On, our bodies work all kinds of magic in the form of added wetness and swelling as we move from turned on to lovemaking and ooh-la-la orgasm. These shifts derive from increased blood flow to our sexual organs and the brain signaling us to prepare for kissing, cuddling, intercourse and so much more.

Girl Boner arousal woman

Hot, right? Simply talking about sex and sensuality can be a turn on—as it should be! If you haven’t started chit chatting with your partner about the ins and outs of your sexual relationship or explored your own sexual needs and wants fully, there is no time like the present. Start where you feel comfortable then take baby steps or larger leaps ahead as you’re ready, understanding that sexuality is a journey and an adventure that we should enjoy throughout our lives.

What’s our most obvious arousal sign? Have you observed your arousal state? (If not, I highly recommend it!) How do you and your partner communicate about arousal and whether to have sex? Any items to add or questions to share? I love hearing your respectful thoughts! 

10 Female Turn-Ons: Send Her #GirlBoner Reeling!

“Only the united beat of sex and heart together can create ecstasy.” — Anaïs Nin, Delta of Venus

Throughout history, female sexual desire has been misunderstood. We’ve been taught that women are less sexual than men for ages, and that evolution underlies men’s urge to “spread their seed” and women’s desire for fewer partners and less action. Recent large-scale studies have helped clear the air a bit, revealing that these and many other myths surrounding female sexuality are false. (Thank. The. Lord!)

turn a woman on

Why is female sex drive so enigmatic? Many reasons! Male sex drive is more linear than ours, for one thing, and the arousal signs, more obvious. And until recently, very few studies analyzed female sexuality; much of what we’ve been taught derives from age-old speculation and assumptions. Society also plays a major role, having long taught us that “good girls” are prudes, “bad girls,” sluts and men think with their penises, while the harsh beauty ideals promoted by the media and entertainment make it difficult to embrace our bodies sans cosmetic surgery or unhealthy weight loss. These forces affect both genders and all ages, but we aren’t powerless to them.

One bit of fabulous news: There are COUNTLESS female turn-ons! Most women are aroused by a broad range of influences, according to a growing body of research, and our Girl Boners are more excitable than many folks realize. Studies headed by Meredith Chivers, a highly regarded psychology professor and researcher at Queen’s University in Ontario, showed that while heterosexual women claim to only feel aroused by men, their physiological responses tell a different story. The vast majority of participants showed significant arousal (wet, swollen vaginas, racing hearts racing, brain stimulation…*dreamy sigh*) in response EVERY visual stimuli they observed, including male and female bodies, heterosexual and homosexual sex and even animal sex, whereas straight men were only turned on by female imagery.

"How much do I want you, Julio? Let me count the ways…"

“How much do I want you, Julio? Let me count the ways…”

Granted, many other factors contribute to our arousal–in good and not-so-good ways. We may be easily turned on by limitless stimuli, but influences that make us feel less attractive, lovable or sexually confident can make us plummet from aroused to disinterested in little time.

So what’s a concerned partner to do? The fact that you’re reading this post suggests that you value your partner’s sexual satisfaction as well as your own. (Thank you!) We LOVE men here at Girl Boner Central, and numerous of you have inquired about this very topic. (Thanks for that, too!) While many of the following suggestions apply to both genders and individual preferences vary, male arousal tends to be a lot more straight forward than women’s. Gaining a bit of understanding might help you and your partner enjoy a more gratifying sex life.

10 Ways to Send Our Girl Boners Reeling!

1. Talk with us! For many women, emotional closeness functions as major foreplay, and little draws people closer than open communication. Share your feelings and inquire about ours. Help us feel wanted and trusted by opening your heart. (Believe it or not, we find your sensitivity extremely hot!) We want to feel desired and that you’re genuinely interested in who we are inside and out—which, of course, should be a two-way street.

2. Look us in the eye. St. Augustine called the eyes “the windows to the soul.” If you’ve gazed into your lover’s eyes for any length of time, you understand why. Locking eyes with a partner makes us feel vulnerable in a beautiful way, promoting a sense of trust, desire and intimacy. Gaze aversion, on the other hand, is associated with shame, embarrassment and shunned intimacy, says psychologist, Aaron Ben-Zeév, PhD. If eye-lock feels unnatural, grasp her hand and say something like, “I just want to look in your beautiful eyes for a minute.” There’s a good chance she’ll melt.

3. Touch us where it counts! In a Women’s Health survey that asked women to list their top turn-ons, “when he touches my thigh” was a common response. “Certain parts of your body, like your inner thigh, are impossible to touch by accident,” Dr. Scott Haltzman, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Brown University, told the magazine. “When you’re close enough emotionally to someone to allow him into that space, it’s very arousing and reflects the trust you have in each other.” So when you’re sitting in a restaurant, touching her inner thigh below the table can be extremely hot. (And gals—why not guide his hand there?)

4. Embrace PDA. Couples who show each other affection in public tend to have closer-knit relations at home, including in the bedroom. Kissing, hugging and walking hand-in-hand in public instill a sense of trust; we know that you’re not only delighted to be with us, but to let the world know about it. If you and your partner have different comfort levels regarding PDA, aim for a happy medium. Easing in through baby steps (holding her hand more often, for example) is a safer bet than leaping uncomfortably in.

5. Play romantic tunes. If you’ve been following along in Girl Boner land, you know that music is a major turn on. In a study conducted by Spotify, participants—a mix of men and women—were 40 percent more likely to be sexually aroused by music than touch. (That doesn’t mean don’t touch us, of course! How ’bout both?) Music is also a helpful way of concealing sex sounds, which is a libido-reducing concern for some. Playing music she adores or that you find particularly romantic also shows thoughtfulness.

6. Don’t fixate on your body—but do accept it. Men who don’t obsess over their appearance are the most likely to tantalize women, says relationship coach Yangki Christine. Accepting your body as-is shows us that you’re secure enough to value what’s on the inside most. If you struggle with poor body image, do some internal work. Try to reverse those negative thoughts, avoiding damaging influences such as porn, dieting and compulsive workouts. If your partner struggles with similar issues, work through them together.

7. Lubricate our lips! (Yes, those ones!) Just pondering that phrase is enough to tickle one’s Girl Boner… 🙂 Wetness, whether from your mouths or a commercial lubricant, can make sex more sensual and fun for both partners. Lubrication also helps minimize arousal and libido problems associated with hormonal shifts, dry skin, menopause and depression. Take your time and apply it to your penis, her vagina or both, paying special attention to her clitoris.

8. Caress the clit. As you may know, the clitoris is a primary pleasure area for women, and most us climax through clitoral stimulation. To give her clit proper attention, make sure you know where it is and how she prefers to be touched. If you’re not sure of either, see number 1. 😉 Your gal might prefer rapid touch, sucking, pressure or a combination of the three. For more on the topic, check out: The Highly Sensitive Clitoris.

9. Help ease our stress. Stress is a top libido tanker for everyone, but particularly for women. Sex can actually help minimize stress, but not if we don’t arrive there in the first place! To reduce stress and increase arousal for your partner, incorporate relaxation into your dates. Book a couple’s massage or surprise her with an intimate dinner and sudsy bubble bath. If her plate is overloaded with work or family responsibilities, seek ways to help ease her load. If you’re both stressed, strategize solutions together.  (Heck. Do so naked!)

10. Cultivate sexual variety. One of the most intriguing and pronounced findings from recent research shows that women are more likely to tire of sexual monogamy than men. That doesn’t mean we need multiple or perpetually new partners, however. To keep the sexual synergy and excitement alive, take steps to increase variety in your sex life, such as incorporating new positions, sex toys or locations. New experiences also help your brain release dopamine—the chemical responsible for new-love euphoria. Chances are you’ll both benefit big time.

As a final note, keep in mind that none of these tips should be viewed as a sort of give and take. In other words, don’t implement an exchange system: If I do _____, we’ll have/she’ll want sex. It’s healthier and more pleasurable for everyone if we all pay mind to each other’s wants and needs within a relationship, increasing intimacy and creating a loving environment in which sexual experiences flow naturally. Choose actions that feel most sincere and that need not end with a specific act, then enjoy what’s bound to be a pleasurable ride.

What turns you on most, ladies? What do you do to turn your partner on, guys? Which items struck you most? I always love hearing your thoughts. 

10 Body Image Boosters for Satisfying Sex

Based on research, who do you think is most likely to have a gratifying sex life?

Amy: a slightly overweight American

Beatrice: a lithe Brazilian supermodel

Cassandra: a post-menopausal American with saggy breasts and cellulite

Deirdre: a post-menopausal Parisian with saggy breasts and cellulite

Erica: a healthy mid-30s American of average build

Fannie: a Vegas stripper

I’ll start with the wrong answers. For Amy, like more than 50% of adults, self-perceived unattractiveness distracts her in many facets of life, sexuality included. Beatrice, like many models, is anorexic—a condition that starves the body not only of nourishment, but sexual function and libido. Cassandra deems her aging body un-sexy, therefore non-sexual, and may be experiencing unaddressed hormonal imbalances that worsen matters. Erica sees more flaws than fabulousness in her body, holding herself up to ideals of pop culture and weight-fixated friends. So while she may desire sex, insecurity often minimizes or prevents her pleasure. Fannie has lost sight of what sexual intimacy truly is, and likely suffers complications derived from sexual trauma in her youth.

Before we all start mixing valium with vodka or punching walls, meet Deirdre. Older French women’s confidence, sexual beliefs and cultural philosophies regarding beauty and aging make Deirdre deLight the clear winner, suggests research.

Va va va VOOM.

Viva la VOOM!

In France, women consider themselves sexy as they age, says John H. Gagnon, PhD. A study he headed showed that French women, including those with sagging parts, continue to have sex routinely after age 50, significantly more than American women.

I certainly found this to be true. When I moved to Paris during my modeling days, I expected photographers and clients to impart more physique-related pressure than I’d experienced in Manhattan. At my first shoot, the photographer said, “Stick your belly out. I want you to look more natural.” Unfortunately, it was too late for me to look natural or embrace the French notions of embracing one’s self more so than Western culture encourages. But I’ve never forgotten that.

It would be easy to fill this post with reasons we tend to feel insecure about our bodies–a primary reason female sexual pleasure and desire dwindle. Research in the U.S. has shown that women’s body dissatisfaction has more than doubled since the 1970s, according to Katharine Phillips, MD, director of the Body Image Program at Butler Hospital. From the $40-plus billion dieting industry to the media’s unrealistic portrayal of beauty, the contributing factors are as innumerable as they are severe.

Here at Girl Boner Central, we prefer to focus on the positives. Why? Because there are plenty to be had. Confidence is one of the biggest, most valuable turn-ons for women and men, and it’s more attainable than you might think. While the notion seems sweet, we need not move to Paree

10 Realistic Ways to Feel Better About Our Bodies (And Savor the Satisfying Sex Lives We Deserve)

1. Focus on Pleasure. We all have gas pedals (things that entice us) and brakes (things that trigger inhibition), according to the dual control model of sexual response. The feel of your partner’s arms around you or the smell of his cologne could push your gas pedal, for example, while pondering recent weight gain or an acne flareup might activate the breaks. “By being mindful and learning to enjoy the way your body responds to touch,” writes sex educator Emily Nagoski, “you can train your ‘brakes’ to ignore body image and other thoughts that can impede sexual arousal and orgasm.” In other words, focus on what excites you.

2. Know that he probably loves your breasts. Research shows that up to 70 percent of women worry about breast size. Research also shows that while men indeed love breasts, they tend to most enjoy their partners’ most, regardless of size. Women often assume that bigger and perkier are better. “This tells us that a lot of people are worrying about their appearance for no good reason,” says Justin Lehmiller, a Harvard University social psychologist and sex columnist. (The same applies to men; they tend to worry about penis size, while women seldom do.)

3. Masturbate regularly. Sexual pleasure and orgasm are powerful stress reducers, and poor body image can be a mega stressor. Masturbation allows us to experience sensual pleasure without fear of others’ judgment or watchful eyes. It also increases sexual confidence by allowing us to learn more about our bodies and what makes us tick. Watching ourselves self-stimulate can be powerful, particularly if we learn to embrace what we see in the mirror.

4. Exercise regularly. We don’t need to be triathletes, but the Mayo Clinic recommends routine cardiovascular and strength-training activity for boosted body confidence and sex drive. Focusing on what our bodies can do and the benefits of increased health, fitness and energy make way for all around improvements. Exercise also increases the metabolism and burns excess calories, staving off excess pounds that often fuel insecurity.

5. Steer clear of toxins. I’m not talking about nicotine or air pollutants—though those won’t help either. Airbrushed magazine images, fad diets and relationships with people who judge us by our appearance or fixate on their own are proven body image zappers. Surround yourself with uplifting books, magazines and television. Aim for a balanced diet, based on whole foods, and choose your friends wisely.

6. Address underlying issues. Poor body image often derives from issues more significant than our waist size, breast shape or skin tone. Looking inward, making efforts to address life dissatisfaction and seeking professional help when necessary can go a long way toward resolving underlying causes. The more we stifle them, the more damaging they’re likely to become.

7. Respect your insecurities, and change gradually. If only we could click our heels together and POOF!—no more problems. (Even Dorothy had to work for improvements.) Small, gradual efforts add up over time, and every one counts. Amy Levine, sex coach and Ignite Your Pleasure founder, recommends wearing lingerie that covers body parts of concern at the start of sexual play, then gradually removing it as our comfort increases. The same can be done with lighting, going from dark to dim.

8. Communicate. Talking to our partners about how we feel about our bodies can provide perspective and enhance intimacy. In many cases, our partners aren’t concerned about our bodies the same way we are. They may also have insecurities of their own. If they love and respect you, they’ll do what they can to support you and your growth.

9. Try something new! It’s easy to get so wrapped up in our insecurities that adventurousness falls to the wayside. Exploring new sexual experiences, such as new sexual positions, pleasure toys, background music and role playing, however, can distract us from body angst, rev our sexual engines and provide a sense of empowerment. Need some ideas? Check out Cosmo‘s 31 Ways to Spice Up Your Sex Life.

10. Crank the tunes. No, that isn’t bizarre sexual slang—that I know of. A study commissioned by Spotify found that 40% of people value music over their partner’s physique when it comes to sexual arousal. Create playlists for your varied sexual moods then get the party started.

How do you keep body insecurities from hindering your sex life? Which of these tips appeal most to you? What songs make your GB-turn on list? I love hearing from you, and welcome all respectful thoughts.

As a reminder, signups for the Beauty of a Woman BlogFest II have begun! I hope to see many of you there.