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Ben Wa Balls, Pleasure Balls, Kegel Eggs..What’s the Difference?

The popular book trilogy, 50 Shades of Grey, included a mention of some wearable balls (named Ben Wa Balls in the book) that apparently caused great pleasure to the woman wearing them. Whether you’ve been reading erotica that mentions Ben Wa Balls, looking for something fun to wear when you are out and about, or wondering how you can strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, read on! If you’re still not sure what to choose, just ask–we’re always happy to answer questions. 

Ben Wa Balls

Ben Wa Balls are pairs of metal balls about the size of a marble (usually 1″ wide or smaller). Women can wear them in the vagina to add pleasure to basic activities, or for extra sensation during intercourse. However, the size of the balls means they are likely to slip out, or cause the wearer to clench her pelvic floor muscles uncomfortably to keep them in. For this reason, they are not effective tools for Kegel exercises, nor are they comfortable to wear as toys for prolonged arousal. A Woman’s Touch chooses not to carry Ben Wa Balls for these reasons; we recommend trying a set of Pleasure Balls or a Kegel Exercise egg instead. 

Pleasure Balls

Also called sensation balls, motion balls, love balls, or duotone balls, these come in a variety of styles, colors, and textures. The two connected balls are wider than Ben Wa Balls (usually 1 1/2″ or so in width), and each has an inner weighted ball that moves inside the casing. They are coated in non-porous silicone and/or plastic, and have a small cord for easy removal. For women who can enjoy penetration by two fingers, the balls should be a comfortable size and weight to wear during active pursuits (dancing, doing chores, etc.). A person should not have to clench her pelvic floor muscles to keep them in; doing so will strain the muscles. This toy is too large to be worn during intercourse and is not designed to assist with Kegel exercises. To browse the styles we offer, look to the right of this article.

Kegel Exercise Egg

Designed specifically to help a woman strengthen her pelvic floor muscles, the Kegel Egg is a smooth, weighted exercise tool with an attached cord. The Egg is wider (1 1/2″ – 1 3/4″ wide) and heavier than Pleasure Balls or Ben Wa Balls, so it tones muscles by providing biofeedback and weight resistance. The Stone Egg is made of smooth, natural stone to create minimal friction against the vaginal skin. It is not recommended to wear this item as a pleasure toy during motion-based activities, since it is quite heavy.

Combination Kegel & Pleasure Balls

A combination set is a versatile product you can use as a toy for pleasure one moment, and a Kegel exercise tool the next. It comes with a few smooth balls of various weights, a stretchy holder for one ball, and a stretchy holder for two balls. Strengthen your muscles by working from the lightest ball to the heaviest in the single ball holder; or, use the two lighter balls in the double ball holder, insert them into your vagina, and go out dancing! See the Velvet Kegel/Pleasure Balls to the right for the set that we carry that functions this way.

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How to choose Condoms and Barriers

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Condoms and other barriers (such as gloves and dams) allow people to explore their sexuality more safely. If you’ve decided to be sexual with someone else, then choosing the right barriers for your sexual play makes sense. Barriers don’t make you have sex—your choices do that. Barriers simply help you to protect your health if you pursue sexual activities with other people.

Barriers help prevent infections. Common infections include curable ones like Chlamydia (clah-MID-de-yah) and Gonorrhea (gahn-oh-REE-yah), as well as incurable ones like Herpes and HPV (Human Papillomavirus). Using barriers consistently and correctly reduces transmission of these infections. Barriers allow you to feel everything, but prevent direct skin-to-skin contact with secretions that harbor infectious agents.

Worrying about whether you should have used a barrier can ruin an otherwise excellent sexual experience. Increase your sexual pleasure by protecting yourself from the start.

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How to Choose Anal Toys & beginning anal play

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All of us have sensitive nerve endings around the anus and rectum that can produce as much enjoyable stimulation as other erogenous zones. In fact, stimulation of the anus at the time of orgasm often results in a more intense orgasm. With lubricant and good communication, anal play can be very pleasurable. We recommend two books on the subject of anal eroticism, whether you’re just starting out or want to explore further:

*Anal Pleasure & Health by Jack Morin

*The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women by Tristan Taormino

Both books include comprehensive information about anatomy, safety, and pleasure.

For everyone exploring anal eroticism, please keep in mind a few simple guidelines:

Anatomy

Before beginning, it’s helpful to understand the anatomy of the area to be explored. On the pictures above, locate the anus, sphincter muscles, and rectum. The anus is the opening on the outside of the body; it is comprised of sensitive, puckered skin that may be a different color than the surrounding skin, and is often covered with hair (unless you remove it).

Just inside the anus is the anal canal, an area about 1-2 inches long that leads to the rectum. Surrounding the anal canal are 2 sets of muscles—the sphincter muscles—that protect the opening to the rectum, and can relax and flex when you are aroused. One set of these muscles is under your conscious control, meaning that you can actively relax it, while the other is not under your conscious control, meaning that you can’t make it relax on its own. This is why taking your time to massage the anus to relax these muscles is important (see next section).

Past the anal canal is the rectum, which is about 8-9 inches long, and is curved. The lower part curves towards the front of your body, and about 3 inches in, it curves back towards your spine. The rectum is less sensitive than the anus and anal canal; however, pressing forward on the front wall of the rectum (towards the belly button) can stimulate the prostate in men, and the T-Zone and G-Spot area in women, which are sensitive areas for many people. There is also a sensitive cluster of nerves (the pelvic plexus, in bold on both diagrams) that can be stimulated through the rectum.

For those concerned about cleanliness, keep in mind that fecal matter is stored in the colon, which is above the rectum, and only passes into the rectum when you are ready to have a bowel movement. If you have regular bowel movements and a healthy diet, you will most likely not encounter fecal matter during anal play. However, it is still a good idea to use barriers such as gloves, dams, and condoms to protect yourself from contacting bacteria in the rectum. It is not necessary to have an enema before engaging in anal play.

Take your time, massage, and relax

The sphincter muscles that surround the anal opening can get hurt when you’re tense, so a good way to start anal play is by massaging and relaxing the anal sphincters and other muscles in the anal region. Some people enjoy external anal massage by itself and do not want to be penetrated, and that’s just fine. For others, this massage is a great warm up to penetration with fingers, toys, or a partner’s penis.

Add plenty of lubricant

When considering anal penetration, keep in mind that the anus and rectum do not produce their own lubrication, so add lots of lube to your play. We recommend a thick, cushioning lube such as Sliquid Organics Gel (Purple) or Sliquid Organics Oceanics (Brown) or Slippery Stuff. These lubes will hold on to moisture and maintain slipperiness over time. Don’t use a desensitizing gel or cream—they block painful sensations that tell you if you’re hurting your partner or yourself (for more information, see our Lubricant brochure).

Hands are more responsive and sensitive than toys, so we recommend you start by massaging with your fingers. We recommend covering your hands with latex or polyurethane gloves, and beginning your exploration with one finger. Apply plenty of lubricant to your gloved fingers and to the outside of the anus. Latex/polyurethane and lubricant combine to provide a very slick surface that makes massage and penetration more comfortable. Plus, your hands are protected from contact with bacteria that could enter the bloodstream if you have any cuts.

Communicate, and stop if it hurts

Anal eroticism is for pleasure. Pain could mean that you’re damaging tissue. Massaging the anal muscles will take time, and you will notice that they will sometimes tense and relax, then tense and relax again. This process of gradual relaxation is normal, and there is no need to rush it. Enter the anus only when the sphincter is relaxed and opens up. Let the person being penetrated guide the depth and timing. You should hear (or say) “yes,” “no,” “I like that,” “I don’t like that” often.

Only use toys with flared bases

Toys without flared bases can get lost in the colon, which is a serious medical emergency that requires a trip to the emergency room and possibly surgery. Make sure any toy you use anally has a flared base! Consider your toy’s length and shape. Keep in mind that the rectum curves 3-5 inches in from the opening, so consider a shorter toy or one flexible enough to bend around that curve.

Cleanliness is next to…

If you use a toy for anal play, we recommend toys made of non-porous, easy-to-clean materials like silicone, hard plastic, glass, lucite, or metal. All of these can be adequately cleaned with warm, soapy water. If you choose to share your anal toy, or to use it both vaginally and anally, cover it with a condom (if your toy is silicone, make sure it’s an unlubricated condom). Don’t move toys (or anything else) from the anus to the vagina without thorough cleaning or a new condom, or a vaginal infection could result.

How to Choose an Anal Toy

1. Do you want something to be inserted and left in place for a sense of fullness?

Anal plugs, such as Petunia, Pure Joy and Moon Plug, are designed to be inserted and left inside to produce the sensation of “filling.” They can be worn during sex play, or even during everyday activities to heighten arousal. They can intensify orgasms, since the same muscles that contract during orgasm also extend around the anus and contract around the plug. Many plugs are pear shaped, with a narrow neck before the flared base. The narrow neck helps keep the toy in place because the sphincter naturally closes around it and holds it in.

Plugs are made of different materials, including silicone, glass, and stainless steel. Silicone is flexible and soft, and warms to body temperature quickly. Stainless steel is smooth and has significant weight to it, which creates unique sensations. Glass is smooth and firm but lighter than stainless steel.

Anal beads and “bubbly” toys, like Ripple and Felicity, offer a variety of sensations by being inserted for the filling sensation, then removed just before or during orgasm to intensify the orgasm. They create more sensation than a smooth-shaped plug because the sphincter muscles will expand and contract around each bead or bubble as they are inserted or removed. If you want to see whether or not you enjoy this sensation, consider our one-time-use Disposable Anal Beads.

2. Do you want something to thrust in and out of the anus?

If you enjoy thrusting, consider a smooth-surfaced dildo with a flared base and no taper before the base, so that you don’t damage the sphincter during thrusting. Isadora 1, 2 and 3 and Mistress are good choices. The dildo could be hand-held, or it could be used in a harness worn by a partner or strapped around a chair or pillow. For more information, see our How to Choose a Dildo and How to Choose a Harness brochures.

3. How wide should your toy be?

Anal plugs and dildos are available in a range of sizes, from about one finger’s width to the size of a fist. To choose the right width, figure out how many fingers you’re comfortable being penetrated with when you’re fully aroused, and get a toy that’s about that same width. Keep in mind that something that looks small can feel quite large to your anus.

4. Do you want something that vibrates?

Many people like the extra stimulation of vibration. Some anal plugs vibrate, and some vibrators, like Pierre and Phoebe, have flared bases so they can be used anally. Also, silicone transmits vibrations very well, so another nice way to add vibration to your anal play is to hold a vibrator to the base of a silicone toy.

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How to Choose a Lubricant

Download a free PDF version of this brochure

Lubricants increase pleasure. Your genital skin is very sensitive. It cradles the nerve endings that allow you to experience touch and other sensations. And although skin is strong, it can be harmed by vigorous rubbing. Sexual intimacy usually includes friction, and often the body doesn’t have enough wetness or protection to last for an entire intimate episode. Lubricant can make sexual experiences more slippery, cushion-y, comfy, tasty and pleasurable.

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What’s good for body massage AND safe to use as a sexual lubricant?

I like to give my partner whole-body massages, and they sometimes lead to intercourse. I know oils don’t make good sexual lubricants (and that they can make holes in condoms). Are there any products I can use for massage and for sexual intercourse?


It’s a dilemma. We don’t recommend using massage oil on the genitals, particularly not on the vulva and in the vagina, since the vaginal tissues can’t clear oils quickly, and some women can get yeast infections from oils or experience irritation from the essential oils that scent massage products. And unfortunately, most sexual lubricants don’t work very well as massage “oils”.

When looking for something that can be used for body massage and genital massage/sex play, you’ll want to avoid anything that contains glycerin since these products will get sticky. Non-glycerin, water-based lubricants are perfectly safe to use for massage and for sexual activities, but tend to dry out faster than you might like for massage.

We’ve heard from several customers that the silicone-based lubricants (UberLube and FeMani Smooth) can work well both as massage products and sexual lubricants. Because they don’t contain any water they won’t dry out, and because they don’t contain any glycerin they won’t get sticky. They’re genital-safe won’t make holes in latex barriers like condoms, and provide a slippery surface for massage.

The one downside to using silicone lubricants for all-body massage is that they have to be washed off, since they won’t soak in on their own. Nonetheless, they’re the best thing we’ve found that’s safe and effective for massage and for sexual activities.

We usually recommend that you use a good-quality light oil for body massage, then wash your hands (or at least wipe them off if you’re using an unscented oil) and switch to a sexual lubricant for female genital massage and penetrative sex play. But if that won’t work for you, try silicone lube plus a sexy shower afterward for an uninterrupted whole-body experience.

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How to choose a Packing Dildo

What is packing?

Packing refers to using a dildo or other object to create a penis-like bulge in the pants. Special soft dildos (called packing dildos or “packers”) can be purchased for this purpose. Some people use socks or homemade packing dildos (often consisting of condoms filled with hair gel) to create this effect.

Why would someone want to pack?

There are several reasons someone would choose to pack.

  • People who are transitioning from female to male bodies (often called FtM) may pack to complete their physical public appearance as a male before they have surgery, if they choose to do so.
  • Drag kings, or women who perform as men, use packing dildos to fill out their costume.
  • Any woman can use a packer to give the appearance of being male.

Depending on their situation, packing can allow a person to either become someone else or feel more like themselves.

Hard packing vs. Soft packing

Hard packing involves wearing a dildo that is firm enough to use for penetration. This can give your partner an indication of what you have planned for later, and let her or him know that you were thinking about sex before you even left the house. Hard packing tends to be a little less realistic-looking than soft packing, as (most) cis-men don’t walk around with an erection for an extended period of time.

Soft packing is wearing something that approximates the bulge created by a soft or semi-erect penis. The dildo or other object used in soft packing is not firm enough to use for penetration, so if penetrative sexual activities are on the menu for later, a dildo switch would have to be made.

How to choose a packing dildo
Things to consider

  1. Hard packing or soft?Soft packing tends to be more comfortable and realistic looking, but hard packing gives the added benefit of being able to engage in penetrative sexual activity without switching the dildo.
  2. Size considerations: Remember most men are “growers”, not “show-ers”. The average size of a non-erect penis is between 3 and 4 inches from tip to base. If you’re interested in realism and “passing” as a male-bodied person, choose something that is not overly large. On the other hand, if you’re packing for the purpose of a drag show, over-emphasis might be what you want.
  3. Material considerations: Soft Cyberskin packing dildos give a realistic bulge with a soft feel. Cyberskin is a fragile material, though, and will require a bit of extra care. Also, Cyberskin contains latex, so people with latex sensitivities should look for other options.Phil is made from a soft silicone material. It is designed to very closely mimic both the look and feel of a soft penis and testicles. This material is easy to clean, latex-free, and should last a long time.Soft plastic dildos fit somewhere between hard and soft packing. This dildo would work for careful penetration (no hard thrusting), and is also soft enough to give a more realistic look and feel through clothing.Many silicone dildos may create a bulge so large and firm that it would look unnatural. If you choose to use a dildo that’s not specifically designed for packing, you may need to experiment with different types of pants to see which gives you the look you want.

How to hold your packing dildo in place

Packing dildos need some help to stay in place. Some methods of keeping a packing dildo where you want it include making your own harness, wearing a store-bought harness, or using a special packing strap.

A homemade harness can be made by simply wearing men’s briefs or boxer briefs (boxers won’t work). You may need to reduce your size by one size, or wear several pairs to hold the packing dildo tightly enough.

If you’d rather buy a harness, you can choose either a regular dildo harness or a packing strap, which is specially designed to hold packing dildos.

Choosing a harness

When purchasing a regular dildo harness for the purpose of packing, look for one that has the least amount of material but will still hold your dildo firmly in place. Some to consider might be the Commando or Terra Firma.

Leather harnesses have the advantage of forming to your body and fitting like skin after several uses, making them very comfortable. Leather harnesses also tend to be pretty stable, so they can be easily used for penetrative sex play as well. The disadvantage of these harnesses is that they can be bulky (depending on which one you choose), and they may have straps, buckles, and snaps that can show through your clothing.

The Packing Strap is a specially designed pouch that comfortably holds Phil. It’s a basic leather pouch on an elastic waistband, and will comfortably hold your dildo right where it needs to be without any telltale snaps, buckles, or bulges (except the one you want, of course!).

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How to Choose Bondage Restraints

Using restraint during sex can be appealing for a variety of physical and emotional reasons. It can be as simple as holding your partner’s wrists down while you’re on top, or as complex as tying a full-body rope harness around him or her. It doesn’t have to be complicated, though, and there are plenty of simple and sexy ways to incorporate restraint into your play. Anybody can choose to play with restraint; you don’t have to be interested in power play or even know how to tie a single knot. If you are interested in incorporating power play into your use of restraints, however, we have resources that can help you with that as well.

Let’s start by talking about why anyone would want to use restraints during sex. Restraint is a form of sensation play because it affects your sense of proprioception, or your awareness of where all parts of your body are in relation to one another. Proprioception is the reason you know where your left foot is right now without touching it or looking at it. It’s also the reason we can walk, type, aim a bowling ball, or perform any motion without consciously thinking about it. It’s the reason that learning a new task, like driving a car, takes conscious effort at first but becomes “second nature” over time.

Like these other activities, sex requires you to use your body in specific ways that can take some getting used to. Once you do so, the movements of sex can feel like second nature just like driving a car or typing without looking at the keys. This is a good thing, because it means that you can enjoy yourself without thinking about whether you’re doing it “right.” However, unlike these other activities, sex is more enjoyable if you’re aware of everything your body is feeling. Once your body is comfortable with what it does during sex, you may not be as acutely aware of some sensations. This is where restraint comes in: it places your body in a different position and immobilizes a body part you’re used to moving. Your body is aware that something is different and will work to adjust to the change. Your brain thinks, “Hmm, THIS isn’t what I’m used to feeling, how very interesting!” Therefore, restraint introduces some new sensations and heightens others.

There are also emotional reasons that restraint can be enjoyable. If you are able-bodied, your arms and legs are usually available for you to use. When part of your body is restrained, it loses its ability to serve and protect you, which can make you feel vulnerable. Feeling vulnerable is not usually desirable, but it can be exciting when you’re feeling sexy with a trustworthy partner. You may instinctively feel a bit nervous due to your physical vulnerability, but because you know that your partner will make you feel good and not harm you, those feelings can be transformed into excitement and arousal. Also, you may be able to relax more fully knowing that you have permission simply to receive the pleasure your partner is happy to give you.

Restraints can also be visually appealing. Japanese rope bondage, for example, is a complex, aesthetic practice that involves the beauty of rope, the human body, and restraint. Simply seeing your partner or yourself wearing wrist cuffs can be a similarly delightful experience.

Now that you know more about why restraint can be fun, here are some things to consider when selecting the right restraints for your needs:

1. What do you want to tie up?
Most restraints are made for wrists and ankles. They’re usually adjustable cuffs that buckle or tie in place, and can be hooked together or attached to something else. There are also restraints that tie two body parts together, such as Wrist/Thigh/Ankle Restraints (Everything Restraint Kit). If you want something that can be used on other body parts, consider bondage tape (tape that only sticks to itself and won’t snag on skin or hair) or bondage rope (soft cotton, hemp, or nylon rope).

2. What sort of material do you want?
Many restraints are made of leather because it’s versatile and will mold to the wearer’s body over time. There are also synthetic restraints (many of which have the added benefit of being machine washable!). All of the restraints that we carry have some sort of soft lining to feel comfortable and luxurious against the wearer’s skin.

3. Where do you want to be restrained?
A common image of restraint is that of someone tied spread-eagle to their bedposts. This is certainly possible, but is riskier than it may seem. As Jay Wiseman explains in SM 101, the restrained partner is completely immobilized and attached to a very heavy piece of furniture. If an emergency arose (i.e. if the non-restrained partner fainted), it would be difficult or impossible for the restrained partner to get out of their restraints or leave the room to get help. Therefore, if you do restrain someone this way, never leave them alone in the room, make sure to monitor them for any pain or discomfort, and be sure they can be untied quickly and easily if anything should go wrong. If you take some basic precautions and plan ahead, you can play safely and have lots of fun.

If you want to be tied to a bed that doesn’t have bedposts, the Liberator Bed Buckler provides the necessary hardware to make that happen.

It’s also very easy to restrain two body parts together without attaching them to anything else. Most wrist and ankle cuffs allow you to tie 2 limbs together so that the wearer’s movements are limited, but they can move around if they need to. This is a very safe way to play, and can be especially good for your first foray into restraint.

4. What do you and your partner want to do once one of you is restrained?
Think about what activities you will be doing together while one of you is restrained. This will affect your choice of restraints and positioning. If you want access to your partner’s genitals, for example, it may not be practical to tie their ankles together. If they want to be able to change positions, tying them to the bedposts won’t work.

5. Are there any restraints you should stay away from, or any other safety issues?
Metal handcuffs, although appealing to many people, can be dangerous (as explained in this article), and therefore we advise against them. Silk scarves and similar items may seem safe, but they can tighten uncomfortably and cut off circulation. In contrast, restraints made specifically for that purpose are adjustable, and will be held in place so as not to tighten more than is safe and comfortable. They are also soft, unlike handcuffs, and won’t dig into the skin or cause bruising.

You should always have a way to get your partner out of their restraints quickly and easily if an emergency arises. Keep scissors on hand (paramedic scissors, which have a blunt tip, are recommended). If there is an emergency, it’s better to sacrifice your restraints than your partner’s well-being. The restraints we carry can be detached from your partner easily (unbuckle or un-velcro them), but it’s still a good idea to have scissors within reach.

Someone who is claustrophobic may feel uncomfortable being restrained in certain ways or even at all. Some people may not think that they will feel uncomfortable until they actually are restrained. For this reason, it’s a good idea to start small (i.e. restraining only your partner’s wrists instead of both wrists and ankles). You can always do more next time, and it’s better if both partners leave the encounter wanting more than for either partner to feel like you went too far. To ensure everyone is having a good time, it’s important to communicate with your partner throughout the whole experience. Be prepared to untie your partner if he or she feels any discomfort, either physical or emotional. The restrained partner should speak up if anything is uncomfortable, and should not “stick it out” if it’s not arousing and enjoyable. Restraint can and should be a fun, arousing, and rewarding addition to your play.