Let’s talk about sex. Gwyneth Paltrow’s team over at GOOP has been cozying up to the topic like no other lately. We perused the pages of their new in-depth guide, The Sex Issue, to find out just what the ladies had to say.
The Sex Issue is ‘a modern guide to relationships, sexual health and well being — grab a copy here. Its chapters are casual, but comprehensive – serious, but still entertaining. From seduction to sex toys, pelvic floor exercises to libido-boosting superfoods, here were a few highlights that caught our eye…
On Sex Supplements:
Yes, There are Sex Supplements
You know chocolate and maca and oysters are libido-boosting foods, but there are so many more. In chapter five of The Sex Issue, nutritionist Adam Cunliffe shares a list of natural aphrodisiacs.We loved seeing so many things that we already have in our pantry. According to Adam, “adaptogens like Ashwagandha — and really anything that reduces stress — often have results between the sheets.” Here are a few of the most interesting and unusual:
Mucuna Pruriends | This is a legume of African and Asian origin. It contains L-dopa, which is converted to dopamine, the reward chemical in the brain — it’s the same system that ecstasy would work on, and while it’s certainly less wild, [mucuna puriends] has the effect of boosting that system. Many people find that Mucuna pruriens puts them in “the mood for love,” but it can also be an energy booster. Try taking with a passionflower tea, which enhances the effect. The Mucuna pruriens bean itself is not really edible, so you’ll take it ground-up in some sort of capsule.
Histidine | The opposite of the groggy, tired effect of taking an antihistamine, the amino acid histidine has generally stimulating effects, making you more aware and sensitive. Histidine is an essential amino acid for children, but as adults, we can synthesize it in our bodies so it becomes nonessential. Taken as a supplement, it has been shown to enhance orgasm, and histidine has also been reported to facilitate orgasm in women who’ve never had one before since it stimulates the vulva reflex. (People with allergies, eczema, asthma, or food intolerances should be careful, as histidine can aggravate those conditions.)
Sultan’s Paste (Mesir Macunu) | Once a Turkish secret (though it’s now more widely available), Sultan’s Paste is made up of more than forty herbs and spices, including fenugreek, saffron, and ginger that can help to improve blood flow and increase energy and desire. While it’s hard to pin down exactly what are the most active ingredients, fenugreek, in particular, has measurable aphrodisiac qualities for men and women. Sultan’s Paste has a molasses-like consistency and it comes in a jar. You can eat it straight off the spoon (it has a sweet, spicy, exotic taste), spread it on toast, or mi in with water for a tonic. It’s great as a pick-me-up.
TCM Editor’s Note: Try our Good Sex Smoothie recipe and never look back.
On Sex Toys:
They’re Not Just For Kink
There’s still a lot of taboo around sex toys. They don’t pop up in discussion as easily as, say, our fave skincare products — and maybe we’re okay with that. On the other hand, how are we supposed to know which are the best and how to use them outside of the obvious?
In chapter seven, Layla Martin explains how sex toys can deepen sexual intimacy and comfort, with yourself and/or your partner. “As more of a holistic sex expert, I recommend toys that encourage sexual presence, open up the body, and increase sensitivity and a connection to sexual energy — rather than toys that overwhelm the system.” In her toy box, she keeps the following tools we felt were interesting – and still fit to print on our buttoned up pages…
Jade Egg | I use this for self-pleasuring and a yoga practice for my pussy.
Glass Dildo | I like smaller glass dildos for doing pre-armoring, which is basically a sexual practice where you press the dildo into pressure points inside the vagina and create deep inner relaxation. This helps to release stored trauma and emotional baggage from the vagina and opens you up to much more epic sexual experiences. It’s like doing a physical vaginal cleanse for yourself.
Blindfolds | Blindfolds for encouraging deeper sensitivity and surrender.
Sensory Activators | I like something that will cause intensity — I like a little whip if you enjoy light pain, or a riding crop if you like it really painful. I also love skin activators like fake furs and feathers that can be used to awaken the sensitivity of the skin.
Clean Lube | You generally want lube or skin-friendly oil to use with a toy.
On Sexual Exploration:
A Practice to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
How do we tap into our true wants and desires? The Sex Issue explores in a few different ways. In chapter twenty-one, Laura Corn discusses the importance of sexual exploration and why you owe it to yourself as a form of self-love.
Experimentation | According to Laura, “there’s only one way to get to know your body better and that’s through experimentation. Experimentation through self-pleasuring and trying new things with your partner (if you have one) are both important — and fun! It’s a lifelong experiment of self-love, and what’s exciting is that where you’ll be in ten years will be completely different from where you are now.”
Discovering Your Desire | Laura also shared a simple practice for getting yourself out of your comfort zone: “First, write down your sexual desires — aim for at least five, perhaps as many as ten. Creating a list will help you come up with your game plan. Take those unfulfilled desires and rearrange them in an order from the easiest to achieve to the most challenging. For example, maybe you’ve always wanted to be blindfolded, spanked with a beautiful leather whip, or experience a threesome with another woman. Which seems the easiest to do? Start there and work your way down your list. It can be that simple — you’ll become more confident with each step, and I guarantee that your sex life will get hotter and hotter. In the end, your fears will be a thing of the past.”
Communication is Key | If the thought of being so direct makes you anxious, try looking at it a different way: “Communication should enhance the mood, not ruin it. It opens the mind to more possibilities. The more you exchange ideas, the more you stimulate sexuality. Each exchange only provokes and increases curiosity — and curiosity is the seed of passion. On a more practical note, I think the tone of your voice is key to connecting your desires to your partner’s actions (ist as it’s important out of bed, too). Keep your voice gentle and loving. Don’t get bogged down with giving tons of direction, though. A few sentences should be all it takes. Also, if your partner or you are not super verbal, a little physical helping hand doesn’t hurt, either.”