Monday, December 17, 2012

A Fancy New Self Serve Website

We're all about self improvement at Self Serve, and we've been working on our look.  Our fancy new website is up with more videos, an easier to navigate events page and more sexuality resources and links are coming soon.

Check out the blog posts on the site, too.  We'll be a little more active there from now on...

Thanks for being part of our community as always!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Hysteria may make you Hysterical

You may laugh hysterically when you learn the history of the vibrator.  Rachel Maines was one of the first writers to bring the fascinating story of our favorite electrical device to the public with her book, The Technology of Orgasm.  We learned early electric vibrators were used in medical treatment for women with hysteria.  Women, of course, had vague, persistent symptoms of fatigue, depression or exhaustion.  These women were often diagnosed with hysteria, and physicians feared their wombs were lost and floating around their bodies.

What new-fangled device could help?  The Vibrator of course!

Doctors once had to relieve women of hysteria via "manual assistance," and the vibrator was a labor-saving device indeed!  Women would experience paroxysms (er, orgasms) after application of the machines, and voila- hysterical symptoms were relieved.

The Toronto Film Festival premiered the film Hysteria in early September, featuring Maggie Gyllanhaal.  This film is a realistic account of the doctor who invented the vibrator in the 1880s.

Maines' book, the film Hysteria and the documentary Passion and Power (a movie Self Serve hosted at the Guild in Albuquerque) all lead us to believe it was common for Victorian women to receive medical treatments for hysteria at the hands of midwives and doctors of the day. 

There is debate in the academic world about the accuracy of these accounts of vibrator use.

Of course we can speculate about cultural norms and attitudes during the early days of vibrator use, but the stories are entertaining nonetheless.  I love how such history proves how our attitudes about sexuality, sex toys and how orgasms work is all so relative to our time, place or context.  Our attitudes about technology have changed drastically, and in most areas of life technology is ubiquitous.  But still in 2011, many intelligent adults still feel shame, embarrassment and confusion over their desire to use technology in the bedroom.

Many folks talk to us at Self Serve about how they shouldn't need lubricant or shouldn't need a vibrator.  There is so much guilt in our culture over using a motorized little gadget as a labor-saving device for getting off.  At the same time, do you mail your letters only via post to prove a point?  Are you not reading this here blog on a computer?

I hope as more stories of sex toy history emerge, and the discussion comes to light, that more adults will shed their guilt, pick up modern labor-saving devices, and enjoy their benefits.  You won't regret it.

Read more:

How to deal with haters


By Hunter Riley for Self Serve Sexuality Resource Center

It can be hard to know how to deal with hate, and hateful people, but the students at Texas A&M made a great example of how to deflect and possibly prevent hateful people from infiltrating a positive and respectful space.

One recent act of awesomeness and love happened at the funeral for former soldier Lt. Col. Roy Tisdale. Tisdale died in June after an accident at a training camp in North Carolina, according to a report from the Huffington Post. He was a Texas A&M alum and his funereal was planned to be held at Central Baptist Church in College Station, Texas.

The Westboro Baptist Church, which frequently protests military and and LGBT funerals and other events,  posted a press release on its website saying it planned to picket Tisdale's funeral. According to the church's website, "These soldiers are dying for the homosexual and other sins of America. God is now America’s enemy, and God Himself is fighting against America."

video by: LocalNews-GrabNetworks

Students at Texas A&M decided to be proactive about giving Tisdale's family the respect his funeral deserved after he served in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Former Texas A&M student Ryan Slezia invited students and community members via Facebook to join him in making sure the WBC could not disrupt the funeral. His plan was to form a chain of people, wearing school colors, around the church in which the funeral was held.

"In response to their signs of hate, we will wear maroon. In response to their mob anger, we will form a line, arm in arm. This is a silent vigil. A manifestation of our solidarity," he wrote on Facebook.

The funeral, which was held on Thursday, drew a crowd of hundreds. One student reported via Twitter that there were about 650 people in attendance with arms linked surrounding the church's entrance.

The Westboro Baptist Church never showed.

Sometimes it can be difficult to know how to react, if at all, to such intense hate. The students at Texas A&M did the right thing, in my opinion.

Student Lilly McAlister was quoted by TV station KBTX as saying “We are standing here quietly. We are here for the family,” she said. "We are positioned with our backs to them. Everyone has been told there's no chanting, no singing, there's no yelling anything back."

Another inspiring act of love in response to the hateful messages spread by WBC was from nine-year old Josef Miles. According to the Augusta Chronicle, Miles silently protested the WBC while they picketed Washburn University's graduation ceremony in May by making a sign of his own that read "God hates no one."

While part of me doesn't want to give anymore attention to WBC, I think it's important to know what type of response might get them to back off. And it seems the approach of Texas A&M students worked.

For more information see the Huffington Post.

Hunter Riley is a sex educator at Self Serve and also manages SEXed, a sex-education blog on WordPress. You can follow her on Facebook and on Twitter.

Meet the NJoy Fun Wand


 Here's to sexy sex toys!

The name says it all, because you will truly enjoy these impossibly smooth toys.

njoy Fun Wand

Njoy makes 316 grade (medical grade) stainless steel toys that will be unlike any sex toy material out there. They offer six different toys: the Pure Wand, the Fun Wand, the njoy Eleven, the Pure Plugs (small, medium and large), the Pure Plug 2.0 and the Pfun Plug.

In this post, we'll talk about the the Fun Wand. This toy can offer twice the fun  because it gives intense stimulation for a gspot or a pspot, and has three anal beads on the other end.

The beads increase in size, starting with 3/4 inch and ending with a bead that is 1 inch in diameter. The other side has a single 1-inch bulb. The toy measures 8 inches from end to end.

This toy is perfect for anyone interested in temperature play because it can be easily warmed or cooled in a bowl of hot or cold or water (but don't put it in the freezer!). It will naturally be cold to the touch, so make sure you or your partner is ready!

Many people really enjoy the pressure stainless steel toys put on your sensitive body parts, such as a prostate or a gspot. The dense, heavy property of the toy also makes for a great pelvic floor-exercise. If you want to learn more about your pelvic floor muscles, sign up for our Sexercise class! We also have a few other great toys to help you strengthen your pelvic floor.

njoy Pure Plugs

The njoy toys can be used with any lubricant and can be sterilized. You can clean them with rubbing alcohol or just wash them with soap and warm water. Make sure you don't use any abrasive cleaners because they can ruin the toy's finish.

All of the njoy toys look sleek and sexy, and will give your body a new orgasmic experience. If you want to pick up an njoy toy for yourself come into Self Serve, or order one here.

Hunter Riley is a sex educator at Self Serve and also manages SEXed, a sex-education blog on WordPress. You can follow her on Facebook and on Twitter.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

20 Communication Tips for Better Sex

  • Use your words, and use open ended questions.  Yes/No questions don't elicit enough detail.  Start with, “what would your fantasy date night include?” It might not always be sex!
  • Show & Tell!  Show how you like it and watch your partner pleasure themselves.  It’s a very powerful explanation and sexy to watch. 
  • Ask what kind of rhythm do you like? faster or slower?
  • Tell your partner what works.  Focus on that--not what doesn't.
  • Talk about how sex connects you to your partner.
  • Admit you don’t know everything -that's normal!
  • Recognize with partner(s) that desires, wants and abilities change over time.
  • Put your partners hand where you want it, use firmness, touch, positioning by example.  Remember you don’t necessarily want the same thing.
  • Write each other notes (like old school ‘check yes or no if you want to try’...) and put them in the lunch bag, wallet or briefcase for a surprise later.

  • Talk over brunch, not in the bedroom - the pressure can be too much when you’re about to do it.
  • Use position cards or books to share ideas -highlight or underline ideas you like
  • Make a date night wish list or sexy gift registry at Self Serve & send each other in to shop
  • Watch porn and actually discuss what you found hot or yucky.  Be supportive and open!  If you make shocked faces at what your partner likes, they’re likely to retreat and withhold their opinions next time.

  • Try blindfolds –they elevate anticipation & reduce performance anxiety
  • Write a love note and tell them what you want to do later with a dry erase pen on the bathroom mirror. 
  • Underline your favorite parts of an erotica book.  Read sections out loud to each other later.
  • Kiss for at least 10 seconds once a day.  You'll be surprised how long and luxurious 10 seconds can feel!
  • Create a code word for romantic time and use it freely in public.  For example, "I'd love to meet up with Mr. Jones later tonight... or “I’d love mangos tonight for dessert”
  • Plan two date nights and take turns planning the details.
  • Send each other naughty texts when you're at a restaurant, a meeting or family gathering.  Just don't get caught!