A couple of weeks ago, I went to the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Wellness for a five-day workshop on mindfulness practices and eating. The focus was NOT on dieting, but rather on being mindful of the ways we eat and move that promote (or fail to promote) self-care. So we had sessions on meditation, yoga, full-body exercises for strength and flexibility, mindful eating exercises, silent nature walking, you name it. All of these activities were to help put us in touch with ourselves.
Put us in touch with ourselves… That reminds me of another type of self care that was not covered at Kripalu. Yes, I’m talking about masturbation. If you google “women masturbation health” you’ll find loads of sites touting the health benefits of sexy solo time. According to this women’s health information site, masturbation :
can help prevent cervical infection and stave off urinary tract infections;
is associated with improved cardiovascular health and lower risk of type 2 diabetes;
can improve pelvic floor strength (this is a good good thing for athletes, those who have had babies and also for those over 50);
can help insomnia through hormone release and lowered tension (well duh).
Having a healthy and fun sexual relationship with ourselves is good for much of what ails us, it seems. Of course, it’s not a tool for weight loss, as our blog has already covered. But who cares? Also, according to many sources, it’s important whether or not we have sexual partners; it’s not a substitute for them, rather an important primary relationship with ourselves. We can be our own best friend with benefits.
As I said earlier, this topic was somehow omitted from the Kripalu curriculum. However, this week my friend J from the Kripalu workshop invited me to meet up for yoga, dinner, and a trip to Good Vibrations, a local upscale sex shop in town (if you click the link, you’ll see that they’re having a Memorial Day sale; just FYI). I was astounded at what I saw there. The last time I was in a sex shop was a looong time ago, and the appliances were generally hard plastic, yucky materials that were not inviting for the remotely timid.
Well, those days are over. So over. Check this out:
The new (to me, at least) products are covered in soft silicone, made in pretty colors (alas, the pink’ing of all products marketed to females persists, but I leave that rant to another post). Many of these are upscale variants on the Rabbit, a popular design of vibrator. Of course, the classic versions are available, too:
And if you really want to go old-school, there’s this (which I was told was the most popular model they sell):
This one was featured in an episode of Sex and the City; you can see a clip from that episode on vibrator shopping here.
Among the great things about going to this sex shop, in addition to its wondrous variety, was that I got to see lots of people coming and in and out, browsing, buying, chatting, laughing. Sex toys are fun and funny, and the humor was evident. Witness this small display:
Like sex itself, the experience of talking about and buying toys can be solo or in groups. The young women working there were super-knowledgeable, sincere, straightforward and helpful.
Yes, I made a few purchases. And I can report that I’m a satisfied customer. One final note: although many things change, some things remain the same. You can still count on the discretion of the brown paper bag for carrying your new toys out of the store. The classics never go out of style.