DivineCaroline: Networking and Socializing for Women

Anyone else visit iVillage.com frequently? I used to spend hours and hours reading the pro-woman content posted on iVillage. However, in the last two or three months I realized that I was spending more and more time, trying to find an article or editorial bit that appealed to me. I don’t have enough time in my life trudge through a bunch of frogs to find the prince (or princess!).

Task. Journey. Search.

To find a new source of information. To find a community of female writers, professionals, sexual enthusiasts, intelligence, class, and maturity …

The Holy Grail of Pro-Woman Content: DivineCaroline
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My Favorite Sex Toy Right Now

I haven’t posted my own sex toy review in close to a year!  I spend all my time communicating with people about sex toys that I am usually burnt out when it comes to writing reviews.  Of course, I test out nearly all the sex toys (vibrators, dildos, vibrating love rings, lubes, etc.) that are brand new, but wrting a review has been close to impossible with my other duties.  Rather than spend a lot of time talking about one sex toy, I am going to write a quick post about my favorite adult toys.  I don’t reveal my favorites often enough because I am interested in reading and hearing about what other people like.

Currently my favorite sex toy:

Gigi

It goes without saying that Lelo has created the next generation of quality sex toys, but the Gigi is my sexy solution after a stressful day or night. A lot of women focus on its remarkable ability to gently yet firmly stimulate the G-spot, which is absolutely true; but the Gigi can also be used for clit and labia stimulation. I love the massage sensations created by its pulsating, vibrating head that has a flat-to-round surface, perfect for moving in circles on my clit and labia.

It only takes a minute or so for me to have a clitoral orgasm with the Gigi leading the way. For whatever reason, I have this masturbation routine where I try to have a clit orgasm before messing with any penetration. I don’t know if my vagina is tighter than most, but I have to be really aroused (usually after having a clit orgasm) before I can enjoy deep penetration. The Gigi does have kind of an awkward shape that creates a strange sensation when first inserted, but once those vibrations kick in and tickle my fleshly insides, I orgasm so hard I feel like a balloon ready to pop.

This is a good sex toy for couples, too. My fella knows how to get me going with the Gigi. I am one of those ladies who needs a lot of foreplay before sex, and I’ve found that my orgasms are much stronger during sex when my guy teases me with the Gigi before we get down to business. The Miracle Massager is another good one for couples foreplay. But nothing could replace my lovely Gigi vibrator.

I plan on pointing out what toys I dislike in future posts. Maybe I can help someone avoid buying a dud sex toy. And, from time to time, I will post other favorite sex toy posts.

Enough

I took a break from my catch-up work to stay in touch with the Democratic National Convention last week.  My political leanings have varied over the years, which I figure is the natural course of things.  As I get older my perception changes and I re-fine (or re-define) my opinion on certain issues, but I generally stay close to “home”, meaning it’s rare for me to change my mind entirely on a given issues.  Rather, what seems to change is the degree to which I am willing to invest time and emotion into a given issue.

As some of you know, the Obama Coupon represented VibeReview’s official support.  But I didn’t reveal my own thoughts on Obama, because I didn’t want to strain any existing relationships – both personal and professional, sometimes with the two mingling.  Strange as it may seem, I wanted to wait until the DNC to discuss political matters on this blog.  My hesitancy: I wanted to see substance and style, not rhetorical bravo alone – which I felt had been Obama’s main contribution during the primaries.  Of course, at no point did I consider voting for John McCain, a man who has proven himself incapable of truly understanding women – what motivates us, what appeals to us, what we really want, and how we want to live our lives.

(I use “we” very loosely, I know.  I don’t intend to be the singular voice of all women, so please don’t be offended.  My only motivation in doing so is to share my own wants, wishes, and hopes that I know parallel so many other women’s hopes, dreams, wishes, and wants.)

So, Obama sealed up my vote when Hillary Clinton lost in the primaries.  No, I have no lingering bitterness toward what happened during the primaries, as I don’t see such sentiments as being productive in the short-term or long-term.   At this point, during these uncomfortably dysfunctional times, I felt that I couldn’t waste my vote on an Independent Party.  Reform must come from within the two main parties, if this country is going to overcome current obstacles.  While the primaries proved upsetting, I did recognize some of Obama’s brilliance, eagerness, and desire to lead.

Then I watched Obama’s speech.

Impressed?  Inspired?  Grateful?  Humbled?  Excited?  Connected?

All of those things and more.  I feel like I was smacked with a wake up call – not only as it pertains to my own individual actions, but also as it relates to participating in community affairs.  I can be better than I am without feeling bad about where I’ve been.

This is huge.

Breakthrough.

Wild.

I felt a sense of responsibility to my fellow citizens.  Probably for the first time in my life.  Don’t get me wrong, I am a failure on a daily basis if I don’t treat people with respect (even those who don’t deserve it).  I care about people.  But this was a new sense of purpose.  A calling, if you will.  Now I don’t want anyone thinking I’ve fallen off the sanity-wagon, because I am still obsessed with self.  (Sounds silly as hell to admit, but I suppose we are obsessed with self to an extreme.  Only, well, we may not realize it all the time.)

Yes, I feel like I am obligated to myself and others, to say, as Obama did, “ENOUGH!”  Resonates with me, it really does.  No more, no longer, no way.  I hate campaign slogans, but the Democrats hit the jack pot this time around.

My favorite new slogan: McSame.  And true as can be.

Seeing that sea of people at the baseball stadium.  Remarkable.

I enjoyed all the convention speeches.  Gore and Kerry and Biden and Hillary.  Even ol’ Mr.Cant’s Keep.His.Pecker.Tucked.Away President Clinton.  It was a great event that energized me.

Did anyone else watch it?  If so, what did you think?  Agree or no?  And why or why not?

I’m Back, I’m Bad, and I’m Tan

How many of you missed me?  That many of you?!!  Well, I am back from my vacation to Puerto Rico.  Tanning than ever, more relaxed than I have been in years, and fully charged and ready to get down and dirty with whatever comes my way until the next vacation.

Here are a couple of personal admissions and observations that smacked my brain during the trip:

Most of my fears have no basis in reality – that is to say, I have no justification for fearing certain things.  Yet I am still plagued by the strangest fears in normal situations that produce an overwhelming anxiety in my mind and then my body.

The combination of airplanes and flying freaks me out.  I hate flying.  Planes freak me out.  And I have no reasonable explanation as to why I have this dominating fear.  Every jerk, drop, or bounce – I start looking around at people’s facial expressions for comfort, the kind of body language exploration that will grant me a moment or two of serenity.  I’ll look for a nod of approval so that I can finally relax.  The whole “I know how you feel; I’ve been there” response without words.

I eventually worked myself up on this short flight (like five or six hours) to the point that sleeping became my sole remedy.  I can’t figure out why I am afraid of flying, which is what bothers me the most.  I flew back and forth from my father’s city every Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthday, or any cause for celebration since I was a kid because my parents were divorced.  I never freaked out when I was younger, so this is a relatively new sense of emotional discomfort.

Regardless, I made it through the flight.  There and back.  And now I am home bragging about how I managed to sleep my way into forgetting that I was thousands of miles in the air, high above deep oceans and massive cities.  Maybe this was a one time event (wrapped up into two flights) for me?  I’m not sure, but I hope that’s the case.

While in Puerto Rico I refused to stay on the resort property.  I spent several hours each night sitting in the hot tub or swimming in the pool, but during the day I was out and about, mixing it up with the locals, who I found to be quite friendly and helpful.  Why go on vacation to another country and sit by a pool or hang out with people I could visit with in my own country?  I could have saved a lot of money by just staying in the US if that’s what I wanted.

So, yeah.  I said screw that … I am going to snorkel, swim, eat, and whatever else with an unfamiliar culture.  Great, great experience.  The food, fantastic.  Loved every dish at each restaurant.  I even managed to force down squid and sea snails.  Yuck, right?  The stuff tasted wonderful.  Kinda like chicken with a rubbery texture.  I figured both would be somewhat slimy, but that wasn’t the case.  If you ever plan on visiting San Juan or Fejardo, I can help you find the best spots to eat at.  (Most of the better restuarants are expensive, so keep that in mind.)

I took sex toys with me.  Several of my favorite vibrators, my favorite dildo, and of course, my lovely fella.  Lots of sex, several times a day.  I’m not the most exciting lover on most days, as I am so worn out with work.  I need to mix a little pleasure into my life, especially seeing as I am in the adult toy business.  It becomes all too easy to pull out a toy and please myself in a few minutes, whereas my guy is ready for a long night of sex and experimentation.

Part of it is having the kids and working so many hours, but the other part, I think, is the saturation of sex-related themes in my work life.  I have a libido; I am … Well, I am lazy lover, or have been over the last 4-5 months.  This trip allowed me enough time and relaxation to really open up.  I was bad.  A bad, bad girl.  We had sex in the pool, hot tub, and on the beach.  Public sex!  I hadn’t done that in a long time, so it was an enthralling experience.  And the naughtiest of times in our room, which overlooked the ocean. My sex toys, too, were used in new and innovative ways that, for whatever reason, hadn’t ever occured possible.

Trash.  I don’t consider myself to be the best environmentalist.  But – I get really upset about seeing trash everywhere.  I’ve been known to pick up my neighbors’ trash frequently, if only to keep my sanity within grasp.  If I see trash on the ground, even in the city, I pick it up.  I get so pissed off when I see trash laying on the ground.  In fact, it’s one of the few things that make me angry.  Puerto Rico is full of trash: cigarette buds are everywhere, beer cans on the beach, diapers sitting in the grass, wrecked car parts laying all over the street.  And in the ocean, I noticed all of these things and more (even a Halloween costume!) laying on the sandy bottom as I snorkeled.

I fished out trash, threw it on the beach, and eventually put my new collection of discards in a trash can.  The locals watched me like I was crazy, wondering what the hell I was doing.  I couldn’t help myself, I couldn’t stop, I couldn’t walk or swim away with all that trash in the ocean.  And, most of all, I couldn’t understand why anyone would throw away his or her shit in the ocean or on the beach.  This happened at most of the beaches we frequented.  It was a sad, disgusting sight still bothering me.

The resort itself wasn’t very clean, either.  When I mentioned this to the manager, he responded by saying, “This is a third world country.”  At which time, I asked him, “Is this a third world resort?  Because if it is, I need a third world hotel rate, because I significantly overpaid.”  He didn’t like that response, so he followed it up with, “It did rain several days ago and the river probably washed up most of the trash you are referring to.”  Again, I retorted, “Did the river wash tons of trash under my hotel room’s balcony?”  He took a few notes and said, “I will mention this to the general manager.” He wrote something down, but it had little to do with the trash we discussed.

Small cars rock.  Sort of.  Don’t ever drive a big car or a truck in Puerto Rico.  The roads are surprisingly narrow and people do not slow down, so there were a few times that we barely managed to escape a collision.  The police officers drive with their lights on for no apparent reason.  People honk for no real reason at all.

If you don’t like beggars coming up to your car in the city, you will dislike Puerto Rico, since locals flood each and every stop sign and traffic light, seeking free money or for drivers to purchase cold beverages or tropical fruit.  No one is rude or demanding, or expects anything.  It’s their version of business mingling in a society that lacks jobs, education, and overall economic advancement.  But this process works for them, as many people preferred to purchase beverages from their cars rather than pull over at a gas station.

So, I had a great time, learned a lot about my fellow human beings and myself, and found enough time to mix in some sexy pleasure.  Plus all the lounging on the beach and snorkeling in the ocean.  Oh, and I found a massive conch shell and gigantic starfish on the Seven Seas Beach in Fejardo.  Both sea creatures were alive, which added a lot of excitement.  I plan on posting some pictures in the coming days – if I don’t get too behind with catching up.

Hope everyone has been doing well.

Vaginal Douching: An Itch Away from Perfection

Indoctrinated. Female products, everywhere. Not all are bad. In fact, many are useful. What about vaginal douche products? Is vaginal douching this important? After all, since you were kid, you’ve been exposed to vaginal douche products at your local drugstores and grocery markets. The sheer volume of products must mean vaginal douching is important – or at least has some value or contributes something positive to female hygiene. Right?

Only if a doctor views it as a treatment, in which she or he will give you specific instructions about what product to use, how frequently, and for how long. Even then, ladies, you should ask your doctor why he’s recommending douching and if there is another alternative.

Here are a few facts about douching:

1. A “bad” vaginal odor can be covered up by douching, but the cause of the bad odor has not been addressed; thus, this is only a temporary solution to a potentially serious problem – maybe a bacterial infection, urinary tract infection, yeast infection, or an STD. A foul odor originating from your vagina is your body’s way of saying, “Pay attention to me! Something isn’t right. Go to the doctor!” – unless you refuse to wash your vagina on a regular basis, which is remedied by – well, taking a warm shower and using paraben-free and glycerin-free soap. Contrary to what myths people spread about vaginal odor, even the healthiest vaginal environment has its own unique odor.

2. Your vagina has its own natural cleansing system that produces mucous to flush out blood, semen, and vaginal discharge. After douching, women wash away important vaginal flora that helps regulate the acidity levels. As this acidity level increases or decreases, straying from the natural balance maintained by vaginal flora, bacteria levels increase – which leads to infections and other female problems. More harm than good, and only for temporary fixes.

3. Ladies: Douching does not prevent the transmission of STDs. This is a myth, if believed factual, that leads to serious consequences. There are many women who believe they can wash away the potential danger of last night’s sexual intercourse. No, no, no. Abstinence is the only 100% effective way to prevent STDs. Condoms, of course, are the next best method. Safer sex, which doesn’t include douching. Some studies are being conducted to see if douching might actually make it easier to get an STD, as the vagina’s natural acidity level is compromised – which makes it more difficult for the vagina to fight off infections. Could it be that short-term or long-term douching leads to an even greater risk of catching STDs? Stay tuned for more information on this issue. We’ll let you know when more information is available.

4. Pregnancy. No, douching does not prevent pregnancy. Again, abstinence or safer sex is the way to go. Though some studies suggest that regular douching does effect the time-frame in which a women gets pregnant (usually takes longer than women who do not douche), douching should never be used as a birth control method. Ectopic pregnancies, also, have been linked to women who douche on a regular basis. No way, no how – Not gonna happen. The potential risks are far greater than the reward. (I am still trying to figure out what those rewards are – beyond the obvious “odor cover up.”)

If you notice these things, you should visit a doctor and stay away from douching:

1. Bad odor
2. Thick white-yellowish and/or green discharge
3. Burning, redness, stinging, or vaginal swelling (external/internal)
4. Uncomfortable or painful when urinating or during intercourse

Many women have been led to believe that the above symptoms are justifiable reasons to douche. That’s backward thinking. You want to address the causes of the above symptoms, not merely cover them up, which requires that you visit a doctor for examination, to see if these symptoms are caused by serious problems.

In our commercialized culture, these “quick fixes” seem to be legitimate solutions to common and uncommon problems. More sex education is required to combat the many myths associated with douching, specifically as it relates to birth control and STDs.

Personal Touch:

I used to douche. Yep. I started out douching in high school. I wanted to be “fresh” for my boyfriend. Not that he pressured me or anything. He probably didn’t even know what a douche was or why I would do it. I didn’t really know why I did it. Part of it, I believe, had something to do with my perception of womanhood, or what it meant to have finally “arrived” as a sexually active female – that douching is what you did, as if sex and douching went together like peanut butter and jelly. You have sex, you douche, and then have sex again.

I didn’t believe it prevented STDs or pregnancy, but I did believe douching was a female’s responsibility to her man and herself. To keep a clean, clean vagina – that was the goal. After douching off and on for several years, my vagina started itching. My solution: Douche more. Finally, I went to the doctor and found out, to my surprise, that douching can lead to yeast infections, which is exactly what I had. It took me a long time to get my vagina back to its natural acidity level, and there’s no way in hell, maybe even if a doctor recommends it, that I’ll douche again. I’ve gone through a similar phase with water lubes that contain irritating formulas, mostly those lubes that contain fragrances. I’ll discuss water lubes in more detail later this week.

If you’d like to read more about vaginal douching and safer sex, please visit these links:

MedicineNet.com
About.com
Planned Parenthood

My Love Affair with Coffee

You know how Moms always like to tell us, “When I was pregnant with you, I’d eat..”?

Well, according to my mom, when she was pregnant with me, she had coffee. Lots of it. For no good reason. Then after I was born, as a young toddler, my grandmother would feed me coffee with buttered steamed bread for breakfast. You’d think that having been raised this way, I’d have drunk coffee my whole life.

Not true.

After I started kindergarten I stopped drinking coffee and somewhere in my mind I formed the opinion that Milo was the way to go for a kid my age. Which started my love affair with Milo, which is a another story for another day.

Anyway, after that I stopped drinking Coffee for a long time. The only time I ever had anything with coffee in it was when I frequented Starbucks and Coffeebean as a teenager and had one of their ice blended drinks. I don’t think you’d count that as decent coffee.

I didn’t think I’d start drinking coffee even as I grew older, and as my peers relied on coffee to stay awake. I didn’t hate it, I just didn’t like drinking it.

Until I got to university.

All of a sudden, coffee became a staple in my diet. I had to have coffee to stay awake because I slept very little anyway. After awhile, coffee stopped helping me stay awake. But I still relied on it whenever I needed to do my assignments, especially since alot of my assignments are essay based. The caffeine jolt and the strong aroma never failed to act like a pick-me-up when I was having a block from writing. Eventually, whenever I did my assignments, I needed to sip on a cup of coffee just to help me get my ideas flowing.

I know how this sounds. But really, when the aroma hits your senses, and you savour the warm bittersweet liquid flowing into your mouth, coating every single inch of your taste buds, slipping down your throat, who can resist?

No, I don’t have an addiction problem. 😉

Never Alone.

People have different ways of dealing with anger and frustration. Some would scream, some would find a friend to rant to, and some would just keep silent and want to be left alone.

I always want to be left alone because I never knew how to articulate my feelings in a calm, collected and peaceful manner. So I walk away and sit in a corner by myself.

Some people obviously try to cheer me up by sitting beside me and trying to get me to talk, some just chatter incessantly.

I hate that because, I don’t feel like talking and I don’t feel like listening to you talk either. Some days, I just want to be left alone, in peace. In silence.

I think, in this aspect, I’ve been blessed to have known two friends who truly understood that when I want to be left alone, I just don’t want to be bothered by people who would try to make me talk or start yakking themselves.

And so, on days when I feel stressed, frustrated, pissed off, on days when I just don’t feel like talking and want to be left alone, they would just sit beside me and watch the world go by with me, leaving me alone in my thoughts, until I am ready to talk, or until they sense that I could use a joke or two.

And it always works.

Which is why I always appreciate them doing this for me, because on days when you just don’t feel like talking, sometimes all you need is that simple act of someone sharing the moment with you. Which always makes you feel that no matter what happens, you’re never alone.