The Truth About You And Your Skin

Appointment for Sin (1962) …item 2.. When the Sweet Spot Becomes a Sore Spot — friction-intensive sex (October 31, 2011) …item 3..My Year in Waxing School (Friday, Nov. 19, 2010, at 12:08 PM ET) …
skin care

Image by marsmet525
Nail technicians and skin-care specialists (the salon workers who do the most waxing) earn a mean annual pre-tax wage of ,150 to ,990. This figure doesn’t include tips, which can total another ,430 to ,398—a clear financial incentive to befriend your clients in this service-based, nonreciprocal way.

And yet. When it came to 38, I wanted the cash, not the compliment, to show the value of my abilities. And maybe, to compensate for how she got to leave feeling so clean and sexy—but I could still smell her body on me, ever so faintly, even after I threw away the gloves and washed my hands.

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I’m not sure what the phrase “owning your sexuality” means to you, but for me, one thing it entails is responsibility: doing my best to make sexual choices that are sound for me and a partner. (That’s also part of doing consent well.)

If I am offering something sexually light and fun but anticipate that it will be emotionally or interpersonally complex–or if I’m feeling stressed, confused and worried about it–then I can know that easy-breezy is neither what I can expect nor earnestly offer.

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…..item 1)…. Ms. Magazine blog … msmagazine.com/blog/

You are here: Home / Health / Can Sex “Just for Fun” Be Emotionally Healthy?
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Can Sex “Just for Fun” Be Emotionally Healthy?
October 11, 2011 by Heather Corinna

msmagazine.com/blog/blog/2011/10/11/can-sex-just-for-fun-…

This week’s installment of Heather Corinna‘s sex-and-relationships advice column tackles the issue of casual sex.

…Q: So excited for this new blog spot! Can you discuss whether it’s emotionally healthy to have sex outside of relationships? I want to own my sexuality, but all of the advice around me seems to be no-sex-outside-of-relationships-or-marriage. I know this depends on the individual, but any insight would be great! I’ve been toying with asking an ex–whom I am friends with–to have sex just for fun. I’m 98 percent sure he’ll agree, but I am worried about emotional health consequences. He has always wanted a much closer relationship than I do. I’m worried I’ll feel guilty for possibly leading him (or myself) into wanting more.

You’re right: this is a very individual and situational decision. To give some context, a recent study found that, on average, for 20-year-olds, casual sex and committed relationships led to the same level of psychological health. But individuals aren’t averages. Not everyone wants or is comfortable with sex in the same kinds of relationships or scenarios (including committed relationships). Context and interpersonal dynamics factor in, too.

There are some guidelines, however, that everyone can apply. When a sexual situation is likely to be sound, we usually feel good heading into it, as does anyone else involved. If we feel uncertain or predict negative feelings on anyone’s part, those are strong cues not to proceed.

I’m not sure what the phrase “owning your sexuality” means to you, but for me, one thing it entails is responsibility: doing my best to make sexual choices that are sound for me and a partner. (That’s also part of doing consent well.) If I am offering something sexually light and fun but anticipate that it will be emotionally or interpersonally complex–or if I’m feeling stressed, confused and worried about it–then I can know that easy-breezy is neither what I can expect nor earnestly offer.

Even when I’m having sex-for-sex’s-sake–which I would define as sex that takes place outside of a larger intimate relationship, without any agreed-upon, intended or implied commitment–that doesn’t mean I have zero responsibility for my emotional health or that of others. My partner (or wanna-be partner) and I still owe one another respect, care and consideration, which includes considering possible outcomes, even if we don’t intend to be there with each other for them.

It sounds like you’re on board with that, and you’ve already voiced your own sense that this specific situation probably isn’t sound for you or your ex. While he’d likely agree to sex, clearly some of this wouldn’t be fun for him or you, and could be an emotional landmine. While your romantic relationship may be over, you two are in a relationship: you have a history and a friendship, and it sounds like you have strong feelings for and about one another that are not only or primarily sexual. If what you want is just a roll in the proverbial hay, this isn’t likely to be it.

It also sounds like you’ve been curious about sex outside of romantic relationships, but you haven’t felt supported in or exposed to alternatives. So you might also want to give yourself more time to take a bit more stock of what you want and to find people to talk with who aren’t all saying the same things. If that’s not currently available to you, Sex & Single Girls is a great anthology with a diverse array of women writing about various sexual experiences. I also think Jaclyn Friedman’s new book, What You Really Really Want, could be just the thing for you.

My best advice is that you hold out for an opportunity to explore casual sex if and when you feel a lot better about it. That will also likely entail a partner or scenario you don’t feel so conflicted about; that feels more likely to be explosive in the ways you want, rather than the ways you don’t.

Check out last week’s advice about lube blues.

Have a sex, sexual-health or relationships question you want answered? Email it to Heather at sexandrelationships@msmagazine.com. By sending a question to that address, you acknowledge you give permission for your question to be published. Your email address and any other personally identifying information will remain private. Not all questions will receive answers.
Photo from Flickr user skampy under Creative Commons 2.0.
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…..item 2)…. Ms. Magazine blog … msmagazine.com/blog

You are here: Home / Life / When the Sweet Spot Becomes a Sore Spot
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When the Sweet Spot Becomes a Sore Spot
October 31, 2011 by Heather Corinna

msmagazine.com/blog/blog/2011/10/31/when-the-sweet-spot-b…

Q: I’m a 21-year-old lesbian. A problem has popped up in me and my girlfriend’s sex life. When we practice tribadism with just skin, after a while a very small raw spot will show up, bringing with it a sharp pain. Both of us have this problem. Neither of us is clean-shaven, but we do trim–would shaving help? Is there anything else we can do?

A: Ah, friction. Sometimes it feels so awesome. Other times it hurts. Part of what makes genitals so sensitive is that genital tissue is far more delicate than other kinds of skin on our bodies. With genital friction, there’s a tipping point after which a wowie can turn into an owie.

To avoid being rubbed raw, first make sure you and your partner are always very well-lubricated. Lube from a bottle tends to do the job better than our bodies’ lubricant when it comes to friction-intensive sex.

Apply lube before you start and add more as needed throughout. Be generous and don’t skimp.

I checked in with Searah Deysach, the fantastic owner of Early to Bed, to see if she had any specific lube suggestions; she keeps up with brands and types like nobody’s business. She suggested a high-quality silicone lube, such as Uberlube or Sliquid Silver–they tend to be longer-lasting and slicker than water-based lubricants. But if you prefer water-based, she suggests glycerin-free brands such as Sliquid Sea or Liquid Silk (my fave), which are kinder to vulvas and vaginas than those with glycerin.
Searah and I are of one mind about hairy issues. She says, “Hair that is growing back after shaving can be especially irritating, as stubble can be vicious on delicate tissues. “ I agree. Stubble from hair removal is more likely to irritate than the softer pubic hair we tend to have when we don’t shave. If all you do is trim, chances are hair isn’t the problem.

Consider positioning. I’d suggest experimenting with an eye for reducing how much weight is being put on each of your genitals. Try finding ways you can scissor without anyone really being “on top” at all, like lying on your backs toe to head. Searah suggested straddling your lover’s thigh as an alternative. Similar feeling, less pain. If you do like a missionary-style V-on-V position, whoever’s on top can try to balance so less weight rests on the other person’s tender bits–e.g., by bracing their hands on a headboard. Mixing up positions often helps, too. And if and when either of you start feeling raw, don’t keep going with the activity that got you there–take a break from genital sex or at least consider that spot done for the day. If it remains raw the next day, lay off the intense pressure for as long as it takes to heal.

Now and then this still might happen, especially because, when we’re very aroused, pleasure can cause us to space out on signals of pain. But with these adjustments, you can probably make it a rarity instead of a norm.

Check out last week’s advice to a woman whose fiancé monitored her vagina’s size.

Have a sex, sexual-health or relationships question you want answered? Email it to Heather at sexandrelationships@msmagazine.com. By sending a question to that address, you acknowledge you give permission for your question to be published. Your email address and any other personally identifying information will remain private. Not all questions will receive answers.

Photo from Flickr user Gray Marchiori-Simpson under license from Creative Commons 2.0

Line drawing from Wikimedia Commons.
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……item 3)…. Slate … www.slate.com … HOME / DOUBLEX : WHAT WOMEN REALLY THINK ABOUT NEWS, POLITICS, AND CULTURE.

My Year in Waxing School
Naked people don’t tip well, and more tricks of the trade.
By Virginia Sole-Smith|Posted Friday, Nov. 19, 2010, at 12:08 PM ET

www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2010/11/my_year_i…

The 38th client I worked on at Beauty U. was my first full Brazilian wax—the kind where you remove all (or almost all) of your hair below the belt. I’d waxed many bikini lines and other body parts. I’d also assisted on Brazilians, handing my teachers wax-dipped Popsicle sticks the way nurses hand over scalpels. But now, it was my turn to wield the wax, solo. "I know—I’m a hairy beast!" Client 38 apologized, hopping onto the waxing table, clad in disposable thong. "You have to fix me. I’m going on vacation with my boyfriend."
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She spread her legs. I put on some vinyl gloves and worked down and across her pelvis, twirling clumps of hair and trimming them free. You have to trim any hair longer than eyebrow-length to prevent "locking" with the wax. You also have to act like this is normal, even though a part of your brain is thinking, "Pubic hair, pubic hair, oh my God, pubic hair." But I was getting better at trimming, and also at acting. And so clouds of hair piled up on the paper-covered table while 38 chatted about her vacation plans (the Poconos; if she was lucky, a proposal), her C-section scar, and how she liked my red glasses.

The .8 billion business of superfluous hair removal is our most intimate and uncomfortable kind of beauty labor. When I enrolled in a 600-hour aesthetics program at my local strip mall beauty school, I knew the standard feminist rhetoric against hair removal: Women wax because we’ve been culturally indoctrinated to hate our bodies in their natural state. I also knew the women’s magazine defense, that removing excess hair celebrates our femininity and increases sexual pleasure. And I’d been in 38′s position enough to know that waxing can make you feel vulnerable in ways feminists haven’t even considered and hurts more than women’s magazines (or at least, their beauty advertisers) let you believe.

But being on the other side of the waxing table turns out to feel simultaneously more exploitative and more empowering than I ever expected. There is, for example, the moment when your client shuts off from you, closing her eyes to "relax." Your client is in charge, having commissioned you to perform this service. And yet they are also terribly vulnerable, half naked, exposed and—eyes closed—hoping for the best.

After I trimmed, I tested the temperature of the hot wax on the inside of my wrist and painted a stripe along 38′s inner thigh, quickly covering it with a muslin strip. She tensed before I ripped, then relaxed even as her brown skin tinted pink: "That hurt so much less than last time!" I watched some spots of blood well up. "I’m going to have you do my eyebrows, too," she added. And as I waxed my way along the crevice of her inner thigh to some very sensitive parts, 38 closed her eyes, drifting into that blissful state we enter whenever a spa service goes well.

With most Beauty U. clients, I liked offering this respite from their harried lives and from the even more harried relationship they had with their bodies. Before beauty school began, I hoped this body shame part wouldn’t be so true. Instead, I saw women hating their bodies—in subtle ways, like 38′s matter-of-fact "I’m a hairy beast!"—with every spa service I performed. So I saw my role as providing a kind of safe haven of acceptance, where a client could feel comfortable enough to drift away

Two hours into 38′s appointment, I was the one who could not relax. I had waxed right through my dinner break and my back ached from hunching over the table. I removed all the hair 38 had asked me to (all but a delicate landing strip) and cleaned up her brows. I held a hand mirror between her legs, angling it so she could decide if she was satisfied. I’d snipped off her paper thong, so we looked together like those consciousness-raising women’s groups from the 1970s. Only with me still wearing my vinyl gloves, now sticky with a layer of wax.

By that time, I knew that 38 had two kids, was divorced, and was going back to college. I liked 38. I wanted her to enjoy vacation and get engaged and have a good life. But we weren’t friends. There was nothing reciprocal in our conversation. We were taught to avoid sharing personal information about ourselves whenever possible. "Customers don’t care about your life," teachers told us. "They’re buying your full attention." And that seemed to work. Once clients relaxed, they told us all sorts of personal things, like when they next expected to have sex and why their mothers made them crazy. And we learned that letting clients share these intimate details was good for business. "Remember to mention something about them or their life that they’ve talked about previously. Keep notes about each customer on file if you need to," advised one handout. It was much like being a therapist, serving soul and body.

In April, the New York Post reported that "NYC Women are Strangely Bonded to the Beauticians who Wax Their Brazilians," quoting smitten spa-goers who viewed their waxers as surrogate moms. But the story didn’t explain how this one-sided friendship is made all the more awkward by socioeconomic differences. No matter how friendly their relationship, the client still pays and the waxer still needs that money. Nail technicians and skin-care specialists (the salon workers who do the most waxing) earn a mean annual pre-tax wage of ,150 to ,990. This figure doesn’t include tips, which can total another ,430 to ,398—a clear financial incentive to befriend your clients in this service-based, nonreciprocal way.

Before starting, I assumed that most clients tip the industry’s expected standard of 20 percent. They don’t. I wasn’t surprised, for example, when 38 tipped me just (under 15 percent) because we never got big tips when clients got naked. Like johns who mistake their hooker’s acrobatics for true love, clients can put such emphasis on the girlfriend-bonding time that slipping us a wad of cash would destroy the fantasy.

If her tip had been bigger, I would have been more delighted that 38 had taken time to write a "Client Kudos!" card about me: "She was professional and friendly at the same time. … Thanks so much!" She even drew a star on top next to my name. "That makes up for the bad tip," said my classmate Campbell about my Client Kudos. "Look how happy you made her!" Most salon workers say making clients feel good is their biggest source of job satisfaction. But I’m not convinced it’s enough to balance out the often exhausting, difficult, and underpaid labor. No matter how much we liked our clients, we still had to brush stray pubic hairs off our sleeves, pick seaweed-stained disposable thongs out of the shower, and work around the occasional menstruating bikini wax client.

But it’s also true that many waxers find this work empowering because the services require such skill and our clients are so thrilled with the results. Even if we don’t totally return our clients’ affections, we feel a kind of sisterhood with them and our fellow salon workers, because we’re all toiling away together to meet some impossible beauty standard. When Campbell and I practiced our first Brazilian together, she rubbed the back of our "client" (another classmate), singing songs to distract her from the pain. We all traded stories about waxing and then, childbirth—that other time when a woman spreads her legs in pain and the support of other women gets her through.

And yet. When it came to 38, I wanted the cash, not the compliment, to show the value of my abilities. And maybe, to compensate for how she got to leave feeling so clean and sexy—but I could still smell her body on me, ever so faintly, even after I threw away the gloves and washed my hands.

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It is not just rich and famous people that get to enjoy having beautiful skin. Anyone can have healthy, beautiful skin, even you. There are many ways that you can improve the texture, tone and overall appearance of your skin. All you have to do is begin testing ways that are going to work for you to give you healthier skin. You can begin your research here by reading about some of the methods.

Don’t be a giant ball of stress. Stress causes your body to release hormones into your bloodstream: cortisol, DHEA, and adrenaline. All three of these hormones are your skin’s enemy. They can exacerbate acne, eczema, and psoriasis. You skin reflects your mind and body’s overall health; that is why a relaxed mind contributes greatly to having a glowing complexion.

You can help prevent wrinkles by using a moisturizer with sunscreen as part of your facial cleansing process every day. Sun damage plays a major role in causing wrinkles and fine lines on your face. Apply a daily moisturizer with sunscreen to help combat these negative effects.

No matter what type of skin you have, you still need a good moisturizer. It is important to keep skin hydrated even if it does not appear to be dry. Skipping proper hydration can cause dry and flaky skin, that will eventually culminate in wrinkles.

Make sure your lips are protected, as well. The winter air is normally very dry. If you don’t protect your lips with lip balm, they will become very painful and dry.

Minimize the amount of stress you experience and learn to relax. Stress is bad for health overall, and it has negative affects on the skin. Your complexion can get cleared up if you take steps to eliminate stress. If you feel good about your skin, you will feel better about life in general.

If you suffer from facial inflammation and huge pores, eat watercress. Watercress will also help minimize pore size as well as many other positive health effects. Not only will it be a positive for your skin, it is loaded with iron and antioxidants that keep you healthy.

Be certain that you do not wear damp socks or mittens. These can easily irritate your skin and can cause itching, cracking or eczema.

If your are bothered by chapped lips, you can easily create your own lip balm at home. Just mix together honey, sour cream and cucumber. After it is ready, leave it on your lips for about 15 minutes. Use warm water to rinse, then use almond oil to seal in moisture.

With sensitive skin, you will want to avoid use of shower or bath scrubs to exfoliate. Use an organic cloth to lightly rub down your body after you get out of a warm bath or shower. This will get rid of dead skin cells while preventing your skin from getting irritated by harsh ingredients or particles from the scrubs.

To get healthy skin, drink plenty of water every day. Beauty comes from within, in a medical sense as well as a metaphorical one, because getting enough water keeps any number of body systems that contribute to your skin’s appearance running smoothly. Aim for around 8 glasses each day to maintain proper hydration and smooth, glowing skin.

You will be better looking and more healthy when you care for your skin in the right way. The key to beautiful skin is consistency and patience. It is essential to develop a daily skin regimen. Use this article’s advice, as well as any other strategies you might come across. As you continue using these techniques, you may be able to reverse some of the signs of aging.

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