Dear Ty

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Dear Di,

My partner and I have been sexually involved for quite some time now. We love being adventurous in bed, and recently we’ve decided to explore S&M. The topic of S&M came up at a dinner party we recently went to, and our friends were very harsh about people who engage in inflicting pain and humiliation for pleasure. Needless to say, we didn’t reveal our own experiences, but we were still hurt by the conversation. How can we explain S&M to our friends so that they understand it like we do?

-S&M Desires

Dear SMD,

I’m sorry to hear your friends’ conversation hurt you. Unfortunately, it’s very common for people to speak severely about things that seem foreign or unknown to them, especially when it comes to sex. In all likelihood it may just be a way to deflect their own desires since, statistically speaking, a big chunk of the population have engaged in or fantasized about sadomasochism (S&M) in one form or other.

After all, a 2014 study by the University of Quebec at Trois-Rivières found that as many as 64.6 per cent of their female respondents and 53.3 per cent of their male subjects have fantasized about being dominated sexually (i.e. being tied up, being spanked, etc).

Still, despite these numbers, most people continue to misunderstand S&M because it’s been pathologized in our society—to this day it remains categorized as a paraphilic disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel of Mental Disorders.

This isn’t helped by the fact that when we say S&M many people immediately picture bondage, whips, and hand cuffs. But in truth, many of us regularly engage in light forms of S&M during mainstream sexual play. This includes activities like lightly biting your partner, pulling their hair, spanking, and pinning your partner down.

The best way to explain S&M to your friends is to demystify the misconceptions surrounding it. Explain that this brand of sexual proclivity falls on a spectrum and that many of us already partake in some form of it on the low end of this scale. And if you feel comfortable, you could explain your own experiences with S&M and how it has positively contributed to your sex life.    



Dear Di,

I’ve always been interested in dripping wax on my girlfriend, but is it safe? Should we be worried about causing damage, and are there areas we should avoid?

-Playful or Painful

Dear POP,

Wax play can be a tremendously erotic addition to your sexual repertoire. But you should be mindful of how you’re using wax in your sexual adventures, as it can cause serious burns!

Thankfully, there are a number of different types of wax you can use which can ensure your fun stays playful and not painful.

Some sex shops carry massage candles that have a lower melting point. The lower the melting point of the wax, the less of a chance you’ll have of harming your partner. Generally, soft wax has a lower melting point, while candles that are coloured, perfumed, or contain stearic acid have high melting points and may cause skin irritation.

Avoid beeswax as well, since its melting point is 145°F. Try sticking to 125°F or below to avoid any waxy mishaps. You can always test a bit of the wax on yourself before you drip it on your partner.

Make sure you hold the wax up from a decent distance to allow it to cool a bit before it hits your partner’s skin. Around 18 inches away from their skin is usually ideal.

And yes, there are areas on the body you should avoid. These include the face, genitals, nipples, and navel, as these are extremely delicate areas.    

Remember that communication is critical for safe wax play. Talk to your partner before you start and establish limits and rules (e.g. where you or your partner would like the wax) and pay attention to their non-verbal communication as you engage in wax play.

As long as you take these necessary precautions, wax play can be extremely erotic and fun.



Historical facts about Valentine’s Day

1. Valentine’s Day is believed to have originated with a third century Roman priest named Valentine, who, against the wishes of Emperor Claudius II, secretly married couples before the men went off to war. For this, he was jailed and executed.   

2. In 1537, King Henry VII of England declared Feb. 14 the holiday of St. Valentine’s Day.

3. In the 1800s,  chocolate was prescribed by physicians as a way of getting over lost love.