Sexual Health & Wellness Archives - SKYN

The sex industry is as old as human civilization. From the ancient cities of Babylon and Mesopotamian empire to the present day, this is an industry that hasn’t show any signs of slowing down. The industry which is usually associated as a speakeasy and not a highly spoken of one is widespread with an increase in globalization and has become increasingly common. The distinct divide in income and employment opportunities between the classes also influences the industry where some portions of the society have an ever-growing disposable income while others struggle to make ends meet.

This created a market where individuals would provide service in return for money to supplement their income while others had the money to pay for their services. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the growing demand for sex work coincides with the growth in global numbers of human trafficking. Men and women are coerced into this profession, and there is no concern for their emotional, mental, and physical wellbeing. This shows that the view of the world towards the global sex industry is that of a complacent one, rather than something seen as a softer concern filled industry.

The world governments’ stance on this topic certainly isn’t helping. Many cases of atrocities against sex workers have been brushed aside as a mere occupational hazard. This form of unregulated labor is bound to breed power abuse by those who control and run the business. The middlemen connecting the worker to the client often enforce deplorable living conditions on the individual. This is not just limited to developing or underdeveloped countries, it extends well into the global economic powerhouses, and it’s a tale as old as time. Many people still view sex work as not a dignified work status to have, and this shows that a drastic mindset shift is needed in order to work towards the economic, social & mental well-being of those involved.

Current day sex industry & the role of technology

The internet has definitely got the world on one tabletop, easily reachable platform, where anything and everything can be accessed from any and every part of the world. The same is valid for sex work. While it has provided sex workers the freedom to choose their clientele, perform checks and screening before reaching an agreement, it has also separated and isolated them. Of course, technology has provided a platform for secretive dealing, working from private addresses and avoiding legal actions but it has also brought about the end of the traditional form of solidarity which often protected the health and safety of the community. Given the nature of the work, the participants are always at a risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections (STI), which brings us to the next point of the discussion: What role does sex work play in the spread of STIs?

The correlation between sex work & spread of STIs

Multiple studies suggest that sex work isn’t central to the spread of STDs and STIs. There is no direct causation or correlation for that matter, between the spread of STIs and sex work. In most first-world countries, where appropriate health care is available, the rate of contracting STDs among sex workers is significantly less, compared to regions where access to safe sex is complicated. There is a need for localized and region-specific intervention to complement generalized intervention methods. Governments and research groups need to work with those involved in understanding the intricacies involving health risks particular to that specific region, gather feedback, and adopt effective measures accordingly.

Rehabilitation and not a stigma-driven intervention is the answer

For long, sex work has been stigmatized and demonized, which has done more harm than good. Multiple interventions have solidified the idea that sex work inherently helps spread diseases, without understanding the geological nuances. The need of the hour is rehabilitation programs that promote the mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing of the workers. The focus should be on making health care affordable and resources readily accessible, rather than drawing conclusions based on prejudiced social understanding. Based on successful intervention campaigns run by organizations and research groups across the world, it is clear that sustained and targeted intervention is instrumental in reducing the risk of STIs and promote mental and physical wellbeing of those involved. Health care services like frequent risk assessment tests, checkup routines, regular screening tests as well as access to contraceptive devices and safety resources, and therapy sessions could aid in that effort.

All in all, a holistic, and not a one-time approach is the way to go forward with the economics, social and mental well-being of those involved

Couples having relationship issues and seeking counsel often cite a lack of intimacy as a primary reason for their conflict. And persistent irritation during lovemaking is one of the prime factors deterring physical intimacy. Hence, choosing the right lubricant is the secret to #saveintimacy and longer-lasting, pleasurable lovemaking. More often than not discomfort caused during sex is the predominant factor in intimacy issues. Popular opinion dictates that only older women suffer from vaginal dryness. The truth couldn’t be any further. There are quite a few reasons for that. A few of the most common causes include stress and anxiety, medical conditions like diabetes, contraceptive pills and other medication, hormonal changes and of course lack of arousal due to non-existent or minimal foreplay.

Lubricants can be used for self-pleasure and during foreplay in combination with toys for a more pleasurable experience. With a plethora of options available in the market, it is understandably difficult to choose a suitable lube. There are 4 different variations of lube to choose from- water-based, oil-based, silicone-based and petroleum-based. Each of them provides a certain set of advantages measured against their very own shortcomings. As far as the question of choosing the right kind of lube is concerned, it depends on the scenario and the situation.

Here is a breakdown of the pros and cons of the different types of lubes and to help you better understand when and how they can be used:

Water based lubricants

The most popular product in the category owing to the price point and also because they suit all skin types. Although glycerin and Parabens in some water-based lubricants might cause skin irritation (Always read the warning labels and ingredients before making the purchase). Apart from being inexpensive, water-based lubricants are easy to wash off and don’t leave stains behind. They can be used with contraceptive devices like condoms and also with toys.

 

Coming to the cons, since these lubes are water-based, they tend to evaporate faster than the others, hence need to be reapplied frequently. While often considered a benefit, water-based lubes wash away easily, hence not a great fit if you’re planning for an intimate session in the shower.

 

When to use: The water-based lubricants are perfect for casual lovemaking and can be used with latex condoms and toys. If your planned activities involve water then it’s better to use another kind of lubricant.

Silicone-based lubricants

These lubricants last longer and are more slippery than water or oil-based lubes, thus making the experience even more pleasurable. Unlike oil-based lubes, they are safe to use with latex condoms. Silicon-based lube neither evaporates nor washes away easily like water-based lube and hence don’t require frequent application. They can be used in situations involving water. While most of the silicone-based lubes are free of glycerin (and glycol), it is advised you check the label before buying the product(s).

Silicone lubes should be completely avoided while using silicone-based toys as they can use irreplaceable damage. This lube also tends to leave a sticky mess which is difficult to get rid of even after a shower. When to use: These lubes are a good pick for any water-based experience as they don’t wash away or evaporate easily. Due to the slippery texture, they are great for foreplay and arousal.

Silicone & Water Hybrid Massage Gel

Petroleum and Oil-based lubricants are generally not compatible for safe use with condoms and can have an interaction with latex which breaks down its structural integrity. Therefore, SKYN® brand does not manufacture or market any petroleum or oil-based lubricant.

Save Intimacy is your guide to exploring barriers to intimacy. With devices an everyday presence in our lives, we set out to question our habits and examine the relationships between technology, personal connection and intimacy.

Inspired by SKYNFEEL®, our technology that’s designed to bring you closer together, we’re giving you the chance to get back in touch with intimacy. Join SKYNFEEL® here to enter the draw to win a boutique hotel stay – we’re giving away one £500 Mr. and Mrs. Smith gift card each week for 10 weeks.

The distractions inside our devices – social media, videos, games – have a social effect. Online communication is taking over from offline socialising, and the time we do spend with people IRL is often disrupted by the pull of a thin rectangle flashing on the table or vibrating in our pockets. The effects of this phenomenon may be altering more than the amount of time you spend face-to-face with your partner: research supports the idea that it’s also generating neurological effects. So can intimacy keep up with what technology is doing to our brains? And what can we do if it can’t?

What dopamine means

Any discussion about screen-based stimulus and its effects will inevitably mention dopamine. It’s the neurotransmitter we are most likely to know about (British clinical psychologist Vaughan Bell once described it as “the Kim Kardashian of molecules”), but it’s also one we’re likely to misunderstand. We think of dopamine as the chemical that generates sensations of ‘liking’ something. But as this study notes, “dopamine just sometimes looks like it causes pleasure – but it does not after all”. Instead, it causes “incentive salience to be attributed to reward stimuli”. In plain language: it makes us seek out pleasurable things rather than creating the pleasure itself. It’s this impulse that keeps us refreshing our email and checking our phones dozens of times a day. Our brains have been trained to chase the pleasure of a friend request or a message from a lover, and they’ll keep on looking for the notification even when it’s not there. What’s worse, some developers actively exploit this behaviour. Loot box mechanics in games are a good example of how our attention gets hacked in this way.

Distracted to death

This constant distraction can have an adverse affect on our relationships – the phone that’s literally between us can also be between us figuratively. Social media platforms whose stated common goal is to foster connection between people may be generating the opposite effect. As a 2013 study notes: “Rather than enhancing wellbeing, as frequent interactions with supportive ‘offline’ social networks powerfully do, the current findings demonstrate that interacting with Facebook may predict the opposite result for young adults – it may undermine it.” Then there are claims that internet use can depress our immune systems, mess with our sleep and even create symptoms akin to obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Is it all bad news?

Not at all. A UCLA study demonstrated that internet use can “enhance brain function and cognition”. Gaming – which parents everywhere think is rotting their kids’ brains – has been shown to increase the speed with which people “shift their visual focus between various images and tasks”. These adaptations happen because of the brain’s neuroplasticity – its ability to change and rewire itself.

The power of touch

As with so many things, the solution to balancing the advantages and disadvantages of the online world is kind of boring: exercising moderation and mindfulness. But there’s one way to reclaim your brain’s sensation of intimacy that’s a lot more primal: touch. A study published in Frontiers in Behavioural Neuroscience describes an experiment in which romantic couples were placed in a room and asked to describe four intense emotional experiences (both happy and sad) they had shared with each other. While they described these experiences, they were physically separate and hidden from each other via partitions. Their ‘empathy state’ was measured by behavioral and physiological variables (respiration, pulse, variation in the electrical properties of their skin). When they recounted the same experiences but were able to touch each other’s hands and forearms through the partitions, the subjects felt deeper emotional intensity and feelings of coupling with their partner. The researchers concluded that “touch can bring romantic partners ‘viscerally’ closer, thereby increasing intimacy and providing a remarkable medium for partner support”.So next time you feel like your phone is keeping you apart from someone, maybe the best thing to do is literally reach out and touch them.

Save Intimacy

Inspired by SKYNFEEL®, our technology that’s designed to bring you closer together, we’re giving you the chance to get back in touch with intimacy. Join SKYNFEEL® here to enter the draw to win a boutique hotel stay – we’re giving away one £500 Mr. and Mrs. Smith gift card each week for 10 weeks.

The secret to a healthy relationship is understanding the boundaries of physical intimacy and respecting them. Practicing safe sex is not something a couple should need to compromise on; in fact, it is a prerequisite for an intimate relationship. Whether you’re committed in a long term relationship or going out casually, intimacy can trigger an avalanche of emotions which for the most part strengthens the bond, but often it can spiral out of hand. It is, therefore, of utmost importance to feel confident and ready before taking your relationship to the next level.

It is a common misconception that safety measures are a hindrance to intimacy. The facts point to the contrary. Peak pleasure can only be attained when both the partners are comfortable with each other. As a rule of thumb, you should neither try something you’re not sure about nor force your partner. Safety precautions thus foster an environment where you can trust each other and enjoy a memorable experience.

Communication is the key

For a relationship to flourish, open and honest communication is essential. Make your partner feel comfortable when they are with you. Being vulnerable and opening up to each other isn’t a weakness; instead, it peels off the deeper layers of your relationship. It is all right to share your feelings, even if it means talking about your fears, anxiety, unease, and emotional baggage. Be a good listener when your partner is sharing their feelings and open up when it’s your turn. It takes patience but ultimately, it will pay off when your relationship blossoms into something beautiful. Sometimes you need to talk about issues that some might consider difficult, like undergoing a diagnostic test for STIs, which brings us to the next talking point- the role of safety in intimacy.

Safety in intimacy is the sign of a healthy relationship

Mutual respect is a critical component of a sustainable relationship. If your partner wants both of you to get tested for STIs and STDs, then it’s a good idea to go through with the decision. Often misinterpreted as a question on trust, safety breeds a higher level of trust and faith in a relationship. Encourage conversations about safe and pleasurable intimacy practices and birth control options.

Setting Boundaries is important

A healthy relationship is where your partner understands and respects your decisions and gives you the space you deserve. It is pertinent to set boundaries and limitations to intimacy from the onset of a relationship. While it might come across as unromantic, it promotes a healthy relationship by formulating do’s and don’ts which come in handy for expectation management and avoiding potential flare-ups.

Be honest to yourself and your partner

Most people go through life pretending to be someone they are not, to fit into the archetype which societal norms dictate. In a relationship, however, it can be disastrous. If you don’t express your needs, wants, and expectations, you’re setting yourself and your partner up for failure. Break the mold and let your partner see the real you. The most robust relationships are always built on unabashed honesty, with no fear of judgment.