Long Island Institute of Sex Therapy (LIIST)

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Getting Kinky in Quarantine

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by Sara Rosen, LMSW, MEd

While the global pandemic continues to grow and physical distancing measures remain, relationships across the globe are redefining what intimacy looks like for them, and so is the kink community. As distancing mandates evolved, kinksters across the globe watched as all of their conferences and meetings were understandably canceled. While major kink conferences like Portland’s kink fest are issuing refunds for canceled events, kinksters are left wondering how to connect with their communities while practicing safe social distancing. A draw to the community, for many, is the freedom to have a safe space to be their authentic selves. Being isolated from one of your supportive communities while managing the uncertainty of life in a global pandemic, can have devastating impacts on mental health.

Get creative

Luckily, Kinksters all over the globe have created both public and private virtual play parties and experiences of all kinds.

A good time to explore

If you’ve been curious but haven’t explored, now is a great time to get involved in and learn about the kink world! As virtual play parties and workshops gain more traction, there are many social distance friendly options to explore. This is an excellent time for those who have been interested in trying out alternative sexual play but have felt shy about physically attending a meetup. Virtual play parties mimic real-life play parties in that there is a well-established community that prioritizes consent. New attendees have the opportunity to learn the rules, “the ropes,” and the many experiences available to them at any type of kink/fetish play party. Attending a kink play party from your own home could be an easy way to get an introduction into a new community and sexual play.

Logging in

For those looking to attend a virtual event, here’s how it works: typically individuals and couples are given a Zoom code, where they are able to log into a protected and discreet chat room. Some parties mandate each participant to keep their cameras on in order to reduce the risk of uninvited voyeurs, but rules may vary between meetups. Virtual kink parties can reflect in-person parties in that they start out by getting to know one another and then ease into play. 

Where to find some virtual meetups

One organization that started the wave of virtual kink parties is the well known “Killing Kittens” group. Killing Kittens is a website and meet up for kink and fetish parties, with an emphasis on female pleasure. Killing Kittens hosts events, workshops, and play parties under the premise of sexually liberated women and couples. Killing Kittens continues to host a series of virtual parties and workshops to keep kinksters entertained and engaged in the community while practicing social distancing. If you’re looking for the closest thing to a meet up right now, I highly suggest checking out one of the many virtual kink meetups out there! If you already have friends and partners in the community, think about hosting your own virtual party. 

Play & learn on your own at home

If virtual sex parties aren’t your cup of tea, there are plenty of other ways to get kinky while physically distancing. Being cooped up makes for a perfect time to extend your kink world and learn new skills. You can attend an online lecture style workshop or watch live demonstrations. Pagans Paradise, on Eventbrite, hosts yoni massage live streams, interactive naked home workouts, and other “quarantine edition” classes and parties. Lady Euphoria of NYC facilitates an online workshop on alternative bondage, where she teaches viewers how to utilize household items as restraints. Sex ed Ashely on Eventbrite provides free webinars on BDSM, play parties, and dungeons. You can find a plethora of kink/fetish workshops, classes, and parties on sites like Eventbrite and Fetlife. If you’re looking for something more private, a virtual coaching session with Mistress Couple, author of The Ultimate Guide to Bondage, might be just what you’ve been looking for.

Looking for anonymity?

If you want to try something that might feel a little more anonymous, try connecting with like-minded, sex-positive people on Reddit. Reddit Gone Wild (subreddit r/gonewild) is a platform for individuals and couples to post their own homemade pictures and videos.  If you want to dip your toe into the virtual kink world, try posting an anonymous sexy pic, and see how it feels for you! Reddit has numerous forums for open-minded sex-positive people to connect without having to publicly identify themselves.

Toys!

Maybe you want to stay off the computer entirely. Try ordering some new toys to use whether you’re physically distancing solo or with a partner(s). Check out Kinky Toy Store for a range of toys and gear that will arrive discreetly at your doorstep. Kinky Toy Store sells everything from vibrators and lube, to fucking machines and cock cages. Whether you’re a newbie or a veteran, browsing the options and talking about what piques your interest could be a really fun way to get the conversation started with a partner!

Dating apps

Even though we can’t go out and meet new partners in person just yet, you can still match with and meet new like-minded kinky people. Feeld is a dating app for ethical non-monogamists and kinksters alike. The app currently has a “quarantine core” option for connecting with kinksters who are physically distancing. When creating an account, Feeld gives you an upgrade option that allows you to keep your profile private from social media acquaintances, so you can feel comfortable knowing that you won’t run into your co-workers (unless of course, that’s your kink). 

Have fun

Being kinky doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be hanging from the ceiling spread eagle in a rubber suit. There are plenty of ways to explore kinks and fetishes while also being safe and practicing social distancing. These are just a few ideas on how you can physically distance and enhance that spark. I encourage you to get creative and kinky!

Therapy by Phone or Video Chat [Can Suck]. Here’s How to Make It Better.

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LIIST has been providing video therapy for years. We do still think in-person sessions are best because we believe we can better attune with our clients. This pandemic has encouraged all of our sessions to move to video. So far, we are very happy with the results.

person holding MacBook in car with black interior
person holding MacBook in car with black interior

Our greatest concern for the feasibility of online sessions was with regard to couples. In our sessions with couples, we have figured out some great workarounds. One of our favorite new techniques is to have each partner participate from separate devices in separate parts of a home. Interestingly, we are finding that couples are doing a better job of turn-taking in conversations during these video therapy sessions!

This article in Vice by Caitlin Flynn outlines more ideas for continuing to ensure you’re getting the most out of your video therapy sessions.

Looking for some support?

If you would like some support for your relationship, or your sex life, feel free to reach out to us. LIIST has an outstanding team of therapists. We specialize in helping individuals, couples and relationships navigate difficult times.

Better sex in quarantine

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Here on Long Island, most of us are home. We are either without work at the moment or working from home. Others are essential and life-saving personnel going to work in this heavy moment in time. For now, this post will be for those who are staying at home for this quarantine.

You have all this time on your hands. No what?

When thinking about sex, lots of time is a great thing. Many people are often rushing through sex because life has its own schedules to be managed. Right now, you can have sex like you’re on a vacation! (No, this is not a vacation, it’s a pandemic and we are existing with way more anxiety than usual. Sex also helps reduce anxiety and increase our sense of connection during this time of social isolation.)

two people holding each others hands
two people holding each others hands

Start by using your hands!

Great sex often starts with some wonderful sensual touch. You can start by suggesting you play with your partner’s hair, massage their feet, or caress their hands. This could be especially nice for those who have a heightened anxiety level right now. People often hold a lot of tension in their bodies, and loving caresses might help relieve some of that embodied stress.

Giving a great hand massage

Here’s an idea for how to give a great hand massage.

  1. Ask your partner. “Could I play with your hand for a bit?” If they say yes, then proceed. If they say no, respect that decision and maybe ask them if there is another way they would like to connect with you or if they would be open to playing later.
  2. Oil up! Hand lotion could be useful here. Massage oil and coconut oil are also good options. Start with a small amount, you can always add more later. Cover your hands in the oil first and then place a bit more in your hands as you get ready to massage your partner’s hand.
  3. Gently place your partner’s right hand on their lap. Cup your partner’s right hand between both of your hands. Hold their hand between yours for a few moments (slowly count to 5).
  4. Turn their hand parallel to the ground and start by massaging their wrist. Using your thumbs to apply pressure is a good option.
  5. Check in about the pressure of your touch, “you good?” “would you like me to go softer?” Add more oil as needed.
  6. Move up from the wrist to the back of their hand. Feel the space between each extension of the finger in the back of the hand.
  7. Slowly count to 10 for each space you massage.
  8. Turn their hand over, so the palm of their hand is facing you. Now, massage the palm of their hand. Start with the base of their palm, the space closer to their wrist, then the space near along the base of the thumb, then the space between each extension of the finger into the hand.
  9. Check back in every once in a while with either “is this good?” or gazing into their eyes for non-verbal confirmation.
  10. Next, you’ll go finger by finger, starting with the pinky and moving toward the thumb. As you move up each finger, apply a bit more pressure at the tip of the finger as you let go.
  11. Go slowly. Count to 10 for each finger.
  12. Move their left hand to their lap. Pick up their right hand. Repeat steps 4 through 11.
  13. Pick up both hands and cup them between yours. Slowly count to 5.
  14. Consider giving each hand a little kiss and lovingly gazing into your partner’s eyes as you end your great hand massage.

You can do this for any other part of the body.

Take what you’ve learned about giving a great hand massage and apply it to other areas of each other’s bodies. If you want to play with massaging each other’s full bodies, start with the feet and move up the body to the head. At first, consider avoiding breasts and genitals or other erogenous zones. If you want to play with greater levels of sexual energy, try teasing erogenous areas but not purposefully stimulating them for the purpose of orgasm.

Take your time.

You have lots of time, right? So there’s no rush to have intercourse or reach orgasm. If you really really want to, that’s great. Enjoy this sensation, play with it, tease it, fantasize with your partner about what you’d like to do with them.

A simple trick for talking dirty.

Try this out: “I can’t wait to ____ your ___ until ____.”

Not sure what your or your partner would be in to?

At LIIST, we use this wonderful worksheet from Autostraddle.

The way we use it:

  • On your own, fill out the bubbles on pages 1 and 2
  • Get together and compare notes, using page 7 to help you learn about what you are both in to and how to team up to accomplish your dreams!

Curious about adding in a toy?

If you already have some toys to play with, now might be a great time to enjoy them again. Perhaps you could come up with new ways of incorporating a familiar toy into your play. If you’re looking for some ideas, you can find a list of our favorite toys here as an Instagram story. If you’d like a custom toy recommendation, feel free to reach out to either Sara Rosen or me, Dr. Torrisi, for a bespoke curation of toys. We also have an exclusive discount list for some of the most popular toys at LIIST.

Enjoy!

Enjoy this time together. If you’d like some more personalized support for your relationship or your sex life, feel free to reach out to us. LIIST has an outstanding team of therapists who specialize in helping individuals, couples and relationships navigate difficult times.

Check out other posts for more info.

I will write another post for those who are still working away from home right now.

If you don’t have a partner (or would rather do something on your own first), check back later for another post about solo sensual play.

It’s okay to break up with someone right now

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Dr. Torrisi was interviewed for this article in Vice by Hannah Smothers.

“[Dr. Torrisi], a certified sex therapist based in New York, told VICE that this moment is essentially a compatibility test for a lot of couples, old and new. The coronavirus pandemic is going to reveal not just how they respond to this specificsituation, but also how they might deal with other rough life moments. “Being in a high-stress moment for a long period of time in a relationship… that’s gonna happen,” Torrisi said. “Whether it’s COVID[-19], or someone getting really sick, losing money, or losing a job, there’s a million ways that you will be stressed in a long-term relationship. This is one of those moments.”

How to Tell Your Partner You Want to Go to Couples Therapy

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Dr. Torrisi is quoted in this Vice article with some great advice about bringing up this important conversation and what to do if you partner is resistant.

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