The Crush Letter No 75

The Crush Letter No 75

. 16 min read

I'm Dish and I write a weekly newsletter about life after 40. Because it's so much hotter than they said it would be.  Hell yes, sign me up for the Dish.

Hello Crush,

I can't believe that summer is nearing an end. I'm not ready to roll into Fall (as lovely as you are, September). You?

Speaking of September, we will be publishing another round of reports from the PrimeCrush Toy Testers Project starting after Labor Day. At the start of the summer we sent a second round of sex toys out to our CRUSH volunteers in order to get their honest, unbiased reviews to share with all of you. We got so much great feedback on how helpful the first round of PrimeCrush Toy Tester Reports were and so much of the sex toy industry is targeted at younger consumers, so honestly if we don't check these things out for ourselves who will? It's up to us, Crush.

In today's CRUSH Letter we are sharing a new report about your favorite sex positions. Remember we took an anonymous poll a few weeks ago? I don't know whether this is a weird thing or not, but I don't necessarily want to ask (or know) what my friends specifically do or like or want in bed. Yet I am curious about what other people, particularly my peer group, do, like or want generally. It's fun, it's interesting and it's insight into the most unknowable, private parts of ourselves. Sometimes you even get some good ideas. So thanks for participating, Crush.

To gear up for a new round of PrimeCrush Toy Tester Reports, I am resharing a couple of past reports (for the CRUSH Readers who are newer - welcome!). I do not publish our Toy Tester Reports publicly - these are my way of saying thanks to you for being a subscriber. Enjoy!

Take Me Now. A New Anonymous Poll. I'd love to hear how you feel about affection. Not affection as foreplay to sex but affection as its own thing. Do you think it's wonderful? Or can you take it or leave it? How important is it to you that your partner is affectionate?


If you're new here (welcome!), I'm Dish, the Master of Ceremonies. For more about me and why we're here go here.


In This Letter.  +The Sex Position Report. By Dish Stanley  PrimeCrush Readers took our poll asking about their favorite sex positions "I really gravitate toward her legs between mine ..."  +Everything's Better Wetter. A Few Words on Lube. By Dish Stanley  It makes everything feel smoother and more intense.   +PrimeCrush Toy Tester Reports. We Read Tracey Cox's Great Sex Starts at 50 and Here's What We Thought. A practical resource for anyone who wonders how the changes in their own--or their partner's–bodies may affect the emotions or mechanics of sex   +We Tried Foria Awaken Arousal Oil With CBD and Here's What We Thought. I recommend Awaken to anyone who enjoys CBD products  +Our Song of the Week I carry you inside me, to the root


The Sex Position Report.  By Dish Stanley

In a recent poll we asked CRUSH Readers to share their favorite sex position. STAND Up, Missionary. We see you. A lot of Readers candidly admitted that "it might sound p.v. {plain vanila}" but they love it as a staple. “Intense eye contact” was the most frequent reason given for the love of missionary.

Here’s what else learned.

  • “I really gravitate towards her legs between mine in both a missionary position and doggie. Love being pressed against each other.
  • “All of them”
  • “From behind is my favorite. Hits all the right spots and allows hands to roam around for more.”
  • “The best 69 ever for me was standing, he was holding me upside down, securing my legs on his shoulders and I was controlling my movements with my arms around his waist”
  • “Tied, held and fucked. This better be anonymous!”
  • “Missionary is still the best “standard” for me, but you can’t rule out a good old-fashioned doggystyle.
  • I’m proudly Plain Vanilla! Missionary with intense eye contact, me (I’m a woman) on top so I can position things for maximum stimulation.”
  • “Reverse cowgirl”
  • “I love missionary but with my legs outside of hers. The pressure against her clit while I'm thrusting and our bodies close together make it so hot.”
  • “Cowgirl all the way”
  • “Lotus.”

Everything’s Better Wetter: A Few Words About Lube! By Dish Stanley

Lube is a Toy Box favorite, but make sure to check the ingredients. The same standards for clean products that have had widespread adoption in other parts of the health & wellness industries are not as prevalent in the intimacy products market.

Here's why I love lube, plus a few things everyone should consider when considering getting lubed up.

Wetter Is Better (or Why Lube Is Liquid Magic).  Lube is like a liquefied Silk Sonic song as far as I'm concerned. It turns me on. It makes everything feel smoother, more intense and like we're leaning into something exciting.  One of my best friends is adamant about only one thing when it comes to sex.  (She's a fluid sort.) It’s better, and she has more orgasms, with lube than without it. Why? It’s silky and soothing, it’s fun, it can become part of a foreplay ritual (eg, a hand job that glides smoothly while applying the desired pressure), it can allow you to have sex longer (if you want!), and if you use it every single time it eliminates not only dryness but also (even more importantly) anxiety about potential dryness. Because even if you are naturally well-lubricated, some day-to-day variation is inevitable.

Here's what one PrimeCrush Toy Tester said about trying some of the lubes we sent her:

“I’m wet enough that I didn’t think I *had* to have it. But the sex was wetter. Wetter is always better when it comes to sex. We’ll definitely keep using it.”

What’s In the Lube Matters. Some people aren’t particular about what lube they use - whether it is silicone-based, water-based or oil-based (though you don’t want to use most oil-based lubes with most toys because it degrades latex). They don’t notice or care about feel, consistency, smell, packaging.

I have become more particular.  That’s because the more I learn about lubes, the more I realize that the “clean” movement that has spread through much of health and wellness-focused products has not extended as deeply into to sex products. There is toxic shit in a lot of lubes.  I try to avoid additives and chemicals in my food and other body/cleaning products, and I sure as hell don’t want them in my vagina.

I started taking the ingredients in lube seriously a couple years ago after trying a major brand’s “Organix” lube in a pinch and ending up with a yeast infection two days later. My doctor pointed out that many lubes contain forms of sugar, like glycerin. Sugars are a food source for microbes, particularly yeast. I checked the label on that lube and sure enough, it had “Xanthan Gum” in it, which I looked up and it’s essentially sugar. So the lube was “all natural” but not healthy. That’s not sweet.

Now I check all ingredients, or go without my beloved lube.

What do I look for in a lube? I like brands that use products that are formulated to be consistent with a woman’s natural pH. I like aloe (it’s soothing), and prefer water-based. I like to see “organic ingredients,” “unflavored” and “unscented” in the description, also “safe for toys and condoms”.

What ingredients do I avoid? Anything on this list: DEA, gluten, glycerin, glycol, parabens, propylene, sorbitol, hormones and sulfates. To learn more about lube ingredients, here is an article from SELF magazine with more detailed information. I can’t do a better job on it myself: 6 Lube Ingredients You Might Not Want to Put In Your Vagina.

So, lube up! But for you and your partner’s sake, check the label first.

Watch a young Bette Davis utter one of her most famous lines here.

PrimeCrush Toy Tester Reviews.

We Read Tracey Cox's Great Sex Starts at 50 and Here's What We Thought. By Dish Stanley


After writing in The Crush Letter No. 31 about the medical doctor who organized a retreat for five long-married couples from the midwest in Field Trip: What Five Midlife Couples Learned on One Powerful Week End Away With A Sex & Relationship Therapist, Crush Readers started asking for recommendations on sex products and toys.  I got a lot of notes like this one:

"I really like learning about sex products and experiences because it is out of my comfort zone, but reading about it in The Crush Letter makes me think that maybe it shouldn't be."

So we asked for volunteers among our community, and the long and short of it is that your fellow CRUSH Readers have been testing (and testing) the items in their first PrimeCrush Toy Box.  We thought we'd start with first things first, so we included a book about how great sex in midlife can be, Great Sex Starts at 50 by Tracey Cox.

Equal parts celebration, empowerment, and how-to, Great Sex is a practical resource for anyone who wonders how the changes in their own--or their partner's–bodies may affect the emotions or mechanics of sex.  It is much more than that, as Cox approaches sex as psychophysiological, meaning she explores the ways that your mind links to your sexual responses.  In writing about sex she takes an expansive view of what it is and includes non-penetrative, non-orgasmic touching and play.  Cox focuses on the health benefits of regular sex (solo or partnered).  She addresses the practicalities (and upsides!) of having sex with the same partner over many years, as well as the significance that having sex (or not) has on relationships.  She offers guidance on how to approach difficult conversations because, according to Cox's research, the couples who thrive sexually talk openly about sex.

The most shocking thing she discovered in couples over 50 was realizing how many couples post-50 have just stopped having sex and never talked about that fact, even among couples who otherwise communicate well and feel close and deeply in love. Some couples do decide not to have sex as part of their relationship and live perfectly happily, Cox points out, but if you are going to cut out such an important aspect of your relationship it is worth understanding why. If it isn't discussed, all sorts of inferences are often assumed, which themselves have an impact separate and apart from the physical. For instance, not feeling desired.  Which, by the way, is a major deal.

Did the PrimeCrush Toy Testers like Great Sex? Here's what they said:

Would you recommend Great Sex Starts at 50 to other PrimeCrush Readers?

5 out of 5 Toy Testers saidYes.”

Here are some of their specific comments on Great Sex.

What specifically was the most helpful?

The parts about how your bodies change - it is so important to be aware of not only your own (menopause in my case) but also what changes your partner’s body might be going through (in my case male); especially important because it is not like if he was aware he would necessarily feel comfortable sharing it. (He is shy and prone to embarrassment on such things.) I also read the parts about lube and sex toys. “Dawn”

For all the reviews from our Toy Testers go here.

We Tried Foria Awaken Arousal Oil With CBD and Here's What We Thought.  By Dish Stanley

In The Crush Letter No. 6, I wrote a short note titled Arousal Gel's, Baby about how I had suddenly seemingly all-at-once been bombarded with ads for women's arousal oils.  It turns out it was a good thing because now I like them. Arousal gels are sexual enhancers that aim to increase a woman's pleasure by intensifying sensitivity and creating a more powerful orgasm. I chose Foria's Awaken Arousal Oil for our Toy Tester Project because it has CBD in it, which increases blood flow, helps relax muscles and ease tension, and decreases anxiety or discomfort. I trust the Foria line of products - they are all organic and contain none of the ingredients (like glycerine) that cause problems (like yeast infections).  Also, as it happens, I've been told it tastes and feels good to your partner.

Pro Tip on amount: if you are trying an arousal gel for the first time, start with a small amount in case you're ultra-sensitive. It may mean that it takes a couple of tries before you get the full feeling and an understanding of your personal right "dosage" but it's worth it. We had one PrimeCrush Toy Tester who reported after her first trial that she didn't get much of a sensation, but when she tried it a second time with a slightly larger dose, she really enjoyed the feeling.  Also, note that the Awaken might take a few minutes to fully rev up (so plan accordingly).

Our Testers included those who used the Awaken alone, as well as with partners and included both women and men.

Did the PrimeCrush Toy Testers like Foria Awaken Arousal Oil with CBD? Here's what they said:

Would you recommend Foria's Awaken Arousal Oil to other PrimeCrush Readers?

5 out of 5 Toy Testers saidYes.”

Here are a couple of our Toy Testers' specific comments:

Foria's Awaken has a subtler taste and smell than the other arousal gels I've tried, and I preferred that, and I also love that it has CBD in it (to relax things). I saw that Foria makes a version with THC in it too, but don't feel I need that level of ooooomph. I think everyone should try it. "Roxy"

I do recommend Awaken to anyone who enjoys CBD products. If one is not a fan of chocolate and mint flavors, then maybe this isn’t for you. "Dixie"

Want to Share Anything More About the Experience for You?

I didn’t know what to expect as a solo. I was pleasantly surprised with the warm, tingly feeling and the silky, light formulation. It wasn’t at all sticky which is a win. The feeling lasted throughout and definitely escalated the moment. I find even the idea of it a bit thrilling. I also appreciate that it’s plant-based. I expect I’ll use Foria regularly. “Unknown”

I had never used anything with CBD nor arousal oil, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. It had a lovely smell. It wasn’t too slippery, the way some lubes can be. I applied a generous amount and waited. And waited. Nothing happened. I mentally shrugged, assuming that perhaps I had applied it incorrectly or hadn’t given it enough time. I tried it several times after and had the same experience. I had high hopes but didn’t experience heightened arousal from this lovely smelling oil. “Susie”

Full disclosure: I have been using this product and others from Foria since 2018. Awaken Arousal Oil and Sex Oil are a regular part of my life. In fact, life before them was much more stale and unfortunate - but that may have quite a bit to do with my current partner as well! To put it simply, Awaken draws the yes, yes, yes out of me (almost) every time. I don’t have a negative word to say about it, but I do hope Foria will experiment with more subtle flavors to add to the sublime chocolate mint. “Dixie”

It is subtle and I liked that. It was gentle, not overpowering. I think that maybe because it has CBD in it I thought it might be a more intense sensation. Don’t get me wrong, the gentleness is nice. There’s definitely something there. It is not an electrifying feeling, but like a gentle “lift”. I will keep trying it and maybe up the dosage to see how that feels. “Unkown”

Anything else you want to say?

Even though I was already familiar with this product, it was sexy fun for my partner and me to experience it as Toy Testers. We found a new level of communication as we played with all of the different products we were sent. “Dixie”

A big thank you to all our PrimeCrush Toy Testers. We know it's "hard" work but we count on you!

Social Media I Liked This Week.

Ain't it the truth.

Take Me Now! (A New Anonymous PrimeCrush Reader Poll).

We'd love to learn how important affection is to you. Not affection as foreplay to sex but affection as its own thing. Do you think it's wonderful? Or can you take it or leave it? How imporantant is it to you that your partner is affectionate?

Song of the Week

Hasta La Raiz By Natalia Lafourcade

I was introduced to Natalia Lafourcade by a close friend who is a serious student of and writer on popular music.  We will shall call him "J" for now because he is working on a great music project that he will be publishing soon and being anonymous works best for him at the moment. You may recall that he is the one who introduced us to the band Wet Legs late last winter and then, all of a sudden, weeks later they were featured in The New Yorker The Glorious Lightness of Wet Leg's Rock and after that all manner of pop culture outlets. He very confidently knows a good thing when he sees it, without regard to who else may or may not have recognized it (yet).

So I paid attention when he said "In my very narrow opinion, there are two great popular songs of the 2010s, 'Happy' by Pharrell Williams and “Hasta La Raíz” by Lafourcade. (You can see that her video of the song has over 275 million views, so I’m not alone.)"

Lafourcade is a Mexican singer songwriter who is a superstar south of the border. She released Hasta La Raíz, which means “To the Root” in 2015. Lafourcade speaks (and sings) in Spanish, but here is the translation of an interview with NPR:

{    }

Last week's Song of the Week was Come and Get Your Love by Redbone, a band formed by Mexican American brothers Pat and Lolly Vegas. Pat's explanation of the lyrics was "When we say 'Come and get your love, get it from the main vine,' that connects to Mother Earth." So I guess we're on a roll here because Lafourcade's Hasta La Raiz has a similar theme around what I'll call foundational love – love that starts at a primal source and then travels out.

In this NPR interview Lafourcade explains Hasta La Raiz as coming out of a conversation with a friend about the importance of keeping your roots and all the things that build you - your home, your friends, your family, your experiences. "You are still inside of me because I am keeping you ... I keep my mother, my father. I keep my lovers. I keep my experiences."

My family lived in Southern California when I was young, where Spanish was everybody's second language, there was a large population of native Spanish-speakers and driving down to Mexico for trips was common. Even though I am not conversant in Spanish, I love the sound of it and listen to a lot of Spanish music. I love the theme of this song and it has an extra layer for me from that early part of my life, which I keep with me.

Beyond the meaning, I find Hasta La Raiz mesmerizing and lush to listen to. The official video is artistic and symbolic and visually arresting. Watch/listen to it here.

 

If you can’t stand it and need more Natalia, try the NPR Tiny Desk Concert where she plays with the talented Los Macorinos here.

Here are the lyrics to “Hasta La Raíz” translated into English:

I keep crossing rivers,
Walking through forests,
Loving the sun
Every day I keep pulling thorns
From the depths of my heart
At night I keep igniting dreams
To clean every memory with sacred smoke

When I write your name
In the white sand with a blue background
When I look at the sky, in the cruel form of a grey cloud,
You appear
One evening, climb a high hill
Look at the past
You will know that I have not forgotten

I carry you inside me, to the root
And, that you may grow better, you will be here
Although I hide myself behind the mountain
And find a field full of sugar cane
There will be no way, my moonbeam,
For you to leave.I think that every instant survived while walking
And every second of uncertainty
Every moment of not knowing
Are the exact key to this tissue
That I always carry under my skin
In this way I protect you
Here, follow me inside
I carry you inside me, to the root
And, that you may grow better, you will be here
Although I hide myself behind the mountain
And find a field full of sugar cane
There will be no way, my moonbeam,
For you to leave

Thanks for being a CRUSH Reader. I carry you inside me, to the root.

Dish Stanley XO,
Dish

You Won't Want to Miss A Thing. Here Are Links to Some Favorites.

+AMPLIFY! The 12 Sex With Emily Podcast Episodes CRUSH Readers Should Get On Top Of. By Dish Stanley This series highlights the best episodes from our favorite podcasts. One of them is Sex With Emily hosted by Sex Expert Dr. Emily Morse.  Every one is worth a serious listen, but I have picked out the {12} invaluable episodes that CRUSH Readers who want to be good in bed really.can't.miss.

+‘5 Things’ That Turn Our Crush Readers On. By Dish Stanley Hello, Crush! What turns you on? I’m thrilled to introduce you to this new recurring column where we share five things that light our fire. I’m kicking it off with my list above – and I’d love to hear from you! (Yes, you!) If you’d like us to send you a template to fill out, it’s really easy and fun, please email me at dish@primecrush.com. (PS you can publish under your alias.)

+DEVOUR {things to do, watch, see & have} In our monthly DEVOUR column we share all the things we think you should eat up.  Here are some snacks from the last few months, but to get all of us, subscribe.






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