body · book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

A Curious History of Sex by Kate Lister (Review)

Greetings and salutations! Yesterday was valentines and we all know adults tend to bonk, but what’s it like now compared in history? Well, I was curious to read about it, and so I was very pleased to be offered the opportunity to be a part of this blog tour! A Curious History of Sex by Kate Lister was released on February 6th 2020 in Hardback and will be available on February 20th 2020 in eBook format. I was sent a copy of this book for review purposes.

I used to always think history was boring. Friends from other cultures helped me realise maybe that wasn’t the case. A friend with a pretty great history podcast made me realise one of the reasons I thought it was boring in the past was because of the way it was presented to me. Now, I’ve enjoyed the tid-bits from the Whores of Yore twitter account for a while. Witty yet informative, so I figured, without the character limit, in a book? That should be very interesting indeed. Plus it’s sex. The topic of sex always manages to induce some winks and giggles so I was pretty confident that this book would entertain, inform and be enjoyable.

Fannies, weenies, butts, boobies, a really dodgy looking oyster and some torturous looking objects, A Curious History of Sex comes with many historical photographs and illustrations to have a giggle at. I find myself feeling thankful for modern technology, but ultimately, our ancestors were just like we are currently in modern society. One thing hasn’t changed though it seems – people STILL shove random phallic shaped objects in places they’re not meant to go in search of the big O.

Yet, there were condom-type devices found, spanning back through history, even one in Tutankhamun’s tomb. It’s surprising that these very obvious and uncomfortable looking devices were used and yet people today seem reluctant to use them as they “affect sex” when they’re thinner than ever and made of much better materials. If men in history could wear sheaths made of intestines and other things, I can’t fathom why someone can’t cope with a condom that has been specifically design for the phallus. Just one of the many thought provoking things I came across while reading this book! Don’t get me started on their “pleasure devices”.. some look entirely terrifying!

I like to think I’m pretty “woke” on things these days, (woke, that’s the word the kids are using, right?) but looking back to how they were for our ancestors is amusing, entertaining and informative and gives me gratitude and insight for the modern day.

I’m pleased to say, A Curious History of Sex ticked all the right boxes. Innuendo unintended. Or was it? Engaging, witty and not a droll moment throughout. Of course, some parts interested me more than others, but it’s been a wholly fascinating experience. I think there is something that will interest anyone in this book, while also amusing. This is probably my favourite non-fiction read. Or it’s very high up there to say the least. I’ve read some great non-fiction books but I don’t think any top the balance of this one.

I absolutely love the way the information is put across and I wish all books on historical topics could be this entertaining. I mean, the topic being a (curious) history of sex can be considered entertaining in itself because “lols sex” but I think the author could make any topic as equally entertaining and interesting with her engaging writing and witty way of framing the content.

A fascinating read for sure, one that I would highly recommend.

About the Book

This is not a comprehensive study of every sexual quirk, kink and ritual across all
cultures throughout time, as that would entail writing an encyclopaedia.
Rather, this is a drop in the ocean, a paddle in the shallow end of sex
history, but I hope you will get pleasantly wet nonetheless.

The act of sex has not changed since people first worked out what went where, but the
ways in which society dictates how sex is culturally understood and performed
have varied significantly through the ages. Humans are the only creatures that
stigmatise particular sexual practices, and sex remains a deeply divisive issue
around the world. Attitudes will change and grow – hopefully for the better –
but sex will never be free of stigma or shame unless we acknowledge where it
has come from.

Drawing upon extensive research from Dr Kate Lister’s Whores
of Yore website and written with her distinctive humour and wit, A Curious
History of Sex
covers topics ranging from twentieth-century testicle thefts
to Victorian doctors massaging the pelvises of their female patients, from smutty
bread innuendos dating back to AD 79, to the new and controversial sex doll
brothels. It is peppered with surprising and informative historical slang and
illustrated by eye-opening, toe-curling and hilarious images.

In this fascinating book, Lister deftly debunks myths and stereotypes and gives unusual
sexual practices an historical framework, as she provides valuable context for
issues facing people today, including gender, sexual shame, beauty and
language.

About the Author

Dr Kate Lister is a lecturer at Leeds Trinity University, where she researches the history of sexuality and curates the online research project Whores of Yore. Kate is also a columnist for iNews, Vice and the Wellcome Trust where she writes about the history of sex. Kate won a Sexual Freedom Award for Publicist of the Year in 2017. She runs the popular @WhoresOfYore twitter account.

body · disability · Health · Life · self-care · Uncategorized

Have you heard of Flotation?

Have you heard of flotation? I don’t mean those big inflatable pool-floaty things or those foam pool noodles or rectangles you use to help you to learn how to swim. Turns out, floatation actually has nothing to do with swimming at all. Shows like Stranger Things brought a little more attention to floatation, but many people still haven’t heard of it or know what it does, so I had a chat with Mark Smethurst – The owner of a flotation therapy center in my little town of Stafford (the first one that opened in the West Midlands, actually!) to find out about the center and what flotation is actually all about. Spoiler alert: It’s fascinating, and I think everyone should give it a go!

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Time to Float‘s location was a little bit surreal to me, as it turns out, it’s actually in the building of an old radio station that I used to volunteer for. I’m good at getting lost, so thankfully, it means I know exactly where the place is! (Which is at 146 Marston Road, Stafford, ST16 3BT, if you decide you'[d like to give it a go!)

So what actually is flotation? It’s basically a less scary way of talking about a sensory deprivation pod. It doesn’t make you awaken latent crazy powers like TV may have you believe, but it can do a lot of other things for you; but I’ll go in to that shortly. First I’m going to tell you a little about this particular flotation center.

As I mentioned, Time to Float was the first flotation therapy location to open in the West Midlands. Flotation is gaining more traction in the world and when you understand what it can do, it’s easy to see why! The location is a small one in the Northern Quarter of Stafford county town (which has some lovely places to visit in general) and delightfully cosy with warm and welcome staff who are happy to have a good natter with you or just let you do your thing.

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So, what do you do, and what can it do for you?

Well, I won’t go in to too many details of what happens when you get there, but basically you fill out a health form, have a little tour and have the place explained to you and this introduction is tailored to you based on your responses to the health form if you have certain medical issues.

In the room is a flotation pod (it’s actually about the size of a Mercedes A Class) and a shower and a few other bits and bobs that will be explained to you before you start, and they’ll only leave you once you’re comfortable! You have a shower and get in this big-ass pod of water and literally sit back and float, thanks to the 800lbs of epsom salt! Now, its advised you close the pod and turn off the light but you can have the light on if you want or prop the pod open or whatever you like.

The water in the pod is heated to body temperature, as is the air, which is circulated to keep the flow of oxygen. Thanks to the 800lbs of epsom salt (which leave your skin feeling so soft, and you don’t look like a prune when you get out either!), you just float in the water effortlessly. (The pod water is filtered four times after each use and the room cleaned, plus the salts are a natural disinfectant too, if that concerns you at all!) Apparently, it’s so relaxing, many people simply fall asleep half way through, which is totally okay! In fact, sleeping for a short while in the pod can have the effect of several hours of really blissful sleep. The salt has a sort of anti-gravity effect, resulting in a feeling of weightlessness; this also helps muscles to get complete rest (and breakdown lactic acid) and for your skeleton to re-align in its natural position. This effect, combined with the high levels of magnesium thanks to the salt (which is also anti-inflammatory) mean floatation can actually help a huge variety of ailments and chronic illnesses, including chronic pain, sleep disorders, mental health issues, or even just being sore from a workout.

Music lulls you away and will also slowly bring you back to reality after your hour is up. You get out, shower to wash all the salt away and get changed and then there is a little recovery room with a hair dryer and mirrors and some skincare products if you wish to use them. Then it’s back through to the main area where they will give you all the water you can drink and let you chill for as long as you like. They’re happy to talk about your float or just leave you to it. Whatever you’d prefer to do basically.

Flotation

There’s way more I could go in to, but this post is already getting a little lengthy. However, chances are, if you suffer from any ailment, floatation can probably help as an alternative therapy – keep in mind though, it’s not a magic cure, nor does it claim to be! However, as someone with chronic illnesses, I couldn’t resist looking in to it and the science checks out. Though you’re welcome to do your own research or contact the center for a chat if you want to learn more. If you choose to book, they have a Float More program they can tell you about too. (that link will take you to referral by me, but if you go in person or talk on the phone or social media, be sure to give me a cheeky little mention)

Even if you feel pretty well in yourself, floatation can really have a great effect as it helps encourage production of endorphins and a reduction of cortisol, so it may just be good for some self-care or a slice of zen. I think that it’s certainly worth a go. If anything can help my pain without having to dose up on medication, that’s always good.

You can find out more via the Time to Float website or catch them on twitter @timetofloatuk. Have you ever tried floatation? Or do you want to give it a go now? I’m interested to hear what you think!

 

body · Health · Life · Uncategorized

I’m allergic to grass!

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Allergic rhinitis. The condition when you’re allergic to Rhinos. I jest. I’m talking about Hayfever. 1 in 5 people get it and I know many joke about it when asked why they’re all nasally and blowing their nose in decent weather, they respond “I’m allergic to grass”! Though sometimes, it’s really not that funny! Severity varies person to person, and then on the current pollen count. The higher the pollen count, the more severe the symptoms – higher exposure to the allergen. It also depends on the type of pollen the person is allergic to. This is also referred to as pollinosis.

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Symptoms include; the sniffles, runny nose, sore throat, swelling, itchy eyes and more. A lot of people get it to a mild degree, getting “sneeze and sniffles” as I like to call it. This is also the way I suffer with Hayfever. I also get itchy eyes that just water and a scratchy sore throat sometimes when it’s quite bad, though I also spend a lot of time indoors with my current health so I’m not as affected as much as I would be if I were to be outside often. When I was in secondary school, I witnessed the worst hayfever sufferer I’d ever seen. Everyone seems to have hayfever to some degree but boy, this was bad! His face had swollen, his eyes had swollen in to little more than slits, his voice was croaky. He had it bad! I remember thinking how insane it was that someone could react so badly to nature.

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Tissues! One of my best friends in my handbag. Okay, so I’m the type that has the kitchen sink in her handbag, but truly, one thing I can not go without, is tissues. I try and have a little pack of wet wipes in there too. Always very useful! I’m prone to sniffles in winter and Hayfever in the summer, so I always need my tissues. If you end up having to blow/wipe your nose a lot, you can rub some Vaseline or a crappy lip balm on to the side of your nostrils before you go to blow it, then instead of rubbing the skin more and making it dry and crack, you will rub the Vaseline off; so you don’t have such a sore nose! In winter, I’m permanently applying Vaseline to my nose, though if you do it and leave it in the spring/summer, you’re inviting pollen to the end of your honker; so apply it,  then blow! These have been crucial things for me with suffering from hayfever. They may or may not work for you, but it’s nice to share. I also have a nasal spray that squirts up my nose which helps too. Do you have any tips for coping with allergies?

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If you check the forecast and a high pollen count is predicted, you can nip symptoms in the bud by taking an antihistamine before leaving the house. It doesn’t work for everyone, some people are still symptomatic but less severe, others, it completely knocks them out of the ball park. Though it’s also worth keeping in mind that they can make you rather drowsy.  If you suffer severely and antihistamines don’t help, your GP will be able to help you out. So don’t be afraid to ask just because “everyone” has it. We’re all affected differently by different things and there is no shame in asking for something to relieve your symptoms! And remember, cover your nose when you sneeze!

Beauty · body · Health · self-care · Uncategorized

A Busty Girls Guide to Boobs – Fitting

As a very busty (42K) lady, I know the importance of a good bra. It’s important to strap the girls in to a bra that fits properly. So many people wear the wrong size bra, which not only affects the appearance of your breasts (quad boobs??) but it can also cause real issues. If your bra hurts, digs in, pulls on your shoulders, tries to impale your tits with its underwire, causes bulging or gapes etc, then your current bra is not for you.

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Wearing a poor fitting bra can cause a number of issues. Backache, sore shoulders, neck pain, headache, trouble breathing, skin conditions (man, fungal infections on your underboobs are a thing and they are NOT FUN), circulation problems, stress on muscles and bones, and probably some other stuff too.

Health issues aren’t the only problems a poorly fitting bra can cause. A rubbish bra can throw off your posture, but also make you look a bit… weird. Quad boob, saggy boobs, looking bulky, broader or just strange. A well fitting bra can change your entire silhouette, as well as ease any discomfort and pain.

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So? How do you know if your bra would be better off as a bird feeder? Here are some ways to tell if it is too small:

  • Thy cup runneth over/you get quad boob – your cups are too small.
  • The band digs in – you need a larger band size! A bra should be tight but it shouldn’t be digging in like the string on your Sunday pork roast.
  • The wire wants to impale you – usually this is due to cups being too small.
  • The shoulder straps cut in – this can be down to small cups, but sometimes the band can be an issue too.
  • The centre gore doesn’t want to nestle in to your bossom – if the wire is pushed away from your body, the cups are too small. The wire should not be sitting on top of any breast tissue!

What about if it is too big? Well, there are ways to tell that too.

  • It’s riding up – this is pretty common. If the band is riding up your back, then it is too big. The band should stay horizontal the entire way around your body.
  • Your cups have room for snacks – if your cups gape, they are too big. However, most pairs of breasts are asymmetrical; if one is bigger than the other, you should fit to the bigger breast. Doing this can result in one cup gaping, in which case you can try another style bra, or use a fillet to even things out if you’re self-conscious. Generally, nobody else will be able to tell.
  • Your cups dimple or wrinkle – they’re too big!
  • The band is loose enough to use as a slingshot – you should be able to comfortably slide a finger under and around the band. If you can pull it more than 2 inches away from your body, then your band is too big.

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So, if the cups are small, size them up, if they’re big, go down a size. Same with the band, right? Well actually, it’s not quite that simple. Bra sizes are relative! A 40D will have the same cup volume as a 38C. This is called a sister size. If you go up a cup size, go down a band size; if you go up a band size, go down a cup size. So, if you have an issue with your bra fit, but feel it is minor, give your sister sizes a try first or try a different style of bra. Remember, fluctuating hormones can alter breast size, so be mindful of this when fitting. Swollen period boobs, anyone?

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If your bra is miles off, I highly recommend getting fitted by professional.

I hope this helps any tangled titties! This is by no means a professional or comprehensive guide. I’m just sharing my experiences as a plus sized, well endowed woman. If in doubt, go and get fitted.

P.S! If you’re wanting to check out a lingerie blogger who has a wealth of information as well as recommendations, I highly recommend checking out the beautiful George from Fuller Figure Fuller Bust.

All images in this post are stock images as I’m not comfortable with sharing my own undercrackers with the world.