How are you keeping intimacy alive during lockdown?
It’s been just over 12-months since we caught up with the ever-so-delightful Abby Herrick from local business, Pleasure & Peach, to talk about all things sex! From tips on how to keep things exciting in the bedroom, self-pleasure, toys, erotica, and even porn recommendations; this time around, we’re picking the brain of pleasure positive sexuality professional, Abby, to talk all things intimacy!
It’s been just over 12-months, during Newcastle’s last lockdown, since we last spoke with you. What has happened for you in the last 12-months?
Oh my gosh, it’s been a big 12 months! I’ve been very busy growing Pleasure & Peach, but also a new little human! After a long and difficult pregnancy, we welcomed our second little girl in April. She is so flippin’ delicious, it made all the struggles of pregnancy worth it. Now I’m a Mumma of two gals AND owner of Pleasure & Peach and am feeling incredibly lucky.
For those who may have forgotten or those new to Pleasure & Peach, give us a little reminder of who you are, what you specialise in, and what is all your business all about?
I am a pleasure positive sexuality professional with a huge passion for bringing women nourishing and educational experiences in sexuality and self-care. I grew up in Port Stephens, then moved to Sydney to study a Bachelor of Psychology with a focus in Sexology. I absolutely loved my degree. It cemented my passion for creating empowering, and therapeutic experiences for women, but the traditional clinical route just wasn’t for me.
So, after I moved back to Newcastle to roost, I formed the concept of Pleasure & Peach! Pleasure & Peach is about empowering women. I want to facilitate opportunities for women to connect with themselves, their bodies, and their pleasure. My business is a place where art, education, self-care, and sex come together to celebrate women, and promote acts of self-love (and orgasms too)! For more on what Pleasure & Peach is all about, click here!
Do you have any suggestions for couples with young (or older) children at home, on how to keep their intimacy alive during this lockdown?
Have you got kids and/or babies home all day, every day? Maybe you’re also home-schooling? Even trying to juggle working from home? It takes a lot of mental and physical energy!
My husband and I are at home with our three-year-old pre-schooler and a four-month-old baby, and while I love the extra family time, by the end of the day Dylan and I are wrecked! Some nights falling into the couch for some screen time is all we can muster, and honestly, that’s ok! But, maintaining connection, intimacy, romance, and pleasure during lockdown is important for us too. The below is my go-to advice…
Scheduled in time for physical intimacy and/or sex. Making a conscious effort to connect and be present with each other is hugely important. It’s so easy to put physical intimacy on the backburner after a day of lockdown family wrangling, so setting the intention and planning is key!
It also creates a great opportunity to build anticipation throughout the day. You could send your partner a flirty text from the next room. It’s a great way to let your lover know that you’re thinking about you’re upcoming sesh and what you’re looking forward to, all whilst keeping it private from the rest of the family.
Spice Things Up
As parents and caregivers with kids at home, we’re very limited to when we can be sexually intimate, and it’s usually once the kids are in bed. Following a predictable sexual script can get boring, so it’s time to add some excitement! Treat yourselves to a new toy, share or try a new fantasy, try sex in a different space, add some ethical erotica or porn to your repertoire, or make your own ‘pervertibles’ (common household objects that can be converted into kinky items for sexual play); think spanking and teasing implements!
Romantic gestures gives everyone the warm and fuzzies! Little surprises can go a long way! Anything simple from bringing their favourite snacks and treats home from the shops, getting flowers or your lover’s favourite beverage delivered, to leaving little love notes around the house!
We all need the opportunity to fill our own cup in order to fill the cup of others. If you can, try and give each other some quality alone time each day for sanity and self-care. We all love our kids, but having a bit of time to ourselves each day provides an opportunity to refresh and recharge so we can be better parents and partners.
Communicate & Appreciate
Every night before sleep is a nice time to share three things you love, are grateful for or admire about your partner and vice versa. It’s the perfect way to end the day.
Alright, at-home date night ideas. Hit us with your suggestions, please!
We did this last lockdown using things we had around the house and it was amazing! We created a cosy new space that felt like a home away from home in our own living room.
Not just the daily grind kind of meal, instead, make something new and special! Pour yourselves a glass of wine, put your favourite playlist on, have a boog in the kitchen; you’re basically living in your own rom-com now!
Nude Life Drawing
This is SO fun and sexy at the same time! All you need is some paper, a pencil, and no clothes! Take turns drawing each other, and remember, it doesn’t matter how ‘skilled’ you are in the drawing department. Have fun, have a laugh, and who knows where it might lead?
Feeling exhausted and a little lazy? Puzzle night is perfect! It’s relaxing and a great mindfulness activity. Add a glass of wine, a cheeseboard and you’ve got yourself an easy dinner.
Do you have any suggestions for those who have partners that they don’t live with, and may not be able to see because of the current restriction?
Being separated from your partner is hard, and maintaining communication is a given, but there are a few extra ways to keep in touch beyond just a call or text. The post is a really fun way to connect with your lover, and everyone loves the surprise of receiving mail that’s not just another bill. Send a care package, write a love letter, or have a special gift delivered.
In terms of sexual intimacy, a product that has been incredibly popular during the pandemic is the Satisfyer Curvy 2+. It is an air-pulse toy and a vibrator all in one. What has made it so popular especially during the pandemic is its ability to connect with Bluetooth through the brand’s app.
This is awesome if you’re in a long-distance relationship or if lockdowns have kept you apart from your partner/s, because through the app, the toy can be controlled remotely, meaning, your partner can take control of your pleasure product from anywhere in the world, enabling you to use the toy together.
For couples new to toys, where would you suggest they start?
If you’re looking to bring pleasure product/s into your relationship, I’m so excited for you! Pleasure products are a wonderful way to bring extra pleasure and excitement to the bedroom, and most toys can be used for both solo and partnered play.
Vibrators are the perfect place to start! Over 95% of women need direct clitoral stimulation to reach orgasm. If you’re looking to purchase your first toy, or wanting to add a versatile toy to your collection, I would recommend a clitoral vibrator like the VeDo ‘Yumi’ or the Swan Wand Mini. Both can be used on their own or paired with internal stimulation.
We also have a vibrating toy for men! The Renegade ‘El Ray’ pocket stroker is a penis stroker and is perfect for solo sex but also a great addition to oral sex and hand jobs.
The Ohnut is great for vulva owners that experience pain or discomfort during penetrative sex. This ingenius product is made up of four super soft rings that sit at the base of a penis/finger/toy/to help control the depth of penetration. It can be particularly helpful for those living with endometriosis and PCOS.
My lucky last recommendation is, of course, lubricant! In my opinion, it is the best, yet most underutilised sexual product of all time. It makes all variations of sex even better! Pleasure & Peach has an extensive range of body-safe lubricants to take your solo and partnered play to the next level.
Involving toys with our partners is fun, and for many vulva owners, necessary for achieving orgasm. When it comes to welcoming toy/s to partnered sex, view them as collaborators, not competition. Toys are designed to enhance pleasure, not to replace connection or intimacy. In many cases, they can help strengthen it!
And we can’t forget the singles (guys and gals), what are your suggestions for them now that they can’t get out there and meet people? Is intimacy with yourself a thing? And how can we make the most of it?
Absolutely! Intimacy with yourself is definitely a thing. Being single, especially during a lockdown is the perfect opportunity to get to know yourself, to practice self-care, self-gratitude, and self-acceptance. Solo sex can be a wonderful expression of this.
There are so many proven health benefits of masturbation, yet we rarely celebrate them. Along with releasing endorphins, oxytocin, and dopamine (feel-good hormones), sex for one can help you sleep, relieves stress, helps in building a connection and appreciation between you and your body, and is a wonderful way to learn about your body and how you like to be touched. It’s also fun for fun’s sake, and a great way to pass some time!
Alright, you should now be well and truly equipped to handle intimacy in isolation in whatever form it takes for you. Whether you’re single, in a long-distance relationship, living together with young kids, or anything in between, we hope Abby and her incredible guide to intimacy has given you all the information you need. Now go on, go get intimate!