Stylish. Sexy. Rue.

About a year ago I discovered this new curve-hugging, head-turning clothing brand called Rue 107. Their Instagram album had me hypnotized with vibrant patterns, bold cuts and confident curves flaunting their stuff.

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I clicked over to their website and saw that they had a wholesale program and promptly submitted my application to offer the line at my boutique, SexyPlus Clothing. Weeks passed, and months turned into a year before I finally heard back from them. They had revamped their wholesale program and were ready to consider SexyPlus as an approved retailer. I was ecstatic!

After carefully evaluating my company, they agreed that Rue 107 would be a perfect addition to my collection and approved SexyPlus Clothing as the FIRST and ONLY boutique in Canada to offer the line. I was thrilled! You see, I’ve always offered unique cocktail dresses, club wear and lingerie, and recently introduced the Point Zero Curvy / Affordable Casual Collection at SexyPlus, but felt that I was still missing this segment of fashion-forward, rule-breaking styles with a unique urban retro flair. Rue 107 was the answer.

But I wanted to introduce the line with a splash, and Annika of the blog The Stylish Reid immediately came to mind because to me, her style epitomizes urban retro flair and how fabulous confidence can look. She has styled many outstanding looks featuring vintage pieces with modern accessories and when I reached out to her, well, she jumped at the opportunity to collaborate. As a long time client of SexyPlus Clothing, Annika strives to support women as well as local independent businesses whenever she can, so this was a natural fit.

We got together, note pads and smart phones in hand to plan our new collaboration and that’s how “Stylish. Sexy. Rue.” was born.

I asked Annika to select and style 4 pieces from their current line. She chose the Breana, the Sylvie and the Vicky bodycon ruffle off-shoulder dresses, and the super daring Miss Rose bodysuit. We then set a date for a downtown Toronto photoshoot and met with plus size models Sarah Taylor, Caterina Moda and Kristina Samuels on Dec 12.

With a 9am start time, we met with our makeup artist Michelle (who found us on Instagram the night before), and she set out to beautify our gorgeous crew.

Michelle was professional, easy to work with, and super talented. She allowed each model to personalize some aspects of their look while keeping in line with our overall fierce, feminine glam theme.

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Annika styled each look perfectly. She chose accessories and footwear for each model, and herself, to bring our vision to life. Her theme was “Sex and the City” meets urban curvy babes.

Featured below, Sarah wearing the Sylvie dress, Annika wearing the Breana dress, Kristina wearing the Vicky dress and Caterina wearing the Miss Rose Bodysuit.

Even though it was super chilly that day, and there was a lot of relocating, the models, Annika and our photographer Elliot were absolute troopers in bracing the cold and maintaining great attitudes throughout the long and exhausting day. Hey, modeling ain’t easy and a good photographer sometimes has to get on the ground. Annika recaps the project from her perspective on her blog here.

The final result was pure magic. To see how it all came together in these amazing images was so gratifying.

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Each person brought something special to the project – their skill, but also their heart, and for that I am truly grateful. It reminds me that I chose the right profession, and that despite ups and downs which are an unfortunate but natural part of small business, I love what I do. I mean, working with bloggers and models, coordinating fashion photo shoots, and reminding hundreds of women each day that their curves are beautiful…? I’m a lucky girl.

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The final component to bring this project full circle was a meet & greet, or ‘Shop & Sip’ event at SexyPlus Clothing where customers were invited to come and try the new line, be styled by Annika, and enjoy a girls night of shopping and champagne. On Jan 3, we did just that, and what a wonderful evening it was.

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Our campaign models came out and tried on different Rue 107 styles alongside our customers.

Caterina and Annika did a switcheroo, trying on each others’ styles.

Shoppers enjoyed champagne & treats…

And tried on something new…

The best part was the positive energy and support that was felt throughout this entire project, and during our special soirée.

So, from the bottom of my heart, I thank the contributors, customers, models, Rue 107 and especially Annika who brought her creativity and professionalism to this project.

Annika will be selecting the Spring Rue 107 Collection for SexyPlus Clothing boutique so stay tuned for the next chapter in bringing more selection and exciting plus size fashion to Canada.

Love, Stefanie

 


 

SexyPlus Clothing Website

The Stylish Reid Blog

Model Sarah Taylor

Model Caterina Moda

Model Kristina Samuels

Makeup Artist MillionaireMakeup

Photography Elliot Parrott

Cupcakes Gigi Bakes

Blog feature by The Curvy Fashionista


 

Copyright SassyPlus 2016 – All rights reserved.

 

How to Wear A Coatigan as a Top

Well, despite the intriguing title suggesting some elaborate secret technique, it’s actually so simple I’m almost embarrassed to say….

Just belt it.

I defined what a coatigan is in my previous post, and when I was putting this look together, with the help of plus size blogger and stylist Annika of The Stylish Reid, I didn’t feel like wearing a top. Straight up. So she suggested belting it and it totally works. Sometimes you just don’t feel like coordinating and layering.

You just want to be comfortable, look good and go.

And that’s what this look is all about.

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This gorgeous Fall look is by one of my new all-time fav brands, Point Zero Curvy. A well established Canadian brand who recently embraced the plus size market with their Curvy line. And I love it. The pieces are everyday wearable, and they’re anything but basic. Each piece, although casual, has some cool detail that just makes it special.

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Annika selected a basic wide black belt and we pulled the coatigan tight to wrap over my bosom. This would have been totally appropriate for a casual office look, but would also work for delightful weekend window shopping, while slowly strolling and sipping hot chocolate.

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I’m wearing the Point Zero Curvy super soft faux suede leggings and caramel boots to highlight the browns in the coatigan.

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I hope you enjoyed this look and invite you to kick up your Fall style while keeping it comfy and simple.

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Special thanks to Annika for styling this look and taking these photos.

Stefanie xox


Point Zero Curvy Collection, also available at SexyPlus Clothing

Point Zero Curvy Coatigan

Point Zero Curvy Faux Suede Leggings

Caramel Wedge Wide Calf Boots – vintage, similar Wide Calf Boots

Wide Elastic Belt – available in store at SexyPlus Clothing


Copyright SassyPlus 2015 – All rights reserved

Body Confidence Canada Awards

The Body Confidence Canada Awards (BCCAs) acknowledge Canada-based recipients actively fighting against stereotypes, judgements, policies, and discrimination that attempt to label and discredit marginalized bodies.

In 2014, I was so fortunate to win a BCCA award, and it was incredibly meaningful for me, especially in the fashion and beauty industry, where there is little formal accreditation. You can watch my acceptance speech here.

Photo by Elliot Parrot Photography


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Photo by Elliot Parrot Photography

As a previous winner, I was honored to receive an invitation to this year’s event, the 2015 Body Confidence Canada Awards to celebrate new winners and see old friends.

The 2015 winners are:

ALICIA VIANGA, Women’s Health, Philanthropy, Fashion

MAYA McDONALD, Youth, Social Justice & Human Rights

AMRIT SINGH, R.Ac, Health & Wellness, Advocacy, Arts

TIINA VEER, BA RMT RYT, Health & Wellness, Activism

ERIN HUSTON, Youth, Policy, Equity & Inclusion

MO HANDAHU, Arts & Culture, Media

What a stellar evening it was!!! Set in the rustic-chic ballroom of The 519 in downtown Toronto, Ontario, it felt very posh but the vibe was so down to earth and warm. With super charismatic and hilarious host Zahra Dhanani, special guests Dvorah Silverman, Girls Action Foundation and Lisa Hanaam (Heath Editor), GLOW Magazine, shiver-enducing entertainment by Juno Award winner Simone Denny, touching speeches by the winners, and emotional tributes by the BCCA founders Jill Andrew and Aisha Fairclough, the evening was memorable, fun and inspiring.

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Support beauty diversity and the Body Confidence Canada Awards by nominating a trailblazer next year!


Copyright SassyPlus 2015 – All rights reserved.

Yes, that’s my bra. 

As a blogger, stylist and plus size clothing store owner, I know it’s important to see outfits on different body shapes and sizes. It’s how we relate, and also how we are inspired to step outside of our personal comfort zones when it comes to style. This is why I am so excited to introduce you to Selina – a fashionista, body positive advocate, and all around girly girl.

We got together to create an outfit that totally stirs things up – something amazing that pushes the boundaries a little. Once we had all accessories in place and she looked at herself in the mirror she said, “I WOULD TOTALLY WEAR THIS TO A CLUB!”. I gotta say, she was stunning. And her confidence was radiant.

Ok, so let’s go through each item.

The shoes. These are a pair of Madden Girl pumps that Selina picked up on sale at Town Shoes. Total princess diva. For this outfit, any number of pumps would have done the trick, or even a blinged-out flat if you’re not into heels.

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Next, the brassière. This is the Geo Dot Print Soft Touch Bra (Déesse Collection) by Additione Elle. And I must say that Addition Elle’s bras have come a LONG way in the last few years. Their bras are not only beautifully designed in the most lovely prints, but they are well structured and supportive. And they’re frequently on sale, so you can’t loose.

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Jewelry. This statement necklace is a piece that Selina brought from her personal collection. The coral color was a perfect way to pick up the colors of the bra, and complement her hair. Don’t be afraid of big bold pieces. The way I shop for jewelry is if I like it, I buy it. Don’t hesitate. Because when the time comes that you need a necklace to complete a look, you won’t be able to find it. That’s just Murphy’s Law.

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Next, the Perfect Crop Leggings from SexyPlus Clothing; perfect because they’re slinky soft, opaque, high waisted so they don’t ride down your bum and reach all the way under your bra. Such a simple garment but essential for completing so many looks.

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And finally, the item that makes this outfit so dramatic, feminine and FABULOUS is the lace dress cover by SexyPlus Clothing, designed by Joseph Ribkoff. A versatile piece that can be worn as shown, or over a simple tank dress (of any color I might add), or as lingerie, or as a swim cover…And yes, her bra is intentionally showing – what did I say in my last post, make your own rules right?

Undergarments can be sensually stylish and exposed when tastefully coordinated with your outfit.

See how nothing is actually showing but so much is implied? That’s sexy.

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Isn’t she gorgeous? 

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This post wouldn’t be complete without sharing Selina’s “beauty bible”, a Victoria’s Secret pouch filled with essentials like mascara, Taylor Swift mini perfume, Sephora mat stain lipstick, makeup wipes, eye brow pencil. She takes it EVERYWHERE not because she has to, but because she wants to. If a dash of this and a touch-up of that makes you feel good anytime, anywhere, then it IS good.

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I really loved working on this project with Selina, and I hope you enjoyed the outfit and seeing a guest curvy gal (5’8″, size 20/22) on my blog. And ladies, Selina is not a professional model; she’s just a girl who has learned – and makes a concerted effort – to treat herself kindly, to spoil herself occasionally, to look at herself in the mirror and think nice things. It’s all part of her commitment to loving herself.

And that hair!!!! Selina provides professional extensions so get in touch with her if you want to experience movie star tresses.

Please comment below – did this outfit inspire you? Could you wear an outfit showing your bra? I would love to hear from you. And I kinda dare you. 😉

xox

SassyPlus Stef

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Lace dress cover by SexyPlus Clothing – available in store in sizes 14 and 18

Perfect Capri Leggings by SexyPlus Clothing – here or full length here

Addition Elle Bra – Geo Dot Print Soft Touch Bra, Déesse Collection here

Addition Elle entire lingerie collection here

Madden Girl Pumps at Town Shoes – sold out, shop current selection here

Photography by me! 


Copyright SassyPlus 2015 – All rights reserved.


Superhero Wedding Flow

My darling husband Howard was asked to be the best man at a friend’s wedding, which is an honor in itself, but the honor for me was to be at his side in the presence of friends and family at this special occasion of love and union.

Howard and I married in 2012, when I was 39 years old, so I spent many years before meeting Howard attending special events by myself and always yearned for a time in my life where I would have my best friend, my man, my partner by my side. That dream has now come true and I love attending events as a couple. I feel endlessly happy, fortunate and proud. We’re a team. It’s us against the world. He’s my hero, and I’m his super ☺️

So Howard’s required attire was a black suit, lime green shirt, and black tie. Easy enough, and of course my Mom found the perfect lime green flower for us both to wear as an added summer accessory.

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I decided on a lovely black dress I’ve had for years with a woven chain link keyhole neckline, shark-bite hemline (which I’ve always found very flattering on me), and to bring in the lime color, I borrowed this chiffon scarf from my Mom and gently pinned it in place so that I would be comfortable and not worry about it falling off my shoulders all afternoon. My sandals are a strappy wedge pair I got at Le Chateau warehouse a few years ago, and they’re comfortable for all day wear since the incline is quite manageable. Wedges are a fantastic way to get the height & the sexiness, without the pain or the harmful impact on your knees and joints.

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My loving Mom who is ALWAYS there to help adjust, complete, tuck, pin and bestow her loving touch upon everything.

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Howard is a man of few words, but the expression on his face when he saw me made me feel like a beautiful lime fairy goddess, and I’ve learned to read and adsorb those expressions rather to wait for an actual compliment to be verbalized. I felt wonderful.

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The wedding was perfect and the day was splendid. It brought me such joy to share this special day with the bride and groom, Neil and Kanesha.

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I look forward to sharing so many more life moments like this with Howard at my side.

OMG – did I forget to talk about the FOOD?

C’mon now, let’s appreciate how beautifully presented this salad and fruit platter are! I know your taste buds are watering right now – sorry! The delicious dinner in true Jamaican style consisted of curry goat, fried chicken and jerk chicken, with rice and peas. For recipes on how you can make these yourself, click here.

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Thanks for reading, loves! Please share your wedding, love, relationship, fashion, travel, food & dining comments below!


Photography by me (Stefanie Augusteijn)

Black dress: old, but great option here

Wedge sandals: old, but great options here

Chiffon scarf: old, but great options here


Copyright SassyPlus 2015 – All rights reserved.

12 Easy Ways to INCREASE your Libido as a Plus Size Woman, naturally.

As women, in all our emotionally charged glory, feeling good about ourselves, feeling pretty, and sexy, has EVERYTHING to do with our sexuality, and –> our libido.

There are so many things that can increase or decrease our libido. And as plus size women, most of us have been through countless and sadly similar experiences of bullying, self-hatred, shame, public embarrassment, rejection – and while some of us have overcome and even soared over these, their effects can still linger and interfere with our libido at different times in our lives.

I’ve partnered with Stefani Ndhlovu, BSC, MA, a Sexual Health and Wellness Therapist (and plus size woman) to talk about this, and how we can take small but important steps to revive our mojo, naturally.

1. REDUCE STRESS.

It’s a huge libido killer. I know it’s easier said than done, but it’s all about perspective. Sometimes when my stress is at its highest, I take mental inventory of the things that are good; that are going well, that I have to be grateful for because despite the stressful things happening in my life, there is still plenty of good. And comfort. Stefani encourages us to do the same:

In a quiet spot, close your eyes and visualize 3 things that you’re grateful for and that genuinely make you happy.

You just have to consciously see them. I’ll go first: I am healthy. I love Canada. I have fabulous hair. I’ve made mistakes and I am a better person because of them. I love my job. I love warm summer nights. I LOVE flannel anything, strawberries and puppies. I am a glorious woman and my complexities are my fabric. I enjoy friendships. I am grateful for my girlfriends. I can dream.

Your turn.

Do it.

2. PAMPER YOURSELF.

We’ve heard it before, but it has significant impacts. Certain changes in your body, due to weight or age or stress, can make you feel less attractive. And with women, libido is all about self-esteem. It is our nature to give and nurture others, but we forget about ourselves often putting our families and loved ones before us.

But as they say on a plane, in case of emergency, you must put your mask on before you help those in your care. Bottom line, you need to take care of yourself first.

Spend that $40 on a pedicure, get those $100 highlights, use that expensive cream you got as a gift, buy a new dress that makes you feel pretty – even if it’s NOT on sale, get a facial – yes, book one right now, wear your sexiest bra and panty, or better yet don’t wear any panties at all! Not only are you so worth it, YOU NEED IT. These actions will lift the funk. You feminine, sensual seductress you.

Part of pampering yourself also includes, in my opinion, being kind to yourself. If you are feeling unattractive, try to see yourself through your partner’s eyes. In most cases, from what I see from the couples than come shopping at my boutique, the women are harder on themselves than their partners are. Your partner is with you because you are attractive to them. Accept that. And putting yourself down certainly doesn’t do any good in the sex appeal department, in anyone’s eyes. Focus on the parts of yourself that you find beautiful – the world will see them, and so will you.

3.GET OUTSIDE.

As Stefani says,

“It’s amazing what a little vitamin D can do for the soul”.

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And my Mom always said, “you don’t know what’s important until you’re in touch with nature”. Being outside puts things in perspective. Go for a walk by yourself. Get to the waterfront, with a girlfriend. Bring a blanket and sit with her. The water is therapeutic. Take an evening stroll with your partner. Warm summer nights are infectiously romantic. Stop in a shaded area and make out. Yes, it’s ok to initiate. If your backyard is private, create an inviting environment there. You don’t need a reservation or a dollar. Just get outside.

4. WEAR LINGERIE.

It sounds cliché, but regardless of how your partner feels about lingerie, whether they’re into it or not, this is about YOU. Wearing a slinky babydoll that you feel sexy in, or perhaps you prefer a totally racy fishnet chemise, either way, it’s going to drive a few points on the libido scale. Early in my relationship, my husband said he didn’t really feel that lingerie made a difference. So for a long time I gave up wearing any; I gave up on something I had previously enjoyed, and this negatively impacted my sex drive. It made me feel sexless, asexual. I eventually realized that whether he expressed his interest or not, I felt sexy in lingerie and that was a turn-on for both of us. So now I just do it and I’ve reconnected with my sensual self. Here are some links to where you can purchase plus size lingerie:

www.stagshop.com

www.loveshop.com

www.fetishfantasy.com (for more Fetish look)

www.sexyplusclothing.com

www.additionelle.com

www.ENVIE.com

www.coquette.com

www.hipsandcurves.com (USA)

www.foreveryourslingerie.ca

Pardon the unprofessional selfie, but I had to capture myself because it’s what inspired this post. This sheer night gown is from La Vie en Rose and their XL fit me (size 16). Just getting it on, having had a fresh pedi and new highlights earlier that day, smelling like my favorite peachy fresh skin cream with a hint of Pink Friday perfume, taking the time to put ON a necklace just for the occasion, and taking pictures totally made me feel sexy and in the mood. Even taking some close ups to send to my husband during the week by text was exciting. I shall unabashedly report that the evening was SO MUCH FUN which brings me to point #5.

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5. DO THE DEED.

“Make whoopee…that’s right, have sex” says Stefani. Yes, even if your libido seems like its in a dark closet collecting dust, sometimes just doing the act itself, even if you don’t feel like it, “…can increase your endorphins, and what do endorphins do? They make us happy – and actually cause a release of oxytocins, the so called “love hormone” which goes straight to your brain, and that’s the most important sexual organ on the female body.”

Can we repeat that? The brain is the most important sexual organ on the female body.

Stefani goes on to state that “taking care of your mind is one of the best things you can do for your sexual health and wellness…trust me ladies, your vagina will thank you.”

6. AWAKEN YOUR SEXUAL IMAGINATION.

Fantasize. If you’re driving along, on your way to the grocery store, and something, whatever it is, makes you feel excited or, dare I say, horny for a moment, relish it. Do not push the thought out, do not question it. “Don’t let the taboos of society cloud your sexual potential”, says Stefani. Instead, “let it linger, acknowledge it and make a point to think about it again later, when the time is right, whether that’s a quiet moment alone at home, in the shower, with a B.O.B (Battery Operated Boyfriend) or with someone that will help release your sexual energy”.

7. SWAP BUBBLY FOR RED WINE – excerpt from Health.com

Romantic dinner? Order a glass of Pinot Noir or other red wine: Women who drank a glass of red daily reported higher levels of sexual desire and vaginal lubrication, compared with those who sipped any kind of alcohol only occasionally or those who didn’t drink at all, according to a study in the The Journal of Sexual Medicine. Researchers suspect that red wine’s high levels of polyphenols, a type of antioxidant, may help blood vessels widen, which can increase blood flow to key arousal areas. Stick to one glass, advises lead author Nicola Mondaini, MD; any more may extinguish your libido.

8. PLAY WITH YOUR SENSES.

According to Stefani, taste is a great way to get the “juices” going.

Eat some of this: berries, strawberries, blackberries or raspberries – yum, broccoli, cloves, figs, watermelon, eggs, ginseng, saffron, lettuce and ginger. Read why here.

And contrary to popular belief, oysters can play a negative role in libido levels, as can processed baked goods and dairy.

Stefani suggest taking sandwich making to a whole new level because peanuts are a natural aphrodisiac for men, and for women, it’s asparagus. Eating pineapples or drinking natural pineapple juice a few hours before oral engagements is not only great for your skin and energy levels (and super tasty like fruit of the Gods!!) but it will also temporarily change the taste of your secretions. YUM! But Piña Colada doesn’t count 🙂

9. EMPOWER YOURSELF.

Knowing how and why your body works will not only empower you; but give you power over the mighty O, Stefani says. And here’s why: The sexual response cycle is a sequence of physical and emotional changes that occur as a person becomes sexually aroused during sexually stimulating activities including intercourse and masturbation. Knowing how your body responds during each phase of the cycle can enhance your relationship with sex. Detailed descriptions of each cycle are provided below.

10. PLAY WITH TOYS.

Our bodies are a wonderland, so it’s ok to play. Stefani tells us how to choose sex toys and what to look for.

“Purchasing a sex toy is like purchasing a car – you need to spend some time researching what kind of quality is being offered by all the different brands, makes and models. Price, look, design, features; benefits and feel all come into play. Think about what you are looking for in a sex toy. Since most stores have thousands to choose from, you could be standing in front of a wall full of dildos, vibrators and dongs for days*. Below you will find tips to help you choose a sex toy that’s right for you.

11. BLAME IT ON THE HEALTH BENEFITS.

Stefani reports that people who are dissatisfied with their sex lives often complain about not being able to find time for sexual expression. Whatever the cause (fatigue, children, work, etc.), it is possible to find time to engage in sexual activity, whether it’s with a partner or alone. Aside from reproduction, sex is ultimately about intimacy and pleasure.

Sexual expression has MANY positive physical, intellectual, emotional, psychological, and social benefits.

Here are some findings on the health benefits of sex.

Physical Wellness and Physical Appearance

An active sex life may yield benefits such as a more youthful appearance. In addition, sexual activity burns calories and fat, and it has been suggested that people with active sex lives tend to exercise more frequently and have better dietary habits than those who are less sexually active. Likewise, physical fitness can improve sexual health.

Sleep

The intimacy hormone, oxytocin, is released during orgasm. Studies show that oxytocin promotes better sleep. And better sleep has been linked to stronger immunity and longer lifespan.

Disease Prevention and Management

Your chances of having heart problems decrease if you stay sexually active. This is due to higher levels of oxytocin, a neurotransmitter (brain chemical) that is produced during arousal and orgasm. Research has shown that sexual activity and orgasms bolster our immune system. Sexual activity and orgasm during menstruation has a potentially protective effect against endometriosis. Women who continue to be sexually active after they reach menopause, with a partner or through masturbation, are less likely to have significant vaginal atrophy and are more likely to report sufficient vaginal lubrication.

Emotional Benefits, Well-Being and Relationship Improvement

Sexual experience and satisfaction are closely correlated with overall quality of life. They increase your sense of well-being and personal satisfaction. Sexual activity is negatively correlated with the risk and incidence of psychiatric illness, depression and suicide.

Sexual activity and orgasm reduce stress.

Sexual satisfaction is also associated with the stability of relationships. Consistent mutual sexual pleasure increases bonding within a relationship. It has also been demonstrated that coupled partners have increased relationship satisfaction when they fulfill one another’s sexual desires. A study of young married women found that those who reported masturbating also reported greater marital satisfaction.

12. CREATE A CLEAN AND INVITING ENVIRONMENT.

While those hot, spontaneous moments like you see in the movies, are well, pretty hot, there’s something to be said for preparation. Sex and cleanliness go hand in hand. When you feel fresh, and your environment in clean, you are less inhibited, and perhaps even more adventurous. While there’s nothing wrong with a hot and spontaneous moment, taking the time to create a fresh and romantic space definitely doesn’t hurt. Scented candles, a plush new area rug, music. There’s a reason love songs have stood the test of time you know.

So that’s a wrap ladies – what are you waiting for? Do you have tips to share that have worked for you? Comment below. Let’s elevate each other and keep ourselves in a positive space.

xox

Stefanie


APPENDIX


*Definitions

Vibrator: looks like a penis and vibrates

Dildo: looks like a penis, sometimes vibrates sometimes doesn’t

Dong: doesn’t vibrate, looks like a shaft but not phallic looking


The Sexual Response Cycle
There are four phases of the sexual response cycle: excitement, plateau, orgasm and resolution. Both men and women experience these phases, but the intensity of the response and the time spent in each phase varies from person to person. For example, it is unlikely that both partners will orgasm at the same time. Understanding these phases may help partners better understand one another’s bodies and responses, and enhance the sexual experience.

Phase 1: Excitement
The excitement phase can last from a few minutes to several hours. During this phase…

  • Muscle tension builds.
  • Heart rate and breathing accelerate.
  • Skin may flush.
  • Nipples become erect.
  • Blood flow to the genitals increases. A woman’s clitoris and labia minora (inner lips) swell, and a man’s penis becomes erect.
  • Vaginal lubrication begins.
  • A woman’s breasts become fuller and her vaginal walls begin to swell.
  • A man’s testicles swell, his scrotum tightens, and his penis secretes lubricating liquid.

Phase 2: Plateau
The plateau phase extends to the brink of orgasm. During the plateau phase…

  • Body changes that began in the excitement phase intensify.
  • A woman’s vagina continues to swell, and the vaginal walls turn a dark purple.
  • A woman’s clitoris becomes highly sensitive and may even be painful to touch. The clitoris retracts under the clitoral hood to avoid direct stimulation from the penis.
  • A man’s testicles withdraw into the scrotum.
  • Breathing, heart rate and blood pressure continue to increase.
  • Muscle spasms may begin in the feet, face and hands.
  • Tension in the muscles increases.

Phase 3: Orgasm
This phase is the climax of the sexual response cycle. It generally lasts only a few seconds. During orgasm…

  • Involuntary muscle contractions begin.
  • Blood pressure, heart rate and breathing are at their highest rates, with a rapid intake of oxygen.
  • Muscles in the feet spasm.
  • There is a sudden, forceful release of sexual tension.
  • A woman’s vaginal muscles and uterus contract rhythmically.
  • A man’s muscles at the base of his penis contract rhythmically while he ejaculates semen.
  • A rash, or “sex flush,” may appear over the entire body.

Phase 4: Resolution
During this phase, the body slowly returns to its normal level of functioning, and swollen or erect body parts return to their previous size and color. During this phase, you may feel a general sense of well-being, enhanced intimacy and, often, fatigue. Some women are capable of a rapid return to the orgasm phase with further sexual stimulation and may experience multiple orgasms. Men need recovery time after orgasm, called a refractory period, during which they cannot reach orgasm again. The duration of the refractory period varies among men and changes with age.


SEX TOY TIP #1: KNOW YOUR ORGASM!

Answering these questions to the best of your ability will help narrow the overwhelming selection.

How do you orgasm or what are you looking to stimulate? Clitoris?  G-spot? Deep Penetration? Duel? U-spot? A-spot? Anus? There are toys that are designed for each of these erogenous zones.

What is your sensitivity level?

Is durability important to you?

What about portability?

Is noise a factor?

What about price?

Will vibration be too intense for you? Will a dong do?

How sensitive are your vaginal walls? Do you like the feel of a veined penis?

SEX TOY TIP #2: Who, What, When, Where…Oh My!

The WHO is not always as easy as you would think. Are you looking for a toy for casual play? Alone or with a partner? How does your partner feel about toys? Have you talked about it with them? Is it going to be used as a marital aid? Are you newly single again and need a toy to help with “SEX-peration anxieties?” Are you already an avid toy collector and looking to spice it up, challenge yourself and go to the next level?

The WHAT comes with a few more complex questions. What are you looking for from the toy? What kind of orgasm do you want to experience? What do you hope the toy will be able to provide you with? What are your lifestyle circumstances? Are you living at home with parents? Do you have children that are in the next room?

The WHEN is more of a lifestyle question. When are you going to be using your sex toy? Is it your birthday, anniversary? Just because it’s Tuesday? Do you want to experiment with new positions, ideas or fantasies? Where are you using your sex toy? Steamy, sex in the shower?  Heating up your play in the hot tub? Bedroom, kitchen or the garden? Outside can be a fun way to spice up your love life, just know the laws surrounding public nudity in your area. In your backyard with a fence is okay, public park…play at own risk!

OH MY!

You’ve made the decision to buy a sex toy. Although some people are reluctant to patronize a sex shop, you will find one of the largest selections of toys at the Stag Shop, which is a more upscale “sex boutique” with highly knowledgeable and trained associates. They provide a non-judgmental and safe environment to shop and ask questions regarding one of the most sensitive and personal purchases you’ll ever make. Purchasing a sex toy is easiest if you can see it in person. You won’t get a proper sense of the toy’s size, smell, texture or vibration unless you can pick it up and turn it on.

SEX TOY TIP #3: What the PH-uck?

The material of the toy is a big one: just like reading that fine print on the bottom of the contract before you sign your life away to purchase that new car, you need to know what you are about to put into the most sensitive parts of your body. What is the toy made of? PVC? Silicone? Jelly? Latex? Glass? Wood? Acrylic? TPR? Elastomer? Aluminum? Steel? Rubber? A combination of “surprise materials?”

IMPORTANT: Is the product phthalate free? Phthalates are a family of industrial chemicals that are used as plastic softeners or solvents in many different consumer products. They can be absorbed through the skin, inhaled as fumes, ingested when they are in your mouth. Phthalates are not just found in sex toys, phthalates have also been found in many leading beauty care products, including hair spray, deodorant, nail polish and perfume that you may be using every day.

Phthalate chemicals are very hard on the environment. They cannot be fully recycled, they are not biodegradable and they have a harmful reaction known as “off gassing”. Basically the chemicals in the toy are released over time into the air, environment and of course into your body when you use the toy and can disrupt the human hormonal system. When our PH balance is off set that leaves us vulnerable to infections and UTI’s.

SEX TOY TIP #4: What’s that smell?

If it smells like burning rubber or has an intense “chemical” smell to it, usually this means there are high levels phthalates in the product. You can still buy and play with sex toys that are made with phthalates, but you will need to cover it up with a condom or toy cover.

SEX TOY TIP #5: Touch Me!

You should always be able to touch a toy and see how it works, or even if it works before you make your purchase, because in most cases you will not be able to return it. You should always ask to see the toy work before you pay for it and leave the store. If the toy has a slimy or really sticky oily residue on it, then it is most likely due to the leaching of the chemicals in the product.

Sex toys are not regulated by Health Canada or the FDA because they are considered novelties, and not meant for actual use. So when it comes to manufacturing sex toys there are little to no considerations given to the fact that they are going to be used in highly sensitive areas of the body. Since sex toys are not regulated, they can be made out of any material. That being said, while some toys are “bad”, there is always a safe, healthy alternative.

SEX TOY TIP #6: K.I.S.S: KEEP IT SAFE SEXPLORER!

It is so important to keep your sex toy safe and clean. Don’t drop your sex toy on the floor; this can damage the motor or the material – but if you do because you’re just having such a good rodeo time, then so be it (YAY!) but it may need to be discarded and replaced. If you have a toy that requires batteries…always remove the batteries from your toy when it is not in use. This will prevent the toy from being accidentally left on and wearing out the motor. It will also keep the batteries from leaking and corroding the motor. Try not to use rechargeable batteries with your sex toy. The power of rechargeable has been proven to be too powerful for the motors! Use new or fresh batteries with new toys. If you have a plug-in toy, remember to turn it off, as these will over heat if left on too long. When you are done with your toy, let it cool down before you store it. This will prevent any overheating before you put it away. Never immerse your sex toy in water, unless it is a water safe/proof sex toy. Always take time to clean nonporous sex toys with a mild soap and warm water or toy cleaner. Use a damp cloth to wipe your toy down. Make sure you ask the associate for cleaning instructions or read the cleaning directions found in the packaging of the toy. Not all sex toys clean the same as they all vary in material.

Sex Toy Shopping Checklist

PURPOSE: What part (or parts) of your body do you want to stimulate? Is it for solo play, partner sex or both?

INTENSITY: Electric vibrators offer stronger vibrations than battery operated ones.

DURABILITY: Electric vibrators and brand name battery vibrators last the longest.

PORTABILITY: Battery vibrators or rechargeable electric models travel well.

TEXTURE: If you will be inserting the sex toy, do you want hard plastic, pliable vinyl or rubber, or realistic cyber skin or silicone? Nonporous surfaces are easier to clean.

SHAPE: Smooth? Rippled? Curved? Resembling a penis?

COLOR: Flesh tones? Pastels? Metallic? Jewel tones? Glow in the dark?

NOISE: Coil-operated electric vibrators are the quietest. Hard plastic battery vibrators and some large wand vibrators are the loudest.

PRICE: You get what you pay for. Electric vibrators and duel battery vibrators are on the higher end. Basic battery vibrators are on the lower end.


To contact Stefani Ndhlovu, BSC, MA, a Sexual Health and Wellness Therapist

Twitter @stefanindhlovu

Instagram @StefaniNdhlovu

LinkedIn Stefani Ndhlovu

Facebook StefaniNdhlovu

Email: intimateinitiations.therapy@gmail.com

Phone: 519 749 5115

By appointment ONLY

Kitchener, Ontario


Copyright SassyPlus 2015 – All rights reserved.

Beach #EMbody. Because your BODY is READY for the BEACH.

Hello new readers and familiar fans!!! I am thrilled to announce the launch of my plus size fashion blog, SassyPlus!!! I’ve actually been blogging for a while, but not at full capacity, and as a plus size woman who has learned to celebrate my curves through fashion and see my present beauty, I realize that I need this platform to share this passion with you.

Most of you know me as the owner of the plus size boutique and online store SexyPlus Clothing, which was founded in 2009 and is now located in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. While I am proud to offer a very special and diverse selection of plus size fashion and lingerie at SexyPlus, I also recognize that every girl needs variety to create a complete wardrobe. I believe that we need a little of this, and a little of that. Some pieces are an investment, and some pieces are disposable  – we need both and a little in between. And this is why my new plus size fashion blog SassyPlus was created.

For my first post, I wanted to destroy, like I mean obliterate, the notion that any body needs to be “ready” for the beach.

YOUR BODY IS READY FOR THE BEACH.

Now, saying that and actually getting your body to the beach in an ever-so-revealing swimsuit is easier said than done. I know. I understand.

It’s the most revealing and intimate piece of clothing a woman is allowed to wear in public. No wonder it’s intimidating.

And despite all my confidence, and literally making a living advocating for beauty diversity and body acceptance, I’m still human, and I’m a girl, who sometimes finds it easier to see the beauty in others than in myself.

I remember in grade school I would intentionally FAIL the swimming portion of phys ed because I could not fathom the idea of wearing a swimsuit in front of everyone. True story. Instead I did detention.

However, determined to see this through and launch my blog with the utmost blogusto, I garnered all my confidence and courage on behalf of ALL of us, and decided to do a “Beach Embody” issue for my inaugural blog post, because after all,

to “embody” is to take ownership right?

I also wanted to tell you about my Canadian shopping experience with regards to plus size swimwear and provide some resources to help you find the right one because you also have a #beachEMbody and you’re ready for the beach, right? RIGHT?? Of course you are!


So, my first swimsuit is this absolutely lovely swim dress from Always for Me (based in the United States).

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While this particular ruffle front style is no longer available, I also have the Twist Front Bandeau Style (shown below) and it is almost exactly the same, with the same awesome fit, but without the ruffle down the front. I highly recommend this style (as seen in “O” magazine). It comes in pink, plum, aqua, brown, red, lilac, black, and a beautiful new floral here. I love the multi-wear feature: where the strap can be worn as a halter, criss cross, or not at all. And it comes in sizes 16W to 26W, for $89 US. It has a slightly padded bra and tummy support. I am wearing the size 18W in this shot, and while the 16W fit, it was a little tight (I wear a 16 in clothing) so I might suggest going up one size.

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I put this look together by first being inspired by the main piece, the plum swimsuit, and then these sexy nude strappy wedge sandals, and coordinated the rest of the outfit based on that.

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So, add a country floral scarf, sunglasses and box cap with lace trim from Ardene and a bold pearly statement necklace from Aldo. A little fancy for a “real” day at the beach, but you get the idea.

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Swimsuit by Alwaysforme.com – similar here

Strappy Nude Wedge Sandals – sold out, similar wide width option by Penningtons here

Scarf, sunglasses and cap by Ardene – similar here or in their stores

Statement necklace by Aldo – similar here


My second swimsuit was a fatkini – yeah I said it – from Forever 21. I honestly did not expect to find such an awesome two-piece, at a ridiculously low price, that I felt so cute in at Forever 21. I was impressed. The top and bottom are each $18.90!!!

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I am wearing size 1X bottom and 3X top (because they didn’t have any 1X or 2X left). It’s a tad big and I would have liked a slightly tighter, more supportive fit, but the 3X will do. I loved the sassy cool 80’s paint splatter print, the sexy cut out side straps on the bottom, and never thought it would fit like it does.

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I recently picked up these cute & sexy strappy lace-up wedge sandals from Penningtons (also a great price), along with a bright bold pink Jessica Simpson necklace (purchased at The Bay).

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Swim top by Forever 21 – here

Swim bottom by Forever 21 – here

All Forever 21 plus size swim – here

Wide width wedge sandals by Penningtons – here

Necklace by Jessica Simpson – sold out, cool statement necklaces at The Bay and aldo at Aldo here


I desperately wanted to feature a third swim look, but could not find a third option that I liked which brings me to the part about my experience finding plus size swimwear in Canada. It was really tough.

I tried Old Navy, which was an epic fail, with their size “XL” not even coming close to fitting, and only one single item available in “XXL” which was a bikini top that did not even hold half my boob.

I searched online at The Bay, and you can search by size, and while there was a decent selection, they were not for me. Plus size search results here.

Addition Elle had a nice selection, including some super cute Jessica Simpson styles (price ranging from $95 to $156) but they didn’t have my size at the time. I’d love to hear if you have an AE swimsuit and how it fit you. FYI, their swimsuits are listed under “Clothing” for online shoppers. See their swimsuit collection here.

Penningtons had a more conservative but pretty selection. Average price $110. What about you, did you score at Penningtons? Let me know. See their collection here.

Gussied Up had quite a few options in one piece swimsuits, with the majority ranging in sizes 14-20 (and some up to 24), and around $115-$125. I did not get a chance to try these so let me know if you did! See their plus size swimsuits here.

I used to sell Monif C swimsuits at SexyPlus Clothing, but as designer items, they were priced at around $180 which is out of reach for many of us, despite their unique and beautiful design. And they didn’t move quickly enough, so I could not continue to offer them, and this is the sad reality of plus size swimwear (and fashion) in Canada for independent boutiques.

Swimsuits For All, great range of style from contemporary, to blogger inspired (recently by GabiFresh), great fit and quality and especially love their Swim Sexy collection – shop all styles here.


A note on photography and images: The images in this post have NOT been photoshopped – no rolls have been tucked, no fat has been removed. The only editing is lighting, color adjustment and smoothing of skin in some shots. Photography by the talented Rebecca Northcott Photography.


I’d love your comments and feedback so please talk to me below!!!

Thank you for reading and sharing ladies – I appreciate and love you!

Copyright SassyPlus 2015 – All rights reserved.