Feeling Myself – Episode 2 – Poppy Lepora from Self & More

Lauren – Today we are being joined by Poppy Lepora, owner of Self and More, everyone’s favourite sex toy boutique. Poppy is an incredible business woman, she is doing amazing things in the online world to educate and empower people to discover more pleasure and she uses her platform to explore a huge range of sex positive topics including things like sexuality, squirting, sex parties, polyamorous relationships, sexting, and of course just having a great wank. I absolutely love what Poppy is about and I feel really lucky to call her a friend. She is also my boss, but that isn’t the reason I said all of those nice things. I work for Self and More part time at the moment and I really really love the community Poppy has created. We have also created a discount code, exclusively for our podcast listeners, you can use code FEELINGMYSELFPOD, for 10% off at www.selfandmore.co.uk

Okay, so you two haven’t met, have you. Poppy, Natasha, Natasha, Poppy.

Poppy – Hello.

Natasha – Look at all those dildos.

Poppy – Yes, many many dildos.

Natasha – They are there, displayed like ornaments, I love it.

Poppy – Well this is my office so you have to have the merchandise in the office. My boyfriend’s desk is next to mine, so we have to angle everything so the dildos aren’t in the back of his Zoom calls for work.

Natasha – How did you two meet each other?

Poppy – Instagram.

Lauren – Poppy wooed me.

Poppy – (Laughter)

Lauren – All of my friends are via the gram, I don’t have real life ones anymore, that’s not a thing.

Poppy – It’s not, is it. Having this business, over this past year maybe two years, I have hardly actually met anyone that is in the sex toy industry, they are just online because I have just been locked up, obviously, it is just really weird, I wouldn’t recognise half of them in the street.

Lauren – So when I announced, on Instagram, that we were going to do the podcast I asked for requests for guests. You were by far the most requested guest.

Poppy – Aww, that is amazing.

Lauren – How are you? How has your week been?

Poppy – Oh, are we doing it now, is this it, has it begun? I didn’t even know. My week has been good, I went for a jog for the first time since March. That was probably not a highlight but it is probably better than sitting in my pants all week, like I normally do, so that was good.

Lauren – I am sat in my pants and a bikini top, so I feel a bit like I need to get out there and do some exercise.

Poppy – Ah, no, it’s over rated. See I think I am broken because I never get the endorphin rush, after exercise, and people just say that I just haven’t been doing it for long enough blah, blah, blah. Even when I ran for six months, I did a few runs a week, I still didn’t get it. I am just broken, I don’t get that rush. I just have to wank instead.

Lauren – I was just about to say, you are so full with endorphins from wanking, you can’t get any better.

Poppy – Some people do get a core-gasm, don’t they, from tensing their core.

Lauren – Shut the fuck up.

Natasha – I’ve had an orgasm at the gym before.

Poppy – Wow.

Lauren – What!!

Natasha – You hold a rope in both hands and you just go up and down, I think my leggings were just rubbing me in a certain way. These ropes are weighted. I just was like ooh, oh, oooh.

Poppy – Oh my god, that’s amazing. Did you manage to do it silently? I guess it doesn’t really matter when you are in the gym anyway because you are all huffing and puffing.

Natasha – I was cool as a cucumber, but then I did wonder if I could maybe get another one out.

Lauren – She was just there hogging those ropes, why is she still on those ropes.

Poppy – See that’s the thing, once you actually start trying it becomes so much harder, your body is like nope, you actually want this so we are going to make you work for it.

Lauren – I have that problem a lot. Natasha had some trouble cuming for a long time, didn’t you babes, so I am thrilled that you came at the gym.

Natasha – Well, this is what the problem is though isn’t it, you just don’t know when its going to come and then you get dry and bored.

Poppy – Yeah, you start thinking about your to-do list, chores and then it’s not sexy any more.

Lauren – This is my problem during partnered sex. It’s great but sometimes I think, I really should be downstairs or what am I going to have for dinner and then it is too late for me now, it’s not going to happen. I have written some notes down, I have written about half a page and then after that I have written “ and now let’s talk about wanking” but we didn’t waste any time, just got straight in.

(Laughter)

Poppy – That’s what people want though, isn’t it.

Lauren – Alright no, we need to get back to them for a second because I did put a little question box on Instagram asking if anyone had any questions for you, Poppy. A lot of people asked how Self and More started and that kind of stuff, but I know that you just did an amazing, career highlight, Sunday Times podcast. Fucking incredible.

Poppy – Yesss. Oh my god, I just couldn’t believe that they asked me on that. The Sunday Times Style have a podcast called, Secrets of the Side Hustle, and they get female founders on to talk about their business journey. Loads of the other people that have been on it are from companies that I have heard of and love so I was like, woah, that is amazing.

Lauren – It was brilliant so if people want to hear loads of amazing start up tips, then defiantly give that a listen. I know you have told the story a hundred times, but would you mind just giving us a brief run down of how and why you started and what makes Self and More different to all the other ones out there?

Poppy – Absolutely. I think the main things it comes down to were that sex toys, for me, helped me to understand how my body can experience pleasure. I had been having a lot of sex that was fun or for the sake of it, but I never really reached orgasm through it, and I never really thought there was a problem with that, until I started masturbating more and using toys more and realising that, oh shit, I can cum 3 times in a row and my body can do that. The experience of buying toys didn’t match up to this, kind of, empowering experience that I was having using toys. It all seemed very seedy and wink wink nudge nudge, buy this massive rampant rabbit and impress your boyfriend. It wasn’t about solo exploration and figuring out what gives you pleasure, I just figured that this does not exist in the UK, we do not have a store that is celebrating that, so i’m going to start it and I did.

Lauren – Yeah, you did.

Natasha – Bloody hell.

(laughter)

Poppy – Turns out a lot of other people really wanted to celebrate wanking too, so it has worked quite well.

Lauren – When I was about 16, the only experiences I had had of sex toys was like sneaking in to the back of Anne Summers, there were black curtains and you had to be really subtle. I was either buying these really disgusting toys, like you were saying that had a real male sort of gaze or buying tiny little bullets, that was all the choice was. I love what you have done on Self and More, how it has really changed the game. There and no gender labels it is just full or really high quality, safe toys. Because that is another thing, isn’t it, so many of the toys that you can get on Amazon and stuff you don’t want to be putting those up your vagina guys.

Poppy – I know. This is it, the more research I did before opening the store, I started finding out about all the harmful chemicals that are in toys, there are chemicals that are put in to plastics to make them soft called phthalates, and they are banned from being in children’s toys because they can be harmful but they are still in loads of dildos and vibrators, these kind of jelly toys that you can buy really cheap on Amazon and the dodgy sex toy shops on the corner, the adult shops XXX. No one knows that we aren’t meant to put this stuff in our body, why would we, we aren’t taught this stuff at school, we are not given any sort of education, particularly around toys. What I figured out was that I didn’t know this then loads of other people won’t know it too, so it made perfect sense to make a store where everything was actually body safe and isn’t going to harm you. It sounds obvious really, it sounds like the bare minimum for things that you are going to put inside yourself.

Natasha – Yeah, it does.

Lauren – You take that for granted and you just assume that as this is marketed to me as a dildo or whatever, so I will be fine. That is terrifying that it’s stuff that is banned from kids stuff but I can shove it inside me.

Poppy – Yep, I know. Don’t even start me on the yeast infections you could get.

Lauren – I have actually made a note of that as well, I have actually written down, how’s your week, Poppy and I had a Zoom call this week and we had our cameras off. Poppy messaged me afterwards and said “I was on the toilet for the whole of that call, because I got railed so hard the other night that I have got a UTI”

(Laughter)

Poppy – Oh my god, yes, I think the railing just about out weighs the UTI still, but it was touch and go for a bit. I did think, what have I done to myself, on mute, on a call, on the toilet, just trying to be okay.

Lauren – Everyone just pee after sex, okay? Just do it!

Poppy –  Lauren literally said to me, you should pee after sex, I was like yeah I know I preach that, it is part of my personal brand, yet I forgot. It is easy to forget in the moment.

Lauren – Well especially if you were just having such amazing sex but we won’t go too far in to that.

Poppy – No, we need to do like a pay per listen type of thing.

Natasha – We need a sponsor from Only Fans really.

Lauren – Poppy has an Only Fans, now, as I found out on Instagram.

Poppy – Ah yes my fake, I have fallen prey to a fake, scammer thing on Instagram, where someone made a fake profile of me. It shows all of my sluttiest pictures from my Instagram, so every one where there is a little bit of cleavage or arse and they have put it all on to a Instagram profile with some absolute spam link to a website like, admire me, with the caption “see all of my explicit content here” And I actually do know that a few people fell for it and put their credit card details in, because they wanted to see my tits.

Lauren – That is a very layered situation, hang on.

Poppy – It is, I know. It’s like come on guys, if I was going to start an Only Fans I would promote it on my own channels because I would want to get that money.

Lauren – I liked it when you said “ the only way to see my explicit content is to chat me up” (laughter) I was like, yes!

Poppy – Oh god. I think this is quite a prevalent scam at the moment, I think anyone who looks a bit raunchy online but isn’t necessarily selling raunchy content is obviously a prime target because people will believe it. It is not really a stretch to think that I might start an Only Fans, is it.

Lauren – I believed it at first. I was like, what’s going on?

Poppy – Honestly I had about 50 people message me saying, is this you?

Natasha – Oh my god. That is so terrifying though, people stealing your content. Why am I even surprised that people would steal your content though, hmmm.

Poppy – It is the second time that I have had some weird, spam, fake, scam account in a year.

Lauren – Again, another thing that Instagram is failing to crack down on, yet they shut me up every time I say dildo.

Poppy – Isn’t it ridiculous. How many people would have reported that account, probably about 50, and yet it was still going. Why does Instagram take a stand against a nipple but not against someone who is scamming people out of thousands of pounds. What is going on Instagram?

Lauren – Well when the Instagram exec’s are listening to this, because obviously they will as this is going to have such a great reach.

(Laughter)

Poppy – What Zuckerberg? Wow you are making some really good points, free the nipple.

Lauren –  I have not heard of that before (laughter) So, I listened to that Sunday Times podcast and the thing I loved the most from what you said was when you said you wanted the Instagram to be a friend or a sister that gave advice and empowerment, and I think that is exactly what it is, for a lot of people. I love that you have created that space.

Poppy – I think we are quite lucky as we have got friends that we can talk about the explicit details of our sex life with and we do it on the internet as well, because we love to share. But not everyone has that. Not everyone has a friend that they can talk about wanking, or about their body, or about orgasms, about sex. So it felt really important to me that the Instagram, well the brand as a whole but the Instagram in particular, was a place that people could come, they could get information and they can cum fullstop. But I guess Lauren, you must get this all the time, but just so many DMs from people detailing their very explicit sex life questions and stories, because once you put yourself out there as a safe space, people love to share.

Lauren – Yeah. This is it, it sounds ridiculous now but it didn’t occur to me until quite recently, not everyone can go to their best mate and be like “ah, I had great anal sex last night” That is such a normal thing to me, that is the same to me as “we went to the park yesterday” It is so normal to me so I was a bit like, oh hang on not everyone has this with their friends. So, yeah, here I am. Tell me about it. I want to know.

Poppy – You are doing a very important service.

Lauren – It is important though, because if you can’t talk about these things that is when people start asking, am I normal? Is this normal? Am I weird? Is something wrong with me? It is like, no, if you talk to your friends you will soon discover that we are all up to kinky shit and you are fine.

Poppy – And we all have the same problems with orgasms, and wondering if our bodies are doing normal things, having bad sex and wondering why. If we talk about it we can figure it out and be reassured that we aren’t weirdos because pretty much everything is normal.

Lauren – I always think, if you’re wondering it or doing it, definitely someone else is doing it as well. It is never just you that is.

Poppy – Absolutely.

Lauren – I reckon peoples perception of you, Pops, is that you are just wanking like 27 times a day.

Poppy – Ouch.

Lauren – I wanted to ask, how many times a day, are you a massive wanker?

Poppy – Do you know what, it really fluctuates, it depends on how horney I am. If something has turned me on in my daily life, just going about my daily business, then I will masturbate. But sometimes I will go a few days without doing it and then some days I will do it 3 times and get a UTI, so it really varies. I definitely go through phases where I have got absolutely no interest in trying, then there will be other times when you just can’t keep your hands out of your pants. And I think that is quite normal for people to have differences in libido and desire.

Lauren – I am exactly the same.

Poppy – I don’t know about you, but if I am having good sex then I wank more as well.

Natasha – Yes!

Poppy – I don’t wank more to fill the void when i’m not having sex, I do it when i’m horney and having sex flashbacks.

Lauren – I have a theory, that orgasms breed orgasms, because the less I have sex the less I actually want to have sex or orgasm. And if I started doing it it is like I forgot how good this is and so I want to do it more.

Poppy – Totally.

Natasha – Well I remember reading, i’m sure it was a quote from Jane Fonda, it was basically saying that you have to masturbate because it is like a muscle, you have got to keep it constantly you know, you have got to warm it up and stuff. I took that as gospel, like I must wank.

Poppy – That’s an interesting point of view because I feel like society would have us think that if you do it all the time then you will run out of pleasure or your clit is gonna drop off, and that isn’t true. Obviously there probably is a point where it is to much, but you don’t have to abstain hoping that an orgasm is going to be better in the future, just have a good orgasm now.

Lauren – That’s a question I get a lot a actually. Will sex toys ruin my sex life? Or will it de sensitise me? And yeah, that is just not the case, is it?

Poppy –  Exactly and if you are worried, say you are using a Doxy wand, which is incredibly strong, and you are worried that that will be the only way you will be able to cum then just take a break, mix it up, try other things. Your body won’t forget. It might seem a bit of a chore after using that wand and cuming in a few minutes to using your hand and having to do it for 15 minutes again, like you used to have to do in the good ole days, but just keep on mixing it up and then you won’t become reliant on one certain way.

Natasha – Well and then I like the conversation around how sex isn’t always orgasm, you are not always going to a destination, you have got to enjoy the journey sometimes.

Poppy Absolutely, absolutely. I would say, probably at least half of the sex that I have had hasn’t resulted in an orgasm, because sometimes my body just finds it hard. I am front loading those in the the first 5 years of my sexual career but yeah, it is certainly not about that it is about the connection you are having and the things you are doing, you’re exploring and it’s not just about your genitals, there is a lot of pleasure to be had across your whole body. So if you are putting all that focus in to that one specific thing, and it doesn’t happen, then that will lead to even more disappointment.

Natasha – I always found that I faked orgasms when I was young and then because I got in to this routine of, I’ve got to do this, then because I started focusing on, no I have got to cum, I am going to actually orgasm, I just wouldn’t because that was all I was thinking about. I wasn’t even thinking about the sex that I was having, or if it was great, or bad, or if there was a connection, it was all in my head. This is the destination and we have got to get there as fast as we can.

Lauren – Otherwise you are out of luck, yep.

Poppy – And the thing is you are thinking, ah it’s just faking one orgasm to get it over with, that doesn’t matter. But then the next time you have sex with that person they are going to expect that the same things they did last time is going to result in an orgasm, so they will carry on doing that, you will feel pressured and will end up faking it again, and before you know it that is 5 years of your life gone with no orgasms.

Lauren – There is nothing more refreshing than being able to say to someone, it’s not going to happen for me, I’ve had a great time cheers, but I’ve had enough and i’m not going to get any further and them being cool with that. That’s a great thing.

Poppy – And, shocker, people don’t mind. They are like, oh ok great, well I’ve got fucking jaw ache anyway so.

Lauren – It gets tangled up between I don’t want to hurt their feelings, but it’s not about that, it’s literally like it’s not going to happen for me why would we torture ourselves. I’m not going to lie to you, i’m just going to say let’s stop here.

Natasha- And I do think that communication, I mean i’m going to sound so cliché, but it’s fucking important and so key to good sex.

Lauren – It’s not a cliché, it’s the answer to everything.

Poppy – And you are so right though, communication, it always comes back to that. We get a lot of questions like, how do I tell my boyfriend how I like to be touched? You just said the answer in the question, you just tell them. You don’t have to do it in morse code or in braille, just say it, touch me like this.

Lauren – One of the questions someone asked was, how to ask for what you want without sounding demanding or rude? Like you said, you just ask, it’s not demanding or rude to say this is what I want to happen, can we?

Poppy – Yeah, I mean the key is just knowing what you want and as soon as you know what you want it’s easy to ask for it. I’m trying to think why it would be demanding or rude, unless you are saying, do this now you fucking pig. But they might be in to that.

Lauren – I was just about to say that might go down really well, you should probably check first.

Natasha – It’s sad that asking for what you want gets mixed up with being demanding.

Lauren – I was just going to say that same thing.

Poppy – It stinks of patriarchy doesn’t it.

Natasha – I’m guessing that that was a women that was asking?

Poppy – I guess in a lot of heterosexual sex people tend to default to the men being in charge, they are not generally specifically vocalising it but it’s more like ok, moving you in to this position, or subtly directing your head to my penis and I guess that maybe women aren’t doing that so much so it feels like everything needs to be spoken in really elicit terms. But I guess if you aren’t comfortable with the words you could try more physical cues, I don’t know. Just ask.

Lauren – If you don’t feel comfortable saying I would like to do this, or do more of this, then you need to address some bigger problems because I think it should be quite an easy thing to say to someone who respects you and cares about what you want as well.

Poppy – It really should. What you could do is in your room, alone, say these things out loud to yourself. So if you know that what you want is for someone to touch your clit in a certain way or to fuck you in a certain position, say that out loud to yourself and practice so it just comes out naturally when you are with a partner.

Natasha – I really enjoy a good de-brief afterward a sesh as well.

Lauren – Thats aftercare, it’s really trendy right now.

Natasha – I really like it. So like, when you did that I really liked it, and then he tells me what he liked, and i’m like okay I think this is communication and its really flowing.

Lauren – That’s very bit adult of you.

Poppy – Also its really hot to be sat there naked afterwards saying, oh my god when you did that it was incredible. You will probably just get turned on again and end up doing it again.

Lauren – Yeah. It goes in to the people pleasing stuff again. For a long time, especially as a teen, I just thought that sex was to please my partner it wasn’t really about me, I didn’t orgasm and I didn’t even consider that I should be at that point, which sounds wild. But I was just thinking I want to get him off, what does he enjoy, when he’s done, we’re done. Its just moving that mindset that everyone here enjoys sex and should get to have fun so we need to communicate how we can both enjoy each other.

Natasha – Oh, I’m really sad though that both our experiences are, the end isn’t us orgasming, it’s them.

Poppy – I think we just have to throw away the whole script of what we think sex is and write our own rules within our own relationships. Unfortunately people you speak to who did have really great sexual experiences in their teens, it was usually because they found a partner that cared about their pleasure but at that age it is very difficult to know beyond your needs. I wonder why, even at that age, that it is easier for male humans to get the sex they want, why do you think that is?

Lauren – I mean, as a mother of a boy I am constantly aware of this stuff because I think that sex education, from any reputable source, is so lacking that teens and especially boys, are getting the messages about what sex is from really horrific porn and everyone is accepting that that is what sex should be. You see so much on Tick Tock it’s horrifying, like young young girls who just think that all girls should like being choked and tied up and spanked, and if you do thats fine I personally love it, but they aren’t even being given different options. I have to take a guy spitting in my mouth because that’s what Tick Tock is saying I should be doing.

Poppy – What is this all about? Because I see a lot of this kind of content on Tick Tock as well and it is always really young girls talking about how they have spit kinks. Why is that trendy?

Lauren – I don’t know, but I saw some horrific Tick Tock’s where it is just guys and they spit at the camera.

Poppy – Eugh.

Lauren – Again, not kink shaming at all but I swear to god if I was that boys mum I would have his phone away from him so fast. But it is so normalised that again, people don’t realise that they have a choice. There is a whole range of things that you could be in to, you don’t just have to like this specific stuff because you are seeing it on porn hub, and I think that is the problem. How often do you see people with vulvas pleasure being prioritised in cheap porn? You don’t.

Poppy – It is always kind of the screaming orgasm from just a penis going inside them.

Lauren – Which is a fucking myth, we all now know that barely anyone can orgasm just from penetrative sex, almost all of us need a bit of clit rubbing to get going.

Poppy – And the people that are cuming from penetrative sex are probably grinding their clit against the other body.

Lauren – Yeah, yep, the stars are all aligned for them. And I think that is the problem, I personally am really passionate about educating kids, and I do mean kids, on things like self pleasure, consent, enthusiastic consent, what sex actually can be, rather than this violent, penetrative stuff that they are seeing in porn.

Natasha – And also its that whole thing that violence has almost been labeled as passionate, I don’t know I just feel like its all been labeled wrong.

Lauren – We need to throw it all out and start again I swear. I think it should start with self pleasure, like you said Natasha, figure out what you like by yourself and then communicate that to your partners.

Poppy – Yeah. Lauren, you mentioned talking to your kids about pleasure and I think it is a shame that this is stigmatised so much because pretty much all kids will touch themselves.

Lauren – Absolutely. From about 3 I think is the average.

Poppy – Yeah. You find your genitals and think this feels good, there is no deeper meaning behind it just that it feels good so i’m going to do it. So many parents react to that, obviously with their own horror and disgust about them not being encouraged to masturbate so it is internalised, then the kids are told no don’t do that it’s disgusting and then you grow up with all these hang ups about it and people feel so much shame about masturbation.

Lauren – Absolutely.

Poppy – It’s a shame, isn’t it?

Lauren – I couldn’t nod my head any harder just then.

Natasha – Same, I was like oh my god i’m going to hurt myself.

(Laughter)

Lauren – But that is what it all comes down to. A lot of people message me saying that after a wank, they feel this intense shame and they don’t know where that comes from, the answer is, whether you like it or not, its your childhood because at some point you have been given the message that touching yourself is dirty and shameful and should be hidden and not spoken about, or not done. I have heard some horrific things, some people have been told they are going to go to hell if the touch their clit and stuff like that. That right there, at 3 years old or whenever you heard that, starts the cycle of the shame you feel as a 30 year old having sex. It is wild, it is so important to get it right with these kids because as you said, it’s not about sex, they have just discovered something that feels good and the right answer is, in your own room and wash your hands after and all of that stuff, but you can touch, it is your own body.

Poppy – I remember one of my first boyfriends when I was 17, we were having sex and I reached down and touched my clit, he was like why are you doing that, stop that, I touch you you don’t touch yourself.  So I stopped because I didn’t know what else to do. That has really stuck with me, I still think about it now being told at 17, where as now most people think its fucking hot if you touch yourself during sex.

Lauren – Absolutely, yeah they do, and I think a lot of us have had experiences like that and that has really damaged our whole relationship with sex and with masturbating, it’s horrible. So I think education from a pretty young age is the solution to most of these issues. Then hopefully we will raise kids who either will  be confident enough to say what they want to their partner, or be partners who understand or ask and want their partners to tell them what they want. Then we can all respect each other and have really good sex, hopefully, that’s the aim right.

Poppy – This is Lauren’s world vision.

Lauren – Getting back to that question really quickly, the answer is you shouldn’t feel demanding or rude but that doesn’t mean that you won’t, and if you do feel that way it is valid. I find that when I have struggled to communicate things, texting it is so much easier. Just start a dirty little text thing while your partner is out, it is much easier to send the text then throw your phone over there and cringe.

Poppy – This is so true. Sexting, don’t feel like you have to say things you think they will find hot, say things  you find hot and find some common ground. If you are already doing the sexting and saying things that you don’t want to do, you are just setting yourself up for bloody failure later on, so just be honest.

Lauren – It just is a lot easier when you aren’t face to face sometimes, so I would try that, or try saying oh isn’t it sexy when, and it just so happens to be exactly what you want. He may be like, yeah that is fucking hot, and you will think that was easy, see you in an hour.

Poppy – Isn’t it sexy when you do these exact circles, anti clockwise, around my clitoris.

Lauren – Or the other alternative is show them, which I also quite like to employ. I will do it this time, you can watch, then next time you might have picked up some tips.

Poppy – Absolutely. Sit at the end of the bed, get a notepad and pen.

Lauren – There are some tips for you listener, I hope that helped. Back to wanking, because that is what we are here for. Poppy, you are a big advocate for messy wanking aren’t you?

Poppy – Yeah.

Natasha – What’s messy wanking?

Poppy – Well I just feel like, in some ways, the image of wanking that we have to put across on social media, because that is where lots of sex positive companies, and influencers, and educators are existing, obviously we are all slaves to Instagram’s content censorship. So the messages that lots of companies and influencers are putting out are like, here’s my vibrator, I just had a perfect little wank and it was amazing. But actually we are all ugly when we wank, we have double chins and we are pulling weird faces, we are in our sweat pants and we are probably sweating, so I just think we need to be a bit real when it comes to what wanking is.

Lauren – I think wanking on your own, discovering pleasure can lead to better partnered sex. A lot of people then ask, how do you bring those toys in to partnered play, because I think that a lot of people think that their partner is going to be offended or intimidated. If your partner is intimidated by a vibrator can you please dump them because fuck that.

Poppy – Get a grip.

Lauren – How do we bring toys in to partnered play and keep everyone happy?

Poppy – I just say, can I show you my toy and then you use it. I think we do need to stop being scared of toys and applying some sort of additional message to the toy, like almost by bringing in a toy you are saying you want to bring in additional pleasure. If you are really worried about this and you don’t know how to bring it up, you can position it in a way that it is about pleasure for both of you, I can use this toy on you, or you can use this toy on me, or you can watch me use it, there are lots of different ways you can do it. If you are unsure about it then it’s probably not best to just whip it out mid sex, perhaps speak about it before, going back to the sexting, you know say it in advance. Tell someone that this is the best way for me to orgasm so I would like to use my toy. If they say well no, literally dump them. If that person does not want you to have an orgasm and would rather you go without then they are trash.

Lauren – Its mad to me, it is exactly the same as saying I absolutely love pizza, it is my favourite meal, and then your partner turning round and saying we are never having pizza again.

Poppy – You can only have pizza if I cook it.

Lauren – If you love someone, even if you don’t fucking love them, if you respect them an inch and you are having sex with them why would you be like nah, we are not using the thing you like to cum with absolutely not. It doesn’t make sense to me.

Poppy – I think some of the times people might have fears of their partner being upset about it but actually they might not, you might just be projecting that on to them because of all the cultural messages we get about pleasure being shameful. Maybe they will be absolutely fine with it.

Lauren – That is what it comes down to and especially women’s pleasure is stigmatised where we feel like we aren’t allowed to prioritise it. I know so many people that would never admit to having a wank, they are like I could never do that, that’s just for me and my husband to do that. We have sent all these boy’s this message that we need to shake off. You are allowed pleasure, you are allowed to cum.

Poppy – You are allowed pleasure and I think a lot of people are frustrated because they can make themselves cum really easily alone with a toy, and then they aren’t cuming during sex and they are wondering why. But if you are used to laying on your back in a specific position, with a specific toy on a specific setting and then you are not replicating that with a partner, why would you cum if that is the only way you know how to cum. You have to try to replicate those exact same sensations during partnered sex, if you want to cum.

Lauren – Exactly. And I do think it is harder during partnered sex. I consider myself fairly well educated on the whole orgasm front, but I struggle sometimes because there is quite a lot of pressure when someone else is there, you have got other stuff to be getting on with, it is a different set up. So yeah, it is hard, I don’t think anyone should be beating themselves up if they can cum alone but struggle with a partner. I think lots of us have been there for various reasons.

Poppy – We are not orgasm machines, even me, i’ve got a fucking arsenal of sex toys and I still don’t cum every time I have sex. I try but I don’t always get there. Sometimes i’m too stressed. On the topic of bringing sex toys in to your partnered sex, I was speaking to a friend the other day and I think they bought the LELO Sona, they told their boyfriend okay this is now my favourite way to cum, he was like wow i’m going to try and replicate the sensations then. So he went down on her and replicated the sucking motion of the Sona and it worked and she came.

Lauren – Wow.

Natasha – Oh my god.

Poppy – She was like, that was the best oral sex you have ever given me.

Lauren – Try and become the toy.

Poppy – Don’t be scared of the toys try and imitate the toys.

Lauren – I was about to say there is no way he could do that, my Sona is my ride or die at this point. That is impressive and what a great, I mean the bar is so low at this point, but I am so impressed that he gave it a fucking go.

Poppy – Me too. I like how he approached it like a project. I think to do that he would have probably had to make quite an ugly face and an ugly sound and sometime to have great sex you just have to embrace that.

Lauren – That is the messy part, and lube, so many people are like I don’t like lube because it’s messy, um well you’ve got enough liquids and body stuff everywhere, why is a bit of lube going to make you feel icky, it doesn’t make sense.

Poppy – Also how much lube are people using, that they think it is ruining the bed sheets? You don’t need to use loads, just apply a little, often.

Natasha – But then I feel loads of shame around lube.

.

Lauren – Okay, let’s unpack this.

Natasha – It’s because when I went on anti-depressants, I dried up.

Lauren – Right.

Natasha – And then I was so ashamed, I used to be quite proud of my wetness and then I was so ashamed that I wasn’t getting wet enough. I was so turned on but physically wasn’t producing anything and it was just embarrassing.

Poppy – But it’s not embarrassing.

Natasha – I was using lube in secret. He would go to the toilet and I would put lube on, so then he would come back and we would start the motion and he would be like wow you’re so wet and I would just be like (laughing)

Poppy – Do you know what, I have heard of other people doing that as well so you are not alone in that.

Lauren – I feel like Cardi B has really glamourised a wet ass pussy. If it’s not happening, so many people are effected by anti-depressants, or hormonal, or menopause, there are so many different reasons why you might not be super lubricated down there, that’s why lube exists, hey you can have a wet ass pussy with a bit of lube, it doesn’t matter where the fucking juice came from.

Poppy – It is so normal to have a dry ass pussy, it happens to everyone and you have two options, what you don’t have sex or you use some lube. Always go for the lube.

Natasha – Thanks girls, I just had to get that out there, even as a professional wanker.

Poppy – Thank you for sharing. I use lube pretty much every time I wank, if I use a toy i’m using lube because obviously the toy doesn’t produce any type of moisture, so just think of it like that.

Lauren – And it makes it so much better.

Poppy – Yeah, so much better and you can go for longer, you can use the toys over and over again because there is less friction.

Natasha – I have got a question girls. I think I have been wanking wrong.

Poppy – Nah, no such thing.

Natasha – So I wank, I get it done and then I leave.

Lauren – I can cum 6 or 7 times and then still think about going again.

Poppy – I very rarely have a wank and don’t stick around around for a second orgasm. I have one and then think, ah I think i’ve got another one in me.

Natasha – I didn’t know that you can “stick around” and keep going.

Lauren – I find that they get better as well. I am more likely to squirt on my second or third than I am on my first.

Poppy – I find it gets more frantic the more you do, come on.

Natasha – Shit.

Poppy – Oh my god if you are under the covers and you wank, then by the end of it it’s just wet, your whole body is damp.

Lauren – That’s the mark of a good sesh, that’s what I want. I want to need to have a shower afterwards. That is how I know I have put a good effort in.

Poppy – Also you know having one is perfectly, if you are satisfied, that’s fine. You can just stop there. You are reclaiming some hours in your day by not going back for seven.

Lauren – That’s why your house is tidy and mine is not.

Poppy – When you wank, how ofter are you doing just a quick in and out and how often are you setting the scene, you know, putting on mood lighting and all that jazz?

Natasha – I have a ritual.

Lauren – I love that.

Poppy – Ooooh, what is it?

Natasha – I have a bath.

Lauren – I love how your whole voice just changed.

Poppy – A hot bath?

Natasha – Boiling hot, gotta burn that sin off. So, I have my steaming hot bath, I get in bed. I put some music on, normally it’s Mac Millers Divine Feminine to set the scene. I get my bullet out, rev her up and then I just go to town. Sometimes I can do it in, maybe 2 minutes, sometimes i’m edging for 40 minutes and i’m having a great time. Also I rarely fantasise, I am just all about how I feel in my body.

Poppy – Ah, that’s interesting. I like that.

Natasha – But the whole thing is so ceremonious, it’s probably a bit over the top but it is such a massive part of my self care routine.

Poppy – Yeah, like a proper celebration of you.

Natasha – Yes.

Lauren – That is like mindfulness though, your therapist should be proud of that, good job.

Natasha – I know, thank you. I just cum and then I go.

Lauren – But that is the perfect set up to go again, leave the music on, hang on a few minutes and then see how it feels to carry on.

Natasha – You are right, because I have put so much effort in, why don’t I stick around.

Poppy – I love that. I think that whole routine sounds amazing.

Lauren – See mine very much depends on why i’m wanking. I think a wank fills many, many needs for me. So sometimes I just can’t sleep so I will just have a very quick one to help get me off, to sleep not off. Sometimes you do want it to be more of an occasion, if I have got the time to spend a bit more time on myself.

Poppy – If I am having a lie down wank I will always put a towel down or if i’m using a toy I will always put a towel down, because otherwise I know that when i’m about to cum I will stunt that orgasm in my head because I will be worrying about the sheets.

Lauren – Yeah, you hold back.

Poppy – It impacts the quality of my orgasm.

Natasha – I have just realised though my wanking routine is very similar to how I have sex. I never have quickies its always like a fucking occasion.

Lauren – I love that for you though, that’s amazing. My whole life is quickies, squeezed in to the 5 minutes I have spare, it’s fun but it’s not the same as a good hour long sesh. But there is a time and a place for a quickie, I keep a sex toy in the car because you never know when you might need one.

Natasha – I can’t drive.

Lauren – So I wrote down, perfect wanking conditions, but I think we have established that there are so many perfect wanking conditions.

Poppy – Did you know what, I found a new one recently, this isn’t a perfect wanking condition but it is something that turned me on and I hadn’t anticipated. I discovered this during lockdown. If my partner is in the house and I want a wank, I get off on the idea that he might walk in on me and find me and it makes me cum quicker because i’m like, oh no i’m going to get caught. And that does it for me and I never knew that before.

Lauren – Like a danger wank. Did you ever talk about those in high school? We always used to joke about, you would call your mum and then you would have to finish before your mum gets to your bedroom.

Poppy – No. Don’t bring mum in to this.

Natasha – What the fuck. We are mums, shit. I’ve got a girlfriend who only wanks in the bath.

Poppy – Yeah, that’s quite common, especially for people that live with their families.

Lauren – The shower as well, it covers the noise which is quite handy. So I have actually written down, let’s give a little shout out to our favourite toys, if you wouldn’t mind. What are you loving at the moment? Because Natasha has only got a fucking bullet., we need to sort her out.

Natasha – I have got other toys, they just don’t bite the bullet.

Poppy – I am a bit too lazy at the moment. Normally I like to remind myself that I can still do it with my hand, so every 10 wanks or something I like to do one with my hand, but that hasn’t happened now for about 6 months.

Lauren – I did that the other week, I was thrilled. I haven’t done a DIY wank for, genuinely, about 10 years, probably more than that. I honestly didn’t think I would be able to, and I did and I thought, wow, still got it.

Poppy – Yes, that is good. It feels different, doesn’t it, I think it feels very different to how it does with a toy.

Lauren – Yes it does but I think it is so important to experience, there are so many different types of orgasm that is why I enjoy, thank you Poppy, having so many toys because they are different experiences.

Poppy – Yeah. I will tell you what, one thing I really like when i’m wanking, if i’m using a toy on my clit I like to put my fingers at the vagina entrance, not put them in but just have them there. And I feel like that transforms the orgasm and the experience as well. There are so many things that you can do to mix it up a little bit.

Lauren – Especially when you look at those model clits, like I like to do now, it is so big. There are so many parts of your vulva that you can stimulate and it will stimulate your clit in different ways. It is quite exciting when you start exploring it all. I used to be clit, thank you but now I really enjoy penetration with clit stimulation, it’s like a whole new ball game.

Poppy – Me too, but I do find that I am too lazy for the hand thrusting, so I do tend to just put something in there and just leave it.

Lauren – I love the Jollet, you just stick it in, I don’t even turn it on half the time, but its almost just that pressure of it being in there. I’m just thinking of that scene in friends with Monica where she is all like seven, seven.

Poppy – I will tell you what I have got in to recently, the LELO Enigma, the one that is like the Sona but it has the internal bit as well. It has it all in one toy, but I do find I need to warm up to it first, I find the insertable bit is a bit big to go in cold, you have to warm up a bit.

Lauren – That’s the other thing, i’ve seen you say this about how to get the most out of your sex toys ,and it’s not reach for it straight away, let yourself warm up a little bit first before you reach for your toy, which is such a good tip.

Poppy – Definitely. Even if that is getting in the bath and relaxing your body. Hello Natasha. Yeah, whatever it is whether it’s stroking your thighs or touching your nipples or what ever, you don’t start aggressively wanking off a penis when its flacid so why would you do that to your clit before it’s engorged with blood. So I always think it helps, but then obviously sometimes you do just go fuck it and wack the Doxy on to your dry clit, I think sometimes you just want to hurt yourself.

Lauren – I really love the Enigma because I find that it is such a better shape to lots of other rabbits, it hits the spots in such a different way to others. It’s got a nice little curve to it, so I do love that one.

Poppy – And obviously I do think because the suction part of it is so strong, when it is not making a full on seal to your body, I find that i can have it off to an angle of my clit so that its not fully suctioned on but it still feels really good.

Lauren – This is the problem that I have found a lot with Instagram and talking a lot about the Satisfyr, which has changed my life I love air pressure toys in general, but I do think that they are more suited to solo play because there does need to be such a specific placement, you have to get it exactly right and if someone is moving it around then it’s done, it’s over. So yeah, it’s good to have different toys that are for different things. For using with your partner I think it is much better to have something like a wand or a bullet when someone else is using it on you because it doesn’t matter so much where they hold it.

Poppy – Yeah, the wand is great for that because it is so broad and it’s like the stage presence of bringing in a wand as well. But I do find that they are so powerful, if I am having sex with a man that they will be able to feel the vibrations through me and they are fucking set off way quicker than normal, so it kinda defeats the object.

Lauren – That is very true. The Doxy was my gateway drug, honestly, which I know it’s a major toy and not for beginners but I had only had bullets before that. It was only when a boyfriend had a Doxy, I don’t even want to think about where it has been before me, but he bought it out and that was genuinely the first time that someone had prioritised my pleasure and I just started having, genuinely, earth shattering orgasms, I couldn’t stand up. My legs were wobbling and I was like, this is what I have been missing, I was 26 and I just wondered what I had been doing up until now. This is how it should have fucking been. I wanted to talk quickly about sex toys for penis’s. I think now, especially with lockdown, so many people were doing great things to de stigmatise sex toys for people with vulvas, you see a lot of that now. It is still taboo but certainly not like it was. But I do feel like sex toys for penis’s are still a little bit stigmatised. Do you think?

Poppy – Yes, I think that is true. I have spoken to lots of people with penis’s, particularly cis men, who have had a sex toy and then they have had a partner who has judged them for it saying that’s gross, why do you have that. I think there is this assumption that mens sexuality is really simple and they should just be able to knock out a wank or go out and have sex so why are you fucking about with any of that other stuff, just be a man and it will be ok. I think it is really harmful and it doesn’t matter what gender you are or what genitals you have, using a sex toy should just be about pleasure and there is none of that additional meaning that we should put on that, it doesn’t means anything about you as a person other than that you want to experience pleasure.

Lauren – Yes, absolutely. We all deserve that regardless of what you’ve got in your pants okay.

Poppy – Yeah, and I think as well for quite a long time the toys for penis’s were a little bit more explicit in the way they look, you think of like a pocket pussy or a fleshlight, which is a tube with a fanny on the end and the image of that can be quite jarring I suppose for people who are maybe not that in to sex toys and it can reduce a women’s body down to a part. So I can see how some people may look at that and feel freaked out by it, but actually there are a lot of different penis toys out there these days and if you don’t want something that looks anatomical, you don’t have to have that anymore there is lots of options out there.

Lauren – Absolutely, a little plug, but I know we have got some coming on to the website soon but just trying them out and having a look at them, you wouldn’t know they were sex toys if you saw them out on someone’s dresser with is great about them, they are so far from the traditional fleshlights, which are great and have a place but if you’re not in to that.

Natasha – Yeah. Sex toys are there to add value to your sex life, not to take away.

Lauren – Yep.

Poppy – They are tools, they compliment your sex life, they are not going to replace a human or intimacy, they are just tools. We live in a very capitalist society where we are taught to keep on buying and accumulating stuff to make our lives easier so we may as well embrace it and buy a load of sex toys.

Lauren – Absolutely. I saw a Tick Tock on that subject and he was saying that when we had cavemen they would build with their hands, now we have electric drills and screwdrivers, you are not like i’m not using that electric tool because I won’t be able to use my hands in the end.  We use tools for lots of things because society has moved on, we have got lots of inventions and things have levelled up, it’s not different to your sex life.

Natasha – Well I think it’s important to note as well, people with disabilities or any kind of situation where maybe they can’t use the bottom part of their body and they want to pleasure their girlfriend, boyfriend, whoever they are with and pleasure looks different for everybody and no one should feel less than because they can’t orgasm.

Poppy – That is so true.

Natasha – Do you know what I mean? It looks different for everybody.

Poppy – Absolutely, we should celebrate our differences. The idea that sex is actually better without sex toys is actually very ablest.

Lauren – I hate that notion of, oh well I had an orgasm with just my husband. I mean thats great but that is no better than having an orgasm any other way.

Poppy – No. There is no kind of hierarchy of orgasms, one doesn’t mean more just because it was generated organically with your hand or whatever.

Lauren – All orgasms are equal. Another question someone asked is for tips to help give to friends exploring toys. I kinda feel like, I champion toys obviously, but we also have to respect those who choose not to use toys. I feel it really hard to not be like, you’re really missing out listen to what i’m saying, people really may not be in to it and that is totally fine.

Poppy – It can be quite condescending actually, i’m actually having more pleasure than you, so, you need to buy a toy.

Lauren – I just really like buying sex toys as presents for my girlfriends, if I know they are interested, I have gifted many a vibrator and they have always gone down well. And I love when I get an email saying this is a friends birthday present, I always reply, you are a great fucking friend.

Poppy – Yeah, and if you want to speak to them about it just tell them about your toys and what you like and see if you can open up that conversation. Then if you want to buy them one but you don’t know what they will like you could always just buy them a Self and More gift voucher.

Lauren – You just have to drip feed slowly, slowly and then they might feel like they want to give it a go. I have to warn people now, if I meet people at a home ed group or something like that and they ask if i’m on Instagram, I have to tell them I am but just be aware of the content on there. Then a few weeks down the line they will be like, I need to get a toy and I am like yes, another one! I have one more question, but actually I think we have covered it. If someone is brand new to sex toys, what kind of advice would you give them?

Poppy – I think if you are brand new to sex toys I always say it is best to begin by trying to replicate the sensations that you already like with partnered sex or masturbation. If you reach for your clit and rub it gently, then I would go for a vibrator that has gentle settings that you can use externally. I always think it’s better to go for something simple like a bullet or a g spot vibe rather than get one toy that does everything it wants, rabbits can be quite difficult with fitting your anatomy and hitting all the right spots, so I always think its better to start with one or two toys separately. Also pick something that you want to fuck, pick something that looks good, that you are proud to own, because if you buy something for the sake of it or because it’s the first thing you see then you are going to be ashamed of it and you will hide it away and then you won’t use something. So get something you like the look of.

Lauren – That is a really good tip. I would say, I don’t know if this is a good tip or not, but go for something on the cheaper end because I think a lot of people get frustrated and will drop £50 and then not get on with it. If you don’t know what you like yet, don’t go for the expensive ones start with a few of the lower end ones, just to dip your toe in to see what you do like before you commit to a bigger purchase. Do some investigating first with the lower end stuff because it doesn’t last too long and you can upgrade it if you loved it.

Natasha – Again, I guess like sex, you do have to try things just to see what works for you, right. You build up and you build up, then before you know it you’re at a BDSM club.

(laughter)

Poppy – How did you know my life story.

Lauren – So what is next for Self and More and for you Pops?

Poppy – Ooh good question. I think just world domination and orgasms for everyone.

Natasha – World domination through masturbation.

Poppy – Ah I love it. I think at some point we are going to have to create our own toys, that is the natural next step because I think we have got a good understanding of what people want now and the gaps in the market. So watch this space, hopefully coming to a bedside drawer near you.

Lauren – I love it. Where can we find you and is there anything else you would like to plug?

Poppy – I am on Instagram @Poppyscarlett_ and I think its the same on Twitter. And www.selfandmore.co.uk

Lauren – You have very kindly let us make a discount code for the podcast, so you can use the code feelingmyselfpod for 10% off purchases at Self and More.

Natasha – Thank you Poppy, you are amazing.

Poppy – Aww, you two are amazing.

Lauren – She is the best, isn’t she?

Natasha – I could honestly speak to you all day.

Lauren – I always feel super privileged to have you at the end of my Whatsapp’s. You are a babe. Thank you so much for giving us your time today.

Lauren – Am I meant to say that thing they always say, rate, subscribe, wherever you get your podcasts.

Natasha Well….you just said that, so thats great.

Lauren Love you. Bye.

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