In the midst of the COVID-19 landscape, I've found that when I try to really feel myself through masturbation, I'm competing with a running thread of anxieties going through my head: How long will we wear masks? How long have I been wearing this slip dress? Did I leave the house today? Did I eat breakfast? Is that marinara on my bedspread? Are we all going to die? How many days till the Georgia runoff elections? When will I see anyone next? When will I see anyone I would actually want to sleep with? And so on and so forth.
You might understand—you live in some for of this reality, too. These unprecedented times have seen a spike in anxiety and correlating drop in libido for many, which is why this arousing massage oil packed with full-spectrum CBD and arousal-stoking florals felt like a match made in heaven for me. It can fuel the work of a sensual massage, which can facilitate getting everything in bed, uh, flowing.
Why sensual massage play can help us relax before sex play
"Being able to feel relaxed is a core step to really getting blood pumping and having good circulation," says Rebecca Alvarez Story, sexologist and founder of Bloomi. "And what's interesting about being sexually aroused is that you have to be both calm and [excited]; the parasympathetic and sympathetic [nervous systems] have to be working together. So what happens when you're massaging is that and you're stimulating the skin, you're sending a signal to the brain to relax."
"Being able to feel relaxed is a core step to really getting blood pumping and having good circulation." —sexologist Rebecca Alvarez Story, founder of Bloomi
When you're partnered and someone is kneading into you, the feel-good "cuddle hormone" oxytocin is released through that intentional, thoughtful skin-to-skin contact. But you can still deliver a self-massage before solo play and reap the benefits. Story points out that instead of having to direct someone on what feels good and building a communication-based, person-to-person intimacy, you can target exactly what you need when you use arousing massage oil on yourself. And building that self-intimacy, whether by rubbing your shoulder, rubbing your back, or rubbing your feet, can shift your arousal state as well. "It's stimulating pleasure in a faster cycle term," says Story.
To that end, I was able to get creative with my favorite vibrating wand and the Bloomi Massage Oil—here's what happened.
Here's how the Bloomi Massage Oil felt in practice.
Shop Now: Bloomi Massage Oil, $64
As it would turn out, the massage oil arrived to me during an absolute hellish week—even for 2020. I didn't waste any time before using it, and two pumps later, I was working it between my shoulder blades and unsheathing the heating SVAKOM massage wand that holds a royal space on my nightstand. In that first instance, the massage oil was helpful for letting me relax, and between the wand, the slick-but-not-sticky consistency of the oil, and the product's musky aroma, I felt pretty much sedated.
Oh, about that aroma: Bloomi Massage Oil is also formulated with hemp oil and blended with a variety of botanical plants. Alongside the night-blooming plants like jasmine and tuberose are Virginia Cedarwood, bitter orange oil, and ylang ylang. Full disclosure that Bloomi's signature Arousal Oil ($58) is my most-beloved getting-in-the-mood product, but while the arousal oil is formulated with aphrodisiacs meant to improve blood circulation, lubrication, and arousal, the massage oil focuses on aromatherapeutic aphrodisiacs known for relaxation. They're blended to give off a unique olfactory experience that testers found the most, well, arousing. "What we found is that people tend to not necessarily gravitate towards floral…[but rather] kind of musky, woodsy, Earthy, and, as the hemp is already pretty strong, we needed to balance it out," says Story.
That sensual allure works wonders if you're trying to turn yourself on and get into that pleasure mind-set. When I finally took the oil and wand downtown, it was pure erotic magic. The massage oil is vulva-safe and pH balanced, and feels incredible paired with some high-vibe heat.
There's also something beautifully accessible about this oil: It acknowledges that sex is a part of self care, and is simultaneously a calming balm for anyone in knots of tension over the unprecedented times we live in. When I'm overwhelmed, for example, I now rub the oil in hard circles at the base of my neck and notice different thoughts occupy my headspace: Maybe tomorrow I'll put on some lip balm. Maybe in the springtime, I can take a trip back to Maine. It'll be so nice when this is over. It'll be so nice when I'm with someone when this is over. This will eventually be over. I feel calmer just thinking about it.
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