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I am proud to announce that Dr. Ruthie, one of our favorite affiliate bloggers and avid online reviewer of Babeland's toys, is our first Babe of the Month for 2011! Dr. Ruthie took the time to sit down with me and do a little sex shop talk about pleasure, relationships and a mutual favorite topic - LUBE! Here's what Dr. Ruthie had to say:Greta: We are really happy to have you reviewing toys for Babeland ? what?s on your sex toy wish list?Dr. Ruthie: Thank you so much! It?s wonderful to be aligned with a company that shares my passion for sex-positive, pleasure-positive intimacy and information for all. And since I began reviewing for Babeland, my sex toy collection has grown in such delightful ways! Lately, I?ve had my eye on a couple of toy lines that are releasing some very posh, creative items. FunFactory?s Cobra Libre for men looks very fun, as does Lelo?s new line of sensual bondage items. Although they?re not as new to the market, I?ve also been batting my eyelashes at those smooth, shiny metal toys by NJoy and the flowing designs of the lovely wooden Fling from NobEssence.Greta: Tell us about what inspired you to peruse a career in relationship coaching and sex-ed?Dr. Ruthie: Being a sexuality educator and coach is a challenging and unusual career choice, so that?s a really good question. It takes a certain type of background and set of life experiences to be comfortable with sexual well-being in a global way, and at the same time have the skills and training in relational issues to turn that into a career like mine. We are all surrounded by a sex-negative culture, both in the messages we receive each day and in the stark silence around topics essential to our sensual and intimate growth. Personally and professionally, I strive to personify my dedication to living a life of contagious pleasure and intimacy. I began training as a family therapist (and I am proud to teach student-therapists today) with a specialization in survivors of intimate partner violence. An understanding and respect for healthy, happy sexual intimacy for all genders is essential within that line of work, whether I?m focused on prevention, intervention or recovery. It didn?t take me long to realize that there is a glaring need for highly trained and skilled experts on intimacy and sexual well-being, both for one-on-one work as well as macro systemic change. So, I started pursuing advanced training anywhere I could find it. At the same time, I was seeing more and more clients who were seeking the type of professional that I was becoming. This led me to some fantastic and unique opportunities, including an original sex-positive workshop series for women living in shelters and women?s classes in the deep South. But I couldn?t let it stop there, so I began offering my services nationally through conference presentations, virtual office appointments, online and live workshops, and my blog! After moving to Washington, DC, I connected with the vibrant sex-positive community here and the opportunities continue to develop.Greta: What are your specializations?Dr. Ruthie: Inspiring my clients and workshop attendees to have a little fun when they get home! I hear that?s true, but that?s probably not the answer you were looking for. Over the years, I?ve expanded from survivors of damaging romantic relationships to those who seek to reclaim their sexuality after any form of sexual or family violence. It?s essential to my approach that we focus on solving problems by creating balance, finding ways to safely explore ourselves and relationships, and emphasizing our tremendous strengths. In other words, moving toward a better future can help address past wounds. From there, it was a natural transition to begin training for work with those who are reclaiming (or now discovering) their sexuality after an illness, injury or other bodily change. However, I?m proud to speak with people with a host of goals, including simply prioritizing their relationships with partners or themselves! No matter what, you can be sure I?m going to bring up the topic of sex toys and high quality lube. After all, I am a self-confessed lube snob!Greta: You are based in the DC area, but can you tell us a little bit about your virtual workshops and coaching?Dr. Ruthie: Technology can be so exciting when it allows us to more easily connect with each other! As I mentioned earlier, I?m a graduate faculty member in a program that trains relational therapists. What I didn?t note was that I actually teach online, through a webcam! When I made the switch from traditional teaching to online I was surprised by the close connections that can be made that way. Of course, some other countries are already comfortable with online meetings for everything from business matters to non-urgent medical appointments. So, I should have expected it, but I was used to the traditional office and classroom setting so it was a new experience for me. I began to wonder if it could work as well for workshops and coaching sessions. And lo and behold, it was a natural fit! For many people, it?s much more comfortable to be in your own room, yet still able to see each other and speak naturally. Others enjoy not having to worry about a commute, the lack of professionals in their area, or even childcare. Certainly there are folks who will always prefer the traditional office setting, but this has been a great way to expand to new areas and offer much-needed services and community anywhere with a phone or an internet connection!Greta: Who are your favorite clients or workshop participants?Dr. Ruthie: Working in this area, I meet so many great people. To make it even better, we?re all there to build something inspiring and uplifting together. I tend to think of two main groups when I think of my clients. First we have the thrill-seekers, who are looking for more explicit information and wild ideas but still appreciate a focus on well-being and relational quality. The other group is the outwardly conservative yet inwardly daring. These are the folks that appreciate new techniques and ideas, but absolutely require a balanced, appreciative and caring approach. I have to say that I love both groups and need them each for balance, but the latter group has a special place in my heart. For me, sex is about so many things: play, body language, intimacy, exploration, connection, celebration, reclaiming, communication, and all sorts of pleasure.� The boldest new sex technique from Hollywood can be very exciting, but without those richer underpinnings, it would do about as much good as those cheesy tips that sell glossy magazines.Greta: What inspired you to start reviewing toys on your blog?Dr. Ruthie: Toys are just so darned fun! There is no need to stop playing, exploring and imagining just because we?re grown up now. Anything that encourages you to discover and communicate with a smile on your face and a wiggle in your toes is worthwhile. Plus, many of these products give us tools for finding or sharing our orgasms, especially if we?ve struggled with that in the past or are adjusting to changes in our bodies or lives. If I hold up an anatomical line drawing and start pointing and talking, I?m suddenly that boring sex ed teacher from high school. However, when I have a vibrator in my hand and an attractive velvet and satin vulva-model, eyebrows raise and ears open. Now it?s applied, now the information makes sense and is clearly useful. Plus, I?m a big advocate for the value of pleasure, whether you?re single or in a relationship. And what promotes pressure-free, happy, healthy, readily available pleasure for people of all genders like a sex toy and some good lube? I swear, I have found my perfect job.Greta: Are there any toys you?re really excited about?Dr. Ruthie: Yes! I?m absolutely in love with the Tenga line (especially the Tenga Flip) for the special penis in your life, the G-Ki for its ability to hit the g-spot like a pro, Babelicious flavored lubes, and the Babeland massage candles.The Flip is so easy to clean, simple to lubricate, and by every report, it feels amazing. I?m so glad that it has come to the market! As for the G-Ki, I?ve met many women who were able to find and make the most of their G-Spots with this beauty. In fact, I know of several women who discovered that they could squirt thanks to the G-Ki. The Babelicious flavored lubes make me so happy because they not only smell and taste great, but they actually are healthy and high quality lubes. Most of the flavored lubes on the market are loaded with cheap glycerine, sugar and even honey, none of which belong in a vulva. Not Babelicious! Plus, the flavors are very creative. And who doesn?t love a good massage candle? Warm wax poured over waiting skin, a sensual massage, and an arousing scent filling the room - sounds like the perfect combination to me.Greta: We love your video reviews ? what prompted you to start reviewing in that format? What has been you most challenging video review?Dr. Ruthie: Thank you so much! They?ve been a lot of fun. I began doing video reviews because I wanted those with mobility or other special concerns to be able to really see and hear the product for themselves. While people who live near a good sex boutique can go and see the products on display, most of us aren?t that lucky. I quickly discovered that this was also an easier way to encourage sex-positive dialogue and information, too. People often forward my videos to each other, or drop me an email with their thoughts. Either way, it?s become a fun way to advocate for pleasure, accessibility, and pleasure all at the same time! Plus, folks get a better of idea of who I am and what I?m like, too.Greta: What new discovery/information/sex tip have you discovered recently and are excited to share with our Babeland Blog readers?Dr. Ruthie: I?m a proud lube snob. While sexual health professionals have been touting the value of good lubes for some time, this is still new information to many people. A good, slick, glycerine and paraben-free lube is so important to have in your bag and on your bedside table. Your body deserves far better than the junk that passes for lube at drug and department stores! While there is a lot of talk about performance anxiety for men (or anyone with a penis) who are the giving side of penetration, all genders on the receiving side can experience the same anxiety! Privacy, comfort, communication, and the ready availability of good lube can go along way to ease that. It can also make exploration of all of those other kinds of sex (the kinds that don?t require thrusty penises) so much more fun, leisurely, and pleasurable. I keep bottles of several kinds at home for various purposes and times of the month, plus some sample packets in my purse!� Whether or not you end up needing it, it?s something you always want to have handy.Greta: Can you give us a hint about the next project you're planning?Dr. Ruthie: Just a little one! I'm putting together a very special series of online workshops and coaching for women who are interested in becoming more orgasmic with themselves and possibly with partners. This will be a limited group that meets online regularly, so that we can grow as a supportive community of sex-positive women exploring together. I expect to begin adding participants a little later this year, so we can start the new year on an inspired and exciting note! While I am not yet advertising this group, if anyone is interested in learning more they are encouraged to contact me as I expect it to fill very quickly.Greta: What do you enjoy most about bringing sex-positive information to people?Dr. Ruthie: Oh my goodness, that is a big question! I firmly and unconditionally believe that every one of us deserves an intimate, caring, healthy and pleasurable relationship with our bodies and with our partners, no matter what has happened in our lives. That?s why I do this. Our sexuality is the most intimate form of body language that we have with each other and with ourselves, and many of us need a little help with improving (or reestablishing) those lines of communication. When I meet someone who has seen my videos, been to a workshop, or is working with me one-on-one, and they have that sparkle in their eyes while they whisper, ?Remember what we talked about? It worked!? there are just no words to describe how I feel.� Whether it opened an important conversation, led to an orgasm, or inspired self-discovery and joy, it?s a perfect moment. I know that I?m bringing something rare and important to others as well as myself and I feel energized to continue working in the vein of sex-positive community building and advocacy.Greta: Where can readers find you online?Dr. Ruthie: My blog and professional site are located at www.ExploringIntimacy.com, and my YouTube Channel is http://www.youtube.com/user/ExploringIntimacy. I'm also on Twitter and on Facebook. Better yet, send me an email at ExploringIntimacy@gmail.com or give me a ring at (301) 979-9910!ver the years, I?ve expanded from survivors of damaging romantic relationships to those who seek to reclaim their sexuality after any form of sexual or family violence. It?s essential to my approach that we focus on solving problems by creating balance, finding ways to safely explore ourselves and relationships, and emphasizing our tremendous strengths. In other words, moving toward a better future can help address past wounds. From there, it was a natural transition to begin training for work with those who are reclaiming (or now discovering) their sexuality after an illness, injury or other bodily change. However, I?m proud to speak with people with a host of goals, including simply prioritizing their relationships with partners or themselves! No matter what, you can be sure I?m going to bring up the topic of sex toys and high quality lube. After all, I am a self-confessed lube snob!Greta: You are based in the DC area, but can you tell us a little bit about your virtual workshops and coaching?Dr. Ruthie: Technology can be so exciting when it allows us to more easily connect with each other! As I mentioned earlier, I?m a graduate faculty member in a program that trains relational therapists. What I didn?t note was that I actually teach online, through a webcam! When I made the switch from traditional teaching to online I was surprised by the close connections that can be made that way. Of course, some other countries are already comfortable with online meetings for everything from business matters to non-urgent medical appointments. So, I should have expected it, but I was used to the traditional office and classroom setting so it was a new experience for me. I began to wonder if it could work as well for workshops and coaching sessions. And lo and behold, it was a natural fit! For many people, it?s much more comfortable to be in your own room, yet still able to see each other and speak naturally. Others enjoy not having to worry about a commute, the lack of professionals in their area, or even childcare. Certainly there are folks who will always prefer the traditional office setting, but this has been a great way to expand to new areas and offer much-needed services and community anywhere with a phone or an internet connection!Greta: Who are your favorite clients or workshop participants?Dr. Ruthie: Working in this area, I meet so many great people. To make it even better, we?re all there to build something inspiring and uplifting together. I tend to think of two main groups when I think of my clients. First we have the thrill-seekers, who are looking for more explicit information and wild ideas but still appreciate a focus on well-being and relational quality. The other group is the outwardly conservative yet inwardly daring. These are the folks that appreciate new techniques and ideas, but absolutely require a balanced, appreciative and caring approach. I have to say that I love both groups and need them each for balance, but the latter group has a special place in my heart. For me, sex is about so many things: play, body language, intimacy, exploration, connection, celebration, reclaiming, communication, and all sorts of pleasure.� The boldest new sex technique from Hollywood can be very exciting, but without those richer underpinnings, it would do about as much good as those cheesy tips that sell glossy magazines.Greta: What inspired you to start reviewing toys on your blog?Dr. Ruthie: Toys are just so darned fun! There is no need to stop playing, exploring and imagining just because we?re grown up now. Anything that encourages you to discover and communicate with a smile on your face and a wiggle in your toes is worthwhile. Plus, many of these products give us tools for finding or sharing our orgasms, especially if we?ve struggled with that in the past or are adjusting to changes in our bodies or lives. If I hold up an anatomical line drawing and start pointing and talking, I?m suddenly that boring sex ed teacher from high school. However, when I have a vibrator in my hand and an attractive velvet and satin vulva-model, eyebrows raise and ears open. Now it?s applied, now the information makes sense and is clearly useful. Plus, I?m a big advocate for the value of pleasure, whether you?re single or in a relationship. And what promotes pressure-free, happy, healthy, readily available pleasure for people of all genders like a sex toy and some good lube? I swear, I have found my perfect job.Greta: Are there any toys you?re really excited about?Dr. Ruthie: Yes! I?m absolutely in love with the Tenga line (especially the Tenga Flip) for the special penis in your life, the G-Ki for its ability to hit the g-spot like a pro, Babelicious flavored lubes, and the Babeland massage candles.The Flip is so easy to clean, simple to lubricate, and by every report, it feels amazing. I?m so glad that it has come to the market! As for the G-Ki, I?ve met many women who were able to find and make the most of their G-Spots with this beauty. In fact, I know of several women who discovered that they could squirt thanks to the G-Ki. The Babelicious flavored lubes make me so happy because they not only smell and taste great, but they actually are healthy and high quality lubes. Most of the flavored lubes on the market are loaded with cheap glycerine, sugar and even honey, none of which belong in a vulva. Not Babelicious! Plus, the flavors are very creative. And who doesn?t love a good massage candle? Warm wax poured over waiting skin, a sensual massage, and an arousing scent filling the room - sounds like the perfect combination to me.Greta: We love your video reviews ? what prompted you to start reviewing in that format? What has been you most challenging video review?Dr. Ruthie: Thank you so much! They?ve been a lot of fun. I began doing video reviews because I wanted those with mobility or other special concerns to be able to really see and hear the product for themselves. While people who live near a good sex boutique can go and see the products on display, most of us aren?t that lucky. I quickly discovered that this was also an easier way to encourage sex-positive dialogue and information, too. People often forward my videos to each other, or drop me an email with their thoughts. Either way, it?s become a fun way to advocate for pleasure, accessibility, and pleasure all at the same time! Plus, folks get a better of idea of who I am and what I?m like, too.Greta: What new discovery/information/sex tip have you discovered recently and are excited to share with our Babeland Blog readers?Dr. Ruthie: I?m a proud lube snob. While sexual health professionals have been touting the value of good lubes for some time, this is still new information to many people. A good, slick, glycerine and paraben-free lube is so important to have in your bag and on your bedside table. Your body deserves far better than the junk that passes for lube at drug and department stores! While there is a lot of talk about performance anxiety for men (or anyone with a penis) who are the giving side of penetration, all genders on the receiving side can experience the same anxiety! Privacy, comfort, communication, and the ready availability of good lube can go along way to ease that. It can also make exploration of all of those other kinds of sex (the kinds that don?t require thrusty penises) so much more fun, leisurely, and pleasurable. I keep bottles of several kinds at home for various purposes and times of the month, plus some sample packets in my purse!� Whether or not you end up needing it, it?s something you always want to have handy.Greta: Can you give us a hint about the next project you're planning?Dr. Ruthie: Just a little one! I'm putting together a very special series of online workshops and coaching for women who are interested in becoming more orgasmic with themselves and possibly with partners. This will be a limited group that meets online regularly, so that we can grow as a supportive community of sex-positive women exploring together. I expect to begin adding participants a little later this year, so we can start the new year on an inspired and exciting note! While I am not yet advertising this group, if anyone is interested in learning more they are encouraged to contact me as I expect it to fill very quickly.Greta: What do you enjoy most about bringing sex-positive information to people?Dr. Ruthie: Oh my goodness, that is a big question! I firmly and unconditionally believe that every one of us deserves an intimate, caring, healthy and pleasurable relationship with our bodies and with our partners, no matter what has happened in our lives. That?s why I do this. Our sexuality is the most intimate form of body language that we have with each other and with ourselves, and many of us need a little help with improving (or reestablishing) those lines of communication. When I meet someone who has seen my videos, been to a workshop, or is working with me one-on-one, and they have that sparkle in their eyes while they whisper, ?Remember what we talked about? It worked!? there are just no words to describe how I feel.� Whether it opened an important conversation, led to an orgasm, or inspired self-discovery and joy, it?s a perfect moment. I know that I?m bringing something rare and important to others as well as myself and I feel energized to continue working in the vein of sex-positive community building and advocacy.Greta: Where can readers find you online?Dr. Ruthie: My blog and professional site are located at www.ExploringIntimacy.com, and my YouTube Channel is http://www.youtube.com/user/ExploringIntimacy. I'm also on Twitter and on Facebook. Better yet, send me an email at ExploringIntimacy@gmail.com or give me a ring at (301) 979-9910!