The Lowdown on Low-Dose Testosterone

Thinking about trying low-dose testosterone therapy? Lane Lewis gives you the scoop on what that means, some options, making the decision, and working through your feelings throughout.

As hormone therapy (HT) becomes a more commonly offered medical service, and more research is done about HT, specifically in relation to gender nonconforming and trans folks, more avenues and options for engaging with HT have presented themselves. One of these avenues that I’ve seen a lot of discussion about lately is low-dose , or microdose, testosterone.

This is exactly what it sounds like: engaging with testosterone HT, but in a lower than “average” dosage. Due to a lack of extensive and sound research about trans- and/or gender-related care, there is not exactly a universally agreed upon “average” dosage for testosterone HT. Furthermore, because testosterone HT comes in multiple forms—injectable, implant, topical cream, topical gel, transdermal patches, etc.—defining “average” dosage is even more complicated. Therefore, it won’t be that helpful to define an “average” dosage here. However, if you are interested in determining what an average dosage might be for you and your preferred form of testosterone, your doctor or care physician should be able to outline that for you.

Reasons to Opt for Low-Dose Testosterone

There are many reasons why someone might be interested in low-dose testosterone. A big one is pacing. If you’re interested in starting testosterone but feeling  nervous of a big wave of change hitting you all at once, low-dose testosterone might be something to consider. Changes happen more slowly and are far more subtle on a low dose.

Another reason someone might opt for a low dose is that perhaps they don’t want all of the change that comes with an average dose. This could be for many of reasons including not identifying as a transgender man, considering pregnancy soon or at some point in the future, needing to maintain a certain appearance for safety and/or survival, and simply not liking some aspect(s) of change known to come with taking a high(er) dosage of testosterone.

A third reason someone might want a lower dosage is if they are interested in experimenting with testosterone HT, but are unsure that it will be something they want to continue. Making small moves toward testosterone, like starting on a low dosage, allows you to test the waters, without committing to major and possibly irreversible changes. It is always possible to increase the dosage, or stop altogether, and, of course, it is always advisable to work with a care provider if at all possible.

Something Else to Consider: Method

As mentioned earlier, testosterone HT comes in various forms. If a low(er) dosage interests you, perhaps you might also be interested in learning more about the efficiency — that is, the body’s ability to absorb and respond to the testosterone — of various forms.

Injectable testosterone is the most common form of testosterone HT and also a highly efficient form: the body is typically able to absorb and respond to injected testosterone quickly and easily. Testosterone implants are similarly efficient to injectable testosterone. Topically applied methods, like gels and creams, are  less efficient and the transdermal patch’s efficiency falls somewhere between injection and the topicals, because it is protected by the backing and less likely to rub off on clothing or other surfaces.

Of course, and unfortunately, efficiency is not all you will need to consider when deciding upon your preferred method of taking testosterone. The injectable form tends to be the most affordable and widely available. The topical forms are less researched, more expensive, and depending upon where you live, you may be the first person your care provider prescribes them to, if you successfully seek them out. This means that getting access to the less efficient forms is definitely more difficult. However, if you find a helpful care provider who is willing to work with your insurance, these forms do exist and they can help in the process of engaging with testosterone HT in subtler and slower ways. If you are going to seek a topical form of testosterone HT, my advice is to do independent research as well as speaking with your physician and to remember that it is your body and well being on the line, and you are allowed to ask for what you want.

Navigating Fluctuating Feelings around HT

Let’s begin with the foundational reminder that it is absolutely valid for your feelings about HT to change and shift. That may be a long term shift or it may be day by day, hour by hour. All of these iterations are understandable and okay.

Think about the other decisions you make about your life: it is probably rare that you’re able to make a decision clearly and decisively and never look back even once to reconsider or reevaluate. Add in the complication of HT being something you will continuously engage with (should you choose to sustain an engagement with it). It is like having to repeatedly make that decision again and again. Of course your feelings may change, and it’s okay f they do, including if you feel differently enough that you decide to go off testosterone or move up to a higher dose. Let me also say that it is also justifiable to feel firm and unwavering. Each of us is our own unique collection of stardust and germs. We will each have our own unique relationship to HT. There is no right way to feel and no wrong way to feel. Your feelings are your feelings and they are information that can help you make decisions about how to move forward.

So, now that we’ve established that whatever your feelings are about HT and however they do or don’t change over time is legitimate, we come up against the tricky precipice that is decision-making.

How do you make decisions about something that your feelings may or may not be constantly in flux about? Well, if your feelings are not constantly in flux, you’re in a slightly easier position, at least as long as your feelings remain constant. You can take the information of your constant feelings and act in accordance with them, like, if you constantly feel a desire to engage with testosterone, then making the decision to do so might feel simple. And vice versa, if you constantly feel a lack of desire to engage with testosterone, then making the decision not to do so, or to stop using it, might feel clear.

How do you begin making the decision if your feelings fluctuate? There’s no sure fire answer here. One important piece to remember is that if you start HT, you are not locked in for life. You can stop HT after starting. Opting for a lower dose and/or less efficient form of HT might help alleviate some anxiety about fluctuating feelings as well. Because there are some irreversible changes that testosterone can manifest in a body (to varying degrees these include bottom growth, facial hair growth, vocal changes, and hair loss), taking a lower dose and/or a less efficient form can slow the onset of these irreversible changes, at least buying you some more time than you would have if you were on an average or high dose and/or the very efficient, injectable form of testosterone. In this lengthened period of time you can sort of “try on” the early and subtler effects of testosterone to see how those make you feel and continue to process your potentially fluctuating feelings about long term and/or irreversible changes that testosterone may eventually manifest.

Micha Cárdenas sums it up well when she writes, in I Am Transreal: a reflection on/of Becoming Dragon, that transition is “willfully stepping into the unknown.” While we can imagine, project, hope and dream about what testosterone will bring us or make us feel, we cannot know until we are living that embodied reality of engaging with testosterone. And while that could be thought of as a beautiful leap of faith, it can also be scary to choose to engage with something without the promise of our desires coming true. And I’m here to tell you that worrying, having anxiety, or doubting yourself about your desire or decision to engage with (or not engage with) testosterone means that you are grappling with that factor of the unknown. And grappling with that factor means that you are taking this decision seriously. Which is great. And also hard. But still great.

The Question of Regret

Regret is a slippery thing. For one thing, it’s often unstable—sometimes we feel regret very strongly and after some time goes by, that regret fades; other times we don’t feel very much regret for a long time and then we are caught off guard by it. We have a fairly negative cultural connotation of regret, that tells us experiencing regret is a sign we made a mistake. And in some cases that may be true.

Let me pause here to remind you that making mistakes is how we learn and grow. It is okay to make mistakes. But, it also may be true that regret exists along a spectrum, and that it could indicate a variety of things from longing to sadness to rage, and those feelings may have nothing to do with anything you can control.

Beyond not being a fixed thing itself, regret can play many roles in relation to the question of HT. After starting HT, one may experience regret that they did not start it sooner, something like feeling a loss of the time they spent wondering or waiting, and thinking that that time would have felt more meaningful had they already been engaging with HT. One may experience regret over starting HT at all, perhaps feeling like it wasn’t actually something they wanted to do and it was a mistake. One might experience regret over engaging with certain forms of HT because of undesirable effects that specific form had on their body, that another form might not have had. Ultimately, there’s lots of potential for regret here and there’s no sure fire way to avoid experiencing regret. That is uncomfortable but it can also be motivating and informative. I’m going to encourage you to take in a fear of regret right alongside your other feelings about testosterone HT, treat it as information that can help you make your decision, but don’t let it be the guiding factor, if you can help it.

I will leave you with another helpful point of Cárdenas’:

a choice not to transform is of course still a choice to transform into a different state, as our bodies are all in permanent transition…”

The choice not to engage with testosterone HT does not equate to the choice not to transition. We are all always, already transitioning. Testosterone HT is but one tool we have in our transition repertoire. There are many others.

teapot and steam: the lowdown on low-dose testosterone
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May is Masturbation Month: Fast Facts About Masturbation

May is officially Masturbation Month–and that makes it the perfect opportunity to explore your own body and learn more about masturbation. Do you know these facts about masturbation and how to make it even more enjoyable?

1. Masturbation can actually increase your sex drive.

Some people–women, in particular–fear that masturbation will cause them to feel emotionally distant from their partners, or that they shouldn’t masturbate if they have low sex drive, because they ought to be “saving” that drive for their partners.

In reality, masturbation doesn’t cause you to desire your partner less. In fact, it can cause your sex drive to increase substantially, especially over time. When your body gets more sexual stimulation, it naturally wants more stimulation. Masturbation can be an incredibly healthy way to increase your desire for your partner.

2. 84% of people between 18 and 49–including women–have watched some type of pornography.

There are plenty of materials out there that can offer suggestions and help heighten your fantasies–and you shouldn’t be embarrassed if you use pornography to enhance your sexual relationship or to contribute some spice to your solo time. If you don’t enjoy watching pornographic movies, you may consider looking at magazines, reading sexual fiction, or simply indulging in some of your own fantasies. Many people also choose to listen to audio porn, enjoying steamy recordings of books and stories while masturbating.

3. High-quality lubricant can help make your masturbation session more pleasant. 

Lubricant, including choices like Almost Naked Organic Personal Lubricant, can substantially enhance your next masturbation session. For men, lubricant can help prevent uncomfortable friction. It’s also necessary to help slip your Tenuto comfortably into place. 

Many women may mistakenly think that they have to already be aroused to masturbate–or that they will produce more than adequate lubrication on their own. Adding a personal lubricant, however, can help you enjoy longer masturbation sessions, decrease friction, and even help enhance arousal. Choosing the right lubricant can actually enhance both your sexual desire and your experience. 

4. Around 52% of women have used a vibrator in the past. 

Vibrators can substantially enhance your masturbation session. If you use a quality vibrator, you don’t have to worry that excessive use will “deaden your nerves” or cause you to stop enjoying sex as much (though you might just discover something new about your personal preferences that has you reaching for that vibrator more often, both when you’re flying solo and when you’re in bed with your partner)! Instead, using a vibrator can substantially enhance your overall sexual experience.

If you’re looking to get started with a vibrator, try Crescendo. Not only does it offer numerous settings, including six powerful motors that can be set to use different intensities or different patterns, but it can also be shaped to fit your personal ideal position. That means you can deliver stimulation exactly where you want it most! Crescendo delivers satisfaction to many different people–men and women alike–with a range of preferences simply because it’s so adaptable. And that makes it the perfect product, whether you’re looking for your first vibrator or want to try something new. 

For men, Tenuto is an excellent masturbation choice. It’s a great solo, hands-free masturbation option that can allow men to lie back and enjoy. You can control it via your phone or simply set it to your favorite pattern and intensity, then sit back and enjoy the experience. 

5. Masturbation has a number of health benefits.

No, it’s not a myth that masturbation can actually benefit your health. Masturbation can

Reduce stress and tension. If you’re struggling with work-related stress or dealing with ongoing tension, you don’t have to wait for your partner to be in the mood to use sexual pleasure to release that tension and help you feel a little more like yourself. A good masturbation session can leave you feeling more relaxed in the moment, as well as provide important mood enhancements that can last well into the next day. Regular masturbation can also, in general, help you feel more relaxed. 

Lead to better sleep. Do you struggle to fall asleep at night? Frequently wake in the middle of the night and struggle to go back to sleep? Masturbation can make it easier to fight off those sleep disturbances and get a healthy night’s sleep. The hormones released during orgasm can make it easier for you to relax and settle in for that much-needed sleep at night, and they can help you relax and lead to a better, more solid night’s sleep. 

Masturbation can help relieve menstrual cramps. Not only can the pleasure from masturbation help disrupt the nerves that are sending the pain of those cramps through your body, but many women also discover that they have fewer cramps when they engage in regular masturbation sessions. 

Masturbation can help elevate your overall mood. It’s not just about an immediate mood boost. The mood-lifting effects of masturbation can often last well beyond that immediate moment, leaving you feeling better all day. 

6. Masturbation is one of the most effective ways to learn what you like in bed.

may is masturbation month

Do you want to have better sex? Are you struggling with so-so sex, but not quite sure how to describe the problem or why it’s occurring? Masturbation could be the solution you’re looking for.

When you masturbate, you’ll get to explore with different types of touch to get a better feel for what, exactly, you like in bed. You don’t have to focus on another person’s desires or worry about hurting their feelings; instead, you can experiment and explore to learn what you like. A vibrator like Crescendo or Poco can be adapted to help you enjoy penetration along with external stimulation. As you explore what you like for masturbation, you’ll be better positioned to communicate that information to your sexual partners. That can, in turn, help improve your sex life. 

7. Many people–both men and women–continue to masturbate even when in a committed relationship.

Even if you’re in a committed relationship, there’s nothing wrong with masturbation–and, in fact, it’s a great way to satisfy your sexual urges when you and your partner have mismatched desire, or to explore and relax on your own when your partner is busy. You may even find that masturbation helps relieve some of the tension between you and your partner, especially if you’re struggling to find time for regular sex sessions. 

8. Mutual masturbation is a great way to feel connected to your partner even when you’re far away from one another physically. 

Do you have a partner who has to travel for work? What about a partner who has to be away frequently, often for long periods of time–a member of the armed forces, for example? Staying connected during those times when you have to be apart can be incredibly difficult. 

Mutual masturbation, whether you choose to call one another up or use a video chat method, can help you feel closer together. You can encourage your partner to try out some of your favorite techniques or just enjoy the visual as you each pleasure yourselves–and ultimately feel more connected to one another. Set up an appointment for some solo time together and watch how the sparks fly, both while you’re separated and when you come together again. 

Even when you’re not separated, mutual masturbation can deepen your sensual connection. Watching your partner masturbate–and vice versa–can be an incredible turn-on for many couples–and it’s a great way to learn what your partner enjoys most. 

9. There are plenty of strategies and tools available for masturbation.

Many women, in particular, use a wide range of tools and toys to aid in masturbation. While your MysteryVibe vibrator can be a great tool to aid in masturbation, you can also take advantage of the tools you have on hand. Some women like to use pillows to aid in finding the perfect position or to help provide external stimulation. Others like to get in the shower and let the water from a handheld showerhead or a faucet run over their genitals.

In general, if you plan to use a toy internally, it should be a certified sex toy–sometimes, things can disappear or get stuck! Instead, choose a toy like Crescendo, Tenuto, or Poco, which can deliver an amazing sexual experience safely. 

10. Popular culture is creating a shift in the way people view masturbation, especially female masturbation.

For years, masturbation was viewed as a primarily male occupation. No one wanted to talk about women engaging in self-stimulation or the benefits that could go along with it. As popular culture changes, however, the public perception of masturbation is changing along with it. Increasingly, shows like Sex in the City are creating enhanced awareness of female sexuality.

What does that mean for you? It means that, whether you’re male or female, masturbation isn’t a dark secret that you need to hide in the closet and be ashamed of. Masturbation is a normal, healthy part of your sexual expression. If it’s not interfering with other daily activities or your relationship with your partner, you can masturbate to your heart’s content!

May is Masturbation Month. Not only does that make it the perfect time to learn more about masturbation, it makes it the ideal time to purchase a brand new vibrator that will enhance your masturbation experience.

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5 Ways to Bring More Sensuality into the Bedroom

As your relationship with your partner grows, you may want to add spice and sensuality: something extra special. Sensuality increases your confidence, helping you feel more comfortable in your own skin, as well as increasing your pleasure by engaging all of your senses. Do you want to bring an extra dose of sensuality to your bedroom? Here are a few of our favorite tips: 

1. Invest in bedroom decor that helps enhance all your senses.

When you’ve been with your partner for a long time, your bedroom decor may become practical and functional, rather than sensual. While your decor doesn’t have to be made up solely of red satin sheets and dim lighting, a little effort in your bedroom decor can make a big difference in the sensuality you experience. Try some of these strategies. 

Choose great sheets that help you feel sexy. The type of sheets you want may vary depending on your style: for example, if you love that silky, sexy feeling, sateen sheets can help you slide into bed with a smile on your face. A high thread count and crisp sheets can also have you feeling extra sexy. Choose a set of sheets that you’re comfortable sleeping on every night or have a special set of sheets set aside just for those nights when you’re hoping for a little extra something special. 

Invest in soft, diffuse lighting. Sure, sometimes, you just need the overhead lighting in your bedroom, but that’s not the only light you need. Choose a lamp or other soft light source that will make you feel more confident and sexy. 

Add great scents to your bedroom. Everyone has a scent that makes them feel sexier. If you’re not comfortable using candles in the bedroom or don’t want to have to worry about getting up to blow out the candles, consider using a diffuser or pillow spray to capture that perfect scent. Try:

  • Vanilla, a sexy and erotic fragrance that can help get you in the mood
  • Ylang ylang, which acts as a potent aphrodisiac
  • Jasmine, which is associated with heightened sensuality
  • Peppermint, which can raise energy levels and increase blood flow

Turn on white noise or soft music. Depending on your distraction level, you may not want music playing while you’re in the middle of sex with your partner. White noise, however, can help drown out other sounds from the house, whether it’s a movie playing in the living room or a child padding down the hallway to the bathroom for the third time that night. 

Use temperature control devices in the bedroom. You don’t have to drive up the temperature in the entire house to warm things up a little in the bedroom in winter or cool them down in summer. Invest in portable units that you can use just in your bedroom to ensure that you can easily create the ideal temperature. 

2. Get to know what you like. 

If you want to feel sexier and enhance sensuality, take the time to get to know what you really like. Your body is unique. You might not like exactly what someone else likes. You may have specific positions and spots that bring you more pleasure or certain types of stimulation that you really love. 

Spend some solo time in the bedroom–a vibrator like Crescendo can help–or experiment with your partner to get a better idea of what really turns you on. As you become more comfortable with your own body, you’ll naturally feel more sensual, which will translate into sexy time with your partner. 

Keep in mind, too, that what you like may change as you age and grow. Your hormones will shift, your desires will change, and what you find mind-blowing in your twenties may not be the same thing that brings you pleasure in your thirties or forties. Set aside time to get to know your body and experiment with what you like. You may just learn a few things about yourself that will translate into a higher level of sensuality. 

While you’re experimenting with yourself, make time to experiment with your partner, too. One of the most sensual things you can do is genuinely enjoy getting to know your partner’s body and learning what brings them pleasure. When you’re in bed together, don’t just automatically go with your old standbys. Instead, take the time to experiment and explore. Run your hands all over your partner’s body, paying special attention to their most sensitive spots. You’ll quickly discover new things about your partner and what they like that you can incorporate moving forward. 

3. Get excited about trying something new.

Every sex experience with your partner doesn’t have to be mind-blowing and exciting. When you’ve been with your partner for a long time, you learn that there is often immense intimacy in those quieter, seemingly mundane sex sessions. Sometimes, however, adding a little sensuality starts with trying something new. 

First, sit down with your partner and discuss ideas. Sit close to one another and touch each other as you chat. You’ll naturally ramp up the heat in the room and start getting excited about the things that you’re eager to try in the bedroom. Consider some of these ideas: 

  • Bring a new toy into the bedroom. Crescendo or Tenuto could be the perfect place to start! Be sure to check out everything you can do with that toy ahead of time so that you’re prepared to use it to its full advantage. Talk about what you’re looking forward to most or what you’d most like to try together. 
  • Experiment with a new position–or positions. Choose several sessions to experiment with something new, and commit to trying it. If it doesn’t work, you can always revert back to your tried and true favorites! We have a great playbook that can help you get started.
  • Commit to a few sessions that aren’t about vaginal sex. There are an amazing number of things you can do to bring your partner pleasure without ever actually having sex together, but they often get only a little time during foreplay. Manually stimulate your partner, try oral sex, or use a vibrator, like Crescendo or Tenuto, to add extra stimulation. You’ll still get the amazing intimacy of a sexual experience together, but you’ll also get to spend more time lingering over your partner and discovering what they really like. 

4. Go on a lingerie shopping spree.

lingerie 

Lingerie shopping is hard, especially as an increasing number of stores move the majority of their stock online. Not only that, many women–and men, for that matter–have no idea what makes them look their sexy best.

Go on a lingerie shopping spree. Let your partner pick out something they would love to see on you. If you order online and it’s not what you were hoping for in person, that’s okay! The two of you can enjoy some great laughs together and try again next time. If you can get into a physical lingerie shop and try a few things on, let your partner pick out at least half a dozen things for you to try on. Can’t model directly? Consider snapping a few pictures with your phone and sending them to your partner to get their opinion. Choose one or two special outfits and bring them into the bedroom to help ramp up the sensuality and have you both feeling (and looking) your best. 

Remember, the woman in your partnership isn’t the only one who can dress up in something special. Investing in something extra sexy for him–underwear that hugs his package or fully display his assets, for example–could be a great way to help you get in the mood. 

5. Don’t go straight to the genitals.

Want to ramp up the sensuality in your bedroom? Turn out the lights, close the door, and take it slow. Explore your partner’s entire body. You may find new erogenous zones–and you’ll definitely heighten anticipation and have your partner more excited than ever. Try some of these strategies:

Give your partner a full-body massage. Start with the shoulders and work your way down. As tempting as it is to get caught on by your partner’s assets along the way, make sure that you don’t get stuck there! Brush lightly over the genital areas and move on, building tension and increasing pleasure along the way.

Massage your partner’s feet and legs. After a long day, this is a great way to relax, and is often surprisingly intimate. 

Kiss your way over your partner’s entire body. Focus on the areas that you find sexiest. Do you love the curve of her collarbone? That little dip in his shoulder when he’s been working out hard? Give yourself permission to explore, caress, and taste. 

Adding sensuality to the bedroom is a process–and much of that process takes place long before you actually enter the bedroom together. With the right tools, however, you can discover enhanced sensuality in the bedroom and a deep connection to one another, not to mention with yourself. Contact us today to learn more about how Crescendo and Tenuto can help enhance your sensuality. 

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