Things That Matter

Artists Open Cuba’s First Ever Sex Store, But It Won’t Last Long

Cuba has come a long way since the communist rule of Fidel Castro. A lot of restrictions have been lifted including travel from the U.S. to the island (despite some Trump-era issues). Yet, there’s still a lot that the government there forbids including some luxuries that we can easily buy anytime we please.

Cuba forbids the sale of any obscene items, which means there are no sex shops until now.

Credit: consolezvous1 / Instagram

In New York, there are sex shops in every neighborhood. Even in the Bible belt, you can score sex toys at Adam & Eve, but in Cuba, it’s a whole different story. The island does not give out licenses or permits to vendors who sell anything sexual related. If you want a dildo, you have to sneak it into the country in your suitcase — that’s what the New York Post is reporting.

A group of artists successfully opened a sex pop-up store called “Consolez Vous” because technically it is “art” and not a typical business.

Credit: consolezvous1 / Instagram

Yanahara Mauri, Javier Alejandro Bobadilla, and Joan Díaz sought out to open a pop-up sex shop at this year’s Havana Biennial and to their surprise were approved.

“We want to break the taboos,” Mauri told the Post. “In the rest of the world, this is normal now.”

The group creates the sex toys in Cuba and use resources such as “entwined fish line for whips and resin for dildos.”

Credit: consolezvous1 / Instagram

While demand continues to increase, according to the publication, some customers have complained that their sex toys aren’t as smooth as the silicone products that are sold everywhere else.

“At the end of the day, we are not harming anyone,” Ernesto said. “On the contrary, we are giving people benefits.”

The sex shop might be a pop-up but a lot of people are hoping they could become a regular occurrence on the island.

Credit: consolezvous1 / Instagram

What do you think about this pop up shop? Let us know your thoughts by commenting on the Facebook post.

READ: Here’s How Cuba’s Tumultuous History Forced A Cuban Diaspora That Changed The World

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Sex During A Global Pandemic: What Do The Experts Say?

Things That Matter

Sex During A Global Pandemic: What Do The Experts Say?

Mauro Pimental / Getty Images

We’re all social distancing right now. And that begs the question: how do you have sex in the era of COVID-19 self-isolation? Is it even safe to have sex during the pandemic?

According to several public health agencies, the answer really depends.

Let’s start off with the facts about Coronavirus and sex.

Coronavirus, which causes Covid-19, is spread by direct person-to-person contact or by people who are close to (within six feet) each other—as it’s believed that the virus is expelled in respiratory droplets from a cough or sneeze, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). You can also pick it up from contaminated surfaces if you then touch your face without washing your hands properly first and therefore introduce the pathogen into your body.

So, yes, sex can contribute to spreading the coronavirus. You’re clearly close enough to someone when you’re naked on top of each other, and you are also probably kissing, or at least breathing heavily. (

But let’s be clear: Covid-19 is not contracted directly from sex – it’s not an STI. That distinction matters, because safe sex during the pandemic depends on your current relationship situation and, well, why you’re having sex in the first place.

So what are some best practices according to experts? Start with some self-love.

Since the start of the pandemic, online sales of sex toys have skyrocketed. So you can take solace in the fact that you’re definitely not the only one enjoying a bit of self-pleasure.

According to EDC Retail, which calls itself Europe’s market leader in erotic toys, the sales of vibrators, dildos and other sex toys were 162 percent higher than in the same period last year. In fact, sales have been so strong that the supply of toys and accessories from factories in China threatened to dry up – leaving consumers high and dry. EDC Retail even warned of a possible shortage of sex toys in February.

Masturbation also ensures that you’ll be safe from contracting the virus as you’re following social distancing guidelines.

Some public health agencies have even suggested making sex a little more ‘kinky’ to make it safer.

Most public health agencies have released safe sex guidelines for the pandemic. In fact, just this week, “glory holes” was trending in Canada because the BC Centre for Disease Control listed it among the tips for safer sex during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Their guidelines say to “choose sexual positions that limit face-to-face contact. Use barriers, like walls (e.g., glory holes) that allow for sexual contact but prevent close face-to-face contact.”

And “glory holes” aren’t only recommended in British Columbia. In New York, health officials suggest to make sex “a little kinky.” The city’s public health agency suggests getting “creative with sexual positions and physical barriers, like walls, that allow sexual contact while preventing close face to face contact.”

Folks on social media are having a field day tweeting creative ways to use walls and barriers, even suggesting things like plexiglas shields (like those in grocery stores), holes in sheets, mail slots, doggy doors and donuts.

But if glory holes sound a little too raunchy for you, don’t worry, experts also recommend sexual positions that limit face-to-face contact, such as as doggy style.

And if you’re single or dating – you should definitely not be having sex right now.

Because of social distancing and state-mandated shelter-in-place guidelines, it’s not okay to go out on dates right now—unless those dates are over FaceTime or some other video chat app.

The New York City Health Department recently issued guidelines on Covid-19 safe sex practices, recommending against having sex with anyone outside of your household. (In other words, someone you already live with.)

And sorry but having a “quarantine sex buddy,” where you and they only have sex with each other during the pandemic, is not recommended, First of all, the idea goes against social distancing, and you don’t actually know how closely (if at all) they’re staying away from other people.

Or maybe, like so many others, you’re just not having much sex these days – and that’s totally normal.

According to an NBC News poll of roughly 11,000 people, at least 50% said that the coronavirus has negatively impacted their love life. That’s a lot of people not dating, not being intimate with others, and most likely not having sex.

According to Ian Kerner, PhD, a psychotherapist and sex counselor, “A lot of people in quarantine aren’t feeling their best, or feeling as sexy. If you’re home all day and you’re not changing out of your pajamas or applying as much self-care or going to the gym, your sexual self-esteem can start to go down.”

But that’s OK. You’re not the only person feeling this way. Between being stuck in tiny apartments or around family, working longer hours and feeling the mental and financial effects of the coronavirus pandemic, on top of anti-racism uprisings, our libidos have had way more lows than highs.

But if you do decide to engage in sexual activity, make sure you follow these expert tips on how to reduce the risk of contracting or spreading Covid-19 along with following all other safer sex practices.

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These 15 Latinx Artists Need To Be On All Of Your Playlists Now More Than Ever

Entertainment

These 15 Latinx Artists Need To Be On All Of Your Playlists Now More Than Ever

@iamcardib / Instagram

So many of us grew up listening to iconic Latinx artists, Celia Cruz, Marc Anthony, and Selena… along with Smashmouth, Eminem, and Britney Spears. So needless to say, our generation has the absolute best taste in music.

Of course, there are some artists from juventud that are still creating bomb music, but you should never sleep on new talent. Here’s our list of who you should be listening to today:

1. Santana

Credit: Super Bowl. Digital Image. Popsugar. February 15, 2017.

Santana, you own my heart and my childhood. He has his own classics, but lately, he’s been doing a lot of collabs.

Listen to “Safari” with Guero Sosa and his 2017 album, “Power of Peace” with The Isley Brothers.

2. Bruno Mars

Credit: Finesse. Digital Image. Vulture. January 4, 2018.

Yes, Bruno Mars is an entity of his own but this collab with Cardi B is everything. It’s as ’90’s throwback as it looks and if you haven’t listened to it yet (?!), please pause. Listen. And find more Latino rappers for the next two slides.

3. Princess Nokia

Credit: Instagram @princessnokia

She’s Afro-Puerto Rican and identifies como una bruja and a queer feminist. Oh and she’s a crazy talented rapper. Um, plus, she straight up threw a cup of hot soup on a racist and then slapped him while on the train. In her own words, “And yes I threw hot soup in this mans face and kicked him off off the train, and kicked [him] in the face. Any other racists wanna try us again?” Just support her, k?

Listen to “Brujas” and “Tomboy.”

4. Maluca

Credit: Instagram @malucamala

Oh hey, look another Latina feminist! Yeah, she’s crushing the patriarchy with her words. You’ve got to listen to this Dominican rapper now.

Listen to “Mala” and “El Tigeraso.”

5. Becky G

Credit: Instagram @iambeckyg

You know her. She’s the Mexican queen of pop, today, who delivers both English and Spanish versions of her fans’ faves. The Inglewood native is also challenging the sexist double standard of what men and women can and can’t sing. Listen to her latest release, “Ya Es Hora.”

6. Jessie Reyez

Credit: Instagram @jessiereyez

Reyez is Colombian-Canadian and best known for “Figures,” which is the song you need to listen to if you’re going through a breakup. Check out the remix with Daniel Caesar she just released this weekend!

7. Ibeyi

Credit: Instagram @ibeyi2

If you could see her face, you might recognize 22-year-old twin sisters, Lisa Kaindé Diaz and Naomi Diaz from Beyonce’s “Lemonade.” Their music is bomb AF. Seriously, they know how to drop a beat and is deeply rooted in their Afro-Cuban roots.

Listen to “River.” Bey’s a fan.

8. Camila Cabello

Credit: Instagram @camila_cabello

This goes without saying: Camila is our Cuban-Mexican heartthrob and I’m holding back from making this entire slideshow be about her.

Listen to “Havana Latin Remix” and “She Loves Control” and literally everything else.

9. Selena Gomez

Credit: Instagram @selenagomez

She’s named after the Selena and is Mexican-Italian. She’s been suffering from lupus, a gnarly auto-immune disease, and she’s been outspoken about her mental health. Also, she’s on a break with Bieber. Also, she’s talented AF.

10. Calma Carmona

Credit: Instagram @calmacarmona

Here comes the more chill música. Calma’s the Afro-Puerto Rican soulful trance goddess we need to recover from the day. Her music is bliss with a beat.

Listen to “100 Vidas” and “When I Was Your Girl.”

11. Carla Morrison

Credit: Instagram @carlitamorrison

This Mexican beauty sings soulful, gorgeous ballads and her presence on stage are ethereal for real. I’m obsessed with her and pretty soon, you will be too. 🙂

Listen to “Duele” and “Eres Tú” and try not to think about your ex.

12. Claudia Prieto

Credit: Instagram @claudiaprieto77

Ok, so she only has this one song that we found on the Spotify playlist, “Extranjera” but I’m obsessed. Think feel-good, chill vibes and support female artists.

13. Alex Cuba

Credit: Instagram @iamalexcuba

I first heard Alex Cuba open a set back in 2015 and he’s since released the solid Caribbean, Cuban music that you just need to sing along with.

Listen to “Por Donde Vas” and “Agua de Pozo.”

14. Shakira

Credit: Instagram @shakira

Shakira is a Colombian icon and while we know her from the 2000’s “Hips Don’t Lie”, she’s been producing music since she was in school.

Listen to her latest album “El Dorado,” especially the song “Me Enamoré.”

15. Cardi B.

Credit: Instagram @iamcardib

As if we even need to tell you to listen to Cardi B. This Trinidadian-Dominican, Bronx-er just dropped a new single over the weekend and it is the sexiest, sweetest way to rap to your boo’ to watch himself. Plus, she just glammed up her Bartier Cardi music video five seconds ago. Get on it!

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