Disclosure notice: Many posts here contain affiliate links from which I make money if you buy the linked products. If a sex toy retailer is thanked at the end of the post, the toy in question was provided to me for free by that retailer in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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Sex writing is my jam, but when I’m not thinking about sex, I’m often thinking about its closely related sister: love. Crushes. Infatuation. Limerence. Whatever you want to call it. It may or may not be linked with sex in your mind, but it’s definitely still linked inextricably with sex in the world at large – so when I think about one, I often consider the other.
One love-related idea I keep coming back to, especially now that I’m single and too busy and distracted to date, is this: having a crush on someone can feel good, even if nothing comes of it.
I first learned this in high school. I was obsessed with the cutest boy ever (who, incidentally, walked past me on the street recently and tried to pretend he didn’t see me, which was actually what prompted me to write this post). I confessed my feelings and he straight-up told me he wasn’t attracted to me and didn’t want to date me.
It hurt like hell, of course, and I cried for a few days and pined after him for a few months (okay, maybe more than a few), but there did eventually come a time when I fully accepted his disinterest in me, and the fact that we would never be together – and after that, somehow, the crush became fun again. I anticipated running into him in the halls. I joyfully succumbed daily to the swoony feelings that overtook me whenever I saw him smile. I laughed at his jokes without worrying how that would be construed. I wrote about “Rejection Boy” sightings in my journal and relished them. It gave me a strange sort of pleasure.
Similarly, I also had a huge crush on my philosophy teacher in high school – and because there was absolutely zero chance of us getting together (what with him being 15+ years older than me, married, and employed by my school), I was able to fully enjoy those early stages of infatuation without it ever progressing to the agony and distress of real romantic yearning.
I learned that infatuation fuelled me, both emotionally and creatively. It made me want to get out of bed in the morning, put effort into my appearance, put effort into my life. It made me want to write, make art, say and do important things. Infatuation was like a potent blend of caffeine, LSD and Prozac, but without the side effects. From that time forward, I tried not to let myself fall into the trap of lovelorn sadness anymore – I tried to focus on the happy side of crushes, on what they could do for me, on what I could make them do for me.
Having experienced this love-magic and having thought a lot about how to replicate it, I think I’m qualified to share with you some tips for how to make your potentially painful romantic longings into an uplifting, cheerifying element of your life.
1. Accept that nothing’s going to happen.
Obviously this only applies in cases where you actually know (or think it very likely) that nothing’s going to happen with that person. Maybe your circumstances or theirs don’t allow for dating right now; maybe you know for a fact that they’re not interested; maybe you only like certain qualities about them but know they wouldn’t actually make a good partner; maybe they’re in a monogamous relationship, or you are; maybe one of you is moving away soon. Whatever the case may be, if there’s no chance of anything happening, accept that.
It’s my belief that the majority of romantic agony we experience (and maybe the majority of any emotional agony we experience) stems from the belief in what could be, and that possibility never coming to fruition. If you eliminate that element, you’ll eliminate a lot of your discomfort. It sounds depressing and bleak, but sometimes it’s the least depressing option you can take in that situation.
2. Identify what you feel when you’re around your crush, and enjoy those feelings.
A swoop of nausea. A herd of stomach butterflies. A fiery blush. A giggle fit. An intense, palpable desire to close the physical distance between you and your beloved.
Whatever you feel when you’re around them, try to identify and isolate what those feelings are. When you can pick them apart and notice them specifically, instead of just letting them wash over you and stress you out, then you can start to enjoy them.
Just as it’s exhilarating to finish a race or perform in front of a crowd, it’s also exhilarating to be around someone who makes your body feel like you’ve just done something equally stressful or scary. Certain people make you feel hyped up and blissed out – so long as you can recognize all those different sensations as adding up to a happy rush.
3. Figure out how you can make your crush into a productive force.
Get out your paints, guitar, journal or other creative outlet of choice, and get to work. As Nellie McKay says, “Come on, use the pain – drink up from the rain.” Sadness can suck but you’ll feel better about it if you turn it into something awesome.
Likewise, ask yourself what you can learn from this experience, and accordingly, what changes you can make. Maybe your crush doesn’t return your feelings because you have some bad lifestyle habits that they view as a red flag; you could change those. Maybe things didn’t work out because your crush got involved with someone else before you could gather the nerve to ask them out; you could work on your courage and confidence. Maybe the rejection made you feel like no one will ever love you (oh, babe, no!); you could work on your self-love and overall attractiveness. You get the idea.
I think one of the key differences between mopey, stagnant people and happy, dynamic people is the way they choose to look at their hardships. You can allow your troubles to define you and drag you down, or you can choose to view them as jumping-off points for greater adventures. I bet you know which option I recommend!
How do you deal with unrequited love?
OPTIONS! I love having options. I love not needing to settle for a toy that’s almost-but-not-quite right for my anatomy, my technique, or my aesthetic preferences.
Tantus is very good at providing options. Not only do they carry a whole lot of kickass non-standard color choices (peacock-turquoise Duke, anyone?) but they’ve also been known to offer more than one size choice for certain dildos – for example, the small, medium and large Silk, and the small and large (HUGE) Amsterdam. Now they’re at it again, with a new(-ish) toy that comes in two different lengths: the Slow Drive and Slow Drive Long.
The price difference between the two is only $7, so if you think there’s any chance of you needing more than 5” of insertable length, you might as well spring for the long version and get an extra 2” for your money. Personally, I’m perfectly happy with either one; the regular Slow Drive is long enough to fill my vag to the hilt without much leftover length, while the long version gives me a little more “handle” to hold onto while thrusting. Whatever floats your boat, baby.
Sensation-wise, I’m digging the Slow Drive more than I thought I would. Its pointy shape doesn’t scream “G-spot ecstasy” to me – my spot tends to prefer rounder, wider heads, like the one on the Tantus Sport – but it’s surprisingly pleasurable. The curve is short but extreme, and it nuzzles right into my G-spot without feeling pokey.
Both Slow Drives have a diameter of 1.25”. Shout-out to Tantus for consistently offering lots of options for those of us who are decidedly not size queens. An inch and a quarter isn’t tiny, but it’s small enough that I can use it without prior warm-up, and large enough that I find it satisfying 90% of the time.
Even though it has the curve-at-the-very-tip shape that I’ve come to associate with good A-spot toys, I find that the Slow Drive doesn’t really hit my A-spot for some reason. It’s decidedly a G-spot toy for me. But I’m okay with that, because what it does, it does very well. I can have blended orgasms super easily with the Slow Drive by thrusting it fast against my G-spot and leaving a vibe on low or medium on my clit.
I also think the Slow Drives would be excellent for anal play. They’re smooth and have a consistent width all the way down, their curve is gradual, their silicone is comfortably flexible, and their bases are flared.
Speaking of the base: I love it. It’s teardrop-shaped, sort of like a Ouija planchette, with the triangular tip lining up with where the toy curves – so even when the toy is buried inside you, you’ll still know it right away if the toy rotates inside you and needs to be re-adjusted. (Does anyone else have this problem? It’s one of the things that drives me nuts about curved dildos with a featureless, round base!)
Thanks, Tantus! You sure know how to spoil a lady.
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Okay, cuties; it’s time for some remedial sex education. Today we’re going to talk about something that should be common sense for all sexually active folks but somehow isn’t. And I count myself as one of those clueless/careless people, because I make this mistake myself all the time.
Lube is an amazing product. It helps make sex and masturbation smoother and more comfortable for all involved. It solves a problem that sometimes can’t be solved any other way. But please remember: lube is not a substitute for proper warm-up. Using lube doesn’t mean you get to skip the foreplay or pull out giant dildos right off the bat. Here are some reasons why.
Mental warm-up matters just as much as physical.
I am super lazy and impatient, so sometimes, when I feel like masturbating, I just pull out a few toys, lube one up and stick it in right away. Some part of me thinks, “Hell yeah, this is gonna feel amazing once I get it in!” but then it’s in and I am in no way in a sexy headspace – so it doesn’t feel good. At best, it feels neutral and kind of boring; at worst, it feels uncomfortable and intrusive.
It can be frustratingly time-consuming sometimes, if you’re not someone who naturally enjoys the journey rather than the destination – but taking time to arouse your brain is well worth the effort. Watch some porn, read some erotica, call up some fantasies. Take a bath, light some candles, put on something silky. If you’re with a partner, make out a little longer, talk dirty, dry-hump like horny teenagers. The destination will be a tastier treat if the journey is delicious at every step.
Orifices need time to open.
Lubrication isn’t the only factor in comfortable penetration. When a person gets aroused, they’re better able to relax to allow someone or something to enter. Orifices also expand during arousal, so there’s more room to work with.
It’s commonly known that asses need prep – for example, using a butt plug for a while before moving up to larger things – but it’s sometimes forgotten that (some) vaginas require that same kind of warm-up. It can make all the difference in the world to start with a finger, then two, then maybe even a smallish dildo before getting out the big guns.
While there’s something to be said for the hotness of going from zero to 10 when that’s the kind of mood you’re in, there’s also something impossibly sexy about inching your way slooowly forward – one finger, two, three – until you get where you’re going, wherever that may be.
Arousal increases sensitivity.
For me, this is the reason why “quickies” tend to be something I do for my partner’s benefit and not my own. When it comes to penetration, I need to be turned on for it to feel good, and that takes some time.
During arousal, the G-spot swells and becomes more sensitive. Nerve endings all over the body also become more sensitive too, including the ones in the vagina and ass. Taking the time to get aroused beforehand could turn a “meh” experience into a “holy fuck, wow” experience.
Injuries can happen.
I alluded to this previously but it’s worth mentioning again, because it’s important. Just like a runner can injure a muscle by taking off without warming up, you can injure your body by jumping straight to penetration without proper preparation.
Even if you don’t feel any major damage happening during the act, you could be creating micro-tears or irritation that could turn into something more serious.
If you find it hot to be quick or spontaneous, here are some suggestions for how to make that work while lessening the risk of injury or discomfort:
• If you know there’s a chance that you’ll be having quick/spontaneous sex soon, use that knowledge and the related fantasies to keep yourself in a state of mental arousal so you’ll be ready. (I probably don’t even have to tell you this, you minx!)
• Carry a travel-size bottle of lube around with you. It’s not a shortcut, but it certainly helps.
• If anal sex is an impending possibility, wear a butt plug. (Don’t attempt to “wear” a dildo in preparation for vaginal sex, though; the vagina is self-cleaning, so blocking its cleaning mechanism for more than a few hours at a time can lead to an infection. Plus vaginal toys aren’t generally designed for this purpose so it would be uncomfortable to have one in for a long period of time.)
• If you know of a foolproof method that turns you on quickly, keep it at the ready. (For example, for me, this would be a super rumbly clit vibe. Thirty seconds of thuddy vibration can create the arousal equivalent of 5-10 minutes of foreplay for me. Better to have a little warm-up than none at all!)
• Communicate with your partner(s) to make sure they know the importance of foreplay. Maybe you can work together to come up with a way to make warm-up hot. (I remember reading somewhere that Tristan Taormino likes to play a Dom/sub game where she warms up her sub’s ass by using anal toys of gradually increasing sizes, under the guise of “I’m going to put everything in this room in your ass, because you’re my slutty sub and I can do whatever I want to you!” This is one example of a way to make warm-up sexy and natural.)
What are your favorite ways to get in the mood?
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As a sex toy reviewer, you often get asked what your favorite toy is, and it’s a bit like being asked, as a fashion fan, what your favorite piece of clothing is: you can’t really give a clear answer because it depends on so many factors. The context, the occasion, the time, the place you’re at mentally or emotionally. You might love your shearling boots in winter and your red floral sundress in summer. It’s the same with sex toys.
That said, there are five dildos that I tend to come back to, time and time again. Five dildos to rule them all, you might say. Here they are. Be warned: once you get your hands on one of them, you might become so addicted that you can’t put it down…
The Mustang is my first choice when I’m craving something realistic. It’s touchably soft and squishy, just like a flesh-and-blood cock. The texture and shape lend themselves well to fantasizing about good ol’-fashioned PIV sex.
The head and coronal ridge stroke along my G-spot in a way that’s pleasurable without being uncomfortable, like some more intense G-spot toys are. The Mustang is also long enough to hit my A-spot with ease. Overall: an excellent dildo that makes me all starry-eyed and happy-twatted.
Another Vixen dildo? Yes, they really are that good.
Leo is similar in size and shape to the Mustang, but its thickness is more consistent throughout, and it’s made of a firmer silicone, so it feels meatier. I tend to reach for it when I want a slightly more thorough rogering than I’d get from the Mustang.
It also has some scratchy texture just below its head, which doesn’t sound like it’d feel good but it does. Nothing else I own feels like that, so when I want a little roughness, I gotta have Leo.
3. Ophoria Beyond #3
This dildo has been continued and the sex toy blogosphere will never truly get over it, I think. I still get emails semi-regularly from people asking if I’d be willing to part with my Beyond 3 in exchange for money or other sex toys, and I always say no. That should tell you how valuable this toy is to me.
There are other crazily-curved, hyper-effective G-spot toys out there, like the Pure Wand and the Comet Wand, but the Beyond 3 is the one I like best. Its head is round and bulbous, its curve and angle are ideal, and its looped handle is ergonomic and comfortable. It’s the best tool for inducing knee-weakening, mind-bending G-spot sensations. Other toys can come close but, for me, they can’t match the Beyond 3’s perfection.
I don’t know about you, but for me, vaginal penetration can sometimes be a bit of a chore. It’s worth the prep work, of course, but to do it, I have to spend time lubing up a toy and gently warming myself up with fingers or a smaller dildo, or penetration can be uncomfortable. For those times when I just can’t be bothered putting in the effort, the Acute is there.
It’s small, so it’s not always 100% satisfying, but the size-to-stimulation ratio is pretty impressive. That little curve goes straight for my G-spot and is surprisingly satisfying. This dildo will remain a bedside staple for me because it’s so, so good and so, so easy.
I have a hard time even forming sentences to describe how good this dildo feels.
Ridges. Curve. G-spot. A-spot. Thrust. Smooth. Bumpy. PINK. VERY PINK.
See? Just trust me, even in my incoherence: it’s good.
What are your must-have penetrative toys?
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What’s on my bedside table?: Sex blogger edition
I’ve noticed that all my posts recently have been pretty wordy, so I thought it was time for a short(-ish), photo-focused post.
Here’s a picture of my bedside table. I took it five minutes ago, so it’s current. I apologize for the mess, but like, who has time to clean? Not me.
Some of the stuff you can see:
-The Revel Body SOL and some extra attachments the company sent me. I like that the toy looks like a boob with an erect nipple when it has this attachment on it. I’m immature.
-A water bottle. Hydration is important, during masturbation and at all other times too! (Mine is by Kleen Kanteen. I highly recommend.)
-More bottles of lube than one person needs, frankly.
-A ceramic butt plug that I’m going to review soon.
-My beloved Eroscillator, always. Nothing will ever be better.
-A copy of Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation. I heart Kate Bornstein and S. Bear Bergman.
-My Lelo Mona 2, which I should really get around to reviewing one of these days.
-The now-discontinued Ophoria Beyond 3, one of the best G-spot dildos that has ever been produced. Raise your glass to this fallen soldier…
-The VixSkin Mustang, which is easily in my top 5 favorite dildos ever. (I might be writing that list as a post soon. Stay tuned!)
-A basket of condoms, which will probably remain unused for quite a while, as I’m single and hella awkward and have no idea how to go about finding a fuck-buddy or casual sex of any kind. Sigh.
-A bunch of other random, messy crap. Don’t judge my squalor!
What’s on your bedside table?
Lately I’ve been fascinated with writers’ and bloggers’ daily work routines, workspaces, and anything and everything that helps them Get Stuff Done. (I’m reading The New New Journalism and it’s full of info like this, FYI! You might like it if you’re similarly geeky.)
I thought I’d make a survey that other bloggers can copy and paste into their blog and answer the questions themselves. Please do! I’d love to hear how and where you work. If you do the survey, how ‘bout hashtagging it on Twitter with #HowIBlog so we can find it more easily?
And now, without further ado…
Do you have a workspace? What does it look like?
See above. I recently got a proper desk for the FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE (?!); previously I had always worked from bed, coffee shops, or with my laptop sitting on the kitchen table or on my lap while I sat in any random spot of my choosing. Now I have an actual area in which to work, and the exhilaration is intense!
I keep a variety of pens, markers and highlighters in a Museum of Sex mug that says “Sex makes me thirsty” in cute script. I have a black woven basket full of journalism reference books and all the other books I’m supposed to read this semester. Right next to my computer, I keep a to-do list that’s categorized into sections (each class I’m taking is a section, and “blog/writing” is its own category). I also keep two index cards, one for blog post ideas and one for story ideas I plan on eventually pitching to magazines, websites, etc.
There are lots of extra notebooks and index cards in my desk drawers so I’ll always have paper to quickly grab if I need to make a note of an idea. There’s a small bulletin board over the desk that I’ve loaded up with images that inspire me and make me happy (e.g. pictures of my current crush, my friends, and myself when I looked my cutest). And because I’m ultra new-age-y, I’ve also got a small collection of crystals that are said to enhance writerly powers. (Incase you’re wondering, they are as follows: sodalite for inner peace and endurance, carnelian for energy and humor, tiger eye for confidence and creativity, chalcedony for dissipating negative energy, rhodochrosite for compassion and creativity, jade for love and wealth, kyanite for tranquility and intuition, black tourmaline for luck and happiness, and citrine for wealth and clarity. Phew!)
Where do you go to look for ideas? Where do your ideas come from?
I read the news and keep an eye on social media, where I follow lots of folks who work and write in the same field as me. I subscribe to a few Reddit subforums that deal heavily or exclusively with sex, so new ideas and concepts are often brought to my attention there. I read books, articles and websites about sex. I spend a lot of time thinking about sex, journaling about it, and talking to friends and family about it, all of which brings up new things I might not have otherwise thought of.
What’s the process you go through to turn an idea into a finished post?
When I first get an idea, and I think it’s a good one, I write it down on my little ongoing blog ideas index card if I don’t have time to work on it right away or if I feel I need to think about it and flesh it out more before I get started on it. Then I mull it over for a few days or weeks, and usually the idea becomes more fully formed the more that I think about it. Sometimes I have epiphanies in my sleep, or while doing something mundane like washing my body in the bath or walking to class, because the repetitive motion kicks my creative brain into gear.
Sometimes, if I like an idea but can’t seem to unify it in my head, I’ll run it by a friend and see what they have to say about it. Explaining an idea out loud can help make it more coherent, and my smart, sex-positive friends always have interesting suggestions and perspectives.
If, however, I feel like an idea is ready to be made into a post right away, and I have the time to do it, I get started immediately. (This post was one of those!)
How long does it take you to write a post once you’ve got the idea?
I’ve always been a pretty fast writer – it’s one of my saving graces at journalism school, actually, where time management looms large – so I can get a post done in 45 minutes to an hour, most times. After that, I edit it, have a look at the preview of how it’ll appear when it’s on my blog’s homepage, make sure everything is A-OK, and then hit publish (or queue).
Reviews can take me a bit longer because sometimes I’ll get halfway through a review and realize I’ve forgotten to test certain functions or uses of the toy, and need to do additional testing before finishing the post.
How do you prepare your work environment (and yourself) to create maximum productivity and focus?
If I have the time and it’s feasible for me, I like to have a massive caffeinated drink before and during my blog work. Caffeine really helps stimulate my creativity and it gets me very excited about whatever I’m working on. Sometimes I’ll schlep my laptop to a coffee shop to work, partly so I’ll have close access to coffee and partly because the bustling atmosphere helps me focus. (Coffitivity is a useful tool for replicating this effect at home, if you’re interested!)
If I’m at my desk at home, I like to put on music while I work. Usually I go for something instrumental and minimally distracting, like Chris Thile playing Bach on the mandolin or the string quartet tribute to Death Cab For Cutie. Sometimes I open up sound effect websites, like the aforementioned Coffitivity or Rainy Mood, and either layer them with music or just listen to them alone.
I like my desk to be relatively clear when I work, so I can focus. Any clutter must be beautiful/inspiring clutter.
My “writing clothes” have to be super comfortable so they don’t distract me. In the summertime I wore a lot of oversized tank tops (I bought mine in a unisex size large so they’re basically dresses on me) because they’re comfy and unrestrictive, but now that it’s getting colder, you’ll more often find me writing in sweaters, leggings and shearling slippers. Basically anything that allows me to focus on my thoughts and my words instead of my body. And ideally something that allows for quick genital access if need be; wink wink.
What daily or regular practices do you do to improve your writing?
I am a huge fan of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way books, and in particular, the morning pages exercise she suggests. I don’t always have the time or energy to keep up with my daily morning pages, but when I do, I find that I’m so much more creative, decisive, and productive. It’s truly astonishing.
I write in a journal almost every day, just recording what happened in my life and how I feel about it, and I think that practice has improved my writing enormously, simply because the more you write, the better you get. Putting feelings into words can be a particularly challenging task, so in some ways, writing about sex toys feels like a walk in the park after that!
I also make a habit of reading books on writing (Bird by Bird and The Elements of Style are two recent ones I’ve enjoyed) and making sure to read a fuckton of other people’s writing – not just in the genre I write for (primarily sex-related nonfiction), but in lots of other genres too. The more you read, the better you write.
I also like to go for long, thoughtful walks – another Julia Cameron recommendation. If I’m stuck and can’t seem to “give birth to” a post or article (for lack of a better phrase), a walk often unsticks my brain. Sometimes I just keep walking until the issue resolves itself, even if that means I go for a longer walk than I normally would. Divine inspiration always seems to strike eventually.
What rules (if any) do you always follow when you write? What rules (if any) do you break?
I follow spelling and grammar rules to the best of my ability, unless I’m breaking them purposely to achieve a particular effect.
I always try to make my first sentence interesting and attention-grabbing. It’s my journalistic background.
I hold myself to a very high standard when it comes to being non-judgmental and anti-oppressive. I do my best to make sure my posts don’t contain anything that could make someone feel shitty about themselves, whether that’s due to feeling shamed for something they like in bed or feeling excluded based on their identity or anything else.
In reviews, I often break the “rule” that you have to include a plethora of technical information about a toy, like how it charges, how long the charge lasts, what the toy’s buttons or controls are like, how to clean and care for the toy’s material, etc. I tend to only include that information if it’s notable and I want to comment on it for one reason or another. I figure folks can always Google for that information and they’ve come to my blog to hear what I think about how the toy feels.
What other writers (of any genre or medium) do you admire, and why?
In the sex blogging realm: Epiphora for her hilarious and inventive descriptions of sex toys and their sensations. Lilly for her well-researched and sometimes delightfully ranty posts. Redhead Bedhead because her blog is a mishmash of mental, emotional, and physical approaches to sexuality (which is kind of what I try to do here, too). Emily Nagoski because she is soooo non-judgmental and her approach is scientific but compassionate.
In the world of nonfiction: I love Rachel Rabbit White's sex journalism. (I actually interviewed her for a first-year journalism school project where we had to talk to a journalist we admire. I was so shy and starstruck but she was very sweet to me.) I like Augusten Burroughs' dark, biting wit and interesting way of looking at the world. I love Gala Darling's bubbly, carefree tone and her take on self-love.
Fiction: J. K. Rowling and Veronica Roth (young adult fiction is hard and they get it right). Will Ferguson (hilarious, but dark and deep sometimes too). Emma Donoghue (read Room; trust me on this one). Stephen King (a true, great storyteller; I’m obsessed with The Stand and Under the Dome).
Other genres: I dig poetry by Charles Bukowski and Richard Brautigan. Stephen Sondheim is the best lyricist I know of, living or dead.
So? Are you going to answer these questions on your own blog? Make sure to use the #HowIBlog hashtag if you tweet your post!
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I’m a journalist by trade, which means I’m a language nerd. Ask any J-schooler for a list of their pet peeves and I can guarantee at least half of them will be language-related. It’s just the way we are.
I used to be a review editor at a certain unethical sex toy site that shall not be named, and because I encountered the same mistakes every single day to the point of wanting to smash my head on my desk, I wrote a post for the website’s discussion forum outlining a few common errors I saw in reviews. I received a message from one of the moderators, basically telling me to cease and desist because it wasn’t my place to give writers suggestions on how to write.
Well, this blog is my place to do as I please, and today what I please is to list some common mistakes made by sex writers and bloggers. Let me know if you’re into the idea of more posts on sex writing, because I’ve got plenty of thoughts to share.
Without further ado, here are some frequent problems in sex writing…
1. Come vs. cum.
This one drives me fucking crazy, in part because it’s sort of ambiguous whether or not it actually is a mistake. Language is ever-evolving (a fact that someone always inevitably reminds me of whenever I complain about the misuse of the word “literally”), so it’s not technically incorrect to use the word “cum” as a verb or a noun in sexual contexts. Some dictionaries even mention that connotation of the word.
That said, I still think it looks incredibly unprofessional, like it originated from a 13-year-old’s MSN chat log or poorly spell-checked smutty fanfiction. So while it may not be a mistake to use the word “cum,” I think you should consider it carefully before you do it.
2. Discreet vs. discrete.
If you’re talking about sex toys or sex acts, “discreet” is probably the word you’re looking for. It means “modestly unobtrusive; unostentatious.” In other words, if your sex toy is discreet, your mom might be able to spot it sitting on the coffee table and not recognize it as a sex toy. Or she might be able to sit in the next room while you’re using the toy and not have any idea you’re using it.
"Discrete" means "apart or detached from others; separate; distinct." You could say that a vibrator has seven discrete functions, which is to say that each of those functions is separate and different from the others. It’s not a word that would come up too often in sex writing generally, but hey, now you know.
3. Hyphens in lists.
In sex writing contexts, this tends to come up when you’re talking about lube, just because there are a lot of hyphens in names of lube types. Water-based, silicone-based, oil-based. See? Hyphens galore.
If you’re listing a bunch of different lube types for whatever reason and you want to make the phrase a bit shorter and less clunky, you can do it as follows: “Water-, silicone-, and oil-based lubes.” I know it looks weird to have random dangling hyphens, but that’s how ya do it.
4. G-spot, A-spot, P-spot, etc.
With these sorts of words, the letter at the beginning is always capitalized, because it stands for something. (In the cases above, the letters stand for, respectively: Grafenberg, anterior fornix, prostate.) It’s an initial and initials are always capitalized.
5. Proper nouns, or not.
Be mindful of what is and is not a proper noun. Latex, silicone, phthalates, glass, steel; none of these are proper nouns so they don’t need to be capitalized (unless they’re at the beginning of a sentence or they make up part of the official name of a product). Most toy names (e.g. Pure Wand) and special proprietary materials (e.g. VixSkin) are proper nouns and should therefore be capitalized, as should (of course) names of people (e.g. Ernest Grafenberg) and places (e.g. the Museum of Sex).
This is, unfortunately, a huge problem for many writers of every genre, not just sex writing. If you’re not sure where apostrophes belong or don’t belong, read some grammar sites or books because this is super basic information.
Most especially, learn the difference between “it’s” and “its,” and know where to put possessive apostrophes (hint: only when something is possessed). There is no apostrophe in plural nouns; the word “dildo’s” should not appear unless you’re talking about something that belongs to the dildo (e.g. “the dildo’s dimensions”) or you’re abbreviating the phrase “dildo is” (e.g. “This dildo’s great!”).
That’s just a really quick summary of some of the mistakes I see most often in sex writing. What are some of your sex writing pet peeves?
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But what’s even more astonishing is that I wanted to be single again, which is what prompted the break-up – and that I’m enjoying the hell out of it already. Yeah, I miss my ex occasionally, like when I see a movie he would’ve liked or when something hilarious happens to me that I wish I could tell him about – but the benefits outweigh the costs and I am loving the single life.
Here are 5 unexpected things I’ve been getting back in touch with, since my break-up…
1. My natural cycle.
Well, not quite yet, but soon. Yes, an exciting announcement: I’ve gone off hormonal birth control!
While I dig how it’s kept my periods regular and my skin relatively calm, I’ve never been crazy about pumping myself full of hormones, especially given that I’ve got a family history of breast cancer, a fact that doesn’t bode well when mixed with estrogen. And of course, birth control comes with a host of possible side effects, which, for me, included increased cramps, premenstrual irritability, depression, and sometimes suicidal ideation.
I’m looking forward to seeing what my ovaries and uterus will do when left to their own devices. A couple years before going on HBC, I was diagnosed with a benign ovarian cyst that really messed with my cycles, but it had shrunk considerably at the time that I started on the pill, so it’s possible it’s gone completely now – in which case, I might actually have regular periods! Hooray!
2. My natural vaginal aroma.
Uh, yeah, totally TMI. Sorry-not-sorry.
When I’m sexually active, I’m always worrying about vaginal smells, even though I consider myself body-positive and my partners have always told me not to concern myself with that stuff.
I mean, when I knew I was going to receive oral sex for the first time at age 16, I snuck away to the bathroom and gave myself a pre-cunnilingus scrubdown with DivaWash. And the girl told me I tasted slightly soapy so probably I shouldn’t have bothered.
Well, anyway. Now that no one’s face is down there regularly, I’m being less obsessive about keeping things pristine in that region. And it’s nice. I’m discovering that I actually don’t hate the way I smell. Maybe it’s the changes I’ve made to my diet and exercise routine lately, but the fragrance is actually kind of… sweet. Earthy. Natural. Lovely. Hmm…
3. Flirty energy.
Holy shit, this is blowing my mind.
I may have mentioned here before that my ex and I had an “arrangement” – a compromise between his desire for total monogamy and my complaint that the lack of flirtatious possibilities in my life was making me feel dead inside. (It’s possible that I’m a bit melodramatic.) We had negotiated that we were both allowed to flirt with and kiss other people, on a don’t-ask-don’t-tell basis. (That part wasn’t my idea. You might be able to tell from my blog that I always prefer to talk things out and be 100% honest, but the boyf just wasn’t into that.)
Well, despite this tiny negotiated degree of openness, I never felt quite right about flirting with other people while I was “taken.” I hated hiding it from my partner, and I felt like it was somehow dishonest to the people I was flirting with, too – like they’d believe it could go further than it actually could. Kissing was the hard limit; some folks tried to push past that boundary, thinking surely it would be okay, and I always had to stop them, even though it felt really unnatural to do so.
Obviously, all this guilt and concealment also meant that I couldn’t blog about my adventures, lest they be read by the boyfriend or by a relative or family friend who didn’t know about our monogamishness and wouldn’t have understood it if they did.
Now that all barriers to flirtation have been wrecking-ball’ed into oblivion, I can flirt as much as I damn well please. I haven’t really taken advantage of this fact yet – hell, it hasn’t even been a week yet – but just the option is making me feel giddy and enlivened. And if anything does happen, I can blog about it with wild abandon!
4. Being sexy in public.
By “in public,” I mostly mean “online,” because that’s the kind of person I am: an introvert and a geek. But I’m working on it.
Another thing my boyfriend didn’t like me to do was post naked or otherwise scandalous pictures of myself online. When you’re living in monogamy-land, this sort of makes sense, but every time I mentioned it to my poly friends, they’d be outraged on my behalf. “He doesn’t own your body!” they’d cry. “You can do what you want with your own tits and ass!”
I had really conflicted feelings about this, and I still do – but the fact remains that I do indeed hate the feeling of someone thinking they get to decide what I do and don’t do with my body. Sure, I understand why a monogamous partner wouldn’t want me to share my sexuality with another person… but I don’t consider my naked body to be an inherently sexual thing. Posting those pictures isn’t sexual for me; it’s an act of self-love, a confidence booster, a bold declaration of my womanhood and body-acceptance and unconventional beauty. It feels good, not illicit, and it feels like something I ought to be able to make my own decisions about.
Well, now that I’m single, I can. I’ve been posting as many (anonymous) naked pictures as I feel like posting. I’ve been enjoying the comments, guilt-free. Ohhhh yessss.
5. Being alone.
I don’t mean being single. I mean being physically alone. Being in a room that no one else is in. And not stressing that I “should be” spending time with someone. Just being.
The death knell of my relationship was when I realized that spending time with my partner had started to feel more like an obligation than a joy. It was another thing on my list that I had to do, like completing my sociology readings and emptying the dishwasher.
I have great love and fondness for my ex, but when someone is your Boyfriend-with-a-capital-B, it’s expected that you spend a lot of time with them. They expect it, and so do other people in your life. As an introvert, and someone with a lot of schoolwork and work-work on my plate, that got to feel like a lot of pressure. And the pressure to spend time with him sucked the joy right out of it.
Last night I was lying in bed reading a book, and I stopped and just thought to myself, “There is nowhere I’m supposed to be right now. There is nothing I’m supposed to be doing. There is no one who’s disappointed that I’ve decided to take tonight for myself.” And that realization was BLISSFUL. I sank down into the covers, took a long sip of tea, and buried my head back in my book. Mmm, heaven. Sheer heaven.
Look, I’m not saying the break-up didn’t make me sad. It did. And I’m not saying I’m never lonely, because sometimes I am. But by and large, I can see that this was the right decision for me. I’m thrilled with my life right now, even though I’m busy as hell with school and work and people keep asking me in hushed tones whether I’m “okay.”
I am more than okay. I’m reclaiming myself.
What was the best part of your last break-up? Got any advice for me on this journey of “finding myself” again?
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I loooove steel; it’s indubitably my favorite material for anal toys in particular. But there are some things you gotta know before you think about investing in a steel butt plug.
1. They’re probably not a great idea if you’ve never engaged in any kind of anal play before, because they’re heavy and immediately very noticeable. You might find the sensation a bit overwhelming; it’s like diving into the deep end without any swimming lessons. Try something small and silicone first.
2. They work with any lube, so use what you like. However, my across-the-board policy on anal lube is that I use exclusively thick, gel-like, water-based ones. I have yet to find a silicone-based lube thick enough to work for my butt, and despite the generalization that water-based lubes tend to evaporate quicker than other kinds, I find that types with a gel consistency last seemingly forever – or at least, long enough for me to get my butt jollies and then pop the plug out pain-free.
3. Be extra cautious when carrying or washing a steel plug, because it is bound to be HEAVY and you can do some serious damage with it if you’re reckless or careless. Don’t drop it in the sink, or you risk cracking your ceramic. Don’t drop it on your toes, or you risk cracking your bones. To quote Mad-Eye Moody: “CONSTANT VIGILANCE!”
4. Steel plugs must, must, must be designed ergonomically for the body, or they will be uncomfortable at best and agonizing at worst. Read reviews (like this one!) to get a good sense – though not a perfect sense, because everyone’s body is different – of whether the toy you’re thinking about buying is actually butt-friendly, comfortable, and seems to have been tested by actual humans at some point during the production process.
I was sent the Metal Worx XL Luv Plug and it’s okay but I have some quibbles about it. My butt has been spoiled by the best steel plugs in existence, the Njoy Pure Plugs, so my standards for steel plugs are high, but maybe that’s a good thing.
I just drafted a whole paragraph about how this plug is supposedly “extra-large” but isn’t actually that big, and how I suspected that the measurements on the product page must be inflated. But then I got out my tape measure, just to make sure, and apparently this thing actually is TWO INCHES in diameter, like it says it is. Holy shit. My vagina can’t even handle two inches of steel, let alone my ass. How is this witchcraft possible?! I guess the shape is so nicely tapered that it lets my butt smoothly transition from tiny tip to wide-ass middle. There is sometimes a little pain or discomfort if I don’t warm up properly by using a smaller plug for a while first, but it’s nothing crazy. (Definitely start with something smaller if you’re new to anal play, though. The Mini Luv Plug, for example.)
Basically all my problems with this plug are with its lower half, i.e. the neck and base. The upper half is fine – great, even. Properly sized, comfortably tapered, pleasantly heavy. Just fabulous, really.
But the neck… It strikes me as being too thin, even considering that butt plug necks are supposed to be thin to make the plug more comfortable and help it stay in better. This neck just feels so thin that it’s like I can hardly tell there’s even a plug inside me, once it’s fully inserted. It makes me wish I had just a little more girth to clench around. When I masturbate with a butt plug in (which I don’t do very often, but still), I like to have some sense that there’s something in my ass so I can imagine I’m being butt-fucked; this one feels almost imperceptible when it’s in because the neck puts no pressure or weight on the opening of my ass at all.
The base is the worst. It’s one of those terrible round bases that seems to have been designed by someone with no knowledge of the existence of buttcheeks. I can wear this plug comfortably if I’m lying down spread-eagled and my cheeks are wide apart (how d’you like that image?!) but if I’m walking, sitting, or doing normal human things, the (SHARP) edges of the base start to dig into my chubby butt. That feeling is about as far removed from “sexy” as I can imagine.
My other problem with the base is the sparkly clear crystal on the bottom. It’s very pretty, definitely an appreciated aesthetic touch, but it’s poorly designed. The middle of it is flat but the edges slope upward, so that if the toy is jostled at all while standing on its base, it tips over, usually resulting in it falling onto some part of my body in a painful way or rolling off my desk. Maybe other people don’t care about this, but dammit, I think a toy should be able to stand up on its own. If you can’t display it or stand it at the ready next to your bed, then what’s the point?!
I might recommend this plug if it were cheaper (as many Pipedream toys are), but it sells for $63 or more, depending on where you get it. For that price, you could have your pick of the small or medium Pure Plug, or spend just a little more and get the large. The Pure Plugs have a way better design than the Luv Plug, in that they feel super comfortable the entire time you’re wearing them, and they stay put when you put ‘em somewhere, whether that “somewhere” is your butt or your bedside table. You can also really feel them when they’re in – in a very, very good way.
It’s hard to go wrong with a steel plug, but the XL Luv Plug just doesn’t get it quite right. Better luck next time, Pipedream.
Post with 9 notes
Hey babes. My relationship of three and a half years ended yesterday. It’s okay, everything’s cool, I’m alright with it and actually kind of relieved – but let’s be honest; even the most amicable of break-ups can be tough to deal with. Here, for me as much as for you, are 50 suggestions for post-breakup self-care and processing. Take what works for you and leave the rest.
1. Gather up everything that reminds you of your ex, stuff it in a garbage bag, and either put it someplace where you won’t see it or just throw it away.
2. Get yourself dolled up. Makeup, cute clothes, moustache grooming, whatever works for you.
3. Take a long, hot bath. Bonus points for Epsom salts, bath bombs, scented candles, and/or soft music.
4. Search the break-up tag on 8Tracks and listen to some sympathetic mixes.
5. Choose a movie you’ve never seen from Bill Hader’s list of his favorite comedies, find it and watch it. (Lots of them are available on Netflix.)
6. Get lost in a good book. (Some recommendations from me to you: the Harry Potter series, the Divergent series, O: The Intimate History of the Orgasm, Under the Dome, After Hamelin, Hello Cruel World.)
7. Work on a creative project, new or old. Blog, collage, choreograph, write, draw, paint, etc.
8. Cuddle a sweet and understanding person, pet, or stuffed animal.
9. Beat up your pillow.
10. Play a video game. (I like Animal Crossing games during emotional times because they don’t require much brain power and you can’t die in them, so they’re not stressful.)
11. Make a list of things you can do now that you’re single that you couldn’t do while in your relationship. Re-read it any time you feel sad. (Some highlights from my list: post naked pictures of myself online, go off hormonal birth control, make out with cute near-strangers at parties.)
12. Write in a journal about what happened and how you feel about it. (If you don’t like physical journals, try 750 Words or Day One or a blog platform that allows for private entries.)
13. Call up a friend. Talk to them. Make plans.
14. Do some beauty treatments: face mask, deep conditioner, pedicure, etc.
15. Go to the store, pick out your favorite chocolate bar or ice cream, take it home, eat it slowly.
16. Do a Netflix marathon of your favorite funny show.
17. Do a massive purge of unnecessary stuff/clutter in your room or home.
18. Delete your ex from all social media platforms and your phone’s contact list.
19. Make a list of qualities you hope your next partner possesses. Visualize that person and let the idea of them lift you up.
20. Get yourself a new sex toy (or dig out an old faithful). Masturbate your heart out.
21. Get a spa treatment – a massage, mani-pedi, facial, etc.
22. Exercise, even if you initially don’t want to. It’ll help, I promise.
23. Meditate. Sit comfortably, breathe deeply and slowly, focus on your breath, let all thoughts float by. Do a YouTube search for “guided meditation” if you find it hard to clear your mind completely (and don’t we all?).
24. Put your headphones on, turn on some music that makes you happy, and go for a long walk.
25. Take a nap.
26. Let yourself cry. It’s okay.
27. Go through old e-mails or letters and find a really flattering, cheerifying one. Read it. Print it out and pin it up if you want.
28. If you’ve got ‘em, read old journals from a previous break-up you went through. They’ll remind you that everything gets better eventually.
29. Buy a corkboard, pins, and a few magazines. Cut out any pictures that make you smile and pin them up where you’ll see them often.
30. Write “This too shall pass” on a part of your body. Glance at it often.
31. Treat yourself to a cheap cosmetic pick-me-up, like a new lipstick, rollerball perfume, or nail polish.
32. Flirt with someone, just to remind yourself that you can still feel those feelings.
33. Repopulate your sexual fantasies.
34. Ask a friend to remind you of the good reasons for the break-up any time they catch you moping about it.
35. Drink wine. In moderation. If you can.
36. Make a list of all your best qualities and look at it if you ever start to feel valueless or unattractive. (Ask friends or family for suggestions if you’re having trouble coming up with things.)
37. Do something you used to find comforting when you were a kid, like eating Kraft Dinner while watching The Simpsons, or curling up under a hand-knit blanket while reading the Gossip Girl novels, or whatever.
38. If you have any jewelry or other tokens from people who love you (not your ex), wear it to give you strength. Periodically glance at it as a way of reminding yourself that you’re loved.
39. Stretch, slowly and gently, for a good few minutes.
40. If you’re really not feeling up to going out and seeing people, call and cancel some of your commitments. It’s okay to take time for yourself.
41. Reorganize your workspace, or another space you spend a lot of time in, so it’s more beautiful and simple and makes more sense and feels more calming to you.
42. Take a friend to a location that was significant for you and your ex and make new memories there.
43. Drink a hot beverage, slowly and thoughtfully. (I like what Leo Babauta has to say about tea rituals.)
44. Rediscover a hobby, activity, or aspect of your personality that you set aside to appease your (now ex-)partner. See who you can be without them.
45. Discover some new music by searching tags of your choice on Bandcamp, 8Tracks or Last.FM. (Some chill recommendations from my own music library: Sucré, Josh Garrels, Robot Science, My Brightest Diamond.)
46. Take some cute (or not-so-cute, whatever) selfies. If you want, use an app like FaceTune to beef up their attractiveness quotient. Post them somewhere public if you feel like it.
47. Decide what you’re going to focus your time and energy on, now that you have more of both to spare. Pick stuff that matters and is important to you. (Volunteering? Art? School? Working on your novel? Becoming a more spiritual person? Losing 30 pounds? Traveling?)
48. Get real with yourself about any destructive habits you have when you mourn and try to pre-empt them. If you don’t eat enough when you’re sad, get some foods that you love, so you will eat. If you tend toward any kind of self-harm, put a mental health professional or crisis line or nearby friend on speed-dial. If you tend to withdraw, tell a friend to boss you into hanging out with them even if you say no. Do what you gotta do.
49. Do something you know you’re really good at, even if it’s kind of a dumb or useless thing, to help restore your confidence in yourself.
50. Give yourself a hug. Be gentle with yourself. It’s gonna be okay.
What are some things that have helped you through break-ups?
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