In 2015, I have been thinking a lot about how “real life” and “online life” used to be so separate, and now seem to blend together for most of us.

Most of the people I’ve ever dated or had sex with are folks I either met on the internet or got to know largely over the internet. Many of my current friends probably wouldn’t be my friends if we hadn’t stalked each other online over the years, liking statuses and faving tweets, getting to know each other in the low-pressure environment of the ‘net. As a shy person, my social strategy is mostly “be awesome on the internet and wait for less-shy people to notice.” (Um, I am working on changing that.)

One of the coolest facets of this online/meatspace blending, for me, is attending real-life events with sex-blogosphere people. While someone (usually me) inevitably says something like, “Wow, you’re real!” when we first meet, before too long, it feels like we’ve known each other “IRL” forever.

And, to be honest with you, I love meeting people IRL who read and appreciate my blog. It makes me feel like a freakin’ rock star.

 

On that note… I want you to come hang with me and my sex-positive pals at a couple of upcoming events!

Sexual Health Expo is happening in New York City over the weekend of September 19th–20th. It’ll feature informative sessions taught by sex geniuses like Ducky Doolittle, Allison Moon and Mollena Williams. There will also be exhibits of “intimacy products” (i.e. sex toys). Fuck yes! A handful of my blogger friends will be in attendance, and I am so excited to see them again!

A couple months later, from November 13th through the 15th, is the Playground Conference. It takes place in my beloved hometown, Toronto. I’m planning on writing a post about the best sex-positive destinations here in T.O., but suffice it to say, if you’re a sex nerd, this is a good city to visit (particularly since you get to hang out with meee!). Playground is shapin’ up real good: there are tons of great speakers on the docket, including the ever-adorable and clever Kate and JoEllen. There’ll also be a sexy storytelling event, a board games night and a fancy dance. OMG, you guys, it’s gonna be so great!

Grab your SHE ticket and/or Playground ticket ASAP, and make sure you say hi to me if you see me. I’ll be the starry-eyed, curly-headed femme who can’t stop talking about dildos. ♥

They say you should have things in common with the people you date. And this just makes sense. You’ll have more to talk about, and more activities you can enjoy together, if you like the same stuff.

But I have a problem, and maybe you can relate in some way… I find myself inexplicably, consistently, palpably attracted to video game nerds – and I am not, myself, even remotely a “gamer girl.”

Don’t get me wrong: I own a 3DS, I’ve sunk many many hours into the Pokémon and Golden Sun series over the years, and I play The Sims and word game apps more often than is probably considered healthy. But gamer culture, and obsessiveness over games, has never really appealed to me. And I’d rather have a conversation about, say, tax law or the weather than hear one more dissection of why side-scrollers are better than first-person shooters or whatever.

But… probably upwards of 70% of the people I’ve ever seriously been attracted to have been video game nerds. Hell, my last (and only) serious boyfriend was a game developer. Video games are in my blood and in my heart, somehow. I wish it wasn’t so, but alas.

It’s worth noting, too, that video game culture is famously cruel to women. I haven’t encountered much of that in my life, except on the internet – the vast majority of gamer dudes I meet are actually lovely – but it’s an important detail in this issue nonetheless.

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 7.43.27 PM

However, setting all that aside… there are some common advantages to dating and fucking gamers. Here are a few of them.

 

1. They’re dexterous and coordinated.

Their fingers are strong from mashing buttons. They’re equally comfortable pounding your “buttons” hard and fast or slow and steady. Their brain-to-hands connection is super quick and responsive from thousands of hours of practice. Um. Yes. Enough said.

 

2. They live to solve puzzles.

Games like Limbo are all about finding creative solutions to problems, through trial and error. Not that your sexual response (or lack thereof) is a problem, necessarily, but it can be a challenge – at least, that’s how I think lots of gamers view it. “How can I figure out this person’s body as quickly as possible, and use what I learn to make them feel as good as possible?”

In my experience, gamers intuitively understand that not only does every body respond differently to different types of stimulation, but also that this is a good and fun thing. One of my favorite parts of sex is giving and taking direction, adapting techniques over time to follow feedback you get from your partner, and I find that gamers are more than willing to engage in this process. In many cases, they relish it.

 

3. They’ll remember what works and what doesn’t.

My ex knew his way through Viridian Forest like it was his own back yard – and all the neurons that aided in that process were probably also at play when he navigated my vulva.

Genitals can be like a map, and each person’s has a unique topography. Press here for pleasure; avoid this spot ’cause it’s painful; this part’s ticklish; this part needs to be warmed up first; this area needs intense pressure while this area can only handle the lightest touch… These are all important things to know, and gamers have already strengthened the parts of their brains that cling onto important geographic details.

 

4. They like practicing and improving.

Lots of gamers love unlocking achievements and beating records. Getting better at sex with a particular person is fun in the same kind of way.

My ex used to get gleeful when he made me come in a way that was new to me, or learned a new sexual skill. Sometimes he would literally use the words “Achievement unlocked!” which maybe would’ve annoyed me slightly if I wasn’t always near-comatose in a post-orgasmic daze at the time.

I think improvement can become an addiction for some people, and that’s something gamers need to watch out for: it’s no fun to be with someone who’s obsessed with making you come a certain way. But a small dose of this aspirational perfectionism can make sex awesome.

 

5. They appreciate the journey even more than the end result.

It’s satisfying as hell to beat the Elite Four, but it wouldn’t feel nearly as good if you hadn’t spent dozens of hours growing emotionally connected to your Pokémon, leveling them up, carefully choosing their movesets, and so on.

A sexual corollary: orgasm is fun, but gamers don’t want to skip straight to it. That’d be like using cheat codes. What would be the point? Games are meant to be played moreso than they’re meant to be won.

Orgasm-focused sex can be such a bummer. I love orgasms, don’t get me wrong, but it’s no fun for anyone when orgasms are your measuring stick for whether or not a sex session “succeeded.” If you and your partner had fun and experienced pleasure, I count that as a success. I think gamers understand that, for the most part. A day spent grinding (in the game sense, not the sexy sense…!) can still be productive and fun, even if you haven’t beaten the final boss by the time the day is out.

 

Have you dated/fucked gamers? Or are you one, yourself? What other qualities make them fun sexual partners?

IMG_8567

Last month, I went to 7 West with some friends for lunch. After our meal, we decided to get some dessert, and I ordered the restaurant’s legendarily good dulce de leche cheesecake.

Admittedly, I was a bit drunk at this point, and had also been watching a lot of X Files, so I was in a slightly dramatic and science-fiction-y mood. So upon tucking into the cheesecake, I went on a rant something like this:

“This cheesecake is TOO GOOD. I feel like I am doing something illegal by eating it. Like it’s too delicious and wasn’t meant to be discovered by humans. Like it was found on an alien planet and brought back to earth and kept in quarantine by the FBI because it could actually be dangerous for human ingestion. But somehow I broke in and found it and now I’m eating it and I’m going to get in trouble on a national scale. And will possibly get an extraterrestrial illness for my gluttony, thereby starting a worldwide pandemic.”

Fortunately, my friends just find my drunken loquaciousness charming instead of weird…

I told you this story because I feel the same way about really good A-spot stimulation as I feel about that cheesecake. It feels inhumanly good, too good for this world – like I’ve hacked into the pleasure mainframe and am accessing something not meant for me. And that’s pretty fucking cool.

IMG_8572

The G-Spoon is a glass dildo made by artisanal sex toy company Fucking Sculptures, and despite the “G” in its name, for me it’s really more about the “A” – A-spot, that is. Or “anterior fornix,” if you wanna get fancy about it.

I first lusted after the G-Spoon when I read Aerie’s review of it. One thing Aerie and I have in common, which we discussed a bit at DildoHoliday, is our shared love of A-spot stimulation. In their review, Aerie describes the G-Spoon’s A-spotting abilities as “perfect,” “mind-blowing,” and “incredibly pleasurable.” They noted that the toy is long enough to hit the spot and has the right curve and angle to hit it without making cervical contact (which hurts and is best avoided). I was intrigued. If the G-Spoon worked for Aerie’s A-spot, I suspected it would work for mine.

And, holy fuck. Thank you, Aerie. Because this dildo is an A-spotting machine, the likes of which I’ve never encountered before.

IMG_8564

But before I get to that… let’s talk specs. All Fucking Sculptures toys are handmade and one-of-a-kind, so there are variations in terms of shape, size, surface appearance, etc. Mine is technically a “large” one, but it’s on the smaller end: large G-Spoons can range from 4.7″ to 5.9″ in circumference and 7.5″ to 9.8″ in length, and mine is 4.8″ around and 7.5″ long. Really large G-Spoons can apparently get pretty heavy (soda lime glass is dense!), so if that bothers you, you might want to stick with the medium size. Mine is basically on the cusp between medium and large.

The width of my G-Spoon is ideal for sliding past my cervix and gettin’ all up in my A-spot, but I do sometimes wish it was a bit longer. At maximum arousal, my vag is about 6″ to 6.5″ deep, meaning that I have to insert my G-Spoon almost all the way inside in order to reach my spot. This leaves only an inch or two of handle with which to manipulate the toy – and while I can certainly manage it, I can see that it would get annoying if my sessions went on for longer or if I got too much lube on the handle portion of the toy.

IMG_8561The deep grooves along the top side of the G-Spoon provide a little welcome friction during use, but they also collect vaginal fluids and cling onto ’em, necessitating a good toothbrush scrubdown with every wash. I like that these grooves end before the head of the toy, because that smoothness feels divine on my A-spot; I’m not sure I would respond as well to rough scraping in that area.

My G-Spoon is white with silvery-grey patches. I think it’s beautiful and eccentric-looking, but two different people (a friend and a hookup) both asked me, “Did you use this so much that the paint scraped off?!” While the premise of this question is hilarious, no, Fucking Sculptures toys are definitely not so shoddily-made that you can flake off the colors with heavy use! Like any good-quality glass toy, the pigment is inside the toy so it’ll stay put no matter how much you use it.

Also like any good-quality glass toy, my G-Spoon is pretty resistant to breakage. Soda lime glass is more temperature-sensitive than borosilicate glass, so you’re not supposed to boil or freeze Fucking Sculptures because they might crack if you do – but in regular, everyday use, the G-Spoon is fabulously sturdy. I even dropped it on my Eleven by accident and both toys were unharmed. (Don’t try this at home, kids…)

IMG_8560So, let’s get to the good stuff: sensation. Because this dildo feels like a freight train is hitting my A-spot, in a good-and-not-literal way. The thing about perfectly-executed A-spot stimulation is that it leaves me breathless and sated like nothing else – and I’m usually limited to experiencing this type of orgasm with partners, because so few of my toys can stroke my A-spot as consistently and directly as I like. Average-sized penises and long fingers can reach it with ease, but most toys? Not so much. The G-Spoon, however, is like an A-spot whisperer: it goes right for it, with minimal effort, and ravages that spot like it’s meant to be ravaged.

This results in the kinds of orgasms I usually only get from the efforts of skilled and patient partners. Sometimes I actually writhe around and make involuntary noises while using the G-Spoon, which normally doesn’t happen for me when I’m having solo sex. I think it’s an A-spot thing. It makes me lose control of my body a little bit. Hnnngggg.

I have also tried the G-Spoon on my actual G-spot, as it’s intended to be used. That just entails thrusting it a little more shallowly and maybe applying a little more pressure, since my G can handle roughness that my A cannot. This dildo is definitely up to the task if you need some focused, firm G-spot stimulation. I have other toys I like better for that purpose, but I don’t think anyone would be disappointed by the G-Spoon’s abilities in this department. It’s a multitalented little dude!

I know I’ve been writing a lot of positive reviews lately. I hope you aren’t starting to lose faith in me as a reviewer because of that. I promise I’m not sugar-coating any of this – I am just genuinely lucky enough to own some incredibly well-designed toys, especially in recent months. And the G-Spoon is easily one of my favorites I’ve received in ages. It’s jaw-droppingly gorgeous and cunt-meltingly effective. It makes me feel like a pampered queen, because it’s so luxurious and brings such effortless pleasure. Sometimes my mind wanders to my G-Spoon and I just think, “Why isn’t that inside me right now?!”

If you want to explore your A-spot and/or your G-spot, and you’ve got the budget to splurge on something stunning, you probably need a G-Spoon. Any sense of “Holy fuck!” you feel when looking at the price tag will be replaced by the “Holy fuck!” you’ll experience when you put this toy in your vagina.

Thank you so much to the terrific people at Fucking Sculptures for sending me this toy! You can buy their products at their website, at SheVibe, or at various smaller shops.

Want to go back? Read the previous chapter or the first chapter.

I flipped through the first several pages of this chapter without finding anything worth remarking on. The first chunk of the chapter is mostly email exchanges between Ana and Christian; he’s bought her a new laptop (without asking her first, of course) and keeps checking in to determine whether she’s been doing her assigned research on BDSM.

He ascertains that she’s done her homework, based on the fact that she calls him “Sir” with a capital S. He also calls her a “sassy wench.” How sweet.

Christian’s also exchanging emails with his former domme, Elena. Her email signature tells us that she owns a beauty business called Esclava. As in, the Spanish word for slave. Subtle.

Ana asks Christian what she should Google to begin her BDSM research, and he says, “Always start with Wikipedia.” This seems like risky advice at best. Why not just recommend some specific websites you know are good, Christian? Or buy her some books? You’ve done it before…

After spending some time Googling, Ana sends Christian a curt email that simply says, “Okay, I’ve seen enough. It was nice knowing you.” If this was a book about a dude who respects when women say “no,” this would be the end of the story. She doesn’t want you in her life anymore, so you get out – easy. But this is Christian, so obviously he’s not going to do that.

I sit back in my chair, dumbfounded.
Nice? Nice. NICE.
She thought it was more than nice when her head was thrown back as she came.

Yes, amazingly, orgasms are not actually the same thing as everlasting consent.

Christian drives to Ana’s house to try to change her mind, chardonnay and condoms in tow. Dude, take a hint.

I’m uneasy; it’s reckless and too presumptuous of me to come here. Then again, I’ve already been here twice, though for only a few minutes.

Hey, cool fact: having been to someone’s house doesn’t entitle you to visit it again whenever you want! And likewise, having fucked someone before doesn’t mean you can fuck them forever!

Ana’s roommate Kate lets him into the house, and he sneaks up on Ana where she’s seated at her desk listening to music and looking over his BDSM contract. Does he ever stop watching her without her knowledge?

“Are you biting your lower lip deliberately?” I inquire, my voice sterner than I’d intended.
“I wasn’t aware I was biting my lip,” she whispers, her face pale.

CAN YOU STOP WITH THE LIP THING ALREADY?? I am so sick of hearing about lip-biting. Uuuuughhhh!

“Did you mean [it was nice] knowing me in the biblical sense?”
Her cheeks pink. “I didn’t think you were familiar with the Bible.”
“I went to Sunday school, Anastasia. It taught me a great deal.” Catechism. Guilt. And that God abandoned me long ago.
“I don’t remember reading about nipple clamps in the Bible. Perhaps you were taught from a modern translation,” she goads me, her eyes shining and provocative.
Oh, that smart mouth.

Ostensibly to “remind her how nice it was to know him,” Christian proceeds to have sex with her. It seems, actually, pretty consensual. Ana “launches herself at” him, and a few times he asks her check-in questions like “What do you think of that?” and “Trust me?” before going ahead with various actions. Okay, cool, yes. Why aren’t all the sex scenes like this? (Minus the creepy “sneaking into her apartment without her knowledge” beginning.)

There is one part, however, where he binds her and blindfolds her using a tie and her T-shirt, and then says, “I’m going to get a drink,” and does. Liiiiike… you probably shouldn’t leave someone unattended while they’re in bondage, particularly if they’re new to it.

Outside her room, I leave her door slightly ajar and enter the living room to retrieve the bottle of wine.
Kavanagh looks up from where she’s sitting on the sofa, reading, and her eyebrows rise in surprise. Don’t tell me you’ve never seen a shirtless man, Kavanagh, because I won’t believe you. “Kate, where would I find glasses, ice, and a corkscrew?” I ask, ignoring her scandalized expression.

Poor Kate. She has to put up with a lot of weird shit in this book.

When Kate asks Christian where Ana is, he replies, “She’s a little tied up at the moment,” as if no one in the history of popular culture has ever made this joke and he’s brilliant for inventing it. Excuse me while I roll my eyes forever.

Christian bosses Kate into helping him put ice in the wine glasses and pour the wine. Does he think all women are his submissives?! Kate quite reasonably asks him if he’s going to help her and Ana move into their new apartment, and he reacts like a caricature of a commitmentphobic man:

Fuck off, Kavanagh.
No way am I going to help. Ana and I don’t have that kind of relationship. Besides, I can’t spare the time.

So you have the time to travel back and forth between Portland and Seattle ad nauseum for sex dates but can’t spare a few hours to help Ana pack some boxes. Nice! Good boyfriend award over here. And on that note: he finally returns to Ana’s room, where the poor girl is still tied up and waiting.

I release each of her breasts from her bra so they’re supported by the underwire cups; her breasts are pert and vulnerable, just how I like them.

He takes her to the edge of orgasm five times but doesn’t let her come, and then when he finally fucks her, she apparently comes after the first thrust. Um. I suspect this isn’t exactly realistic. I mean, I know this is a romance novel, but come on.

As she lies flat on the bed, panting, I pull out of her and remove the wretched condom.

Of course Christian has a hate-on for safer sex supplies…

“Please pass me my sweatpants,” she orders, pointing to them.
Wow. Miss Steele can be a bossy little thing.

But… she said please…?!

I start the car and begin the drive back to Portland, analyzing what’s taken place between us.
She e-mailed me. I went to her. We fucked. She threw me out before I was ready to leave.
For the first time – well, maybe not the first time – I feel a little used, for sex.

Christian’s middle name should be Hypocrite. He’s constantly complaining about Ana doing the exact same stuff to him that he does to her. His sense of entitlement is staggering.

This chapter, in summary: a decent sex scene surrounded by terrible writing and problematic relations. That’s a good wrap-up of the entire book, actually…

A good percentage of my posts emerge from revelations I have while journaling. I’ll blather on about a problem for pages at a time, and suddenly, the answer becomes crystal clear and spills out of my pen, almost of its own volition.

I had one of those recently, and it was the dumbest, most obvious thing: when you like someone, it is okay to act like you like them. Fuck what John Lennon says: you don’t have to hide that shit away.

See, when I was in high school, I got rejected by someone I really, really liked. This is a totally common, normal experience – especially for men, who are socialized to be romantic and sexual initiators – but something about this particular rebuff really messed up my flirt-o-meter. I see now that after that letdown, I deeply internalized the idea that if you show romantic or sexual interest for someone, and they don’t return those feelings, they will be grossed out by your advances. They will lose their esteem for you and want to avoid you as much as possible. In short, you will have fucked up whatever scrap of a relationship you had with them previously.

Of course, there are cases where this is true… like if you’re being genuinely inappropriate, or if the person in question has been burned by a creepy suitor before. But for the most part, everyone likes to feel liked and wanted and so you’re not going to horrify anyone by acting slightly-more-than-friendly in their direction. (With the caveat, obviously, that you put an immediate stop to that shit if they tell you to.)

Pre-epic-rejection, I was a lot better at this. I frequently told people they were cute, purely because I thought so and thought it’d make them happy to know that. I didn’t get anxiety about whether or not it was “too much” to favorite people’s Instagram selfies and clever tweets. I didn’t phrase my texts in the most benign, noncommittal way possible.

The other day, I got waaaay overanalytical while composing a message to someone I like, and it hit me: why am I trying to act like I don’t like this person? If anything, I want him to know I like him – not only because that will help move things forward more quickly but also because I know it will make him smile. Who doesn’t want to feel desirable and desired?

It will probably take some more practice before I fully get this idea through my head, and get back to being flirt-happy the way I was in high school. For my benefit as much as yours, here are some low-risk, high-reward ways to fawn over your crush without weirding them out…

 

Give them a really good compliment.

Like, the kind that is slightly above and beyond what you’d say to a friend or a random acquaintance you happen to admire. Compliment something that is integral to who they are, like their sense of humor, confidence, or charm. Or keep it classic and compliment a (non-sexual) part of their body, like their sparkling eyes, shiny hair or strong arms.

This kind of compliment pushes the boundaries of casual friendliness ever-so-gently. If they scrunch up their eyebrows and say, “…Thaaaanks?” then you’ll know to maybe dial it back a bit – but if they light up, blush, or giggle, that’s your green light, baby.

 

Make an effort.

When I want to figure out how someone feels about me, I pay attention to what they do, not what they say. People can spout all kinds of platitudes and excuses, but if they like you, they will make a consistent effort to reach out to you, make plans with you, and make you smile.

…Or at least, that’s how most non-shy folks operate. If you’re like me, your anxiety sometimes tricks you into thinking that the most innocuous of “What’s up?” texts or “Let’s get together!” DMs could be construed as overbearing. Unless you’re pestering the person with message after message, don’t fret – there’s no way they’re as annoyed as your anxiety-brain tells you they are. Drop ’em a line, ask them to hang out, keep in touch. Nothing can happen if you don’t keep those channels open.

 

Remember things they tell you.

“Hey, how did that late-night shift go? Was it as horrible as you thought it was gonna be?”

“I saw a trailer for a movie I thought you might like, because I know you’re a big Anchorman fan…”

“Did you end up buying that skirt you were thinking about getting?”

These are such mundane examples but I’m honestly getting a little swoony just contemplating them. It is so flattering when someone cares enough about you to remember the dull details you mention in passing. This tells them three things: 1) you are a good listener, 2) you find them interesting, and 3) you were thinking about them in the interim between your last meeting and your current one. You might as well be wearing an “I Like You!” sign on your chest… but this strategy is much more subtle than that. Win!

 

Touch them.

Okay, you gotta be able to read your audience on this one. Have some common social sense. I am not telling you to get touchy-feely with people who aren’t into it, or to cling onto someone the whole time you’re with them. But let’s be real… Those “flirting tips” you read in magazines for teen girls (no? just me?) are spot-on when they say that light, casual, occasional touch can act as a strong I-like-you signal without seeming strong.

Those magazines often say stuff like, “Lightly push his shoulder playfully when he makes a joke,” or “Reach out and touch his arm when you’re making a point.” I always used to read those tips and wonder how I could possibly make that kind of overture seem natural and non-weird. But now I’ve spent time around some terrific flirts and have discovered that this kind of touch can be played off in a natural way, and it also works a treat.

Touching someone gets their attention, gives them a little boost of happy neurotransmitters, and makes it that much easier to transition to other kinds of touching later (hugging, kissing, and on and on…) – so you should give it a shot, even if it feels awkward at first. (But, again, I need to stress: read the other person’s cues. Don’t get all up in the grill of someone who is clearly not into it. When in doubt, ask.)

 

Is this incredibly basic-level flirting advice? Probably. But I’m still a flirtation novice, even at age 23. I’m out of practice because I let myself learn a fear of being flirty. That’s gotta stop. People should know when I think they’re cute – if just because it might make their day a little happier.

What are your favorite ways to show someone you like them? Have you ever struggled with feeling it’s “not okay” to flirt?