Devastated & Divine: A Week in Post-Breakup Fashion

On the day after her breakup, our lovely model Kate wears the same outfit she wore yesterday. 24 hours of crying, sleeping, and existential angst have rendered the ensemble charmingly worn-in – “heartbreak chic,” you might say.

Her green American Apparel tri-blend racerback tank is embellished with a chocolate stain from a Kitkat bar she bought because her best friend told her she needed to eat and chocolate was the only option that didn’t sound positively nauseating.

Adorning her black American Eagle leggings is a smattering of white hair from the cat belonging to her now-ex-boyfriend. The cat wandered in during the break-up conversation itself – sometime between “I don’t think we should see each other anymore” and “I still care about you a lot” – and though Kate mostly stayed strong, that was the one moment when she thought she might cry, because it wasn’t the cat’s fault she would never see him again.

Her turquoise Coach turnlock tote is stylish, yet roomy enough to fit a fistful of used tissues, a tearstained Moleskine journal, and a Kindle loaded with ebooks about the psychology of romantic rejection. The side pocket can even hold a plethora of condoms, as if she’ll have a need for those any time soon.

Kate’s royal blue heart-shaped sunglasses were a gift from a reader via her Amazon wishlist. Beyond just looking sharp, they also function as a shield to keep onlookers from realizing she’s just, like, constantly crying.

Her well-worn Frye harness boots are comforting and familiar, though now they are marred with the memory of how she clumsily crammed her feet back into them and practically tripped in an effort to get away as quickly as possible from the man who broke her heart. They need a shine, and maybe someday she’ll get to that when she’s no longer in a state of active distress.

Topping off the outfit is Kate’s Tarina Tarantino pink pavé heart necklace. Usually she wears a smaller purple and turquoise one, but the last time she had sex with her now-ex-boyfriend, he sidled up behind her afterward and fastened the purple pendant around her neck like the quasi-collar he understood it to be, and it was the last sweet and tender gesture he ever offered her – so, obviously, she couldn’t wear that one. Not today.

On the second day after her breakup, Kate wears a casually rumpled black tank top that was acquired at a local thrift store years previous and could probably use a wash. She defines her aesthetic goals today as “comfort” and “not wanting to fucking die.”

The red bandana tied around her head serves the dual purpose of concealing both her unwashed hair and her scalp infection, because depression is nothing if not glamorous. Red bandanas also symbolize fisting in the hanky code, a subtle, ironic sartorial nod to Kate’s ex, who would’ve been the first person to successfully fist her if he’d been decent enough to stick around.

Her red and black polka-dotted MeUndies boyshorts continue the color story from her red-rimmed, tearstained eyes. On her lips, Bite Beauty High Pigment Pencil in “Pomegranate” makes a bold statement: “I don’t intend on kissing anyone today. Or maybe ever again.”

On the third day after her breakup, Kate’s thrown on a black American Apparel tri-blend romper for her streetcar jaunt to an erotic massage downtown. The simple pull-on design and halter-neck ties make it quick to take on and off – ideal for getting naked on the massage table as well as navigating the bone-heavy apathy of depression. Easy-peasy!

On her radiantly unwashed face, she sports a pair of sunglasses she bought at a hotel gift shop the week previous, possibly the last purchase she made while happy. They seemed glamorous and eye-catching at the time; today they’re crimson-tinted armor. Pro tip: plastic frames are a smarter choice than metal ones while grieving, because tears don’t rust ’em!

Her heart necklace makes an appearance once again, because if a giant pink rhinestoned amulet can’t make her feel better, nothing can.

Ubiquitous Apple earbuds complete the ensemble, and rarely leave her ears these days, because what little emotional momentum she can gather is mostly enabled by the good-natured goofs of the McElroy brothers.

Later that day, blissed out and supple-skinned from coconut oil and orgasms, Kate slithers into a dark red Forever 21 tank top and tiny black H&M shorts for an evening at the local sex club. As she slings on a vintage Danier leather jacket and looks at herself in the mirror before leaving the house, she feels her first glimmer in days of something like happiness. Maybe she’ll flirt with a stranger tonight. Maybe she just won’t cry in public. Either would be a victory.

On the fourth day after her breakup, Kate’s ex is coming by to pick up the last vestiges he left at her house (a book and some bondage rope), so obviously she has to look good, even though she’s not actually going to answer the door because she’s either an emotional masochist or a massive coward – who can say! This is truly the ideal outfit for today’s activities: hiding under a blanket while rain pours down outside, and then trekking to a doctor’s appointment while blinking back hot tears. Busy lady!

Kate’s zebra-print fit-and-flare dress from H&M clings to her depression-dwindled curves in a manner that just screams “Help, I keep forgetting to eat, because my life is in shambles!” The wild-animal motif is an ironic twist, given that she’s barely left her house in days. So-near-y and yet safari, am I right?!

Today’s lipstick choice, Annabelle Twist-Up Crayon in “Vamp,” is the exact shade her mouth would be if she bit into the throats of the people who’ve wronged her and gnawed mercilessly until their pathetic heartbeats skittered to a stop, not that she’s planning on doing that or anything.

Her hair, still not washed, has achieved a strawlike texture that some people buy expensive salt sprays to achieve, probably.

On the fifth day after her breakup, Kate’s comfy-cozy in a Hole Punch Toys T-shirt she got on a road trip to Minneapolis. Wearing a sex toys shirt and headed out the door to write about sex toys at a café, she’s reminded of her competency, her talent, and the friends she’s made along the way. It’s perhaps too much to read into a T-shirt, but hey, when one is mind-numbingly depressed, one takes what one can get.

Her cheap H&M shorts are covered in dirt, food stains, remnants of her own sexual fluids, and the aforementioned white hairs belonging to the cat of her ex. She really needs to wash them, but when getting dressed feels difficult, it’s hard to part with something so sartorially versatile and easy to throw on for even as long as it takes to do a load of laundry. Plus she keeps thinking about how you could probably clone the cat using its hair. Not that she has access to that technology at present.

She’s finally washed her hair, but it’s been tossed up into a laissez-faire topknot, because today she can’t even.

Later that night, getting ready for an ill-advised OkCupid date, she slips on a lace bralette in “Lacklustre-Libido Lilac” and a Henley tank top in “Terrified-to-Try-Again Teal.” Her black velvet Forever 21 skater skirt creates the illusion of put-together elegance to impress her date, while really just existing to be comforting and comfortable. Joke’s on him.

Hours later, in a near-stranger’s downtown apartment, her Animal Hair internal clitoris necklace keeps falling into her mouth while she’s trying to give a blowjob to an unfamiliar dick. She notices herself falling back on the muscle memory of techniques her ex liked, purposely choking herself on this cock in a masochistic manner that is probably lost on this vanilla boy. It almost makes her cry, and then she almost cries again later when her one-night stand sees her necklace and asks, “Is that the Special K logo?” Her ex would have recognized it. And then he would’ve demonstrated his knowledge on her actual real-life clitoris. Ah, to date a proper sex nerd again.

On the sixth day after her breakup, Kate is so over it (over existence in general, you understand; definitely not over the breakup) so she pulls a hole-ridden, stretched-out, pilling Forever 21 V-neck tee on over her braless boobs. Free the Nipple, Free Women From the Shackles of Convention, Free the Chronically Sad Girl From this Mortal Coil, and so on.

Her berry lipstick creates the illusion of a confident, self-assured woman who has her shit together. Haha. Hahahahaha.

Her black faux-leather flats are practically worn through on the bottom, owing to the many long walks she’s taken recently, when it felt like she would fall into the earth and disappear if she ceased to constantly move.

Her wrists and throat are sparingly spattered with the Tom of Finland fragrance from Etat Libre d’Orange. On her skin, it registers as gentle, feminine, graceful and loving: all qualities she can’t quite remember, and hopes to rediscover in herself.

Today’s Tarina Tarantino heart necklace bears the image of Alice, as in Adventures in Wonderland – a figure with whom Kate strongly identifies, particularly now, as she’s a little girl traveling through an alien terrain without a Daddy to make sure she’s okay. She aspires to reach Alice’s level of confidence in that final courtroom scene someday.

One week after her breakup, Kate steps into a pink and turquoise Leg Avenue lingerie romper, ordered off Amazon back when she was happy. Her then-boyfriend would’ve liked it; it’s emblematic of the little-girl persona she often assumed around him, her Daddy. Maybe that’s the only reason he ever loved her. Maybe it’s the reason he left.

Her black ASOS skater skirt covers the lower half of the romper; the thought of going full-on little girl felt aggressively upsetting, so soon after being jostled from that role. Tonight her aesthetic is more akin to that of a grown woman who will someday tiptoe back into cathartic regression – when she once again has a partner she trusts to take her on that journey. Singlehood requires a fierce independence she feels she can’t cultivate when she’s little. Later tonight she’ll curl up with a carton of ice cream and a comedy podcast and allow herself to be gleefully small, but not where anyone can see her.

In her hot pink Kate Spade satchel, she’s got some business cards to pass out at the sex-themed variety show in which she’ll be a resident sexpert tonight. During the on-stage interview about vibrators and dildos, she doesn’t mention her breakup once. It’s the first time in a week that this recent heartbreak hasn’t felt like the central fact of her existence. Afterward, she even tipsily quasi-flirts with a cute co-performer. It’s not much, but it’s something.

Around her neck, she wears that Tarina Tarantino amulet again. It jangles and glitters when she gesticulates, casting candy-pink rainbows. Sitting on her chest all week, it’s come to feel like a part of her. Like a shield for her heart. It won’t guard her from future heartache – nothing can, not even staying inside her apartment, silent and uninvolved. But for now, she can pretend that she’s safe.

9 Invaluable Tools I Use As a Writer

I am so nosy about other writers’ tools and processes. It’s a glimpse into genius, a map toward emulating the creative weirdos I admire most. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking, “If I just buy the perfect pen/notebook/writing software, I’ll suddenly be brilliant!” but behind-the-scenes rundowns on other writers’ tools also remind me that we all start with the same basic supplies: something to write with, something to write on, and something to say. If they got to where they are with just those three things, I can get to where I want to be, too.

In that spirit: here are the 9 tools I use most often as a writer. I’d love to hear about your faves in the comments!

Large hardcover ruled Moleskine notebooks. These are my favorite for daily journaling, as I’ve told you before. On their creamy pages, I document my days, process my feelings, make gratitude lists, brainstorm dreams and goals, and connect the dots of my various patterns and neuroses. I would not be able to function as a person without journaling, let alone function as a writer. But my journals are useful for more than just word-vomiting my feelings: I also refer back to them when writing about personal experiences. They’re a time capsule of feelings that felt intense at the time but may have faded into forgetfulness in the intervening weeks/months/years. Plus they’re real fucking pretty.

Pilot Precise V5 pens. I’ve been using these for god knows how long. They are just perfect. I love them. They play well with Moleskine paper – neither leaking through nor requiring excessively long to dry – and they feel luxurious and fancy but aren’t overly expensive. Please bury me with a few of these pens strewn throughout my casket. I’ll probably still need ’em in the afterlife.

Post-it notes. I use these for to-do lists. As much as I’d like to have the zen focus to mentally set myself goals at the beginning of the day and then just get ’em done, I am much more motivated by physical reminders of what I’m trying to achieve. So at the start of a big work day, I usually write my most important tasks on a post-it and stick it to my computer so it’s always staring me in the face. And then I get to feel like the goodest good girl as I check things off the list. Score!

My iPhone’s Notes app. Simple, yes, but always useful. This is where I keep the blog post ideas that come to me while I’m away from my computer. I also take notes in there when I’m testing sex toys I’ll be reviewing, because it’s not always ideal to have to type notes on a laptop while jerking off. (I like my Macbook too much to get lube all over it! …most of the time, anyway.)

My Macbook Air. AH, SWEET MYSTERY OF LIFE, AT LAST I’VE FOUND YOU. I bought this last year after lugging around my old Macbook Pro for years. The Air is so much smaller and lighter, ideal for my purposes as a writer who does much of her work at coffee shops and other out-and-about locations. I thought it might not have enough power to do all the stuff I need to do – edit podcasts, for example, and occasionally edit videos – but so far it’s handled all I’ve thrown at it with aplomb. (Including, sometimes, the aforementioned lubey fingers.)

Evernote. I started using this note-taking and organization software in journalism school and it continues to be useful on the daily. I can keep digital “notebooks” about individual projects (blog posts, writing assignments, podcast episodes) as well as more general notebooks for other, non-work things (travel, lists of goals, gift ideas for loved ones). I find it most helpful for huge, complex assignments requiring multiple interviews and lots of research, but it really helps me organize everything I ever work on.

Google Drive. A friend turned me on to Drive years ago when I complained that I kept losing my writing progress when Word would crash unexpectedly. When you write in Drive, not only does it auto-save continuously, but you can also access all your stuff from any internet-enabled device. I keep my sex spreadsheets on Drive, as well as my income spreadsheet, any active pieces I’m writing, and any file I want to have access to on several different devices. What’s more, upgrading your Drive storage to 100 gigabytes costs just $2 a month, which is a steal. I keep everything on there!

Spotify. I am always listening to Spotify. I am listening to Spotify as I type this. ALL HAIL SPOTIFY. It’s a music streaming service but also music organization software: you can make playlists, share them with people, discover new artists that are similar to the ones you already love, and so much more. I have a playlist called “I’m a Writer” which I typically groove to while I’m writing; most of it is minimally distracting instrumental music that keeps me energetic and focused.

WordPress Editorial Calendar. THE BEST PLUGIN! I’ve been using this for about a year and it fills me with such glee. Its drag-and-drop interface allows me to see upcoming blog content at a glance, laid out in a calendar format, so I know exactly where the gaps are and can fill them in accordingly. I can also move stuff around with ease, incase I decide that no, the world actually isn’t ready yet to read those 3,000 words about an obscure kink of mine, or whatever. If I had to marry a WordPress plugin, this is the one I’d choose!

What are your favorite tools for writing? Geek out with me!

Heartsick & Miserable? Ask Yourself This One Question…

I read something recently that blew my mind, and if I may, I’d like to blow yours too.

In Lisa A. Phillips’ book Unrequited, she writes – having studied unreturned romantic obsessions, including her own, for ages in order to write the book – that it is important to ponder what an unrequited love is trying to tell you about your life.

When you are painfully obsessed with someone who doesn’t love you back, Phillips writes, you’re not really obsessed with that person – you’re obsessed with what is missing from your life, which this person has somehow come to represent in your mind.

I read this simple insight while flying back from D.C. to Toronto and actually gasped aloud on the plane, drawing stares from nearby seatmates. I couldn’t help it. It felt like Lisa A. Phillips had just shined a spotlight directly into my soul. I felt simultaneously called out and cleansed. Halle-fuckin’-lujah.

I thought back to the worst unrequited love of my life so far – an innocent-crush-turned-crushing-heartbreak centering on a person I met in 2015 and tortured myself over throughout 2016. While he’s indisputably charming, smart, funny, and lovely, so are a lot of people I meet. The question had haunted me for a while: why did I fall in love with him? What enabled him to get inside my head and absolutely break me? What made him feel so vital to my happiness on a basal, gut level?

I think it has a lot to do with when I met him, and what kind of person I was then. At that time, I had been single for nearly a year, having broken up with my long-term partner in 2014 – and I hadn’t dated anyone or had sex with anyone during that entire year. I was cripplingly insecure, uncertain, and shy. I worried constantly that no one would ever love me or want me again. That anxiety kept me from going out and socializing, which, in turn, kept me from meeting people who might want me or eventually love me. It was a self-perpetuating cycle of self-loathing.

And then along came this boy, dazzling and bright. He swept into my life with all the loud self-assuredness I’d later come to love about him. We went on two not-explicitly-romantic dates and I was immediately smitten: it had been a long time since I’d met someone this funny, confident, and effervescently charismatic. He made me laugh harder than I had in ages, with seemingly no effort. I felt glued to his words. He activated a lightness in me I didn’t know I could still feel.

On top of all that, he made me feel entirely focused upon. His attention was a laser, and when he focused it on me, I suddenly felt important and desirable – two feelings I’d lost sight of in my year of loneliness and celibacy.

As we became friends-with-benefits and then actual friends over the following year, I noticed myself falling into an unhealthy emotional cycle. It mirrored – and often triggered – the ups and downs I experience as part of my bipolar disorder. When I was around him, I felt starry-eyed, ecstatic, elated, like nothing in the world could possibly be wrong and I’d be happy forever. Nothing could touch me. But when we said goodbye – whether it was for a few days or a few months – I crashed, hard. The light he brought into my life had been extinguished, and I didn’t know how to reignite it myself. It felt like he contained all the humor and happiness I’d ever experienced, and I wouldn’t be able to get any of it back unless he was there with me.

And the trouble was, he didn’t always want to be there with me. He didn’t love me. He valued our friendship, but that’s all it was to him. I wasn’t angry at him for not loving me back, because I understood that he couldn’t help it – but I was profoundly sad, because it felt like he owned the key to my happiness and he would only lend it to me on a limited, conditional basis.

What I wish I had pondered more deeply is this: what was missing from my life? And how could I give that to myself instead of relying on him?

I think this concept was what eventually enabled my healing process to begin, though I wasn’t consciously aware of it at the time. My crush made me laugh more than anyone else I knew, so I started spending more time with funny friends, upping my comedy podcast intake, and cultivating my own sense of humor even further. My crush made me feel focused on and valued, so I sought more friends who made me feel that way, and also chose to focus on and value myself by amping up my self-care regimen. My crush made me feel sexy and desirable, so I started flirting with people more and going on more Tinder dates to generate more of those feelings (and got comfortable cutting ties with people who didn’t meet my standards in this way). The sex with my crush had been devastatingly good, so I tried to get better at asking for what I wanted with other partners so my sex life would improve overall – and I mixed up my masturbation routine to make it more fulfilling. Basically, I looked for holes my crush could no longer fill for me, and I filled them my damn self (vagina joke only partly intended).

It wasn’t until I started seeing my last boyfriend that I felt entirely divested of that old unrequited love, but I think the work I’d done on myself had laid the groundwork for me to meet such a wonderful person and accept him into my life. If I’d still been stuck on my old crush, I don’t think I would’ve been able to open myself up to someone new. It would’ve felt pointless, because how could someone new possibly be better than the person I’d been stuck on for over a year? But by divorcing that person from the joys he brought me, I became able to see that other people could make me happy, too, if I let them.

I wish I could go back in time and explain this revelation to my past self. Maybe it would save her a lot of heartache. But I think it’s more likely she wouldn’t even listen to me. That’s the nature of unrequited love: other people can spout lessons and truisms at you ad nauseum, and you won’t believe them; you have to learn these things for yourself, experientially. You’re always convinced your world is ending until it isn’t anymore.

What do you wish someone had told you about unrequited love when you were going through it?

Links & Hijinks: Soaking, Rimming, & Writing

• Here’s why people have more sex in summer.

• Interesting: sex researchers have less sex than everyone else.

Paying for porn is the feminist way to get off. Hear hear!

• “There are two things I love eating: steak, and ass.” This piece on rimjobs is a delight.

• This as-told-to on the Mormon sex act of “soaking” (“No thrusting, no grinding, no climax. Just pop it in, and hold the fuck still”) is hilarious and fascinating. “There was always squirming on both of our parts but never any real thrusts. I guess squirming is technically moving, but it’s not like her preacher was reffing the event.”

• Useful tips for freelancers who work at home. (I am feeling this struggle harrrd lately!)

• On that note: freelancing can take a toll on your mental health.

• I’m a little tired of reading about sex robots, because I just don’t think they’re going to be the futuristic epidemic everyone claims they will be. But here’s an interesting piece about RealDolls.

• You know, I rarely link to erotica in these round-ups, but this brief tale about orgasm denial made me all tingly, so there you go.

• Maria Yagoda wonders: is period sex okay for a first-time hook-up? “As punishment for not menstruating, people who don’t should occasionally have to deal with some of the inconveniences of blood, blood everywhere. For this reason, period sex can seem like a feminist act, as it defies the societal expectation of women to hide, or be ashamed of, this awful fucking thing.”

• Sugarcunt has some great advice on writing sex toy reviews.

• Here’s a beginner’s guide to keeping a journal.

“Unusual” sexual desires are more common than we previously thought. Hmm!

• Emmeline reviewed an inflatable swan phallus we tried at Woodhull and it’s the funniest sex toy review I’ve read in ages.

Dating while depressed is difficult but doable.

• Mired in writer’s block? Alex Franzen has some topic suggestions for you.

• Brandon Taylor is such a beautiful writer. “There is a way in which people talk about domestic writing or personal writing that does not set itself on fire—they call it quiet. They call it still. They call it muted. As if there were anything quiet about relationships that go awry.”

Date ideas for stoners. The OkCupid blog has gotten weird and I’m into it.

“Porny sex” is still valid sex. You’re not a “bad feminist” if you enjoy things like pussy-slapping, “degrading” D/s, and messy blowjobs.

• Gosh, I adore the way Girl on the Net writes about sex. Her Ambit dildo review is wonderful: “I don’t want him to fuck me with this in a playful way or a quick way. I want to catch him when he’s in this focused mode: when he’ll not just use it to warm me up for a fuck, but really settle into the act of fucking me with it. Laying it out on the bed like he’s a surgeon aligning his equipment, then ordering me to strip off my knickers and lie still.”

• We need to stop supporting and protecting abusive men.

• Taryn busted some myths about asexuality.

• We don’t talk about dental dams enough, and it’s emblematic of a bigger problem.

• [Content warning for ableism.] Some people have a fetish for becoming disabled and go to great lengths to fulfill that fantasy. Apparently it may even have a legitimate neurological cause. Uh, wow…

Top 10 Reasons You Didn’t Make Me Come With Your Mouth

You didn’t even try. Come on, dude. I blew you for like 20 minutes, and you gave my clit little more than a cursory graze with your hand. I’m not even convinced you’re aware women can have orgasms, ’cause surely, if you knew that, you’d’ve made at least some minimal effort to give me one. Consent is, of course, vital, but you seemed content to touch all my other bits for your own pleasure – you just made no effort to pleasure me. I’m not a Fleshlight or a sex robot. For heaven’s sake. Who raised you?! Who taught you this was okay?!

You expressed zero enthusiasm about giving head. You asked whether I wanted your mouth on me, without indicating at all that it’s something you wanted, too. You approached my vulva with a tentative slowness that made me think you weren’t so keen on the taste, the smell, or pussy in general. (I know it’s not me; my hygiene is impeccable.) Or worse yet, you told me straight-up that it’s something you do rarely and begrudgingly. Once you meandered down there, you neglected to make any noise, grab my thighs or hips, or express any excitement whatsoever. I can’t help but feel like this is a favor you’re doing for me, rather than a mutual pleasure of which we’re partaking together. If that’s the case, why are we doing this at all?

You expressed zero enthusiasm about my body overall. You’ve never complimented my curves, my shape, my bits. You’ve never called me hot or pretty or sexy or beautiful. You’ve never verbally admitted to finding me attractive in any way. Maybe you do, but the verbal admission is important to me; “words of affirmation” is my love language. You might be faceplanted in my vulva with fervor but I’m still wondering if you even think I’m cute. I need clearer signals, bro, or my anxiety will kidnap my orgasm and hold it ransom for compliments.

You ignored my instructions. No, “That’s too intense” does not mean “Double down and go harder.” Yes, I really did mean it when I said “Softer and slower, please.” No, I was not lying when I explained how sensitive my clit is. Yes, “Keep doing that” really means I want you to keep doing that. No, “A little higher” does not mean “Stay exactly where you are.” Are my thighs muffling your ears, or do you just think you know my body better than I do? I assure you, you don’t.

You ignored my nonverbal signals. Hey, I’m not sure if you’re aware, but moaning during sex is usually a sign of pleasure. So is gasping, breathing faster, grabbing at your head/shoulders/arms/hands, grinding into your face, and spreading my legs wider to give you better access. Several times while going down on me, you found a perfect spot, rhythm, or pressure, and I reacted accordingly – but you missed the memo and moved on to something else. There is some value to the “channel-surfing” technique, but once you find a channel I like, I’d love if you could stay on that channel. (And please, for the love of god, if I say “Ow” and pull away, don’t fucking do that thing again.)

You didn’t stay down there for long enough. Sorry, pal – for me, cunnilingus is not a “get in, get ‘er done, and get out” type of activity. You gotta be there for the long haul. It might take ten minutes, twenty, thirty – but I can assure you it won’t happen at all if I feel like the timer’s on. I don’t necessarily need to take a long time; I just need to know that I can. I need to know you won’t be glancing at the clock, rolling your eyes, and sighing dully into my labia.

You have no sense of rhythm or consistency. Okay, I get it; tongue muscles are easily fatigued – but you can exercise them to make ’em stronger over time. Maybe you just have no rhythm; you can practice that, too. The difference between oral sex that feels good but doesn’t get me off and oral sex that feels good and gets me off is consistency. That’s the whole secret. Find a motion and location that seems to be working, and keep at it. Seriously. I’ll tell you if and when I want you to stop.

You attacked my clit too directly. Eight thousand nerve endings, buddy. The clit is surrounded by two sets of labia and a clitoral hood; there’s no reason for you to glom onto my exposed clit directly unless I’ve told you I like that, which I absolutely do not. Drift around the periphery. Lick my clit like you’re coyly flirting with it, not like you’re engaging it in combat. There’s no faster way to desensitize me than to overload my nerve endings with direct sensation; it’s often painful, always uncomfortable, and never results in an orgasm for me.

You didn’t stick your face right in there. I’m sorry to be the one to break it to you, but tongue-flicking from a distance, like they do in porn, is not an effective approach for me. Not only does it feel physically bad, but it makes you seem hesitant to have my clit in your mouth. What are you so scared of? Lower your lips down; close them around the shaft of my clit. Let me feel the warmth and wetness of you on me. Your tongue feels lovely but you have a whole mouth’s worth of other sensations you could give me alongside all that tongue. Besides, when I come in your mouth, I want to feel like I am indeed coming in your mouth.

You put too much pressure on me to get off. Orgasms are fantastic, but they’re by no means a foolproof measure of sexual enjoyment overall. And frankly, the more you tell me you’re definitely gonna make me come, the less certain I am that you’re right. Just tell me to relax and enjoy what you’re doing to me; orgasms do not often result from pressure. Unless we’re talking about the pressure of your lips and tongue on my clit.