Links & Hijinks: Flirting, Crying, and David S. Pumpkins

• Ask Polly has some advice on what to do if you want to date men but also you hate men. “Dating, like all arbitrary, tedious, pointless social exercises, requires a higher level of Zen. Surrender to the excruciating nothingness of the task at hand, and try to enjoy it. Yes, most men are shit. But you are not taking an exhaustive survey of most men. You are looking for one good, kind, exceptional man. They exist.”

• These tools for recovering from sexual trauma are neat as hell!

• Not exactly relevant to my blog, but oh well: I enjoyed reading this oral history of the David S. Pumpkins SNL sketch. It made me think about how we’re drawn to silly, meaningless entertainment in times of sociopolitical turmoil, and also about how fucking great Tom Hanks is.

• You can use the teachings of Aristotle to get someone to go on a date with you. Hmm!

• Luna told the story of moving her massive sex toy collection when she moved houses. “The thought of a box of fantasy toys tipping over and disgorging its colorful contents in the back of my dad’s SUV is the stuff of nightmares.”

• Girl on the Net wrote about crying after sex and it was so beautiful and relatable that I cried, too.

• What does it mean to be a “kink lifestyler” and how do you know if you are one?

• Here are a bunch of stories about dicks getting stuck in things.

• What can you do when your social media addiction is curbing your creativity? This article is chicken soup for the creative soul, truly. “Sometimes the most skilled, unique, emotional writers are the ones who struggle with feelings of inadequacy the most,” Heather writes. “Refuse to imagine what will impress other people. Seduce them into loving exactly what you have to give instead. Savor your craft and enjoy yourself.”

• Here’s how to prepare your bed for sexy guests.

• Sammi’s Satisfyer review includes a cool sex toy hack that will be of particular interest to transmasculine folks. Gotta love the ingenuity of sex nerds!

• I shrieked with laughter watching this video of Jeff Goldblum reacting to tattoos of himself.

• Would hiring a sex worker help predatory men (e.g. Weinstein, Spacey, CK) work through their fantasies? Experts weighed in. And then Alana Massey weighed in. Lots to think about here.

• Miles Klee makes a case for period sex. I think I’ve reached a point where I can no longer date folks who are squeamish about the crimson wave…

• I’ve been fascinated by fear play lately so I loved Taylor’s post about why they love it.

• I loved reading about this vibrator that tracks your orgasm statistics. Sex nerdiness, activate! (Also, why don’t I own this toy?!)

• Where does the slang term “fap” come from?

• If you’re a dude who flirts with women, or would like to flirt with women, read this guide, please. It’s very good.

Links & Hijinks: Murder & the Mona Lisa

• Sarah says pleasure is a form of political resistance. “Queer intimacy is revolutionary. Joyfully reveling in ourselves, each other, and our pleasure is revolutionary,” she writes. “For marginalized people, our pleasure shouts, ‘I see your violence, but you do not get to take THIS from me. My pleasure is mine, and mine alone.'”

• Carly has some great thoughts on money and abundance.

• Men discuss which women’s beauty products they use and love.

• Here’s how sexual satisfaction changes over the course of long-term relationships – and here’s how to keep passion alive.

• My friend Taylor is a delightfully brash flirt.

• Men, here’s how to listen when someone discloses their sexual assault to you. Quit #NotAllMen-ing all over important sexual assault discourse, and start actually being part of the solution.

• Interesting, scary, and sad: the shower murder scene in Psycho kickstarted a long-standing trend of sexual violence in horror movies.

• Who knew so much thought and work went into crafting Mona Lisa’s perfect smile?

First times often suck and that’s okay. (This post also contains a li’l checklist of sexual compatibility + chemistry signs to look out for during a first hookup with a new partner, which I found super interesting and useful!)

• “These days, a good handjob is rare but delightful,” reports MEL. I love giving HJs on intact cocks, but still haven’t quite figured out how to do as good a job on circumcised ones…

• Bex wrote about their spanking birthday party, which was a damn good time.

• Have we reached peak pegging culture?

• This one hit close to home for me: how do I stop obsessing about finding love?

• Tina Horn wrote a beautiful essay on queer culture, bravery, and glitter.

• There’s a new Hollywood film about polyamorous people and it might be poly’s watershed moment.

• Lunabelle reviewed the Teddy Love vibrator (which I’ve previously reviewed) and naturally, it’s hilarious. “Normally I’m at least a little excited to try a new sex toy, but NOPE,” she writes. “Slurpy McBuzzyface and I regarded each other in awkward silence…” This piece is worth reading if just for the utter ordeal Luna endured trying to take her Teddy Love through airport security!

• Merritt wrote about fake boobs and it certainly gave me a lot of boob for thought! Er, I mean…

• A male sex worker answered some questions about his line of work (and made me want to hire a male sex worker).

• Not having as much sex with your partner as you used to? Emily Nagoski has some evidence-based suggestions.

• Some interesting writing about how trans folks’ sexual desires change when they transition.

• Bex has some tips for taking better nudes. “Having dinner with my best friend often means reporting on the selfie lighting in the restaurant bathroom when we get back,” they mention at one point. Can confirm: last time Bex was in town, we got ridiculous BBQ at a place near my apartment, and I took some lovely nudes in the bathroom on Bex’s recommendation.

• A lot of men are bad at fingering and could stand to learn some new tricks.

• Some research on where fetishes come from – a question that has haunted me the entire time I’ve been a sex nerd.

• The great Tina Horn wonders: what do we expect from sex workers on social media?

• Taylor has some advice on flying with kink toys.

• Suz is a major role model of mine when it comes to casual sex and confidence in general. Here’s her advice on how to vet a potential hookup for sexual compatibility before you have terrible, lacklustre sex.

Links & Hijinks: Nudes, Hooters, & Wet Dreams

• The ever-wonderful Alana Massey wrote an etiquette guide to receiving nudes and it should be required reading for sexters the world over.

• Melissa Broder wonders: why are we still having sex? “Many times, following a mediocre sexual experience with a partner, I’ve thought, Why didn’t I just stay home, masturbate, and eat snacks?

• Some accomplished journalists reveal the best reporting advice they ever received.

• OkCupid banned a white supremacist. Nice.

• Suzannah Weiss tried the new Satisfyer and isn’t sure she wants the plentiful, intense orgasms it gives her.

• Taylor has some suggestions for impact play implements you can get at the dollar store. (I love pervertibles! One of my all-time fave impact toys is a thick wooden cutting board I bought at a fancy culinary shop in Rome.)

• Important reminder: safer sex is more than just condoms!

• On Lady Gaga, fibromyalgia, and the stigma of invisible pain.

• Speaking of pain: BDSM can help with it, sometimes.

• I’ve never been to Hooters but this article makes me want to go.

• The hilarious Merritt K wrote about smelly dicks and why you should wash your junk. Fair warning: this article is disgusting, but highly amusing.

• Helena Fitzgerald on the allure of leather jackets. Yes, yes, yes.

• Suz has some great advice for how to feel less shook up when you get stood up.

• On the gender politics of sex robots.

• Why would someone want to get their dick rated?

• If you’re part of a couple seeking a “unicorn” for a threesome, read this post of Suz’s about how to message a potential third.

• Fascinating: you can take a BDSM vacation!

• The beautiful, wonderful Caitlin K. Roberts made a video about her experiences with mindful masturbation. (She’s offering masturbation coaching now, too!)

• Here’s a succinct write-up on why wet dreams happen, incase you’ve ever wondered about that.

• Fuck ScreamingO. They did a real bad thing. (More info + posts in this Twitter thread, if you’re interested.)

• Here’s a history of the cock ring!

• The dick, the myth, the legend: here’s some writeups on famous dicks and what became of them.

A lesbian sex party for straight women?! Yep, totally a thing.

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…

Links & Hijinks: Leather, Smoke, & Buttholes

• When it comes to sex, you’re doing great.

• “Uptalk” – the classically millennial practice of ending sentences in a tone that suggests you’re asking a question – may actually have a conversational purpose.

• A couple big pieces about Pornhub user data: “Pornhub is the Kinsey Report of Our Time” (what a bold and fascinating claim!) and “What We Learned About Sexual Desire From 10 Years of Pornhub User Data.” God, I love this shit. #SexNerdLyfe

• More sex science: a Canadian researcher is trying to build a better female orgasm by studying what turns women on.

• Advice for a woman whose 49-year-old boyfriend has never performed oral sex before, but wants to.

Media images of sex and relationships shape the way we understand these things, and the way we pursue them. So we should pick our media influences carefully, if we can.

• The “French girl” as a style icon is a notion with a long and interesting history.

• “Who cares what straight people think?” asks the delightful Brandon Taylor about writing queer narratives.

• Clementine Morrigan explains how to accept emotional labor ethically. Important stuff!

• Could adding kink to your morning routine make it more enjoyable?

• Here’s how Tinder helps people come to terms with their bisexuality.

• Suz has some excellent advice on going to a sex club for the first time.

• Of potential interest to leather kinksters: the ladies of The Dry Down wrote about their favorite leather fragrances. (I am enamored with Leatherstock, ideally worn in combination with something girly like Demeter Raspberry or Tobacco Vanille.)

• Gotta love a tender, romantic story that includes repeated usage of the phrase “cum dump.”

• My friend Caitlin unpacked their smoking fetish. I find it so interesting that they have a negative physical reaction to smoking (as do I, as an asthmatic) but fetishize it nonetheless.

• When you write about sex for a living, you inevitably get flooded with messages from dudes who take your career choice as a personal invitation to be creepy. Sex columnist Maria Yagoda wrote about some of the “bizarre, horny messages” she’s received over the years.

• Is missionary secretly the kinkiest sex position?

• On learning to enjoy receiving cunnilingus after finding it stressful and embarrassing for years.

• Here’s a basic primer on consent in BDSM.

• Is Instagram the new “little black book”?

A new study found that drinks dates have better outcomes than dinner dates do, in terms of leading to a second date. Sam Dilling explains why drinks have replaced dinner as the go-to first-date activity.

• Here’s a video about why it’s probably silly to worry that you’re “bad in bed.”

• I loved this piece about women who write about the men they date/fuck/desire, and the nuances and ethics of doing that.

• A cultural history of autofellatio. My favorite thing about this article is the 14th-century statue of the Archbishop of Cologne blowing himself. Who the fuck authorized that?! And how can I be their friend?!

• Are people always interrupting you? (Spoiler alert: this is far likelier to happen, statistically, if you are a woman talking to a man.) Here are some tips for dealing with chronic interrupters.

Writing advice that is also good sex advice. I howled with laughter over this one.

• Eight women helped John McDermott craft the perfect Tinder profile. I agree with lots of the advice therein. “Every time a dude has group photos, he’s always the least hot guy in the group. So I’d steer clear, honestly.” “Take a shower and change your sheets, but also mentally prepare for going home alone. Either way, you’ll have clean sheets!” “Do your best to come up with a conversation starter that will, y’know, actually start a conversation.”

• Holly tried a new kinky dating app and it was terrible. (Where are all the good kinksters hiding?!)

• Speaking of good kinksters… Here are 8 ways to tell if your new dominant partner is consent-conscious and respects boundaries.

• Here’s what a 12-year-old boy genetically predisposed to friendliness can teach you about making good small talk.

• This article about non-monogamy made me burst into tears in public when I read it, soooo… yeah. Feelz!

Why aren’t female orgasms depicted in movies often enough or diversely enough? (That cunnilingus scene in Blue Valentine sure is fantastic, though…)

• Epiphora reveals the secret truth about sex toy reviewing. This post is so real!!

• I love the way internet culture shifts our use of language. Here’s a piece on the tilde as a sarcasm indicator. ‘Cause linguistics are ~ever-evolving~!

• On insecurities, attraction, and buttholes. “If we have been wildly turned on by you, then we have been wildly turned on by your butthole. If we have loved you, then we have loved your butthole. If we have married you, then by God, we have married your butthole.” (Apparently MEL faced a lot of backlash for this piece and I’m not sure why; I think it’s lovely!)

• A Glamour reporter interviewed a doctor, an astrophysicist, and NASA (!) about what it’s like to have sex in space. Amazing.

• “Psychological halloweenism” – the practice of imagining you’re someone else – can make you more creative.

• Two data-based revelations from the OkCupid blog: weed helps you get off and kink is becoming more popular.