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.

Links & Hijinks: Frumps, Friendship, & Fidget Spinner Porn

• There’s nothing wrong with being frumpy! I feel like I am constantly unlearning the idea that, as a woman, I have to be sexually desirable at all times or I am valueless.

• And on that note: there is nothing wrong with being ugly, like Medusa. Sometimes ugliness can even be a superpower.

• Some people really, really like giving massages. “I think part of the reason why is that you’re doing stuff, but it’s not sexual except for the fact that you have your hands inside someone else’s shirt and they’re making pleasure sounds.” Oooof. This article also contains the phrase “intense butt massage,” which you gotta love.

• On internet-connected sex toys, cybersecurity, and the future of teledildonics.

• It’s okay if you don’t always feel like reciprocating oral sex. Related: I love Tristan Taormino’s concept of distinguishing between sexual equality and sexual symmetry. You don’t have to receive exactly the same sexual favors you give to your partner; both of you just have to get roughly equal amounts of what you want.

• I’ve never been able to bring myself to watch “2 Girls, 1 Cup” but I found this history of that video interesting nonetheless. It’s certainly an artifact of the internet age!

• Why do I love the shrug emoticon so much?! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

• Bex gives good sexting advice. “A thumbs-up emoji is not an appropriate response to my ass. Seriously. I have an exceptional ass.”

• Sarah wrote a beginner’s guide to sexting, and it’s full of A+ tips.

• “These feelings will be over soon” is a great anti-anxiety mantra. (Or, as I’ve seen it alternatively phrased before: “No moment is unendurable.“)

• The one-night stand is so passé; we are in the era of the several-night stand. These have sometimes been exactly the type of “relationship” I needed, at times when I wasn’t willing or able to commit to anyone and neither were my paramours – but gosh, it’s frustrating when you keep ending up in casual arrangements while desperately craving something more.

• Helena Fitzgerald, one of the most beautiful writers I’ve ever encountered, explains why socializing on the internet isn’t distancing us from each other but actually making intimacy easier to achieve.

• What if you like someone, but you’re pretty sure you only want to be friends?

• I’d rather make good art than answer emails in a timely manner. Sorry-not-sorry.

• Useful to me as a person whose best friend lives hundreds of miles away: how to keep a long-distance friendship alive. “Treat it like a long-distance romance. (Because, in a way, it is.)”

• Sooo, fidget spinner porn is a thing now. Good god, what a world we live in.

Be your best self with the people you love, because “relationships are stronger and more satisfying when they make you feel like the best, most aspirational version of who you can be.”

• More people are exploring consensual non-monogamy, and more research is finding it has many benefits (“lower jealousy, higher trust, and higher sexual satisfaction,” to list a few). But stigma still exists, and we have a long way to go before these relationships will be considered normal, valid options anyone can choose.

• Here’s a pep talk for picky daters. Sometimes you just gotta round that 0.67 up to “the one,” as Dan Savage would say.

Queers can totally have long nails. Sometimes even in queer porn!

• Here’s several couples explaining why they opened up their relationship. I love so many quotes in this piece! Like: “We never place limits on emotions other than love, like we don’t say you can only be sad or happy about this one thing, but with monogamy it’s like only one person is allowed to feel your love. And love is such a crazy emotion, so why not experience it with a bunch of people?” And: “I no longer have the desire to control my partner. Control is just an illusion anyway.”

Links & Hijinks: Boners, Biting, & Rolled-Up Sleeves

• Hey. You can find meaning without monogamy. “People will accept or reject you for reasons that have nothing to do with you at all,” writes Alana Hope Levinson. “I know that sounds depressing, but it can also be liberating.”

• It’s okay if you don’t like making out! You just have to find partners who feel similarly, or are willing to compromise on this issue.

• This post is from 2013 but I only just discovered it: Sinclair Sexsmith shared tons of helpful info about biting during sex.

• Here’s the only article about Rachel Dolezal worth reading.

• My friend Caitlin wrote about her experiences with mindful masturbation and made me want to do some too!

Why do some people fake their orgasms?

• “A woman’s orgasm shouldn’t be the goal of sex,” argues Jessica Schreindl, because defining orgasm as a goal makes sex into a high-pressure, patriarchal performance for everyone involved. I agree that orgasm shouldn’t be demanded or pushed for, if the person or people involved don’t want to have one – but for me personally, orgasm is an important part of sex and I very much appreciate partners who’ll give me one when I want one!

• This article about piss play is beautifully written. I adore Katie Sly’s work!

• “I want you to consider the possibility that the more chill you seem to guys, the less likely you are to find a guy who loves you for exactly who you are right now,” suggests Heather Havrilesky in an Ask Polly column that tugged at my utterly un-chill heartstrings.

• You can help relieve a partner’s PMS symptoms by talking to them and being supportive.

• Here’s the always-charming John McDermott talking about why dating-related slang like “ghosting” and “cushioning” normalizes bad behavior. I’m not sure how I feel about his argument – I think it’s useful to name behaviors like this so we can identify them, call people out on them, and explain why they’re unacceptable – but it’s nonetheless an interesting thought experiment in how language shapes our actions.

• Katie Tandy wrote a stunning piece about using kink to heal from trauma and it made me cry a whole bunch.

• The ever-clever Alana Massey on One Direction, non-toxic masculinity, and why teen girls love boy bands as deeply as they do. “When you’re part of a fandom, you’re never really alone if you don’t want to be,” she writes, reminding me of so so so many life-affirming experiences I have had in the throes of various obsessions with bands, movies, TV shows, musicals, books, and actors.

Should boners be frowned on at nudist colonies?

• Yo, Planned Parenthood isn’t just for women. I am tired of the anti-feminist rhetoric which says any effort that only benefits women isn’t worth undertaking (women are people! women are valuable! women are a huge percentage of the population!) but it is nonetheless worth noting that Planned Parenthood helps a broad range of people.

• There are still people using Craigslist to find sexual partners, apparently.

Forearms are hot and therefore rolled-up sleeves are hot. (I have been saying this for years!)

• My friend Tynan wrote about how sex doesn’t have to be a priority in your relationship, so long as your priorities line up with your partner’s.

• Fuck “stealthing.” WHY ARE (some) MEN LIKE THIS??

Science misunderstands female desire and this contributes to our cultural idea that women are less libidinous than men. The truth is much more complicated! (In summation: “Women like having sex. They don’t like being socially punished for it.”)

• Suzannah Weiss went to a nudist resort and it helped her learn better boundary-setting skills. Amaze!

• Consensual non-monogamy has its own unique benefits that you can’t get to the same degree from monogamous relationships. Interesting!

• Here’s why some straight men have sex with other straight men.

• Alana Massey wrote about consumerism as a coping mechanism in the era of Trump. Yikes.

• “I’m sitting covered in cum on Christmas Eve in my mom’s basement with a wire hanging out of my ass; I’m a pervert.” Gotta love a good story of masturbation gone awry.

• I love writing that combines sex, gender, and fashion! Here’s a piece on the iconic imagery of a woman wearing a man’s dress shirt after sex.

• Here’s a primer on tentacle porn, incase you were wondering.

The history of artificial insemination is a long and storied one.

• Why do men like to have sex with the lights on? Gosh, I have such a crush on John McDermott: “I’ve done it in all grades of lighting… Blazing morning sun, a pitch-black cave, beneath the soft glow of a streetlamp…” (Incidentally, one time I was making out pre-sex with a Tinder hookup while my bedroom’s overhead light was on, and he said, “Is there a lamp you could turn on instead? It feels like a hospital in here.” Thanks, pal.)

Can a robot be a pickup artist?

• Gala wrote about why her divorce was a blessing. I’ve never been married but this reminded me lots of the final ~4 months of my last serious relationship: the crushing certainty that I needed to end things, but the absolute terror every time I contemplated doing so. In retrospect, I wish I’d bucked up and done it earlier!

• Let’s replace the dick pic with the dick code. (There’s also a vulva code. Here’s mine.)

Links & Hijinks: Tinder Troubles & Fisting Femmes

• I love this comic about how toxic masculinity fucks up your sex life. “Sex is not something you do to somebody, it’s something you do with somebody.” Amen!

• This article is about femme fisting covens and you don’t need any other reason why you should run-don’t-walk to read it.

• Apparently T-rexes may have engaged in foreplay. This article says that the T-rex was therefore “a sensitive lover,” but I don’t think prioritizing foreplay is necessarily something you do only for your partner’s sake: it makes sex better for you, too!

• After the above article came out, Tracy Moore wrote about how to fuck like a T-rex. Amazing.

• This article about bionic penises is fascinating. C. Brian Smith is one of my favorite sex journalists, and he shows why here: he went above and beyond reporting on the scientific/mechanical story of penis reconstruction and found, in addition, some conflict between his two main subjects (apparently they hate each other). What a story!

• Here’s an interesting article on why rapists rape, and how our cultural ideas about rapists’ motivations have shifted over time.

• Consistently good sex with a partner takes consistent work, practice, and conflict resolution, according to a new study. So next time you have bad sex with a new partner, don’t think of it as proof you’re not meant to be with them – maybe view it as an opportunity for growth and improvement instead!

• I found it cathartic to read women’s responses to straight-dude Tinder clichés. God, why are most straight men on dating apps so dreadfully boring?!

Is Tinder the new meet-cute?

• And while we’re talking about Tinder… Here’s why people are getting bored of it and what might come next.

• Okay, one more Tinder thing… I loved this essay about dating-app fatigue, particularly this revelation: “Just knowing that the apps exist, even if you don’t use them, creates the sense that there’s an ocean of easily-accessible singles that you can dip a ladle into whenever you want… the apps’ actual function is less important than what they signify as a totem: A pocket full of maybe that you can carry around to ward off despair.” YUUUP.

• A very sweet and smart reader of mine wrote this response to my post about the orgasm gap. It explores these issues from a (cis-het) male perspective: the frustration of not being able to get a female partner off, and some ways to center female pleasure without being overly pressure-y or goal-oriented. I wish more men had this attitude!

• The great Alana Massey wrote about how the internet never forgets anything. Here she is, mirroring my own childhood back at me: “A born adventurer and a blossoming pervert, I regularly pretended that I was a hot and bothered 19-year-old, and lured men away from group chat rooms to private chats where my digital captive and I would proceed to have cyber sex…”

• On porn sites and encryption. I’m not as savvy as I would like to be about this kind of stuff, so this article was illuminating for me.

• Many people have written about why you should watch porn with your partner; here’s the case for why you shouldn’t. This made me think long and hard (har har) about my own porn preferences and how a partner might interpret them.

• I know why men announce when they’re about to come, but this article on it was an amusing read nonetheless. “So we agree this is a very useful behavior in men and women, gay and straight. Cumming must be announced, and should be announced. Declared, even.”

• Two of my current favorite writers, Helena Fitzgerald and Alana Hope Levinson, both wrote about the “boyfriend shirt” and why we love/want/crave ’em. (I am guilty of this. And admittedly not just with boyfriends.)

Catcalling and sexual harassment are normalized in our culture and nobody knows how to “properly” react to them. Ugh. Fuck the patriarchy!

• Nicole Cliffe wrote fanfiction about what life would be like if Benedict Cumberbatch was her lover, and it’s divinely funny. “I had decided to play Irene Adler, of course.” “Such a brave choice, considering you are not particularly attractive, and have never acted nor shown any aptitude for it.”

• Ever wonder how the concept of a fetish came into being? Here’s a psychological history of the fetish. Particularly interesting to me: sexually progressive physician Havelock Ellis was apparently an impotent virgin until the age of 60, when he saw a woman peeing and realized he had urolagnia (a urine fetish). Brains are so cool!

What should you do with a condom after sex? “You can also tie the condom off before tossing it to work on your career as a balloon animal artist,” Tracy Moore reports. (God, I love her.)

• The science is in: what makes a relationship last is good talkin’ and good fuckin’. This does not surprise me, but it sure is affirming!

• Timely: last month I got fucked with a penis extender and this month there’s an article on MEL about them. I, for one, always celebrate there being more options in the “toys for penises” category. I can also vouch for the fact that you don’t have to be insecure or have a small penis to derive some enjoyment from using these; the partner of mine who wanted to try an extender with me is quite well-endowed as is, and just wanted to explore a fantasy and try something new. Yay, sexual freedom!