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!

Links & Hijinks: Sex Robots, Moneyshots, & Bart Simpson

a chair, a table, and a latte

Me: “Why did I start doing link round-up posts again?! I don’t even read that much!”

Also me: *reads a ZILLION articles, wants to share and talk about ALL OF THEM*

The Establishment posts so much good stuff – although I will say, I am extremely biased, because they’ve published my writing on multiple occasions! I just discovered this old piece on there called Online Dating in 7 Vignettes which gave me so much poignant food for thought. It’s one of the more thoroughly philosophical pieces I’ve ever read about dating.

• Soon, sex robots will have personalities. Hilariously, one of the 12 personality traits you can choose from is “sexual,” which makes me wonder about the kind of person who would buy a sex robot and not want her to be sexual. The always-whipsmart Tracy Moore writes: “I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure ‘sexual’ counted as a personality type in a woman, so I asked the man standing nearest to me in the MEL offices if men think it is, and he said ‘Sexual?’ and thought about it for a second. ‘Yeah,’ he said. ‘Horny.'”

• Social psychology is fascinating. Here are some science-tested tips on making friends faster. The “misattribution of arousal” is one of my favorite social-psych phenomena; one day I’ll write a post about it…

Don’t say “but” when you apologize to someone. It undermines the sincerity of what you’re trying to say. Cari Romm reports, “According to one 2014 study on the subject, a well-executed apology requires the offender to make it clear that they understand what they did wrong, take full responsibility, offer a plan to fix things, and promise to improve in the future.” So simple and yet sometimes so difficult!

• Some sex-magic practitioners weighed in on how to cast spells with your orgasms. (Years ago, I wrote a piece about this for the Numinous, if you’re interested. It is some truly crunchy/hippie/witchy stuff; you have been warned!)

• An old friend of mine started a sex blog recently and she’s been writing some fabulous, smart pieces. Her and her boyfriend tried a bunch of wacky sex positions; the ensuing post makes me want to work on my sexual acrobatics!

• The evolution of porn tropes is so interesting to me. Here’s an oral history of the moneyshot. Personally, I’m not really a fan; it turns me on most in porn when a dude’s orgasm happens inside his partner’s mouth or other various orifices, not on their face. The palette of human sexual desire is so wide and diverse!

• Ever wondered why “shrinkage” happens?

• Here’s a piece on people whose kink is giving and/or getting tattoos. I thought about this a lot while getting my kinky thigh tattoos last year. I don’t think I could ever get a tattoo that was mentally tied to a specific partner; I’ve never liked anyone enough to want to be with them for-literally-ever! But maybe someday I will…

• S. Bear Bergman has been one of my favorite writers for many years, and after the 2016 U.S. election, he wrote an advice column answering the question, “What do we do now?” He touches on political action, self-care, and countering social isolation in tough times, and he calls Trump “Pumpkin Spice Mussolini.” It’s a much-needed half-laughing pep talk for this weird and worrisome era we’re in.

• The ever-articulate Andrew Gurza wrote about his recent experiences with disability and masturbation. I admire Drew’s candidness and thoughtfulness so much!

• This article is old but I only just discovered it: a Playboy reporter interviewed the founder of the Orgasmic Meditation movement about how she gives blowjobs for her own pleasure. I am always wary of narratives which frame blowjobs as an endeavor of empowered women (including when I myself write that kind of narrative!) because they feel dangerously close to patriarchal tropes repackaged as female empowerment. But if Joanna Van Vleck genuinely gets direct pleasure from giving head (a feeling I know well), I say, more power to her.

• Here’s two of my favorite women writers in conversation: Tina Horn interviewed Alana Massey about the latter’s new book, as well as sex work, internalized misogyny, and gold glitter.

• C. Brian Smith – one of my fave writers over at MEL – hired a masturbation coach for an afternoon and wrote about his experience.

• More excellent pieces from MEL this month: why “performing partnership” on social media complicates relationships, the potential queerness of Bart Simpson, how men feel about hookup culture, saving exes’ nudes after a break-up, and saving exes’ Clone-a-Willy dicks after a break-up.

• Queer tarot wiz Carly wrote a column about how to date/flirt/socialize if you’re shy. So much useful and affirming stuff in here!

What did you love reading on the internet this month?

12 Days of Girly Juice 2016: 5 Sex-Savvy Superheroes

One of the reasons I love the sex-positive community so much is that it’s chock full of excellent mentors and role models. At 24, I am but a baby in the grand scheme of things, and there are so many people who know more than me, and have more experience than me, and have learned things the hard way so that people like me can learn them the easy way. I find that reliably comforting.

Here are five people who’ve particularly influenced my sexual evolution this year, all for the better…

14474500_776431015829192_2600787072084082688_nTina Horn. It’s surprising Tina wasn’t on my list last year, actually; she’s been one of my favorite voices in the sex-positive sphere for a long time. But this year she did so much excellent work and introduced me to so many useful new ideas and fascinating new people. In fact, two of the other folks on this list, I discovered primarily because they guested on Tina’s podcast!

Tina’s book Sexting helped me get better at that titular act, while giving me a more nuanced understanding of the theory and ethics behind it. Her writing on sexual morality, porn, and sex work is always captivating and well-crafted. And her podcast often introduces me to kinks I’ve never heard of or haven’t thought about very deeply before – like latex, fire, bootblacking, and puppy play – in discussions that are as nuanced and nerdy as the kinks themselves. Tina is certainly one of the cleverest brains in my community and I always look forward to seeing what she’ll come up with next!

cl0mlyrvyaaciocJillian Keenan. I first heard of Jillian on the spanking episode of Why Are People Into That? and was immediately taken with her: the frank way she discusses her lifelong fetish, how nerdy she gets about kink, and her brave stance that spanking your kids is sexual assault. As someone who has a spanking kink and was also nonconsensually spanked a lot as a kid, her work instantly resonated with me.

Jillian’s debut book, Sex With Shakespeare, is equal parts memoir, kink missive, and Shakespeare analysis. It tells the story of her enduring obsession with spanking through the lens of the Shakespeare geek she’s always been. Not only did this book help me dive more fearlessly and fervently into my own spanking kink; it also made me want to write more fearlessly and fervently about the stuff in my psyche that embarrasses me. If Jillian could confess her spanking fetish to her husband and the whole internet in one New York Times-sized fell swoop, surely I can write about roleplay and mental illness without cringing and blushing, right?!

cyvgqb3weaabiseAlana Massey. I truly believe Alana‘s cultural writing is some of the most important of this decade. Though she went to divinity school, she now writes about a broad range of topics: sex, love, labor, femininity, and technology, to name but a few.

Though you may or may not be familiar with her name, two of her most well-known pieces went so thoroughly viral that you’ve probably read them or at least seen them on your social media timelines. “The Dickonomics of Tinder” spelled out the central problem with men on Tinder – that hardly any of them seem willing to put in the effort to seem charming and bangable – and also popularized what has become a dating mantra among many millennial women I know: “Dick is abundant and low-value.” I reread this piece periodically when I’m bone-tired of Tinder and need a cathartic rage-laugh and some hope that good men do still exist, somewhere.

Alana also penned “Against Chill,” an impassioned defense of enthusiasm and decisiveness in a culture that seems to want us laid-back and laissez-faire. As I’ve told you before, I have no chill, so this piece resonates deeply with me each time I read it again. Some of my other favorite Alana essays are “The Unlikely Appeal of the Dick Video,” “A Woman’s Right to Say ‘Meh,’” “Feeling Lonely When You’re Single Doesn’t Mean You’re Weak,” “The Monetized Man,” and “Stop Wasting Your Time on Bad First Dates.” I wanted to limit myself to only three links in that last sentence, but I could not; Alana’s writing is too good, too thought-provoking, too perspective-shifting. She’s one of the great writers of the 21st century thus far, and I think far more people will realize that when her book comes out in 2017.

imageSarah Brynn Holliday. I met and befriended Sarah at Woodhull this year and I’m so glad our paths crossed. She’s incredibly brave and strong, a badass social justice advocate whose activism takes many forms. This year alone, she’s written about Lelo’s baffling decision to hire abuser Charlie Sheen as a condom spokesperson, sex toy safety as health justicefatphobia in sex toy marketing, women’s right to privacy, and self-care methods that don’t require money, among other things. She’s always calling out companies when they do terrible shit, highlighting ethical companies, and centering politics in her sex blogging because the personal is political. I admire Sarah enormously.

Though there’s been a lot of debate this year about the term “BlogSquad” and who it comprises, to me, it has always simply signified sex bloggers who are dedicated to intersectional feminism, social justice, sex toy safety for consumers, and so on. Sarah’s a new-ish blogger, having started her site in mid-2015, but to me she completely embodies the goals and values that sex bloggers can exemplify when we’re at our best. I love her and her work and I can’t wait to see what she does next.

crjsy1rwcaag-neLilly. I’ve been reading Lilly’s blog since before I even started mine; she’s a stalwart of the sex blogging world. I was mildly starstruck when I met her last year at the Sexual Health Expo in New York, and I continue to be mildly starstruck every time I remember she’s my friend now.

An incomplete list of the brave, badass things Lilly has done in 2016: When she won the #1 spot in Kinkly’s annual list of top sex bloggers, she wrote about the flaws in the ranking system and why these rankings can be hurtful. She has allocated her Kinkly prize money for scholarships to help other bloggers get to Woodhull, instead of just pocketing it (which she would have been well within her rights to do, given how hard she works on her blog). She has worked to build bridges between communities of sex bloggers and values our community enormously. She’s actively using her platform to help less privileged bloggers get to sex conferences so we can all hang out and learn together.

Also, on a personal note: at Woodhull this year, there was one particular afternoon when I hung out with Lilly and Epiphora in Piph’s hotel room, and told them semi-tearfully about a romantic interest who was treating me badly at the time. They both confirmed for me that his behavior was unacceptable and that I should call him out, set some boundaries, and expect better from him in the future. It was surreal and deeply appreciated to receive romantic advice from the two sharp-tongued bloggers who made me want to start my site in the first place. I can always, always use more people in my life to remind me that I’m awesome and worthy of respect, so I’m super grateful to Lilly and Piph for the support they gave me that day.

 

Who were your sex-positive heroes, idols, and role models in 2016?