Links & Hijinks: Blowjobs, Dopamine, & Carmen Miranda

• Girl on the Net wrote about rediscovering the real joy of sex after stressing yourself out thinking that sex “should” be joyful. I love pieces like this which acknowledge the sometimes unglamorous realities of sex, which many people feel broken for experiencing.

• Here’s some men talking about their sex toys. There’s lots to like about this article, but I particularly lost my shit over this line: “Men can orgasm at the drop of a hat, generally speaking (at least if it’s a particularly sexy hat — I’m thinking a Carmen Miranda fruit hat, that big wide-brimmed one Beyonce wears in the Formation video, one of those ones that has a beer can on either side).”

• Is mocking a man’s small dick on par with the body-shaming experienced by women? To me, the answer is “obviously yes,” but this article is still worth a read, if just for the absurd story therein about two Instagram models whose post-breakup drama played out online in the form of passive-aggressive dick snipes.

• “I can’t stop thinking about penetration” is one of the best opening sentences I’ve read in a while. Here, the Establishment’s Katie Tandy writes beautifully about penis envy and power dynamics.

• The great Alana Hope Levinson’s thoughts on “the cuckboi” made me shriek with laughter. “The cuckboi understands that there’s no ethical consumption under capitalism, unless you’re eating pussy.” TOO GOOD.

• On the loquacious raving and “intrusive thinking” that happens when you have a new crush: “When the object of your desire isn’t around, and therefore you lack that dopamine rush in your brain, you might feel like you’re in withdrawal. So, you may try to achieve small dopamine rushes from talking about your crush to your friends.” Gawd, I am so guilty of this. Sorry, friends.

• My bestie wrote about why they love blowjobs*sigh* Why am I not blowing anyone right now?! (Well… this post was prewritten and queued up in advance, so I guess it’s possible I am blowing someone right now, as you read this. Who can say?)

• Bex also wrote about sex ed, sex-positivity, and meeting people where they’re at. I love this. I’ve only been working in sex toy retail for two months but I already feel like I’ve learned so much about these concepts from working on the “front lines.”

• This piece on anxiety and productivity is haunting and important. Read this if the current state of the world makes you anxious and so do thoughts of resisting, standing up for what matters, making change.

Trans kink porn is important! God, this article reeeeeally made me want to watch The Training of Poe…

• Depression may actually have a positive evolutionary purpose. Certainly puts things in perspective! “This framing of depression as a space for reflection is empowering, and lends a degree of agency to the person being pressed down,” Drake Baer writes. “Like anxiety, depression might be trying to tell you something.”

• A “boyfriend dick” is the kind of dick you could see yourself settling down with. I must say, though, I prefer the more gender-inclusive phrase “good dick,” which really says it all! (Incase it wasn’t obvious: the concept of a “good dick” is very subjective. Please don’t worry about whether your dick is good or not. If you keep it clean and use it respectfully, there are lots of people who would consider it a “good dick,” I promise.)

• What happens when best friends control each other’s vibrators?! (I think me and Bex should try this sometime.)

• Maybe we need to reject body-positivity and embrace body-neutrality. I love this idea! “Neutrality is the freedom to go about your day without such a strong focus on your body,” says one of the people quoted in this article.

• JoEllen wrote some spot-on guidelines for having good, ethical casual sex.

• This piece about Trump and BDSM argues that consent education, and the communication skills one can learn through practicing kink, are more critical than ever in our current political climate. Interesting stuff.

• I loved this short piece about pain, mindfulness, and transcendence. It spins a whole world out of a few moments of intense (consensual) pain, which is indeed what those experiences feel like to me sometimes.

12 Days of Girly Juice 2016: 4 Fun Events

This year I was officially diagnosed with social anxiety disorder – a pronouncement so obvious to me and anyone who knows me that it was hardly necessary at all. My friends have seen me hyperventilate on the stoop outside a party, walk around the block six times before feeling ready to enter a gallery opening, smoke weed on my way to a networking event to make my presence possible, and break down crying in a busy Starbucks because I physically couldn’t walk into the newsroom at my school. Suffice it to say, events can be hard for me.

While social anxiety is moreso a curse than a blessing, it does make me extra grateful for events where I actually feel comfortable. It helps to have friends accompanying me who understand the anxieties I deal with, and I’m fortunate that wonderful friends accompany me to events more often than not these days. All my favorite events this year were favorites because of the fun, kind, welcoming people I got to hang out with – some of whom may not even know how much I appreciated having them there. Here are those events…

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#HaveDildosWillTravel is the official name and hashtag Taylor, Caitlin, Bex and I gave to our cross-country road trip in the springtime, after rejecting other options like #CarOfQueers, #RoadTripOfBabes, and #HitTheRoadJackOff.

Planned meticulously in Google Drive documents (mostly by Bex, my hero) over the course of several weeks, our trip began in New York, then meandered through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin, until we reached our destination, Minneapolis. Along the way, we attended a sex conference, bought kink implements at a toy store, oohed and aahed at the Leather Archives, introverted at queer cafés, ate artisanal donuts for breakfast every day, shopped at the Mall of America, ogled Colin‘s sex toy studio, and visited multiple queer-owned sex shops. On the morning of my 24th birthday, I woke up in Bex’s sister’s femme-as-hell bed in a Pennsylvania farmhouse; that night, I went to bed in a swanky hotel in Chicago.

The cast of characters on our wacky trip included, among others: a diner owner’s mother who didn’t understand our collars, an enthusiastic leather archivist who complimented my vulva ring, a helpful moustachioed hotel clerk, a hot domly dude who owned a kink-themed coffee shop, a beardy Tinder boy who owned far too many nerdy snapbacks, a self-identified radical fairy named Dragon who had once made “consent-based vegetable porn” on a commune, a friendly Tinder stranger nicknamed Face Tattoo, and a lifelong hero who kissed me on a sunny side street.

Although I’m 24 and have therefore theoretically been an “adult” for quite some time, it’s only within the past year and a half that traveling without my parents has become a frequent and normal thing for me. This feels like a rite of passage, a bastion of grownupdom, a milestone in my journey toward self-sufficiency. But though it makes me feel independent, I don’t have to do it all alone. Traveling with friends is so damn much fun. We laughed practically all day every day during #HaveDildosWillTravel, about everything from sex to scenery to selfies, and it’s a trip I will always remember fondly.

Photo from Smut in the 6ix’s Facebook page.

Smut in the 6ix sounded like a literal dream come true when I first heard of it. A collaboration between Playground and Spit, Smut was a day-long celebration of the burgeoning indie porn scene in my hometown of Toronto. During the day, porn nerds gathered for panel discussions about the technical, social, artistic, and political facets of porn creation. At night, there was a big gala with live performances, porn scene screenings, and lotsa dancing. Told you: a dream come true.

I was lucky enough to be asked to moderate a panel at Smut, and was also invited to perform some music at the gala. It was a terrific honor to be involved. I’m so grateful to Caitlin K. Roberts, Samantha Fraser, and Claire AH for organizing the whole shebang; as always, it was a delight to convene with my fellow sex-positive weirdos and get nerdy together!

In 2015, it made me super sad to see my favorite sex bloggers social-media’ing about all the fun they were having at the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit. I resolved to do my very best to make it to the Summit in 2016 – and I managed to save enough money to make it happen. Hooray!

I flew to Washington by myself without having an anxiety meltdown (success!) and checked into the hotel, where I was sharing a room with Sarah and Artemisia. I hadn’t met either of them in person before, but they were so delightful, and totally ideal roomies for me!

Sex-positive events are where I feel most able to be myself. My anxiety mostly melts away and I throw caution to the wind: I dress weird, speak my mind, laugh loudly, and go on adventures. It helps that people actually know who I am at these events, making me feel like a powerful little starlet! Woodhull had also thoughtfully set up a “bloggers’ lounge,” perfectly appointed with coffee galore and sex toys to fondle. I felt truly in my element.

I wish I could’ve gotten to know everyone at Woodhull, but like many bloggers, I’m an anxious introverted weirdo and could only do what I could do. Luckily, though, I did make several new friends. April offered to let me borrow her lipstick for blowjob purposes; Mandi‘s laugh lit up my life; Lorax‘s dark sass slayed me; Sarah was so adorable and clever I wanted to high-five her constantly; I quaffed wine with Mary and Harry; I cooed over Crista‘s killer eye makeup and bought an Ethical Misandrist sticker from her; Polly‘s sex stories kept me on the edge of my seat; I finally got to ogle (part of) Lunabelle‘s epic dildo collection in person; I delighted in Girl on the Net‘s hilarious sexy poems; and Sugarcunt frequently made me laugh so hard I thought I might choke to death. Plus I got to spend time with several treasured blogger friends I’d met before: Suz, Piph, Lilly, CaitlinHedonish, JoEllen, and of course, my bestie Bex.

I spanked a beautiful butt, learned about sex ed and sexual freedom, attended a fancy gala, and snapped selfies with femme friends. It was truly – to steal a phrase from Lilly – “like sex-blogger Christmas.” I’m already daydreamin’ about Woodhull 2017, and it can’t come soon enough.

Photo via Taylor J Mace.

Bex wanted a spanking party for their 25th birthday, and so, #BirthdayBruises was born. It was lovely to celebrate this milestone with sex-savvy friends both local and far-away. I put on a ridiculous outfit and pranced around our cozy Airbnb playing hostess – a role which involved everything from serving drinks to administrating the livestream to spanking the birthday bean. When Bex had taken all they could take, they were accosted by cuddles on the couch and I brought them some refrigerated mint-chocolate truffles. Sex bloggers really know how to party, y’all.

I’m so glad that this experience was affirming and uplifting for Bex. It was for me, too, even though I barely got hit at all. It’s always comforting to marry my sex blogger life with my IRL/offline life, to blend those two friend groups together, to embody all my favorite parts of myself without needing to compromise or hide any of them. This party also demonstrated my friends’ immense generosity: guests helped us with tech troubles, took over hosting duties when Bex and I were otherwise occupied, and (of course) harnessed their brawn to make Bex’s birthday-spanking fantasies come true. Gosh, I love my friends.

What were your favorite sex-positive or sex-adjacent events in 2016?

12 Days of Girly Juice 2016: 7 Bangin’ Selfies

It’s the 21st century, so our lives are documented most vividly in hastily-snapped smartphone selfies. Flipping through the selfies folder on my phone is an emotional journey: big smiles, momentous days, fond memories. It was hard to choose just seven selfies to tell the story of my year, but I think these are the best ones to do that.

img_1329In April, I went on a road trip to Minneapolis by way of Chicago, with Bex, Taylor, and Caitlin. There were some long, long days of driving – days when we’d be on the road for 10 or 11 hours at a time. We rarely got bored, because we had each other’s company and our phones to keep us entertained (except when Bug Tussel fucked up our cell service briefly), but at one point the road became so monotonous to me that I began sexting a fuckbuddy back home out of sheer desperation. He politely requested a boob selfie from me and Bex, and we reminded him, “Subs respond better to direct orders!” The reply came back, “Okay: topless pic. Now.” In the middle of a rainstorm on a highway somewhere in Wisconsin, we whipped our tits out and snapped this silly shot (with Caitlin in the background). “That was like the boss fight of nudes!” Bex declared afterward.

imageRemember that time I met one of my lifelong heroes, Kidder Kaper, while visiting his hometown in the midwest? Remember how he drove me back to my Airbnb and then asked me if I wanted to kiss?! Remember how, immediately after that kiss, we got out of the car and took a bunch of goofy selfies together? I will treasure these shots forever, I’m sure. This one, in particular, makes me smile. Kidder looks as impassioned as ever, and my facial expression is the exact blend of delight and astonishment I was feeling about the whole situation.

img_2890My friend Brent is one of my favorite people on earth. We connected on Twitter by chance last year when I started listening to his podcast and tweeting at him. Then we met in person when he spent some time in Toronto developing Use Your Words, and instantly bonded over a shared love of showtunes, good booze, and bad puns. (Plus he understands that I am the Queen of Wands.) We took a fair number of selfies together this year, at various shindigs, but this one is my favorite. That glowy, giggly grin on my face? That is how happy this dude makes me, with his jokes, his songs, and his friendship. (Sorry-not-sorry fer gettin’ all sappy on you.)

img_1790It was pretty freakin’ momentous for me to meet Gala Darling in person this year; she’s been my hero since I was 15. She was preternaturally kind and encouraging, at a time in my life when I needed her exact brand of tough-love mentorship even more than usual. We snapped this selfie together on an East Village side street while waiting for Gala’s astrologer friend to come meet up with us. It’s cliché to say I felt like I was dreaming, but I did: how else could I possibly be in New York City with my role model/spirit mama?!

imageI was stoked as hell to meet porn legend Nina Hartley at the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit. She was a total sweetheart and I now have bragging rights for the rest of time. But what I think about, when I look at this photo, is the minutes that led up to it. I’d told Bex I wanted to meet Nina but was too nervous to go and talk to her. Bex, ever an encourager of my dreams, calmly told me that I was going to go talk to Nina; there were no two ways about it. Bex grabbed my hand, led me over to Nina, and introduced me to her. I feel so blessed to have friends who care about me enough to give me tough love when my anxiety is being an idiot. If not for Bex, I never would’ve gotten to tell Nina about that time my first boyfriend quoted one of her videos when going down on me!

When I was targeted by a bunch of misogynist trolls in July, one of them wrote a blog post about me and gleefully linked to this photo of me in my Aslan Nicki harness as if it were some horrible, disgusting thing that could not ever be unseen. I had to laugh when I clicked through and saw which photo he’d linked to. It wasn’t anything I’d consider ugly or embarrassing; in fact, I look babely as hell in this picture. I felt hot that night and wanted to celebrate it, commemorate it. That’s why I took this shot; that’s why I take most of the selfies I take. Never let anyone shame you for expressing your glorious, gorgeous self in a reverential self-portrait; you deserve to be immortalized in this way.

img_3453The night this was taken, my friend Cadence had invited me over to catch up, which amounted to me basically crying at her about boys all night. We ordered sushi, drank a lot of whiskey, and I told her about the rejections, break-ups and betrayals I’d been through recently. Getting that all off my chest, and laughing with my oldest friend, made my problems seem surmountable for the first time in a long while. I ducked into her bathroom, glanced in the mirror, and saw a foxy babe staring back at me, instead of just a hollow, depressed shell of a girl. So I pulled my shirt down, fluffed up my hair, and snapped this shot. I felt powerful, defiant, and uncharacteristically capable. I felt like things were going to be okay.

What are your favorite selfies you took this year?

We’re Having a Spanking Party (and You’re Invited!)

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My best friend Bex is turning 25 this month, and what they want for their birthday is to get spanked. A lot.

I enjoy hosting parties, and I enjoy spanking people. Before this, I’ve never had the opportunity to do both at the same time. I’m excited!

We combed Airbnb for an apartment to rent, and found a cute one with a great location, ample space for party guests, and plentiful surfaces to bend Bex over. We’ve invited a small group of sex-positive babes, including Taylor, Suz, and Rosaline. Each guest may give Bex 25 smacks (one for each year Bex has been alive) with an implement of their choice. Those who don’t want to participate can just hang out and chill – it’s a birthday party as much as it’s a spanking party!

I think it’ll be an interesting opportunity to observe the different spanking styles of my various friends. You can learn a lot about a person by how they smack an ass!

Here’s the really exciting part: you can join in on the fun, even if you live far far away. We’re going to livestream the spanking portion of the party via Google Hangouts On Air. The broadcast will get started on Saturday, September 17th at 9:30 p.m. Eastern time. You can buy your ticket by sending $8 (U.S. dollars, please) to Bex through this link. (Make sure to write your email address in the “notes” field, so we know where to send the link to the broadcast.)

The money will largely go toward Bex’s travel and accommodations expenses, enabling them to be with some of their best pals for their birthday. So it’s a double-whammy of deliciousness: you get to watch a cute babe get spanked, and you get to do a good thing for the aforementioned cute babe!

For bonus fun, you’ll be able to “virtually spank” Bex. During the broadcast, you can pay an additional $5 for 10 smacks, or $10 for 25. You’ll get to choose which party guest does the hitting (as long as they consent, obviously), and which implement they use. Fun, right?!

We’re all about social media, so if you want to live-tweet while you watch, you are more than welcome to! The hashtag for the event is #BirthdayBruises. If you feel like hyping us up and cheering us on, before or during the event, Twitter’s a lovely way to do that. You can also tweet the image above, if you want to invite your followers to join the party.

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I’ve already started packing my bag of spanking implements and accessories. Here’s what I’ve got up my sleeve:

• The Tantus Pelt and Wham Bam. These silicone paddles are stingy as hell and pack some snappy momentum into each stroke. I’m a bit sentimental about the Pelt because it’s the first implement I ever spanked Bex with, back in the early days of our friendship. Aww.

• A stone crop I bought at kink-themed café Leather & Latte on our road trip to Minneapolis. It’s very stingy, very mean, and very bruisey.

• A leather paddle made by by Peri Plunders. This is a cool multi-use tool: the flat leather surface is really stingy, but turn the paddle sideways and its thick edge becomes a thuddy bludgeon. I wonder what kind of marks it’ll leave.

• A Lexan paddle from KinkMachineWorks. It’s gorgeously thuddy and has quickly become one of my all-time favorite spanking implements. And it’s clear, so you can see the recipient’s butt smoosh as the paddle hits it. Swoon.

• A wooden spoon and a small bamboo rice paddle. I ordered these from Amazon in preparation for this party. The rice paddle is wide and thin, so it’s very surface-stingy, while the spoon has a bit more of a thud to it.

Arnica cream! Bex’s poor butt will be pretty sore by the end of the evening. I want some pain-management solutions on hand incase they start to get genuinely uncomfortable – although, let’s be real, they’re a trooper and a pain-slut and I bet they’ll be fine.

I look forward to seeing you in our Google Hangouts chat when the party gets started! Don’t forget to buy your ticket for $8. See you there, friends!

When Sex Nerds Plan a Threesome

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This weekend, I’ll hop on a bus and ride it for 10 hours, into another country, where I’ll have my first out-of-homeland threesome. We’ve been planning it for six weeks. Those weeks have felt like years.

See, both of my previous threesomes were impromptu – happy accidents of timing and circumstance. This one was deliberate, chosen, considered. I can see the merits of both approaches: spontaneous sex gives my anxiety less time to take root and psych me out, while long-haul schemin’ allows for excitement to build like a pre-record-launch hype campaign.

Any activity is more fun if you’re doing it with people who love it. That’s true of sex, and it’s also true of planning sex. Both of my threesome co-conspirators in this case – Bex and a gentleman friend of ours – are as nerdy about sex as I am. This made our brainstorming, scheduling and co-ordinating into a delightful process, like planning a party… except with more sexting.

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The Negotiations

When you think about sex critically and deeply on a regular basis, you become more aware of what you want, what you like, what turns you on – and what doesn’t. Once you know what you want, the next step is to ask for it. That can be scary sometimes: our carnal cravings are so close to our hearts and entrenched in cultural shame that often our inclination is to downplay our desires. But I’m lucky enough to be having a threesome with two people I deeply trust, who I know would never shame me for articulating what I want.

In weeks of chatting and spitballing, we came up with some mutually exciting activities to include in our threesome docket. And the best part of it is, all three of us are so easygoing and invested in each other’s enthusiastic consent that we know we can abandon anything on the list if it feels wrong on the day of. “We’ll just be like a bunch of little puppies,” dude said to me in one of our many excited exchanges about threesome logistics. “We’ll try stuff out.”

Bex and I are solely-platonic friends who engage with each other sexually on a very limited basis, so part of our negotiations involved setting boundaries for what we will and won’t do to each other. Fortunately, we were on the same page about everything we discussed: we’re cool with doing a double BJ, making out, and some boob stuff, but below-the-belt action is off the table except for maybe manoeuvring dildos.

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The Feelz

Sex nerds understand that sometimes sex stirs up feelings, and the best defense against icky feelz is to talk them out, before, during and after your experience of them. Good communication where everyone feels respected, heard, and valued = good sex, with minimal drama.

The dude in our trio is someone with whom I have sexual history. He also gives me hella heart-eyes feelings, and I sometimes struggle with jealousy when I really like someone. Both he and Bex repeatedly made sure I was okay with “sharing him,” before and during the planning of our ménage. Though I might have felt gross if he’d jumped into the three-way headfirst without regard for my feelings, the amount of care he took with me put me at ease. As of right now, I’m not feeling a shred of jealousy – but I know that if I do feel strange on the day itself, I’ll have two friends there to talk it out with.

If you find yourself dealing with similar jealousies leading up to a threesome, think about what kinds of accommodations might help with that. I asked Bex if I could be the one to swallow dude’s cum after we blow him together, because being “rewarded” with jizz at the end of a beej feels satisfyingly intimate to me and I think I’d be sad if I missed out on it. Bex said yes, ’cause they’re an angel.

Bex has also recently started using they/them pronouns full-time and publicly identifying as non-binary, and that entered into our pre-threesome talks as well. Dude was amenable to learning about gender stuff, especially since he knows getting it wrong could kill the moment – so we talked about what pronouns, names and titles were and weren’t okay. Yay, respect and correctness!

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The Gear

I know all you sex toy nerds are curious about what I’m bringing, so here’s a rundown:

• Pegging may or may not happen, depending on the Whims of the Butthole. I’ve packed my pink Aslan Jaguar harness. Assuming we get the go-ahead, it could either be me or Bex who’ll do the fucking; we’ll see how we feel. I’ve also packed my bright blue Happy Valley Perk, because it feels the most like “my cock,” though I’m open to strapping on other dildos too.

• Dude likes using toys on people, and has proven his prowess at doing so. Bex and I think it’s hilarious to imagine him fucking us each simultaneously with our own Eleven or Double Trouble, so I’ve packed both of mine. Dual-wielding!!

• Vibe-wise, I’m bringing my Magic Wand Rechargeable and maybe my Tango. I just need something reliable to hold on my clit while dude finger-bangs me or pounds me with a toy or fucks me… Um, no, I’m not blushing! Why would you say that?!

• Bex and I like when I spank them, so that’ll probably happen during this threesome. They own all our favorite implements (including the almighty Pelt), so the only impact toy I’m bringing is my Maddie’s Dungeon wooden paddle, ’cause it’s cool.

• I threw my Ryder in there because last time I slept with this dude, he liked how tight my vag felt when the Ryder was in my butt. I am always eager to please.

• Like a Boy Scout, I am prepared as hell: my sex toy bag is topped off with dude’s favorite condoms, some lube samples, and black latex gloves.

Have you ever planned a threesome? What was the process like for you? (And what toys did you bring?!)