12 Business & Blogging Lessons From My Blog Idols

a dildo, mug full of pens, pair of glasses, and laptop on my desk

For years, I wondered what my life’s purpose was. I felt (and still feel) drawn to many different endeavors – journalism, creative writing, audio production, music, even musical theatre – and wasn’t sure how to meld those together into one cohesive career.

But something clicked when I started this blog, almost five years ago. As I tried out different types of content and developed my style, I slowly realized that running a blog could combine my passions in any way I wanted. Now, my days of “blog work” are comprised of writing, editing, social media promotion, taking and editing photos and videos, corresponding with readers, and rustlin’ up sponsors – all tasks I adore and didn’t think I could meaningfully combine, let alone earn money from. How dreamy!

I wouldn’t be where I am today without my blogging mentors: people whose blogs I’ve admired for years, whose instructional and personal content I’ve read and re-read, whose guidance I’ve taken to heart and put to good use. Here are some of those blog heroes, and some of the valuable biz-‘n’-blogging lessons they’ve taught me…

blogger Gala Darling wearing a pink dressGala Darling (galadarling.com)

It’s okay to overshare… selectively. Gala grew up during the height of LiveJournal‘s popularity (as did I, sort of), so her writing has always been tinged with tropes of the online-diary format. In the LJ days, it was commonplace for folks to divulge all sorts of glamorously mundane details from their lives: the music they were loving, the perfume they currently adored, the absurd adventures they’d recently gotten up to. These details were (and are) simultaneously banal and fascinating, when shared in an engaging way by someone in whom you already have an interest. Reading Gala’s work is instructive in striking that balance between “too small to be interesting” and “too showy to feel intimate.” Personal details invite your reader into your life, and – when shared tastefully and artfully – create a delicious connection between writer and reader.

Picture, and know, your “ideal reader.” Gala co-founded The Blogcademy with two of her blogger pals (including Kat, who I’ll tell you about in a minute), and one of the central lessons they impart on their “Blogcadettes” is the importance of vividly picturing your ideal reader in your head when you write. If you know who you’re writing for, you’ll automatically have a stronger sense of purpose and of what kind of content you should be producing. My “ideal reader” is a mental composite of actual readers of mine I’ve met and a younger version of myself. It’s an image that keeps me on-task and helps propel me forward when I’m feeling stuck.

Above all, be kind and loving. Gala’s brand centers an optimistic, adoring attitude, and I’ve always admired that. She is the human embodiment of the tenet, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” It’s not that she never speaks ill of anyone – it’s obviously valid to call out people/companies/entities who are being shitty! – but she doesn’t engage with cruel trolls or petty gossips. Instead, she mostly just directs positivity and love at her readers. Her blog, brand, and persona are cohesively focused on optimism and integrity. When I’m doing that really well, I see it mirrored back at me, in the form of equally positive and sweet readers – which is exactly what I want!

blogger Kat Williams doing a kiss face and making a peace signKat Williams (rocknrollbride.com)

Treat your blog like a business. Because, spoiler alert: it absolutely can be. Mine certainly is. Kat’s been blogging full-time for years, so she does this magnificently. She’s methodical about her emails and other blog admin tasks, and as a result, she’s able to post fantastic content EVERY DAY (sometimes even more than that!). Depending on your life circumstances, it’s not always possible to pour time and energy into your blog – but Kat inspires me to approach mine more professionally and purposefully, in order to get back professional and purposeful results.

Write kickass, valuable sponsored posts. When I first started writing sponsored posts, I felt super gross about it. How could I possibly get paid to write about a company without coming across like a promotional sleazeball? But bloggers like Kat have set the gold standard for what a sponsored post ought to be: authentic, fun, and valuable to your readers. I don’t accept sponsored-post assignments unless I genuinely feel I can make them fun and interesting for both myself and my readers. Otherwise, the posts would just be an empty sales spiel, and nobody wants that.

writer Alexandra Franzen smilingAlexandra Franzen (alexandrafranzen.com)

Set clear, loving policies. My policies page quotes Alex’s, because she’s brilliant at this sort of thing. Boundaries are crucial, both personally and professionally. Having crystal-clear boundaries in place makes you appear more professional to potential clientele, plus it helps you weed out stressful bullshit and focus only on the projects that actually align with what you want to achieve. I feel like such a badass bosslady when I fire off an email that begins, “Like it says on my policies page…”

Underpromise and overdeliver. Alex says the secret to success is just being really, really, consistently good at what you do. There’s no point making outlandish promises about what you’re capable of; just get super great at blogging, and over time, the readers and sponsors will flock to you, even if your social media and SEO and all those extras aren’t especially on-point. Content is king, and good content – well-written, engaging, valuable content – will build you a devoted audience faster and better than anything else. So practice your writing and try not to stress too much about the other stuff.

You don’t “find” your voice, you create it. Your “voice” as a writer is something you should purposefully craft, not magically stumble upon. Alex taught me that shaping your writing style is a conscious, deliberate act. How do you want your reader to feel? What do you want them to experience or learn as they read your work? What do you want them to take away from your writing? Get clear about this stuff and you’ll find your “voice” gets clearer, too.

an illustration of blogger Lilly doing sex toy science experimentsLilly (dangerouslilly.com)

Never shut up. Lilly is notoriously critical of shady sex toy company practices, toxic materials, and awful toys. This conflicts with my earlier point about being a positive and loving blogger, but I think they’re two sides of the same coin: being a positive force in the world means radiating love most of the time but busting out the big guns when you encounter something worth destroying. Bloggers have the power to change the world, and that is not a responsibility we should take lightly. Fuck shit up, make change, punch up, and dismantle systems of oppression in any way you have access to.

Build community with other bloggers. To be fair, this is important to all my blogger babes, not just Lilly. But she vocally supports blogger solidarity, and adds so much value to my life in doing so. Creating community with fellow bloggers is fantastic not only for social reasons but also for professional ones: you can consult with each other about setting rates, dealing with difficult clients, crafting tricky posts, and any other blogging snafus you might encounter. Since befriending tons of other sex bloggers, my work not only makes me happier and more fulfilled but also brings in more money and feels like more of a professional pursuit.

blogger Epiphora wearing a hat that says "Pay Me"Epiphora (heyepiphora.com)

Get paid first. At companies’ behest, I used to sometimes write and publish sponsored posts before receiving payment for them, with the understanding that I would get paid after publication. I see now how risky that was, and how much it signalled those companies’ lack of respect for me and my platform. “You should not have to do work you weren’t even paid for,” Piph told me. “No need to lift a damn finger until they put the money in your pocket. Fucking insist upon it.” She is always reminding me, through her words but mostly her actions, that our work is worth money and we do not have to put up with rude, unprofessional clients.

Never apologize. Okay, apologize if you fuck up. But never apologize just for being you in a way you’re worried might not be to others’ taste. I can’t count the number of times I’ve written/said/thought some form of, “I’m sorry if this post is really rambly,” or “I’m sorry this post is so personal and emotional,” or “I’m sorry I have so many feelings about frivolous femme shit.” Piph’s writing is unabashed and unapologetic, and I think that’s part of what draws people to her website in droves. As a blogger, your personality is your brand; it’s what your readers are there to read. Stop playing small, stop denying your greatness, stop papering over your glorious quirks and start showing them the fuck off. Your people will find you, but only if you’re being your real, whole, amazing self.

What lessons have you learned from bloggers you admire?

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?

Sex Blogging Secrets, Part 1: Starting a Blog

A couple weeks ago, this email landed in my inbox:

Hi GJ. I’m writing because I was wondering if you have any tips for someone who is thinking of starting a sex blog. I’m not sure if I want to do it, but do you have any advice for starting a blog, keeping it going, getting readers, making money from your blog (if you do), etc.?

Needless to say, I have a lot of thoughts on this topic! So I’m going to split up my answer into a multi-part series. Today’s part focuses on starting a blog and all the choices and challenges that come along with that.

Choosing a name

I suggest you brainstorm at least a couple dozen different blog names that do a good job of capturing the kind of mood and subject matter you hope your blog will convey. Then, pick your favorites and roll them around in your mind for a while. Write them down, say them out loud a lot, ask your friends what they think, etc. If any name starts to feel wrong or uncomfortable in any way, axe it from the list!

I say this because – secret confession time – I really don’t like the name of my blog. I chose it because I thought it had the sexy-meets-dorky vibe I knew my blog would end up having, but the more that I’ve lived with this blog name, the less I like it. Saying it out loud makes me cringe (which makes in-person networking difficult, obviously!) and I often feel like I have to justify or explain what it means.

Choose a blog name that you’re in love with, that you’re proud to say, that reminds you of your vision for your blog, and that you could shout across a crowded room without someone mishearing or misunderstanding it.

Domains, hosting, and other web names

An addendum to the above point: the name you choose for your blog should, ideally, be available as a .com domain name as well as a username on every social media site you plan to use.

You’ll notice that I have a .net domain name, and my Twitter username has an underscore in it. Learn from my mistakes! Check this stuff before you decide on a name.

I’m not a wiz kid when it comes to stuff like domain registration and web hosting, so I will refer you to Epiphora’s sex blogging guide because she goes into those things in detail.

Can you really be a sex blogger?

A reality check: you should only start a sex blog if:

• You LOVE writing

• You’re VERY passionate about sex

• You can come up with at least 20-30 different blog post ideas off the top of your head right now

• You can handle criticism and rudeness (especially if you’re a woman)

• You can talk/write/think about sex without blushing or cringing, AND

• You understand that blogging is not a get-rich-quick scheme

Please don’t start a sex blog solely for money, fame, free products, or sexual attention. You may well get those things eventually, but they are not good motivators for maintaining a blog in the long-term, and you will flame out before the going gets good if you’re expecting those faraway incentives to show up immediately.

Do this because you want to do it and love the thought of doing it. That’s really the only motivation that will keep you blogging for the long haul. (I say this as someone who is obsessed with sex and absolutely adores writing. Trust me, these things are important!)

What’s your blog’s deal?

What is your blog going to be about? And don’t just say “sex,” because, duh. Get more specific. Are you going to review sex toys? Criticize sexual media? Write erotica? Detail your sexual adventures? Will your goal be to help your readers, or to entertain them, or both, or something else entirely? Will your lens be feminist, sex-positive, both, neither, or something else? How do you want readers to feel when they read your blog? Will your voice be saucy, sexy, straightforward, silly, or serious?

Sharpening your vision is very important, especially since blogging is an oversaturated game and you need to set yourself apart to have any hope of success. It might help to come up with some kind of tagline or subtitle for your blog, even if you never use it anywhere. (Mine is “Reviews and how-to’s for feminist sex nerds.”) The better and clearer your internal guide for the work you plan to do, the stronger and more unique your work will be.

Here are some examples of bloggers who I think have really strong, well-developed, unique niches within the realm of sex blogging:

Epiphora writes snarky, brutally honest sex toy reviews, and occasional feminist rants.

Reenie approaches her reviews and writing from a perspective of relative innocence and sheltered-ness, which I think her readers find either adorable or relatable, depending on their own personal experiences.

Lilly is hard to please and writes tough but fair reviews. She also writes easy-to-understand, no-bullshit guides to technical or scientific aspects of sex toys and sex blogging, like toxic toy chemicals and how to file copyright complaints.

Aerie’s blog combines sex toy writing with board game writing, because they are passionate about both of those things. Aerie is a great example of someone who puts their own spin on sex blogging by capitalizing on their authentic interests.

Your “about” page

This should be one of the first things you write when you make your blog. It’s important, not only so your readers can find out more about you, but also so you get a better sense of the persona or personality you’re going to project with your blog.

Please include, at a minimum, all of the following things on your About page:

• Your name (or the pseudonym you’ll go by on your blog)

• Your pronouns/gender identity (yes, even if you’re cis and normative-looking)

• Where and how you can be reached (email address, social media handles, maybe a contact form)

• Why, how, and when you started your blog

• Your blog’s mission/what sets you apart (you can state this as simply or complexly as you like, but it should be there somewhere)

• Any other info you think your readers should know about you in order to understand where you’re coming from (possibly: age, location, sexual orientation, relationship status, etc.)

• Some personality! Let your sense of humor, writing voice, and real interests shine through.

Check out my About page and those of the bloggers I listed above for some examples.

Stay tuned; the next post in this series will be about what to do once you’ve actually started your blog – generating ideas and writing posts. Get excited!!

How (and Where) Do You Blog?

Lately I’ve been fascinated with writers’ and bloggers’ daily work routines, workspaces, and anything and everything that helps them Get Stuff Done. (I’m reading The New New Journalism and it’s full of info like this, FYI! You might like it if you’re similarly geeky.)

I thought I’d make a survey that other bloggers can copy and paste into their blog and answer the questions themselves. Please do! I’d love to hear how and where you work. If you do the survey, how ‘bout hashtagging it on Twitter with #HowIBlog so we can find it more easily?

And now, without further ado…

Do you have a workspace? What does it look like?

See above. I recently got a proper desk for the FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE (?!); previously I had always worked from bed, coffee shops, or with my laptop sitting on the kitchen table or on my lap while I sat in any random spot of my choosing. Now I have an actual area in which to work, and the exhilaration is intense!

I keep a variety of pens, markers and highlighters in a Museum of Sex mug that says “Sex makes me thirsty” in cute script. I have a black woven basket full of journalism reference books and all the other books I’m supposed to read this semester. Right next to my computer, I keep a to-do list that’s categorized into sections (each class I’m taking is a section, and “blog/writing” is its own category). I also keep two index cards, one for blog post ideas and one for story ideas I plan on eventually pitching to magazines, websites, etc.

There are lots of extra notebooks and index cards in my desk drawers so I’ll always have paper to quickly grab if I need to make a note of an idea. There’s a small bulletin board over the desk that I’ve loaded up with images that inspire me and make me happy (e.g. pictures of my current crush, my friends, and myself when I looked my cutest). And because I’m ultra new-age-y, I’ve also got a small collection of crystals that are said to enhance writerly powers. (Incase you’re wondering, they are as follows: sodalite for inner peace and endurance, carnelian for energy and humor, tiger eye for confidence and creativity, chalcedony for dissipating negative energy, rhodochrosite for compassion and creativity, jade for love and wealth, kyanite for tranquility and intuition, black tourmaline for luck and happiness, and citrine for wealth and clarity. Phew!)

Where do you go to look for ideas? Where do your ideas come from?

I read the news and keep an eye on social media, where I follow lots of folks who work and write in the same field as me. I subscribe to a few Reddit subforums that deal heavily or exclusively with sex, so new ideas and concepts are often brought to my attention there. I read books, articles and websites about sex. I spend a lot of time thinking about sex, journaling about it, and talking to friends and family about it, all of which brings up new things I might not have otherwise thought of.

What’s the process you go through to turn an idea into a finished post?

When I first get an idea, and I think it’s a good one, I write it down on my little ongoing blog ideas index card if I don’t have time to work on it right away or if I feel I need to think about it and flesh it out more before I get started on it. Then I mull it over for a few days or weeks, and usually the idea becomes more fully formed the more that I think about it. Sometimes I have epiphanies in my sleep, or while doing something mundane like washing my body in the bath or walking to class, because the repetitive motion kicks my creative brain into gear.

Sometimes, if I like an idea but can’t seem to unify it in my head, I’ll run it by a friend and see what they have to say about it. Explaining an idea out loud can help make it more coherent, and my smart, sex-positive friends always have interesting suggestions and perspectives.

If, however, I feel like an idea is ready to be made into a post right away, and I have the time to do it, I get started immediately. (This post was one of those!)

How long does it take you to write a post once you’ve got the idea?

I’ve always been a pretty fast writer – it’s one of my saving graces at journalism school, actually, where time management looms large – so I can get a post done in 45 minutes to an hour, most times. After that, I edit it, have a look at the preview of how it’ll appear when it’s on my blog’s homepage, make sure everything is A-OK, and then hit publish (or queue).

Reviews can take me a bit longer because sometimes I’ll get halfway through a review and realize I’ve forgotten to test certain functions or uses of the toy, and need to do additional testing before finishing the post.

How do you prepare your work environment (and yourself) to create maximum productivity and focus?

If I have the time and it’s feasible for me, I like to have a massive caffeinated drink before and during my blog work. Caffeine really helps stimulate my creativity and it gets me very excited about whatever I’m working on. Sometimes I’ll schlep my laptop to a coffee shop to work, partly so I’ll have close access to coffee and partly because the bustling atmosphere helps me focus. (Coffitivity is a useful tool for replicating this effect at home, if you’re interested!)

If I’m at my desk at home, I like to put on music while I work. Usually I go for something instrumental and minimally distracting, like Chris Thile playing Bach on the mandolin or the string quartet tribute to Death Cab For Cutie. Sometimes I open up sound effect websites, like the aforementioned Coffitivity or Rainy Mood, and either layer them with music or just listen to them alone.

I like my desk to be relatively clear when I work, so I can focus. Any clutter must be beautiful/inspiring clutter.

My “writing clothes” have to be super comfortable so they don’t distract me. In the summertime I wore a lot of oversized tank tops (I bought mine in a unisex size large so they’re basically dresses on me) because they’re comfy and unrestrictive, but now that it’s getting colder, you’ll more often find me writing in sweaters, leggings and shearling slippers. Basically anything that allows me to focus on my thoughts and my words instead of my body. And ideally something that allows for quick genital access if need be; wink wink.

What daily or regular practices do you do to improve your writing?

I am a huge fan of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way books, and in particular, the morning pages exercise she suggests. I don’t always have the time or energy to keep up with my daily morning pages, but when I do, I find that I’m so much more creative, decisive, and productive. It’s truly astonishing.

I write in a journal almost every day, just recording what happened in my life and how I feel about it, and I think that practice has improved my writing enormously, simply because the more you write, the better you get. Putting feelings into words can be a particularly challenging task, so in some ways, writing about sex toys feels like a walk in the park after that!

I also make a habit of reading books on writing (Bird by Bird and The Elements of Style are two recent ones I’ve enjoyed) and making sure to read a fuckton of other people’s writing – not just in the genre I write for (primarily sex-related nonfiction), but in lots of other genres too. The more you read, the better you write.

I also like to go for long, thoughtful walks – another Julia Cameron recommendation. If I’m stuck and can’t seem to “give birth to” a post or article (for lack of a better phrase), a walk often unsticks my brain. Sometimes I just keep walking until the issue resolves itself, even if that means I go for a longer walk than I normally would. Divine inspiration always seems to strike eventually.

What rules (if any) do you always follow when you write? What rules (if any) do you break?

I follow spelling and grammar rules to the best of my ability, unless I’m breaking them purposely to achieve a particular effect.

I always try to make my first sentence interesting and attention-grabbing. It’s my journalistic background.

I hold myself to a very high standard when it comes to being non-judgmental and anti-oppressive. I do my best to make sure my posts don’t contain anything that could make someone feel shitty about themselves, whether that’s due to feeling shamed for something they like in bed or feeling excluded based on their identity or anything else.

In reviews, I often break the “rule” that you have to include a plethora of technical information about a toy, like how it charges, how long the charge lasts, what the toy’s buttons or controls are like, how to clean and care for the toy’s material, etc. I tend to only include that information if it’s notable and I want to comment on it for one reason or another. I figure folks can always Google for that information and they’ve come to my blog to hear what I think about how the toy feels.

What other writers (of any genre or medium) do you admire, and why?

In the sex blogging realm: Epiphora for her hilarious and inventive descriptions of sex toys and their sensations. Lilly for her well-researched and sometimes delightfully ranty posts. Redhead Bedhead because her blog is a mishmash of mental, emotional, and physical approaches to sexuality (which is kind of what I try to do here, too). Emily Nagoski because she is soooo non-judgmental and her approach is scientific but compassionate.

In the world of nonfiction: I love Rachel Rabbit White’s sex journalism. (I actually interviewed her for a first-year journalism school project where we had to talk to a journalist we admire. I was so shy and starstruck but she was very sweet to me.) I like Augusten Burroughs’ dark, biting wit and interesting way of looking at the world. I love Gala Darling’s bubbly, carefree tone and her take on self-love.

Fiction: J. K. Rowling and Veronica Roth (young adult fiction is hard and they get it right). Will Ferguson (hilarious, but dark and deep sometimes too). Emma Donoghue (read Room; trust me on this one). Stephen King (a true, great storyteller; I’m obsessed with The Stand and Under the Dome).

Other genres: I dig poetry by Charles Bukowski and Richard Brautigan. Stephen Sondheim is the best lyricist I know of, living or dead.

So? Are you going to answer these questions on your own blog? Make sure to use the #HowIBlog hashtag if you tweet your post!

Sharing the Sexy #20

• Here’s a great essay about being intersex.

How to be an ally to your fat lover!

• This typography series by Sophia Wallace, Cliteracy, is fucking spot-on!

• Ever wondered how to recycle old sex toys? Now you know!

Jenna from silicone sex toy maker Tantus did an AMA on Reddit. Goooood readin’.

Lilly’s review of the Jimmyjane Hello Touch is way better than mine and contains lots of information that might be of interest to you.

• This asshole wants to start “Have Sex with an Ugly Person Day.”

• Metis Black explains how to spank. I’m reviewing one of Tantus’ new paddles soon and I’m so excited!

• Toronto-dwellers: have you got your Feminist Porn Awards ticket yet? (I’ll be at the conference. Let me know if you’re going and want to say hi!)

• Hugo Schwyzer says being pegged makes men better lovers and better feminists.