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.)

Monthly Faves: Teddy Bears, Tongues, & Tarina Tarantino

This month I turned 25, spent a lot of time partyin’ and socializin’ with friends, and had plenty of fulfilling sexual experiences! Here’s hoping April was a prescient preview of the sexy spring and summer to come.

Sex toys

SheVibe sent me the Adrien Lastic Caress (full review to come!) and I’m surprised by how much I like it so far. It uses rotation and silicone attachments to stimulate the clit in a cunnilingus-esque manner, sort of like the Sqweel and Sqweel Go – but it also vibrates, which amplifies the sensation. I’m contemplating writing a post comparing various oral sex simulators, because damn, I love them when they’re executed well.

• Speaking of oral sex simulators… I’ve gotten back into the Satisfyer a bit this month. The suction creates a slow build of arousal compared to a vibrator, but sometimes that is exactly what I want.

• Teddy Love sent me their product, an undeniably horrifying teddy bear whose face vibrates. I haven’t been able to bring myself to apply it to my genitals yet, but I have delighted in showing it to partners and watching terror bloom on their faces.

Fantasy fodder

• Receiving oral sex tends to fall by the wayside in my fantasy life until I meet someone who’s really good at it – and then it reenters my sexual awareness at full force. I got good head from a couple o’ cuties this month, so I’ve had tongues on the brain. Unf.

• I went on some dates this month with someone who is a very good kisser… Like, very, very good… Like, “there is usually wetness dripping down my thighs afterward” levels of good. He’s got the actual lip-lock on lock and also does a lot of the peripheral things I love during makeouts, like grabbing my ass and holding me down by my wrists. So I’ve been fantasizing a lot about good kisses since then. Ugh, please tell him to come kiss me some more.

• I think I’m developing a bit of a premature ejaculation kink?! (In porn, anyway. Not so much in real life.) When I’m high and therefore disinhibited, a lot of my porn searches lately are phrases like “she makes him cum quickly,” “he can’t help but cum,” “he tries not to cum,” and so on. I confessed this growing interest to Bex, who knows my kinks super well, and they replied: “Honestly, that makes perfect sense. A dude being surprised by how good something (probs a BJ) feels so he loses control and comes instantly? That’s totes you.” Ah. Yes. That does make perfect sense, now that I think about it.

Sexcetera

• This month I had sex with a straight cis guy who a) didn’t assume I’d be into intercourse, b) was highly skilled at mid-sex verbal check-ins that were both reassuring and hot, and c) said to me at one point, “I want to see you come. How can I make that happen?” Gosh, I love it when partners are attitudinally a good sexual match for me: non-pressure-y, adventurous, unpresumptuous, and more about pleasure and fun than meeting certain culturally prescribed goals. Swoon!

• Some of my work elsewhere this month: I enthused about my favorite erogenous zone, the A-spot, for Glamour, and detailed my experiences with a vaguely biphobic doctor for Daily Xtra. I blogged about wooden dildos and the silly realities of sex for Ignite. I made some sex-nerdy confessions on SwingTowns. On our podcast, Bex and I talked about porn and ruining the mood, interviewed Kenton of Funkit Toys, and on 4/20 we got high and laughed a lot.

• In April I had 25 orgasms – fewer than average for me, because some depressive spells tanked my libido for a bit. Two of those orgasms (8%) were from partners; the rest were solo.

Femme stuff

• For my birthday, I bought myself an Alice in Wonderland necklace from Tarina Tarantino. It’s big and over-the-top and I love it.

• H&M makes a flattering $15 fit-and-flare dress in multiple different colors and patterns. I own eight of them now. It’s a problem. Except it’s not a problem at all. I think my current faves are the blue gingham and red floral ones. Soooo foxy!

• I got my makeup done for a friend’s wedding, and it was such a fun novelty. I’d never worn false lashes before, and couldn’t stop staring at my cartoonish babeliness in every mirror. My turquoise bridesmaid dress rounded out the look.

Little things

Hippo Campus’ new album (it is all I want to listen to right now!). Coaching/consulting sessions where I feel helpful and useful. Fun cam shows! Having a full plate of writing projects. Spicy salmon sushi and big helpings of edamame. Editing podcasts in a café window seat. Conversations with smart friends about strange psychosexual phenomena. Drinks-dates where our conversation crackles and flows. Twitter crushes. Interviewing hilarious smart people for exciting projects. All-day breakfast. Dancing to Taylor Swift with a bunch of new friends in Hamilton. Listening to the Flop House while soaking in a hotel bathtub at the end of a long day. Beautifully-wrapped presents. Polite and respectful suitors. Bex’s dapperness. Seeing my friends win awards. Good listeners. Learning new things. Sexting as negotiation. Really good coffee.

Claustrophobic Closet Kisses

Over a year prior to my current boyfriend, there was another boy who I dated for a paltry three and a half weeks. Let’s call him R.

R was, like most of the people I’ve ever been attracted to, tall, skinny, and awkward. He made me laugh and smile with his earnest sweetness. He wore ridiculous running shoes with trailing laces and had a huge toothy grin which he flashed when he wasn’t sure what to say.

R was on the student council at my high school, so he had his own “office,” which was really just a repurposed storage closet. It was large enough to fit a desk, a chair, several posters, and his backpack. He basically used it as an oversized locker or a surrogate bedroom; it was always a mess.

Sometimes I would drop by when I knew he’d be there, during his spare period. I’d duck out of art class and creep down the hall to the door with his name on it, and knock, my stomach doing excited gymnastics.

A few of the times that I came to visit him, R and I got up to no good in his office. I’d sit on his desk, trying to be seductive, while he signed important administrative forms or drafted an essay… and eventually he’d notice me, put down his work, and start kissing me.

His desk was in the corner. I remember being pressed up against the wall, so I physically couldn’t move away from the kiss if I wanted to. R was an aggressive kisser, all sloppy-tongued and gropey-handed, which I tried unsuccessfully to convince myself I enjoyed.

I remember thinking, I don’t understand what all the fuss is about. My friends raved about kissing, how it was romantic and intimate and life-affirming, but I never felt that. There were no fireworks or orchestral swells. There was only a giant prodding tongue and nagging feelings of doubt and claustrophia.

Naturally, R and I broke up pretty quickly – we were not a good match. I barely missed him, but some effects of my time with him have lingered.

To this day, it still bothers me to be kissed when I’m trapped against a wall, or any other confining surface. My favorite kissing position is straddling my boyfriend while he’s sitting down, because that way, I feel in control, like I can retract consent at any time without making a huge deal of it.

Of course, it helps that my current boyfriend is an excellent kisser, knows that tongue should only ever be an accent, and doesn’t try to asphyxiate me with his mouth.