Happy Masturbation Month!


Lovelies, I am so proud to have a platform from which to shout this message from the proverbial internet rooftops: MASTURBATION IS AWESOME AND HEALTHY!

Next week I’m giving a talk to a group of volunteers at a telephone hotline that aims to support youth in a sex-positive, queer-positive way. The talk is about – you guessed it – sex toys.

One of the key takeaways I’m hoping to impart on these volunteers is what I mentioned above: the usefulness and loveliness of masturbation as a regular practice. It’s the reason I got into “sex toy advocacy” in the first place, and it’s the reason I continue to be so passionate about sex toys: people should feel empowered to masturbate as they please.

If you want some fun challenges for Masturbation Month, check out my article from last May for a few ideas. And if you want to buy yourself a treat for the occasion, may I recommend the Eroscillator for the zillionth time? (Still my favorite sex toy ever, a year after getting it!)

I hope you’re having a rad Masturbation Month and that you continue to have tons o’ fun orgasms throughout May. Tell me how you’re celebrating this month! (And with which toys!)

Does My Partner Get a Say in My Masturbatory Habits?

Sex-positivity is a relatively new movement, so there are still some conflicts floating around inside it. One of them is the fundamental discord between two ideas widely accepted as truths by the sex-poz crowd: “Your body is your own and no one can tell you what to do with it,” and “You and your sexual partner(s) need to discuss and establish boundaries that you’re both comfortable with.”

Here’s the conflict: if I have the right to masturbate, does my partner have the right to stop me?

I’m not talking about my partner specifically, mind you. My boyfriend is awesome and doesn’t care that I masturbate, even though I do it frequently and sometimes with toys that are bigger than him. But, being someone who’s often called upon to give advice to other people, I encounter this issue indirectly from time to time.

My belief is that your solo sex life is entirely your business and that your partner shouldn’t have control over it, nor should anyone else.

There are a few exceptions, though – as there always are in an issue as complicated as this.

First off, your masturbation can’t get in the way of your partnered sex life. If it does, it’s obviously fair game for your partner to criticize it. For example, if you jerk off so hard that you have death grip syndrome and it’s led to erectile dysfunction, I think your partner can request that you tone down your technique, or maybe even take a break from wanking.

Likewise, if you consistently choose masturbation over sex, to the point that your partner feels neglected, that’s probably a no-no. As is any non-necessary element of your life that leads to your partner being neglected.

I also think your partner has the right to get upset about you masturbating if the two of you have previously agreed to define masturbation as cheating in your relationship. I believe strongly that each couple gets to establish the parameters of “cheating” for themselves, and that you should stick to whatever you’ve agreed to. (Of course, you shouldn’t agree to anything you don’t actually agree with, and you shouldn’t stay in a relationship where your partner’s definition of cheating is drastically different from yours.)

And obviously, there are some activities associated with masturbation that your partner may or may not have a problem with – like watching porn, reading erotica, or engaging in voyeurism or exhibitionism online. Again, it’s up to you and your partner to establish what is and isn’t okay, and you need to agree on those limits for them to work.

But aside from those exceptions, I see no reason why anyone’s partner should get to dictate how and when they jerk off. Your body, your choice. It’s as simple as that.

You should never invalidate your partner’s feelings, but if anyone ever tells you they’re uncomfortable with you having a private solo sex life, you might need to find a gentle way to tell them to mind their own damn business.

What do you think? Do you, or should you, have control over your partner’s masturbation? What would you do if your partner wanted you to stop masturbating, or to masturbate in a different way?

Sex Toys Are a “Real Thing” Too

The cultural narrative which claims sex toys are just a substitute for the “real thing” is bullshit, and I’m sick and tired of it.

Masturbation is every bit as “real” and legitimate as sex with a partner, regardless of whether you use your hands, toys, or any other implement to do it.

I am sick of men who think it’s somehow appropriate or clever to tell me I should set my sex toys aside in favor of their cocks. This is not only gross because they are strangers and I have a boyfriend, but also because – hello?! – it is grossly presumptuous and arrogant for anyone to claim that they would do a better job at pleasing me than my sex toys would.

Sure, I love having sex with my boyfriend. But, to be honest, my Pure Wand hits my G-spot better than his penis does. And you know what? That’s okay! He understands and accepts that. His penis does not have a deep curve and it is not made of steel – nor would I want it to be that way!

I reject the idea that masturbation has to be “practice” or some kind of consolation prize for sex with another person. Sure, some people look at it that way, and some people would always rather be having sex than masturbating – but to me, the two are very separate arenas of my sex life and I don’t view them as being connected or necessarily having anything to do with one another.

Masturbation fulfills different needs than partner sex does. If I want intimacy, surprise, excitement, interaction, or to lie back and do nothing while receiving pleasure, partner sex is the way to go. If I want the exact kind of stimulation that gets me off, or I don’t feel like focusing on anything but myself, or I want to take a longer or shorter time getting myself off than a partner would like, I masturbate.

When people (let’s face it – men, always men) tell me about their ambitions to “replace” my sex toys with their throbbing hard cocks, or whatever, not only is that laughably unarousing to me, but it also erases my basic agency in my own sexuality. It communicates that these men think my masturbation is an illegitimate expression of my sexuality, that I can’t possibly experience pleasure without a man, and that I am sexually incompetent even when I’m all alone.

It reminds me of the idea that women shouldn’t get “too dependent” on their vibrators, because it might make them unable to enjoy sex. Uh, what about women who – like me – routinely use vibrators during sex? What about women whose partners use vibrators on them? What about women who have tricky clits that practically never get off without the help of a vibrator, and never did?

I am bored of everything and anything that invalidates women’s sexual agency. It’s all a bunch of hogwash. Ladies, take back your sexual power and masturbate as much as you want, with whatever toys and tools you want, and don’t mind any men who want to tell you your masturbatory adventures pale in comparison to his cock. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about!

Has anyone ever tried to delegitimize your solo sex life? What happened? How did you respond?

5 Sex Questions I’m Tired of Answering

I self-identify as a sex educator. That term is used in reference to powerhouses like Violet Blue and Dan Savage, so I’m not sure if there are actual technical qualifications that would prevent me from calling myself that… but barring those possible technicalities, yes, I would consider myself a sex educator.

I write for sex publications. I trawl sex forums on the daily. I give my friends (and sometimes my mom) sex advice when they ask for it. And of course, I write a blog about this shiz.

Most of the time, I love what I do. It fills me up with passion and enthusiasm like nothing else I’ve ever encountered.

But there are some questions which get tiresome, because they get asked all the fucking time in any space where people talk about sex. Here are a few.

“I can’t come from penetration!” or “My girlfriend can’t come from intercourse! What’s up with that?!”

Dude. Let’s set the record straight. The clitoris, not the vagina, is the centre of sexual pleasure for the majority of women. It’s the clitoris which is analogous to to the penis, and it’s the clitoris which must be stimulated in order for at least 70% of women to reach orgasm.

I don’t care what your porn flicks have taught you. Porn is great, but it is not a substitute for sex ed. Especially since it has succeeded in convincing millions of men that they’re only “good in bed” if their cock alone makes their woman writhe all over the place in orgasmic ecstasy.

There are plenty of women who can and do reach orgasm from penetration alone, but they are still technically the minority. When you have a new female sexual partner, it’s safe to assume that she wants or even needs clitoral stimulation to be a part of her sexual experience.

It’s not even that hard to do! Warm her up properly with a good amount of clit-focused foreplay. While you’re inside her, rub her clit, or have her do it. Or incorporate a vibrator. Or have an additional lover lick her pussy while you fuck her. Whatever it takes, man – just make it happen!

“Is my penis too small?”

For some women, yes. For all women, no.

Size queens exist – I have met a couple of them (one of whom, I might add, was a gay man) – but they are definitely not the majority.

From all the hundreds of conversations I’ve had about sex with people from all around the world, I’ve come to believe that this “bigger = better” mindset is largely a myth. Most women do not actually want to be impaled by a nine-incher. Some might think that’s what they want, but their sense of size is skewed or they just don’t know what it feels like to have something that big inside of them. Some women know exactly how big a nine-inch cock is and they know that they prefer it, but again, those women are in the minority.

From my thoroughly informal and anecdotal research, it seems like most women prefer a cock in the six-to-seven-inches range. Some, like me, are smaller, and so five to six inches is better. Some gals are even tinier than me and might feel most comfortable with something around four inches.

And then, of course, there are women who fetishize micropenises. Or those who have vaginismus and can barely fit a finger inside them, let alone an average-sized dick.

Point being… Whatever size your member is, there is a significant portion of the female population (or male, if you prefer) who would cite that size as their ideal. So if someone mocks your cock, take it with a grain of salt; she’s not saying “Your dick is the wrong size,” she’s saying, “Your dick is the wrong size for me.” Plus, she’s mean and should go fuck herself.

“Do girls like _____?” or “How do men feel about _____?”

I don’t care what it is. Fisting. Deep-throating. Being shit on during sex. Having their hair pulled. Whatever it is, the answer to a question phrased this way is always “it depends on the person.”

I realize that it can be very satisfying to simplify things in your head like this – “a woman on the internet says she likes giving blowjobs, so all women must like to give them, even if they won’t admit it!” – but that’s just not the way people work. We’re all different and we all like different things in bed.

What does this mean, in practical terms? It means that the techniques which worked on your ex probably won’t work on your new lover. It means that the “guides” you read on the internet might have zero effect whatsoever on your partner’s satisfaction, even if you follow them to a tee. It means that you have to do that tricky thing you’ve been trying to avoid by asking a question like this: talk to your partner.

That’s the answer to pretty much any sex question, actually. Ask your partner. Because they are the only one who knows the actual answer to your question. You’re not wondering whether women or men like a certain thing; you’re wondering whether the specific person you have in mind is a fan of that thing. And the only way to find out is to ask them.

“Will using a sex toy make me unable to enjoy real sex anymore?”

Vibrators cause desensitization for some people, but it’s only ever temporary. If it lasts more than a few weeks at the most, it’s likely that something else is going on and you should ask your doctor about it.

But for most of us, no, vibrations will not fuck with our natural ability to feel sex as it’s meant to be felt. If you find you’re feeling less sensitive after using your vibe, just lay off it for a few days or a week, and your sensitivity will come back. This is why I typically avoid using my vibrator for at least 24 hours before I’ll be seeing my boyfriend – I want to be able to feel the minute details of everything he does to me.

As for dildos… The vagina’s shape does not go through permanent changes in size due to objects that are put inside of it, except in some extreme cases (like pushing out a baby). I can’t think of a single dildo that would make a woman “looser.”

Sometimes those muscles start to loosen up on their own, because of inactivity. If that happens, it can be reversed by starting a regimen of Kegel exercises. These are great because they tighten you up while also improving your orgasms.

There is a mental aspect to using huge dildos, which is that a woman may start to prefer larger objects if she has a good time with them. However, I urge you to remember that a sex toy is not a replacement for a human partner. If someone would honestly choose an inanimate object over a person, odds are good that they were not ready for a relationship to begin with. So don’t sweat it.

“My vagina is burning!” or “There’s a red bump on my penis!”

…or pretty much any other genital-related health problem you can think of.

Please, please, don’t post this on the internet. Get up and go to the doctor. Now.

We may be interested in chatting about sex, but that does not make us qualified medical professionals. I know it sucks to have to ask your doctor about an awkward issue like genital pustules or what have you, but you gotta do it.

What sex questions are you tired of?

5 Sexual Rules That Should Be Common Sense But Sadly Aren’t

1. Masturbate. This just makes sense. People who practice biking on their free time will do better in bike races, for example. I read so many stories on Sexxit about women (yes, it’s almost always women) who have trouble reaching orgasm during sex – or worse yet, have never reached an orgasm in their lives – and somehow don’t see their refusal to masturbate as the source of this problem. Folks, if you don’t jerk off on a regular basis, you don’t get to complain about your shitty sexual response.

2. Communicate. Anyone who’s ever read a sex blog, listened to a sex podcast, seen a sex TV show, or had good sex probably knows this rule. Sex tends to suck if you don’t talk about it. Doesn’t matter what you love or hate in bed, you need to tell your partner that information, or they can’t do a damn thing about it.

3. Bodies are inherently valid. This phrase is credited to the late, great Mark Aguhar. She was probably referring to the validity of bodies in a larger sense (body image, body politics, body dysphoria) but it applies to the way we should approach sex, too. Never make the mistake of thinking you don’t deserve pleasure just because you’re chubby, or “ugly,” or differently abled, or in transition. Your body is inherently valid and that means you deserve sex, good sex. We all have insecurities, many of which get dredged up in sexual situations, but that doesn’t mean we have to give those worries any credence.

4. Enthusiastic consent matters. I don’t just mean the big consent issues, the ones that center around rape. I also mean the smaller ways in which our culture dismisses the need for consent. People who don’t like to hug or shake hands are often branded “weird”; people who are uncomfortable with sensual and sexual touching get called “prudes”; the list goes on. Even within seemingly healthy relationships, there are plenty of expectations – for example, a woman who receives oral sex from a willing partner may feel obligated to give him a blowjob in return, even if she’s emotionally unequipped to do so on that night. The point is: check in with your partner, make sure they’re really okay with what’s happening, and be aware of the signals that might indicate when they’re not.

5. We get to choose how we identify. I’ve written about this before, because it’s important. No one can tell you what to call yourself or what you should be feeling. You can be a gay guy and still have sex with women if you want to. You can be a “femme in the streets, butch in the sheets.” You can identify as profoundly kinky and still have vanilla sex if that’s what you feel like doing. The acts you perform do not define you unless you want them to.

What are your sexual rules, principles, tenets, and values?