Monthly Faves: Hearts, Wands, & Tears

It’s been a tough month, but I feel very loved. Here were some of my fave things in August…

Sex toys

• Swoooon: this month I was gifted a red glittery Doxy Die Cast wand vibrator. Beyond just being stunning to look at, it’s also a remarkable wand. The vibrations are rumbly and shockingly strong, and I just love the way this sexy aluminum wand feels in my hands. Full review to come!

• My other exciting acquisition this month was an Njoy Pure Plug 2.0. It’s massive, and I haven’t been able to get it inside me yet, but I’m holding out hope that someday I will!

Fantasy fodder

• I received a four-hand erotic massage from some local sexological bodywork pros this month and it was fucking divine. This type of massage pings a lot of my kinks about sexual service and partners having intimate knowledge of my preferences, so I found it super hot at the time and continued to find it super hot when I revisited it in subsequent fantasies. (Side note: a hookup asked me how the massage went, and when I said it was so good that I wished I could get one every week, he replied, “Play your cards right and you just might…”!)

• Since I went through a pretty traumatic break-up this month, I’ve had to recalibrate my fantasy life a bit so it doesn’t just constantly make me cry (*sad trombone*). This has meant seeking out new porn, dirty fanfiction, and erotica, as well as cultivating crushes on new people (both celebrities and IRL folks) to ponder in private moments. Masturbation is no longer an emotionally painful process for me, so that’s something!

Sexcetera

• Some of my work elsewhere this month: For Kinkly, I wrote about how an erotic massage helped me get over my break-up. I investigated the new at-home HPV test for Glamour. I wrote a Letter to the Editor about female orgasms for the Walrus. I identified some killer sex toy combinations and common “taboo” fantasies for Ignite. Peepshow asked me to chronicle some weird things people have put in their butts. I was interviewed by Coffee & Kink. I hosted Sex City Radio, interviewing sex toy reviewer Epiphora, break-up coach Natalia Juarez, and asexual sex blogger Taryn. On our podcast, Bex and I interviewed our friends Suz and Claire, and talked about conferences, Woodhull, and dominance.

• Orgasm stats: This month I had 27 orgasms, 7 of which (25.9%) were from partners. I’m surprised I still managed to have so many, despite terrible depression wracking me lately!

• Like I said, I went through a devastating break-up a few weeks ago, and while my heart is broken and life has felt very difficult this month, this experience has reminded me that I have lots of people in my corner and my friends are always there for me. I’m very, very lucky.

Femme stuff

• As per usual, I’m experimenting with various perfume samples lately. Though I’ve mostly been sticking with my perennial favorite, John Varvatos, this month I’ve also been enjoying the Tom of Finland fragrance from Etat Libre d’Orange. It’s supposed to be masculine but on me it’s just femmey, warm and comforting. Good stuff!

• My new hot pink Tarina Tarantino heart necklace is giving me life. It’s HUGE and VERY SPARKLY. God bless Tarina and her magpie proclivities!

• I am looooving my new “Submissive” T-shirt from Pen & Kink. I ordered one in the tri-blend material, so it’s suuuper soft and comfy – truly the ideal garment for a lazy babygirl to lounge around in!

Little things

Bex sending me a selfie of them and their Sir. My new Seven-Year PenThe Bold Type. Emotionally cathartic kink with a trusted partner. Doing a live Dildorks recording in front of a crowd at Woodhull! Readers of my blog coming up to me to tell me how much they love my work. Spanking Suz with a bible. Hanging with my blogger babes. Deep sleeps in big comfy hotel beds. Cadence making me a gin and tonic and gently domming me into finishing my work when I was practically too depressed to move. Watching Friends on Netflix with Max for hours on end. Being comforted/supported by my FWB, who then attempted to fuck the sads out of me. A random guy offering me a no-strings-attached footrub at a sex club. Max bringing me Haagen Dazs. Swimming while stoned. Journaling on public transit. Crimson Wave Comedy. Pinegrove’s wonderful album Cardinal. Improv crushes. Making out in an alley with someone who makes me howl with laughter.

Monthly Faves: Vibrations, Vibrato, & Varvatos

Woof. I had a lot of sex this month. Like, a lot. I have a new partner and he is an insatiable perv comme moi, so, y’know, lots and lots of fucking. I hope this trend continues all summer, because frankly, my vagina deserves it. Here are some of the things I enjoyed most in May…

Sex toys

• Full review coming soon: I am loooving my new-ish Swan Wand. Two rumbly motors in an ergonomically-shaped, hot pink beauty of a toy. Très bien!

• Like I told you on Monday, I’m really digging my Sportsheets under-the-bed restraints lately. Nothin’ quite like getting securely immobilized during sex at a moment’s notice. *swoon*

• My boyf rescued an old telephone table and we repurposed it as a spanking bench, obviously. I love the resourcefulness of kinksters.

Fantasy fodder

• Here’s some exciting news: it’s been almost two years since I first realized Daddy Dom/little girl dynamics turn me on, and now I’m dating someone who is into that dynamic too, and I am FEELING SOME WAYS about it. Let’s just say that the “fantasy fodder” column of my orgasm spreadsheet is even more rife with instances of “princess” and “little one” and “good girl” than usual lately.

• In exploring kink stuff with my new boyf, I’ve noticed that a lot of the kink activities I previously thought I didn’t like, I actually just didn’t like with previous partners. Many of the doms I’ve banged before have turned out to be assholes – or, in some cases, abusive assholes – which obviously colored my perception of the things we did together. With my new darlin’, there are some things I’ve always thought I’d hate forever, like being choked, facefucked, and slapped across the face, that actually feel fine (and even hot) because I’m doing them with someone I care about and trust. Kink is fascinating!

• As I’ve told you before, getting fisted is one of my major sexual goals. I’ve known for a long time that I wanted my First Fister to be a dominant person I feel emotionally connected to, who ideally has small hands, and I finally feel like that person has actually come along. This month, me and my beau went for coffee with my friend Taylor to talk fisting logistics (lofistics?!) since Taylor is a fisting expert of sorts. We learned a lot, and now I can’t stop thinking about my bossy boyfriend wearing a black nitrile glove, three knuckles deep inside me, telling me sternly to take a little more for him…

Sexcetera

• Some of my work elsewhere this month: I tried the teddy bear vibrator for Glamour (spoiler alert: I did not like it). I detailed the best and worst parts of being a sex toy reviewer for Daily Xtra. I wrote about realistic dildos, friendships with benefits, and iconic sex toys for Ignite, and powerful vibrators for Peepshow. I had some feelings about my favorite boy band and how they relate to pleasure under patriarchy. On our podcast, Bex and I discussed the porn festival, aftercaresexual astrology, and kissing, and we interviewed my mom.

• In May, I had 25 orgasms, an uncommonly high (for me) 64% of which were from a partner, with the other 36% being from masturbation. I wasn’t too keen on solo sex this month, in part because I’m so hyped on my new partner and in part because I’ve been intermittently depressed and have therefore lacked the libido and motivation to masturbate as often as I otherwise might.

Femme stuff

• I had so much sex this month that I didn’t spend much time wearing clothes, honestly. But MeUndies are still doin’ me right. They make a real good backdrop for spanking bruises.

• Gawd, I love Yo Sox. They have a brick-and-mortar shop here in Toronto the very sight of which fills me with glee. Ever wanted to adorn your feet with unicorns, hearts, or whales? I certainly fucking have. And now I can. Eee!

• I’ve been catching up on The Dry Down and, as always, it’s making me want to buy/try new perfume samples. Right now I’m really into dark, smoky, “masculine” scents with notes like sandalwood, balsam, and rum. (État Libre d’Orange’s “True Lust” and John Varvatos’ self-titled fragrance are two current faves.) I also like layering leather cologne over whatever I wear, for an extra kinky kick.

Little things

Nathan Stocker’s vibrato fingers and rock-star hair. The way my beau always smells like sandalwood and the scent lingers on my bed/hair/skin after he leaves. Taking friends lube-shopping. Being productivity-dommed. Cuddling with a chill-as-fuck cat. “Apparently I’m a genius!” Sunny park hangz with my darling. Talking about fisting while sipping mint tea in a crowded café. Snapbacks as a way of accessing my tomboy side. That time a barista gave me a spanking so thorough that he bruised his hand and told me he would think of me every time he tamped a shot of espresso until the bruise healed (hnnng). Receiving a “Still thinking about that BJ” text the morning after a hookup. Playing Scrabble with people who are better than me at Scrabble. Honey liqueur. Nutella donuts. Vegan mac and cheese. Tinder boys with good winks. “Dad Squad” jokes at the Victoria Day fireworks with Max. A punny dinner with porn pals. Vanilla cold brew. Good editors.

Monthly Faves: Gloryholes, Glass, & Giggly Girl Gangs

It feels ridiculous to talk about anything not geopolitical at the moment. But I still believe in goodness in the world, in the form of legal and financial supporters of the cause, brave protesters doing what’s right, or even something as comparatively mundane as good sex. If you need to tear your attention away from the news for a while and read about less pressing matters, like dildos and lipstick, I’m your girl. Let’s dive in and talk about what I loved most in January…

Sex toys

Bex bought me the best gift this month: a Standard Glass S-Curve dildo in my signature shade of turquoise. When they handed it to me, they said, “It’ll hit your A-spot,” but I wasn’t sure – the curve looked too extreme for that. But of course, they are a genius and were totally right. My fuckbuddy pounded me with the S-Curve within 24 hours of me receiving it, and he declared it was “like the Double Trouble on easy mode”: it hits my A-spot just as well but is much lighter, smaller, and easier to manoeuver. I’ll never doubt Bex again!

• I bought myself a kinky Christmas present: an 8-ball Billiard Banger from KinkMachineWorks. It’s soooo thuddy, almost like being punched. As always, I can’t recommend this li’l Etsy shop’s impact toys highly enough. (Look how pretty!!)

• I felt a particular appreciation for the We-Vibe Tango this month, both because I used it a lot (including for THREE ORGASMS during a hotel sex-date with my hardworkin’ FWB – swoon!) and because I’ve been selling plenty of them in my new job as a sex-shop salesgirl. It’s still the best, rumbliest rechargeable clit vibe on the market – and at only $80, it’s cheaper than a lot of comparable-but-less-good vibes out there.

Fantasy fodder

• I’ve had a thing for gloryhole porn on-and-off for years, and this month it came back with a vengeance. Right now I’m particularly enamored with “TheCarnivore,” who films himself sucking cocks in his home-built gloryhole shed in Florida. His deepthroating skills are a thing to behold!

• I’ve also been enjoying a fella named CumControl101 who makes videos of himself manually edging dudes til they’re whining and begging to come. Men’s pleasure sounds are one of my biggest turn-ons, so I like the ones who make a lot of noise

• An eccentric confession: sometimes, when I am high, I masturbate to makeup tutorials on YouTube. I am not jerking off over the prettiness of the ladies therein, in the way of that creep who probably wanks to your Facebook photos without your knowledge; there is, instead, some connection my high-brain makes between femme glee and carnal joy. When I’m just the right amount of intoxicated on just the right type of weed, my usually chaste excitement about glitter and lipstick can take on a saucy tone. Brains are strange, man.

Sexcetera

• I’ve been keeping a spreadsheet of all my orgasms thus far in 2017, like a fuckin’ nerd. It’s titled “Orgasm Registry” in my Google Drive, and yes, it is a separate document from my partnered-sex spreadsheet. It’s been interesting to track the ebbs and flows of my libido (predictably, it ebbs when I’m tired and overworked, and flows when I’m blazin’ on the regs), the toys I use most often (the Magic Wand Rechargeable, Double Trouble, and Tango), and how many orgasms I had in January (30!). But what interests me most is the “fantasy fodder” column – such a pure and true reflection of my innermost perviness. It sure is humbling to have to write down what you were thinking about right before orgasm!

• Some of my writing elsewhere this month: I wrote about the connection between promiscuity and empathy for the Establishment, and complained about mediocre men and femininity-diminishing anxiety on Medium. On our podcast, Bex and I talked about masturbation, social media flirting, shitty sex toy marketing, and being a publicly sexual person (that last one featured special guest Cooper S. Beckett, who was a dream!). As always, you can pledge to my Patreon for regular updates on what I’m up to.

Femme stuff

• I’ve been really into perfume lately, thanks in large part to the influence of The Dry Down and the ladies who write it. I read Tynan Sinks describe John Varvatos cologne as smelling like “if you spilled a chai latte into an old leather jacket,” so, obviously, I ordered a sample immediately. It’s supposedly a masculine scent, full of balsam, coriander, and vanilla, but it wears so beautifully on feminine little me. It makes me feel like a cupcake wearing a black leather ballgown to a kink soirée. I love it so much that when I lost my sample vial of it, I ordered another one immediately.

• Lipstick-wise, I’ve been oscillating steadily between Rouge d’Armani in “Lucky Red” (which I wrote about in November) and Sugarpill’s “Girl Crush.” A cool-toned red and a hot pink – how predictable pour moi! Sometimes I wish I were more adventurous in this realm, but hey, sometimes you just find what works for you and want to stick with it.

• A beauteous turquoise leather Coach tote (the “turnlock tote in crossgrain leather“) was on sale for half-price, so I snapped it up. I am in love: it’s roomy as hell, has secret pockets galore, and is the most brilliant, aggressively bright color. I brought it with me to New York as my carry-on and it comfortably fit my laptop, charger, journal, headphones, travel documents, makeup bag, wallet, glasses, and a book. Amaze.

Little things

Ringing in the new year with a bunch of sex-positive weirdos. Samantha giving us Alka-Seltzer tablets to take home after a rowdy New Year’s Eve party. Respecting and working with the natural rhythms of my mental health. Empathetic friends. My cozy new bedding and fluffy pillows. Good moisturizer. My mom bringing me Jamaican chickpea soup because wintertime makes me grumpy. The mental health mantra “No moment is unendurable.” Hitting 5,000 Twitter followers! My new phone wallpaper. Writing by candlelight. Shooting new headshots with Cadence, forever my favorite person to be photographed by. Good interviews with sweet sources over coffee. My new job at a sex shop! Giggly bralette-shoppin’ with Suz and Rosaline. Editing podcasts in cafés and train stations and hotel rooms. Recording Dildorks episodes with Brent and Kenton (they’ll be out over the next couple months!). Bex showing up to rescue me from an anxiety attack at a New York subway station, wearing a Batman onesie and a collar and carrying a bright yellow box of Kleenex. The Daily Mail writing about me (!). Excellent editors. My new pipe. When Bex and I tried not to burst out laughing while a waiter served me cacio e pepe from a giant block of cheese. Coffee Crisp bars. A boy telling me he can only wear mesh boxer-briefs for a couple hours at a time because they’re “very taxing on the sac.”

What sexy or sex-adjacent things did you enjoy this month, babes?

Scents (and Men) I Have Loved

a bottle of pink Kate Moss perfumeIn the summer of 2008, I felt beautiful. It was the first time since childhood when I’d felt confident in a brash, unselfconscious sort of way. I was the queen of my high school, strutting down the hallways like runways each day, dressed in femme finery. Teachers adored me, I was making new friends left and right, and I was acing all my classes. Strolling through life in my signature beat-up black cowboy boots, I felt effortlessly powerful. Unstoppable.

It helped that a tall, gangly girl with rainbow hair was in love with me. It was the first time anyone had ever been in love with me. In a way I deeply regret in retrospect but that felt acceptable at the time, I let her fawn over me – encouraged it, even. She was a close friend and I always made it clear to her that friends were all we’d ever be, but I also liked the way she looked at me. I liked the love letters she wrote me in Facebook messages and Honesty Box missives. I liked the casual cuddling on couches, the dates-that-were-not-dates at coffee shops and art galleries, the endless compliments and harmless flirtation. I liked it all.

The smell of that summer, in my memory, is Kate by Kate Moss perfume. Designer fragrances were out of the realm of acquirability for me, with a meager allowance from my parents being my only income – but I fell in love with the Kate Moss scent one day in a drugstore and resolved to buy it. After saving for months, I finally scraped up enough cash to buy the smallest bottle. I spritzed some on my neck as I left the perfume shop, and carried the precious pink fluid home as carefully as I could, my life already feeling revolutionized and beautified by this scent.

Simultaneously spicy and floral, “Kate” embodied the ballsy femininity I prided myself on at age sixteen (and still do now, when I’m at my best). I wore it that summer, in parks, on rooftops, in alleys, on grassy hilltops beneath big starry skies. I wore it on pseudo-dates with my ladylove-who-I-did-not-love. I was probably wearing it the night I lost my virginity to her, whispering giggly secrets in my tiny twin bed.

When I ponder the notion of “signature scents,” Kate by Kate Moss is the first one I think of for myself – and not just because of the name. It captures a moment in my personal history that I wish I could cling onto forever: a liberated sassiness, a pink dress hitched up to reveal white cotton panties, a gingery kick of joy right in your gut. The perfume’s been discontinued, so I can’t bring myself to use up the remaining dregs in that pink bottle that still sits on my dresser. I just lift it to my nose from time to time, inhale deeply, and think of that girl I used to be.


“Pleasant scents” and “pleasant men” have always been linked in my mind – dating back, I suppose, all the way to breathing in my dad’s Irish Spring and aftershave when I sat on his lap as a youngin’. But the first time I remember there being desire mixed into that feeling, it was focused on my high school philosophy teacher.

Dorky, charismatic, and paternalistic, he was utterly my type. I’d watch him enthuse about Kierkegaard or Sartre, wildly waving his arms and pointing passionately at a Powerpoint, and I’d melt into my hard wooden Toronto District School Board chair. How could any person be so perfect?

If you found yourself in the enviable position of walking behind him in one of our school’s tight stairwells, you’d get a definite whiff of something. A clean-hot-man type of scent. I don’t know what it was – cologne, aftershave, shampoo, maybe just soap. It was intoxicating, like everything else about him.

I once overheard some other girls discussing this experience – the walking behind him in the hall, the deep lungfuls of Attractive Man – and I felt strangely infringed upon, like they had stolen some moments that were supposed to be mine and mine alone. At the time, my own fragrance of choice was Lust by Lush, a jasmine-heavy and aggressively sexy scent that I soon had to stop wearing because it made my best friend sneeze incessantly every time I got near her. This, coupled with my hopeless crush on a married and unattainable grown-up, was utterly emblematic of how awkward and unsexy I felt at the time. Teenage Kate would pile on the jasmine in an effort to be half as bewitching as her philosophy teacher, but she never quite got there.


My first serious boyfriend just smelled right. He wore no cologne; it was the smell of his skin itself that I picked up on when I pressed my nose to his chest during long, lazy lie-ins. I was content to silently inhale him for minutes at a time, in that way you get when you’re obnoxiously in love.

The scent reminded me of vanilla or fresh-baked bread. It didn’t actually resemble those aromas, but it felt like them; it held the same deep sense of comfort and rightness that bread and vanilla do. My contentment, when my nose was squished against his warm body in bed, was akin to when you’re six years old and your mom is baking sugar cookies. That uncomplicated, expectant joy. All you have to do right now – your only responsibility in the whole world – is to play, and have fun, and wait for the cookies to be done.

Old Spice Swagger deodorant perched on a windowsill

My mental illnesses can sometimes make me do, well, “crazy” things. Like stand in the deodorant aisle of the drugstore and sniff every variety of Old Spice until I find the right one, and then buy it, never really intending to wear it.

I did this one October afternoon because a boy had not texted me back. I could not believe he hadn’t texted me back. It felt like the most important thing in the world. We’d cuddled, and talked for hours, and had sex. There had been intimacy. It had felt real. Why wasn’t he texting me back?

The answer, I see now, is: our arrangement was casual from the get-go, never intended to be more than that. But at the time I was inexperienced with such things, and the magical closeness of orgasms and pillow-talk had cast a spell on me. I wanted him in a deeper-than-just-sex kind of way and I couldn’t understand why he didn’t want me that way, too.

Hence: standing in an aggressively fluorescent Shoppers Drugmart, huffing Old Spice. I knew that was what he wore; he’d mentioned it offhandedly on our date when I told him he smelled good. There were many different Old Spice products on offer, and I sniffed each one: Krakengard, Steel Courage, Desperado. While the latter had a name that fit my mood, it wasn’t the right scent. It didn’t ping my nostrils with familiarity, or dampen my panties with Pavlovian associations.

When I found the right one, I looked at the label: it was called Swagger. How apt, for a boy who had swaggered nonchalantly into my life and then, just as nonchalantly, swaggered right back out of it again. I bought the deodorant, for reasons I still can’t quite articulate, and it’s still in my closet, never worn but often sniffed.


a sample of Armani Acqua di Gio cologneIn the summer of 2015 I had just started a new job which required me to wake up at 4:40AM and take a 5AM bus to get to a 6AM shift. Most of the time, I hated it. But on one particular morning in August, I didn’t hate it quite as much, because there was a handsome man with me.

A long-time internet crush of mine, he’d taken me out for Thai food the night before, after which we’d meandered back to my place for Scrabble and (eventually) sex. Though I should’ve slept when we were through, I was so elated by the good sex and good conversations that I wanted to stay up all night. We went to a 24-hour diner, and then to a 24-hour coffee shop, and then it was time for me to get on the bus that would take me to work.

He waited at the bus stop with me, making idle chatter laced with dorky jokes. I half-feigned exhaustion, as an excuse to lay my head on his shoulder, in a gesture of intimacy that exceeded what he wanted from me but that I couldn’t help craving. “You smell good,” I commented, and he replied sheepishly, “It’s on purpose,” as if that somehow discounted what I had said.

I don’t think either of us knew, then, that we’d end up steady fuckbuddies for over a year and counting. That cologne he wore – Acqua di Gio, I later learned – became entrenched in my memory with good goofy sex and aimless late nights, like we’d shared that first time. Acqua di Gio has its fair share of haters; its mainstream popularity lends it a reputation as an Eau de Fuckboy of sorts. But that clean, oceanic scent just makes me think of this man I adore(d) and how much he didn’t adore me in quite the same way.

Over a year after that first night together, he came to a party at my house after we’d been apart for a while. Minutes before his arrival, I’d been wondering, Will we have sex tonight? but the moment I opened my front door to him, I knew the answer. He was wearing that cologne. He was trying – “on purpose,” he’d said – to smell good for me. I was gettin’ laaaid that night. And indeed, I did, the smell of oceans and unrequited love filling my nose.


an aromatherapy blend in a bottle labeled "Kick in the Pants for Kate"“So what’s going on with you?” my aromatherapist friend Tynan asked me attentively, notebook and pen in hand. I promptly burst into tears.

Tynan had made me an aromatherapy blend before, so I knew the process. You outline your top three current complaints, whether mental or physical, and she ideally finds three essential oils which each address all three issues. Then she blends them together in a little vial, and when you wear a drop on the collar of your shirt, the scents infiltrate your brain through your nose and – through some kind of psychological aromatherapeutic alchemy – create change in your life.

The trouble was, the thing I most wanted to change in my life felt impossible to change – and I was hesitant to let it go. “I’m in love with someone who doesn’t love me back,” I admitted through a veil of tears. “I feel stuck. No one else is good enough. I swipe through dudes on Tinder and think, ‘Well, they’re not as smart/funny/perfect as he is, so what’s the point?’ I want to move on. I want to like someone who actually likes me back.” With that tirade off my chest, I progressed to the other issues bugging me: a sense of demotivation about my search for a new dayjob, and constantly chilly hands and feet from bad circulation.

“It sounds like all three of these issues relate to feeling ‘stuck’ and paralyzed,” Tynan said. “We need to get your energy moving again.” She flipped through an aromatherapy reference book, read me some passages, and had me sniff some oils. The mix we settled on was a particular ratio of key lime, palmarosa, and ginger – a blend designed to be uplifting and motivational. Tynan mixed the oils together in a small bottle and carefully inked the name of the blend onto the label: “Kick in the Pants for Kate.”

The finished blend is punchy and bold. I put it on first thing in the morning and feel enlivened, energized, ready to face the day. And I do think, in a weird sort of way, it helped me fall out of love with that man who was crushing my heart. My unrequited infatuations often stem from a feeling of powerlessness – the belief that I’m not good enough on my own, and have to rely on this idealized other person for all the humor, joy, and brightness in my life. Tynan’s powerful “Kick in the Pants” blend smells like strength to me. The more I wear it, the stronger I feel.

It drowns out the Acqua di Gio still haunting my heart. My own strength, it turns out, is bigger than that ocean of tears I once cried. Recently someone told me I smelled good, and I smiled at them and said: “It’s on purpose.”

Links & Hijinks: Selfies, Scents, & a Bag of Dicks

a dildo, a vibrator, and some red panties

Need some new media with which to populate your brain this weekend? Here’s some of my favorite stuff from around the internet as of late…

• I love to read about interesting kinks. Here’s a piece on a man with a smoking fetish and what appeal the act holds for him. “I’m also into specific rituals and mannerisms. For instance, I love when a woman is dangling a cigarette from her mouth while fishing through her purse for a lighter,” he says. “I love lighting women’s cigarettes, too; it’s an intimate moment that’s all about eye contact.” (My friend Caitlin also likes this moment.)

• The folks at xoVain wrote about how they take selfies and it’s fascinating (plus useful info for rabid selfie-takers comme moi).

• If you’re looking to shake up your music collection, I can’t recommend Said the Gramophone’s annual Best Songs of the Year list highly enough. Sean writes beautifully about each and every song on his list. I’ve already discovered a few new gems to obsess over.

• My friend Sarah wrote about the unpaid work sex bloggers are asked to do, although pretty much all creative types are asked to work for free all the damn time. “Paying people for their labor shouldn’t have to be a revolutionary thing,” she writes. “If you think bloggers’ work is good enough for you to want to partner with us, pay us. It’s truly that simple.” Yes girl yes!

• Even if you’re not all that interested in perfume, you might enjoy The Dry Down, a perfume-focused newsletter written by Rachel Syme and Helena Fitzgerald. The one sent in early January was a beautifully written treatise on how perfume interacts with gender and economic privilege, and what perfume can be when it’s not about “inaccessible, monied femininity.” Fragrances, Helena writes, are “a way to invite both other people and yourself to play, to explore whatever gender or expression thereof interests you, whatever memories you want to crawl into the warm burrow of and sleep pressed against through the winter, whatever dormant stories you want to unlock from your own closed archives.”

• Caitlin wrote about the difference between a vulva and a vagina. Messing up this distinction is the quickest way to piss off a sex blogger, FYI…

• After reading my piece about feeling addicted to love, a friend sent me this article about “the shadow side of alternative sexuality,” and how kink and polyamory can “[paint you] into a corner of identity politics that nobody will be able to rescue you from because it feels too much like sex-shaming.” It’s heavy stuff, and I don’t think it’s a perfect match with my own experiences by any means, but it’s definitely some food for thought.

Brandon Taylor – who is fantastic – wrote a Twitter thread about lessons he’s learned. Some faves of mine:  “47. If you want to suck a dick, then suck one. Don’t take your sexual frustration and confusion out on others with oppressive legislation.” ✨”52. There is no making it. There is no line. There is no point at which you’ve achieved all your goals. Always be scheming and dreaming.”✨ “27. Gay men, LOL. Yikes.”

• This piece about the origins of the phrase “eat a bag of dicks” made me cry with laughter. “They say necessity is the mother of invention; at some point, it’s obvious that we as a society simply realized that telling someone to suck or eat one dick was no longer an adequate insult,” Tracy Moore writes. “We needed to go bigger.”

• Shon Faye’s “guide to everything you need to know about your twenties” is so, so good. Read it.

• “I have a depression and I always will,” writes my pal Sarah in this poignant, painful, but ultimately hopeful blog post.

• I’ve been swoonin’ over this Paul Cook song, “A Real Thunderbolt.” It’s such a lovely crystallization of what it feels like to be suddenly, profoundly attracted to someone. 🎵Someone who makes your heart jolt. Not some “okay” girl. A real thunderbolt.🎵

Queer femmes’ online communities are super important, flying in the face of misogyny (both the sociocultural and internalized kinds), homophobia, femmephobia, and millennial-shaming. “Having queer femme friendships is essential. It’s non-negotiable,” says one interviewee in this article, and I am wont to agree.

• This poem on “how to make love to a trans person” is gorgeous.

What were your favorite things you read/wrote/listened to this month?