12 Days of Girly Juice 2016: 2 Fears Defeated

After I chickened out on going down on a girl during a threesome this year, my male fuckbuddy – the other participant in said threesome – commented, “I wish I could hack your brain and cut your anxiety out of it.”

I could’ve been offended. I could’ve interpreted this as him wanting to circumvent my resistance and artificially coerce me into doing something I didn’t want to do. But I know him well, so I knew what he meant. He wanted to rid me of my sexual anxieties, not only because it would be more fun for him, but because it would be more fun for me.

I can’t argue with that. There are, no doubt, a lot of fun activities I could enjoy if I didn’t psych myself out of doing them. But we can’t control the mental illnesses we’re saddled with, and we can only do what we can do. So I try not to beat myself up for the hurdles I’m not yet strong enough to jump – and I try, instead, to celebrate the hurdles I have leapt over with flying colors. Here are two such hurdles I cleared in 2016.

Doing porn. I don’t even like my partners to look at me during sex. I don’t know why I thought I could handle porn, where the eyes on me would total not only my partner’s but also the cameraperson’s, any other crew members’, and those of the eventual viewing audience. But it sounded fun, to some deeply buried and uncharacteristically brave part of me, so I gave it a shot. It helped that I have a lot of friends who are involved in porn – most notably Caitlin of Spit and Taylor of Feisty Fox Films – so I knew I’d be safe and supported.

I kicked off 2016 by shooting a scene for Spit with the devastatingly handsome Dane Joe, who bent me over a coffee table in Caitlin’s cozy downtown apartment and spanked an epic bruise onto me with a paddle while I stared at a bowl of oranges artistically placed in front of me. And then I got to eat a cupcake for having been such a good girl. (This scene was later screened at Smut in the 6ix in front of dozens of people, to my blushy glee.)

A few days later, I got naked in the Glad Day Bookshop for Taylor’s camera, posing with goofy props gathered from around the store. The manager pumped Justin Bieber tunes through the stereo at my request and I wore an unshakeable smile as I sidled around the shop in my skivvies, still bruised from my last shoot.

Photo via Spit.

In February I performed in one of Spit’s live porn shoots at Oasis Aqualounge: Dane Joe bossed me around and fucked me with various toys for the crowd’s amusement, until I had a surprise orgasm while she pounded me with my Eleven.

In May, I skipped over to Taylor’s house with a tote bag full of sex toys and masochistic implements. He and his photographer pal Caroline Fox trained their video cameras on me, and I didn’t feel nervous at all – instead, I came alive, perked up, put on a show. I smacked myself silly with my stone crop, then fucked myself with toys until my body burst into climax.

In June, I showed up at Riverdale Park in full rockabilly garb. Caroline, shooting for CherryStems this time, helped me sleuth out a relatively secluded area in the middle of the park, and I saucily stripped off my clothes while she snapped away. Then she handed me an ice cream cone and I fellated it with the juicy joy of someone who loves sugary treats as much as she loves blowjobs. (A lot.) Being photographed for CherryStems felt like the fulfilment of a very old wish: I’d longed to do pinup modeling since I was a wee lass poring over SuicideGirls.com before I was legally allowed to view such materials.

Mid-year, I complained on Twitter that I’d never shot blowjob porn and wanted to – and to my surprise, I got a DM from the owner of one of my favorite dicks, volunteering his gorgeous cock for me to suck on camera. I contacted my friends at Spit and managed to organize things so both Bex and I could shoot scenes for them while Bex was visiting Toronto that month. Bathed in soft light and the giggly glow of a happy little princess, I knelt on the floor between my fuckbuddy’s knees and Spit’s artistic director John Bee shot us in a stunning POV BJ scene. Weeks later, me and my co-star huddled together in my bedroom with boozy ciders and watched the scene on my little laptop. “Do I look pretty?” I asked him, and he replied, “You look very pretty. And sexy. And determined.”

Porn has never been a career ambition for me, never something I took very seriously – I’ve always done it for the fun and thrill of it, more than for money or glory (both of which there is little of, in Canada’s small porn scene). So I don’t know if I’ll do much more of it, now that I’ve basically achieved what I wanted to achieve by gettin’ sexy on camera. Maybe in 2017 I’ll shoot a solo scene for MakeLoveNotPorn.TV, or spank a pretty girl for Taylor’s camera, or co-blow a handsome person for Spit. Only time will tell…!

One-night stands. Sometimes it’s hard to differentiate fear from regular ol’ dislike. Prior to this year, I’d always theorized that one-night stands would not be my jam (peep this old post where I wrote, “I’m soooo not interested in sex where the partner and I know nothing about one another… Boring!”), but this year I finally delved into them a little bit. I had one in Minneapolis and a couple more back home in Toronto.

Those experiences were okay, but they also confirmed for me what I’d already suspected: that one-night stands are not my preferred type of sex, not at all. I didn’t have an orgasm during any of those three encounters, and it wasn’t a coincidence: sex with a brand-new partner who’s a near-stranger is rough on my anxiety, making it hard for me to relax into pleasure, plus my genitals’ preferences are so specific that someone really needs to bang me a few times before they’ll learn how to get me off. With one exception (a porn shoot at a sex club, using amazing toys), all the orgasms I had during partnered sex this year were with steady romantic partners or consistent fuckpals – people who knew my body, and who I felt comfortable bossing around til they learned what worked.

Another factor that makes one-night stands not-so-great for me: there’s often alcohol involved! It isn’t necessary for us to drink before boning, of course, but it just shook out that way a lot of the time: either we went on a Tinder-borne pre-bang drinks-date, or we met at a bar or party where there was some boozin’. Alcohol numbs sexual sensation, which – for me, during one-night stands – just compounded my already-extant orgasm troubles in those situations.

It’s interesting how sometimes conquering a fear introduces you to your new favorite thing (that’s what happened for me with improv!), but other times, it just shows you how much you dislike the thing you once feared. It’s still always better to know than to suspect, though, so I’m glad I did the legwork and learned one-night stands aren’t for me. Sexual empowerment is a process, and part of that process is learning what you like and what you dislike.

I think in 2017, I’ll avoid one-night stands. (To the best of my ability, anyway. Sometimes you can’t predict when a sexual encounter will be a one-off.) The only reasonable exception I can imagine is if I’m desperately craving a dick in my mouth – in which case, I won’t be especially concerned with getting off, so it won’t matter if the non-BJ parts of the experience are subpar. I’m hoping my sexual situation in 2017 will involve some more consistent, longer-term sexual partnerships – but if not, I think I’d rather just double down on masturbation than risk terrible sex with a stranger!

What fears did you conquer in 2016?

5 Things That Surprised Me About Making My Own Amateur Porn

Filming yourself having sex or masturbating is a laugh and a half. If you haven’t already tried it, but the idea of it piques your interest, I highly recommend it. It teaches you a lot about performativity, your own sexual response, and your tastes in the porn you consume.

Influenced and encouraged by my many friends in the indie porn scene, I’ve experimented a few times with filming my own sex and masturbation. A lot of things surprised me about my own amateur porn when I first started making it; here are a few of those things…

The noises I make. You know that thing where, you think your voice sounds fine when you talk, but then you listen to a recording of yourself and can’t stand how you sound? (As a journalist who does her own transcriptions and also co-hosts and edits a podcastyikes, I know this feeling well.) I actually find that the opposite occurs with my sex sounds, though: in the moment, I don’t think about them much, but listening to them back, I find them rather more appealing than I expect to.

Partners have variously described my pleasure noises as “cute,” “sexy,” and “a mix between a laugh and plaintive huff.” (I fuck such articulate people!) It’s neat to be able to assess and appreciate my sounds without the pleasures of sex clouding my judgment – and to realize that yes, they are adorable!

My sex faces. Admittedly, I’m less compassionate toward myself about my faces than I am about my noises. Watching myself on video still makes me cringe: “Is that what I look like when I’m coming?!” I’ll think, slightly panicked. “Why does anyone find me attractive?!”

But then I start applying cognitive-behavioral therapeutic strategies to my thoughts. I remind myself that I’ve had many partners who’ve expressed finding me extremely attractive – not only before having sex with me but also after, when they had already become intimately familiar with the deeply human faces and sounds and fluids I produce. They must, therefore, have found those things attractive. And therefore, even if I don’t agree with them that my twisted grimace of pleasure is beautiful to behold, I can at least believe them when they express that opinion. Watching my own porn hammers that point home.

Unexpected squirting! In the funniest solo porn scene I’ve ever shot, I squirted without meaning to. This never happens to me – I always feel a telltale pressure building in my G-spot that warns me of impending waterworks. But in this particular case, I was so focused on the toy buried in me – and maybe on the video camera pointed at me – that I didn’t notice an oncoming wave of vagjaculation. So when I slid the toy out of me, squirt rained down on my floor, and I exclaimed, “Oof!”

Filming yourself in sexual situations can lead to an overly stilted, self-aware performance – but if you manage to capture your own authentic goofiness, even for a moment, it might end up being your favorite moment in the whole scene. You’ll get to see a side of yourself that usually only your partners are privileged enough to witness – and it can bring you a new appreciation for yourself in all your glorious weirdness.

My stillness. It’s funny to observe the stark differences between your inner life and how it manifests externally. When I’m masturbating, my head’s all awhirl with fantasies: submissive predicaments, dominant archetypes, partners whispering dark promises in my ear while fucking me to pieces. It feels highly dynamic – but when I watch videos of myself jerking off, I’m struck by how still I stay. Aside from the hand operating my dildo, and the increasingly erratic rise and fall of my chest, I mostly stay put, my eyes squeezed shut in concentration.

Learning this about myself got me thinking about changes I’d like to make: it might be more fun for both me and my partner(s) if I seem more physically engaged and present during sex, whether by moving around more, or keeping my eyes open more of the time, or focusing more on what’s happening in front of me than what’s happening in my head. That said, there’s something very hot to me about the idea of a partner commanding me to stay perfectly still – while they pound me with a dildo, say, in an attempt to unravel my composure. Making your own porn is so thought-provoking!

Actually finding it kinda hot. There is nothing about my own face or body that I find sexy, to be honest with you. For that reason, watching myself in porn usually makes me uncomfortable at first. But once I’ve acclimatized to the cringeyness of it, sometimes I can actually start to enjoy it. And once in a blue moon, I can even find it hot.

It’s less a “this person is attractive” kind of hotness, and more of a “sympathetic arousal” kind of hotness. As I listen to my breath hitching in my throat, my moans doubling in volume, and the slick slide of toys against my skin, I’m reminded in a Pavlovian way of all the times I’ve heard those things while sex was actually happening to me. And my body responds as if those past experiences were reoccurring in the present. I still haven’t ever actually masturbated to my own porn, but maybe one day I’ll be able to set aside my insecurities enough to do that. Maybe one day, when a partner calls me a foxy babe, I’ll be able to deeply, truly, 100% believe them.

 

This post was sponsored by Smut6.com, but as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own!

12 Days of Girly Juice 2016: 4 Fun Events

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo via Taylor J Mace.

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

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

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

Strange Self-Care in a Time of Terror

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The day after the election, like many of you, I couldn’t get out of bed. I couldn’t wash the previous night’s tear-streaked eyeliner off my face, or brush my teeth, or get dressed.

What I could do, and what I did do, was as follows: I put on some lipstick, watched YouTube videos and blowjob porn, and cried.

Self-care – or coping, because sometimes they are one and the same – is so unique from person to person. What’s comforting to you might be scary or weird to me, and vice versa. But with that caveat, here are some things I’ve been doing to take care of myself during what feels like a global depressive spell. I hope some of these suggestions help you, or at least inspire you to do what you can do for yourself.

img_5056Lipstick. If you ever see me wearing just lipstick and no other makeup, you’ll know I’m either feeling minimalistic in a French-starlet kind of way, or I’m depressed. It’s the easiest cosmetic to slick on when I barely have the emotional energy to look in a mirror. It doesn’t require the patience of liquid eyeliner, the precision of eyebrow pencil, the fastidiousness of foundation. It’s a simple, quick burst of color. It signals to my body and my brain that I am beginning my day, even if my pajamas and unbrushed hair say otherwise.

Mundane activities. If I can manage to get out of bed when depressed, I may be able to (slowly) work up to cleaning, doing laundry, or other boring day-to-day tasks. They are small and not terribly significant in the grand scheme of things, but they are something I can do, and it feels good to be able to do something when you’re depressed. My friend Sarah likes to bake, for similar reasons; she says doing something with her hands feels useful when depression makes it hard for her to move her body a lot. The other day I went to the mall with a friend because he needed to return a shirt he’d bought, and it was the sweetest banal respite. Sometimes going grocery shopping or stepping out for a coffee feels oddly affirming when I’m depressed. It’s okay to do small things when you can’t manage the big ones.

lBlowjob porn. I’m aware that this is unconventional, but that’s the point of this post, after all. While watching Heather Harmon porn in a weed-induced stupor the other day, I became aware that it was calming me down and comforting me. Part of that is simply that her porn is familiar to me; I know the rhythms and features of it, the noises I can expect from her husband Jim, the predictable cumshot at the end. And blowjobs are, historically, a calming activity for me. The love between Heather and Jim really comes through (no pun intended!) in their videos, and that helps, too. There is something so sweet and simple about a loving blowjob. When Heather does it, it is a gift without expectations of reciprocation. It is a pure expression of affection. In a world that feels cold and heartless, it can be nice to remember that there are still people who love each other that selflessly, somewhere; that there are still people who want to see their loved ones experience pleasure for pleasure’s sake.

Funny podcasts. I sing the praises of the McElroy brothers at any given opportunity. Their humor is goofy, fresh, and relentlessly kind. Whether I’m puzzling through advice questions with the brothers on MBMBaM, immersing myself in the fantasy world they’ve built in The Adventure Zone, or laughing til I cry at the weird creations of Monster Factory, I’m hardly thinking about my problems or worries when I’m mired in a McElroy show. It’s not hyperbole to say that these boys may have saved my life on many occasions.

3647718646_7d503c3a99_oMaking music. My songs are predominantly about romantic rejections and unrequited love – phenomena that feel huge when they’re happening to you, but pale in comparison to, say, the impending threat of a global economic collapse and the xenophobic mass ejection of immigrants. When the big things feel too scary to contemplate, it can help to whine about the small things for a while. And if perfectionism doesn’t make your anxiety worse, it can give you a concrete task to work on when the world’s issues feel unsolvable. I showed my friend Brent a song I wrote recently, and he – a seasoned songwriting teacher – gave me detailed notes about structure, syllables, melody and arrangement. Working toward perfection, even within the small world of a single song, felt fuelling when I would’ve otherwise been crushed by the weight of the global problems I cannot solve.

Scary media. Stephen King novels, American Horror Story, bad slasher films on Netflix – whatever works. There is some evidence that horror movies alleviate anxiety for some of us, and I’ve definitely experienced that. It’s comforting to feel that there is an actual, concrete reason for your fear, instead of just letting your nonspecific dread run rampant. And when the story resolves, some of your terror might, too. For similar reasons, my friend Sarah says reading erotica helps her anxiety. Don’t judge yourself for the seemingly strange self-care strategies you employ. If it works, it’s worth doing.

Marijuana. Some would say it’s not healthy to rely on substances to get you through tough times. I say that sometimes substances are the only things that can get you through and that may not be ideal but it’s still okay. Weed blurs my brain a little, forcing me to think one thought at a time instead of losing myself in worry. And it also reawakens my libido even at the unsexiest of times (more on that in a post coming out on Monday), enabling me to masturbate when I otherwise would’ve been too depressed to do so. Masturbation can be, for me, an important medicine, flooding my body with uplifting neurotransmitters and re-affirming my love for myself, so any impetus to do it more often is a good thing.

What are your unconventional self-care methods?

 

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How I Do My Makeup For Porn

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I’m hardly a porn star, but I’ve dabbled in sexy performing and posing for my various pornographer friends at Spit, Feisty Fox Films, and Cherrystems. I love makeup, and I love porn, so doing my makeup for porn is extra fun. Taking cues from traditional porn makeup, I filmed this video tutorial for you back in July when Bex and I were staying in an Airbnb specifically chosen for its good porn lighting.

While this tutorial was made with porn makeup in mind, this look is ideal for any time you want to look (and feel!) glamorous and sexy. I do my eyeshadow like this for sex-positive events, dance parties, sex club hangouts – any time I want to be a total babe. It’s a good all-purpose foxy look, and I hope you dig it!

Products used: Brushes by Sigma, EcoTools, RealTechniques and ELFAnastasia Dipbrow PomadeMAC Paint Pot in “Painterly”LORAC Pro eyeshadow paletteSmashbox pore-minimizing primerClinique Stay Matte foundationBeautyblender spongeMAC Pro Longwear concealerLaura Mercier translucent setting powder • NYX blushes in “Taupe” and “Electro” • NYX matte setting sprayMAC Liquidlast liquid eyelinerCovergirl Professional waterproof mascaraColour Pop lip pencil in “Heart On” • Bite Beauty lipgloss in “Bellini”