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?

12 Days of Girly Juice 2016: 7 Bangin’ Selfies

It’s the 21st century, so our lives are documented most vividly in hastily-snapped smartphone selfies. Flipping through the selfies folder on my phone is an emotional journey: big smiles, momentous days, fond memories. It was hard to choose just seven selfies to tell the story of my year, but I think these are the best ones to do that.

img_1329In April, I went on a road trip to Minneapolis by way of Chicago, with Bex, Taylor, and Caitlin. There were some long, long days of driving – days when we’d be on the road for 10 or 11 hours at a time. We rarely got bored, because we had each other’s company and our phones to keep us entertained (except when Bug Tussel fucked up our cell service briefly), but at one point the road became so monotonous to me that I began sexting a fuckbuddy back home out of sheer desperation. He politely requested a boob selfie from me and Bex, and we reminded him, “Subs respond better to direct orders!” The reply came back, “Okay: topless pic. Now.” In the middle of a rainstorm on a highway somewhere in Wisconsin, we whipped our tits out and snapped this silly shot (with Caitlin in the background). “That was like the boss fight of nudes!” Bex declared afterward.

imageRemember that time I met one of my lifelong heroes, Kidder Kaper, while visiting his hometown in the midwest? Remember how he drove me back to my Airbnb and then asked me if I wanted to kiss?! Remember how, immediately after that kiss, we got out of the car and took a bunch of goofy selfies together? I will treasure these shots forever, I’m sure. This one, in particular, makes me smile. Kidder looks as impassioned as ever, and my facial expression is the exact blend of delight and astonishment I was feeling about the whole situation.

img_2890My friend Brent is one of my favorite people on earth. We connected on Twitter by chance last year when I started listening to his podcast and tweeting at him. Then we met in person when he spent some time in Toronto developing Use Your Words, and instantly bonded over a shared love of showtunes, good booze, and bad puns. (Plus he understands that I am the Queen of Wands.) We took a fair number of selfies together this year, at various shindigs, but this one is my favorite. That glowy, giggly grin on my face? That is how happy this dude makes me, with his jokes, his songs, and his friendship. (Sorry-not-sorry fer gettin’ all sappy on you.)

img_1790It was pretty freakin’ momentous for me to meet Gala Darling in person this year; she’s been my hero since I was 15. She was preternaturally kind and encouraging, at a time in my life when I needed her exact brand of tough-love mentorship even more than usual. We snapped this selfie together on an East Village side street while waiting for Gala’s astrologer friend to come meet up with us. It’s cliché to say I felt like I was dreaming, but I did: how else could I possibly be in New York City with my role model/spirit mama?!

imageI was stoked as hell to meet porn legend Nina Hartley at the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit. She was a total sweetheart and I now have bragging rights for the rest of time. But what I think about, when I look at this photo, is the minutes that led up to it. I’d told Bex I wanted to meet Nina but was too nervous to go and talk to her. Bex, ever an encourager of my dreams, calmly told me that I was going to go talk to Nina; there were no two ways about it. Bex grabbed my hand, led me over to Nina, and introduced me to her. I feel so blessed to have friends who care about me enough to give me tough love when my anxiety is being an idiot. If not for Bex, I never would’ve gotten to tell Nina about that time my first boyfriend quoted one of her videos when going down on me!

When I was targeted by a bunch of misogynist trolls in July, one of them wrote a blog post about me and gleefully linked to this photo of me in my Aslan Nicki harness as if it were some horrible, disgusting thing that could not ever be unseen. I had to laugh when I clicked through and saw which photo he’d linked to. It wasn’t anything I’d consider ugly or embarrassing; in fact, I look babely as hell in this picture. I felt hot that night and wanted to celebrate it, commemorate it. That’s why I took this shot; that’s why I take most of the selfies I take. Never let anyone shame you for expressing your glorious, gorgeous self in a reverential self-portrait; you deserve to be immortalized in this way.

img_3453The night this was taken, my friend Cadence had invited me over to catch up, which amounted to me basically crying at her about boys all night. We ordered sushi, drank a lot of whiskey, and I told her about the rejections, break-ups and betrayals I’d been through recently. Getting that all off my chest, and laughing with my oldest friend, made my problems seem surmountable for the first time in a long while. I ducked into her bathroom, glanced in the mirror, and saw a foxy babe staring back at me, instead of just a hollow, depressed shell of a girl. So I pulled my shirt down, fluffed up my hair, and snapped this shot. I felt powerful, defiant, and uncharacteristically capable. I felt like things were going to be okay.

What are your favorite selfies you took this year?

12 Days of Girly Juice: 7 Bangin’ Selfies

Earlier this year, I had Piph edit one of my posts. There was a part in it where I said, “I’m sorry, I know this isn’t very coherent, but…”

Piph was absolutely adamant when she gave me feedback. “NEVER APOLOGIZE,” she wrote. And since she’s a badass, irreverent blogger who knows what she’s talking about, I’ve tried to take her advice.

So I’m going to present to you my 7 favorite selfies I took this year – without spouting excuses about why my face is all over the damn internet. It’s my story to tell the way I want to tell it. So here we go.

imageI took this on the night of the Feminist Porn Awards, which, incidentally, was also the first night I ever showed my face on the internet in connection with my Girly Juice identity. I just felt soooo damn pretty that night that I wanted to show myself off. I commanded my Twitter followers to tell me how “fucking foxy” I looked if they spotted me at the awards, and someone actually did! Aww.

This night also marked the birth of the phrase “femme queen mode,” which is what I call it when I put tonnnns of effort into my makeup and feel like a Head Beauty in Charge. Seriously, look at dat fancy eyeshadow…

imageThis was taken in Portland, outside Voodoo Doughnut. I had bought this ridiculous cotton candy-flavored donut mostly because it was turquoise and pink – which, as you may have noticed if you’ve ever looked at this freakin’ website, are my favorite colors. I was rocking pink tinted lip balm and my blue glasses, prompting Piph to announce, “Your donut matches your face!” So, a selfie seemed necessary, of course.

imageI took this first thing in the morning, the day I was gonna get my tattoo. The light was soft and pretty outside my room, and I felt like commemorating my lower belly’s last day as unmarked flesh. I love this photo because it reminds me that I can look and feel sexy even though I have love handles and a Buddha belly.

It also makes me smile that I chose to wear a red T-shirt specifically because I knew I was getting a red tattoo. Sartorial geekery forever!

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I took this with Bex and Penny just moments after we reunited at JFK airport in September. Our smiles really say it all: I adore these dorks. Friendship was a central theme of 2015 for me, and I’m so glad that lots of those happy moments were photographically documented.

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Speaking of friendship… Here’s me and Georgia eating a pizza that we tempted a boy to buy for us by sending him nude pictures and a short video of us making out. Industrious femmes 2015! We had been naked most of the evening; she only put her shirt back on so as to answer the door for the pizza delivery guy. We’re ridiculous.

 

imageYEESH, my makeup was on point this night. I got all dolled up for the Twilight edition of Drunk Feminist Films. Trying to lean into the vampire theme, I did a goth-y grey and black smoky eye and a blood-red lip.

Something I noticed this year was that I’m more inclined to get babed up for other women than I am for men. I adore men and there are lots of them who I want to impress, but let’s be real: most of them don’t appreciate great eyeshadow blending or a flawlessly crisp lipstick application. Femme beauty rituals are often cut down as being heteronormative attention-seeking behaviors, but the truth is, I do makeup to impress myself and other ladies, not dudes!

imageFunny how you can have good body image days and bad body image days, even as your body stays exactly the same. This was definitely a “loving my body” day. One of the main benefits of my weight gain over the last year is that my tits are way more glorious now than they used to be. Yay!

Also, can we talk about my phone case?! It’s from Redbubble and I love it unimaginable amounts. I used the heart-eyes emoji so much in 2015 that it grew to be like a positive mantra, and a symbol of the kind of attitude I want to cultivate toward everything in my life. It’s also lovely to have a little heart-eyed dude staring back at you in every mirror, as if to say: “What a BABE you are!!”

What were your fave selfies you took in 2015, my loves?

I Showed My Face on the Internet & Nothing Awful Happened

I am a sexy ghost. A faceless apparition. My Twitter avatar is a picture of my boobs. My bio photo is my knees, adorned in sex toys. The name I go by is not my real name, obviously (although: admit you would be at least somewhat impressed by my parents if they had, indeed, legally named me Girly Juice).

There are two main reasons I have always hesitated to show my face in any capacity connected to this blog:

1. I worried that potential future employers, distant conservative family members, shitty misogynist trolls, etc. would stumble across my pictures and use them against me in some way. These worries, if I let them get too far, always morphed into melodramatic waking nightmares in which I ended up homeless, alone, and disgraced. (I know. I’m ridiculous. I told you, I have anxiety.)

2. (And this is an even sillier and more embarrassing reason…) I’m insecure about how I look, and I worried that if people saw what I looked like, they wouldn’t think I was sexy or pretty, and it would cause them to discount my opinions and stop reading my blog.

When Caitlin and John came to my house to interview me and film me masturbating (which is a whole ‘nother story for a whole ‘nother blog post), we got onto the topic of sex blogging and anonymity. Caitlin point-blank asked me why I kept my identity (and my face) so private in the blogosphere, and I went on a meandering ramble about closed-minded office jobs and facial recognition technology and sex-negative assholes… and my tirade was so aimless that at the end of it, I was left thinking, “Why don’t I show my face? Is there a real reason, or is it just my stupid anxiety-brain?”

I have so many friends in the sex-positive corner of the internet who reveal not only their faces but their names, their real-life accomplishments, their identities. And I’ve always been jealous of them, because they can be their whole selves. When their readers and fans love them, they really love them, not some reductive persona.

A few months ago I tweeted that I was toying with the idea of showing my face, and some douchebro replied something like: “Don’t. I like mysterious women.” It reignited all my old doubts about how anonymity might be more alluring to readers than my actual face and body. What if you thought you were reading the sex stories of someone who looked like Jamie Dornan and then you peeled back the curtain and it was actually Gilbert Gottfried under there?! (That’s not to say that I think I look like Gilbert Gottfried… or that he doesn’t have some perfectly lovely characteristics… but you see what I’m saying, yeah?)

When I got dolled up for the Feminist Porn Awards, I came downstairs and there was no one in my house. (This is quite unusual; I live with three other people and two of them work from home.) I got frustrated that there was no one around to tell me, “Hey, you look good!” and that combined with the overall sex-positive, yay-for-sex! attitude that tends to pervade Feminist Porn Week… so I impulsively posted some selfies. Of my face.

And people were really fucking nice about it.

Like, literally every single person who sent me a reply was incredibly sweet and supportive. No one made me feel like it was a particularly big deal or shocking reveal. Everyone was just… great. And it’s one of my most-favorited tweets to date.

I’ve posted a few more Twitter selfies since then (and not just of my cleavage or underwear or disembodied lips), and the results have always been the same. My followers are complete and utter sweethearts. They have made me wonder why I was so scared of doing this for so long.

And they’ve also shown me that my constant self-criticism about my looks is unfounded. I don’t look like a magazine model, and I never will, but lots of people still think I’m pretty. No one, so far, thinks my face or body are incongruous with my femme-sexpot internet persona. It’s just not a big deal. At all.

Sex bloggers and other sexy-on-the-internet types: do you show your face? What’s your reasoning behind showing or not showing it?

5 Nifty Things You Can Do With a Speculum

I have an impulse-shopping problem when I go to sex shops. When I was dating a dude, I used to spot Tenga Eggs at the checkout counter and throw a couple into my purchase without even thinking about it. Now that I’m single, I tend to impulse-buy things for myself, instead. Like, most recently, a steel speculum.

I went to Come As You Are to pick up a book I needed, and they had an affordable speculum in the display case by the checkout, and, well, I can’t be expected to resist something like that, can I?

I’ve been playing around with my speculum and I have suggestions for what to do with yours, if you have one – or what you’d be able to do if you bought one. (C’mon, I know you’re thinking about it.)

1. Look at the inside of your vagina. (Or a partner’s vagina.)

As you might have inferred from, y’know, my entire blog, I’m a pretty sexually exploratory person. I know my body better than most people know theirs. But prior to owning a speculum, I had never seen the inside of my own vagina.

It’s not exactly an accessible area. It stays closed unless you’re actively holding it open, which is hard to do. You can get a marginal glimpse of the inner walls if you’ve got a clear glass dildo, a mirror, a good lighting setup, and endless patience for experimenting with different angles. But that’s not ideal, obviously.

I was stunned by how beautiful and strange-looking my vagina actually is. It’s like an underground cave made of cotton candy. Gorgeous and creepy and fantastic.

2. Take vagina selfies.

I take selfies that feature pretty much every other part of my body. Why not my vagina, too?

If you’ve got a speculum, an adjustable lamp, and a camera or cameraphone, you can take vagina selfies too. I used my iPhone and one of those clip-on reading lights. It takes some experimentation – I found it difficult to hold my phone in such a way that it wouldn’t block the light – but when you get it right, the photos are worth the trouble.

These aren’t the sexy kind of selfie that I’d send to a flirty beau. The inside of a vagina is actually more alien-looking than it is appealing, if you ask me. But it sure is interesting to pore over those photos. Sometimes I pull mine up on my phone and just stare and stare, transfixed. That’s inside me?!

3. Medical play.

Doctor-patient scenarios get me a little hot and bothered. I’ve never had a partner who was into that kind of roleplay but it’s something I look forward to trying in the future.

I don’t really know what this kind of play would entail, exactly, but with an imaginative and open-minded partner, I’m sure even a cold, clinical-looking speculum could become sexy to me.

4. Gradually dilate your vagina.

For people with vaginismus or other vaginal tightness issues, I’d imagine a speculum could be a helpful tool. It opens wider in a way that’s very slow and gradual, so you can adjust it to a setting that’s comfortable for you and maybe push your boundaries a little more each time, until you can accommodate whatever width you’re trying to get to.

I’d recommend checking in with your gyno before you try this, and combining the speculum with clit stimulation so it’ll hopefully feel good rather than weird.

5. Monitor your G-spot.

If you insert your speculum sideways, it’ll open up horizontally rather than vertically, giving you access to the top wall of your vagina where your G-spot is. This makes it a lot easier to touch your G-spot as well as to look at it.

Like a lot of sexual anatomy, the G-spot swells when stimulated. If you use your speculum to check out your spot before a play session and then again afterward, you may be amazed by how much it’s changed in size and texture. Bodies are so cool!

Do you have a speculum? What do you use it for?