Links & Hijinks: Blowjobs, Dopamine, & Carmen Miranda

• Girl on the Net wrote about rediscovering the real joy of sex after stressing yourself out thinking that sex “should” be joyful. I love pieces like this which acknowledge the sometimes unglamorous realities of sex, which many people feel broken for experiencing.

• Here’s some men talking about their sex toys. There’s lots to like about this article, but I particularly lost my shit over this line: “Men can orgasm at the drop of a hat, generally speaking (at least if it’s a particularly sexy hat — I’m thinking a Carmen Miranda fruit hat, that big wide-brimmed one Beyonce wears in the Formation video, one of those ones that has a beer can on either side).”

• Is mocking a man’s small dick on par with the body-shaming experienced by women? To me, the answer is “obviously yes,” but this article is still worth a read, if just for the absurd story therein about two Instagram models whose post-breakup drama played out online in the form of passive-aggressive dick snipes.

• “I can’t stop thinking about penetration” is one of the best opening sentences I’ve read in a while. Here, the Establishment’s Katie Tandy writes beautifully about penis envy and power dynamics.

• The great Alana Hope Levinson’s thoughts on “the cuckboi” made me shriek with laughter. “The cuckboi understands that there’s no ethical consumption under capitalism, unless you’re eating pussy.” TOO GOOD.

• On the loquacious raving and “intrusive thinking” that happens when you have a new crush: “When the object of your desire isn’t around, and therefore you lack that dopamine rush in your brain, you might feel like you’re in withdrawal. So, you may try to achieve small dopamine rushes from talking about your crush to your friends.” Gawd, I am so guilty of this. Sorry, friends.

• My bestie wrote about why they love blowjobs*sigh* Why am I not blowing anyone right now?! (Well… this post was prewritten and queued up in advance, so I guess it’s possible I am blowing someone right now, as you read this. Who can say?)

• Bex also wrote about sex ed, sex-positivity, and meeting people where they’re at. I love this. I’ve only been working in sex toy retail for two months but I already feel like I’ve learned so much about these concepts from working on the “front lines.”

• This piece on anxiety and productivity is haunting and important. Read this if the current state of the world makes you anxious and so do thoughts of resisting, standing up for what matters, making change.

Trans kink porn is important! God, this article reeeeeally made me want to watch The Training of Poe…

• Depression may actually have a positive evolutionary purpose. Certainly puts things in perspective! “This framing of depression as a space for reflection is empowering, and lends a degree of agency to the person being pressed down,” Drake Baer writes. “Like anxiety, depression might be trying to tell you something.”

• A “boyfriend dick” is the kind of dick you could see yourself settling down with. I must say, though, I prefer the more gender-inclusive phrase “good dick,” which really says it all! (Incase it wasn’t obvious: the concept of a “good dick” is very subjective. Please don’t worry about whether your dick is good or not. If you keep it clean and use it respectfully, there are lots of people who would consider it a “good dick,” I promise.)

• What happens when best friends control each other’s vibrators?! (I think me and Bex should try this sometime.)

• Maybe we need to reject body-positivity and embrace body-neutrality. I love this idea! “Neutrality is the freedom to go about your day without such a strong focus on your body,” says one of the people quoted in this article.

• JoEllen wrote some spot-on guidelines for having good, ethical casual sex.

• This piece about Trump and BDSM argues that consent education, and the communication skills one can learn through practicing kink, are more critical than ever in our current political climate. Interesting stuff.

• I loved this short piece about pain, mindfulness, and transcendence. It spins a whole world out of a few moments of intense (consensual) pain, which is indeed what those experiences feel like to me sometimes.

10 Reasons Why Sex-Positive Friendship is Important

L to R: Reenie, Aerie, Bex, Penny, Kate, Epiphora, GJ
L to R: Reenie, Aerie, Bex, Penny, Kate, Epiphora, me!

 

#DildoHoliday is decidedly over, and dildrop is real.

I miss the beautiful house we stayed in. I miss the delicious group meals. I miss the mid-day masturbation breaks.

But mostly, I miss my friends.

When my dad was driving me to the airport to depart for Portland, he asked me, “Won’t it be weird to stay in a house with strangers?” but that’s not how I felt at all. These people weren’t strangers; I’d been corresponding with them on Twitter and other mediums for years. I already knew them better than I know most of the acquaintances I regularly see at home in Toronto: the guy who owns my favorite café, the distant classmates in some of my courses, the boys in my brother’s rock band.

I have sex-positive friends “in real life” as well, but #DildoHoliday really showed me just how important it is to have friends who are on the same page as you in as many ways as possible. There’s comfort and strength in that, for all of us, I think. Here are 10 reasons why sex-positive friendship is so valuable and crucial…

1. There’s no sexual shame. With my deeply sex-positive friends, I can talk about my kinks – even the ones I consider weird, taboo, or potentially unethical – and there’s no shame associated with it, from me or from my friends. If someone mentions fantasizing about exhibitionism or incest or watersports, no one even bats an eye. The most reaction you might get is something like, “Cool! Sounds fun!” or “Interesting! How’d you get into that?”

2. There’s no body shame, either. Body-positivity and sex-positivity are two different concepts with two different communities, but there’s a lot of overlap; most of my friends in each category also fall into the other. Being a chubby lady, I sometimes feel weird about getting naked (or even just exposing “problem areas” of my body) around people who I think might judge me; that’s not an issue with my body-positive pals. I can also eat what I want without worrying about how my food choices are being perceived. And in seeing all the carefree, happy body acceptance exhibited by my friends, I can get a little closer to that goal myself.

3. We don’t have to explain ourselves. Yeah, I own a lot of sex toys. Yeah, I sometimes post nudes on the internet. Yeah, I’m ideally looking for a kinky, non-monogamous person to be my next beau. There’s nothing wrong with any of that, and my sex-positive friends understand that without having to be convinced. Likewise, I accept their kinks and quirks, because that’s what “sex-positive” means: everything is A-OK as long as it’s safe, sane and consensual.

4. We don’t have to provide basic education. Look, I’m all for making the world a better place by teaching folks about sex, but I don’t want to do it all the time. It takes a lot of energy to explain, for example, why penetrative orgasms are an unreasonable goal for most vagina-havers, why a particular advertisement is sexist or racist, or what it means to be a sex toy reviewer. It’s nice to be around people who’ve taken the time to educate themselves and who therefore understand me without requiring me to explain what I consider basic-level concepts.

5. We nerd out about the same stuff. We refer to Tristan by her first name only, because we all know who she is and what she does. We get enthused about new sex toys on the market and discuss ‘em with wild abandon. Making our own glass dildos sounds 100% fun and 0% weird. (More about that in a future blog post, OF COURSE!) Sharing in each other’s enthusiasms brings us closer and – yes – makes life a ton more fun.

6. We can give each other advice. And not just basic, unhelpful advice that you could find on Google or Yahoo Answers – high-level advice tailored to the person asking. If I’m on the hunt for a new sex toy and I ask an in-the-know friend, she can suggest a toy that’s not only good but good for me specifically. Or I can ask a friend how to approach a difficult sexual conversation, knowing that she’ll keep my anxiety issues in mind when she answers. Or I can help my friend craft a tricky email to a sex toy retailer, knowing exactly what’s at stake and why she’s struggling with it. The better you know your friends and the worlds they’re a part of, the better equipped you are to help them navigate those worlds.

7. We can be sexual around each other without it getting weird. I once had sex with my then-FWB while my best friend photographed us. I’ve masturbated in front of friends, and watched them do the same. I’ve told friends explicit stories about sex and masturbation, and listened to theirs. I’ve watched porn with friends, groaned at the hottest parts, and talked in detail about how our vaginas were reacting to the scenes’ events. When you do this stuff with sex-positive pals, it tends to feel like a natural extension of your friendship instead of like some strange, stilted step into another realm. Sexual pleasure is a massive source of joy and I see no reason to fence it into my romantic relationships exclusively.

8. We get excited about each other’s sexy adventures. I still remember the time I texted a friend to tell her I’d given my first-ever blowjob and she responded by telling me she didn’t want to hear about stuff like that. It hurt to have a friend snub me about something I considered thrilling and momentous. With my present-day sex-positive friends, that kind of thing would never happen. My family and casual pals may not applaud me when I manage to insert a large dildo for the first time or gasp in delight when I tell them I met my favorite porn star, but my sex-positive friends do – because they get it.

9. We complain and commiserate for the greater good. My friends understand that it’s gross when some dude silently favorites all my selfies, that mansplainers are the scum of the earth, and that weak vibrators make clits sad. When we complain together about stuff like this, we can make it into a joke, something to laugh at, so it becomes more palatable and easier to tolerate. We may not be able to rid the world of douchebros and shitty toys, but we can laugh our asses off about them, which is almost as good.

10. We help each other expand and explore. I would never have gotten naked on camera if I didn’t have friends who shoot porn and nudes, but I’ve loved doing it and it’s helped me evolve as a sexual person. I would have taken much longer to end my last relationship, even though it was clearly dead, if my friends hadn’t encouraged me to go through with it. One of my most treasured memories from #DildoHoliday is a round-table discussion we had where we all shared what we’d like to see each other blog about. When your friends are living sex-positive lives, they can help you see how to live that way too, in bigger and better ways every day. And that’s a very good thing.

What do you appreciate most about your sex-positive amigos?

Who Are You Kissing on New Year’s Eve?

It’s 1AM and I’m at a bar, dressed up like Molly Ringwald on acid. I got tired of dancing downstairs, so I went exploring, and found dozens of folks crowded into an upstairs room, gathered in a circle. They were playing Truth or Dare; obviously, I joined in. Now I’m seated between two strangers, sipping my Smirnoff Ice (I know, I have terrible taste in booze). A cute fella singles me out, dares me to pick the person I find most attractive in the circle and kiss them. It’s an offer I can’t refuse.

This is Crush T.O., a monthly mixer thrown by the wonderful ladies who make up I’d Tap That. Crush parties, as they’re colloquially known, are an opportunity for sex-positive people to get together, dance, drink, kiss, and maybe take each other’s bras off on a tipsy dare.

You might remember my previous ramblings about another I’d Tap That endeavour, Body Pride workshops, in which women (and occasional gents) get together, get naked, get drunk, and get body-positive. Yes, these chicks are awesome.

As a mostly-monogamous introvert-4-lyfe, I don’t run into a whole lot of opportunities to meet – let alone kiss – attractive, sex-positive people. I was immediately drawn to the idea of these crush parties because they have an obvious atmosphere of desire and sexiness, but aren’t limited to singles or poly folks – anyone is welcome, monogamous or not, straight or not, cis or not, kinky or not. As long as you’re sex-positive, queer-positive, and enjoy having fun, you’ll be accepted and you’ll have a good time.

On top of all that goodness, safety and consent are never an issue. As sex-positive folks tend to be, the Crush T.O. partygoers are very respectful. The game of Truth or Dare I participated in was full of utterances of “Can I kiss you?” and “Is this okay?” There are even designated “safety people” who you can call on if anyone or anything makes you uncomfortable – but I have yet to need this service, because everyone there is great.

The next crush party is new year’s eve. It costs $15 to get in, and the location is TBA. There will be hot music to dance to, hot burlesque performers to catcall, and hot people to kiss you at midnight. And of course, I will be there, incognito. It’s the perfect way to start off the year!

Images courtesy of I’d Tap That and Becca Lemire. Merci!