Slow Burn

There is no sex hotter than the sex you almost had.

We almost had it. But the timing wasn’t right. Time was not on our side. Out of time. Time to go.

So we took to our phones and made up for lost time.


There is no sex hotter than sex you picture for weeks before having it. Months, even. In slow-unfolding sext-a-thons and wandering phone calls. In café daydreams and bathtub reveries. In subway imaginings too carnal for public consumption.

Do they know? Do they know I’m thinking about you?

Do you know?

I’ve considered your body. A body I don’t know well. I’ve considered its weight.

I’ve been crushed beneath you in my mind a thousand times. A myriad of melting me’s, acquiescing in sequence. I’ve looped the mental tape like a well-loved song. Your kiss is catchy. Your eyes, an earworm. Your heart, a hook. And I’m hooked, and I’m helpless.


They say a memory’s not just a memory. It’s stacked with neural residue from each time the file’s been reviewed. Date Modified: Today.

So the image of your touch isn’t really your touch; it’s the ways I’ve remembered it, the ways I’ve reshaped it by remembering it. I wish I’d made duplicates. I wish I had the pristine originals, tucked away in a lockbox deep in my limbic system. But even those, I would take out too often and muck up with dust.

A few days after our first date – that blazing conversation over coffee, and the rough kisses that unavoidably ensued – I texted you, “I wish I had paid more attention, even though I was paying very close attention. I wish I had it memorized.”

“I wish I took notes,” you wrote back. “I wish I had it recorded somehow. I wish I could rewatch it.”

So we replay it in micro-detail, a back-and-forth volley of “Remember when…?” and “Then you…” and “I thought…” We layer and re-layer memory engrams, like neuropsychological Jenga. We fill in every blank for each other until our first date becomes not just a story but a legend. Not just an anecdote but a prophecy fulfilled.


Sometimes you think you know tiredness, because bleary-eyed yawning is part of the fabric of your life – but then one day you come up against exhaustion, and it’s a different beast entirely. Its maw opens unendingly and draws you down, down, down. Habitual tiredness is not exhaustion. You know exhaustion when you feel it.

Just like you know desire when you feel it. You can go through life developing quaint crushes, flirting with people in elevators and bars, and spouting wink emoticons like an addictive currency. But those things are no more desire than a handful of potato chips is a meal. You know desire when you feel it. It knocks you over like a truck smashing through glass.

You know it because you can’t ignore it. There are so few unignorable sensations in the world, so few experiences we can’t tune out if we press our brains to the grindstone. Desire gnaws and needs and needles you. It chases you down neural pathways. It whirls pointlessly in your periphery. Stop, you say, and it laughs and says, Naaah.

I’ve considered your body. A body I don’t know well. I’ve screamed into my pillow while considering it. I’ve grasped uselessly at places where you weren’t. I’ve dragged more orgasms out of me than I thought possible, clinging to the notion of your face. And still it’s not enough. And still I desire. And still, I can’t be still.

I hope to find my mind again someday, when the smog of want has cleared. When this slow burn snuffs into smoke. But I hope – my secret, darkest hope – it stays alight a little longer.

Links & Hijinks: Nudes, Hooters, & Wet Dreams

• The ever-wonderful Alana Massey wrote an etiquette guide to receiving nudes and it should be required reading for sexters the world over.

• Melissa Broder wonders: why are we still having sex? “Many times, following a mediocre sexual experience with a partner, I’ve thought, Why didn’t I just stay home, masturbate, and eat snacks?

• Some accomplished journalists reveal the best reporting advice they ever received.

• OkCupid banned a white supremacist. Nice.

• Suzannah Weiss tried the new Satisfyer and isn’t sure she wants the plentiful, intense orgasms it gives her.

• Taylor has some suggestions for impact play implements you can get at the dollar store. (I love pervertibles! One of my all-time fave impact toys is a thick wooden cutting board I bought at a fancy culinary shop in Rome.)

• Important reminder: safer sex is more than just condoms!

• On Lady Gaga, fibromyalgia, and the stigma of invisible pain.

• Speaking of pain: BDSM can help with it, sometimes.

• I’ve never been to Hooters but this article makes me want to go.

• The hilarious Merritt K wrote about smelly dicks and why you should wash your junk. Fair warning: this article is disgusting, but highly amusing.

• Helena Fitzgerald on the allure of leather jackets. Yes, yes, yes.

• Suz has some great advice for how to feel less shook up when you get stood up.

• On the gender politics of sex robots.

• Why would someone want to get their dick rated?

• If you’re part of a couple seeking a “unicorn” for a threesome, read this post of Suz’s about how to message a potential third.

• Fascinating: you can take a BDSM vacation!

• The beautiful, wonderful Caitlin K. Roberts made a video about her experiences with mindful masturbation. (She’s offering masturbation coaching now, too!)

• Here’s a succinct write-up on why wet dreams happen, incase you’ve ever wondered about that.

• Fuck ScreamingO. They did a real bad thing. (More info + posts in this Twitter thread, if you’re interested.)

• Here’s a history of the cock ring!

• The dick, the myth, the legend: here’s some writeups on famous dicks and what became of them.

A lesbian sex party for straight women?! Yep, totally a thing.

7 Ways to Love Someone Who Needs Words of Affirmation

I remember when I first encountered the concept of love languages. I read about it on Gala Darling’s blog, where she hyped this idea as “one of the most useful — and simple — things [she’s] ever learned to help strengthen romantic relationships.” As I delved into researching the love languages, I quickly came to agree with her.

The basic idea of love languages – as laid out by Dr. Gary Chapman in his book on this concept – is that we all have one or two ways we predominantly express love, and that we tend to also feel most loved when we receive affection in our native love language(s). Some people express and receive love in different ways, but in my experience, most people show their feelings for you in the way(s) they would like you to show your feelings for them.

I’ve taken the love languages quiz a few times over the years, and it’s always confirmed what I already know: my two dominant languages are “words of affirmation” and physical touch, in that order. (Incase you’re wondering, the other languages are acts of service, quality time, and gifts.) Touch is important to me – as you might have noticed from all the mushy, starry-eyed things I write about sex! – but words are even more crucial to me. (Hell, that’s probably part of why I’m a writer.) When I like someone, I tell them so – and I don’t really believe someone likes me unless and until I hear it from them, in their own words. Ideally frequently!

When I’ve felt unappreciated in past relationships, it’s often helped to explain this concept to my partner(s). Once they grasp just how important words actually are to me, they can (and often do) adapt their approach accordingly. And I can shift the way I express my feelings to better suit their love language, too.

If you’re dating someone whose love language is words of affirmation and you’re not so good at expressing yourself verbally, don’t worry – I’ve got some suggestions for you! These work for me, and I can’t guarantee they will work for you or your partner(s), but they’re at least a good starting point. Here are some ways a partner can make a person like me feel loved and appreciated with their words…

Tell them what you like about them. You may think it’s obvious and goes without saying that your beau is smart, funny, attractive, and so on, but if their love language is words of affirmation, they need to hear this from the horse’s mouth! Try to use unique, deliberate language, rather than generic compliments that are likely to go in one ear and out the other.

Examples:
“Your lips are so pretty. Every time I look at you, I just wanna kiss ’em.”
“When I first met you, I was drawn to you because of how confident and self-assured you are.”
“I love that you’re so smart. Our conversations are always so interesting and thought-provoking.”

Tell them stories. For a person who values words, stories are often also important. Narratives help us arrange information in our heads and understand things better. You might think it’s pointless to tell your lover a story about your relationship – after all, they were there, too! – but they might find it thrilling and affirming to hear your perspective on something the two of you experienced together. It’ll help them get inside your head and see themselves through your eyes.

Examples:
“God, I was so nervous before our first date! You looked so cute on your OkCupid profile, and you seemed so much smarter than me. I practiced introducing myself in the mirror for like twenty minutes beforehand and changed my shirt three times…”
“Remember the first time we had sex? I was so excited to see you naked for the first time, and to learn how to get you off…”
“I remember the exact moment I realized I’d fallen for you. It was when we went on that date to the aquarium. You looked so stunning in the cool blue light, staring up at the jellyfish…”

Talk dirty to them. I’m not sure if a person’s “love language” is always also their “sex language,” so to speak, but in my case, it definitely is! A linguistically-oriented partner is likely to love it if you whisper in their ear about what you’re gonna do to them later, pay them a vulgar compliment while yanking their clothes off, and monologue filthily at them while you fuck. They’ll enjoy it not only while it’s happening, but also later, when they replay your words in their mind while masturbating, or breathlessly record them in their journal…

Examples:
“I can’t wait til we get home so I can throw you down on the bed and lick your sweet pussy until you come in my mouth.”
“Your cock is so perfect. It hits all my spots and feels so right in my throat. How did I get so lucky?”
“God, your tits look unbelievable in that dress. Bet they’d look even better smeared with my cum.”

Tell them about your dreams and fantasies. This, again, helps them get inside your head and understand how you perceive them and how you feel about them. Whether these are sexy or sweet (or both!), they can give your darlin’ a verbal glimpse into the deep pool of love you have for them in your heart.

Examples:
“Fuck, I had the hottest dream about you last night. You were sucking my cock in an alley, and then…”
“I was just thinking about how nice it’ll be when we move in together next year. I can make you coffee every morning, and we can cuddle in bed every night…”
“We should take a trip to Newfoundland together! You can drive and I’ll navigate. We’ll stay in a little B&B on the coast, watch the sunset every night, and have lots of quiet writing time…”

Give them words they can read and re-read. Texts. Facebook messages. Tweets. Old-fashioned love letters. Whatever your preferred medium, words in a tangible form are nice for a verbally-oriented person to receive, because they can (and will) treasure those words for a long time. As a bonus, this is a great approach if your partner struggles with anxiety or any other mental health issue that messes with their self-worth: when they’re feeling unloveable, they can go back in their screenshots folder or letterbox and read proof to the contrary. (Or you could just say more nice things at them!)

Examples (actual texts from my screenshots folder):
“I like you a lot. You’re very pretty and smart and funny. And you’re a very good girl for me all the time.”
“You’re beautiful, hilarious, have a contagious, sincere laugh, you’re kinky as heck in all the right ways for me (so far as I know), you seem to have an adventurous spirit, and your mind is sharp as fuck.”
“I almost tripped on the sidewalk and cracked my skull. Because of how much I want to sink my teeth into your butt.”

Say nice things unprompted. To a verbally-oriented person, what makes words of affirmation exciting is the knowledge that you wanted to say these things, that you are saying what you authentically feel, and that your feelings were strong enough that you just had to verbalize them. To that end, don’t always wait until your partner compliments you to compliment them back; you’ll take their breath away with spontaneous expressions of love.

Examples:
“Hi babe. Just wanted to tell you how gorgeous you are and how much I adore you. That’s it. Hope your day’s going great!”
“Jesus Christ, your butt in that skirt. Do I get to fuck you tonight? ‘Cause I really, really want to…”
“Has anyone ever told you you’re hilarious and brilliant? ‘Cause you are.”

Tell them how they make you feel. It’s all well and good to tell someone how attractive and wonderful they are, but that stuff’s all about them; your partner wants to hear about you, too. It’s exhilarating to know how you affect someone, and a verbally-oriented person will absorb this information best through words. I love seeing my appearance or behavior elicit a huge grin or a huge boner from a partner, but it’s even nicer if they verbalize what they’re feeling!

Examples:
“I still get nervous butterflies every time we meet up for a date. Hell, my heart’s beating kinda fast right now.”
“Pretty sure that selfie you just sent is giving my dick a heart attack. I need a cold shower. Or a dickfibrillator.”
“When I think about the fact that you’re my boyfriend, I get so happy and grateful, it makes me want to cry.”

What’s your love language? What are your favorite ways to flatter and uplift someone who digs words of affirmation?

Babes, Bards, and Batterers: 3 Brief Book Recommendations

Tina Horn has one of my favorite brains in the world, as I’ve told you before. When I heard she was writing a book about sexting, I texted my best friend a mangled string of all-caps words followed by a glut of exclamation points. I can’t help it: a favorite writer of mine writing about a favorite activity of mine? Sign me up.

Simply called Sexting, the book is as straightforward and to-the-point as its title would indicate. It contains practical advice on all things sexting and sexting-adjacent, from online dating to selfie-taking to vocabulary choice to sextual aftercare.

Tina’s book is written such that a beginner to the world of sexting can pick it up and learn, but you’ll come away with some fresh tips even if you’re a seasoned sexter. I love this book and find myself referring to it time and time again!

Incidentally, it was on Tina Horn’s podcast that I first heard about this next book, Sex with Shakespeare by Jillian Keenan. Jillian is a lifelong spanking fetishist – in the true sense of the word “fetishist,” i.e. she has never had an orgasm thinking about anything but spanking. This would be interesting grounds for a memoir in and of itself, but Jillian’s also a Shakespeare nerd, so she’s interwoven her personal story with kinky analysis of the Shakespeare plays that helped her process her emotions as she came to terms with her fetish.

Prior to reading this book, I liked spanking and kinda-sorta liked Shakespeare; now that I’ve read it, I like (and understand) both a whole lot more. Jillian’s writing transports you around the world and throughout history, and you learn a whole lot about her kink and any kinks of your own on the way. Now I’m hungry for more memoirs by clever fetishists like Ms. Keenan!

I read Sex with Shakespeare on my Kindle, but there are good reasons to go analog with this tome. When I gifted Georgia a hardcover copy, she proceeded to (consensually) spank me real fuckin’ hard with it while I was bent over the arm of her sofa. Be still, my li’l kinkster heart!

I recently found out a friend of mine is chronically abusive, and cut him out of my life entirely. I’m very lucky to have been spared the majority of his abuse, but nonetheless, it was a difficult experience to process. I kept wondering: what made him do those things? Was he aware of what he did to those women, or was it inadvertent? How could I have been so blind to his tactics? Or, to put it how author and domestic abuse counselor Lundy Bancroft puts it: Why Does He Do That?

I picked up this book as research for a writing project, but it quickly became clear that I needed to read it for personal reasons, too. Learning about the mindset of abusive men helped me understand what I’ve been through, and gave me tools to analyze potential red flags I see in the behaviors of other men as well. This book is written specifically for women currently mired in relationships with abusive men, but you’ll find it interesting and affirming if abusers have ever confused or frightened you in any capacity.

 

What books have you read and loved recently? Lay ’em on me!

Interview: Tina Horn on Sexting, Style, Self-Discipline & Snuggling

tinahornI’m finding, increasingly, that my media consumption habits are based less around “What is this piece of media and what value will it add to my life?” and more around “Who created this piece of media and how much do I trust them?”

The world is full of books, podcasts, articles, and interviews on every conceivable topic. If there’s a piece of information I need to find, or a subject I want to learn about, I can do that in innumerable different places. So what matters to me more, now, is – who is imparting this information? Do I know them? Do I like them? Is their style and approach in line with what I want?

That’s why I got so excited when I heard Tina Horn was writing a book about sexting. When it comes to sexuality, she has one of my favorite minds in the biz. I love her podcast, her writing, her random and irreverent tweets. Ever since the word “sexting” burst onto the scene, every sexpert in existence seems to have shared their best tips and tricks for the medium – but I don’t trust most of their advice nearly as much as I trust Tina’s. She’s a seasoned sex pro, a clever whiz kid, and a dirty-talk aficionado. If anyone can help you up your sexting game, it’s Tina.

And indeed, the book rules. It covers everything, from the basics (how to figure out which vocabulary words turn you on! how to use OkCupid!) to the more nuanced considerations of sexting (how to get someone’s textual consent in a hot and respectful way! how to take a sexy selfie that doesn’t suck!). I consider myself a competent sexter (sextress?!), but Tina’s book made me ponder the whole activity much more thoughtfully, and I think my skillz have improved as a result.

So, I was delighted to be able to interview Tina about her book. Except, in classic sex-nerd fashion, we got a leeeetle bit off-topic because there were just so many exciting sub-tangents to delve into. Including X-rated Animaniacs fanart. Read on for the interview…!


Girly Juice: What kinds of “proto-sexting” activities did you engage in, in the early days of the internet or before that? (I was all about cybersex in ICQ chats and online roleplaying games!)

Tina Horn: I often wonder how my sexuality would have developed differently if I had not been just right age in history to be going through puberty right when we got dial-up internet in my house. Technology continues to inspire an urge for self discipline and self control in me, and maybe that has something to do with furtive, measured trips to the family desktop to talk to my internet buddies when I was 13, 14. I can remember sitting at the wooden desk in the den, madly typing, learning about the world through language divorced from identity.

I’m going to tell you about something I almost never talk about, because I hold a lot of embarrassment about this even though it’s obviously normal and quite adorable. Like I said, I was an adolescent when the Internet became a thing people had in their homes. As a child on the verge of adulthood, I just sort of assumed, oh, ok, you start to grow up and then your access to the world gets bigger. I was too caught up in my own teenage narcissism to give media a historical framework. So what did I look for online? I searched Napster for EVERY SINGLE TORI AMOS B SIDE AND REM LIVE CUT, and I looked for newsgroups about the shows I was obsessed with: The X Files, Quantum Leap, and Animaniacs.

So here’s the thing about Animaniacs. It was a show for children, but it had a very mature sensibility. It was saturated in popular culture and had this sophisticated ironic Borscht Belt humor. So I was a kid who was looking for people to talk obsessively about Animaniacs with. And the internet was filled with adults who were, shall we say, in touch with their inner child. So I spent hours and hours in IRC chat rooms and newsgroups. I think I was honest about my age and I knew there were a lot of adults and they didn’t seem to mind how young I was. I felt accepted and respected in a way I didn’t among my normal peers. Maybe my internet friends were predatory or maybe the Internet was just new to everyone and the novelty of talking to a precious child was no big deal. But eventually they started sending me links to fan porn they were writing and drawing about the cartoons we all liked. I of course have a very vivid memory of clicking on a file in an FTP folder and slowly watching an image load: a hand drawn illustration of Buster Bunny fucking Plucky Duck along with an extended explanation of why it makes sense for cartoons to sexually experiment.

Eventually I got together IRL with some of these folks, and suffice it to say I think some of them may have wanted to seduce me. I guess I was smart enough to be creeped out by that.  I started to actually hang out with some theater kids at school and spent less time online. Eventually this one girl who I used to exchange Sailor Moon drawings with sent me this angry hand written letter saying I was totally shallow and didn’t care about my REAL online friends because some dumb teenagers made me popular. Which was hilarious because of course my new IRL friends were all the freaks and geeks of my small town. I am happy to say I realized how totally backwards and fucked that was even then.

I think this has influenced my subsequent relationship to evolving technology, from texting to Skyping to naked selfies to online dating to Snapchat. I’m very skeptical about the relationship between our virtual selves and our IRL selves. I think technology can facilitate wonderful fantasy exploration, but it’s imperative that we can distinguish between fantasy and reality. That skepticism and self control really informs my proscriptions for etiquette and ethics in my Sexting guide book. I don’t mean to sound like no fun! Think about it: BDSM is also about negotiation, restraint, boundaries. When you have self discipline, you can be absolutely disgustingly filthy and profane and ecstatic within your agreed-upon parameters. When you know the size and shape of your pen, you can go hog fucking wild.

GJ: As a fellow writer, do you share my attraction to people whose grammar, spelling and vocabulary are on-point in textual communication? And how do you respond to people who tell you that this preference is elitist or picky?

TH: You know, there are such cretins out there that my bar is actually quite low! As long as someone is not being a complete troll, I’m pretty tolerant of slang, abbreviations, misspellings, creative grammar. I think the most important thing for me is STYLE. I’m sure we know some people whose use of slang is tacky and tone-deaf, while some people make me bust out laugh when they say something is on fleek or whatever. Same goes for grammar; you can get imaginative with grammar to demonstrate rhythm, emphasis, tone, even surreality. I guess what I’m looking for is writing that I can hear, as if the person is speaking to me, and there are formal and informal ways of achieving that with different digital mediums.

I used to joke that I thought the most important OK Cupid question was, “What does ‘Wherefore’ mean in Juliet’s famous speech about Romeo?” (It means Why, as in, Why must the man I love have a name my family hates?). Then a friend pointed out how classist that is, to weed out people you won’t date because they haven’t had a certain kind of classical education. I think both perspectives are valid. I do value people who appreciate literature and theater, and like to nerd out about language. Then again, I DON’T value exclusively dating people who have a similar education, background, or life experience as me. It’s important to know what you value, but it’s just as important to be critical of your own prejudices and the way our personal lives perpetuate systems of oppression.

GJ: I sometimes get anxious about starting sext conversations because I worry the other person will think I’m overeager, “too sexual,” etc. Any tips for mitigating my anxiety around that?

TH: I don’t believe in playing hard to get, but I do believe in finesse. You can tease without misrepresenting yourself. Use your sexting language to seduce. Sometimes you have to withhold a little in order to get the satisfaction of making your partner beg for it.

Think of your sexting conversation as a story, with a prelude, exposition, rising action, climax, and denouement. Or a pop song that starts off quiet and builds and builds its excitement and dynamics. Or think of sexting as a strip tease, in the classic burlesque sense. You can burst onto the stage fully nude and lewd, or you can appear fully clothed and slowly reveal more and more until you have your audience wrapped around your g string.

GJ: Are there sexual acts you like to sext about that you don’t actually like to do in real life? Or vice versa? Why’s that?

TH: Sexting is totally a place for fantasy. If you have a sexting partner who is capable of distinguishing between fantasy and reality, then go for it! The more absurd the better!

GJ: What celebrities or fictional characters do you think would be amazing sexters? Why?

TH: David Bowie has been on my mind so much lately, so I’m gonna let myself imagine his prolific, surreal, romantic sext life. Suck, baby, suck.

GJ: Do you ever have to do aftercare after intense/kinky sexting sessions? How does that work?

TH: I think if you’re sexting to get yourself and/or your partner off (whether it’s by language message, picture, or video) it’s important to stay with the person after orgasm. Unless you’re on the same page about using each other for stimulation. The magical thing about sexting is that you have such an effect on someone’s body, their nervous system, whether you’re across town or on another continent. Sometimes it can be jarring to feel so close to someone to the point of sexual ecstasy, and then get dropped back into reality. I would say use the same principals as IRL self care: let the person know you’re thinking of them, remind them of how hot your sexting was. The virtual equivalent of snuggling!


Thank you so much to Tina Horn for being as thought-provoking and generous as ever! Go check out Sexting – I’m sure it’ll elevate your sextuality to the next level.