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.

Let’s Talk About Terminology: New Year’s Resolutions

A lot of my new year’s resolutions tend to center around language – which I guess makes sense, because I’m a writer and a very linguistically focused person.

Last year I resolved to eliminate ableist slurs like “crazy” and “lame” from my vocabulary. This year my linguistic resolutions are mostly sex-related. Here are some of them; maybe you should make the same resolutions!

Use the words “vulva” and “vagina” properly, even in situations where the audience/listener probably doesn’t know what the difference is, or has maybe never even heard the word “vulva” before. Take the opportunity to educate.

Make a point to say “women” and not “girls” to describe female adults. Again: even when it’s uncomfortable or doesn’t fit the speech patterns of other people in the vicinity.

Say “PIV,” not sex, when referring to penis-in-vagina intercourse. Specificity matters, especially when trying to avoid heterosexism!

Use the term “sex worker” in lieu of antiquated terms like “prostitute” or “whore.” It’s helpful because it describes the work as work rather than dumbing down sex workers’ entire identities to the work that they do. (Read more about this?)

Stop using “clean” to mean “STI-free”: people who have STIs are not dirty or immoral. (Read more about this?)

Be better about gender-neutral and trans-inclusive language. I got called out at a sex toy workshop months ago for fucking up on this, and it’s a shameful moment that still sticks with me now, which makes me think I really need to work on it. People with vaginas are not necessarily women, people with penises are not necessarily men, and calling someone “female-bodied” or “male-bodied” can be problematic because a trans man’s maleness makes his body male and vice versa. (So I’ve been told. I don’t claim to speak for trans and gender-variant folks! Feel free to pipe up in the comments if you have objections or caveats…)

Check on pronouns before writing about someone. I am usually good about this with people who I know to be trans and/or gender-variant, like Jiz Lee (who uses they/them) and Roger Wood (who I think uses he/him?). I start getting into trouble when I perceive someone as looking relatively gender-normative and then assume I don’t need to research their pronouns. (For example, did you know that Courtney Trouble prefers they/them?) I need to get better about checking the pronouns of every person I write about!

What are your sex-related new year’s resolutions for 2014? How do you plan to see ‘em through?

Sharing the Sexy #28

• Here’s a wonderful piece on Sophia Wallace’s Cliteracy project.

• Apparently they cast the lead actors for the Fifty Shades film adaptation. I am confused about why they chose that dude to play Christian, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt til I see the movie!

High school can suck for queer kids. Keep yo’ head up!

• We-Vibe won the legal battle, so Lelo can’t sell the Tiani in the US and Canada anymore! I’m glad I already have one, I guess…

How to ask a trans* person about hormones and surgery without being a dick about it.

An eloquent response to that shitty girl-shaming mom-blogger post that’s been circling the interwebs this week.

Sharing the Sexy #25

Are tampons anti-feminist? (Um, I think not.)

• Here’s an interesting article on preferred gender pronouns.

• Wow – a great list of things many men don’t understand about women sexually.

• Did you know forced washing fetishes are a thing?

• Does faking orgasms lead to “polluting the sexual environment”?

• A trans lady wrote a list of 10 things she wishes she’d known before transitioning.

• Al Vernacchio has a new sexual metaphor to suggest as a replacement for the prevalent baseball metaphors our culture uses.

• Here is a cool up-close video of a woman having an orgasm via clitoral massage. Not only is it hot, but it’s also interesting to see the way her muscles contract when she comes!

Porn Review: Sexing the Transman XXX Volume 3

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The legendary Buck Angel offered me a copy of his film Sexing the Transman XXX Volume 3 because I previously enjoyed the first volume. The original Sexing the Transman was very much focused on trans guys’ solo sexuality – masturbation techniques, favorite toys, and so on. Volume 3 is different, but in a great way: it’s a whole lot more diverse, and there’s more partner-sex to feast your horny eyes on.

The Sexing the Transman series has a specific and steady format, where Buck first interviews each participant about their life and identity and then films them either jacking off, fucking, or getting fucked (sometimes all of the above). I love porn where you actually get to learn a little something about the people you’re getting off to, so this format sits well with me.

The first scene features Bleu, a trans guy, and Je, his genderqueer partner who sometimes refers to herself as a “cunted fag.” Both halves of this pair have a cool alternative look, complete with body mods (tattoos and stretched earlobes ahoy!). They also both share a super positive attitude about identity. “Be yourself and own that shit!” says Je.

It’s clear that these two have a great real-life sex life. They understand each other’s bodies and kinks intimately. Je mentions in the interview that she’s into having her hair pulled, being slapped, and getting fucked really hard – and Bleu delivers on all of it. Their chemistry together is fantastic. I could barely rip my eyes away from Je’s awesome blowjob skills to take notes while watching this scene. They both fuck each other with strap-ons, rough and hard, smiling all the while.

The second scene focuses on a trans man of color, Rex. An effort was definitely made to infuse some racial diversity into the Sexing the Transman series with this volume, which is great (I think volume 1 was all white guys!). Rex talks about how happy he is with the results of his top surgery, and when he showed off his chest, I had to agree that his body looks sexy as hell. Normally I don’t go for muscly types too much, but Rex is undoubtedly a hottie.

After chatting a bit about his transition and the self-assuredness it’s brought him, he jerks off with the help of a bright blue jelly vibrator. Naturally, it sort of makes me cringe to watch people using jelly toys, but Rex’s pussy managed to be transfixing nonetheless. He has multiple orgasms in the scene, all with visible vaginal muscle contractions – yum – but hardly any moaning – boo.

For me, it was a disappointment to read on the back of the DVD box that Rex has a sock fetish, and then to find that it isn’t even brought up in the film itself. Sure, he keeps his socks on the whole time he’s jacking off, but it’s never pointed to as a source of arousal. I always want to know more about people’s interesting fetishes!

Next up is another couple, Rude Bwoy and Lola. Both are trans, and in their interview they talk about how it’s good to be with another trans person because they understand each other better than some previous cis partners did.

Though Lola is gorgeous and Rude Bwoy is a cutie, this scene didn’t do much for me. The actual sex was limited to nipple play and a loud, lengthy blowjob, and was punctuated by Buck’s overinvolved comments from off camera: “That’s awesome.” “You like that? You like to be sucked off?” Admittedly, Buck’s unseen voyeurism is (supposed to be) part of the charm of the series, but I find it more distracting than arousing most of the time.

The fourth scene features a total hottie named Dicky Johnson. His adorable New York (?) accent reminds me of a young Richard Dreyfuss circa The Goodbye Girl – which maybe doesn’t sound like a compliment, but it is, as I’ve always had a massive crush on young Dreyfuss!

Dicky identifies as gender-fluid and he’s got an appropriately androgynous (not to mention totally foxy) look. In his interview, he explains how he sort of fell into his transition “by accident” because he started taking steroids to become a female body-builder, suddenly looked very masculine, and decided to go with it.

There’s an editing error in this part of the DVD which is a bit distracting – after Dicky takes off his shirt, an earlier part of the interview repeats again. Buck’s editing job is practically impeccable except for this one issue, though. (Lots of split-screen shots, so you can see people’s genitals and their faces in close-up at the same time. Delish.)

As Dicky jerks off, Buck gets more involved than he’s gotten in any of the previous scenes, playing with Dicky’s nipples and even fucking him with a dildo. Dicky seems cool with it and it’s actually pretty hot, almost like watching an amateur POV video between real-life lovers. Buck’s voyeuristic comments bug me but it’s a whole lot more palatable when he actually does stuff, rather than just talking about doing stuff! Bonus: if you like the sound of men growling during sex, you’ll swoon over this scene, because Buck and Dicky both sound like salacious animals during the home stretch.

The final scene stars Buck himself, getting fucked by a cis dude named Sean. After a lot of rough pounding, manly moans, and dirty dialogue, the two guys sit side-by-side and jerk off until Sean comes on Buck’s chest. Sean calls Buck “buddy” the whole time, which I found hilarious (but maybe I just don’t watch enough gay male porn… or any, really).

Overall, I think volume 3 could easily be considered a standout of the Sexing the Transman series, because it strikes a great balance between sex and masturbation, it’s pretty diverse in terms of performers’ ethnicities and body types, and it makes Buck’s voyeurism into a useful and hot addition rather than a slightly awkward distraction.

Thanks so much to the studly Buck Angel for the opportunity to review this DVD!