Friday, July 30, 2010

Handjob World, or why it matters that women like sex.

One of the original tenets of this blog was simply that women like sex. (Or that I do, which has been amply proven.) But this statement isn't merely of prurient interest, isn't just a chance for me to go "whoo boys I'm the fun kind of feminist." It matters. One of the things I briefly touched on at Dating While Feminist is why it matters.

Imagine a world where women really didn't get anything out of sex: let's say a world where there was no sex act other than the handjob. It's mildly unpleasant, a lot of work, and you don't really feel anything physically. If you're really into a guy psychologically, if you're in lust or love, you can get kinda excited that he's excited, but only kinda. If you're submissive, you might get into it as an act of pure service. And if you're none of the above, you're going to have to be paid, tricked, or coerced into getting jizz all up in your manicure for no good reason.

Sex, in other words, would have to be a transaction. You'd have to get something, real or emotional, for it; being told "the way your hand feels is your reward!" would be a slap in the face. And even in relationships where initially lust or love was enough, eventually the thrill of that would cool and your handjobs would get kind of bored and perfunctory--yeah, you understand he enjoys it, and nothing against him, it's just, you know, rough on the wrists and you wish you could have the TV on or something.

Do these attitudes, the ones that would develop in Handjob World, seem eerily familiar?

But sex isn't just handjobs. Sex is a beautiful array of actions that feel fucking fantastic to both sides. Female orgasms don't just exist; they're earth-shaking, reality-changing, mind-shattering. Hell, even apart from the orgasms, getting fucked is just awesome. Boom de yada.

It's true that orgasms usually aren't enough. Sex comes with risks and can be a bit draining, and although some people do have purely orgasm-based sexual relationships, even I can't really sustain that. But sexual pleasure, like every other part of a relationship, is mutual. She's giving him sex and he's giving her sex; it breaks even, so no one owes anyone anything for that.

This isn't just about dinner whoring, although that's the archetypal example. (Quick digression: the pricing there always bothered me. We're talking like $15 if we go for Chinese or Applebees, maybe $30 if you're a little swankier, and then you want full service and an overnight? Shit, that costs like $1500 from an actual escort! You should be feeding me for a month!) It's about every gesture men do to "get laid." I'm getting laid too, buddy, you know? You don't have to sweet-talk me into bed, so sweet-talk me because you mean it. You don't have to buy me gifts to get me into bed, so buy me gifts because you want me to have them. (In the interests of really not having a double standard, I'll buy you gifts too!) You don't even have to clean the kitchen to get me into bed, so clean the kitchen because it's freaking filthy dammit.

I don't think men and women can be equal if sex is unequal. As long as sex is a thing, a transaction, something women give or sell to men, women are put in a really weird social place. (So are men, but it's a more powerful one since they have more than one thing to bargain with and it's not their own bodies.) If women are just as likely as men to fucking love sex, then sexual relationships start out on an equal basis, with the sex itself not a factor in either partner's favor. And that is why my neighbor-disturbing pillow-destroying orgasms matter to feminism.

Jack asked me to post this.

Okay, quick question: why does everyone here seem to hate Jack? (Quick orientation: Jack = Lord Snuffulupagus = the guy who hosted that party = one of the guys who accompanied me to the feminist thing = the guy who took the hatchet photo.)

It seems like the blog commenters, even people who are usually cool with the crazy shit I do, seem to regard Jack as the corrupter of my innocence, the patriarch of patriarchs, and You're Not My Real Dad. I don't understand this. He's a pretty nice guy. Like, one of the nicest guys I know, in being kinky but also tremendously concerned not just about consent and enjoyment but also about the emotional health and social discord issues that can arise from BDSM. Maybe he's nicer in person or in private communication, but he hasn't really been that much of an asshole on the blog. And yet he seems to have gotten dogpiled like hell this last week. Which makes me sad because Jack's made it an awesome week for me.

There's a weird part of me that thinks 20 Internet commenters can't be wrong, and maybe people with an outside perspective see something I don't. I keep reexamining shit. I don't really see it though. Sure I've done stuff I wouldn't write to Gramma about, but I haven't done anything I didn't consent to and enjoy.

So my theories are down to:
A) Jack is an evil corrupter and I just can't tell because I'm distracted by all the orgasms.
B) People expect me to be only theoretically kinky and are disturbed by hearing that I actually do shit beyond black corsets and sensual flogging.
C) People see me as an innocent little girl whom Jack is getting in over her head.
D) I've been bad at communicating some of the things I've done this last week, and in trying to make them sound exciting and outrageous, inadvertently made them sound disturbing.

I think, or at least I'm hoping, that the answer is D. And I'll try to work on that. It's always awkward for me to put little safety catches in my writing, to remember to write "he [put on a condom and] rammed me deep" or "[after negotiation and consent] two guys [whom I knew and trusted] held me down and fucked me," but I'll try to do so. I do have to remember that the people reading here don't have anything to go off but what you read, and I'll try to respect you by giving you the whole story on things that could sound bad.



(That title is just there to mess with you. Although it's also true! OH GOD THE CONTRADICTIONS THEY SWIRL IN MY HEAD.

In the interest of context and reader respect I'll say the truth, which is that Jack suggested it in a semi-joking manner but I wrote it on my own and was already considering doing so.)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Dating While Feminisht.

So... I dunno. First of all I should say it was a pretty great event and I am thankful to NOMAS-Boston for putting it on. It was awesome to meet all these cool sex and feminism bloggers in person!

But then we broke into discussion groups, and... my discussion group, at this feminist event, ended up getting hopelessly taken over by a couple of dudes! Very sensitive dudes who flagellated endlessly about how they sinfully sullied women by being attracted to them (and didn't want to hear me explain about how no, we actually like cock sometimes), but complete conversational monopolists. If you didn't want to talk exclusively about how hard it was to be a straight white rich male, well, tough titties, cupcake.

And now I feel bad about not doing more to shut them down, to go "hey, you're navel-gazing out loud for freakin' hours here, let's have a discussion please." And isn't that just the fucking way, that as a woman I feel bad for not stopping men from steamrolling me, because it must have been my fault? LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, FEMINISM!

Also, there were interlopers. Two of my friends showed up and, um, stood out. They were both largish black-clad male dominants and somewhat less... timid than most of the attendees. Definitely not timid people. Also one of them was a tad handsy with me while I was trying to be all feministical. It was one of those situations where I kept thinking, "I should tell him to stop, but wait, I don't want him to stop."

Then afterwards we went out and they scratched highly problematic words into my flesh (and somehow sucked my blood out through my skin, wow I seriously have no idea how that happened) and there may have been furtive alley molestation and general Holly abuse. And I'm still not sure, after all this time in the kinky world, what to think of the fact that this made me feel really really really fucking good. Somewhere between the "are they deliberately trying to undermine the feminist thing by doing this?" and "no, no, feminists are allowed to be perverts god damn it" there was just a huge "AHHH AND I'M HAPPY."

You gotta follow your happy.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wages of sin.

Oh shit. It looks like a whole bunch of people who were at the party have contracted a disease. It's viral, it can be treated but not cured, the effects are uncomfortable and embarrassing, and it's highly contagious. Even condoms don't stop it from spreading.

Yeah... we've got the flu.

(I am still making it to Dating While Feminist! I may come with an oxygen mask and IV drip, but I'll be there!)

Admittedly a dude probably couldn't get away with anything like this.

The best pick-up line I have ever used:

"I heard you have a huge cock. Can I see?"

Fucking While Feminist.

The theme of the "Dating While Feminist" event is based on an interview Jacklyn Friedman gave on the subject of "Fucking While Feminist." (Despite the title, she's actually talking about dating, so the euphemism-shift isn't unreasonable.)

I have to admit, the part of the interview that jumped out at me first was:
I feel like the same thing happened with the guy I dated for two years. He liked the idea of being a guy who would be with someone like me, but ultimately it turned out that he wanted someone who wouldn’t challenge him as much, a person who was easier and quicker to sweep away. I got evidence of that when, within three months of breaking up with me, he was dating a 23 year old who lists her political views on Facebook as “moderate.”
Because I'm 24 years old, and I list my political views on Facebook as "moderate." So that's just funny.

But unintentionally on-the-nose insults inside, the gist of the interview is: how do you find a man who understands and agrees with feminism, and also makes you all squishy in your panties?

The good news is, for me, the two are increasingly the same damn thing. Lately, I've been finding that a guy who acts creepy or disrespectful about women shuts down the panty-squish so fast that it's not even a question. I believe that seeing women as people is the first step in really understanding what turns women on. Something as ridiculously self-evident as "touch her on the vagina" is often beyond the comprehension of guys who are expecting a Madonna or whore, an enigma or fucktoy, rather than a horny human being.

A couple of guys were shocked that I like to play various games in bed, because I’m a feminist. That’s always really interesting to me. I’m always like, ‘Are you kidding me? The feminists I know are the craziest women in bed you can find!” Those are the moments where I feel like a one-woman feminist PR machine. I’m instructing the world one man at a time that feminists are really fun to sleep with.

The "feminists are good in bed" meme is kind of a tricky thing, because I never want to fall into making it sound like that's the point of feminism, or a reason to play along with the silly broads. But it's true, and it's not a coincidence. Feminist women don't worry that being wild in bed will tip them disastrously from Madonna to whore, and feminist men don't think that giving women pleasure is irrelevant or impossible.

How about being feminist, submissive, and dating? Actually, that makes it much easier. Sure, there are dominant guys out there who really think that all women should serve all men, but for the most part, being kinky makes you much more aware of how artificial and arbitrary dominant/submissive roles are. Most dominants are very aware that only subs are submissive, if you get my drift--that submission is a thing certain women (and men) deliberately take on, not any kind of natural state of the gender. Limits, negotiation, and communication are also huge things in BDSM--not only can you not assume a women is submissive, you can't assume a submissive wants a certain kind of sex or play. I'll take this any day over the usual vanilla assumption that sex is a "package deal" and that if any sex at all was agreed to, nothing short of anal has to be explicitly negotiated.

Ultimately, what makes a date "feminist"? To me, it's not politics or labels. It's the simple ability to treat women (and men!) like they're people. People who have their own thoughts, live their own lives, make their own choices, set their own limits, and deserve respect even when you don't understand or agree. If a guy can do that, I think it shows in a lot of what he says and does, and it makes him so fucking sexy.

Dating While Feminist is tomorrow!

Reminder: I will be part of a discussion on "Dating While Feminist" organized by NOMAS (the National Organization of Men Against Sexism) Boston. Here are the details:

Thursday, July 29th
6:00-9:00 PM
Lir Pub
903 Boylston St, Boston, MA (Map)
Facebook Event Page

It's gonna be awesome! Be there, or be... not there!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Done.

Although I wouldn't trade my sexual abilities for anything (maybe the lives of a busload of orphans? mayyybe? hm. nah.), in one sense I do kind of envy most men and some women--the ones who can have an orgasm and be done. It must be nice to have even five minutes post-orgasmically when you really can't go again and don't want to.

I don't really finish having sex. I just get sore, tired, out of time, or my partner gets done. (My hips used to be the first to tap out, but I've been getting more exercise lately so usually I can last until my vagina itself waves a tiny white flag.) I can't be satisfied.

I masturbated three times today. The only reasons it wasn't four were lingering soreness and the need to do other things with my day.

I'm honestly not sure if this is a whine or a brag, here. On the one hand, I'm awfully jealous of the ability to completely relax after an orgasm and truly be sated with sex for a few minutes of your life. It can be awkward when I'm supposed to be basking in afterglow and he's all relaxed and warmfuzzy and I'm lying there wishing he'd make me come just one more time. Just one more. Or two, you know, if you feel like it.

On the other hand, now and then I get into situations like a couple nights ago, completely sore and completely tapped out and yet... not just taking a man's fingers but fucking back on them and coming on them over and over and over. "You really can't help it, can you?" he asked, and the answer is I can't. It's frustrating and a little humiliating and it leads me into pain and it's awesome.

Back to work.

Today was all work--a lot of work, actually, which was kind of good. Much as I bemoan my inability to brag about my butt-sluttery there, I do like the feeling of having some value to mainstream society.

And I had my phlebotomy class today! So now I'm qualified to draw blood! Very cool. The only drawback was that it meant I had to get stuck repeatedly with goddamn needles. (I also did some sticking. But the class seemed to be much more about the rite of passage of getting stuck than about actually learning the techniques.) And it was not socially acceptable to groan and writhe and bellow "OH YOU SICK MOTHERFUCKER" at my fellow students.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Burying the hatchet, and other debauchery.

The following are SO VERY NWS and also document why you should probably buy stock in Tylenol today.

Fun with Sharpies!
Question: is it still "humiliation" if you're not just unfazed, but downright proud?

My back, in an early state of deconstruction.

My back with Ronco Rocker.
I do think it's cool that although there's less than 24 hours between the photos, most of the marks from the first one are completely gone. I've got Wolverine Healing Powers. Also note the second "WHORE," of course.

Um.
So yeah, that's a hatchet. It's a fucking hatchet. (Also, I am the kind of slob who leaves her watch on in bed. Ugh, I'm disgusted with myself.)

And honestly, it's a fucking shame that I don't show my face on the blog (and I'm sure as hell not showing it in the same frame as that), because I think the whole tone of the photo is changed when you can see that I'm laughing my fucking ass off. Decontextualized, it looks sort of fucked up and degrading; in context, my attitude was much more "hey dude check this out" than "this is what I've sunken to."

My breasts the next morning.
Christ that's sore! Christ that's awesome.

Scenes from an Apocalyptic Orgy.

-When certain people invite me to a "non-play event" that's really just a nice casual social barbecue, I'm just going to smile and nod and wait for the cocks to come out, because apparently in the presence of Certain People it takes about five minutes. Things were relatively decorous (except for Tommy doing his girlfriend in the bathroom while people stood outside the window holding up scorecards in the manner of Olympic judging), and then somehow the kitchen turned into an orgy. I'm not totally sure when the tipping point was. One moment I was just playfully sucking someone's nipples, almost as a joke, and the next I had different men's fingers in my pussy and ass.

-The "We have gone X days without a PIV incident" counter has been officially reset. With two different dudes. Whooo.

-I tried to get dressed three or four times, and each time within seconds someone would rip my clothes off. Eventually I gave up and just ran around naked all night. I ended the party lying naked on the lawn, staring up at the stars, just me and the grass and the world and the 500 mosquitos biting my ass.

-The previous night Lord Snuffulupagus wrote "WHORE" on me in Sharpie, and it washed off thorougly enough for me to rejoin polite society. Today it is carved in. (I have requested that the next time he wants to use me as a memo pad, he do "BUTT SLUT.")

-At some point I was lying on the kitchen floor yelling "I'M A FEMINSHT YOU GUYSH, A BIG SHTIME FEMININIMIST" to the guys who had been scratching me with steak knives and sticking a beer bottle up my pussy. ("This beer's gone skanked!") So, um, hopefully that doesn't lose me any cred.

-I started the night with a sore pussy and after being fucked by two guys and fingered by like everyone and Lord Snuffulupagus making some sort of running joke out of stuffing random household objects in me, the situation was to the point where getting penetrated was heavy pain play all on its own. I started giving a lot of blowjobs.

-Okay... I continued giving a lot of blowjobs. I'm disappointed that my gag reflex is what it is--I just can't get all the way down on an average size guy--but I try to make up for it in stamina and enthusiasm.

-90% of the party was perverts who were used to this shit, but at some point two relatively normal people showed up. They weren't exactly scandalized, but I think they were a little surprised at first. I honestly wasn't sure how to answer the question after a flogging, "Does that, like, hurt?"

(Yes. But not as bad as you'd think, probably, and really not bad at all by BDSM standards. And I kinda like that it hurts.)

-There was an interesting fluidity (hurr) to a lot of it, where people would be fucking and other people would be wandering in and out of the room watching or participating or just drunkenly giggling. There's an occasionally creepy fine line between "Ha ha, can I get an assist, you take the tits" and running into serious consent issues--at one point I did kind of get the heebie jeebies when people were pinning all my limbs and fingering me and I wasn't 100% sure who was doing what or if I had any ability to stop it--but for the most part I think things worked out.

-It's almost funny which social anxieties are exactly the same when you're fucking your way through a party. Oh no, am I being too slutty, are people thinking less of me for real? What did she mean by that remark? I don't want to fuck that guy, I hope I'm not snubbing him. Is it weird that I'm the only totally naked person? If I really don't want something, how do I get out of it without being a buzzkill? How can I make sure I'm not offending a guy's partner(s) when I fuck him? Where did all the kebabs go? Dammit, I was still hungry, WHO ATE ALL THE KEBABS YOU ASSHOLES.

-I don't think I can ever play "I Never" again.

-Was all this degrading, was my "I'SH A FEMINISH" truly sad or hypocritical? My answer: only if your view of what's degrading is hopelessly asymmetrical. Only if you think that a guy who's had three pussies on his cock is somehow more dignified than a girl who's had three cocks up her pussy. Only if you think that being flogged is necessarily more degrading than swinging a flogger. If you can accept that every sex act has two sides, then simply engaging in a lot of sex acts, even weird ones with near-strangers, shouldn't automatically be degrading to the women or the bottoms.

Also, most of what went on was really done in a spirit of fun and friendship. There was a lot of laughing and joking that women/bottoms were entirely included in, and things were relaxed and playful. It wasn't "hold her down and jam a beer bottle up there," it was me gigglingly and willingly offering myself for it and people stopping when I said "ow." (Or when I yelled "righty tighty lefty loosey, dammit!")

-I am still owed cake.

Party got a little crazy.

Oh God, I feel like I just got a pelvic from Dr. Cactushands.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Lessons learned.

-Play piercing is probably not for me, at least right now. It makes me freak out on some hard-to-define "this is not right for my body" level, and it hurts like a sonofabitch.

-Hand spanking and slapping gets a reputation as mild because it's so simple, but I actually find it more painful and harder to take in large doses than most officially designated implements of pain.

-Implements of pain, meanwhile, are pretty fucking awesome. How do people have sex without getting flogged, seriously. Or at least being dragged around by the hair and choked and bitten. That's not even weird.

-My streak of having amazing sex without actually having intercourse continues. I haven't had PIV in like two months, and I've been fucking like crazy.

-"I looked in the mirror... Apparently I'm an EROHW?"

-My orgasmic reactions are seriously getting to be somewhere between "ridiculous" and "rule out seizure disorder." ("r/o sz d/o") I'm not talking "I yelled and squirmed a lot, ooh." I'm talking "I slammed my head on the wall and chewed on a pillow and didn't clearly remember it." (And this immediately after making fun of the sex scene in Breaking Dawn.) Also I couldn't talk after. It was crossing the line from "wow, I'm speechless" to "expressive aphasia."

-During one of these tonic-clonic orgasms, I somehow cracked my iPod. Dammit. It still works, but dammit.

-I am a human Etch-a-Sketch. Have I mentioned that? If you lightly scratch my skin in some places it leaves bright red lines. It's an interesting feature if you like to leave marks. I was grown in a lab.

-I'm continually amazed that anyone would be generous enough to be a Dom. The fact that there are people out there who want to whip me and humiliate me and wouldn't even like me to return the favor... it's pretty much one of my proofs of purpose in the Universe. (Another one: the fact that on the hottest day of last year in Seattle, in fact one of the hottest days ever there, a rendering truck slowly lost its load over 30 miles of I-5. That's way too perfect to have just happened.)

-Aw dammit, I'm going to a party tonight and my pussy is kind of wrecked. Oh well, I suppose I can always just socialize like a regular person, if I have to.

-Tomorrow's most likely post: "Oh God, I feel like I just got a pelvic from Dr. Cactushands."

Friday, July 23, 2010

Saw.

I always think that being pregnant must be like the Saw movies.

"Hello Holly. I want to play a game. In your life you have sought larger and larger things to insert inside your body, but can you handle the truly large? Let's find out. Implanted inside your body there is a living organism. It will steadily grow larger inside you. You have nine months to find a way to get it out. Every option is painful, but you must choose. How much blood will you spill to stay alive?"

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Aftershocks.

I'm finding that after I have a really intense orgasm--or series of orgasms--God I love my life--sometimes it's not over when it's over. There's a period of time afterwards when my brain is fried and I'm hypersensitive. In a sense I'm still coming, even if nothing is touching my vagina. I can't think; when I talk, it'll be either nonsensical babble or extremely specific directions on how to touch me. I have, I am consumed by, a tremendous drive to be touched. Everything touching my skin--everything, even the sheets beneath me--feels amplified a thousand times. Pain does not feel much like pain at all. I want to make out and I want to be struck.

I am not much use during this time. I don't have the energy to move; I probably won't be sucking or stroking your cock and I definitely won't be riding you. But I am tremendously, exquisitely reactive to anything you do. If you ever wanted to just stroke your finger across a girl's shoulder and have her moan and squirm like she's getting deep-dicked, this would be your chance. (Actual deep-dicking during this time may produce highly volatile results. Further experimentation is warranted.)

This seems to be a relatively recent thing; I don't remember it happening when I was younger. It doesn't happen every time, even if the sex was great, and it almost never happens when I'm alone. But as strange and amazing and wonderful experiences go... yeah, it's pretty awesome.

Pillow Talk.

"Your vagina is like a penis."
"Thank you. I was grown in a lab."



(This was in reference to function, not structure.)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The checklist, and a story.

Today's update is gargantuan and somewhat tedious, but I wanted to write it up both for the edification of potential play partners and as a general way of taking my own pulse on how I feel about various fucked-up shit. So it's on its own page: The Grand BDSM Checklist.

Also, Elsie wrote a story inspired by my Sex Matrix fantasy. It's hot, well-written, and fucked-up (that's high praise), and I encourage you to read it if you don't feel like going through eighteen pages of "Animal play, dog, giving. Animal play, dog, receiving. Animal play, dog, dachshund, giving."

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Cosmocking: August '10!

Pink cover! Britney Spears's head! Someone else's body! I wonder if the body model was still all "mom, I got a cover" proud or if it was kind of embarrassing for her! Although it couldn't have been as embarrassing as it was for Britney! Jesus, the poor woman is only four years older than me!

(Digression: it seems like in the square world 24 is pretty much peaking, whereas in the kinky world it makes you a newborn infant. It's weird being split between "wow, in four years I'll need a body double to hide my sagging elderly frame" and "wow, in four years maybe everyone won't call me 'kid'.")

Also, this is apparently "The Hot Issue." It took me several years to catch on that this was always in August. Because August is hot, but also sex is hot, you see. Cosmo is so very clever. The word "sex" appears five times on the cover. That's pretty hot. Also on the cover: "Inhaled the whole pizza? How not to gain pounds after a pig-out." Could that have really gone from writer to editor to executive editor to printer without anyone noticing the implication there? (I'm just one woman, but the implication is barfing.)

OUT: Camel toe.
IN: Trouser snout.

Trouser snout. You heard it here, folks. Trouser snout is in. Getcher trouser snout.

"My girlfriend and I were taking our first vacation together. She's athletic, so we booked a weekend in the mountains. The first day, we hiked this steep trail. I was struggling, but didn't want to show it. Toward the top of the trail, I started to feel really dizzy. I knew I needed to take a break, so I told her I had to make a quick pit stop to pee. I wandered off, dropped trou... and passed out. I came to with my girlfriend standing over me, laughing. I had been gone so long that she came looking for me and discovered me in a pantsless semicoma."
You're alone in the wilderness, a long steep hike away from the road. Your boyfriend says he'll be gone for a moment. He's out of sight so long you become concerned, and then you come across him lying on the ground unconscious. AHAHAHA THAT'S HILARIOUS HAHAHAHA.

(Also, if she's such an athlete, she ought to know enough to make sure her less experienced partner is staying hydrated and not being pushed way beyond his limits. Taking a loved one on a Death March is actually more of a reflection on your assholery than their wussiness.)

Gorilla salad (n.) When a man or woman has way too much hair below the belt
Gorilla salad and trouser snouts. God I love Cosmo.

1 in 5 men say they'd prefer to be treated by a sexy nurse than by a competent doctor.
See, this is why I wear scrubs instead of a little white dress and weird hat. It's things like this. (Also, the sexiest nurse I know is named Mark. Please bear that in mind.)

Then there's "Our Naughtiest Sex Survey Ever!" Most of the questions are pretty blah and came out 50-50 or 60-40, but some were interesting.
When you're getting busy, how do you want the lights?
On - 63%
Off - 37%

What is it with these people and lights? Seriously. It's not like you ever have sex in pitch blackness (do you? oh god, I don't want to know), so it's a fairly minor aesthetic detail. I guess being under full-on bright lights is a somewhat different experience than low mood lighting, but really, as long as you can see well enough to aim your swings correctly and be aware of whether you're drawing blood, who cares?

What light-level S&M would you want to try?
Being tied up - 73%
Spanking - 27%

It seems like clueless ersatz "S&M" is always implied to be female-dominant. (They don't actually specify in the survey who gets spanked, but there's a caption below that reads "Surprise: He doesn't want a spanking.") I'm not sure why this is, although I've speculated on it before. But it's weird, because my own experience with BDSM is that female dominance is relatively less common, and the person most likely to want to spank you isn't a woman in crazy black leather strappy-stuff but a man in a black T-shirt and Levi 501s.

Who should reach for the lube during sex?
Me - 46%
Her - 54%

Like... whoever's closer? Whoever owns the lube bottle? Whoever has a more interesting plan for applying it? Whoever just happens to do so? I didn't know this was an issue.

(A friend tried to explain to me that this was some complex psychological game about whether it's an insult to the man or the woman to imply that she's a little dry. I guess I can sort of see that, but it never occurred to me. Slippery gooey sex is good, I want to make sex good, ergo lube. This should not be that fraught with tension.)

Whenever the guy you're dating has a few seconds to kill, what does he usually do?
A) Reads or plays games on his phone
B) People-watches
C) Texts friends or updates his FB status

C means he's going to cheat on you. It makes perfect sense, really. A man who talks to people besides you is just a ticking time bomb of betrayal.

There's an article on having sex during your period. I'll refrain from passing judgement (I think it's icky, and as with most icky things, I'll totally do it anyway), but I will note that one of Cosmo's most important tips is that you should tell him beforehand. Solid advice.

Lie flat on your back with one leg straight up in the air and the other relaxed. He should kneel in front of you and enter you. Alternate between bending your leg down toward your chest and sticking it straight up in the air and resting it on his shoulder.
I'm bad at aerobics. It's not an athletic-ability thing, but I just can't follow along with the directions. I always end up where everyone else in the class is on the left side of the step bench with their arms bent and one leg up, and I'm on the right side with one arm up and my legs splayed because I just fell on the floor. (There's actually a depressing neurological reason for this, but let's just go with "Holly is so silly and clumsy!") That is one of several reasons I won't be attempting this position.

One of the others: who can choreograph their movements during sex? I find that pre-arranging positions at all is less fun than "on the nearest surface, in whatever position we happen to land in," but damned if I'm going to carefully alternate my leg movements while I'm getting fucked. I think "squirm all over the place" is pretty much my only Slick Move in these circumstances.

Q: I'm seeing someone new, and his penis slightly curves to the side. What am I supposed to do with that?
A: Use all your powers of imagination to pretend that it's a penis. Treat it accordingly.

I would love to tell you that a woman wanting sex right away is no different from a man wanting sex right away and you should do whatever you want. But the fact is, it's probably not the best way to get on the relationship track.
I would love to tell you something decent and fair, but the fact is that my opinion is studs are awesome and sluts are gross. Also, the whole math thing where a straight man can't have sex on the first date without a corresponding woman, and vice versa, is wayyyyy beyond my grasp.

Grocery-shop... sans panties.
I already... do. It's not a... big deal. I wear... pants.

Drop lusty words like "passionate" and "stimulating" into conversations.
I drop lusty words like "pussy" and "spanking" into conversations. It's more fun and other people actually have a chance of catching on instead of wondering why I'm using words with multiple syllables all of a sudden.

Concede the towel battle in the morning, and blow-dry your hair and do your makeup naked. Chicks who are comfortable with their bods in the buff have better sex lives.
So there are people who do the towel thing when they're alone? Seriously? I always figured the modesty towel was to spare the eyes of roommates or locker-room-mates or whatever. It never even occurred to me that anyone would "battle" to cover everything when they're by themselves.

Tuck a picture of yourself from a favorite vacation (maybe that one of you lying on the beach in a criminally small bikini) into your wallet. Pull it out anytime you need a sexy boost.
Is it weird to carry a picture of yourself in your wallet? I think it's weird.

[On making a sex tape]You know how crappy video quality is when you shoot in a dark room? Use this to your advantage. Opt for a few candles or a shaded lamp with a 25-watt bulb.
The problem is, you're probably not John Alcott making Barry Lyndon here. Making low light look good on film either requires a lot more light than you'd expect (I've worked on film sets where gigantic multi-kilowatt HMI lights were used to create ostensibly "dark" night scenes) or ultra-finicky use of super-fast film stock and lenses. So when you do this with your little FlipVideo camcorder, it's going to come out less "soft flattering glow" than "only known footage of the Chupacabra."

Editing software provides countless ways to adjust the clarity of your video after you upload it. You can blur the image, make it darker, and even turn it into an animation.
The hell you can "turn it into an animation." Maybe there's some filter you can apply, but I don't want any Cosmo girls who know that I'm "good with video stuff" asking me where the button is to make them into a sexy cartoon lady.

Also, I'm not sure I see the point of a sex tape that's blurred and darkened all to hell. Sure you won't be recognizable, but it'll look like a plucked turkey trying to move a flesh-colored sofa. Is that really going to turn you on?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Detailed, thoughtful product review.

The nJoy Pure Wand is HOLYFUCKAMAZING.


more later don't feel like typing now oh holyfuck

Thoughts from the Flea.

Today was the Boston Fetish Fair Fleamarket--basically a vendor fair for perverts. It was awesome. (It is also, I should point out, a non-play and clothes-on event, featuring only the sort of activities that would be PG-13 if they weren't all fetishey. So go ahead and bring Grandma.) Apparently the Summer Flea is nothing compared to the winter one and this wasn't even big by summer standards, but it was big by my standards.

I walked in and I'm ashamed to admit it, but for a moment I just gawped. Sexy stuff! Kinky stuff! Just out on tables where God and everyone can see it! There's fake wangers just right out there! And leather and medical toys and rubber and hitting things and tie-y-uppy things and oh my gosh oh my gosh oh my gosh! Then I met up with some friends and... I didn't really mellow out, I kept "oh my gosh"ing pretty much all day, but at least I was doing it socially.

---

Deeply Meaningful Quote Of The Day: "My main physical experience with BDSM is getting hugged."

It's true, man. Both in the positive sense that this community is far more sociable and supportive than I think most outsiders could guess, and in the negative sense that sometimes I worry that I'm better at being a BDSM community member than I am at actually playing.

---

I got stapled. Like, with a surgical stapler. It's significantly less horrible than it sounds. (Trying to remove it without the proper tool, however, is quite horrible. That's when I started bleeding.)

---

I got an nJoy Pure Wand! Eeeeeeee! It's big and it's metal and it's hard and I'm going to stuff it in my orifices and there will be joy! The nJoy booth people were really friendly and helpful, too.

I also got an Evil Stick! Whee! I'm not going to be able to wear a swimsuit in public again for the next... ever!

---

"Man, this is a lot like the Ren Faire. ...it's the same people, too."

---

Mostly, the Flea was fun. It was a place to do happy rompy silly things and shop from a boggling array of the toys that I'm used to seeing in the tiny Corner of Shame in a sex shop. It was a place to catch up with people from all over the kinky world. It was a place to talk to the experts who make toys and know more than you can imagine about their history and construction and use.

It was a place to press my breasts against another girl's breasts and then we both jumped up and down while giggling. You probably should have been there.

Friday, July 16, 2010

What I want in a bra.

38B. Every store seems to go from 36ABCD to 38CD, and it drives me nuts. 36B will strangle me, 38C will not support my boobs, and 36C is just all kinds of wrong.

A color other than white, black, or "nude." I have white and black already (and black is limited in what shirts it will work under), and "nude" just looks so frumpy to me. I want a bra in a color or pattern that I would wear as a shirt.

Super-mega-maximizing. Push-up, gel pads, basically everything short of stuffing a pair of live rabbits in my shirt. I will have cleavage dammit even if 75% of it is not technically part of my body.

Nipple-concealing. I have big and poky-outy nipples, and while I understand that in some circles this is a selling point, I'd like some control over them.

Kind of... skeezy. You know what I mean? Something that doesn't scream "totally utilitarian, totally acceptable in the locker room" but looks all slutty and sexual.



I'm just frustrated because today I went clothing shopping, and I got a nice dress, a lovely belt, a cute top... and I looked and looked and looked for bras and they were all total failures. Of the very very few that fit, they all had "I don't expect anyone to ever see this" styling. Literally every single one was a Bra Of Shame, in colors and styles I associate with medical devices, touting its utility in "gentle support" or in not being seen or felt. I want a Bra of "check out my fucking tits, people!", and I'm having trouble finding it even online.

Quick things while I work on a Cosmocking.

I can touch my nipples to each other! Amazing.

---

I got hypnotized once. The weird thing was that I never felt like my power to make decisions was gone; I felt like I was independently deciding to do everything the hypnotist said. You say I'm a chicken sir? Well, I just so happen to want to be a chicken, and this has nothing to do with you! Bawk.

So the experience did give me a certain perspective on how manipulation can work.

---

X-ray pin-up calendar. So now you've seen everything. These look real to me, which makes me worry a little bit about the radiation safety factor, and a little bit about the awkwardness that could result from a particularly dense stool.

---

I don't know what I want. Not in a "bleh, nothing makes me happy," way, but in a "things make me happy that I never expected to" way. With kinks, I've learned to never say never because I usually end up doing it later that week. And with people, I've learned never to be too sure about my "type" because someone totally different is about to say hi.

I also sometimes go through a cycle where I think that I'll just die without a guy and I'm doomed to be obsessed with him forever, and then about 24-72 hours later I'm completely cool with the whole situation. Not sour-grapes "he was an asshole anyway!" cool, just "well, I can take him or leave him and a lot is up to his own choices" cool.

---

I'm amazed how many grown adults play the "everything but intercourse" game as a way to signify that what they're doing with you--because it's casual, or kinky, or outside their primary relationship, or too soon in a relationship--isn't really sex. I respect the choice and I'll take what I can get, but... I really really really like intercourse, and I think that if I'm sucking your cock and you're wrist-deep in my vagina we're in no position to be saying "it doesn't count because we didn't have sex."

Maybe it's a pregnancy/disease thing? But personally I wouldn't do most of the "everything but" activities with someone I couldn't reasonably trust to tell the truth about their birth control or disease status.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Go big or go home.

Sign a first date is mediocre:
"So what do you do for a living? ...That's very interesting. What made you choose that career?"

Sign a first date is going either really well or really poorly:
"It's not my thing, but I think that as long as the animal is on top, bestiality porn is an ethical gray area."

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Unrelated.

I kind of want someone to do the PUA thing to me. Just for the experience. But I realize that this is essentially a paradoxical wish, because I think part of the mythology is that the woman has to not know what's going on. (Nothing creepy about that...) Still, I'm curious what it would be like, and what my reactions to it would be. Maybe I've misjudged myself and in the face of True PUA Magic I'd just melt? I can't know unless I try.

---

You know what's an awesome feeling? Walking into a really podunk Denny's early in the morning under a guy's arm, and another girl under his other arm, with ten thousand pounds of swagger between you. Even if no one really notices or cares. Even if you didn't have sex! Just the feeling. Top of the goddamn world.

(I do not support "freaking the mundanes," but if someone has worked at Denny's for more than two weeks, they are not mundane and cannot be freaked by anything.)

---

I'm amazed that people are defending Mel Gibson. And I'm creeped right the fuck out that people can hear a tape of a man admitting he hit a woman and threatening to kill her, and immediately start thinking about what the woman is doing wrong.

The thing about "she's baiting him in this conversation just so she can tape him being crazy" is, most of the really nice people I know can't be baited into death threats. Maybe if you threatened their lives or their loved ones? Maybe. Definitely not just by being "too calm" and "saying just the things to work him up." It may be true that if you're nice to Mel Gibson then he doesn't hit you, but your real top-quality guys don't hit you whether you're nice or not.

Labrat has more.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Acknowledging gender.

(Wow. Apparently shit is going down in Crazytown.)

Here's a question that's currently bothering me: how do you acknowledge people with nonstandard gender expressions, without legitimizing a narrow view of gender?

That is, my friend Joe Pseudonym likes to wear a dress sometimes because it makes him feel like a woman. At the time he told me this, I--a woman--was wearing pants. But I wasn't wearing them to feel like a man, I was wearing them because women are allowed to wear pants gosh darn it.

Part of me wants to respect Joe's gender expression and the fact that he enjoys getting a feeling of femininity by dressing up. But the other part of me wants Joe to be able to go out in jeans and a t-shirt and be a woman, rather than linking the symbols inextricably to the gender.

I guess the easy way out is to say that a dress is not necessarily female, but it is feminine. In other words, a vagina doesn't make you a dress-wearer, but being womanly does. Still, this answer doesn't totally satisfy me. It makes femininity into this pre-fixed thing that's taken for granted, as if it was declared in firely letters on Mount Sinai that dresses are for girls and any girl not in a dress is less of a girl.

(I'm using "dress" here, obviously, as a symbol for all gender indicators, from eyeshadow to the tendency to let people open doors for you.)

It also bothers me that not all gender indicators are value-neutral. A dress isn't exactly as good as pants and a shirt; it's a lot more impractical for physical work or exercise, it's somewhat more sexually exposing, and it makes you more vulnerable in violent situations. Plus you have to be all careful how you sit down. It can sometimes be more comfortable or more attractive, but I would say that all things being equal, a dress is a worse garment than pants and a shirt.

I therefore feel like someone who's following all the traditionally accepted indicators of femininity is, in some way, putting themselves at a disadvantage--not just against masculinity but against practicality in general. Knowing how to fix your car is "masculine," but men's and women's cars break just as often.

I want to be okay with Joe being a lady sometimes, but it bothers me that Joe thinks certain impractical (and in my mind undignified) things make him a lady. I guess cross-dressing into cargo pants and flannel wouldn't have that same thrill for him, and I respect that, it's just... it's weird for me.

This isn't going to be one of those entries that ends with a strong conclusion and call to action, because I really haven't resolved my thoughts on this. I feel like a willfully dense and vaguely transphobic (is that the right word when someone's not exactly trans? gender-bigoted, anyway) jerk telling Joe "You shouldn't go by Jane when you're dressed, because Joe is a perfectly good name for a woman!", but that's what I tend to think.



Incidentally I have no goddamn idea about my own gender. I mean, I'm a cis woman, because I'm okay with being called a woman and having a woman name and body and even acting feminine in some ways--for all my ranting, I'm wearing a skirt right now--but I always feel more "eh, I'll play the hand I was dealt" about this than truly identifying with it. Like if my same personality had been born with a penis and raised as a boy, there's no way I'd see myself as a woman.

I hesitate to identify myself as androgynous, because I'm a woman, but only because it's convenient--I used to have very short hair and dress androgynously and very few people found it attractive--and it doesn't bother me. But I'm not really wild about being a woman. It's more "easy and acceptable, and I don't feel that strongly about it" than "really me."

Monday, July 12, 2010

By any other name.

I think I'd have a lot more interest in the swinging community if it wasn't called "swinging." Because I love the idea of fucking around a lot with other people's partners, but the name makes me worry that there will be guys with gold chains in their chest hair who want to call me a "groovy bird."

Announcement.

All future comments by "Ashur," or anonymous posters with strikingly similar rhetorical styles, will be deleted. They may stay up for several hours, since I sleep and work and socialize and whatnot, but they will go away. Please do not reply to these comments, as your replies will make the thread look funny. Ashur seems to have the kind of idiot tenacity that must write extensive and infuriatingly dense rebuttals to everything, which causes other people to reply, which makes every thread all about Ashur instead of the blog I'm trying to write here.

If you wish to read all about Ashur and continue to attempt debate with him, he has his very own blog here! It's all about how everyone in the world is dumber than him, and if every single commenter disagrees with him, well, hello evidence, right?

No, this is not nice or polite or "fair." Tough beans. My blog, my "delete" button, your decision to call me a cunt and shit up my comment threads... tough fucking beans.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Four worlds.

There's this world, online. Everything's very dramatic here--we're very open with our viewpoints and our self-disclosure, very quick to argue, very willing to let emotions run ridiculously high in a world where there's little risk or embarrassment associated with turning into a screaming moonbat at any provocation. But even as anonymity and distance make moonbats of us, they also form unlikely communities, places where people who could never talk about sex or gender with each other in reality create forums to share the things you just can't talk about.


There's pervert world. That world is the best. It's like the online world--full of geeks and openness and not over-encumbered by shame--except there's much less acrimony because of the face-to-face nature of things. Most people don't have the balls or jerkitude to get into a screaming argument face-to-face over the sort of thing they do online, and those that do tend to not get invited to a lot of parties.

Also, in pervert world you can have sex for real. So that's a major plus.


There's square world. For me, this consists mostly of my coworkers and my family, and my experience of it includes a lot of self-censorship. It seems like it should be easy not to say "so I was getting fucked up the ass the other day..." but honestly, that's how a lot of my best stories start. Even when things aren't sexual, there's still stuff I feel like I can't bring up in front of the squares--something as simple as hanging out with my friend, his wife, and his girlfriend requires a quick mental edit. Of course it's no big deal to just say "three of my friends" but the necessity of catching myself and making that kind of edit always weighs me down a little.

More than anything, I have to restrain myself from chipping in on any conversation about sex. If I just don't talk about sex I'm okay, but every time a sexual subject comes up in gossip I have trouble not sharing my actual scandalous opinions. When The Girls at work are talking about "fellatio: gross, or so gross?" I just don't feel safe chipping in with in with "actually, for me it's completely awesome and I genuinely love the feeling and the taste." It would be weird.


And then there's the real world. I have no idea what goes on out there.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Feminism is not sexism on Opposite Day.

Feminists do not want to see men degraded.
Feminists do not have a fixed idea of men's "proper role" in the family or in life.
Feminists do not want to see a Senate that's 83% women, or a corporate leadership that's 85% female.
Feminists do not want men to be paid less than women, or receive fewer career opportunities.
Feminists do not fetishize men's bodies while ignoring their minds.
Feminists do not condone or excuse violence against men.
Feminists do not want men to lose their access to family planning and healthcare.
Feminists do not want to erode men's control over their own bodies and lives.
Feminists do not want to teach young boys to be submissive and passive.
Feminists do not demand men be constantly sexually appealing and available, then shame them when they are.
Feminists do not describe men as less intelligent, or more emotional, or as somehow different from humans in their thought processes.

Feminists want to give to women, not to take from men.

(Please note that the counterpoint to all these things is "sexists," not "men.")

Friday, July 9, 2010

Alone in public.

(Don't let this post distract you from the AWESOME EVENT that you should totally go to if you're in the Boston area!)

Today I did a very minor experiment. I went to a well-populated public square and kept a running tally of everyone I saw, the gender they appeared to be presenting, and whether they appeared to be alone or in a group or couple. These are my results:

Men alone - 54
Women alone - 26
Men in a group or couple - 88
Women in a group or couple - 103

Total men - 142
Total women - 129

Total solos - 80
Total grouped/coupled - 191

Total people - 271

These observations were made from about 8-9 PM on a Friday evening in Davis Square, a heavily-trafficked, well-lit social area near a university campus.


Now, what I didn't do was make any attempt to discover why people were there alone or in groups, let alone contact people who stayed home today and ask them why. So I don't want to try to force any interpretation onto these data. Statements like "women are more sociable!" or "women don't feel safe alone!" cannot be made from my observations. But whatever the reason, women are less likely to be out alone. 38% of the men out tonight in Davis were alone, and only 20% of the women.

Random qualitative observations:
-By far the most common grouping was a MF couple. But there were a surprising number of MMF groupings, and relatively far fewer MFF groups. (The women made it up in numbers by appearing in FF pairs far more often than there were MM pairs.)

-Of the women who were alone, more than half of them were on their cellphones either talking or texting.

-Solos of both genders were more likely to be going somewhere, while groups were more likely to stop at the square and hang out. This effect was much more pronounced for women; several solo men stopped to hang out, but almost all of the solo women kept walking.

-I got hit on twice while making these observations. (Neither one was my type. Like, at all.)
"Whatcha writing there? Wow, that's really interesting. You must be a really thoughtful person. I like to write too, you know."
"Sir, correlation is not causation, but you're providing an intriguingly explanatory anecdote here. Also, I have to go iron my cat."

Dating While Feminist: EVENT ANNOUNCEMENT!

I will be part of a discussion on "Dating While Feminist" organized by NOMAS (the National Organization of Men Against Sexism) Boston. Here are the details:

Thursday, July 29th
6:00-9:00 PM
Lir Pub
903 Boylston St, Boston, MA (Map)
Facebook Event Page

The other guests will be Jaclyn Friedman and Shira Lipkin, and hopefully lots of interesting feminist-type people. If you're in the Boston area I strongly encourage you to stop by; it's free and it'll be awesome.

This is tremendously exciting, and frankly a bit terrifying. I feel like my age and inexperience put me much more in the "learner" than "teacher" role when it comes to sex and relationships, so it's strange to be speaking like I'm some sort of authority. (I've also had this problem with several vanilla people asking me to teach them Kink 101, which I feel unprepared to do since I'm only on Kink 102 myself.) But at least I can share my learning.

The topic of Dating While Feminist deserves its own post or several posts, ones that I'm still formulating. Part of me wants to brush it off with "feh, I call it dating," but it's really not that simple. And dating while feminist and submissive is way not simple.

"Hi. Nice to meet you. I'm Holly. Lovely evening, isn't it? I need you to truly respect me and treat our interactions as a relationship of free equal human beings, recognizing that the world does not yet treat us as such. I also need you to pretend rape me sometimes."

Thursday, July 8, 2010

More on social skills.

I've been frustrated with my social skills--or complete lack thereof--lately. People keep dropping me hints that I don't get until they spell it out in very loud small words, and I keep unintentionally insulting or annoying people. It sucks speaking fluent English but only beginner Human.

But here are two things I've noticed when berating myself for being denser than osmium on Pluto:

1) Most other people's social skills aren't so great.
The other day at work, I was uncertain whether I should do a particular test or if it had already been done. A coworker was checking records while I set up to do the test just in case, and then she looked across the room at me, smiled and nodded. So I did the test.

Then I got yelled at for doing the test twice when she'd just clearly signaled me not to. (It wasn't anything painful or expensive, just a waste of time.) And I was kicking myself, going "stupid stupid Holly, you can't read basic body language," when I realized--my coworker had given me a really lousy signal. I wasn't unskilled for misinterpreting it; she was unskilled for thinking that a smile and a nod would mean "no."

Sometimes I go around thinking that I'm in a world of tremendously subtle people who can all communicate volumes with a single look and I'm the only one who doesn't get it. It's important to remember that most other people actually aren't so suave themselves. Most communications in my life aren't suave person to galoot, but galoot to galoot. We'd do better just saying "NO DON'T DO THE TEST IT HAS BEEN DONE" than pretending that we're all suave here and galoots are an unexpected exception.


2) The best social skills in the world won't make people do what I want.
So there's a couple people in my life right now that I would like to date and fuck. But my relations with these people are, while very friendly and enjoyable, not really on a date/fuck level. And there's some horrible PUA part of my brain that wants me to think this is purely a failure of my social skills. Like if I could communicate in just the right way, drop just the right hints, it would change everything and "I like you, but I'm not sure if I feel that way about you" would instantly become "after our long romantic walk down the beach at sunset, you wanna do it doggy or cowgirl?"

(It's also horrible and PUA of me to even speak of a friendship as a "failure" because there is no penis-in-vagina. It's a very successful friendship! Sheesh.)

Now, there's no question that social skills do influence how people think of me. They have nothing to judge me by except how I present myself, so a good presentation definitely matters. But there's a lot of other things that matter too--factors in their own life situations and sexualities and thought processes that I can't even know about, much less change. Blaming everything on my own social skills makes me berate myself unnecessarily and it makes me disrespect the autonomy of my sexy friends.

I can--and should--be likeable, but I can't make people like me. They're social skills, not Social Fucking Magic.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Two minor incidents.

Since I live in a somewhat urban area, my bedroom window faces another house's windows with only about 20 feet in between. Since it is very hot out, I don't like to lower my shades, because that impedes airflow and the room turns into a pressure cooker in minutes. Since I'm me, I always sleep naked and like to lounge around naked as well. My bed is positioned so the neighbors can't see me in it, and I do try not to put on a show, but I'm sure I flash them all the time. And, since they didn't sign up for this, I feel a little bad about it. I constructed this entire neurotic fantasy world where the neighbors always saw me naked and always hated it and thought I was a horrible creep.

Today, I saw my neighbor walking around naked in front of his window. It was a tremendous relief.

---

A couple days ago, I was out with a female friend in a public square (because yeah, I now live in the kind of city that has public squares, rather than the kind of city that has "the Taco Bell across from the Wal-Mart") and we were talking about all manner of salacious and scandalous things. A guy came and sat down next to us, kitty-corner so that he was very close to us but angled so we couldn't make eye contact. Something in his demeanor made us think he was listening to our conversation, but he wasn't bothering us and there were lots of people around so it wasn't really a problem.

Somehow the conversation came around to STDs. I expressed my opinion that it's a shame when otherwise sex-positive people stigmatize STDs, like getting the clap is a huge moral failing rather than a medical problem. It seems like sometimes all the shame and judgement that sex-negative people put on sex itself, we put on any negative outcomes of sex--as if getting the clap were proof that you were doing sex-positivity wrong or making it look bad.

"But I don't have the clap," I clarified.
"I don't have the clap either!" my friend said. We high-fived.

At this moment, the guy very abruptly got up and walked away. He seemed a bit disgusted.

It left us baffled. I could understand losing interest if we had the clap, but we just said we didn't! Shouldn't that be a selling point?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Foreign bodies.

Please note that this post contains no names, or ages, or identifying details. I'm not even going to specify which states these incidents occurred in, and I will say that none of them were recent. I'm just going to name off some objects and some orifices and you can take it from there, okay?


Chicken wing. Anus. (Claimed they "ate it too fast." Which, if it were true--and my 5th grade understanding of digestion suggests not--is almost worse.)

Pocketknife. Vagina. (Folded. Phew.)

Bic pen. Urethra. (Left in for over a year and only removed when the calcification around it had filled the entire bladder. Also, the cap was on.)


What do these incidents have in common, besides being totally wacky and shocking and producing comedy-gold X-rays? They all could have been prevented by a five-minute consultation with one of the helpful folks at Babeland or a similar establishment. Unlike some of my coworkers, I don't think the crazy part is putting objects in your anus or even urethra--I'm no one to be casting stones and I bet you aren't either--it's using the wrong objects. Sex toys, at least the good ones, are specifically made in materials that can be made clean enough for your body and in shapes that are less likely to damage your body.

Sex toys are also expensive, hard to obtain in rural and/or conservative areas, embarrassing to buy and own, and it's very difficult to get basic education on them unless you really seek it out. Stuff like "silicone is neutral for your body, but jelly rubber has scary chemicals" or "anything that goes in your anus needs a base big enough to keep it from going all the way in"--you don't learn this at school, you don't learn it on TV, you don't learn it from porn, and you don't even learn it from a lot of sex toy sellers! Joe-Bob's Adult Books and Smoke Shop (both the brick-and-mortar and online incarnations) usually carries unsafe toys and sells them with no attempt at education. Joe-Bob is also located in a blacked-out shack in the worst part of town and charges $30 for a lump of poorly-made plastic.

Whereas a cucumber is 50 cents, a tube of Vaseline is a buck, you can get both at the corner Safeway, no one can judge you for having them in your house (unless they're sitting together on the nightstand), and 98% of the time you'll get lucky and have nothing but fun. The other 2% secures your place in The ER Hall Of Legends.

But it's a preventable 2%. Here are my if-I-ruled-the-world recommendations for promoting sex toy safety and sanity:

1) Get rid of sex toy bans. The fact that sex toys are still illegal to sell in Mississippi, Alabama, and Virginia is ridiculous. These are totally inappropriate and intrusive laws.

2) Get rid of zoning regulations that force sex shops to only operate in Outer Shitsville. A sex shop is as basic a need as an auto-parts shop and ought to be as easy to find. Also, if the shops were allowed to operate in nicer areas, they'd be less likely to be intimidatingly skanky in appearance and clientèle, and the stigma in visiting them might be less.

3) Allow or promote the sale of sex toys in non-sex shops. This is already happening to a very small degree with more interesting lube selections and a few non-explicitly packaged vibrators in drugstores, but I'd like to see a lot more options in stores that no one is embarrassed to enter. (What about the children? Put stuff in opaque boxes on high shelves and the only kids who'll catch on are the ones who already know.) Not only would this further reduce stigma, but the competition and mass market might lower prices.

4) Ban the sale of unsafe sex toys. This is kind of a murky thing because there are a lot of toys that are only safe if you know what you're doing, and I wouldn't ban those. (How could I. Really.) But there are some toys that are just low-quality--toys made of toxic or unknown materials, toys prone to breakage or electrical faults, toys sold for anal use with no base or other retrieval method, those stupid numbing anal lubes--and I would ban those outright. Medical device manufacturers face standards on what they're allowed to sell for use inside a human body, and sex toy manufacturers shouldn't be able to play the blatant fiction of "it's just an adult novelty!" and be exempt from regulation.

EDIT: In the interest of avoiding government regulation, this should ideally be done by an independent authority analogous to Underwriter's Laboratories, which does not have the power to ban things per se, but whose approval greatly impacts the market viability of a product.

5) Educate people about sex toy safety. I know this is super politically difficult because sex ed is supposed to be all about responsible and serious things like diseases and babies, and something like sex toys--well, that's just dirty. But abstinence-only sex toy education is about as useful as any other kind of abstinence-only. You can't tell Chicken Wing Dude not to shove things up his ass. That's his thing, and by God it's his right, and anyway he's going to. It would make a lot more sense to point him towards a good buttplug.

I'm not sure if I can go so far as to say this education should happen in the schools (although it really should), but it should at least be more available to adults. If I were In Charge Of Things I would send out free pamphlets on sex-toy safety to every store that sold sex toys and to every primary-care doctor. Go in for your physical, come out with a little packet on "things that are okay and not okay to stick in your special places." Obviously lots of people won't read it or won't follow the recommendations, but it beats the hell out of no education at all.

EDIT: 6) Legalize sale of sex toys to minors. At least the drugstore ones. Masturbation (and experimentation with peers) are not statutory rape, and access to sex toys reduces the risk of kids using inappropriate objects or accepting offers from creeps to buy sex toys for them.


And that's my sex toy utopia. It's a world where people have the access, affordability, destigmatization and education necessary to not get chicken wings stuck up their asses. Or at least not as often.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Modesty.

When I was in middle and high school, I was neurotic about not exposing myself in the locker room. I'd go to the furthest darkest corner, face the wall, and do a complicated multi-step shimmy to take off one shirt as I was putting on the other, so exposure of my bra was absolutely minimized.

I know this sounds like yet another "Holly Pervocracy was a weird unpopular kid and that kind of explains a lot" post, but here's the funny part: I still do that. It's not as neurotic these days, but when I change in the locker room at work or a gym, I go out of my way to hide away and minimize my nudity.

I think this is, paradoxically, because I like being seen naked. Which I do; at play parties I'll take any excuse to walk around with my tits out. ("This is a play party" is sufficient excuse, really.) And of course I occasionally naked it up on the Internet. Being naked in front of people is both a sexual and a whee-fun thrill for me.

So my worry, in middle school and now, was never "they'll see my body and that's terrible." My worry was "they'll know that I like them seeing my body and that's terrible." It would both violate consent to use them for exhibitionism, and if I let up on my self-control--even just to act normally--I worried I would tip off my exhibitionism. The exposure of my tits was fine; the exposure of my sexuality is what I was desperate to hide.

("Exhibitionism" is a poor term here since I don't really have that fetish; I just sort of enjoy being seen by willing observers when I'm naked or having sex. I swear that's different. Somehow.)

Nudity is supposed to be okay in same-sex locker rooms because we've all got one, right? Well, we may all have the same body parts, but I still think I've got some things my co-undressers don't got, and that, not prudery, is why I still make a special point of wearing my biggest frumpiest underwear to work.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Network.

If we take the axiom "when you sleep with someone, you're sleeping with everyone they ever slept with," and disregard time so it becomes "you're sleeping with everyone they ever slept with or ever will sleep with," and extend it to include anyone their partners sleep with and so on--how large does that group become?

This image shows the romantic relationships over 6 months in a high school. A lot of people stayed in pairs, or switched partners only once. Some of them paired up in ways that created "effectively slept with" groups of six or eight. But then there's the structure on the upper left. The kids who dated a lot of people tended to date other kids who dated a lot of people, and this core group of hyper-daters plus all their partners formed one enormous network.

What I wonder is if you could draw a sexual map of America--or hell, of the world--that looks the same way. Obviously there are some people who've only been with one partner and that partner's only been with them, or have otherwise formed insulated groups with their sexual history, so we can't say that everyone sexually active is connected. But what I wonder is: is there a single mega-network? Is there a certain level of sexual activity and social/geographic mobility (and random chance) at which you join a group of hundreds of millions who have all effectively slept with each other?

I would like to believe that there is. I would like to see it as--better not say an honor, but a distinction--to be "on the network." I wonder which partner first put me on the network--and I can think of a few people I almost certainly put on it. I imagine that most of my current friends are on the network. And I imagine the network as global and possibly reaching into the billions.

This is a depressing demonstration, but think of the spread of HIV. It began with a very small group of people--maybe just one originally?--in the 1980s. Currently there are about 35 million people with HIV. Although there are other ways to transmit HIV, I suspect that for the most part this represents a 35-million-person network.

(Does the fact that not everyone has HIV disprove the existence of a truly global network? Given that my network rules ignore chronology of partners and disease transmission obviously does not, and that the majority of sexual encounters with a HIV-positive person do not transmit HIV... it's unclear. HIV proves that a mega-network can exist, but not whether or not there's just one huge one.

Still, I'd guess that any network that gets to 35 million plus would have at least one instance of sex connecting it to any other network, right? It would only take one. So most likely there is only one mega-network in the world, and the only remaining question is how large it is.)

I would love to see a visualization of this network. I can imagine the relatively thinly linked gaps between localities and social classes, the individuals serving as unknowing hubs or key links, the comparative isolation of small towns, the tight little knots representing swingers' clubs and theater tech crews. There would be lines crossing every national border and every political hatred. It would be beautiful, sad, and complicated as all hell.



So... if my theory is correct, I've most likely slept with you. Whoever you are, if you've had more than two or three sexual partners, we're probably meta-partners. We're on the Network. We're connected by pleasure with the entire world. How cool is that?