photo by Yersinia

photo by Yersinia

If you’re looking to make your sex life a little kinkier, but you’re daunted by the sometime high cost of the gear, fear not! Here are some BDSM-hacks that you can add to your holiday wish list without compromising your budget!

Instead of nipple clamps…
Nipple clamps are used to exert pressure or pain on the nipples (obvs!) but you can use them on the scrotum, the labia or any other place you might enjoy a little pinch.

Nipple Clamps

Try clothes pins!
Same great clamping action for a fraction of the price…or free if you have them lying around the house. The trade-off here is nipple clamps are adjustable, while clothes pins are a one-size-fits-all kind of deal. But since you can get a pack of 50 pins for under two bucks, you haven’t lost much if they don’t work out.

Clothes pins

 

 

Instead of a paddle…
Spanking paddles are made of various materials including wood, leather and plastic. They’re generally designed to look and sound like serious business, although you can use them to deliver a gentle pat as well as a full-on wallop.

Paddle

Try a fly swatter!
They may not look as tough, but fly swatters are a mad-bargain. They rarely cost more than a dollar and they deliver quick the licking. If you’re looking for a firmer paddling but still want to pinch your pennies, consider a wooden cooking utensil. Slotted spatulas or one of the spoons with the hole in the middle are especially fun if you like making patterns when you spank!

Wooden spoon

 

 

Instead of a cock cage…
Chastity cages are a way of putting a submissive’s penis under someone else’s control. It doesn’t prevent an erections, but it does restrict a hard on, causing what some describe as erotic comfort. It also prevents access to penis, so if you get turned-on you can’t do anything about it until your play partner decides to release you

Chastity cage

Try a pet muzzle.
Chastity cages can be quite pricey. Pet muzzles, by comparison, are not – so if you’re curious about penile restraint but reluctant to make a big investment, this could be the low-cost option for you. Again, getting a precise fit will with a muzzle might be more of a challenge  but most feature adjustable straps, so you can play around and see what works best for your body.

Pet muzzle

 

 

Instead of the sex store…
No dis to the sex store. I’ve worked in one and I still shop at them all the time. When it comes to items like lube, safer-sex gear, books and most toys and good sex shop can’t be beat. And when you’re ready to invest in some good-quality, long-lasting kinky stuff, your friendly neighbourhood sex peddlers can hook you up proper. That having been said you might pay a premium for certain items.

sex-shop

Try the hardware store!
Some bondage basics can  be purchased at your local home improvement store. Rope, chains, hooks and certain types fasteners are all available at the hardware store. The aesthetics may be a bit more utilitarian, but the prices are usually pretty good. Also a trip to Home Depot is a bit more discreet for those that want to keep their kinky activities to themselves.

Home Depot

Instead of 50 Shades
For many readers, the 50 Shades trilogy opened up a whole world of kinky possibilities. Fiction can definitely inspire exciting ideas for sex in real life; however it isn’t necessarily intended to illustrate the “how-to” ness of kink.

50 Shades

Try SM 101!
This isn’t so much a money saving tip, but if you’re interested in BDSM practices, SM 101 will give you a lot of more bang for you book-buying buck. The subtitle of Jay Wiseman’s primer is “a realistic introduction”. And it is. SM 101 takes you through the basics of negotiation, physical and emotional safety, bondage, spanking, finding partners to play with and more. It’s the first book I ever read about kinky play and to this day it remains one of my favourites.

SM 101

 

So what’s on your sexy wish list this holiday? If you’re looking for more even more gift inspiration you can also check out my latest post over at The Yummy Mummy Club. Happy shopping!

Being back in school is challenging. Academics are HARD, yo…at least for me! There’s a whole-lot of learnin’ to do and keeping on top of everything isn’t easy. Luckily the part where I love what I’m doing makes the study load feel a little lighter. It’s tough, but kind of in a good way because I feel I’m being pushed in the right direction.

I’m also being stretched emotionally, which is something I didn’t necessarily expect. Our professors don’t just give us factual information, they make us get all introspective and work on ourselves. Seriously! The faculty have this bizzarro philosophy that self-awareness will help us become better, more compassionate professionals. Whazzup with that?

Here’s an example. Sexuality educator and counsellor, Reece Malone (from Winnipeg! Canada represent!) led a seminar on gender variance and diversity. Before his workshop, I’d assumed that I was a super-cool, mega-enlightened kind of gal who didn’t have any trouble embracing the reality that not everyone’s gender is defined their genitals. But then Reece came along with his brilliant teaching that forced me to go beyond the rational, think-y part of my brain. He made me examine my emotions and gut reactions. And it became pretty obvious pretty fast that as much as I want to be the person who’s totally fine if her little boy decides he wants to be girl, I’m not quite there.

Below is an assignment our class was given. In bold are the prompts from Reece, followed by my answers. Doing this exercise forced me to face the reality, that I definitely have some prejudices around gender identity.

(Warning: This gets kind of long. Bear with me, okay?)

When I meet a person on the street whose gender is unclear to me, Iimmediately feel flustered. Despite my intellectual beliefs, I often find myself scrutinizing their face and body, looking for clues about their gender. I have to consciously remind myself that a stranger’s gender is none of my business, has no effect on my life and to stop staring.

If someone I’ve known for a long time told me that they used to be another gender, I…react differently depending on what they look like. If their body or presentation has characteristics of another gender, I might be less startled. I’ve had this experience with a few long-time acquaintances and my first thought was something like “Ohhhh…it all makes sense now.” But someone whose look is completely in line with my concept of what a person of that gender looks like, might surprise me with their confession.

What I do when I am talking to a student/client/person whose gender is unclear to me, isif I don’t need to know, I generally don’t ask and I try to avoid making any gender-specific references in our conversation. If I think gender will be relevant or it becomes relevant in the conversation, I usually share my preferred pronouns in the hopes that it will encourage them to do the same.

When someone says they are neither male nor female, I…become self-conscious about the language I use around gender. I begin to think very hard about certain phrases I tend to use like “opposite sex” or “boys and girls”. I try not express to that person how awkward I feel, because I feel that’s my issue, not theirs (but I worry that they pick on my awkwardness anyway). I also feel guilt. I wish I was as accepting emotionally as I am in my head.

What I think about the statement “people are neither men nor women” is…that isn’t true. I think ignores the identities of people both trans and cisgender who feel very strongly that they are men or they are women. I believe men and women are the genders that are validated and acknowledged in our society and I believe we need to create space for all the other gender identities that exist, but there are people who are men and women.

If a friend wanted to have genital surgery to present more as a woman I…would ask them how I could support them. I love my friends and I want them to be happy. I honestly don’t feel that surgery would bother me. I think I’d be most concerned that they felt loved and accepted and I’d want to make sure they knew that I cared for them.

My reaction to a trans person who does not “pass” as the gender they are presenting is…that it’s fine. I don’t have to prove that I’m a woman. They shouldn’t have to prove their gender either. It is likely I will slip and use the wrong pronouns, so I’ll be apologizing a lot!

If my parent told me they were going to start to present as the opposite gender than I had known, I…would be really surprised. I think my first impulse would be to tell them that I loved them. Knowing my parents, they’d be deeply hurt if they thought I no longer cared for them. I’d be afraid that they would experience rejection from other people in their life, so I certainly wouldn’t want them to feel any from me. That having been said, it’s hard to imagine my mom as a dad or my dad as a mom. I’m fairly certain I’d also be sad. I’ve known them both my whole life, so to watch such a significant part of who they’ve been for me change or disappear would be really tough.

My current thinking about the reasons some people are trans and some are not is…I’ve never thought about it. Being cisgender, I’m rarely challenged to think about why my gender is what it is. Now that I am thinking about it…I still don’t know. I’m not sure that I personally feel a great need to seek out a “reason”. I just feel it’s important that I learn to sincerely accept people as they truly are.

I think the relationship between being trans and mental health is…profound. I can only imagine the emotional pain of living with an identity that many people don’t understand, acknowledge or accept. I also guess that the continual threat of rejection, or worse, violence could cause severe stress. Because many in our society refuse to embrace gender diverse people, I can understand why they are at greater risk for mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression and have a much higher rate of suicide. That is part of the reason I feel so strongly that I need to keep working on my own prejudices and to take part in whatever work needs to be done to create a trans-inclusive society. Everyone has a right to be who they truly are and to thrive with that identity.

The first time I met a trans individual I felt…ashamed. During the first few encounters, I thought they were a man who was coming on to me. I didn’t like the attention and kept my attitude cool and distant. Eventually she confessed that she was biologically male and transitioning to female. She had identified with me as another woman and was trying to reach out. The shame came from knowing that I had pulled away from someone who simply wanted friendship. Once I realize what was happening, I also felt a bit of pride that she wanted me as a friend. Despite my early behaviour we did eventually become pals.

When someone tells me they may be trans, I question…I don’t know that I question, but I’m curious as to what they are feeling. I sometimes ask, “How are you feeling?”

If my child tells me that his/her best friend may be trans, I think…That I need to speak with my son, find out what his understanding of trans is and help explain anything he’s confused or concerned about (assuming I have the answers). I would also tell my son that he should ask his friend what name/pronoun they like, to use that name and model the behaviour by doing the same thing myself.

I think people who…react violently towards transpeople, refuse to use a person’s preferred name/pronoun, who ask questions about a person’s genitals or how they have sex, who claim that gender identity is inappropriate to discuss with children, who ask “are you a girl or a boy?”, who make disparaging comments about trans identities, who refuse to work with or hire trans people, who insist that trans people conceal their true identities…are transphobic

When I was younger I thought trans people were…women who were born men and had penises. The first depiction of a trans person I ever saw was in The Crying Game and for a long time, that was my only point of reference. I assumed there were also men who were born women and had vulvas, though I had never heard of or seen any. I don’t think I knew surgery was an option, beyond maybe breast implants for women.

If my child came out to me as a trans woman/man, I would initially feel…excited. I love my son and I wouldn’t trade him for anything, but before he was born I always dreamed of having a daughter. So I think my very first thought would be, “Yay! I have a little girl!” But I would very quickly start to worry. I would worry about how best to supporting her and helping her navigate her new identity. I’d be terrified about the bigotry she could face and how it would affect her self-worth. And when she was older, I would worry a lot about her facing violence when she was out in the world.

If my partner came out to me as a trans woman/man I would initially feel…concerned. My partner is the most important person in my life. I know how much he loves me and I know how frightening it would be for him to reveal something he thought might end our relationship or worse, drive me away. I know he’d need support. I think my first impulse would be to reach out as his best friend. But with time I would probably be angry. I might feel like I had been cheated out of a husband. And I think I would be profoundly sad. I love my partner the way he is now. If he came out as trans, I’d feel like I’d lost him even though internally she was the same person. Finally, I think I’d feel guilty. Because with any other person in my life, I think sooner or later I’d be able to accept the change and love them all the same…but I’m not sure that I could do that for my partner.

If my brother/sister came out to me as a trans woman/man, I would initially feel…I don’t have siblings, so I honestly don’t know. I’m thinking about how I would feel if it were my best friend, who’s been in my life for thirty years. I think I’d be surprised but of all the people that are close to me, I suspect that would be the easiest coming out for me to accept. But with time I would…probably feel a lot of responsibility towards them. I might become a little overzealous in my attempts to be supportive. I could totally see us having a conversation where I’d start asking about their transition, their feelings about their transition, what I could do to help their transition and they’d turn to me and say, “Shut up! What Not To Wear is on!”

Yeaaaaah. I doubt I’ll be winning the Nobel Prize for gender acceptance any time soon. But at least now I know where some of my prejudices are and I can think more clearly about how they might affect other people and how I can work to change my attitude. Hopefully that will make me a better educator and maybe a nicer person.

I invite you to consider some of the Reece’s prompts – they’re great food for thought. And if any of you are so inclined, go ahead and share your thoughts in the comments.

 

Intersex

The other day The Bean asked if all boys have penises, which seemed like a good opportunity to start talking about difference between sex and gender.

“Let’s talk about biological sex,” I began, “Can you say that word? Bi-o-logical?”

“Biological,” the Bean repeated carefully.

“Awesome! Biological sex means what kind of body a person is born with. You were born with testicles and penis, so your biological sex is male. I was born with a vulva and a uterus and other parts. My biological sex is female. Some people are born with a mix of male and female parts. They are intersex.”

“I wish I had all the parts,” said The Bean, “I could pee SO MUCH!”

I made a mental note to come back to anatomy at a later date.

“Gender is….” I hesitated, trying to think of the best way to summarize the complexity of personal identity in six-year-old terms.

“I know! It’s like Like Star Trek: The Next Gender-ation,” The Bean offered.

“Uh…no. Gender is who you feel you are inside.  Some people believe they’re girls, some believe they’re boys, some believe they’re a mix of both and some believe they aren’t either. Some people aren’t sure. But it doesn’t always have to do with what kind of body parts you have. So not everyone who has a vulva is a girl. Not everyone who has a penis is a boy.

“Who do you believe you are?” The Bean asked me.

“When I was little I was a girl and now I’m grown up, so I’m a woman. That’s what I feel”  I told him. “What about you?”

“I feel I am…a dog! That’s my gender!”

It’s an ongoing process, people. It’s an ongoing process.

Posted with The Bean’s consent

 

 

The other night my pal stepc brought my attention to the following news item via Twitter. It’s a quick read but if you’re pressed for time, the gist is this:

Cathy Sanders, the mother of a 13-year-old Nanaimo boy objects to the distribution of an animated flip book in her son’s grade 8 class room. The book, produced by Catie.ca and distributed by AIDS Vancouver Island features an explicit demonstration of a woman putting a condom on her erect partner’s penis and having sex with him.  According to the article, Ms. Sanders is pissed about the graphic nature of the pamphlet and the fact that it apparently upset her kid quite a bit.

(If you’d like to see for yourself, check out Ian A Martin’s latest blog post.  He turned the flipbook in to a pretty nifty animated gif. As I said, it’s graphic, so exercise necessary discretion when clicking through.)

I have to admit that when I first read the article, my initial reaction was ‘Bah! It’s not that big a deal. Cathy Sanders is uptight, overprotective and blowing this thing WAY out of proportion!‘.  I even composed a tweet to that effect. But as I looked over my 140 characters snark, I thought, ‘Hold up there, Judgey!‘ . Sanders may be affronted by flip-book sex but I have my own set of biases…

  • I am building a career predicated on the belief that frank, open and explicit communication about sexual health and pleasure are a good thing. Not everyone shares that belief.
  • I’ve worked in the sexual health/pleasure field for several years. Graphic depictions of sexstuffs have become normal and commonplace for me. This isn’t the case for most people.
  • I’ve spent the last three years of my sex education career working with youth. I know that many teenagers are sexually aware. I’ve become extremely comfortable with the reality that teens may be sexually active and may have sexual partners. But sexual readiness comes at different times for different people. Just because many of the youth I’ve encountered have been interested in sex that doesn’t mean this woman’s son felt the same way.

I’m also biased because I’ve spent a lot of my career advocating in favour of sex education for youth that goes beyond the telling them how sex will get them pregnant or sick. I’ve spent a lot of time and energy defending against the type of inflammatory rhetoric that calls a museum exhibit pornographic or claims that comprehensive sex ed curriculum will “teach kids how to have anal sex”.

So I read the article and because of my biases, my first impulse was to get defensive. But then I thought a little more. I thought, ‘This woman probably loves her son and wants what she feels is best for him.‘ I thought about how it might feel to be confronted by your troubled child and a cartoon erection if you weren’t expecting either of those things. I thought about parents and the type of messages we’re given about the role we’re supposed to play in our children’s sexual education.

I don’t feel the pamphlet was pornographic nor would I say that it was categorically age-inappropriate for 13-year-olds. But it may have been age-inappropriate for this particular 13-year-old, or at least unsettling. And when I stop to consider his mother’s position I do feel some sympathy for her. ‘Cause in my experience, parents are primed on exactly three types of sex talks: The Birds, The Bees and The BasicsYour Body Is Going Through Some Changes; and finally Only Have Sex When You Are Ready (You Are NOT Ready!) Son, Let’s Talk About This Naked Flip Book And Why It’s Bothering You, isn’t in the parents’ sex talk playbook. For the most part, we’re told it’s our job to dissuade our kids from having sex. So while I disagree with Ms. Sanders’ characterization of the book, I can sympathize a bit too.

As I was discussing this article on Twitter and later with The MoMs, I realized that as much as I talk and teach about sex, I rarely talk about sex education as part of parenting. And I think I need to change that. Yes, I have a certain level of factual knowledge. But how to convey that information to my son? I know my role when I walk into a classroom or workshop. What is my role as a parent?

Like most parents, ultimately I want my son to grow into a healthy, happy, decent human being. I know that as an adult his sexuality will most likely affect that health and happiness. But what do I say? How do I impart my ethical belief that everyone has the right to make their own choices about their own bodies, when my parental instincts are already hollering at me to MAKE HIM WEAR A CONDOM!?

If he chooses to be sexuality active, long-term I want him to enjoy those experiences without shame or fear. But if it turns out he’s straight, there’s a reasonable chance I’m going to ruin is early dating life by screaming “DON’T GET ANYONE PREGNANT!” every time he’s with a girl.

I want to tell him that he should have sex when he feels ready? But if he asks me, “Mum, how do I know when I’m ready?”, I don’t know what to say. I don’t even know if that’s my question to answer.

All of this to say, that it’s hard. Parenting means flying blind most of the time, especially when it comes to sex. I guess this blog post is my way of sending out a signal. Tell me, fellow parents, how do you feel about sex-educating your kids? Do you have fears, issues you feel ill-equipped to deal with? Do your emotions and the instinct to protect your young ever clash with your general belief system?

It’s sobering to realize how quick to judgement I can be. It can be far too easy to position myself as the enlightened sex expert in these situations. But while our boundaries may differ, Cathy Sanders is probably a loving, well-intentioned parent who found herself in a situation she probably didn’t know how to handle. I can sympathize with that, because I’ve been there…and I will be again.

How do you define the word ‘sex’?

I use the word in a couple different ways. There’s “sex” the biological category – intersex, female, male, etc. For a long time, I thought of “sex” in this sense as being synonymous with “gender” and would use both words interchangeably. Eventually I learned that “sex” refers to a set of physical traits (hormones, genitalia, chromosomes and more), while gender has to do with a person’s psychological and emotional identity.

Of course, I’m not a super science-y gal, so most of the time when I say “sex”,  I’m referring to the physical act. But what physical act?  “Sex” is a word that open to a lot of interpretation. What I call sex may be very different from your definition of the word. What I call sex today is very different from the definition I had twenty years ago. Back then I would have told you that sex was  penis-in-vagina penetration because it had the potential to result in pregnancy and that everything else was a form of foreplay.

Then I experienced oral sex. Nothing about it felt like a warm up, a precursor or anything but the main event! So, I began to think of sex as not just vaginal penetration, but any partnered activity that was likely to produce an orgasm.

When I began working in sexual health and sex education, I began to understand how varied sexual experience can be. Again, I began to amend my definition of what consitutes “sex”, trying to find a meaning that was a bit broader and didn’t depend on partners or orgasms. Nowadays when I say sex, I mean something along the lines of “an intentional, consensual physical act which produces or enhances sexual pleasure.”

What do you mean when you talk about “sex”? Has its meaning changed for you over time or with certain experience? The comment section is yours!

 

Chlamydia is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in North America. Communicable illnesses are a part of life. We can get sick from sharing food, from sharing space and sometimes from having sex. Infections aren’t ideal, but heaping extra stigma on STIs just because they result from sex, seems irrational, mean and all kinds of negative.

One in four of us will contract a sexually transmitted infection in our lifetime. For many of us that infection will be chlamydia. So kick back and relax, while I hit you with a few chlamydia facts! *

What is it?

Chlamydia is a bacterial STI, caused by microscopic shit-disturbers known as Chlamydia tracomatis. Chlamydia infects the cervix in females or the urethra in males. Left untreated, chlamydia can lead to further complications such as pelvic inflammatory disease, epididymitis and in some cases infertility.

How is it transmitted?

Chlamydia can be transmitted through vaginal, anal or oral sex. It can also be passed from an infected parent to a baby during a vaginal delivery. Using safer sex barriers like condoms and dental dams can help reduce spread of Chlamydia.

What are the symptoms?

The most common symptoms of chlamydia are burning or pain during urination, abdominal pain, pain during during intercourse, fever and cloudy white discharge. (Pro-tip: The discharge is different from the normal ejaculate/discharge that comes out of our fun bits.)

Now here’s the important thing about chlamydia and symptoms. Chlamydia is super-weasely. Most people with the infection won’t present any symptoms at all – especially when the infection is in the cervix.  Fortunately, medical-types can screen for the infection with either a swab or urine test.  If you’re sexual active, you can arrange for testing through your regular health professional or pay a visit to a sexual health centre. In Ottawa, you can also download your own requisition form and take it directly to a testing lab.

How is it treated?

Chlamydia can be cured with course of oral antibiotics. Most health care professionals will tell you that it’s very important to complete the entire course of medication. They often direct patients to lay off the sexin’ until a week or so after they’ve finished their antibiotics, just to be on the safe side.

What else should I know?

Performing oral sex on an infected partner can sometimes lead to a chlamydia infection in the throat. Also touching an infected area and then touching the eyes can cause a nasty eye infection, which left untreated may lead to blindness.

Chlamydia testing is not part of a routine pap smear.

If you test positive for chlamydia it is highly recommended that your sexual partners be tested as well. Sometimes public health practitioners will ask for partners’ contact information so they can give them the heads up that they should come in for testing.

There are other strains of Chlamydia, some which affect humans and some that can be found in other animals, such as koalas. (Shout out to Younes for that fascinating fact!)

* FYI, I’m not a doctor or any kind of medical authority. I strongly suggest you based any health-related decision on the advice of a trained professional.


 

 

In the spirit of a new year and new beginnings, I’m introducing a new feature called: Question of the Week.

In university my classmates and I used to write a ‘Question of the Day’ on the blackboard in the theatre student lounge. These questions almost always centered around sex and almost always sparked some lively, informative discussion. All that talking about sex helped me feel okay about sex. It seems like a tradition worth reviving.

Of course participation is completely optional. You can answer often, occasionally or not at all. If you have something to say but you’re feeling shy, you’re always welcome to comment anonymously.

So without further ado, let’s get to this week’s question:

How did you first learn about sex?

I’m lucky. My introduction to sex was safe, simple and very straightforward. I was three or four years old when I asked my mother how babies were made. Mom calmly replied that babies were the result of  intercourse. She went on to explain that intercourse was when a man put his penis in a woman’s vagina. My mom described sex as something totally normal, which I realize in retrospect was some pretty rad parenting on her part. I walked away from that first conversation with a shiny new piece of knowledge and virtually no prejudice about whether this sex thing was good or bad

Most experts agree that when preschoolers ask questions about sex, adults should answer their question directly, without going into  a lot of additional detail. Which is what my mom did. Throughout, it’s also what my teachers and other adults in my life did. Because sex was always described to me as a penis in a vagina and because all the pictures I saw in books were static, I thought sex was passive and still.  My mom told me that grown-ups enjoyed sex because it was pleasant and pleasurable. I assumed she meant “pleasant” the way grown-ups thought drinking coffee was pleasant or reading magazines was pleasant. The word sex conjured images of naked people lying in bed, quietly connected at the crotch, talking about taxes or names for the baby they were making.  It wasn’t until I saw my first saw porn that I understood how active sex can be.

That’s my story. I’d love to hear yours. The comment section is open – tell me how and when you first learned about sex.

 

I have a hard time expressing myself erotically. True story.

I can talk about sex. I’ve engaged in what I call “intellectual smut” for years. It didn’t begin this way but over time, these frank, informative discussions of sexuality have become familiar and easy for me. After years of reading, writing, learning and teaching I’m perfectly comfortable steering any conversation towards the subject of clitoral response or anal anatomy. These days sex-words virtually spill from my mind and my mouth – so long as the purpose is to inform, rather than to arouse.

I am an erotic person. I have sexual thoughts and desires. I ponder people, their parts and things I’d like to do to them. I think about thing I’d like done to me. I also have an amazing partner that I love, trust and really like having sex with. When you consider all of that and the fact that I’m a pretty chatty, expressive person – you’d think I’d be the dirtiest talkin’ gal in town. Instead, it’s a struggle.

I read a lot of erotic fiction. I’m often inspired to create my own stories, but when I sit down to do it, I find it’s a long, fairly uncomfortable process. I have no compunction about baring most of my body to hundreds of people during a burlesque performance Reading an authentically erotic poem for an audience of fifteen makes sweaty and tense. Even when it comes to The Man of Mans – my partner of seventeen years, I find it much easier to express my sexual desires during a matter-of-fact discussion at dinner than I do when we’re hot, heavy and in the moment.

Words. Words make it real. Words bring what is barely perceptible into sharp focus. Words turn formless lust into an acute awareness of exactly where and how I want to touch and be touched. And there is a place deep inside of me where that knowledge feels exciting and good. But piled on top of that is a bunch of vulnerability, insecurity and maybe even a little guilt.

I’m a pretty big proponent of communication in general and sexual communication specifically. My reluctance to get dirty with my words makes it hard to put my money where my mouth is. What’s that all about? I have some theories.  The past few years of my life have been filled lots of sex-positive learning. It’s changed a lot of how I think about sex. However, I’m also part of a culture that perceives of sexual pleasure as inherently sordid, dangerous, offensive and taboo. Logically, I’ve largely dismissed that characterization. But my emotions are still under the influence of deeply ingrained sex-negative ideology. I’m fine with the knowledge that I want to put my tongue there. I haven’t been able to shut out that pesky voice telling me nice people don’t say it out loud.

Despite my awkward embarrassment, I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to push past those feelings and get comfortable talking erotic. And writing erotic.  First, because the very idea of that tongue thing is pretty hot and there’s nothing wrong with saying so. Second, because the more explicit I am about the kind of sex I want, the more likely I am to get it. And lastly, because I think being okay with down and dirty communication is key piece in building consent culture.

Discussions around sexual consent often lead to a few common concerns. One is that is ensuring a partner’s consent means a bunch of super-formal negotiations where all parties sit down and to outline the all details of the sexual encounter. Another worry is the ensuring ongoing consent.  Naysayers sometime conjure a scenario where people have to stop the action every couple of minutes to ask , “Can I put my hand there? About there? What about there? How about there?” It’s an unappealing prospect for some people. I’m one of them.

But consent doesn’t have to be either of those options. You don’t have to sit primly on the couch and ask “May I please put your penis my mouth?” You don’t have to stop in the middle of fucking to say, “Sorry, I know we didn’t talk about it before but I was wondering if I could penetrate your anus digitally.” I mean, you can if you want to. But you can also lean in and whisper, “I would love it if you let me suck your cock.”*  You can be skin to skin and all over each other when you ask, “How about a finger in your ass?”**  Consent isn’t about ruining the fun. It’s about communicating. It seems like talking specifically and explicitly about the sex we do want to be having is a good way to avoid making people have sex they don’t want.

Unfortunately, there seems to be a pervasive notion that the ideal way to hook up is with languid body language, coy looks and a host of other non-verbal tactics. Asking for sex outright is often labelled crass and kind of pervy. So, it’s not entirely surprising to me that some people see explicit consent as the antithesis of hot sex. We aren’t exposed to a lot of dirty word-slinging and when we are, it’s rarely presented as a positive thing. I want it to be a positive thing. Emotionally, it may make me twitch. Logically, I think it’s a key part of a safer, hotter, healthier sex.

I’m not much for New Year’s resolutions, but I think 2013 will be the year that I challenge myself to move beyond expressing my thoughts on sex. It’s time to get comfortable expressing my sexual feelings. Bring on the dirty talk!

*I got all flushed when I wrote this.
** And this.

 

 

Now that I’ve been in the sex-educatin’ game for a few years, I’ve noticed a few common misunderstandings and myths about what our bodies do when we’re getting it on. I chose the following five, not only because I hear them repeatedly but because I used to believe them myself.  I’m not sure where some of these ideas started, but I’m fairly certain Cosmo had something to do with it.

When in doubt, blame Cosmo.

1. The G-spot is the holy grail of sexual satisfaction with guaranteed orgasms and female ejaculation.

G-spot stimulation can be an intensely pleasurable experience for some people. Others may find it uncomfortable, overstimulating, painful. A lot of G-spots respond differently at different times. And while most G-spots do get juicy when aroused, that porn-style vaginal squirting is a relatively rare occurence.

2. Having regular bum sex – especially with big people or sex toys – will stretch out your sphincters. You’ll wind up in adult diapers.

Contrary to popular belief, anal penetration with larger body parts or toys does not stretch you out. As long as you’re doing what’s safe and comfortable for your body, there’s some evidence to indicate that having regular bum sex is actually beneficial to anal health.

3. Multiple orgasms are better than a single orgasm. Being able to give and/or experience multiple orgasm means you’re better at sex.

First, I have yet to find a definitive explanation of what constitutes a multiple orgasm. Also, trying to force a lots of orgasms when you were perfectly satisfied with one – or even none – is rarely a gratifying experience.

4. My sexual partner masturbates. I must not be satisfying them.

A lot of people find that masturbation and partnered sex feel very different. Even partners with white-hot sex lives have a hankerin’ for some self-satisfaction every now and again.

5. If we have sex when my partner is having their period, they can’t get pregnant.

It’s less likely, but still possible for a person to conceive if they have intercourse having their period. The timing of a person’s menstrual cycle can change without warning. There’s always a chance they may ovulate within a couple days of the previous cycle’s period. If sperm from a recent sexual encounter are still present…welcome to Zygote- town!

 

Dear Santa Claus,

Whassup? Merry Christmas, seasons greetings, holiday cheer and all that rad stuff!

This past Saturday some cool peeps at the Adult Fun Superstore invited a group of local bloggers to check out their wares at an in-store Pandora Party.

I used to host similar workshops back in my sex store days, but I haven’t been to one in years so I was keen to see what’s new in the wonderful world of adult toyland.

 

Props to your sexy elves, Santa! There are quite a few items that have made my wishlist. Yes, I am a grown woman. Putting gift requests through your office at my age is unorthodox, to be sure. But The MoMs and I are instating holiday austerity measures in anticipation of some costly plans in the new year. That leaves you and my mom as gifting sources. I think we can both agree that you are by far the more appropriate option.

I think I’ve been pretty nice this year so here, for you consideration, is my naughty Christmas wish list.

 

1. Dickalicious Penis Arousal Gel

Saying the word “dickalicious” elevates my mood by at least 17%. As a person living with clinical depression, I cannot ignore the profound effect this product might have on my quality of life.

Also? I licked it and it is super-yum.

2. Dreamworlds Steelworks Plug

 

This is some beautiful, blinged out backside hardware. I’ve been wanting to experiment with accessories. Every moment in life – including anal -is an opportunity for style!

3. Lelo Luna Beads

 

Fact: I love me some Lelo toys

Fact: I love me some vaginal balls

Fact: If you bring these for me, Santa, I will be full of Christmas cheer, all year long!

4. Sportsheet Spreader Bar

Truthfully, I’d never considered playing with one but the moment I saw this, I desperately wanted it. The neoprene cuffs are so comfy! It doesn’t take a Freudian to understand why the thought of a hard steel rod between my legs is exciting.

So, in conclusion…

Please can I have a spreader bar? Please can I have a spreader bar? Please, please, please, pretty please, please please, PLEASE?

Yours sincerely,

Nadine