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2016: The Year Of The Hustle

1282_10153814105945979_7155798870212801746_nI started 2016 surrounded by friends, loved ones, and friendly faces, smelling faintly of squirt and cum, blissfully post-coital. I had a threeway kiss with new sweeties R & C, and a kiss with my ex P, which feels symbolic of how I want this next year to go- welcoming in new experiences while staying open to the way relationships over time shift and change. 2015 was a hard fucking year for growth, and I'm glad to have learned the things I did, but I'm pretty ready to have it behind me, to slow down on the navel gazing and just be present.

I have decided that for me, 2016 is going to be the year of the hustle. I'm ready to do more, to step out from my self-imposed hermitage and fear of social gatherings to perform more, write more, create more, volunteer more.

The mantra for 2016 will be "we make time for what we care about". I think this year, I want to make more time for fun, creating art/crafts, travel, one on one time with friends and lovers, and nesting. Here's some other goals I plan to keep in mind:

-Publish the Consent Culture Book 

I have a new pitch, a new idea of how to pull it together that will not keep me mired in the world of sex writing. I'm very grateful to my writer friends for encouraging me to branch out, take a risk, try something new and outside of my comfort zone. The new pitch feels right in my gut, and I'm excited to bring it to life.

-Perform

I want to read more of my work in public. I want to create stripteases that are complex and challenging. I want to do more porn that feels interesting and silly and hot. I feel so proud of myself when I perform, and I want to feel that more. I want that feeling of being cared about when lovers and friends come to support my work.

-Be Outside

Last year was spent snuggled inside a lot of the time, which was both cozy and confining. I want to do a weekend in the woods on my own for writing this year, along with buying a bike so I can cycle around my neighborhood, getting back into geocaching, writing outdoors instead of in coffeeshops. I discovered I have a vitamin D deficiency, and more sunlight will help!

-Listen to My Body

I have struggled more with anorexia over the last year than I have for many, many years. There were too many days where I ate one meal, and some where I didn't eat at all. I want to make sure that I eat more often, that I utilize intuitive eating to make my body feel better. I plan to try an elimination diet to finally get to the bottom of my stomach issues, and reach for tea more than coffee.

-Advocate For Myself

In 2015 I lost myself in other people, trying to become the person they wanted or needed me to be. I didn't know how to want things of my own, just how to transform myself into what was desirable to those around me. I let people mistreat me. Not in 2016! I'm going to stand up for myself and what I believe in even more fiercely.

-Forgive, If Not Forget

I've held onto a lot of anger and hurt from my past. In 2016 I want to more actively practice letting go of those feelings. I don't have to let those people back into my life, but I can stop giving them energy, recognize that their lashing out is part of their own pain/issues, and that I don't have to manage them anymore. Granted there's a couple of people who I don't think I can forgive, even with a lot of effort, and that's ok too.

What're your goals for 2016, or your intentions? Do you enjoy these kinds of checkins, or do you find them anxiety-producing/silly?

Categories: notes to self, personal, reflection, resolutions

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New Year's Resolutions: 2015 in Review (tl;dr it can die in a fire)

hedgehogI actually love New Year's resolutions. Taking a moment to sit and check in with myself about my goals and what I've accomplished tends to make me feel pretty good about myself while also giving me gentle space to see what I still need to work on. It also gives me a chance to look back in prior years, to see what I've moved on from, and what I'm still working on.

2014/2014 review
2013/2013 review
2012/2012 review (same post as 2013)
2011/2011 review

Here's 2015's resolutions in review, and how I did on them (you can read the original post here):

Give up FOMO/Accept my introversion

2015 was the year I stopped going to things I felt “maybe” about. If I didn’t feel comfortable, or I was tired, or being in my pajamas sounded nicer, I just stayed home. I did cancel plans a lot more than I used to, but I also made better plans, plans that actually felt good and energizing to me. I expected to feel a lot of FOMO but instead found myself happy about missing out and getting to hear people’s stories, rather than going and feeling drained.

Instead of focusing on parties and events, I worked more on my writing, watched a lot of movies, read a bunch of books, and drank a lot of tea. Most of my hangouts were one on one, which felt really good and I feel like I solidified some friendships by having that focus. I definitely want to do more of that in the upcoming year.

Allow myself to feel safe/Learn it's ok to say "no"

I did not start out the year particularly good at this, but by the end, I think I learned a lot about my boundaries. I learned that it was more important for me to feel seen than for me to be nice. I learned that I deserve a partner who makes me feel good about myself, not someone who made me feel like I was in a competition for his affection. I learned a deserve a workplace where my work is appreciated and recognized, where I have a chance to grow and shine, not just as a mirror and magnifying glass for someone else’s achievements.

For many years, I have compromised a lot of myself. On my last date with my ex, I remember staring into the fire and saying “I don’t even know who I am anymore, I’ve become so many things to please others”. But the thing is, it doesn’t make me feel safe. It makes me feel small. It took most of 2015 to get here, but I feel a lot more confident saying no, saying what I want and what my boundaries are.  After my breakup, which was very toxic and made me feel even less heard/seen, I wrote up a document of my relationship needs and dealbreakers. While I keep it a living document, I’m also finding that my lovers and friends now are already meeting it. And with that, I feel secure, and safe.

Trust myself as an artist

“I’m not an artist,” I said for years. “I’m an enabler of artists, I’m not creative”. 2015 was supposed to be the year I opened up and discovered my artistic self, and in some ways I did. I made my first porn movie, “Here Kitty Kitty”, though honestly that was not the vision I really had. I think that my artistic vision comes out most in my porn music videos, “Someday My Prince Will Cum” and “Take Me To Church”, and they’re actually decently popular, much to my surprise. I would not have guessed that they’d both have a 90% rating on Pornhub, of all places, considering they’re pretty stylized and a bit weird.

So I’m going to continue to make art. Not purely someone else’s vision, but my own, in collaboration with the fabulous performers I know. I have some ideas, and I believe that not only are they good ideas, but they’ll actually sell. I need to stop second guessing myself and some into my own. I think I’m ready, now.

Trust my sexual appeal/Take care of my body

Ever since I was a teen, I have been insecure about my desirability, like most people, especially women. As a survival sex worker, I learned that whether I felt it or not, I had to maintain a facade of confidence, even brashness, about my sexual appeal. It’s always felt a little forced. I tended to date other people in the fat spectrum in order to feel safe, because I felt wary of slender/toned people and their genuineness in wanting me. Unless a thin person had dated fat people before, I tended to turn them down.

Honestly, that’s not a bad metric, I found out. Someone who is pretty but who consciously or unconsciously makes me feel insecure and has no capacity for supporting me through it is not worth it.

I’m still working on this one, at least with the sexual appeal part. I’ve done much better at taking care of my skin, eating better, and taking my medications. I get a massage every couple weeks which is helping me with chronic pain. I still struggle a lot with eating disorder stuff, and in fact one of the reasons I realized I had to dump my ex was because I was becoming anorexic again. But this is probably the biggest work in progress, in part because I was in a relationship where I felt I was always going to be less than, and a workplace where I was never allowed to be the star. 2016, though, I’m going to challenge myself on both fronts- ask for what I want in bed, ask for reassurance when I need it, and make self care a priority.

Whew, I’ll be glad to see the ass end of 2015, how about you?

Categories: anxiety, best of, body stuff, communication, consent, reflection, resolutions

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That Manic Pixie Life: Why I Dye My Hair So Much

ramona

Wallace Wells: You doing okay there?

Scott Pilgrim: Yeah, good, good, good. She changed her hair.

Wallace Wells: So, it looks nice blue!

Scott Pilgrim: Yeah I know, but she did it without making a big deal out of it or anything... She's fickle, impulsive, spontaneous... God what am I going to do?

-Scott Pilgrim Vs The World

I just went through my photos over the last year, and while my haircut has really only shifted gently from a straight up undercut to growing it out into an asymmetrical hairdo, I have dyed my hair a lot. As of today, I have dyed my hair at least 12 times, once per month, as far as I can tell. It's been mostly blues and purples, with a little dip into blonde and green. Right now, even, it's back to blue, a colour called "shark blue".

I dye my hair impulsively. I remember watching Scott Pilgrim and joking about his freakout over Ramona's hair colour changes, because I'm totally like that. When I'm struggling, or bored, and reinvention is on my mind but I can't really get my shit together to completely change my look, I go for dying my hair something new. It makes me feel fresh again, like I can experiment in being someone just slightly different. And it's a form of self care, too, in a way.

2015 is probably the most I've ever reinvented myself in a year. It was a year of intense and hard change. I went from anxious and self blame to strong, unapologetically putting responsibility at the feet of those who deserved it. I went from porn performer to head of production at TROUBLEfilms and then immediately got fired for sticking to my ethical beliefs about consent and accountability, and frankly, I don't regret it at all. I really came into my own as a writer this year, and am ready to strike out on my own in writing my own book if I can't get a publisher to commit. I went from miserable GGG girlfriend to a narcissist who made me feel small and unworthy to feeling solidly that I deserve better, with a list of values and dealbreakers I won't ignore again.

It was a year of learning how to say "this is what *I* want", of dumping friends who insisted I do most of the work, of knowing my value as an employee and as a person. I thought maybe I didn't want to be a manic pixie anymore, but it's not true- I love being a manic pixie, bringing delight and playfulness and deep thoughts to those around me. I just don't want to be bogged down by depressed protagonists, drowning me in their inability to take care of themselves anymore.

I think that dying my hair is kind of a way to indicate to those around me that I change a lot, and that it's something I value about myself. I like that I am constantly learning and picking up new ideas, merging them with how I view the world. It's probably why I crave stability in my partners and friends, because evolution can make one feel like your feet are never firmly on the ground.

2015 was like an emotional growth spurt in a lot of ways. It hurt, a lot, it ripped me open and stitched me back together. But I feel like I learned a lot this year about sticking to my guns, trusting my gut, and that self care is vital. I am so proud of myself that I broke off a relationship where I felt my boundaries were seen as dismissible. I'm proud I ended relationships with friends who were toxic and made me feel badly about myself, and established better boundaries for friends I've been growing apart from without having to let them go. I learned a lot about picking my battles, and I learned a lot about seeing the love around me rather than begging for love from people who were incapable of giving it.

Mainly though, I learned that I deserve to be loved in all my manic pixie, tenderhearted, ethical splendor. Yes, I may enjoy sticker charts and colouring books and dressing up and being silly, but that doesn't mean I can be dismissed or treated like an unruly child. I deserve to be cherished for who I am, multicoloured hair, strong feels, and all.

2016? Your move.

Keep me in hair dye by subscribing to my Patreon!

banner patreon

Categories: breakups, communication, dating, don't tell me how to live, manic pixie dream domme, personal

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Start Your 2016 Off Right By Patronizing These Rad People

2015 has been one of the most bullshit years of my life in a lot of ways, but I suppose I'm grateful for the lessons it taught me about asking for help, trusting my gut, and walking away from people who don't give as much as they take.

It also taught me a lot about the importance of community support- I wouldn't be able to pay my rent if it wasn't for Patreon, and I'm grateful to my patrons for supporting me through a bad breakup, being fired, and a lot of emotional distress. Money may not buy happiness, but it can help buy security, and that's just as important.

I wanted to give my readers a roundup of people on Patreon who are doing amazing work and who could use a couple of dollars kicked their way - all of them, as far as I know, use Patreon  to raise funds for their day to day expenses, as the work they put in the world, though awesome, is undervalued by society.

Check them out, see if you like them, link to their work on your own social media, share the wealth. All of these people offer value to my life, and I'm sure they'll offer value to yours as well!

Learn about them out below: 

Myles Jackman - Supporting Myles and his work offering pro bono legal support to queer folks, kinky folks, and sex workers feels to me kind of like paying into insurance. Myles is known as the Obscenity Lawyer, and he does incredible work, often for free, defending us pervs from sex moralism. He's awesome and you should give him money. 

Unwoman
 - An accomplished musician with multiple amazing albums, Unwoman releases cover songs via her Patreon that range from the currently popular "Bad Blood" to the very old "Come Take a Trip On My Airship". Each song features her beautiful cello playing. I've made a porn music video to her cover of "Take Me To Church" because I loved it that much.

Doublecakes - Full disclosure, this is my girlfriend. She's a great writer, the editor for Harlot Magazine, and a killer pinball player. In 2016 I *believe* she's going to be doing ukulele and/or banjo covers of various songs, one a day, and using Patreon to distribute them. Having seen the song list she has planned (including "Giant Woman" from Steven Universe and "Still Alive" from Portal) it's going to be epic.

Cameryn Moore - Cameryn writes some of the best erotica I've ever read. She does custom pieces through her project "Sidewalk Smut" (I'm lucky enough to have one on my wall) but she also writes about her experiences as a phone sex operator, her opinions on some of the worst sex tips, and some beautiful stuff about relationships. I haven't been able to see her perform yet but I look forward to our paths crossing!

Mattie Brice - Mattie is also a writer, critiquing games, play, kink, gentrification, and just so, so much more, as well as being a unique game designer. Everything she's written has led me to think long and hard about how and why I do things, and I am a better person for engaging with her work. You should fund her writing because it's some of the best I've ever read.

Roaring Engines - This is brand new! Thorough and honest reviews of motorcycle equipment that doesn't assume you have lots of money, Roaring Engines is written by a motorcycle enthusiast, Connor, who rides every day. I am not a motorcyclist myself but I know a lot of folks who are, and I know that trying to work out what's worth plopping down serious cash on can be difficult.

Amy Dentata - With her newest game discussing abuse and PTSD, "Trigger", just coming out, Amy is showing her incredible eye for storytelling through the interactive medium of games. She also writes about GLBT issues, mental health, and futurism.

Postmodern Woman - Postmodern Woman is new to me, but I appreciate the ways they discuss various alternative relationship models, as well as their own personal experiences. With subjects like relationship anarchy and non-anarchists, how to manage metamour relationships with they don't get along, and nonmonogamous aromantics, there's a lot of info/insight here that is sorely missing.

Elle Armageddon - I've enjoyed Elle's snarky and right on writing about surveillance, engaging with social media, privacy and more... but I'm particularly in it for her flow charts. Addressing issues like "Should I explain the thing to the lady" and "Is it a compliment or street harassment", Elle has the answers in a way that's fun and honest. Oh yeah, she also provides medical and legal support for protesters!

Toni Rocca - Toni runs GaymerX, one of my all time fave conventions for gaming of all kinds. She's got a patreon to help her fund making her own games and zines in her free time. Toni is brilliant and wants to be able to make it feasible to offer the games she makes/collaborates on with others available for free- you can bet they're going to be awesome, if Read Only Memories is any indication.

Categories: activism, capitalism, causes, community, fake it til you make it, help, holidays, support

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Childishness vs Childlike Playfulness

lastyearOn our last date, we were camping. I watched a father and his little girl cycling on the path around the campground. There was a slight hill, so as they came by our camp, the dad would encourage her, saying "pedal, pedal, pedal! There you go! You've got it!" It made me smile.

I turned to N and said jokingly "you know, if we ever go cycling together, I might need that level of encouragement as I get back into it..."

He looked at me with such disgust in his eyes.

"I'm not into that daddy stuff."

It was like I had asked him to shit in my mouth.

I was taken aback, because we had talked a lot about how I wasn't into ageplay, after a particularly traumatic couple of experiences with AB/DL exes. Sure, I happen to enjoy a lot of things that are dismissed as childish, like Saturday morning cartoons, cute flannel sheets, sticker charts, dressing up, Christmas, and colouring books. But I've come to a place where play is a part of my life and my self care. Personally, I don't have a little side, I'm not looking for a daddy to keep me in line, I just want to have simple, carefree fun sometimes. Life is fucking hard.

Ultimately though I realized this wasn't even about that stuff. His reaction wasn't ultimately about ageplay, or me being too childish. It's the fact that as a society we tend to emphasize total emotional independence. We're not supposed to ask for help, or reassurance, or acknowledgement. We live in fear of being too needy, afraid of being the person of more interest, worried about any vulnerability. Femmes, especially, are encouraged to be "chill" and "one of the guys", rather than asking for our needs to be acknowledged, never mind actually met. This often feels times a thousandfold when you're nonmonogamous, hence my near constant ranting about the bullshit that is poly libertarianism.

Here's the thing I've been noticing though. While yes, I did often ask for small levels of reassurance on a semi-regular basis, I also did it the adult way- clearly asking for what I needed, acknowledging when I wasn't entirely sure, and doing the emotional labour of figuring out how best my needs could be met, in bullet points we called "action items". I am not a chill person, so I figured that self-management and clarity were important life skills.

It wasn't that N didn't have any need for reassurance, though, on reflection. He just never directly asked for it. Instead, he would construct predicaments where I would have to navigate his spoken feelings, his unspoken feelings, and my feelings, like a really fucked up psychological Crystal Maze. He'd say little wistful asides about other partners, other sexual escapades, keeping me striving to be appealing and desirable and worth his time (which, of course, was often treated as far more precious than my own). In less charitable moments, I wondered bitterly if N just enjoyed having a bunch of women subtly fighting for his attention, while he stood passively in the center of it looking bewildered for plausible deniability.

And that's part of why I was so hurt when he recoiled at my request for his cheerleading during some future bicycling session.  Because in my mind, emotionally freaking out while being unable to communicate why or what would help is far more childish, and yet I was the one being shamed for my immaturity.

Months before, he had asked me what would be "fun" for us to do for a date. I laughed a bit bitterly, because I didn't really know what fun was anymore. I had learned that taking N to events would often end with him not engaging with anyone and me having to apologize for it, so that felt like work. I had learned going on trips together was fun while we weren't sober, but that after 24 hours he would range from being dismissive and cranky to just straight up mean. I learned that I would often be left on my own if we hung out with his friends, and that unless hanging out with my friends involved him being free to fuck other people, that felt like a chore too. So we'd stay in, because anything else felt like even more emotional labour. And work was fun, right? Financial security was fun.

Now I'm beginning to actually have fun again. I'm finding myself excited to dress up, to play games, to go out. I'm seeing friends more often. My libido is slowly coming back, along with my confidence. I'm surrounded by people who don't make me feel bad for enjoying the things I enjoy, no matter how silly. And being able to embrace that childlike sense of wonder and play close is making the adulting easier.

I didn't need a daddy. But goddamn it, I wanted a fucking sticker chart to acknowledge my effort.

Categories: ageplay, anxiety, communication, dating, definitions, love is a dog from hell, male privilege, nonmonogamy, oh ffs, personal

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Love Doesn't Have to be Chill

frozen_heart_by_ghonerI was reading an article called "I’m Madly in Love with You, But Don’t Worry, It’s Not a Big Deal", and it made me feel some Feels.

"We’re told “love” is a very important, very valuable word that should be used with extreme caution and frugality. If we felt this feeling for just anybody it wouldn’t be so special, right?" says the author Sara. And I get where she's going with this- that love isn't something restricted to just a soulmate, or even a romantic partner. I'm with her there, love is a multitude of things and comes in lots of different guises and that doesn't mean one is better or more important than another.

"So, the idea of love scarcity prevails. We are tricked into thinking the word “love” will lose it’s value and meaning if it’s shared too many times with too many people," the article continues. And I just had to stop.

In my experience, belief in love scarcity is not the reason I'm skittish about saying "I love you" to people. It's because love tends to suggest an intensity of feeling that can make the other person feel awkward if it's not reciprocated. It scares people off, because they may have had bad experiences with the term being used not in good faith. Also, it can create tension if feelings of love makes one person feel they may want to renegotiate relationship needs/expectations, not because those things are automatic, but because loving someone is tender and a tender heart often needs a little more care.

I feel like there was a lot of pressure in my last relationship to say my love for my then-lover came without any expectations or needs or desires. It was "just a feeling" and I was perfectly happy feeling it on my own. The problem was that even when we talked about relationship needs/desires, my ex seemingly expected me not to have ANY, ever. Because I fell in love without any needs, why would I have any now? He often implied that expressing that a deepening of intimacy made me feel there was different accountability we should discuss could put our relationship in jeopardy. I felt that the only way it was acceptable to love him was if it "wasn't a big deal".

But it was. My heart is vulnerable and to insist that I should fall in love and it shouldn't be a big deal is setting people, including myself, up for failure. It's ok for love, or other forms of intimacy/vulnerability, to be a big deal. Love may be infinite but energy is not, especially if you're dealing with being differently abled in some capacity. And time is definitely finite. You don't have to be chill about it, folks, ok?

I have a serious issue with the various pieces I've seen that seem to suggest the best way to be nonmonogamous is to be some sort of poly libertarian, taking care of yourself and not worrying about the people around you. Sure, idealistically, everyone would have the same resources and not have any trauma and that would totally work. But we live in the real world, and these sorts of expectations are so often not only unreasonable, but can be used to justify emotional abuse, abandonment, and downright cruelty. My ex definitely enacted some of these traits and it was a sign of his narcissism, not of healthy nonmonogamy. Articles like "It's Not A Big Deal" added to why I thought I was doing poly wrong, or badly, because I wanted my partner to reassure me and give me some form of stability.

Fuck that. It is not a weakness to care about other people. It is not a bad thing to need others. We are social creatures, and the more we try to push that away, the more toxic I see these environments become.

So please, good god, can we just stop with the cynical "I'm too cool for love or feelings or empathy" bullshit? It's really fucking things up.

Categories: abuse, advice, anxiety, assumptions, best of, communication, community, dating, love, nonmonogamy, poly ptsd

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Christmas Music for People Who Hate Christmas

Full disclosure- I LOVE CHRISTMAS. I love all the sparkly ornaments and the fun of shopping for the perfect present for the people I care about. I love the saccharine songs and drinking hot toddies while walking around looking at holiday light displays. The whole thing. I'm not religious, but there's something magical for me about the holidays, even with all the stress. I want to cultivate that sense of magic and generosity year round.

BUT.

A lot of my friends HATE Christmas.  Many of them in particular hate Christmas music, often because they've worked retail and heard the same 10 songs over and over so it's like a reverse Pavlov thing, they start to hyperventilate when they hear Nat King Cole. I totally understand.

These songs are for you, friends.

Some of them hate Christmas itself, others hate the romantic hogwash that seems to be linked all too often with the holidays. Enjoy!

1. Fuck Christmas - FEAR
"Don't despair/Just because it's Christmas"

2. Blue Xmas (To Whom It May Concern) - Miles Davis
"Merry Christmas/I hope yours is a bright one, but for me, it bleeds"

3. This Christmas, I'll burn it to the ground - Set It Off
"Oh my God, it's here, this awful time of year"

4. Hating you For Christmas - Everclear
"I just want to sit in our apartment and hate you/Yes, I will be hating you for Christmas"

5. I Hate You This Christmas - Kate Nash
"All the Christmas lights and the mistletoe/Are only making me feel more alone"

6. Zombie Christmas - Emmy The Great & Tim Wheeler
"They don't feel the cold when it's 50 below/You see them sucking brains out in the snow"

7. A Christmas Duel - The Hives vs Cyndi Lauper
"I set your record collection on fire/And said I never knew"

8. Christmas Tree's on Fire - Holly Golightly
"The thing it ain't been watered since I put it in the stand/and I used the fire alarm battery for the flashlight in my van"

9. Xmas Has Been X'ed - NOFX
"St. Nick is dead but we don't grieve/We celebrate the last Christmas Eve"

10. Yule Shoot Your Eye Out - Fall Out Boy
"All I want this year is for you to dedicate your last breath to me/before you bury yourself alive"

11. Ex-Miss - New Found Glory
"Another year, this time I'll regret/That I spent too much time and money on you"

12. Christmas Night of Zombies - MxPx
"Christmas night of the living dead/My face is green and the snow is red"

13. Christmas With the Devil - Spinal Tap
"The sugar plums are rancid/And the stockings are in flames"

Categories: holidays, mixtape, music

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Review: the Njoy Fun Wand from Good Vibrations

I have been a huge fan of the whole nJoy product line ever since I was introduced to it years and years ago. I started off with a Pure Plug, then the Eleven, and finally the Pure Wand, which is one of my absolute favourite must have toys. The graceful (and effective) curves coupled with the weight of the metal is one of my cunt's most loved experiences.

But I hadn't gotten to try to Fun Wand yet, so when Good Vibrations asked me what I wanted to review, of course I asked for that!

This double ended toy is pretty much ideal for both gspot stimulation and a little anal play. One side is mostly smooth, with one bulb at the end perfectly curved to caress the gspot just right.  The other has three bulbs graduating in size like a set of stiff anal beads, making for a fun experience anally if that's more to your/your partner's taste. Being metal, this toy is sterilizable, and you can make it nice and cold by putting it in the fridge for a few minutes, or warm it up in some water for a different sensation. Also, you can use any lube with it! Handy.

Weighing in at 11 ounces, it's not a light toy, but not the heaviest either (the Pure Wand weighs almost double as much). It's almost 8" long, and the bulb on the gspot-focused side is about 1" in diameter. This worked decently well for my body, though I do find the Pure Wand reaches my gspot with a bit more ease, so if you prefer a slightly larger toy or more depth, that may be more your speed. I didn't experiment as much with the anal side as I didn't find it the easiest for me to use on myself (I have a big ass that gets in the way ;) ) but the little I did try made me think it would be really fun to use with a partner. I'm still a little nervous around anal play but I found this toy to offer a really nice sensation.

All in all, I think this is a good choice if you're looking for a double duty toy, or something a little lighter to use. It looks a lot less like a weapon than the Eleven, which is massive, and it feels like a more recognizable shape than the Pure Wand, which takes a bit of getting used to.

Still, while this was a fun toy to experiment with, the Pure Wand has my heart when it comes to endless squirting. If you want a toy that's less intimidating, has multiple sensations available, and is a little cheaper? Sure, go for the Fun Wand! If you want something more ergodynamic that will make you squirt bucketloads, though, I'd stick to the Pure Wand.

You can get both toys at Good Vibrations, who provided me with a Fun Wand in exchange for an honest review! Don't miss out on their holiday sales when stuffing your stocking! ;)

Fun Wand

Pure Wand

Categories: dildo, Good Vibrations, review

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When Feminism Is a Brand

We need to talk about the ever increasing number of men like James Deen who utilize feminism as a marketable identity to cover up their abusive behavior.

When performer and writer Stoya tweeted that her ex, porn darling James Deen, had ignored her safewords and raped her, I have to admit I was not terribly surprised. As someone in the industry, I had heard rumors that he was not necessarily safe to work with, something that made me raise my eyebrow at his work around consent, but nothing specific I could point to. Another ex girlfriend, Joanna Angel, tweeted in support of Stoya, who has not returned to Twitter since her statement. Deen and his PR team have been notably silent.

Her two tweets gave rise to the hashtag #solidaritywithstoya, and a flurry of people expressing disappointment, shock, and a sense of betrayal. He was supposed to be “one of the good guys”- after all, Deen has spent some time cultivating a brand as a male feminist in the porn industry. He’s been actively a part of Project Consent, even. He’s mad about racism in the industry. He’s been called “the acceptable face of porn” and hailed as being a male porn star women can feel good about watching because he’s just so ethical.

Welp.

Some people are already using this situation as proof that porn is abusive. I do believe that we need to discuss how the intersection of capitalism, patriarchy, and white supremacy entwine to create a particularly toxic environment in the sex industry, one of the only industries where an entry level “position” will usually pay women a much higher rate than men. People in the industry who have experienced rape, abuse, and coercion tend to stay silent for fear of losing work (such as was seen with Kink.com a couple years ago). People who do speak up are often harassed, victim-blamed, and blown off as being “drama”. Production companies and directors, including many cool “feminist” ones, have the policy that if it didn’t happen on set, it’s not their problem. This is absolutely an issue and one that needs to be discussed and addressed seriously, not just for ethical reasons (though that should be good enough) but for workers rights reasons.

Expand this out to “sex positivity” in general and I can tell you that when I was taking stories for Consent Culture about abuse in BDSM, many of the repeat offenders were “pillars of the community”, leaders, workshop presenters, party hosts. As long as only cis white men have the power to have sex without consequence, and as long as we ignore the impact of privilege on sexual capital and agency, I believe that the misuse of the term “sex positivity” has the potential to be a shield that protects abusers from being held accountable.

However, I do not want us to forget that we have seen this behavior before, in environments that have nothing to do with the sex industry, or even with sex at all. Remember Hugo Schwyzer? Or Hart Noecker? Or Kyle Payne? All supposed and self-identified male feminists, allies, social justice writers and activists. All accused of rape and/or abuse of women behind closed doors.

This is not about sex. This is about power. And that power, mixed with toxic masculinity, is a poison that affects all aspects of life, not just the sex industry. While the sex industry cannot and should not ignore this, and need to stop pretending that porn is not political, the underlying issue is far more widespread.

I want to add that this is also, in my opinion, about how much we value and encourage narcissism when we talk about how men should behave. These men all seemingly share narcissistic tendencies, whether they are diagnosable as such or not. Many of them (if not all) refuse to give up their space to signal boost voices more marginalized than theirs, something that would demonstrate them acting as allies. And many of them make a point of how vulnerable they are, how troubled, in order to ensure that caregivers are drawn to them like a moth to a flame. They can feed off of a caregiver’s empathy while ensuring that caregiver (most often a woman) doubts her own mind when she begins to worry that maybe she’s being manipulated.

Thinking about my own dating history, some of my most fucked up relationships were with men who talked the talk. The ex who threw me down a flight of stairs and terrorized me (and his mother) by throwing plates was heavily invested in feminist activism, spending most of his time volunteering for feminist spaces. The ex who used his sexual capital to keep his (often less privileged) lovers feeling insecure and unstable, who then gaslit and neglected them when confronted? He said all the right things about institutionalized racism and sexism. I stayed in these relationships because I believed they were invested in fighting oppression, excused their manipulations and their emotional abuse as their mental health issues I just needed to be patient with. Perhaps they were trying to redress the imbalances of their privilege… but they certainly leaned heavily enough on it when it served them.

In one situation I was encouraged to be “careful” about what I said, because he was “more private” than I am. In the other I was threatened if I spoke out. Men who center social justice as part of their core identity can become very dangerously defensive if their actions are critiqued. They become dependent on the women in their lives to cover for them so they don’t lose their feminist cred- and so they demand our silence. Dare I say, they depend on our own understanding of the failures of the prison industrial complex, the ways in which patriarchy hurts men, to keep us from shattering their facade. To speak out anyway is terrifying and necessary, and I hope that Stoya has all the support she needs to speak her truth and begin to heal.

As for you men- want to do something about it? Talk to other men. Listen to marginalized people and their experiences, even if (perhaps especially when) the man accused “seems like a nice guy” or “is a friend”. You need to confront each other. You need to speak up when you see street harassment. You need to shut down rape jokes. You need to tell other men that talking about women like we’re sexual prizes to be won is not ok.

Don’t call yourself an ally. Be one.

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Categories: angry, best of, consent, feminism, male privilege, oh ffs, personal, porn, rant, rape culture, stigma, whores are people

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Detoxing

It's weird the things you can't stand to look at after a breakup. Some of it is pretty normal- the card from minigolf, the selfies from camping, the Christmas card. But some of it took me by surprise. There was a period there where certain clothes I had made me cry, because I had worn them for special events with my ex and they felt so linked that even looking at them caused me to break down.

I'm lucky in that my ex never expressed much interest in helping me decorate my apartment. He helped me put my bed together but other than that this room has been decorated and made into my home by femmes. We rarely slept here, so it didn't smell like him. It had been months since he left me a teeshirt that smelled of his sweat. He never left anything other than a toothbrush, and even that was something I bought for him. I threw it away after I dumped him, and my housemate graciously used it to clean the toilet.

He also didn't give me much in the way of gifts that I felt I had to put away for a while. Some socks, a sticker book, some shoelaces and a sweater, that was pretty much it. Nothing too intimate, nothing too personal. He just wasn't romantic, I would tell myself, but I think it was more that he wasn't really present. I should be grateful, though, as it's been easier with this breakup to wipe him clean from my life in part because I've realized he was never that invested in it. He didn't leave a trace. Most of what he left me were memories, good and painful.

It's also weird, though, the things that I miss. The tea I drank at his place. The games we'd play. Replaceable things, granted, things I can buy for myself and enjoy with other people, associate those memories with someone else. Hopefully they won't sting at some point. Detoxing is hard, and I want to grasp for things that are familiar, the last tendrils of things that were good about him, about us. But there's not a lot to hold onto, and that was the whole problem all along.

I bought myself a heated mattress cover and I've had multiple friends and lovers sleep over the last couple weeks, and that's helped me not miss our spooning. I still feel pangs about our silly pillow talks, but more often than not the last few months those ended in discomfort and tears, not laughter and kisses. Each fond memory is overlaid with something painful, and it hurts, so much, but that pain is making it easier not to get sucked back in.

He told me I was burning bridges with him. I told him that if that was the case, it was only because the bridge was rotten and he had supplied me with the matches.

If anything this process has affirmed my worry that he had one foot out the door. I suppose I did too- I didn't leave much at his place, either, and was slowly gathering my things back over a couple of months before the split. It amazes me that he told other people that we were doing better while I could see we were pulling apart at the seams. But he used that reassurance, not for me, but for people he wanted to fuck. Realizing that gave me the feeling I had been kicked in the gut but I needed it. Sometimes you need that level of shitty truth to sever the bond.

Honestly, late at night I still feel regret, sometimes. Did I jump too quickly to end things? Was I letting my triggers make my decisions for me? But boundaries are something I knew I needed, and I didn't feel safe expressing. And while I may be missing some things, the gain of those boundaries, and the slowly returning capacity to negotiate what I want and need, is worth it. I wish he had been more open to those boundaries and negotiations, but if wishes were horses...

Categories: breakups, dating, fake it til you make it, loss, love is a dog from hell, male privilege