Archive for December, 2011


The Vibrator

I recently got into watching the show “How I Met Your Mother” due to wonder that is Netflix Instant Streaming and a sudden expanse of free time now that my semester has ended.  I love the show, but one of the episodes I watched recently totally baffles me.

One of the main characters, Lily, is getting married in a few days, so she throws a bridal shower.  Her best friend, Robin, in an effort to be racy and exciting, buys her a vibrator as a gift, which she gets super embarrassed about when she finds out that the bridal shower is mostly Lily’s grandparents, cousins who are soon-to-be-nuns, and other wholesome types.  After the hilarity of giving the gift, there’s this weird moment where Robin says how embarrassing the gift was and offers to take it back.  And then there’s Bianca, sitting on the couch, eating her chicken curry and thinking, “WTF?  How is this awkward?  Doesn’t she already have one?”

I understand that sex toys tend to be one of those private things that we talk about mostly in very sexually charged environments and can only laugh about elsewhere, but I felt like this episode really did a disservice to individuals who do use vibrators all the time, and consider it a normal, healthy part of their sexuality.

Robin and Lily’s interaction implied two things that I think suck about US “sex culture”:

collection of dildos and vibrators

1. That normal people don’t have vibrators.  The fact that Robin didn’t even know where to buy one and Lily didn’t already have one makes the statement that “regular people” don’t need crazy things like vibrators, and that’s a message that a lot of people have internalized.  When I was shopping around for my first one, I asked a couple friends for suggestions and not a single one of them owned a vibrator.  Most of them laughed at me, and one went so far as to say, “I have a boyfriend to do that for me.”

I’m sorry, love, are you too good to masturbate?  Well, I guess that’s her loss.

2. That the only legitimate reason to buy/keep a vibrator is for a laugh.  Robin clearly buys this gift as a joke, and when she offers to return it, Lily says that she will keep it because her husband, Marshall, would get a kick out of it, and deserves to see it.  The subtext to this is of course that they are both actually fighting over the vibrator, because neither one of them has one, but they can’t actively SAY that they want it, and GOD FORBID, Robin couldn’t go out and buy another one for herself because that would just be weird.

 

Thing is, it’s unfortunate that these are the messages that get sent to people about sexual health and pleasure, but we are adults capable of seeking out alternative messages and bucking the trends of the global media when we want to.  So I won’t boo-hoo for too long about all the orgasm-starved people out there who are too scared to go out to a sex shop or order a dildo from Babeland.com.

But when these messages turn into behavior like this, I get a little pissed off.

Because it’s one thing to hold your own private opinions about sex toys—It’s QUITE ANOTHER to leave a note in a strangers luggage about them (affirming or otherwise!)

I’m happy to say that the man who left that note was fired for his indiscretion, but I think the incident illuminates larger societal discomfort that we just need to get the heck over.  Josey Vogels from the Huffington Post writes eloquently and entertainingly about some of the other problems people have faced while traveling with sex toys- from sheepish security guards to excessive scrutiny by border police.  And while it’s funny enough from a distance or when such infringements are an occasional occurrence, but I feel like this culture of being ashamed and awkward about sex toys gets old after a while.

When you’re in my line of work, travelling with sex toys is part of the job. Which is why I was relieved when earlier this year the Tranportation Security Administration officials in the U.S. announced that “whips, chains, handcuffs, vibrators, and other personal ‘toys’ that don’t exceed certain measurements are OK to pack in your carry-on as long they don’t become ‘club-like,'” according to Lifehacker.com.

As far as I know, no one has ever been “clubbed” on a plane with a vibrator, but in these post-9/11 days, when a tube of liquid hair gel is a potential threat, what’s a customs guy to do with a bag full of tubes of personal lubricant?

Confiscate them… of course.

The dualistic way we approach sex toys- at once as something fascinating and desirable, but also awkward and unnecessary- is frustrating.  I cannot tell you the number of people who have been incredibly excited when I tell them that I get sex toys from Babeland for reviewing on Forever the Queerest Kids, but who own none of their own!

One of the things I really hope to accomplish with this blog is to make people more comfortable with their own bodies sexually, and not to feel afraid to talk about and explore new things in their sexual lives.  For some people, that might be opening up their previously monogamous relationship.  For others it might be learning to ask their partner for dirty talk in bed, or learning to relax about masturbation.  And I hope for many people, it’s a growing comfort with owning and using sex toys in their personal lives, whether that’s solo, with a partner(s).

 

Stay cool, queer kids, and go buy some sex toys!

 

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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, all you queer kids!  Hope your holidays are full of good food, friends, warm memories, and happiness.

Our guest post today comes to me from a very articulate and intelligent blogger; Bydarra@hotmail identifies as a heterosexual, male, middle aged, kinky, poly, and a tech geek residing in central Texas.  There are other labels he embraces but they aren’t as relevant.  Much thanks to him for providing this person insight into practicing polyintimacy.

I think his post is incredibly important in the way he describes the ordering of our important relationships- whether they be with friends, romantic or sexual partner, or something else entirely.  It echos what Forever the Queerest Kids has always stressed- knowing what works for you in your relationships and going for it.

When I was young (20ish), I read Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land.  This turned out to contain the seeds that would germinate over the next 25 years and eventually result in my abandoning romantic monogamy (after the end of a 17 year marriage) and seek to put my thoughts in order.  This was, in part, an academic exercise but  even more it was an attempt to figure out how to implement relationships that would be meaningful and authentic for all involved.

I identify as polyintimate which I define as pursuing relationships in which participants strive for intimacy to whatever degree they are able. A sexual component may be included but not necessarily.  Some may have more emotional depth. Whatever elements come into play, these relationships encourage us to be our authentic selves.  Polyamory is but one avenue of this philosophy. Whatever the model of relationship, the one true thing is that time and resources are finite. As such, some relationships will receive more than others. Some people play a greater role in our lives. Sometimes that’s by chance. Sometimes that’s by design.

My involvement in the online public polyamory community revealed that my thinking diverges to a degree from many practitioners.  I think this is because of my nature.  I’m a geek who can be a bit OCD about order and trying to get concepts to fit together in a consistent fashion.  As a result, I’ve figured out how polyintimacy can work in my life.  A part of those thoughts are laid out in the following paragraphs.

Unlike many who practice polyamory, I see a validity in identifying the priority of a relationship. The terms Primary and Secondary are valid as long as we have some way of defining them for ourselves and those we are involved with know where they stand. For me, these terms go beyond polyamory. My son is a Primary relationship. My brother is not. He isn’t even on my radar in this. A very close friend could be Primary though not remotely romantic. So how do I define these gradations of intimacy and commitment? Those are the key elements for me. Let me stress that these are not specifically romantic. These frameworks should be applicable to any type of relationship from professional to personal; from platonic to romantic…

A Primary relationship is one where I see the other person as a long term participant in my life and vice versa. I consider them in my long term plans. I may not completely change those plans to accommodate them but I will modify my plans to maintain our relationship as best we can. This relationship is the kind where families exist… We sacrifice what we want when the others’ need is greater. Maybe we sacrifice what we need for our Partner(s). How far we go is up to each of us to decide. I love these people in some context. They’re my family of choice.

A Secondary relationship develops from a Tertiary. In some cases, it may be a negotiated relationship such as Mentor/Apprentice, Dom/sub, etc… Sometimes it may be more egalitarian and organic. In any event, participants have an expressed commitment to each other and the relationship. There is a much greater degree of intimacy that has been achieved over time. In a romantic context, I see this as the beginning of polyamorous involvements. Love is not necessary but it is a probability that it might develop.

A Tertiary relationship occurs when I’ve met someone and see a potential for growth beyond the casual acquaintance. I’ll spend resources in getting to know this person better. There will be a lot of conversations about philosophies, interests, plans, etc… to determine if there is a basis for increased intimacy. This takes me beyond the basic chemistry/’shiny’/appealing stage. If the growth of this relationship is mutual, I’d define this as the place where it has begun. At thispoint, we discuss what’s happening, decide to move forward or not, and begin negotiating future involvement.

Beyond this are acquaintances, buddies, strangers, and the rest of the world. Not all relationships fit easily into one of these ‘levels’. Many of mine fit somewhere in between. Some move between one level and another.

As a closing thought, I think it is profound to note how Bydarra also acknowledges the fluidity in the way that we relate to ourselves and our partners.  Our relationships were not meant to stay stagnant, but to evolve the way our personal identities do.  I find his story affirming and encouraging, so thank you again for writing!

Stay true to yourself, and be cool, queer kids.

Click through to buy these Lavish Nipple Clamps at Babeland.com

It’s been a while since I’ve done a toy review because I’ve been waiting for something awesome enough to post about.  And now I have it!  These lavish nipple clamps from Babeland are both classy and secure.

These claps are tweezer style, which initially made me nervous, because they often don’t have very good hold, but these babies are perfect.  There’s a ring that sits at the base of the tweezers which you can slip up towards the tip to increase pressure.  The pinch that the lavish nipple clamps provide is probably too light for many enthusiasts, especially people who identify as masochists, but they’re just right for the “causal user” and have a good range of adjustability because of the sliding ring design.  For me, they felt just right at about ¾ up the slide, but once I’d had them on for a while, I could have easily tolerated more.

The metal tweezers are fitted with hard plastic ends to make the pinch softer and smoother, and I haven’t been daring enough to remove them, but that might add enough concentrated pressure to work for someone with a higher pain tolerance.

Though it hasn’t been an issue yet, the plastic ends to the clamps come off very easily and might get lost in your toy chest.  I highly recommend a plastic baggie for keeping everything together.

And darn are they pretty!  The beaded tassels swing freely and are a beautiful accent, so that these clamps can be accessories as much as play toys.

At a $20 price point, these are among the better clamps you can get.  I’ve never gone for the industrial look, so these are a lot more appetizing than alligator clamps or something more “chrome and steel-esque.”  They seem durable and they hold to your breasts very firmly, even when swung or tugged on.  And because they aren’t as intense a pressure as other types of clamps, they are more versatile and useful for pinching other, more sensitive areas!

Pick them up at Babeland today for yourself, or as a titillating Christmas gift.

Pretty much the cutest proposal ever.

FTQK loves straight people too!  Especially when they come up with such great, inventive, and adorable ways to express their love for one another.  Comment with links if you have other adorable proposal videos.  🙂

Stay cool, queer kids.

One of the unfortunate things I’ve run across in some sex-positive communities is the idea that there’s a “right way” to do a certain kind of practice.  There’s a “one true kind of D/s play,” the “real kind” of (insert meaningless garbage here).  And I think that’s really hurtful, to people who are still trying to figure out their identities and sexual practices without feeling judged.  For those of us who feel confident in our preferences, it’s just bloody annoying.

I’ve seen this most often in the polyamorous community.  I’m not going to hypothesize why this is, but it really upsets me, considering how difficult it already is to identify as poly in our society.  Taking flack from within your own community about the different ways people perform polyamory is a burden no one needs.  ((BTW: If you want a refresher on what polyamory is: check out this Q and A with XeroMag))

So what are some of the bogus arguments you may come across?

Poly isn’t about the sex.

Bullshit it’s not about sex.  I strongly dislike polyamorous people who lord the sanctity of their emotional bond over people who have casual sex.  Yes, the idea behind poly is that you can not only have sex, but also a loving emotional connection to more than one partner, but when poly people use love as a prerequisite for the identity, they are doing everyone a disservice.

understanding nonmonogamies book

Boring book cover, great book. Click through to buy on Amazon!

There is a great book, called Understanding Non-monogamies, which is a collection of essays on different types of non-monogamy (yes, my nerdiness is showing) which has a really amazing section on how poly communities use “love discourse” like the “Poly isn’t about sex” line to reinforce monogamous beliefs.  Think about it—conventional, monogamous marriage is all about prizing one emotional bond over all others.  It exists to the exclusion of all other sexual partners because their love matters more than the physical pleasure of random sex.  By saying, poly isn’t about sex, poly people are using the same logic of monogamy to exclude people who do relationships and sex differently.  They are saying: you are not as good as us.  Your relationship doesn’t deserve recognition, because it’s not built on the foundation of love that makes ours REAL.

That is of course, a load of crock.  Only you can give your own relationships and hookups and friends with benefits meaning.  A casual sexual partner can often be hugely important in your life, even if the emotional commitment to a long-term relationship is not there, the same way a monogamous person can have a one night stand after they break up with a partner and have it be completely game-changing for them.

You aren’t really poly if you don’t love your other partner- you’re just using them.

B….S….  This is tied right in to the first argument, that poly relationships are about love, and sex is just a side benefit.  By extension, if “real relationships” are about love, then a poly relationship where you don’t love your other partner is really just using them.

I’m sorry, I forgot when it became ok for others to place value judgments on what my relationship means.  If my partner feels like ze ispoly heart: couple in the middle with arms extended to multiple partners on each side not being respected enough, ze can leave.  One thing poly really is about is honesty, so I can understand this argument if a person is lying to their partner, saying ze loves them, but really doesn’t.  However, beyond situations where one partner is obviously lying to the other partner, and those two people are not asking for the same things out of a relationship, there’s nothing wrong.

Swingers are inferior to poly people.  We’ve figured out how to make sex with multiple people meaningful.

Gararrarrrawrrrrr.  (that’s my angry noise)

There’s a surprising amount of ire between poly people and swingers.  Polyamorous people often think of swingers as cheapening non-monogamy by making it all about sex, or by having so many rules or so much jealousy around the issue of sex.  For me, this is kind of a no-brainer.   People are wired for different kinds of monogamy, and different kinds of non-monogamy.  Some people can let their partner have casual sex, but they want no part in it.  Some can let their partner have casual sex, but only if they ARE part of it.  Some people aren’t wired for jealousy.  Some people can have emotional attachment to multiple people.  Some partners don’t want that.  You have to work within the context of your own needs, your own limitations, and those of your partners.  The hardest situation to navigate is when an established, monogamous couple contains one partner who wants to open up the relationship.  There are a lot of degrees to which this can be done, and swinging is one of a variety of options.  There’s no reason to look down on couples that swing, because that is what works for them.  It respects boundaries, is consensual, and the people involved enjoy it.  Isn’t that what we all want?

Two fingers pointing in opposite directions, captioned "I'm with them"

You’re not really poly if you have a primary partner. 

A primary partnership in poly relationships is the pair that stays together for the long-run, that has primacy over other relationships, and should be respected above all else.  Some poly people (often those that militantly advocate group relationships, poly circles, etc) take issue with the idea of a primary partner, because it devalues other relationships with a paired person.  And in a way, that’s true.  If you live with, marry, and spend the majority of your time with one person,  your secondary partner is not going to have the same value to you that your primary does.  It’s right there in the vocab: primary, secondary.

However, that doesn’t exclude you from polyamory, and it’s not abusive to your secondary partner.  If you assume an open structure on both ends (you can have multiple partners, and so can your secondary), then your secondary partner is open to finding a primary of zir own.  That’s pretty darn poly-like to me.

And there’s a reason that the pair-relationship model has lasted so long.  It’s awfully nice to know you can come home to the same person every night, to have someone to depend on no matter what, to be there for you through everything.  But that doesn’t preclude other relationships.  It doesn’t preclude anything.  The coolest thing about relationships is that you can make your own rules for them.  As long as everything is consensual, and you strive to do right unto everyone you spend time with… then love whoever you want.

Go on, I give you permission.

Stay cool, queer kids.

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