Tag Archive: masturbation


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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Getting Off

Stalker Cat is Watching You MasturbateI absolutely refuse to write another article about masturbation, but there’s a quote that I found which is so spot on I had to share it:

“If you’re counting on your partner to know more about your body than you do, that’s going to add unnecessary awkwardness to the mix and make it more likely that your sexual experiences will be less than satisfying,” says Dr. Kleinplatz.

I think this is the best endorsement I’ve ever heard for masturbation.  Learn what works for you before you have a partner try to puzzle through it!  I’m sure he/she/ze will appreciate your guidance and expertise when the time comes.

More significant writing coming soon.

Stay cool, queer kids.

Click on the picture to go to Babeland's site and pick up the Two!

I just received my first toy from Babeland, and boy, do I have FEELINGS about.Picture of The Two at Babeland [redirect to Babeland order form for The Two]

First of all, the Two is lavender and it’s adorable.  Shaped like two forefingers stuck together, it’s the most un-intimidating dildo I’ve ever seen, even though at  5-1/2″ long and 1-7/8″ wide, it’s larger than any other one I own (what can I say, I like mine small!).

The Two is hollow almost up to the second finger joint, so you can slip your own fingers inside it, and it creates a surprisingly snug seal.  I can fit my fingers in up to base of my hand, but for ladies (or men!) with larger proportions than mine, it should still fit nicely ¾ of the way down the fingers.  The two is made of silicone, which is excellent, as an sex-toy enthusiast will tell you, because silicone is boilable and non-porous,  making it the most sanitary toy material out there.

As for its usefulness, let me rave a little.  The Two is made by lesbians and marketed to lesbians for a reason- the shape RESONATES.  In general, I’ve found round dildos to be problematic.  Because the length and girth of a dildo are usually proportional, they’re either too short to reach those deep spots, or too wide to be comfortable for me.  Which is why the Two is so amazing.  Since the Two is shaped like fingers, it’s long without being excessively wide, and the joints in the design help it to angle into those hard-to-reach spots.

Moreover, the Two adds about two inches of depth to any fingering episode, making it incredible for solo use.  How many of us have felt the creep of carpal tunnel from having our fingers wedged at such atrocious angles while masturbating?  Not anymore.  Those extra two inches makes it so much easier to reach under without hurting my fingers or my wrist.  At $39, that’s not a bad investment to avoid serious wrist pain down the line.

Because of its shape, the Two definitely requires some extra lube, as it won’t go in as smoothly as a round dildo.  But it more than makes up for that in its versatility, ease of use, and all-around cuteness.

What a great way to start off a product review career!  The Two is going to be part of my permanent collection, and I highly suggest it for anyone looking to start a toy collection.

Love to Self-Love

Oh look! Bianca’s back and she’s talking about one of her favorite topics, masturbation.

In an effort to assess what other topics I should cover with my with my blogging, I posed this question: if you could name one sex-related thing you wish the internet had better information on, what would it be? What people mentioned (and then seconded and thirded via facebook) was that there isn’t nearly enough information out there about female self-image and masturbation- which is truly terrible because it’s such an important issue to women everywhere and a healthy part of everyone’s life.

I’ve talked obliquely about both subjects before in posts like Big Blond and Beautiful (where we saw that even Playboy models get their thighs slimmed, their busts enlarged, and their tummy tucked by editors to create an impossibly perfect female) and Argentina and an Orgasm Machine (where I talked about the need for a machine whose end goal is to learn how females orgasm in order to “teach” non-orgasmic women is a symptom of a culture where women are incredibly removed from their own bodies).

Moreover though, I’d like to talk about how those two ideas- body image and masturbation- intersect. We’ve been told a million times over in health class, by parents, by friends, and in PSAs so numerous they make our heads spin, that the media’s idea of a normal female’s body is completely distorted and unreasonable, that we should not judge ourselves based on that model. That discussion is old hat. But what our teachers and parents and friends haven’t told us is that our model of what the perfect girl “does” is equally skewed.

Put bluntly, the perfect girl is the one who gets to have sex. She’s the one who is attractive enough to be unabashedly sexual- posing in Abercrombie and Fitch ads without a shirt, splashing in the waves in her string bikini, and fucking as much as she feels like. And the other girls? The ones who have some curves, who don’t wear makeup or straighten their hair, who don’t go tanning every weekend to get that sun-bronzed look- they get nothing. And besides the obvious fact that regarding sex itself, THIS IS TOTAL BULLSHIT, this vicious anti-sexualization of the “non-perfect girl” spills over into other areas of sexuality that all women have a right to- including (you guessed it)…masturbation.

Accordingly, non-perfect girls (meaning ALL girls, because no one matches the media standard out there, and you’d be hard pressed to find a woman who will assert that she hasn’t had body issues at some point) are made to feel guilty about masturbating. Masturbation isn’t something that normal girls do.

This of course exists in sharp dichotomy to the way masturbation is portrayed for guys. In the movies, a woman masturbating earns the movie an automatic R-rating, which there are hundreds of PG-13 movies which focus (perhaps even excessively) on male masturbation. In movies like American Pie, male masturbation is made the object of humor, associated with geeks and nerds who “can’t get laid” on their own and resort to masturbation as a last resort.
Clearly, both sexes have had their issues with this most natural of human impulses. But I think the biggest crime associated with masturbation is the guilt complex that comes with these negative associations. Now I’m not one to defend anything that comes out of Gossip Girl Taylor Momsen’s mouth, but the media fervor that arose out of her comment that her vibrator “was her best friend” is the ugliest example yet of how society has vilified a (dare I say normal?) girl’s sexuality.
“But shock it did. PopCrunch lamented that her comment was”Wrongtown USA!” because “this child is 16,” and Hollywood Life pronounced her “out of control.” … Momsen may not be the role model I’d prefer my tween daughters to emulate, but the collective horror over her reference to self-pleasure speaks volumes about how taboo the subject still is. And frankly, if I’d had a vibrator at 16, high school would have sucked a lot less.”


AGREED. It’s truly absurd that such a simple comment- and probably one of the more polite that has ever come out of Momsen’s mouth- should cause such outrage from the media. But it is indicative of just how scared we are of talking about our teenage daughters’ sexuality. We can’t even accept a healthy practice like masturbation without raising an uproar in the blogosphere about sexual morality and the “innocence” of youth. (Funny how that standard only applies to women though, isn’t it?)
So the question remains, what IS important to know about female body issue and sexuality that we can un-shroud from the maelstrom of hate surrounding it?

1. Basic anatomy. Scarleteen is still the best source out there for down-to-earth information about teen sexuality- so check out With Pleasure: A View of Whole Sexual Anatomy for Every Body to find out how all of us are built, and how our minds and hormones are as much a part of our sexual response as anything between our legs
2. Self-image. Women masturbate. Crazy stuff. One of the most useful exercises you can do to promote the idea of positive sexual self-image is to think about the women you know and admire and think about the fact that they masturbate. Think that’s creepy? That’s part of the problem. If we can’t conceptualize the simple idea that other women masturbate, we can’t begin to be comfortable about doing it ourselves. But if women we know and respect- our mother, sisters, friends, teachers- masturbate, then why in the world shouldn’t we.
3. Deal with yourself and your hang-ups. You know what? Just stop reading what I’m writing and go look at Scarleteen. Go. Go do it now. Start here.

A healthy, holistic view of your own sexuality (and not just the gay-straight, kink-vanilla dichotomies we’ve rehashed) is crucial to fulfilling sexual relationships- both with others and with yourself!- down the line. Don’t let the media’s bastardization make something wonderfully practical and stress-releasing like masturbation into a devil. As I’ve said before, own your body. Embrace your sexual self, and don’t let anyone make you feel bad about it.

Also, if you’re interested- this is just a funny little article about masturbation and how the bible has been misinterpreted to vilify the practice even more.  So sad.

Stay cool, queer kids.

No Comment

I’m going to call this my I-have-nothing-to-say-about-this-article-but-you-should-read-it-anyway post.  Below is essentially a dump of a few articles I’ve bookmarked which are interesting, but I don’t have any particular insight into.  Take a-look see, and educate yourself as desired.

A clever article from the Scientific American about masturbation and why its an awesome function of our species.

An article from Carnal Nation about the pronoun dilemma and how it extends to other gendered aspects of our language, like the words “girlfriend” and “boyfriend, ” even when the couple is straight.

Another Carnal Nation publication about Hijras, the trans/genderqueer “third sex” of Pakistan and India, whose rights are still being violated by police on a regular basis.

A shocker here- The Daily Beast explains how Lesbian Bed Death is a total exaggeration and is far from exclusive to lesbians.

Finally, an article about abortion hypocrisy– how women who picket abortion clinics find they need an abortion after all, get one, and then continue to abuse the center which provided them with care.  I’d really love feedback on this one, especially from pro-life readers, because while these people are clearly the exception and not the rule, I would like to know how you responded to the article.

Did you ever “play doctor” when you were a kid?  Ever get caught?

I love this exchange between a mother and her doctor published by Carnal Nation about young kids’ sexuality.

The door was closed.
Did you knock?
No. She’s never closed her door before.
Oh. I guess the closed door meant something to her.
They jumped when I walked in.
Well, you interrupted them.
They looked guilty.
Since your attitude was that you “caught” them, I guess they felt “caught.

The full exchange is here: http://carnalnation.com/content/58503/98/catching-your-kid-playing-doctor

The brilliant thing about this conversation is the way it puts kids behavior into a conscious context.  5 year olds know things.  They learn and understand the world based on millions of sources of input, including TV, advertising, conversation they overhear from parents (and their parents’ friends!), and through playmates.  Children do not remain blank slates forever, and parents do not selectively insert ideas and practices into their absorbent brains as they so choose.

So it’s perfectly normal that children play doctor, that they are curious about social rules that have been instilled in them without any explanation.  “No, don’t touch Jimmy there.”  Well, why not? “Because he’s a boy, and we don’t touch little boys there.”

Face it, parents are really bad at giving explanation for these seemingly senseless social rules that they inflict on their children, so their kids are bound to utilize their own means for understanding them.  Well, if doctors can look and touch little boys there, maybe I just have to be a doctor and I’ll figure out what’s so weird about that. The game is a research method- a tool for understanding biological and social ideas that are very difficult and awkward to spell out to a small child.

Playing doctor might be sexual…and it might not be.  The curiosity of young children knows no bounds, and maybe discoveries from playing doctor lead to other “socially unsavory” games like playing “married,” yet once again, this isn’t always a bad thing.  If children are able to explore their own bodies and sexualities when they are young and in a safe place, without the shame of embarrassment or the need to hide their practices, they’ll grow into healthier functioning adults.

And that’s a pretty good prescription for a 5 yr. old, isn’t it?

Kinsey

Hey queer kids,

A reader suggested the movie Kinsey for your viewing pleasure.  You can check out the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppZwSABxeYE

And while the movie is quite good, it made me realize that I hadn’t really talked about Kinsey and his work at all.  So, here’s a primer:

Alfred Kinsey is known as the father of human sexuality and Indiana University, where he worked, now has a whole institute devoted to the study of sex and sexuality because of him, called the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction. But Kinsey himself is best known for two things: first and foremost, his pioneering study of Human Sexuality in the Adult Male (and subsequently, a volume on the Adult Female), and secondly, his theoretical construct, now known as “The Kinsey Scale.”

The 2004 movie Kinsey focuses on the former: Kinsey and his team of researches took off across the country to interview all varieties of people- from prison inmates to public school teachers- about their habits regarding intercourse, masturbation, arousal, and sexual orientation.  The questions he asked at each interview span well over 3 pages and each case study would trace that person’s entire sexual history.  His studies found that, contrary to popular wisdom of the time, many more people of 1950’s America were engaging in premarital sex, masturbating, having sex across generation gaps, and committing adultery.  Obviously, it caused a huge uproar at the time of publication, although we may think of it as simple common sense at this point in history.

What I find more interesting was his theory about degrees of sexual behavior, known as the Kinsey Scale.  It runs from 0-6 with 0 being “exclusively heterosexual” and 6 being “exclusively homosexual,” with all others falling somewhere in between.  Of course, these demarcations can be divided infinitely, so that a 72 year old lesbian who once slept with a man in her 20’s could be a Kinsey 5.94, or a bisexual man who sleeps almost equally with men and women could be 3.2.  The interesting thing about the Kinsey Scale is the strong division in what it tries to assign value to: sexual behavior, but never sexual orientation. Kinsey understood that behavior and orientation sometimes do not align, and that in many cases, the way we understand sexuality can never be accurately represented by a simple point on a spectrum.  For example, I consider myself bi-romantic (I have fallen in love with men and women), but homosexual (I only enjoy sex with women)- what in the world kind of number could I assign to that?  On the other hand, sexual behavior is easier to diagram- I’ve had sex with 2 men and one woman, so I fall around a Kinsey 2, depending on how you factor in length of the relationships.  This, of course, gets very sticky when you consider people who are trans, genderqueer, two-spirited, or any other gender identity which doesn’t fit within our dichotomized idea of gender.  Sadly, that wasn’t where Kinsey focused his research energy.

POINT BEING- everyone should give Kinsey a hand for helping to deconstruct the societal taboos and misassumptions which plagued the 1950s and we should all try to emulate his openness by considering the way we are all, in our own way, abnormal sexually.  Yay!

Hey guys,

I think I’ve figured out the balance to this blog- something funny and light after any super-serious heavy reading.  Sound good?

I found this one a while back (might have been a forward from the gf)-New York’s “The Daily Intel” features a slice of life from…

The Lesbian Music Producer in an Often Sex-Free Relationship

Check it out.

http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2010/01/the_lesbian_music_producer_in.html

Whether you are gay, straight, bi, queer, or anything around and in between, sex has been a subject discussed either in the forbidding whispers and giggles or the clinical dryness of the health classroom.  And that’s a shame.  Because neither forum offers a comprehensive understanding of the physical, psychological, and emotional aspects of sex.

For LGBT teens, it’s even worse.  Our assumptively hetero-normative society American society not only totally dis-empowers and vilifies our personal attractions, but refuses to talk openly about the versions of sex that they do find appropriate.  I remember in 8th grade, I attended a school-sponsored overnight aimed at getting girls ready for High School with lectures and workshops on sex, drugs, body image, and media distortion.  One of the workshops featured an analysis of advertisements, including one of Britney Spears leaning over a soapy car, talking up some brand of Chevrolet or motor oil.  Point being, the instructor happened to mention that this ad was not only talking about [insert inane commercial product here], but also advertising a perverse form of sex aka anal.  Even at 13 this pissed me off.  Who is she to decide what kind of sex is perverse or not?  And yet we encounter this all the time- from protesters holding up signs that condemn sodomy to parents who tell their children that their effeminate classmates are “not normal” and do nothing to stop the teasing they encounter.

So with all of these silent, strictly codified rules making us second-guess our emotions and attractions, what do we as ambitious, hormonal, insatiably curious teenagers do?  Well, first of all, we do everything and then deny it.  But more importantly, we create online communities, blogs, confessions into cyberspace detailing all the things society tells us we’ve “done wrong.”

25 Things About My Sexuality is one of the more brilliant blog concepts I’ve seen: it offers online submission forms for anyone that desires to submit often lengthy and detailed “confessions” about their early sexual experiences, partners, and fantasies.

I put confession in quotes because of the completely artificial societal construct that makes 25 Things writers “guilty.”  There is nothing these bloggers have done that an open mind couldn’t fix.  Or better yet, an open dialogue.

FORRRRR EXAMPLE: Today’s post was from a woman who had grown up in a Catholic family where her parents were not very affectionate towards each other in public, nor did they ever talk about sex or masturbation.  She writes: “My parents didn’t talk much about homos at home, but all I remember hearing from them was that they were somehow weird and that it was not desirable to be one. We didn’t talk about masturbation either, I only remember one time when they told me that sex is something a man and a woman do together because they love each other. For a long time I thought masturbation was only for perverts, and I didn’t really try it at all until I was about 15.”

Now, understandably, in Catholic households, masturbation is sometimes considered unnatural and wrong, but this same stigma exists in thousands of non-religious homes too, because the taboos of sex and self-love have completely overtaken society.

This blogger writes further: “A recent post really made me think about how a lot of the people who write here think they’re weird and not normal, but really there are LOTS and LOTS of people out there struggling with very similar stuff.”  So if we acknowledge that there are many people in the world feeling just as guilty and awkward about perfectly normal things, what’s a society to do?!?

Bianca’s prescription is two-fold.

  1. Parents, teachers, mentors, peers- freakin’ TALK.  I know it’s embarrassing and awkward to bring up sex and sexuality, especially across generational gaps, but it’s so important.  Open discussions about what we feel as sexual beings will help smash negative stereotypes and stigma, as well as passing on positive attitudes for children who will grow up respecting people of all orientations and practices.
    1. Sidenote: Unitarian Universalist Churches have started a wonderful sex ed program that addresses these issues brilliantly. I attended one of the classes for a panel on LGBT issues this past year and found the kids very mature and comfortable with themselves.  The program features everything from safe sex practices to masturbation techniques to discussions on homosexuality and gender non-conformity.  I highly suggest that anyone who has this course available to them use it!
    2. Other teens- stop judging.  The terms whore, slut, cougar, perv, fag, cougar, etc. do not belong in our societal vocabulary.  Everyone is entitled to their own variety of sexual practice and you have no right to make arbitrary distinctions about the quantity or quality of their partners, the content of their encounters, or their personal feelings and fantasies.  If you have negative personal opinions about a certain practice, consider if they are grounded in safety or health concerns.  If not, consider re-evaluating.  Whatever makes a person happy is fine, as long as it goes without hurting another person.  Your recriminations only perpetuates a sexual elitism- and one day, the shoe may be on the other foot.

If the concept of sexual privilege in society strikes your fancy, mediate on Gayle Rubin’s “Charmed Circle” from the book Thinking Sex.  http://interalia.org.pl/pozycje/1194044411-533/1.gif

Also, another example of a good “Confession blog” is Queer Secrets.  It’s styled after PostSecret (also a personal favorite, but with exclusively queer material).  WARNING: it is very depressing, as it focuses on people who are forced to remain closeted.

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