Oct 062013
 

Adv Couple's Guide to Sex Toys 2eBook: “The Adventurous Couple’s Guide to Sex Toys”
Written by: Violet Blue
Foreword by: Dr. Charlie Glickman
Published by: Cleis Press

We dare you to read this book.

Are you scared to ask your partner to try the kinky things you fantasize about? Or maybe you are at the other end of the spectrum – you think that together you’ve tried all of the sex toys? Then we double dare you to read Violet Blue’s new book, “The Adventurous Couple’s Guide to Sex Toys.” Whether you’ve never even broached the subject of sex toys or you’re getting bored in the bedroom, we think you can use this guide to find some inspiration.

We’re pretty adventurous. Collectively, we have over 60 years of experience making, buying, and using sex toys. While we try to be as safe as possible, there have been some misadventures, so the first thing that we noticed about “The Adventurous Couple’s Guide to Sex Toys” was Blue’s well informed safety tips. Important information is covered clearly and often highlighted in a boxout, making it easy to access. We wish that there had been a book like this when we were first looking at sex toys!

Countless people have told us stories of shame that made it impossible to ask their partner for what they really want. It drives us crazy because we believe that everyone deserves to have a fulfilling sex life. Well! We now have a resource to recommend to those people. “The Adventurous Couple’s Guide to Sex Toys” doesn’t have all of the answers, but it focuses on good communication and offers some concrete suggestions for starting the sex toy conversation or surprising your lover with a toy (hint: surprise is not always a good idea). Blue’s personality shines through her writing, putting you at ease like you were having coffee with your sex smart best friend. There is no shame here, only fascinating data meant to empower you.

Our biggest criticism of the book is that it’s fairly heteronormative. While Blue has been very inclusive of all people, the book largely addresses straight couples. The chapter on strap-on sex has some great information about introducing men to anal play, but nothing about women playing together. Most of the material is presented in an unbiased fashion, but we found the overall assumption tended toward heterosexual couples. A minor thing of note: we found some of the language a bit forced or awkward from time to time, but it doesn’t interfere too much.

We loved pretty much everything else: the brightly colored cover, the highly accurate illustrations by Zanne DeJanvier, the foreword written by Charlie Glickman, PhD, and a whole chapter on resources for acquiring good sex toys. We appreciate Blue’s candor in naming names when talking about products she believes in. “The Adventurous Couple’s Guide” bravely covers the gamut of sex toys: vibrators, butt plugs and other anal toys, dildos, strap-on harnesses, bondage, and nipple clamps. We were most excited to read about teledildonics (including webcam), sex machines, and sex furniture.

We found a lot of stuff in “The Adventurous Couple’s Guide to Sex Toys” that we have tried. What surprised us was how much new information there was. Well, maybe not new, but things we haven’t ever talked to each other about. We read the book separately, but when we compared notes we discovered that we shared a whole new realm of fantasy we have not yet explored. Just reading this book was a huge turn on – thinking about everything we’ve done and things we’d still love to do inspired some heavy sexting and at least one masturbation session. Without this book, we might never have shared with each other a mutual and intense interest in trying out a Monkey Rocker!

So, we dare you. We dare you to share this book with your lover.

~Evoë  & Harold

Jun 232012
 

Sex GeekI met Reid Mihalko when I was down in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago. We were at OpenSF (an amazing non-monogamy conference), at a gathering for presenters and staff to relax and unwind after the weekend. I knew who he was, of course. He’s the kind of guy whose reputation precedes him. After I saw Reid’s videos on Passionate U, I believe my response was that I wanted to put him in my mouth. I did my research, so I knew something about him. He was someone I really hoped to meet on our trip.

Within seconds of being introduced, we were flirting. In fact, I was sticking my hands into his pants pockets. I liked him immediately because not many people are as physical as I am. Reid is very funny, sweet, and personable. He’s a natural storyteller. He’s also smart. Reid’s responsible for the Sex Geek t-shirts that all the cool kids are wearing. And he has a lot to say about sex and relationships.

Not only did I get to meet Reid, I arranged to do a quick video interview. I didn’t get a chance to ask him the all-important boxers-or-briefs question (I imagine he’s probably commando anyway), but I did get him talking about some things I care about. The first segment focuses on flirting, then we discuss how pleasure can help heal pain, and finally kissing! Here is the first of the videos, with more to follow:

 

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Jun 172012
 

Passionate UAre there things about sex that you would like to know, but are too afraid to ask someone? When you google your sex questions do you get a million porn hits or highly questionable responses? Do you long for simple, straightforward demonstrations and explanations on a broad range of sexual topics? I can fix you up.

I recently spent some time exploring Passionate U, a website dedicated to helping adults answer any question about sexuality. (More advanced BDSM type questions are addressed on the sister site, Kink Academy.)  Each site features a multitude of short video clips (average 3-5 minutes) from well known sex educators and other sex professionals. The faculty is currently over 50 people and constantly expanding. They add new videos each week!

The website is well organized and easy to use. You have to agree to their waiver every time you enter the site, which only makes sense. You can then select one of the options available on the main page: sensual, sexy, kinky, relationships, health, or academic. If that doesn’t work, you can try a search term or sort by skill level, toy, topic, or faculty member. I was able to easily find the videos that interested me. And the brilliant thing is that if a specific video wasn’t working for me, I could just stop it and find another.

I should make a confession. I’m not a very patient person. I don’t watch a lot of online videos because I can’t stand to wait while they are loading. I occasionally had this problem with Passionate U. When everyone in my house was on the internet, I was unable to successfully watch videos and it drove me wild with frustration. Passionate U does have a very good help section for troubleshooting viewing problems, but ultimately I had to wait until I was home alone.

Passionate U has many videos available for free, so you can get an idea of what to expect. Check them out and seriously consider paying for a membership in order to have full access. They offer several options, starting at $24.95USD/month.

I learned so much in the 2 weeks I was trialing the site. I took in information about squirting, pegging, senior sex, consent, negotiating awkward social situations, oral sex, legal ramifications, sex positions, and much, much more. I especially appreciated the segment on intact cocks because it was an up close guided tour of an uncircumcised penis. Where else could I get this kind of visual? I haven’t seen an up-close and personal example since I was a teen living in Europe and not many men would just drop their pants for me so I could explore. Well, maybe they would, but that’s not the point!

Go look at Passionate U. These people have a lot to offer and they are serious about adult sex education. I promise  you’ll learn something.

 

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Sep 022011
 

Sexing the TransmanBuck Angel is really fucking hot. He’s built, bald, tattooed, and he has a pussy. Buck Angel has been building an empire as the world’s first Female to Male porn star, putting his talents as an activist and an educator to good use. His newest film, Sexing the Transman, manages to combine porn, activism, and education in an illuminating view of transman sexuality. As someone with relatively little knowledge of transsexuality, I appreciate the candid insight.

Sexing the Transman interviews four very different men about their transitions and the changes that testosterone made to their sexuality. I am struck by the similarities. They have all undergone “top surgery,” which is to say that they’ve had total mastectomies. None of them have had “bottom surgery,” meaning that their vulvas and vaginas are intact. They all talked about how uncomfortable they were with their bodies before testosterone and top surgery and how free they felt afterward. “T” evidently makes people pretty horny – like masturbating 5 or 6 times a day. (I’m already like that sometimes, so I’d never leave the house if I took T!) I really like that all of these guys have gotten to a place where they love their bodies.

After their interviews, the transmen took off their clothes so we can see what they look like and they masturbate in front of the camera in ways that are typical for them. I think they are so courageous. How empowering to go from a place where they were uncomfortable with their bodies to sharing such an intimate moment. I got the impression that most of them don’t generally do things like this movie! I’m grateful to see transmen close up because I learned something mind blowing. Testosterone turns clitorises into mini cocks. I did not know this and I think it’s fantastically amazing! It’s important to note that transmen are not just men with pussies – they have anatomy that is unique to transmen. How cool is that?

On a technical level, the music sometimes distracted me from the action. The movie opened with opera and bits of opera were interspersed throughout – like just as someone was about to come. I liked that. The camera angles were very raw and free-form, which worked well with the tenor of the film. I enjoyed that we saw faces as well as cunts, especially when they were about to orgasm. It was also good to see a variety of toys in action. I always like that. Actually, this movie had some of the best pussy shots I’ve ever seen in porn.

The last scene was Buck Angel himself fucking another transman, Fallen. I enjoyed that even more because I like the energy between them, whereas masturbation can be so internal. Buck Angel and Fallen are pretty hard core and beautiful to watch. I only have one complaint, and it’s my own prudishness – I don’t like how much they spit on each other. I get that spit works perfectly well and oral sex spreads spit around just as much, but there’s an iconic thing about spitting on someone. I can’t help it, I wanted to hand them some lube. It’s fine if they are all consenting, but I’m going to deck any lover of mine who spits on me. It definitely took me out of the moment.

It just shows… I happily do things all the time that squick a lot of people (and occasionally things that might make someone else faint, like sticking a needle through my lover’s balls), but here I am having a standard “ew” moment about a thing that’s not part of my personal play. Keeps me honest to remember that “ew” reactions (as opposed to ethics) really are in the eye of the beholder, not intrinsic to what I’m beholding.

Buck Angel

Buck Angel

I am so thankful for this DVD, though. The biggest thing it did for me was to help me normalize transmen. Transwomen are more a part of our culture, in the form of she-male porn and such, but I haven’t been exposed to transmen. At first, watching this movie, I felt a kind of jolting disconnect to see a man with a cunt where my mind expected a cock. This movie let me have that reaction over and over until I stopped. It helps me internalize, in a very real way, the saying that, “not every person with a vulva is female and not all males have cocks.” I now have a baseline normal for transmen, I think. I also like the terminology I learned to use instead of cunt or pussy – it’s the front hole or the bonus hole!

Overall I found Sexing the Transman to be more educational for me than hot, although it had moments of sexiness. The transmen being interviewed had a sweetness and a realness to them that I love. This movie fed my curiosity and opened my mind. I can now imagine dating a transman. And my crush on Buck Angel has just gotten bigger – he’s sexy, mindful, intelligent, and talented. I’m just glad he’s decided to use his powers for good!

Aug 062011
 

Tristan Taormino's Expert Guide to Advanced Anal SexAre you looking to add more anal action to your sex life? If you’ve tried a little butt love and want to know how to proceed, Tristan Taormino‘s Expert Guide to Advanced Anal Sex is a must-see DVD. I’m pretty much their target audience, I think – I’m comfortable with my body and I’ve done some anal play, but not a lot. I’m anal curious. I want to know more about all things anal. This video is fabulous. I love the demo couples, the instructional aspect, and all of the ideas it gave me!

One thing I didn’t like was the bazillion Vivid ads at the beginning. I figured out how to skip over them, but there’s a lot of bad porn ads before the good stuff. Once I got to it, the first part of the video is like taking an awesome class. Tristan Taormino explains about anal sex in straight-forward, factual terms which are then illustrated by couples with many names I recognize from porn. Starring in this video are Kylie Ireland & James Deen, Adrianna Nicole & Danny Wylde, Bobbi Starr & Mr. Marcus, and Nina Hartley & Christian. Watching them is HOT! I like that the performers are all enthusiastic about anal.

I learned some interesting things from this video. Enemas aren’t necessary for anal sex – a bowel movement before sex is usually enough. If you do want to do an enema, you can take a store bought enema, dump the contents, fill it up with warm water, lube the tip, and use as directed. Or use an enema bag. Of particular interest to me is that you should do an enema 2 hours before playing to give your ass a chance to calm down. Also, ALWAYS use lube for anal penetration. It can be water-based lube or silicone, as long as you don’t use silicone toys. I learned that the prostate is about the size and shape of a walnut. Cool! I’m excited about prostate stimulation right now. I like that they also stress good communication with your partner. Deep breathing and talking seem to be the keys to making anal sex work.

The biggest thing is that anal sex shouldn’t hurt. Tristan offers us three easy steps to making anal penetration feel good:

  1. Use lube
  2. Go slowly
  3. Warm up

Simple, yet very effective advice – they go into specifics on the video. They also demonstrate a bunch of different positions that can be used for anal sex. Basically, if two people can fit together in a certain way, it’s a position with a name. I know that naming things gives people a common language in which to discuss, but I find positions named things like “reverse cowgirl” funny. I can just imagine begging my partner to “froggie” me. It’s all good, I’m just amused.

After the instructional piece,the DVD goes on to interview each couple and show them playing around with anal sex techniques and toys. There’s actually a huge assortment of good anal toys demonstrated. I like that we see the performers talk about their experience with anal in their personal lives. And I enjoy seeing their obvious pleasure. I have a bit of a porno-crush on Christian – he’s sweet, self-aware, beefy, and he has a massive cock.

Overall,there are many things to like about Tristan Taormino’s Expert Guide to Advanced Anal Sex. I appreciate that the video addresses both men and women as receptive anal play partners. I’m especially grateful that there’s none of the porn conventions, like the repeating money shot. I like that they talk about rimming, or anilingus, as a way of warming up. I haven’t had the courage to try it yet. They talk about how the taboo of anal sex makes it more interesting and the whole video stresses the importance of women getting off. It actually makes me want to have anal sex!

The way the DVD is organized is good. The menus are easy to follow. It would be easy for a video like this to be cheesy, and it’s really not. Even the special features are good. There are little mini features on safer sex tips, choking your lover safely, fitting and using a strap-on, giving yourself an enema, and solo prostate stimulation – all of which provide additional good information in a sexy way.

Vivid sent me a copy of this DVD for review, but I think it retails for around $30. I absolutely recommend it for anyone who gets turned on thinking about anal sex or wants to try anal play. I found it very inspiring. I immediately had to stick something in Harold’s ass! I’ve just given a top-level review of the video, it’s worth buying for the information shared and the sexiness of the couples.

Bottom line: Excellent resource for anal play.

Grade: B+

Jul 082011
 

SchoolgrrrlHave you ever wanted to be or have a Daddy in a sexual sense? Someone to guide, discipline, and nurture? I can honestly say that the concept doesn’t appeal to me, but I still got a ton of useful information out of the workshop that Harold and I attended at the CSPC in Seattle last night. It was about using power exchange to enhance relationships, especially in a variety of gender configurations. I may be crushing on yet another butch. The workshop’s presenter, Sinclair Sexsmith, is the intelligent, kinky, articulate, and straight-forward  writer and Top behind www.sugarbutch.net. This was really the best sex workshop I’ve ever attended.

We almost didn’t go. For a variety of reasons, I don’t want a “Daddy.” I was sexually abused as a child and I think it would trigger me to pretend to be a child in a sexual situation. Harold and I already have some inherent differentials in our relationship, like the fact that he is literally old enough to be my father. And I’m usually the one on top, if there is a power differential at all. If anything, I’m Harold’s Daddy, but we generally stay equal in power.

schoolgrrrlThe funny thing is that we fought for most of yesterday. It’s an old argument, and a big part of it has to do with the part of me that desperately wants Harold to top me. We’ve tried. It hasn’t ever worked for us. But there is something there that I really need, that we need as a couple. Some kind of closeness that we can only reach through power play, and I feel unseen until we do. It’s been intensely frustrating. We spent an hour and a half sorting through some of this stuff with my therapist yesterday afternoon. Then we had a very nice dinner and a couple of drinks – and we attended Queering Power Dynamics with Sinclair Sexsmith.

I liked the informal feel of the class. People shared some of their own experiences and perspectives. We talked about the differences between a familial father and a Daddy in a sexual context. There were some good general tips for relationships and power play. Sinclair fielded a bunch of questions. What stood out most for me was that the particular Daddy/girl dynamic that allows for nurturing and caring. I was in tears listening to a woman talk about her Daddy giving her permission to care about herself and to do nice things for herself. It was so familiar, both Joel and Harold so often encourage me to do the things that I want to do for myself, but feel that I don’t deserve. I don’t always feel good about my body, so it helps to have someone tell me that I’m worth pampering. We also talked about how the “girl” in this dynamic has power over the Daddy, in getting him to do something he knows is wrong. This class got me really thinking about power.

SchoolgrrrlI don’t want to be topped or owned. Most of the time that just makes me laugh. I do want to be possessed. I want to be taken so I can give myself. I want to be dirty and bad so that I can be loved in that place where I don’t love myself. I even sometimes want to feel pain because I just fucking hurt inside. But I don’t want to give up myself. I like the Daddy dynamic, even if I can’t live with the iconography.

So I came up with a similar, yet different, power differential that I can live with: teacher/student. I suggested it to Harold as we drove home. He was open to the idea. We discussed it with mounting enthusiasm. We both liked the fact that even though there is a power differential, neither party is powerless. The teacher is using his power to seduce the student, but so is the student using her power to seduce the teacher. By the time we sent the babysitter home and got all the kids to bed, we were both a bit excited. Harold closed and locked the bedroom door and we were off. Role-play is second nature for us both. We quickly established that he is my Health teacher and I am very bad for tempting him to do something so wrong. I am innocent and eager to please.

SchoolgrrrlOh my god, the hot sex. Harold says that he’s never wanted me so much. I love this dynamic. I love that even this morning we are saying little teachery things to each other that totally turn me on. We can carry on this kind of play in odd moments, in front of the children, in the grocery store or the library – it’s endless and subtle. And we can incorporate all of our normal play. Mr. Henry can teach his young student to perform CBT. I could be the cute jock Mr. Henry instructs in gay male sex. There can be spankings and public displays and homework. I’m feverish with the possibilities.

Sinclair Sexsmith pointed out that things that are a huge turn on one time might not be good next time and to stay open and flexible. It really was a fabulous workshop. I’m incredibly thankful for a nudge in this power play direction. I’m staying open and flexible, but I hope I’m hot for that teacher for a very long time!

May 242011
 

sexy plantWe made a trip into town to see Susie Bright talk about sex positive parenting Sunday night. Melanie and Harold and I went because our family values both sex and good parenting. Sexuality is an important aspect of everyone’s lives and we want our children to have a sexuality that is as healthy as the rest of them. We also want to keep our own sex lives going rather than letting our identities as parents subsume our adult pleasures. We want to find a balance that’s good for everybody.

The class gave me a lot to think about, but mostly was affirming that we do a fabulous job as sex positive parents. Like the way that we create space for each couple to have time alone with each other – each week we have child-free date time set aside. This is hugely important and worth the hassle and expense. It’s not even necessarily about sex. It’s about having fun together as a couple and prioritizing the relationship.

We also try to make sure that everyone has some alone time, even the children. At this point our 14-year-old especially needs time to herself. The adults have a harder time taking time for themselves, but it’s so important. I don’t think Harold hardly ever masturbates any more because he just doesn’t have enough alone time. I have one evening a week alone and that’s time that I enjoy. I do tend to masturbate, but I also do things like read or dream or watch movies or write or just plain space off. It’s time for me to be me. Sometimes it’s hard for me to be alone because I’m not used to it, but I’m coming to treasure it.

Another thing we do well with our children is to talk to them. We talk about everything – art, literature, world events, mathematics, drugs, school, their friends, and anything they’re interested in. Including sex. Susie pointed out that you can’t help talking about sex if you talk about everything. It’s true. Our children feel very comfortable talking to us about sex or anything. I like that they bring me their concerns.

The last thing that Susie mentioned is not to hit your kids. This seems obvious to me. But when I thought about it, parents who are abusive to their children are creating a relationship in which children are unable to form a healthy attachment. This carries forward to their adult relationships. I can say from experience that it causes all kinds of problems. So yes, we are aware of the dangers of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse and we protect our children.

We talked in class about what things our parents did well around sex that we would like to continue to do with our own children. And then what they did that was awful and we are determined not to pass down to our children. It’s very emotional to think about. So much of our sex culture is taken from our parents when we were young. Think about it. Think about what you would pass on and what you refuse to do the way your parents did.

sexy plantUltimately I am pleased at how well we do by our children around sex. We’re careful not to over-share about our sex lives, because they don’t actually want to know, but we are openly affectionate with each other in front of them. I think that even if we didn’t ever talk to them about sex, it would be enough for them to see us be openly in love with each other. All of the hows and whats of sex are just details. I want my babies to know in their souls that sex is about connection.

Our larger culture is slowly changing. More people are thinking about how to parent in a sex-positive manner. Already things are more open than they were a couple generations back. Join us, it doesn’t take much: respect, privacy, open communication, and no abuse. Be a sex positive parent!

Jan 012011
 

Maggie MayhemHappy New Year! (I have something wonderful to share with you in honor of this occasion!)

I recently had the good fortune to spend some time with an amazing woman, Miss Maggie Mayhem. Maggie is a sex educator and activist, a writer, and a kinky model and performer from the San Francisco Bay area. She’s well-spoken, wild in all the good ways, geeky smart, not afraid to get silly, and beautiful. She totally rocks her signature eyeglasses and even wears them for most of her work – bonus points for that. My husband watches Maggie on kink.com. I’d like to think that this is why he was willing to give up his breakfast for her, but he’s actually just a nice guy.

I got to take a bunch of photos of Maggie out in the snow, which was so great that I had her answer a few questions for us. Enjoy…

WholeSexLife is working to normalize sex, no matter how people express their sexuality. How are you contributing to that goal?
Maggie Mayhem“I was certainly involved in queer youth activism in high school, but when I first started volunteering as an HIV tester when I was 18 I really began to formalize my ideas about harm reduction and sex positive thinking. HIV testing is a stressful process for everyone and the only way that I can help someone set up a plan to reduce their risk is to normalize the process and sex itself. If someone is too ashamed to open up to me in the clinic, I can’t offer any help or advice that is going to fit their life. I make it a point to keep myself up to date on all of the newest information about sexuality I can find through my own research in libraries, medical journals, and at every conference I can attend.

“Normalizing sex is also about having accurate figures for what people do as well as remove the hazy mist of superstition around our bodies. After 6 years of working in the field of HIV prevention, I am on a brief break at the moment but I am still active in normalizing sex through my website, my workshops and classes, my volunteer work as a supervisor at the San Francisco Sex Information Hotline, and even through erotic performances. I do porn on camera but I have always preferred live performances. I enjoy doing burlesque and suspension bondage for people and I love getting feedback from my audience. I am always amazed at the intimate connections I am forging with strangers especially when they tell me that watching me inspired them to go out and explore their own fantasies and interests.”

You do a lot of amazing volunteer work and humanitarian missions. What is your current cause or what is next for you?
Maggie Mayhem“In the summer of 2009, I was doing grant work in Tanzania, Africa. My goal was to help provide care for people who were HIV+ or already in the late stages of AIDS. I worked at a very small, very impoverished hospital and I also did a lot of house calls in the community. I was also offering HIV and sex education at secondary schools which was a very strong test of my Swahili speaking skills. That experience really sparked a desire to continue doing work internationally because I saw so many of the same issues.

“This past summer, I was doing rubble work in Haiti with my partner. The town we were living in had been about 90% destroyed by the January, 2010 earthquake. We spent a month smashing the ruins of homes, schools, and small businesses and shoveling them away to give people a blank slate to rebuild their lives. My time in Haiti was incredible and I am in the very early planning stages for a return trip because my work there is far from being complete. I would also really like to join in on sex worker empowerment in India and South America so if anyone out there on the internet would like to help me acquire another grant, I’m ready to go.”

What is your advice for people who are feeling lonely or unfulfilled in their sex lives?
Maggie Mayhem“I think that every single one of us is going to feel lonely or unfulfilled in our sex lives at one point or another. We all have to wade through a battlefield of immense sex negativity and it will come and rear its ugly head from time to time. Everyone has their own unique way of feeling lonely and unfulfilled and it is difficult to offer one size fits all advice but one thing that I try to do is assess whether or not something is actually a problem. Because we encounter so many messages about what our sex lives should look like it can be easy to forget what we want our sex lives to look like.

“I have so many people come to me and say, “Help! I can only get off with my vibrator/bondage/when I’m on top/when someone goes down on me/etc…” which I have never seen as a problem or a limitation. It actually takes a lot of work to be that self aware of your body and your desire. As long as everyone involved is able to provide informed, adult consent then all you really need is a reminder that the way you get off is OK. The rest just takes some creative brain storming.”

If you’d like to see more of Miss Maggie Mayhem you can see her initial interview at kink.com here and additional kink.com footage here. But please, read her blog because this is one hot chick with a sharp wit and keen sense of humor!

Maggie MayhemMaggie MayhemMaggie Mayhem

 

Dec 132010
 

Reading is sexyIntelligence is sexy. People who think about things are hot! Have you ever met someone that you clicked with instantly and then spent hours talking about all kinds of things? Yeah, I have a kink for that. I want to crawl into people’s minds. I want to open them up and hear about the things that interest them. An articulate, intelligent person who keeps their brain engaged is a total turn-on.

I want knowledge – I love to figure out how things work and to gain new skills. One of the ways I do this is through voracious reading. Books are my great escape and the doorway to these new thoughts and ideas. Any time I want to find out about something I go to the library. But it’s hard to find good books about sex. At least that was true when I was younger. So when I found a book that made an impression on me, it was a big deal.

These are some of the books that have shaped my sex life in good ways, and I’m thankful for every one…

Our Bodies, Ourselves, by the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, got me through puberty. It sat on my mom’s bookshelf and any time I had a question about anything to do with my body or sexuality I could smuggle it into my room. It reassured me that I was normal.

As a young adult, I read Exit to Eden by Anne Rice. It totally changed my life because, for the first time I realized that other people had the same thoughts that I did. Not only did they have sick perverted fantasies, they acted on them! BDSM was now a real thing that people did with each other. Wow!

Then I read My Secret Garden: Women’s Sexual Fantasies by Nancy Friday. I was so turned on. Other women thought about all kinds of sexy things that I had never considered before. I started to act out some of my fantasies because the book helped to see that it was okay .

I finally figured out that I was into bondage! Okay. What to do next? Get Jay Wiseman’s Erotic Bondage Handbook by Jay Wiseman, of course. Ooooh. I read the book with great interest, writing out a shopping list as I went. I not only learned about bondage, but I began to know about safety practices and basic BDSM etiquette. A fire was lit. I required more knowledge.

So when a new girlfriend handed me A Hand in the Bush: The Fine Art of Vaginal Fisting by Deborah Addington, I went home and read it cover to cover. I never got to try the techniques I learned on that girlfriend, but a couple of years later I had a chance to fist Joel’s girlfriend. I was like, hey, I totally read that book on fisting, so I know just what to do! It was AMAZING.

Sometimes I haven’t felt very good about my body. When I was worried that my cunt didn’t look right, Harold handed me Femalia edited by Joani Blank. The whole book is close up color photographs of women’s cunts. It’s so beautiful. Even as a bisexual woman, I have not seen this many cunts up close, in good light. I could actually see that “normal” is a broad range. This book helped me to feel beautiful too.

Read nakedI’ve spent the past 2 years actively working through childhood sexual abuse. Harold bought six copies of The Courage to Heal by Ellen Bass & Laura Davis so that we would all have a copy. I haven’t read the whole thing, just little bits here and there as I’ve needed to. It’s helped me to heal and be whole, including my sexuality.

Sex at Dawn by Christopher Ryan, Ph.D. & Cacilda Jethá, M.D. was so much fun to read. While their bias is obvious, I tended to agree with their premises. I learned so many good and interesting things, like the fact that men ejaculating inside of women actually enhances women’s moods. I think about this book all of the time!

Finally, I recently read S.E.X. by Heather Corinna of Scarleteen. As the mother of five, I am always looking for good resources for them. Well, this book is probably the best book about sex I’ve ever seen – for anyone. I think it’s amazing. I found it at the library, but I immediately purchased it for the household. It’s fabulous.

Books… they’re such satisfying food for the mind, where so much of our sex lives take place!

Dec 052010
 

EvoeI’ve been thinking a lot about what we, as a society, should be teaching teens about sex. I have two teen-age daughters so my interest is more than academic. I’ve watched their friends explore sex and mature, often without any support or guidance from teachers or parents. I think I’ve seen a side of young adults that most people don’t see. And I was that teen statistic that parents are afraid of. I was pregnant at 17 (due to date rape) and a single mother until I was 22 and got married. I have worked hard to make my sex life something I am happy with. I want high school students to get the information they need to develop a healthy and positive sexuality.

I was really inspired by some pamphlets Harold and I found in a bakery in a small town in France a couple of years ago. They were produced by France’s department of heath and spoke to teens in very straightforward language about a wide range of topics. There were even free condoms. In the bakery. It was so different from the culture in the United States where there are tons of high sexualized images surrounding teens, but not enough honest and forthright information. So what do I think is important? What would I tell kids? The same things I want to tell you…

Your body is beautiful and normal. Human bodies come in many different shapes, colors, and sizes. So do breasts, vaginas, and penises. It’s normal to be worried that your body or genitals are unattractive or abnormal. Being seen naked can feel very scary. If you look around, you’ll see that society’s idealized perfect body is actually very rare. All of the variations in nature come together to create a world full of people who are each unique and differently amazing beings. Accepting yourself the way that you are and loving yourself will encourage other people to treat you with the respect you deserve. Letting go of fear will open you up to enjoying sex.

You own your body and your sexuality. No matter which gender you are attracted to, no matter how you define yourself, no matter what kinds of things turn you on – it’s okay as long as everyone is consenting and the activity is legal. Your body is yours to enjoy. You get to say no whenever you want. You can say yes whenever you want, then change your mind. And change your mind again. Deciding not to have sex is also your choice. You have the power and the control.

Now is the time to experiment. High school and college years are a great time to explore your sexuality. Try things out. See what kinds of things turn you on. Take everything slow. There will be time, so don’t do anything until you’re ready and it feels right. Even if you’re older, this applies to you. Seize the moment and try out those things you’ve only fantasized about. Learning more about yourself can be rewarding in the arena of sex. You are entitled to know about your interests and desires.

You need real information. Make sure that you have good sources while exploring your sexuality. The most amazing thing I have seen for teens in the U.S. is Scarleteen, a website that helps kids figure everything out in a very honest, sex positive way. There are more good options for adults on the internet, but also a lot of crap so look for something clear, concise, and not selling anything. If possible, attend classes and workshops. Talk to people with experience, but listen to your instincts – some “experts” are themselves pretty lost in the sexual wilderness. Especially, get good information about contraceptives. Talk to a medical professional about your options. Practice any barrier method before you have to depend on it. It may make a difference.

Magic WandFor women: It often takes women much longer to figure out how to orgasm with a partner. Give yourself some time to be alone and experiment with what feels good for your body. Practice masturbating. It’s okay! See what your body reacts to. Try a vibrator if you can get one, the shower spray, humping your pillow, or using your fingers. An orgasm may feel different from what you expect, but if you know what feels good, you can communicate that to a partner – assuming you decide to have sex with a partner.

To men or women who want to have sex with women: Pay attention to your partner. Let her set the pace and show you how to please her. Bring her to orgasm if at all possible. You will have your chance to get what you need, but start off with making her happy. In the end it makes for a more satisfying experience for everyone. And she will think that you are the best lover ever!

Have fun! Sex doesn’t have to be all serious. Go ahead and laugh. Be silly. Sex is about finding joy in your body, often with someone you love. So, enjoy yourself!