Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Amanda Palmer Gets It Wrong

First, let me just say that I listen to a lot of music by artists who either hold views that I strongly disagree with, or who at least occasionally say really really stupid things. For example, I happily count myself as a fan of Ke$ha, Nicki Minaj, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, and a number of other pop music types. I also, in general, like Amanda Palmer's music.

The thing about Amanda Palmer is that she so often comes so close to at least appearing to "get it" but then adds something to the thought that makes me wonder why I ever hoped she'd get it. It seems that it hurts me more when someone almost gets it, or generally seems like a person who gets it and then proves that no, I was wrong, they don't actually get it at all. That hurt is the basis of this post.

I do not follow Amanda Palmer on twitter because I prefer to not read the things that go through her head, but today someone I do follow retweeted something she had said, and, well, how about I just show you what it is.


I read the first sentence and was happy...and then...yep. You're fine the way you are, unless you happen to be fat, in which case you'd better fix that shit. If you happen to be fat you clearly don't exercise. If you happen to be fat you probably don't love yourself.

And I'm just left wondering why that middle sentence was necessary. And why I ever thought Amanda Palmer might possibly get it.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

My self-worth and how it has nothing to do with anyones genitalia

So, I have this problem that resurfaces every now and then...I, like many other women and men in the world, find myself thinking that my value is dependent on what other people think of me. More than just what other people think of me, but how much other people want to sleep with me. And that is a problem. It is often specifically a problem if I've been in a little bit of a funk and then get drunk, because the end result is almost always throwing myself at someone and either being rejected and crying, or waking up the next day wondering why the hell I did that.

Here's the thing, I'm fat. Not like "chubby" or anything like "plus size model"...just fat. Death fat, if you will. And I'm mostly okay with it. Yeah, there's some stuff I wish was different. I wish there were more cute clothes that fit me, preferably less expensive and better made ones, but in general I don't think it's my fault that those clothes don't exist. And yes, I could stand to be healthier, but if I've learned anything about my body in my 22 years it is that in this body, healthy and thin aren't really the same thing.

The other thing is that I've got some serious food issues. I don't want to get in to the back story of that just now, but let me give you some examples. At 16, I made my boyfriend ration cheese cubes to me and worked out at two separate fitness centers so no one would notice that I went twice a day...my family was so proud of how disciplined I was being. When I was 18 I got put on adderall for ADHD and was seriously thrilled by the fact that when I took that medication it was super easy to not eat. And then I spent an entire day throwing up because my stomach did not like not having anything in it when I was taking said medication. That didn't change my mind about it though, I just ate before I took it and then very little after that. I remember a number of occasions when friends forced me to eat, and I remember the somewhat panicked look on my roommate's face when she noticed that I was binging with the intention of purging. When I was 19, I only ate more than 1000 calories a day if someone caught me, or if the guy who was the object of my affection wanted to cook dinner for me, and if that happened I always had to eat less than them. Through all this, in moments of clarity I'd tell friends what to look for so someone could maybe stop me when I got out of control...some times I was too good at hiding it though. It never worked, maybe because I'd get scared of the vomiting or whatever else was happening and try to eat sensibly for a while, maybe because sometimes I'd get stressed and decide to eat everything instead, maybe because my body just refuses to be smaller than a size 12, I don't know and it doesn't matter. It was fucked up. And saying was isn't exactly correct.

The one constant through these food issues was that they would generally calm down if someone seemed to be physically interested in me. The problem of course was that I'd only trust someone's statements of physical attraction for so long...I only even trust people actually wanting to have sex with me for a while. When I was 20 I started dating someone who was wonderful for me, I got comfortable and I also think something weird happened in my digestive system, and by a year in to our relationship I was a good 80lbs heavier than I had been when it started. A bunch of things happened, a lot of death in my life, a serious bout of depression, and some issues of his as well...and somewhere in there I stopped believing that he thought I was sexy, and I stopped believing that I was. Needless to say, that fell apart for a variety of reasons, and true to form one of my first responses in my head was to try to find someone else who might be attracted to me and want to have sex with me. That was also kind of a disaster. And as obnoxious as it is, to me and everyone else as well I suppose, that's sort of how I've been living my life...looking for someone to validate me, someone to want to sleep with me so I can feel okay. And when people don't want to sleep with me, I'm deeply hurt, as if they've just confirmed every mean thing ever said to me and possibly a number of things that have only been said to me by myself.

How I got here is a whole other story, but the point is that this idea I have that someone else can fix me, or more accurately that if someone else's genitals are somehow stirred by me that means I'm ok, is profoundly fucked. What started this post is in part, a kind of messy alcohol fulled trip to "I hate myself" last night, and in part a post on reddit about why reddit hates fat chicks so much. Somewhere in that reddit post someone says that his problem with fat chicks is that his penis doesn't like them, and you know what, it's totally fine if his penis doesn't like me or any number of other fat women, as someone (possibly the fantastic Lesley of Fatshionista or Marianne of The Rotund) once wrote, I can't possibly sleep with everyone. But there's this idea that as a woman your whole point in life is to be considered sufficiently fuckable by men you may not have any desire to fuck anyway, and I think that's the heart of this problem. I also think that this is exceptionally difficult for me, because in my world I feel like I'm considered to be like, about sex, because I love to talk about sex, think about sex, and have sex...so, if I'm failing to be actually having sex I feel like I've somehow failed to be successfully myself. The fact however is that I am not about sex, well, not just about sex. There's a lot to me, and what I'm worth has nothing to do with anyone's genitals.

Wall of text said, I'm hoping to explore some thoughts I've been having about a wide variety of things, sex and otherwise. I have time now, so, hopefully posts will come with some regularity. I'm sorry if this post didn't make the most sense, I needed to get it out in to the world instead of thinking about it endlessly, so, here you have it.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Review: Natural Contours Superbe

I love vibrators, I love them a lot, with all of my heart and soul, and I'm not at all sure what I would do without them. When vibrator.com offered to let me review the Natural Contours Superbe, I was pretty much ecstatic. I've lusted after the pretty shapes and colors of all the Natural Contours toys for a while, and given that I'm super in love with clitoral stimulators in general, I figured this would be a wonderful choice for me. I wasn't wrong, and though it won't be replacing the Lelo Lily as my go-to toy, it's certainly a wonderful addition to my toy box.

To start out, I'm entirely in love with the sunny, lemony color of the toy. The day it came in the mail I was wearing a bright yellow shirt, and having yet another yellow thing in my life just made everything wonderful. Most of the toys I own are black or some shade of purple, and while those colors are all fine and dandy, it's really nice to see a different color when I look in my drawer for a toy. Another thing that was really awesome was that it came with batteries, something that in my experience most toys don't do, so I didn't have to run out to the store and get some or take them out of anything else. Plus, the batteries say "power for pleasure" on them, and how cute is that?

The shape of this toy was really what got me interested in trying it, it's curved so that it can kind of rest on your mons while the end stimulates the clitoris. I really enjoy this sort of shape, and it was really wonderful to have something a bit bigger to hold on to and move the toy around with, especially since holding on to small things (like the afore mentioned Lily) sometimes makes my hands go numb, which is really not desirable in a toy. Another wonderful thing is that it is light weight, so using it doesn't wear my arm out. Plus it's made of hard plastic, so it cleans up pretty easily and doesn't have pores in which bacteria can live, something I'm always in favor of. My only quibble with the design is the seam that goes around the entire toy, which though totally understandable from a construction standpoint, I feel takes away from the beautiful shape of the toy.

Now, down to what using it was actually like. By myself, I found the Superbe quite pleasant, and fully capable of getting me off. The shape and lightness of the toy made it easy to move around as I saw fit, and though I would personally prefer a slightly narrower point for more directed sensations, the toy delivered vibrations wonderfully. I was initially slightly confused by the controls since the first setting is the highest, but after a few uses that started to make sense since it was nice to be able to turn directly to off from the highest setting without having to go through all the others first. I did find it a little difficult to differentiate between the lower settings, and a couple of times accidentally turned the toy off while I was on my way to orgasm because my finger slipped. The controls however are pretty conveniently located and rather easy to use.

The motor in the Superbe must be different from the motors in toys I'm more used to, I'm used to a sort of rumbly feeling in my vibes - as if the motor is shaking the entire toy - this felt more like something was just shaking around inside. Power wise, on the highest setting the Superbe is similar to a not fully charged Lily, and slightly stronger than my old slimline style vibrator. It is however much louder, and when I was first using it I was convinced my roommates could hear it from the kitchen, though I didn't get any complaints so I may have been wrong about that.

As a solo toy, I thought the Superbe was just okay, but during intercourse with my (male) partner it was fantastic. Because of the curved shape, the Superbe is able to rest on my mons and vibrate on my clit in any position where I'm on my back. With the toy like this every thrust pushes the vibe down on my clit, and I'm able to move it around to get a better angle or the exact spot I want. This arrangement made it very easy for me to orgasm during intercourse, something that is otherwise a bit difficult for me and for that I have to give the Superbe some serious love. We have tried this set up with other toys, particularly with the Lily which shares a bit of the Superbe's shape, but never with this degree of success. It's almost like I was the Goldilocks of orgasms during intercourse and found that some toys are too big, some are too small, but this...this is just right.

Thanks so much vibrator.com

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sex Blogging Ethics: Consent

So, today I read this article at Jezebel which asks if sex blogging is consensual, particularly when you write about specific encounters you have had. Now my brain is stuck on this concept, and I'm realizing that I have a number of posts that are still hiding in editing because they are enough about someone that I worry that I may be breaking someone's trust to publish them. Everyone I'm currently at all involved with knows that I have this blog and that I write about whatever thoughts I'm having about sex, but I wonder if that's implicit consent to being written about even in the vaguest of ways. I have no real desire to write explicitly about my encounters, but sometimes things come up because of what happened during said encounter. Is it wrong to write about those things if someone could read what I've written and say "oh, hey, that's about me."? Or does that just come with the territory of messing around with me? If I don't ever explicitly identify anyone, is that okay? Or should I be asking if it's okay to write about anything that has to do with sexual experiences that involve someone else? On top of that, do I have to go back and ask everyone I've ever messed around with if it's okay to share some of the experiences I had with them? Even if it's been years and we only hooked up once?

What do you think, internet?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Why you cannot hide behind "free speech"

I appear to have a very hard time keeping my nose out of some of the more dramatic things that go on in the sex blogging community, I love to follow along as people better known than I tell others what they did wrong and so greatly admire what others in the community do to make it as safe of a space as possible and hold companies accountable for their actions. Mostly, I don't comment because mostly I'm on the outside of these things. There is one thing however, one thing that I am in fact late to the party on, that I don't think I can refrain from commenting on because a big part of it is something that bothers me on a very deep level.

I just read furry girl's post about why she dropped out of the Sex 2.0 convention this year, and as someone who is rather invested in sex worker's rights, I have to say that in the same position as she was in, I likely would have done the same thing. My major academic work so far has been related to sex work, and one of the things I believe sex workers need most is a place where they can come together and freely discuss their lives and their work. Perhaps if we had more of such spaces through out the world there would be a chance of properly unionizing sex workers (particularly in those countries where prostitution is legal), making it possible to more successfully agitate for what sex workers need, and giving sex workers more of a voice in the political process rather than letting other people decide what is best for them. But I digress. What actually bothered me most about this situation is the way in which Carnal Nation chose to defend themselves when they were called out for allowing someone to put sex workers in danger.

What they said amounts to "we have freedom of speech in this country" and that is basically my least favorite defense of anything. For one thing, freedom of speech does not in fact mean "freedom to be an unrepentant asshole" and it certainly doesn't mean freedom to say things that endanger other people's lives. You cannot yell fire in a crowded theater without getting in trouble, you cannot incite a riot without getting in trouble, you cannot speak in ways that incite people to kill other people without getting in trouble (well, at least in theory, in practice...well, we're a bit shaky on that) etc. etc. Now, the fact is that what was said by this creep of a person on Carnal Nation probably doesn't constitute speech that the government would decide is worthy of suppressing, but a lot of that depends on the state that the case would be looked at in, the specific judge, etc. etc. I can certainly see ways in which what was said (though I have not read it) could constitute hate speech, and I can see many ways in which it could count as potentially causing violence against another person.

Regardless of all of this, the fact that we have freedom of speech in this country still doesn't mean that anyone gets to say anything they want and we have to put up with it because of "free speech", idiots on the internet hide behind this all the time when you attempt to tell them that what they said was in some way morally reprehensible. Free speech, as a legal concept, mostly just means that the government cannot restrict your speech, and last I checked Carnal Nation is not the government and as such can actually restrict the speech that occurs on their website. While I understand and largely agree with their statement about how content hosted on other sites sometimes gets taken down simply because enough people say they don't like it, there is a really significant difference between someone saying something unpopular and someone saying something potentially dangerous. As a company that wishes to be viewed as sex-positive and/or sex worker friendly, allowing posts that are dangerous to sex workers to be posted on their website is frankly stupid. It shows a serious lack of commitment to the cause they claim to believe in, and simply saying that they think what this guy is posting is repugnant is not doing anywhere near enough.

Further, their comparison of what this guy is doing with sex workers to what Larry Flint has done with Republican politicians is largely idiotic. First of all, when one becomes a politician one knowingly enters the public eye and can reasonably suspect that their private business may well become public knowledge at some point. When one becomes a sex worker, one does not in the same instant decide to be in the public eye, and many sex workers work very hard to make sure that their involvement in sex work does not become a matter of public record. Second, sure, a Republican politician may lose his job if s/he is found to be cheating on his/her spouse, but in the current political climate that doesn't actually happen all that often and generally exposing them does little but to show their hypocrisy, if anything they leave office and find some other sort of work. Alternately, if an individual is found to be a sex worker s/he may not only lose her/his job but may not be able to find work after that, particularly because being involved in some types of sex work (prostitution specifically) can result in a criminal record that will follow that individual for the rest of her/his life. These things are not the same.

In summary:
1) That's not what freedom of speech means.
2) If Carnal Nation wants people to believe that they are sex-positive/a safe space for sex workers to have honest discussion this is exactly the opposite of what they should be doing.
3) This is nothing like people trying to catch Republican politicians doing things contrary to their stated morals.
4) That's really not what freedom of speech means. Stop hiding behind it.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Review: Lelo Gigi

I feel like some of my other toys, specifically the Beyond 3 which has become a staple in my masturbatory fun times and the Pure Wand which I've been in love with since day one, have spoiled me. As much as I love Lelo toys, the Gigi did not really live up to my expectations.

Don't get me wrong, it's a lovely toy, and I don't have some of the problems with it that I have with other penetrative toys. Specifically it's not big enough that I feel overwhelmed by the size when inserting it, which is great, but for some reason it just doesn't give me the kind of stimulation I get from other toys. I have some thoughts about why this might be, and am going to try some different things to see if I can't make Gigi work better for me. As it is, it's a toy that feels very nice, but I'll pick the Pure Wand or Beyond 3 over it any day.

One potential problem that I specifically have is that, being a big girl, I have a hard time moving Gigi around much at all when I'm laying down. The angle is awkward and a bit uncomfortable, so I can't really get in to it like I can with toys that have more external/handle bits. It's also possible that I just can't get the right angle with it, which could also be the problem. I'm going to see if I can try this toy with a partner to see if it might be better that way, I'm also considering trying it with my upper body more propped up to see if that gives me better access.

The other thing is that I'm not sure that, for me, vibrations are necessary/good for g-spot stimulation. I can see where it works really well for other people, and I do like some slight vibrations, but the top level on the Gigi seemed to be way too much, so I kept the vibrations at about half way the whole time. I'm going to try it without vibrations on at some point, but it seems silly to have a toy that vibrates and use it without vibrations when the same shape of toy exists in dildo form for less money. The pulsing patterns however were very nice.

I was also a bit turned off by the amount of noise it made. Mine at least makes a very rumbly sort of noise and is much louder than my other lelo toys. I have roommates, one of whom decided it was time to be in the kitchen right outside my room when I was using Gigi, and though I'm sure it wasn't a big deal to her, the fact that I could hear the toy over the porn in my headphones made me worried that she could hear, and possibly made the experience less awesome.

So, basically, the Gigi is a nice toy that just seems to miss the mark for me. If I find something that makes it work better for me, I'll write another post and add the link here, but for now, it's just not what I was hoping for.

Learning and Losing Control

So, a few months I found myself very suddenly single, after almost 2 years of a relationship that pretty much absorbed my whole life. This has been an interesting experience so far, and I've been learning a lot about who I am and all of that fun stuff, but one thing has come up that I'm interested in talking about right now.

As it happens, currently everyone I've ever had penis-in-vagina sex with was a virgin before me. Those people are also the only ones I've ever let do much in the way of playing with me. Everyone else has been something that consisted mostly if not entirely of me performing oral sex on them. By and large, even with the guys I've had standard heterosexual intercourse with, I tend to take care of my own orgasms. This is made even more interesting given that in my new found singleness I'm very interested in hooking up with new people...but I'm still not interested in letting other people do things to me. I'm not sure what exactly this is, but it's manifesting itself as a desire to stay away from anyone who is not experienced already.

To some extent, this is probably good for me. There's something kind of strange about only having sex with virgins, and some weird feelings that go along with knowing they go on to have sex with other people. I also imagine I could learn a few things about the whole business from someone who has experience with other people, and that would be good. The problem seems to be that I like sex/related things to progress at my pace, and there's a rhythm of foreplay that I'm still very used to and that has been present with pretty much everyone I've ever been with (except possibly the ones who got blowjobs when I was drunk). I feel like it's a lot easier to say "this is how this progresses" with someone who has never been there before, especially because it seems that it may be a lot easier to just lead someone new than it is to direct someone who already has expectations.

Expectations are sort of the problem. With someone who has previous experience, I don't have any idea what they expect or what women they've actually been with are like. I'm very clear on what I like, but with someone with any experience I get confused because I don't know how to express that without worrying about hurt feelings, bruised egos, or just generally making everything strange. I also suppose you should compromise so you can both do things you like, but I'm frequently not very comfortable being out of control. More accurately, feeling like I'm not in control makes me a little panicky, and I'm often only able to feel out of control around people I trust much more deeply than I trust, well, most people. Somewhere between other people's expectations, and my dislike of being out of control, sex with someone who isn't a virgin becomes a sort of difficult concept for me.

I can't do anything about what other people expect or will do, in sex or otherwise, all I can do is make it clear what I want/don't want and what I need physically, emotionally, or whatever. Another thing I can do, and have really been learning to do, is deal with the fact that I'm not always in control, and remember that losing control is actually very fun sometimes. For me it's sorta like a roller coaster, I'm scared to death at the beginning and want to hold on to the control of being attached to the chain, and then it lets go and as soon as my breath comes back, it's among the most wonderful feelings ever. I think most of us could stand to be a little out of control sometimes. Sure, be clear about what you do and don't want and expect, no, demand who you're with listens to you when you say no (or whatever your word of choice is)...but for the most part, enjoy the ride.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Review: Lelo Lily

After I got my first Lelo toy, the Elise, over a year ago I really began to lust over all of their other products. Rechargeable, made of nice materials, various interesting vibrating patterns, what's not to love? So, out of desire for something nice and compact, I got myself a Lily.

In the time since I bought it, Lily has become pretty much my bff. When I locked myself in the library while writing my final papers, lily came with me. When I go to my parents' house for a weekend, lily comes with me. For these situations, Lily is really perfect because it's so tiny and rather quiet (except that it also makes a kinda high pitched noise which is irritating, but I imagine that in a few years my hearing will go enough that I can't hear it anymore), but that's really not all lily is good for. Not at all.

Before I got Lily I had been having a very hard time giving up the first vibrator I ever owned, a really basic slimline that worked every single time, even though I had "better" toys. The thing is that, though I love a lot of my other toys, I like how vibrations transfer through hard plastic much better than I like how they transfer through any other materials, and I like something with a bit of a rounded point on it for clitoral stimulation, which most of my other toys don't have. Lily has all of these things that I loved about my first vibrator, plus a whole lot more. For one thing it's really easy to use in combination with a dildo, which I love doing. It's small and light which means I can actually do something with the dildo while getting vibrations on my clit. For another it's got all of these vibrating patterns that, for me, work really well as a way of getting myself worked up before going for the gold. I'm particularly in love with the last setting, which is like a roller coaster, going from the lowest vibration level to the highest and then back down again in pretty quick order, I don't think there's much else that works quite so well as build up for a big orgasm.

Basically, Lily is pretty much everything I wanted in a go-to vibrator, and it will likely be my masturbatory BFF for a long time.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Things that do not belong together. Or: The difference between reviewing and selling.

So, this post comes at the same time as some shiny new drama at EF, but it isn't actually directly related to them since I've never (and will never) work with them due to, well, all the drama.

What this post does have to do with is my experience selling sex toys, and the really obnoxious/bad/terrifying things that happen when corporate ethics are what corporate ethics are, namely, unethical.

You see, the place I used to work carried anal-eze, and jelly toys with pthalates in them (including some that seemed to leak chemicals so badly that they were wet when taken out of the packaging). This made me uncomfortable, especially since the company likes to bill its salespeople as knowledgeable and the company in general as sex-positive, body-positive etc. etc. I, a lowly sales person, didn't expect to be able to change what the company sold (though, it was a small enough company that I probably could have), but I had hopes that I could teach my co-workers about the dangers of some of these things so they could possibly give customers better advice, and at very least, I hoped to be able to avoid selling these things in general.

I at least managed to teach most of my co-workers what the hell a pthalate is, though "icky plasticizing agent" was a harder concept to grasp than I anticipated, and I did a decent job of not selling the products I had issues with, but that was mostly because most people coming in didn't know what they were looking for, or what their options were and would just let me lead them to something I thought would work for them. However, when people would specifically ask for some things, anal-eze in particular, I would try to nudge them in the direction of better options, like a very nice silicone lube we also carried, when they wanted "shrink creams" I'd try to point them in the direction of kegel balls, and when they went for the obnoxious, disturbingly cherry scented dong, I'd show them nicer, less scary things. When my boss heard me doing this, I got reprimanded for "scaring" the customers and not being "positive" enough. Yes, really, how dare I actually care about the health of my customers. The problem, it seemed, specifically with the anal-eze and "shrink creams" was that even though I would sell the significantly more expensive product, I could have sold both things.

And here is the problem of where the sale of sex toys and the running of a business collide. You see, we, like every business, had some sort of sales quota we were supposed to meet every week. This quota was in part just straight up monetary, but also partially how many items we sold, and if I had sold people both the anal-eze and the silicone lube, we would have done better on both counts. I understand, and to some extent accept, that businesses have to sell things, and that's fine, it's when companies want people to sell things for them but also want to act like these people have decently vast knowledge that I have trouble. Someone who is under pressure to make sales quotients or whatever is almost obligated to bend her standards, and the truth, in order to make sales. There's a reason we have things like CarFax for making big purchases, so the person doing the selling has a harder time lying to you in order to make their sale.

This is a large part of why I think sex toy reviews/reviewers are so important, and a big part of why I think there needs to be a decent degree of separation between reviewers and the companies they work for. If you can be punished, like I was, for being "negative" about a product that is dangerous or just plain sucks, then you can't tell the truth and you're not "reviewing" you're selling. We need to make the distinction between people who are supposed to be selling and people who are supposed to be reviewing.

Reviewers, in my mind, are more like sex educators. They give you the facts of their experience with and opinions of certain products, and the ones I follow most closely seem to be very interested in creating a truly sex-positive, friendly place where their readers can learn about what options are out there. Reviewers are like a good friend who takes you shopping and will actually tell you if what you're looking at buying is a piece of shit. They are, for lack of better analogy, the CarFax of the sex toy world. Of course some toys will work better for some people than for others, but in my mind, reviewing should be about being honest about your experience, not trying to play up how wonderful the toy is, even if it isn't that great.

For my part, I promise to always tell you where any toys I review come from, and to do my best to only work with companies that are okay if I say something bad about a product they sell. Additionally, now that I've found myself with more free time, I'm hoping to write some posts about sex toy basics - such as materials and styles - that can hopefully be of use to people looking to buy new toys/first toys/etc. If anyone reading has any questions I could address, or suggestions of any sort, please let me know.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Ophoria Beyond 3

I bought the Beyond 3 last summer because it was pretty and I was interested in trying another g-spot toy, since I love my pure wand so very much. However, as much as it was pretty and I wanted to use it and like it, the size of the bulbous end was intimidating, so outside of one rather painful try, it never got used. This beautiful toy sat in my drawer until recently when Epiphora posted a picture of the very moist results of her most recent experience with the Beyond 3. When she posted her review I knew I had to give it another go.

So, after finishing some homework I decided to reward myself with a little time with the Beyond 3, and boy am I glad I did. For one thing, the promise of trying a toy I was so excited about made for some very good positive motivation to get my work done. For another, it was fantastic. Yes, I was still intimidated by the size of the end of the toy (I am far from a size queen, in fact I general refer to myself as "tiny of vagina") but after getting sufficiently worked up with a combination of kink.com materials and the Lelo Lily, I lubed the Beyond 3 up and went for it.

Unlike with other g-spot toys I've used, there wasn't much positioning to do. Once inside, the Beyond 3 pushed up against my g-spot perfectly. Very little movement of the toy was necessary for proper stimulation, all I had to do was rock the toy back and forth slightly to get what I wanted. Additionally, tapping on the exposed part of the shaft sent wonderful vibrations down the shaft providing for an amazing feeling. Normally when I use g-spot toys I find my arm worn out in order to get off, but the Beyond 3 is light enough and easy enough to use that my arm was fine. Better yet, for the first time ever I got off without a vibe on my clit (though, once I was finished with my g-spot the lily came back out to finish the deal).

My Beyond 3 is a lovely purple color, and while I don't get the instasquirt results others have reported (yet!) it certainly gets the job done.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Identity

One of the things that's been bouncing around my head a lot lately is the idea of Identity. More specifically, I've been thinking about the identities I have and what it means for me or anyone at all to have an identity.

I'm a Political Scientist by training (well, I'm still training, but all the same) and a Sociologist in my head, so to me identity is the way individuals label themselves as part of specific groups. Identity tells us what roles we're supposed to fill in our day to day life and they tell other people what to expect from us. In politics, identity seems to very heavily influence how we vote and what we believe. Identity can be so strong that people who identify with one party will continue to vote for that party even when it stops reflecting their best interests. Identity can also help politicians win voters by performing the identity of those whose votes they hope to influence, Republicans seem exceptionally good at this. George W. Bush gained popularity among many people in this country by identifying himself as a middle class mid-westerner, despite the fact that his family is very wealthy and from New England. People who identify as middle-class and from the mid-west (that's a lot of people, including many people who are actually decently wealthy and who don't actually live in the mid-west) saw that, and believed they knew something about the person Bush was based on what they assume about people who have that identity, people like them.

The role of identity in politics however is not what I mean to talk about right now.

What I want to talk about is what it means to have an identity, and what we do when we have an identity but don't fit what people expect of that identity.

I've been thinking about this since one day in a class on the Sociology of Sexuality we were discussing sexual subcultures and I realized that I belonged to all of the sexual subcultures listed in some way. That I identified with the label given to that sub culture, and that when we were talking about these sexual subcultures in the abstract we were talking about me, and lots of people who aren't me. Then, yesterday I read Essin-Em's post on Femme identity and the topic was even more ingrained in my thoughts. So, I discussed the whole thing with a few people, and after some kind of confusing conversations I think I have some thoughts.

On one side, identities are very important. For one thing, categorizing things helps us understand the world. But much more importantly having identities allows those of us who don't have the privilege of being default people to feel like we have a place. It's much more comfortable to be able to tell yourself that you're part of a group than it is to simply realize that you're not part of the dominant group.

Being able to name the things I am has always been very important to me. I was rather sheltered in my youth, so my world was totally rocked when my best friend informed me, in a very matter-of-fact way, that one of her friends at school was bisexual. I didn't even know that that was a thing, and it made me so excited to know that it wasn't just me who was attracted to boys and attracted to girls. Since then my sexual identity has progressed in to something a bit more complicated, but it remains important to me to know that there are other people like me.

Having an identity is, to me at least, having a place. And having words for what I am makes me feel less alone. However, it's important to realize that we still have identities that we don't necessarily embrace in the same way. I'm white, this is an identity I have, but because the rest of the culture expects and privileges whiteness, if I'm not paying attention it's very easy to not think about that identity. It isn't important to me, but I can't ignore the fact that the rest of the world sees that identity and treats me differently because of it. In fact, since I have a boyfriend I generally read as straight and as such enjoy much of straight privilege but since I embrace my not-straight identity it makes me uncomfortable when people assume that I'm straight. Whiteness however is just there. I think to some extent this is why people who are closer to the default person can have a hard time understanding why identity is important, but the fact that society expects something else is what's important about having identities.

On the other hand, identities can be dangerous. Trying to define what it means to have a specific identity for anyone but yourself lends itself to creating very specific boxes that just continue to leave other people out. Also, identifying as certain things and displaying that identity can cause people to think things that are very untrue about you. Of course, we can fight negative stereotypes, but what do we do when other people who share our identity decide that people who are like us can't be people like them? What do we do when people assume having one identity means you can't have another? I'm not really sure, but I think it's something to keep in mind. Identities are limiting if we use them as just a different paradigm to tell us what we have to be.

There's a lot more to say in here, but I think this is enough for now. Expect more later.

Welcome

So, I've been kicking a lot of things around in my head lately and most of the time there's no way to get them out. I've been meaning to do this blogging thing for quite a while and blogging, it seems to me, is a good way to get all of these things out of my head. So, here we go.

First things first. This blog is going to be largely about sex and politics. Those are broad and often controversial topics. I reserve the right to delete comments as I see fit and change the "comments policy" as it were as the blog develops. Another topic that will come up frequently will be fat, in the Fat Acceptance way. I write about the things I am, not necessarily about my life, but the stuff I'm drawn to is the stuff that affects me. Who I am is a sexual, political, fat girl who has no intention of shutting up. Deal with it, or stop reading.