website statistics

Sex Toys

V-Card Diaries: The Scarlett Letter "How do I get it to fit?!? because believe me I've tried artificially and I've tried relaxing but to no avail"

Writing from: Scotland

Age: 15 years old

How I define virginity: (According to google) "the state of never having had sexual intercourse" Whether that's true to me or not I have yet to decide. 

I'm a 15 y/o cis, straight, female contemplating whether I should partake in my sexual debut. Me and this guy aren't dating but we have in the past and I believe he will respect me as I will him in the aftermath and in my personal opinion that and communication are the two most important things when concerning any sexual experience.

Its due to happen tomorrow at his house and I think I'm ready. I never have put that much stigma on anything like that as I grew up with a lot of friends who were more "inclined" than I.  So I never put as much pressure on keeping my virginity but as any young socially conditioned person I still have a little doubt.

Plus he is quite well endowed and I (through personal exploration) am extremely tight, I've done so much research into it but I feel like everyones keeping a secret that I don't get to know about. How do I get it to fit?!? because believe me I've tried artificially and I've tried relaxing but to no avail.

Note: If anyone is concerned about this same issue, check out Ask Trixie: "I'm really tight down there and I'm nervous about pain and blood" for some info and tips. 

If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here. Find The V-Card Diaries here on most Wednesdays.

V-Card Diaries: Lucy "Even though I've been masturbating since my early teens, I've never actually orgasmed. Am I missing much?"

Writing from: The USA

Age: Late teens

How I define Virginity: Never engaging in physically intimate and consensual contact with a trusted individual(s)

My definition of virginity has changed so much recently. I used to think a person could do everything but PiV and still consider themselves virgins, but that's kind of changing.

I'm 19, 86%-hetero-female, and I've been with my (first) boyfriend for almost 2 months. I never dated in High School and honestly didn't expect to find someone even here at college. Although I consider myself an outgoing person and I've reached bro-status with many of my guy friends, I've always been awkward around/about boys I like.

My boyfriend was my first kiss and he is a really great guy. He's had a little more relationship experience than me, but we're both still "virgins" (in the widely accepted penis-in-vagina sense of the word). Recently we've done more hands stuff and its been great. We're both inexperienced, but learning together. I've gotten him off a few times now; however, he's "failed" to do the same. Even though I've been masturbating since my early teens, I've never actually orgasmed. Am I missing much? Am I abnormal for not "getting there?" I don't really care if I don't get there, but should I?

Note from Trixie: One of the main reasons people have any kind of sex is because it gives them pleasure–and orgasm is certainly high on the list of pleasurable sensations. So, yes, you might be missing much if you've never orgasmed! If you're near a lady-friendly sex shop like Good Vibrations, Babeland or Early To Bed, we'd suggest you drop by and talk to them about a toy or technique that might help, either for you to try alone or with your boyfriend. I realize that may be mortifyingly embarrassing, but they are orgasm professionals and would love to help : ) There are also lots of websites that can help, like Betty Dodson, the queen of masturbation. Good luck!

If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here. Find The V-Card Diaries here on most Wednesdays.

Just The Tip: Your Lady Viagra Roundup

1950s advertisement for a Belgian cigarette. Also, I think a much better name for this new drug.

Have you heard about this thing they're calling the Female Viagra? Yeah, me too. The drug Flibanserin (sold as Addyi) was just approved by the FDA to treat women for the somewhat sketchy 'disease' of hypoactive sexual desire disorder, described as a sudden loss of libido [Edited to add that loss of libido is a very real thing that can happen to both men and women. However, this condition was removed from the DSM a few years ago and is not longer considered a disorder. Homosexuality used to be in the DSM as well.] 

There's been a lot of back and forth about its effectiveness (minimal), the way it works (nothing like Viagra which pumps penises full of blood, as opposed to working on the brain), and the PR campaign that got it approved after multiple attempts (killer, unfortunately). 

I've been skeptical of this drug ever since I first heard about it from the The New View Campaign and the documentary Orgasm, Inc, both of which address the medicalization of female sexuality. Here are some reasons why you might be skeptical as well. 

We live in a society that continues to judge a woman both for being too sexual and not sexual enough, that defines good sex as whatever pleases a woman's male partner, and only counts vaginal orgasms through intercourse as 'real' orgasms (thanks, Dr. Freud). Also, sex is complicated and talking about it can be difficult, so taking a little pill every day may feel a lot less messy.

There's been a lot written this week, so I've compiled some of the most interesting writing about this Lady Viagra phenomenon, as well some thoughts on women and desire. Let me know what you think!
 

First, me! Sady Doyle's Guardian article gave me the last word on the meaning of 'normal' when we talk about sex:

“When it comes to sex, there is no ‘normal. There’s no right way to have sex for the first time, no timetable for sexual experiences, no perfect amount of sex to have, and no requirement to even have sex at all. Saying ‘normal’ exists, and ‘normal’ is a moving target depending on who you ask, means there’s something wrong with anyone who doesn’t conform. Meaning, all of us.” 
 

Speaking of 'normal,' FiveThirtyEight suggests that accurate statistics might help more than drugs:

"Inaccurate perceptions about what counts as normal sexuality are widespread. In sociologist Michael Kimmel’s book “Guyland: The Perilous World in Which Boys Become Men,” he found that male college students assumed about 80 percent of their classmates had sex on any given weekend. The real number was closer to 5 percent to 10 percent. The result is a reverse Lake Wobegon effect: Everyone is below “normal.” Rachel Hills, author of “The Sex Myth: The Gap Between Our Fantasies and Reality,” told me that the women she interviewed “have internalized that sex should happen two to three times a week.” In reality, according to the 2010 National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, less than half of men and women 18 to 49 in partnered relationships report having sex at least that often."
 

Emily Nagoski writes in The Medium about the brilliant concept of responsive desire and why pleasure (and not craving) should be Queen:

"The key to assessing your own sexual wellbeing is not how much you want sex, but how much you like the sex you are having. I’m not sure how we got to a place, culturally, where we came to value the craving for sex so much higher than the enjoyment of sex  [...] But for me what matters most is that you feel free to let go of the idea that there is a certain amount of “wanting” you’re supposed to be experiencing or else you’re “broken,” and embrace instead the idea that if you’re having fun a the party, you are doing it right."
 

Here's Azeen Ghorayshi at Buzzfeed on how Even The Score's PR machine co-opted feminist messages to get the drug approved:

"With this multipronged attack, the group has managed to spin the issue of the drug’s approval not in terms of efficacy or side effects (which are not insignificant), but in terms of women’s rights. The group’s strongest assertion, that men have 26 drugs approved to treat sexual dysfunction while women had none, presented a stirring call to arms to “even the score. Trouble is, that figure is patently untrue. As the FDA and many experts on the pharmaceutical industry have pointed out, no drugs are currently on the market to treat low libido in men. (Viagra doesn’t treat sexual desire, but rather a man’s physiological arousal.)"
 

Lux Alptraum writes in The Motherboard about the Big Business of arousal, and the ways that new products promote secrecy over communication.

"Which is, ultimately, the bitter irony of both flibanserin and Fiera. The products may package themselves in feminist language about empowerment and sexual pleasure, but their business models seem to rely on sexual ignorance, stigma, and a population of women too afraid to actually explore the wealth of other options that might remedy their woes. Those options come at a much cheaper price point than the Fiera, and with far fewer side effects than flibanserin."


And finally, it looks like whether the drug works or not, the original owners of Sprout Pharmaceuticals are getting the last laugh (and a cool $1 billion).

I Watched 50 Shades of Grey So You Don't Have To

I saw 50 Shades of Grey at a free preview screening Tuesday night, several days before its day-before-Valentine's-Day premiere, and I wish I'd been given a safe word to make the movie stop. Because 50 Shades of Grey is bad. Not 'so bad it's good,' but just bad. And it's boring. Especially the sex. I mean, if you thought the books were totally hot and you'd love nothing more than to watch it all play out on screen, have at it. Chacun à son Grey, and all that. But me, I'm a hater. And haters gonna hate.

Carly, my date and bartender for the evening, is also a hater. We laughed (and cringed and groaned) through the entire film, and then for a long time afterwards, and not just because Carly smuggled a flask of excellent whiskey into the theater.

Here's the tl;dr analysis of the film, in which you get three fairy tales for the price of one: Sleeping Beauty and the Beast with a side order of Cinderella.

a) Monster awakens young woman's sexuality so she can fix him

b) This is because a woman can't be sexual on her own but instead requires it unleashed within her by the application of a penis to her vagina, and a silk necktie about the wrists.

c) It's the young woman's job to put up with the monster's abuse in order to change him

d) Because monsters make exemplary boyfriends if they are rich enough and they take you on romantic helicopter rides over Seattle.

I never read EL James' trilogy, which started out as Twilight fan fic, but I had a pretty good idea of what to expect going in given the nonstop publicity and analysis since the first one came out. Anastasia Steele, an awkward innocent is sent to interview the fabulously wealthy Christian Grey at his minimalist-designed and boring offices. She arrives in a frumpy shirt and blue sweater combo, and after she's led into Grey's office by a succession of ex Robert Palmer backup models, Grey holds forth on her sweater and the history of Cerulean Blue. Actually, no it doesn't happen like that at all, but IF ONLY the Dom was played by Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada, what a superior film this would have been! Unfortunately we're stuck with Jamie Dornan, who plays a cyborg with an excellent fitness regimen.

So, one thing leads to another and after buying her a new computer, a new car and (thankfully) new clothes, Grey presents her with a sex contract (as wealthy and powerful businessmen do) and then tells her to look up 'submission' on the internet. Some Capitalist Foreplay ensues as they negotiate the terms of the contract, but it's clear that Ana has not done much of her homework when she asks Grey “What's a butt plug?' Honey. Do you know what a butt is? Do you know what a plug is. OK, do the math.

The contract turns out to be a irrelevant because they go at it anyway, unprotected by the law or a thin layer of latex. You see, he's found out she's never had The Sex and wastes no time doing his manly duty of de-virginizing her in the most boring and, frankly, depressing way possible. Save for a fleeting kiss below the navel, there's no foreplay, no condoms, no lube, no attending to her needs, before doing it in the Missionary position for a minute or two. Her roommate even tells her she looks 'different' when she comes home. It makes Red Shoe Diaries look edgy and sophisticated.

And it's not just that this sex is incredibly boring, it's enraging. If you do the kind of work I do, you're extra sensitive about how female sexuality is depicted onscreen. This film pushes a totally false myth of what 'romantic' sex is supposed to look like to the gazillions of people who have no doubt already bought tickets to see it. It also reinforces the idea that women are supposed to do whatever they can to please (and fix) their men, whether they want to or not, because that's what female sexuality is all about. If you're lucky he might please you back, but it's not actually part of the contract. As someone who hears from young people all the time, it's depressing to read the emails and answer the questions they ask about how confused and ashamed they are because their sex lives don't look like what's on screen (or if it does, they can't understand why it isn't making them happy)

On the bright side, there were a few things, okay two things, that I liked about the film.

First, Dakota Johnson (who plays Ana) was really, really funny in the comedic scenes. There are moments in the film where she seems as annoyed/repulsed/bored by this dude as we are. I think someone should cast her in an intentionally comedic film stat, because she'd be great. Jamie Dornan should really stick to serial killer roles–and his own accent. I wouldn't be averse (as a friend of mine suggested) to having Gillian Anderson's The Fall character tie him up to work out their issues together.

Second, I loved the look of the 'Playroom,' Grey's tasteful den of  domination, which must have been a production designer's dream come true. It's what I think Williams Sonoma (or maybe Restoration Hardware) would look like if they sold fetish gear. Racks and racks of gleaming metal and leather devices, perfectly displayed and lit. I would snap up those leather handcuffs like they were large pastry cream whisks–and don't even get me started on the gorgeous knots of red rope.

As far as the actual BDSM stuff goes, and considering it was all most people are talking about anyway, there just isn't that much to write home about. Aside from the fact that the Dom/Sub relationship was totally inaccurate according to just about everyone in the the actual community, it was...boring. And cheesy. I kid you not, he brushed her thigh with a peacock feather while light jazz played on the soundtrack. And the one scene that was meant to represent the most intense BDSM play (and the kind of thing Grey told Ana would help 'fix' him) looked a lot more like domestic violence to me. Dude, she's got to be into it! Otherwise you're just beating her up.

If 50 Shades was written as a creepy thriller, with this same wealthy controlling weirdo stalking and manipulating an impressionable young woman, it would have made more sense. Or even as a satire of romance films. But as a sexy love story? Painful.

Please don't spend any of your hard-earned money on this film. We sure didn't. The creators are rich enough already, and there are other mainstream-ish films about BDSM out there with a lot more wit, heat and joy. Try Secretary with Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Spader, or the documentary Sick by one of my favorite filmmakers Kirby Dick. They're also a bit hard to watch at times, but for the right reasons.

Update: For an extra treat, listen to Jaclyn Friedman interview author Jenny Trout about the trilogy, and then, read her brilliant recaps. If you do want to spend money on something 50-Shades-related, donate to one of the groups on Jenny's link of DV and anti-rape orgs.

V-Card Diaries: Christine "My social anxiety kept me from forming intimate sexual relationships."

Today we're highlighting Christine in Wisconsin, who feels she'll be single for a long while and hopes to experience a fulfilling sexuality even without a partner. If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here. A little about myself:

I'm a 29-year-old female living in Wisconsin. I'm a librarian.

How I define virginity:

I don't like the word "virginity" or all that it entails. I think it's an outmoded term. I like what Betty Dodson has to say on the matter, that if you've experienced orgasm or any kind of sex (including masturbation), you are not a virgin. By this standard, I have not been a virgin for quite some time. I unfortunately also operate under more conventional definitions of virginity, which is not having experienced male-female vaginal penetration. I have not done that. And moreover, I consider myself a virgin because there are so many levels of sexual and romantic contact that I have not experienced.

Here's my story: 

I grew up in a home where my parents required all my emotional resources and there wasn’t much space for me to seek relationships outside the family. I developed social anxiety over the years and got used to not spending much time with peers. I’m finally free of this dynamic and it is taking time and considerable effort to redirect my energies to creating fulfilling relationships.

I am a very sexual person who enjoys masturbating frequently and sometimes uses books, porn, and toys. For about two years, I had extremely strong sexual desire that led me to engaging in online sex (chatting, phone sex, exchanging photos) several times a day. I will probably be single for a long while and my hope is to experience my sexuality as fulfilling and real even without a partner.

I’ve been on a total of four dates, none leading to a second date or a relationship. At the end of one date, I held hands with him and we kissed and it was very nice. That is the extent of my in-person sexual contact with a man.

I know that I want to eventually get married and have children and that all of this requires sex and intimacy. I believe that I am capable of it but I just need to keep building my life and working towards these relationships. I feel deep shame about my lack of experience, but I also understand the reasons why and I am working to create a more engaged relational life.

V-Card Diaries: Sammie "I haven't had sex because any man who has ever touched me intimately has hurt me"

Today we're highlighting Sammie in New England who is, for the time being, perfectly happy with her vibrator and erotica. If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here. A little about myself:

I'm a 31-year-old female from California living in New England

How I define virginity:

I suppose I am technically a virgin because I have never had sex with another person. Vibrators/dildos don't count huh?

Here's my story:

I was molested, and nearly raped, when I was 12 and then was sexually assaulted again when I was in college. I was an early bloomer and because of that I was sexualized by men at a very very young age (by the time I was 10 years old I was getting propositioned on the street by men walking by because I looked more like I was 17). It has always made me extremely uncomfortable with my body, and then my past sexual assaults have increased that discomfort.

I know men appreciate my body and find it desirable but I just don't see why. I actually wish I was gay, or asexual, because I trust women more than men, but I just don't find women desirable. I have pushed away any, and all, physical relationships because of my past experiences and have even lied about my virginity to my best friends. Its just easier to pretend that I have had sex then it is to explain to your girlfriends that you haven't had sex because any man who has ever touched you intimately has hurt you. Plus at my age, people assume there is something seriously wrong with you if you aren't having sex all the time.

I hope to someday meet someone that I can feel comfortable enough with to have sex and build a trusting relationship with, but for the time being I am perfectly happy with my vibrator and erotica.

Just The Tip: Virginity In The News with Jane The Virgin, The Institute of Sexology, Indonesian 'virginity' testing, victorian sex myths that won't go away, and more...

Your weekly roundup of virginity-related stories in your world. Want to hear about them right away? Follow us on Facebook where we post daily. Got a story for us to post? Let us know!  

V-Card and Feminist Ryan Gosling

So honored to have our V-Card sharing space with Feminist Ryan Gosling at Sewanee University of the South after my "How To Lose Your Virginity Myths" lecture at the Bairnwick Women's Center Pinnacle Luncheon. Want me to come to your school? More info here.

 

***

 

"There are no “but”s when it comes to women’s humanity. Not “but” you’re lonely, not “but” you’re horny, not “but” you’re nice, not “but” that’s how your grandparents met, not “but” she was naked in your bed. Women are people, and women just get to exist and set boundaries and say no. Always. Any time. Just like you."

Lindy West's essay for the Daily Dot is so powerful in the way it elegantly connects the dots between online harassment, rape culture, pick-up artists, and the way women are socialized to be 'kind' and 'receptive.' It's a must-read.

 

***

 

Among the many reasons to watch the new CW show Jane The Virgin (aside from the amazing Gina Rodriguez) is the show's sex positive and pro-choice messages, which Cosmo points out is a big step forward for the Latina community.

"A TV show can't change everything about how the Latino community talks about sex and reproductive rights, but it's heartening to see one that reflects the change that's already happening. And while Jane's decision may ultimately not have been your decision, it's a decision she was able to make — not her mother's, not her grandmother's, not her boyfriend's. The show hasn't trivialized or moralized abortion talk; it's normalized it."

I especially love the show for the way it portrays real-life abstinence choices, freely made with actual information, as well as the way it confounds the stereotypes around 'older' virginity. OK, at 23, Jane isn't at all old, but you all are sending me older virgin emails at 19. So. Also, I have a special crush on vain but hilarious Telenovela star Rogelio De La Vega played by Jaime Camil. If you haven't seen it yet, you can watch it here for free!

 

***

 

Turkish textbooks remove diagrams of genitals

Turkish news outlet The Hurriyet Daily News reports that some Turkish schoolbooks have replaced diagrams of genitalia with cute photos of mothers and baby animals. While pictures of baby polar bears definitely help SEO, they have no place in science books. It's just another disturbing instance of Turkey's increasing conservatism under Erdogan, but keep in mind these censored Turkish sex ed texts are not unlike US abstinence programs which erase information about contraception and gay people–when they're not vilifying them, that is. I hope they still have Our Bodies, Ourselves.

 

***

 

The Telegraph reports that women who are trying to join Indonesia's police force are routinely subjected to 'virginity' testing. The women report that

“My group of about 20 girls was asked to enter the hall and was asked to take off our clothes, including our bras and underpants,” a 19-year-old woman told the organisation. “It was humiliating. Only those who had menstruation can keep [wearing] underpants… A female doctor did the virginity test ... the 'two-finger' test."

The story makes a point of asking what virginity has to do with good police work, but fails to mention that any and all so-called virginity tests don't test anything except how retrograde and ignorant the testers are. Aside from that, these tests were supposed to be abolished in Indonesia in 2010–and they are a violations of human rights.

 

***

 

The UK's Wellcome Collection is doing a year-old exhibit on sexuality called “The Institute of Sexology”, which they describe as:

"a candid exploration of the most publicly discussed of private acts. Undress your mind and join us to investigate human sexuality at 'The Institute', the first of our longer exhibitions. Featuring over 200 objects spanning art, rare archival material, erotica, film and photography, this is the first UK exhibition to bring together the pioneers of the study of sex."

I love their NSFW video, which makes the study of sex look classy and illicit at the same time, with scads of naked bodies and naughty words. Totally worth the trip to London, in my opinion!

 

***

 

We got vibrators

From Autostraddle's Rebel Girl series, 5 Bad Theories on Gender and Sex From Way Back When That Still Impact us Today, from with the totally bogus universal theory of gender difference, making European women's bodies the 'normal,' and the ongoing pathologization (is that a word?) of female sexuality.

"The American Psychiatric Association didn’t drop the term hysteria until the 1950s, and hysterical neurosis remained there into 1980. The impacts of the mass misdiagnosis are far-reaching: women today are still labeled “crazy,” and it’s a seemingly natural part of our gender roles."

On the plus side, we got vibrators.

 

Painful first intercourse is not a given, it's a sign that something is wrong

TrainVirginity
TrainVirginity

 

We hear a lot from people terrified that first intercourse is going to be incredibly painful, and the image above has come up over and over again on virginity tweets (anyone know where it's from?).

That might be because sometimes first intercourse can be painful, but more likely because that idea has been reinforced in our culture and there's not nearly enough conversation about what people with vaginas (and their partners) can do to lessen or eliminate the pain.

Because, guess what, it doesn't necessarily have to hurt! It's just that most people are scared, or tense, or unprepared, or don't take generous amounts of time to relax the pelvic muscles through other kinds of sexual activity. And if it does really hurt, they might have a physical problem that needs to be addressed by a gynecologist. Either way, living with pain is not the answer.

So I was really happy that two stories crossed my radar recently about intercourse and pain:

The first story is from a woman who was diagnosed with vaginismus, a condition that makes intercourse painful or often impossible (you can find other stories about it on our blog herehere, here and here).

It broke up her marriage and caused her a lot of physical and emotional pain, but in this excerpt from  xoJane's It Happened To Me: My Husband Divorced Me After Four Years Because I Was Still A Virgin, she describes how she dealt with it and eventually overcame it.

"I kept at it with the dilators, more determined than ever. I did kegels. I did meditation. I did everything. About a year after the divorce was final, I had sex for the first time. I had been dating a wonderful guy...with a smaller than average penis. I didn’t tell him I was a virgin, but I did tell him sex was difficult for me sometimes.

One night after several bottles of red wine and a lot of lube, it happened. In the two years since that first time, I’ve had sex on a regular basis. I fell in love with the guy with a below average penis and married him three-and-a-half months ago. He loves me for me. It still hurts at the beginning of sex almost every time. We still have to use lube almost every time. But, I guess we are doing it right because I’m five months pregnant."

The second story is from our friend Sa Belle Femme, about how she and her husband-to-be prepared for intercourse without pain. Here's an excerpt from  Virgin Myths: Popping Her Cherry:

"If I hadn't spent so much time reading up on virginity and first-time coitus, I would have just accepted the cultural narrative that my wedding day sex would be painful. Instead, I was able to prepare for the first time Beau and I had coitus, to guarantee that our married sex would be awesome (or at least pain-free) the first time. Long story short, we used lots of lube, and I was on top so I could control both the angle and speed of entry."

She'll be writing in detail about her methods on her blog, including some info about a set of nifty dilators that worked wonders. They also talk about it in our film How To Lose Your Virginity.

V-Card Diaries: Cherry-Jill "I asked my ObGyn to break my hymen for me so I would technically not be a virgin."

Today we're highlighting 36-year-old Cherry-Jill in Capetown, South Africa who whose experienced kissing, dry humping, and sexting, but nothing else. If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here. A little about myself:

I'm a 36-year-old bi caucasian female from Cape Town, South Africa, and I'm a self-employed Graphic Designer.

How I define virginity:

I define it by having sex - but not necessarily with the opposite sex. I have had no sexual experiences other than kissing, 'dry-humping' and sexting (in my youth mainly).

Here's my story:

Due to various emotional baggage, namely my father having an affair when I was 18 and my parents' divorce, I find myself still a virgin at 36. I'm attractive and have had a lot of interest over the years, but now it has become an issue... and the longer I leave it the worse it gets.

I have considered losing my virginity with another woman, as it may be gentler and somehow easier, less risk of getting hurt?

I have considered hiring a male escort just to get it done, or breaking my hymen myself with a vibrator - to technically not be a virgin. I even asked my OBGYN to do it, she said no.

I wouldn't want my partner to know I was a virgin. Commitment scares me, but rejection even more so. I'd like my first time not to happen in my first serious relationship - too much pressure and risk of getting hurt.

You have one more week to celebrate National Masturbation Month!

In honor of National Masturbation Month, we're reposting this essay by our former intern Judy, which originally ran May 21, 2013. And you really can't get too much Egon Schiele in your diet! "Wally in Red Blouse With Raised Knees" by Egon Schiele

Judy P. is an art history student at Brown University who is interested in the intersections of art, politics, race, class, and gender. She is proud to be a woman, though she thinks it’s not always easy to be one. Check out her other posts here.

May is National Masturbation Month!

In celebration, Philadelphia's sex-positive groups, ScrewSmart and GALEI's (The Gay and Lesbian Latino AIDS Education Initiative) Pleasure Rush, have been hosting a “Masturbate-A-Thon” all month ending on May 27th. For this fundraising project, participants are asking sponsors to fund every hour spent, ahem, intimately with themselves. The proceeds will go toward ScrewSmart's and Pleasure Rush's efforts to support sex-positive and pleasure-based education and prevention, and to "reduce shame and stigma around sexuality, promote sexual health, [and] create a community dialogue around the importance of pleasure."

I know that this can be an embarrassing or uncomfortable taboo topic, but that's what this event is about. GALEI's executive director Elica Gonzalez says: “We are hoping that by having folks participate in the Masturbate-a-Thon, that they will help to destigmatize the behavior – and reduce stress and get a glowing complexion all the while.”

Masturbation was a touchy (no pun intended) subject growing up. I discovered the sensations of self-pleasure pretty early, I'd say when I was 6 or so. I was surprised to learn that many of my friends started masturbating in early childhood as well, which goes to show that children can be sexual beings.

Coming from a religious background, however, I always felt naughty and guilty every time I did the deed. I'd imagine God looking down on me, shaking his head in disappointment, and crossing my name off of his “Heaven-bound” list. I'd even picture my dead grandparents observing me from above (creepy), and I thought I was somehow letting them down by getting to know the ins and outs of my vagina when I was taught it should be locked up and ignored forever, or at least until I got married and had to make mini-mes.

I asked my friends about their experiences with masturbation, and they shared a few similar initial feelings of shame and guilt:

"I would look at myself in the mirror and cry and then get down and pray."

"I always felt dirty after ejaculation."

Even though uncomfortable thoughts and images plagued my mind, I still continued to masturbate regularly. I guess nothing quite beat the thrill of an orgasm, even if it meant disobeying the Big Bearded Man-in-the-Sky. When I grew out of my religious phase, I would even masturbate openly in the presence of our family's austere, wooden cross in my living room, mostly because it was impossible to avoid (the living room was my favorite spot because that's where we kept our vibrating handheld massager. TMI? Sorry!). I also did it because I had the liberating feeling that I could; I wasn't scared or full of shame and repentance anymore.

Masturbation is the only form of sexual pleasure I have at the moment. I will definitely climax from self-play, whereas partner sex usually yields not much pleasure and no orgasm. Now I know this isn't the case for everyone (partner sex can be amazing! I'm waiting for that day, fingers crossed), but I know many women who don't come from partner sex at all. Many women (and men) don't even know much about the anatomy of the female body, i.e. the treasure den of the clitoris. As a friend of mine put it, “Masturbating teaches you what you like and how you like to be touched. I believe if you can't learn to let go and make yourself come, no one can.” Just take a hint from Betty Dodson, the queen of self-love/ pleasure [video link].

Sometimes, masturbating still makes me feel a little weird, like I'm not ready to announce myself as a sexual adult yet. That's a part of my sexuality too, those religious, social, and cultural influences that have shaped (or stunted) my sexual growth today. It's always going to be a process for me; getting over the complications of sex, feeling comfortable in my body, being okay with feeling sexy, and discovering all the movements/ rhythms that make my body pulsate, twist, and shout.

You still have a little over a week until the end of May to take part in Masturbation Month, so get masturbating! And, of course, the fun doesn't stop there.

So what's your relationship with masturbation, especially for those of you who don't have sex or have never had sex? Do you remember your first time? What are your favorite techniques? How often do you masturbate? How does masturbation play into your sexuality/sex life? What do you think about when you're masturbating? Do you think at all? Why do you masturbate? etc. Share in the “Comments” section below.

 

V-Card Diaries: Sodi "I've only been sexually active with girls, but with all of them I was the boy."

Today we're highlighting Sodi in Melbourne, Australia. Although she's been sexually active since she was 13, her current girlfriend was the first one to touch her. If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here. A little about myself:

I am a full out 24-year-old lesbian. I am from Mexico but I live  in Melbourne, Australia since 3 years ago. I have a girlfriend who I've been with for the past 2 years and 5 months, and she is the one I lost my V with.

How I define virginity:

My V, I suppose I define it as that special thing that I only gave to my special girl. It is not something physical(hymen). I think it is more emotional because I am a lesbian, so I think we don't lose out V in the same way a straight girl does.

Here's my story:

I've been with my girl for 2 and a half years and when we started dating she knew she wasn't the first one. I have been sexually active since I was 13, only with girls! But with all of them I was the boy, because all of them were straight girls so I used to fuck them and I used a strap on, so none of them ever touched me.

I wasn't interested in that because I felt weird if any of them tried to do it. I wasn't comfortable with my body at that point (I guess), but then I met this amazing girl which is nothing like my ex's, and she's a lesbian as well. It was the second time we were together and she was going on holiday the next day, so we were in her college room having fun, I was doing my thing, you know (making her see stars), what I normally do and I love it.

I can say I had an orgasm while eating her out, but when she finished I was like "OK, let's go to bed", and she was like "No, no, it is my turn" and I freaked out and I told her that no one has ever done that to me! She was surprised and told me to relax. " I am not going to hurt you," those where her words. So I lay down and she literally did everything to me, I was just following the orders she gave me. I never felt like that before. Not even 10 min after we finished, we realized she needed to get to the airport, so I tried to stand up and I couldn't. She laughed a bit and told me "That's how I feel all the time, now you know how real sex is, my love". She kissed me and helped me get dressed. It is something that I will never forget!

So special. I love her!

What every good fembot needs: A vibrator for your spinal column!

Someone has invented a device that might make women have better orgasms.

Because it’s way better to implant shit into a woman’s spinal cord than to teach them about their sexuality, foster better communication skills, not shame women for enjoying sex, encouraging partners to work a bit harder pleasing them, etc etc etc.

North Carolina surgeon Stuart Meloy says it "could help rekindle the spark between old lovers." The medicalization of female sexuality marches on.

Busting Myths About Adult Virgins

VulcanVirgin I don't think I ever posted here about another story I did for Nerve.com called Sexless in the City: The Truth About Adult Virgins. It was a chance to address a lot of the mythology about folks who haven't yet become sexually active, and all the stigma that goes with that. I was excited to include two of the women from How To Lose Your Virginity, as well as some of the men and women who contributed to the V-Card Diaries. Here's the intro:

Let's face it: if you haven't had sex by college graduation, or (the horror!) by your 30th birthday, it's hard not to feel some serious social stigma. Pop culture repeatedly brands adult virgins as religious freaks or shut-in action figure collectors. Advertisers work hard to push the message that everyone cool is getting laid as well: "Hey, loser! Buy this body spray/bustier/pickup artist book, and you'll get play like everyone you know." It's easy to believe everyone is having sex but you – and that until you start getting busy, it’s best to lock yourself in the virginity closet and hope no one finds out your secret.

But here's the actual reality: there are a lot of people not having sex. How can I be so sure? In the course of making How to Lose Your Virginity, a documentary about virginity myths, and collecting over 200 stories for The V-Card Diaries, a website compiling the personal stories of adult virgins, I've talked to a lot of people who consider themselves older virgins. It’s time to end some of the myths out there about this diverse and interesting bunch of abstainers.

Go to Nerve.com to read the rest, with profiles of several adult virgins who go against the same old stereotypes. [Excuse the section headings which I did not write quite in that way]

Why Is Sex Fun? And did those Victorian docs really use vibrators on their patients?

The Discovery Channel is just ran an episode of Curiosty called "Why is Sex Fun?" The website has several clips from the show about brain activity during orgasm, intercourse as seen on a sonogram and the giant swath of genital real estate known as the clitoris. They're pretty interesting, although I could do without the intense rumbling 'orgasm' music and the soft-focus camera work. The 3-D graphics blow our junior high health class films out of the water, though. In a bit of genius synergy, the show is hosted by smart/sassy/sexy Maggie Gyllenhaal. Aside from her excellent sex-on-film credentials, she's starring in a new movie called "Hysteria," about the early days of the vibrator-as-medical-tool. It's a subject she also covers in one of the videos here: the practice of Victorian physicians curing their female patients of 'hysteria' by bringing them to orgasm with one of these gizmos.

As popular as this idea has become, even in this very blog, its veracity is under some serious dispute by sex historians. For one thing, it was hard to imagine this took place in a climate where doctors were extremely nervous about being accused of sexual impropriety with their patients. Do check out this article from Cory Silverberg, and a fascinating collection of Victorian sex myths and facts.