Thursday, January 28, 2010

I'm not a prostitute, really.

I will never understand why men will make a point of telling me they're "successful" or "professional" in the context of seeking casual sex. I'm not going to see any of it (not that I want to), so why should I care?

The weird thing is that I don't think they're even implying they'd pay me. I think the money is just supposed to be a turn-on in its own right. Men like boobies and women like dollars, right? When I hear about a guy who has lots of big turgid throbbing dollars, I'm supposed to get all sweaty and squirmy, I guess.

I guess there is some assurance that a guy who's successful professionally might have better social skills than a guy who lives in Mom's basement. Telling me about your money seems like a pretty indirect (and un-social-skilled) way of communicating that, though.

I don't really go for penis length either, but at least the guys who email me about their ten-inchers have some idea of what they're actually offering me.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sometimes I Forget.

Being indignant or snarky is easy. Being sincere is hard. When you're not on the offense or defense, you're vulnerable. But I don't intend to embroider "Born To Criticize" on my jacket. Criticism is important, but only if you remember what it is you're fighting for.

I saw an old friend the other day and he helped me remember. What I'm defending is joy. There were so many moments when my heart was pounding in my ears and my skin was alive with pleasure. My whole body was human and animal and real. For just an instant, life was perfect.

I used to be more concerned with the physical than I am now, I think. I couldn't honestly tell you much about his penis. It was... penis-shaped? They're not that different from each other. I could tell you a lot more about his eyes. They did that intense, animal thing men's eyes do when they're completely lost in pleasure. I don't know if seeing that look is a "right" or if it's always right--I just know that I love it. Right or wrong I'd fight for it.

And oh, he beat me up. He beat me up good. It was in that sweet spot where I don't have to struggle with managing pain, it's just all good. When I'm halfway to coming already and all my skin is so sensitive. You can just stroke me on the neck and it's almost too much.

We fell asleep together, for a little while. It was an uncomfortable position but a perfect rest. When we woke up we had sex again. He was stroking me over my entire body the whole time.

Sex is awesome, that's what I'm trying to say and that's what I should never forget. When I say that misogyny or misandry or homophobia or misinformation or repression or manipulation or whatnot is wrong, that's because they are in one way or another the enemies of joyful, mutual, safe, free sexuality. I won't let anyone tell me that sex is fine the way it is or that it's not important. Sex needs fighting for, and I want to do it.

Off this blog, of course it's harder, mostly because it's awkward using myself as a counter-example. Answering "perverts are messed up" with "hey, I like to get beat up and just last week I was sucking a man's cock while he twisted the clothespins on my nipples, and I'm fine" is bound to come off... weird. Even without gory details, self-identifying as a pervert and a slut is pretty hard to do in the real world. I find myself hiding behind flimsy rationalizations, saying things like "well, people will have sex anyway" instead of "well, people should have sex anyway because it's awesome."

It is, though. That's not dirty or trivial, not something that ought to always be subordinate to "serious concerns." Sexual pleasure matters. Telling women to be abstinent instead of using condoms is wrong because it'll lead to pregnancies and STDs, yes, but it's also wrong because it'll lead to them having less good sex than they could. That, in itself, is wrong.

It's not enough to say that sexual concerns are important because they relate to feminism or libertarianism or public health or whatnot. Sex itself is important.


There's a bill before the Washington State Senate right now to regulate "crisis pregnancy centers." (News link. That should be "chord," dammit.)

SB 6452 would require centers to:
-Provide reproductive health information that is "medically and scientifically accurate."
-Communicate immediately that they do not provide medical care for pregnant women, abortion or comprehensive birth control services or referrals for such services.
-Allow clients to self-administer pregnancy tests and provide test results in writing to clients as soon as they are known.
-Keep all health information private, unless otherwise authorized, and make a client's records available to her promptly, but no later than 15 working days after receiving a request.

It amazes me that anyone could have any reaction other than "holy shit, they aren't doing these things now?!" Because it's not shutting the centers down. It's just making them operate in a sort of remotely honest manner. The stipulations about self-administered pregnancy tests and results in writing--that's because there have been cases where CPCs have told women they weren't pregnant when they were, so they'd be too far along to abort when they realized they'd been duped. And the others are just basic, bottom-of-the-barrel expectations for anything resembling a healthcare facility.

The problem, of course, is that no one's reading or voting on the content of the bill; it's just yet another referendum on "would you rather kill babies or oppress women?", and senators are most likely going to vote along those lines rather than the very modest stipulations actually made. I've gotta admit, the wording is crafty though; do you really want to be seen opposing accurate information?

Despite the assumptions people tend to make of Seattle sex/feminism bloggers, I'm not 100% pro-choice. I'm mostly, I think abortion needs to be legal, but it actually makes me very uncomfortable. I have no sympathy for zygotes and embryos, but once they start getting to the cute phase (i.e., the having a nervous system phase) I'm... undecided. I can understand why it might be necessary but I don't like it. I believe most abortions are performed before the really cute phase though, which I'm more comfortable with. It's not potential that bothers me, I think arguments about potential are specious because obviously not every potential human can exist. I'm only concerned about the fetus's capability for awareness and suffering--which I believe is not much during the first trimester.

But I am absolutely 100% definitely convinced that the people who run crisis pregnancy centers are worthless sacks of shit. These centers seem to have no problem lying to and manipulating women. Never mind abortion, they're telling women not to use condoms. That's fucking insane. Condoms not only save lives, they prevent abortions! I hate to ascribe "they must just be evil" to political opponents, I can see some justification for trying to discourage abortion, but telling sexually active adults not to use condoms is fucking evil. And trying to persuade someone not to have an abortion is one thing (and still problematic if you're advertising as a medical or social services center), but tricking them into it... worthless sack of shit.

I assume this bill will pass. I mean, I really hope so. It seems awfully modest to just request that the sacks of shit restrict themselves to only pressuring and browbeating (mostly young and poor) women, instead of outright lying to them.

I'm almost curious enough now to make a field trip to a CPC just to see what happens. Of course I'd test not pregnant (boy, wouldn't that be a hell of a way to find out), but I wonder if they'd get on the condom thing with me and what they'd say. Might be educational.

Flawed men.

I know I've posted more than my share about how beauty standards for women are stupid and unfair, and they are, but as a conventionally unbeautiful woman it's kind of self-serving for me to attack those standards. It would suit me just fine if every Bond girl and billboard model and porn actress was a fat redhead in steel-toe boots.

But I feel the same way about men. I don't think all men are beautiful, but there's a lot of supposed "flaws" I can only find endearing. The biggest being a soft tummy. I've been with a man with a rock-hard six-pack, and... bleh, it was hard! That doesn't make a good pillow at all! And I honestly think that a soft and pudgy tummy is cute as hell.

I'm pretty forgiving of body hair in both directions, too. Some guys grow a fur pelt and some guys are near-hairless, and I can't say that either's a turn-off.

Muscles, other than the six-pack, are nice if they're there, but skinny arms aren't some sort of disqualifier. A guy with a cute face and skinny arms is just fine.

And if I really, really, really like a guy's personality, everything goes by the wayside. If I think Ryan is a funny and charming and sweet guy, I'll probably start to see Ryan's man-boobs or weird scar as "just the way Ryan looks," rather than as a flaw off the Ideal Man. I'm not trying to be PC, my attraction isn't under my conscious control, but when I really like a guy I don't just forgive his appearance, I really start to like it.

(Mission Get A Really Awkward Post Off The Top Of The Blog has succeeded, sir.)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Uncomfortable fantasies.

I have rape fantasies. Not the worst kind, I don't really want to be hurt, just roughed up a bit and held down by someone I'd want anyway so they can force me to do things that I'd enjoy anyway. But I'm saying "no" and I mean it and they're not listening. And the "things that I'd enjoy anyway" can get pretty harsh. It's not just fucking, it's beating, binding, cutting, piercing, humiliation, being used for sex that hurts and I really don't enjoy--nasty stuff. Stuff that would be so not okay in the real world.

I'm always the victim, or in third-person I identify with the victim. I can't imagine myself hurting someone else. I can get off on being a sweet dominant, on giving someone what they really want, but even in my mind I need them to be very clear that they're really enjoying it.

This goes against pretty much all my values, but I'm okay with it since it's just fantasy. If I can play games where I kill human beings, I can have fantasies where I do other things that would be terrible in real life. The only time I get uncomfortable is when I read rape (ahem, "non-consent") stories written by other people--they turn me on, but I always worry about the writer. Some of them sound like they might not be nice people. I know it's hypocritical, but hearing someone else's rape fantasies creeps me out. And gets me off.

The explanation I've heard multiple places for rape fantasies is "oh, women want to think someone lusts for them so much that it's uncontrollable." Or "oh, women want sex without guilt, because it's not their fault." I think both of these are pretty much bullshit. Maybe they explain "bodice-ripper" rape fantasies, the kind where he's forceful but gentle, but my fantasies just seem meaner-spirited than that. I think it's just straight-up masochism. I don't think you can explain it away as something that's really sweet and fuzzy on the inside.

I'm not sure if I'd like rape play in reality or not. I know it would take a lot of trust, I couldn't do it casually. But I have this horrible suspicion that it would actually be kinda fun. "Fun" might not be the word? An experience worth having.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Labrat and Quizzical Pussy both have up excellent posts about sex and adolescence, so I'm joining that bandwagon.

The thing that amazes me most about my memories of teenage sex was that I couldn't talk. I knew what I wanted, but I was terrible at putting it into words. "I really like you, we should spend time together" became "uh, hi... never mind," "I want to try something different in bed" became "uh, let's do... hee hee, stuff," and "I don't like that, please stop" became "oh baby, come for me now." (I was meek, but cunning.) But most often, all of the above became nothing more than "...". I could express myself a bit more physically, I had less trouble crawling all over a guy or pushing him away, but when I tried to use words I felt like shame and awkwardness were choking away my voice.

(Also, it took me a surprisingly long time to figure out that "harder" and "faster" were actual directions, rather than meaningless words of encouragement. Porn kinda led me astray there.)

I blame Ms. Conrad. She was my "health" teacher, which in high school mostly meant sex ed. She drilled into us, over and over, that sex happens because you don't have self-respect. If you have other reasons to like yourself, if you have accomplishments to take pride in and friends and family to do right by, you won't give in to sex. Girls really just want love and approval, you see, and evil boys use this to manipulate the weak ones into sex.

So imagine my horror at discovering that I wanted sex. I must be weak! In the game where girls win by not "giving in" to boys, I was playing to lose. What a sucker. It was bad enough just to have sexual desires, but talking about them would be flaunting my weakness. I was distressingly embarrassed to be horny.

I don't have a whole lot of shame issues these days, but as a teenager I was embarrassed by everything. I wouldn't take off my shirt in the locker room. I was furtive and red-faced when I bought underwear, gripped by the terror that if I chose anything too sexy the clerk would be "on to me"--would realize that I had sexual thoughts--and that would be terrible. Even as I made an erotica website with my friends, I never mentioned the possibility that any of this could turn me on. Porn could be interesting, or well-made, or funny, but the one thing I could never admit was that it was hot. Hey, I wasn't a loser. I respected myself.

Before long, my hormones and my curiosity--and, hey, my desire for love and approval too, Ms. Conrad wasn't all wrong--were far more powerful than shame. I took off my shirt in front of a boy and I let him see my (white, plain, high-waisted) underwear. But I just couldn't talk to him about what turned me on. That was going way too far. Having a libido was my secret shame.

I can't put this all on Ms. Conrad and her ilk. I was also just plain young, and confidence and communication didn't come to me at an early age. And my boyfriend wasn't much help, being a little too ready to take "um" for "yes" when it suited him. And I simply had no role models or social scripting for sex. The private nature of sex means that there's no learning by example, there's no picking up the way sex is "usually" done, but everyone (especially if they lose their virginity to another virgin, as I did) has to make it all up from scratch.

"Self-respect means saying no when you don't want sex" is true. But it's half the story. Self-respect means saying what you want, no matter what it is. It took me a long time to learn that.


Sometimes just the very fact of a man's maleness turns me on. The hair he grows where women don't, the square muscular shape of his body, the deepness of his voice. If I'm far enough into a crush on a guy, just hearing him referred to as "he" is a strange little thrill.

Because I get crushes on guys, but I lust for men.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Why is it always sex?

Today my partner told me the following joke:

"What do you have when you have 200 black people in a burning airplane headed toward a cliff? A good start."

WTF partner. I know you were raised in a hermetically sealed rural white Christian homeschool enclave where couples "court" and science class explains how DNA doesn't exist and 8-hour zygotes cry when mommy doesn't love them, but WTF. Way to love thy fucking neighbor.

(And then he assumes I must be some kind of radical lefty when I get offended by such things. I'm pretty moderate and even conservative on many issues, I'm just not an asshole.)


Anyway. I've been having a lot of political arguments with my partner lately, and following a lot of political controversies on the news and the Internet, and I've noticed that a lot of them are about sexuality in some way. Censorship. Obscenity. Pornography. Prostitution. Abortion. Beauty standards. Birth control. Gardasil. Gay marriage. Date rape. Sexual harassment. Sex education. Sex scandals. Labia dye. Some of this is my personal area of focus, of course, but it does seem like sexual controversies make up a disproportionate amount of political debate.

(My personal stance tends to come down on the "pro-fucking" side of each debate, or the "libertarian" one if you want to put it like that.)

Why is this? Probably the main reason is that it's easy for people to understand. (Or at least think they understand.) I've worked in healthcare for years and I still don't know what I think of "healthcare reform," because I can never get a handle on what exactly is in the healthcare bill. All proponents say is that it'll make everything better and cheaper, and all opponents say is that it won't. Details seem scarce and it's hard for me to take a firm stance on some enormous constantly-changing document that I've never read.

But gay marriage, that's easy! That fits very comfortably in my little monkey-brain. Man make ugg-ugg with man, ugga. I feel like I can completely understand this issue, so I'm confident having a strong opinion on it. There's not much background reading to do. And this is the case with most sexual issues. We believe we understand sex and what the questions about it mean. Most people, myself included, have no idea how TARP works and a very good idea how a penis works.

Also, sex is something personally important to most people. TARP payments may be affecting my taxes I guess, or my future taxes or something, but it seems abstract and minor. It may upset me intellectually but to my monkey-brain it's basically an event that's happening somewhere else to someone else. It could just be in some book for all I really know. Whereas many of these sexual issues are about me. I might need the morning-after pill myself someday and I'm quite concerned with how easily I can get it. When someone claims that porn consumers or bisexuals are messed up, they're talking smack about me.

And sex is just intrinsically interesting. I think I speak for everyone when I say that I read the "reproductive system" section of biology textbooks first, I flip ahead to page 248 in "Clan of the Cave Bear," and I'd rather talk and think about flithy illicit fucking than high-risk mortgages. Even if I'm using clinical words and a serious tone and my panties are dry, it's still way more intriguing.

Finally, sex is something that, ironically, we don't talk enough about. At least we don't talk about it like grown-ups. We're all about the titillation and argument, but when it comes to serious levelheaded discussion I think our culture is still stuck in junior high. Sex writing is sensationalized, sex art is ghettoized, sex culture is marginalized, sex work is outlawed, sex education is haphazard, and sex itself is simultaneously a Big Damn Secret and a Big Damn Deal.

I don't want to make it sound like "oh, if everyone was open about sex they'd agree with me on everything" (although they would, I'm not stupid, I hold beliefs because they happen to be right). But if everyone was open about sex I think it would get less blown out of proportion. Sex scandals wouldn't go away but they'd be normal scandals. The abortion debate wouldn't be settled but it might lose the creepy "if you do something irresponsible you need to face consequences" undertones.

We are a nation of three hundred million sixth-graders, simultaneously fascinated and terrified by every hint of sexuality, and I count myself among that number.

Labia dye. LABIA DYE!

A little while ago, Quizzical Pussy posted about My New Pink Button, which is labia dye. Because your labia are obviously the wrong color right now.

(Also, her blog is great and you should read it. Srsly.)

It's the sort of thing I would test out, except that it's thirty dollars and it might disfigure my genitals. Fortunately, there's always someone on the Internet willing to disfigure themselves for you! Yep, this person went and tested it.

Things were okay for a few seconds, and then…THE BURNING! I have certainly felt worse, but it was very noticeable. The instructions assure me that this burning is “due to the ingredients reacting to your bodies own PH balance which is normal and will go away upon rinsing off the colorant.”

Uh oh. She also posts pictures (of her arm, but she did test it on her crotch and reports no change there either) of the incredibly miniscule change in color. If anything you're going to get a blotchy vagina. The guys sure go for blotchy.

And then there's this disturbing suspicion, given the thirty-dollar price tag:
I had a hunch after the way it smelled and how it looked when wet, so I licked my arm before I rinsed it, and it tasted just like unsweetened Kool-Aid.

Now I'm actually kinda curious about the interactions between Kool-Aid and crotch. I've never felt my labia were disfiguringly unpink, but sugar-free Kool-Aid comes in purple! And green! And blue! I could have a CROTCH RAINBOW!

(taste the rainbow?)

If I don't mind the whole burning sensation, I guess.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Robot Girlfriend!

Look at the picture. Just look at it.

So this is ROXXXY, the supposed robot girlfriend. I have to say, if looks are an issue for you... ROXXXY may be an issue. I can bitch about beauty standards all day long but any guy who could look into that scary plastic horse face and keep a boner has absolutely no business picking nits with any living woman.

One creepy detail the article doesn't mention and I did not make up: the creator modeled ROXXXY after a friend who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11. Wow. Wow. ....Wow. To everyone who reads this blog: if I am horribly murdered, please do not sell me or anything that looks like me for people to have sex with. Thank you.

"She can't vacuum, she can't cook but she can do almost anything else if you know what I mean,"
Oh, so she can go hiking with me? She can discuss the news with me and agree to disagree about Obama? She can help me move a couch? She can teach me how to make proper onion soup? She can trade backrubs?

I don't talk about my dildo saying "he can't change oil, he can't grill a steak but he can do almost anything else if you know what I mean," because he (ew, it, c'mon) can do one thing. Not badly, but let's not kid around. A "girlfriend" is a multifunctional person, and by that I don't mean anal and oral.

The anatomically-correct robot has an articulated skeleton that can move like a person but can't walk or independently move its limbs
So... not much like a person at all, really.

Robotic movement is built into "the three inputs" and a mechanical heart that powers a liquid cooling system.
By "robotic movement," I have a suspicion they mean "vibration." DECADES OF DEVELOPMENT.

And why the hell does it need a liquid cooling system if it doesn't move? I guess the market was just demanding a simulated sex partner who was really cold.

What do I really make of this thing?

Ample video exists of the guy talking about ROXXXY while she sits there completely dead, but there's none of her actually moving or talking. (Although SomethingAwful produced an excellent [and ridiculously offensive] educated guess about her various personalities.)

I think this is the doomed project of a guy who is creepy, yes, but more importantly he's way overambitious in his showing of an obviously unfinished product. Somehow that's even sadder to me than the whole "robot girlfriend" aspect--the fact that this guy clearly doesn't really know how to make his robot girlfriend, so all that he's showing the world is that he has a mostly unrealized dream of a robot girlfriend.

It's the same awkward feeling as reading someone's terrible unpublished novel, except in this case the novel is about their robot girlfriend with three motorized inputs.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Ten people not to date.

Very subjective, I'm sure it's not 100% true in every case, etcetera. But I think these are good guidelines.

1) Anyone who out-and-out says that they're not what you're looking for. Someone who says that he's not in it for a long-term relationship or she's not good at being faithful... probably means it. I'm amazed how many people ignore this.

2) Anyone who's "the jealous type." If they're jealous before you're even exclusive, they're going to be bugnuts obsessive down the road.

3) Anyone who has a major sexual incompatibility with you. Minor ones can be worked through, vanilla and willing to experiment can definitely find love with kinky and patient, but if one partner has a fetish that they must act on and the other one will not try it, then it's not going to work. I don't think it's fair to assign blame in this kind of case, to call either partner a demanding perv or an uptight prude, it's just that they're not right for each other.

4) Anyone who states they think most men/women are assholes/bitches, but you're different.

5) Anyone who won't use a condom. Yeah, I know they're hell on boners, but they're also extremely non-optional until you have a lot of trust in the relationship, not to mention STD tests and birth control. And any woman who refuses condoms has something funny going on.

6) Anyone who makes you feel like you're their mom/dad. This is a trap I used to fall into a lot--the "fixer upper" boyfriend who just needs a little encouragement to be sociable or take care of himself or put in job applications. This kind of person never gets fixed; they become simultaneously dependent and resentful as you run onto your last nerve.

7) Anyone who's hard to get ahold of. I know quite a few people who are tons of fun when they're around, but they don't check their email and they don't charge their phone and it's freakin' impossible to find them when they don't feel like being found. These people do it on purpose and they don't get better just because you're dating them.

8) Anyone who has a problem they're not taking care of. Someone with financial/health/mental health/family problems isn't necessarily a basket case--someone who isn't paying their bills and taking their meds is. Baggage happens to the best of us, but the best of us deal with our baggage.

9) Anyone who has a tale of woe. I don't care that everything in the tale was totally unfair and random and not their fault--the longer the tale of woe and the earlier they tell it to you, the more full of shit they are.

10) Anyone that no one understands but you. Especially if they actually say that.

I've dated about nine of these. It never ended well, but more importantly, it never middled well. I can look back and see a long period before the breakup where I wasn't enjoying him so much as dealing with him.

I think #10 is the biggest trap, especially, but not only, for very young women--there's a sort of romance in thinking that the common folk just don't see his/her inner beauty. When I volunteered at the Humane Society, I noticed that nothing adopted faster than a three-legged dog. A beautiful, well-trained, affectionate young purebred would sit in a cage for weeks while people (especially, but not only, very young women) went all wibbly for a grouchy unhousebroken mutt on three legs.

Don't date a three-legged dog.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Cosmocking: February '10! (Part Two!)

Picture this: you and your guy meet at the gym, where you talk him into doing the body-pump class with you. Then you head home together, turn on "The Hills," and order in from the vegetarian place you like (after months of convincing, he's finally conceded to eat grains). Sounds like a pretty normal night. In fact, sounds like a pretty great night.
But while each of these things--body pump, bitches, barley--seems innocuous on its own, when you add it all together, you're submitting my guy to a whole lot of girliness.

I don't give a crap about "The Hills," so I can't speak to that, but BodyPump is a weightlifting class and fairly co-ed in its marketing and approach, and men eat fucking vegetables, you fucking crazy person.

But what that night really sounds like is something that was all about my interests. I chose the class, the show, and the food, and when he didn't agree I "convinced" him into "conceding." I can see him getting frustrated with that, easily, not with the supposed "girliness" of anything not involving engine grease or sides of beef.

Your guy's testosterone level nose-dives. [...] Imagine the flip side: What if he wanted you to hang at sports bars, throwing back brewskis in a rumpled tee? You'd feel like your inner girl had been hijacked.
Actually, that sounds pretty fun. I'm not super big on sports but I like the atmosphere in a friendly sports bar and I sure do like the brewskis. I'm seriously not seeing the problem here.

I've talked about this before: it's dumb to label arbitrary activities "masculine" and "feminine." If hanging out at a sports bar is possible and enjoyable for a great many women, I don't see how you can still argue "but it's still a man thing" and have that mean anything.

Femininity is mysterious and enticing to men. [...] The differences between you are what create that electric current, that magnetic pull.
Not to sound negative, but I'm positive that isn't how healthy relationships work. While it isn't a great idea, especially early on, to try to share 100% of your interests, that has a lot more to do with personal boundaries than gender differences. It's less about being a "mystery" than just being your own person. It doesn't matter if I go shoe shopping while he goes to the sports bar, me going shooting while he goes to the sports bar will work just as well; the important thing is that I don't demand to tag along to the sports bar every time.

But then Cosmo ends the article with a bunch of stereotypical "Manly Date Ideas" involving steak and football and the usual. (One of them is to "go dog shopping" without intent to buy. That's kind of a toolish thing to do to a breeder or rescue.) So apparently the problem isn't maintaining boundaries after all; it's only womanly things we mustn't do. Just remember kids: a woman being manly is a cool chick, but a man being womanly is degrading himself!

On morning sex:
And while you may feel more like Megan Mullally than Megan Fox when that alarm goes off, getting it on in the a.m. can be amazing for you too. [...] Between stanky morning breath and hair that's flying in 10 directions, sex is probably the furthest thing from your mind in the morning.
I'm not sure I see the problem with Megan Mullally.

But much more importantly, my sexual desire has shit-all to do with my looks. If I've got an eager partner right there in the bed with me, I'm going to take his word that I'm doable. Primping is a way to attract a partner, it's not a method of sexual arousal in itself. I don't put on lipstick and get wet. I'd fuck with axle grease on my face if I had a dude who didn't care.

When he mentions having done something undeniably awesome, like studying abroad in Nepal, resist the urge to gush about how amazing that must have been. Play it cool by maintaining a low-key tone, and challenge him to prove how smart he is by saying "That's a curious choice. What made you decide to go there?" By questioning him (instead of going all awestruck), you'll trigger his competitive instincts.
Actually, you kinda just sound like a critical and snotty jerk. Remember that article earlier about how hard it is for men to put themselves out there and how much they hate getting shot down? A lot of guys are going to take signals of disinterest as... signals of disinterest.

Not that you need to gush. Just... fuck, I don't know, I'd just say what I was thinking. Like maybe there were things I actually wanted to know about Nepal. I'm not real good at seeing the wily cat-and-mouse games behind small talk. I always get tricked into thinking we're talking about the thing we're talking about.

Once you're feeling more comfortable, try dragging your fingers slowly along your collarbone, massaging your neck, or arching your back while letting him see and/or hear (try letting out a little "mmm"...). When he sees how good you're making yourself feel, he'll subconsciously assume that you're someone who loves to give and get pleasure.
"Subconsciously"? Don't get me wrong, moaning self-stroking has its place in flirtation, but this shit ain't exactly subliminal.

[Q: My live-in boyfriend won't do his share of the cooking or diswashing.]
[A:] Luckily, there are ways to make him start looking at it as a guy friendly activity instead of a as a tedious domestic chore. [...] Buy him a grill--it needn't be an expensive one--so he has an irresistible new toy to play with. Or walk into the kitchen wearing nothing but an apron, and tell him that unless he strips down to his skivvies and serves as your sous chef, he gets no dinner... or dessert.
But it is a tedious domestic chore. One that grown adults have to do. Bribing him with toys and pussy isn't my job; his reward for cooking is dinner. Not only is it degrading to both of us for me to act like he's a special little boy just for pulling his weight, but the day will come when I don't feel like buying anything or holding up a "will fuck for food" cardboard sign. On that day, when the treat bag is empty and the clicker is out in the car, will he still respond to verbal commands?

"From the beginning of our relationship, David complimented me and was very affectionate. I later found out that some of his exes saw it as insecure and even a red flag. Luckily, from working at Cosmo--where we're very pro-man--I didn't jump to that conclusion. [...] David said my ability to appreciate his sweetness and not take the typical guy-bashing attitude drew him to me."
Yeah, most women really hate men and especially hate men who compliment them. You're very special and brave for breaking the mold and allowing a guy to shower you with affection.

"This new underwear is so uncomfortable, I can't wait to take it off as soon as we get home."
Taking underwear off - sexy.
Discussing uncomfortable underwear - sexiness level not quite determined.

Your boss calls you into her office and asks what the deal is with two coworkers whom you know recently coupled up. You say:
A) "You didn't hear this from me, but they're Facebook-official as of last Tuesday."
B) "I'm not sure, but they do tend to leave at the same time every night."
C) "Oh, I wouldn't know. I'm always the last to hear office dirt."

[The "correct" answer is B.]

Wow. That's really not okay. That's a completely backstabbing, not to mention rather crude wink-wink thing to be telling the boss. Maybe it's different in the nonspecific middle-class office job Cosmo assumes everyone has, but if my boss asks me anything personal about my coworkers I tell him that I know nothing whatsoever about these two upstanding citizens who, last I heard, were volunteering at a shelter for homeless kittens with cancer.

I know what they do to snitches around here.

P.S. If you haven't seen this, it's some entertaining Cosmocking. If you have, stop emailing it to me. I love emails and am always flattered that someone thought of me, but... I've gotten sent that article like fifty times. :p

Monday, January 11, 2010

Cosmocking: February '10! (Part One!)

Lavender cover! Anna Faris! Her dress is a little small and has weird boob-stripes but the fabric looks super nice, I bet you could've made a great dress out of that fabric! Size of the word "SEX" on the cover: 76 point! Also 28 point, in another place! Because just one "SEX" isn't nearly enough!

Now let's take a moment to recognize what's not in this issue of Cosmo: any acknowledgement that anyone disagreed with the part in that last issue where they advised a woman to stay with and confront a blatant potential abuser. Every one of the reader letters they printed was fawning. Also written with an eerily similar word choice and sentence structure to the editorial content. Cosmo's so delightfully self-contained. I wouldn't be shocked to discover they write a year's worth at once and just dole 'em out over the next twelve months.

Prime-Time Lesbians: Is your guy suddenly a couch potato? We bet it has to do with all the girl-on-girl love on TV. Christine Woods seeks a female soul mate on FlashForward, and Katie Cassidy has kissed more than one brunet on Melrose Place.
Fun fact: lesbians were originally designed to arouse women with their sexuality. Just some wacky backwards trivia for you.

Also, "brunet" is masculine, "brunette" is feminine. FYI.

Sexy: [picture of Robert Pattinson]
Skanky: [picture of Billy Idol]

Oh Lord, there's an article by a PUA teacher. Oh Lord. PUA in Cosmo. What have we done to deserve this?
Before you write me off as a pickup artist and my students as sleazebags, hear me out--because it's often the guys with the least game who are the most worthwhile.
If a guy can't talk to me like a normal person--whether because he's laying on the "game" with a trowel or because he "can't talk to girls" as well as he can to humans--than I have to assume he doesn't think I'm a normal person, so he's definitely not worthwhile.

After dinner, we go "in-field" to a nearby bar so the guy can take what they've learned and practice it. More often than not, women shoot them down immediately. Of course, that's justifiable if they're trying too hard or [...] not hard enough. But sometimes they're rejected because they're a little nervous.
What am I, a fucking Olympic judge? I don't award or deduct style points. Deciding whether I want to be intimate with someone is a fuzzy process and it has a lot more to do with whether he makes us feel like an "us" (even for casual sex) than with difficulty, execution, and artistic presentation.

You know, I don't really like shooting guys down. It's awkward, it makes me feel guilty because I know rejection hurts, and it doesn't get me laid. Sometimes I feel like I have to be blunt with a guy whose appearance or personality doesn't do it for me, but I never want to play Missile Command with men's egos.

(Except PUAs. With them it's just funny. I know it only makes them bitterer but I have no mercy on PUAs.)

So next time you're approached, think about how hard it is for a guy to put himself out there. Give the less-than-perfect pickup a chance and, I promise, you'll end up meeting more great men than ever.
This is rich coming from a cult that always promises "how to pick up beautiful women." I don't see a lot of PUA instructors telling their disciples "give the mousy girl with a few love handles a chance and, I promise, you'll end up meeting more great women than ever."

Also, seriously, are there really bars out there where women set up booths with take-a-ticket machines and men line up to audition? It seems a lot more mutual in most places I hang out. I start conversations with lots of guys and it's not like this weird backwards thing. Of course sometimes we just end up conversing and that's all, and that's terrible because it means he loses the game. Who wants a bitch for her conversation, sheesh.

To give your bubbies a lift, slip silicone cutlets into your bra. Going braless? Try NuBra adhesive inserts.
Although I sometimes feel insecure about my breasts, I never wear "cutlets" or anything of the sort, because when I'm dressing up sexy I generally hope to get laid. That's the point of it, right? When I'm getting the girls all propped up and decked out it's because I'm meeting a man or I want to meet one. And if all goes well, I'm going to take that bra off, and I don't want a couple of cutlets falling on his thighs. Putting embarrassing gadgets on my boobs seems like I'm making a commitment to go home alone.


Q: My armpit skin is darker than the rest of my skin. Is there a way to lighten it?
A: Médecins Sans Frontières provides emergency medical care for millions of people in situations of war or desperate poverty. They treat victims of violence, epidemics, malnutrition, and natural disasters who have no other resources for medical assistance. A donation of as little as $30 can provide a basic medical supply kit that will save lives.

Please keep this in mind when I tell you that the solution to the armpit problem costs $2.50/oz.

Try Skype sex. Keep your camera pointed above your shoulders, so he sees just your O face.
That's totally not where he told me to point the camera. It's one thing to keep it above my shoulders at first, maybe even for a bit after he asks to see the rest of me (but it's hard when he asks so nice...), but by the time we're down to O faces we shouldn't still be teasing. Tease has to give way to passion eventually. Even on Skype.

While out, lick the neck of a beer bottle the way you plan on licking him later.
Classy as fuck.

(Weird confession: I actually do sometimes give beer bottles blowjobs, just because it feels cool and makes me giggle. I do this in the privacy of my own home and feel like a dork even talking about it.)

Postorgasm, gently squeeze his testicles. It'll give him a sexy aftershock.
I'm not a dude so I don't know, but this sounds acutely unpleasant.

Have him fold his tongue like a taco and put it inside you. Then have him flatten it out.
Fun fact: only about sixty percent of men can do this. It's genetic! Funner fact: I can't imagine this really feeling like anything.

Set your cellphone alarm for 3 AM, and then wake him for a quickie.
And on this entirely practical and considerate gem, we end part one. This issue was so ripe (and my time so limited, because it's getting late and some of us have to work in the morning, honey) that there's going to be an entire part two soon. I just can't miss out on giving "Are You Turning Your Boyfriend Into A Girlie Man?" its full due.

Tune in soon for the exciting conclusion!

My first vibrator.

My first vibrator was a gift from my boyfriend Kevin's mother, explicitly given to dissuade me from having sex with her son. This was ridiculous, partly because she was several months too late, and partly because the vibrator was not tall and muscular with soft brown eyes and a filthy-awesome sense of humor. And it never, ever, told me I was pretty.

(Kevin's father, incidentally, told me not to fuck his son because in his opinion the boy shouldn't be breeding. What an awesome dad. He had a point though, in retrospect.)

It was a "back massager" type, just a big black chunk of plastic you'd get in a drugstore rather than a sex store, as unsexy as a sex toy could be. Inevitably, Kevin and I ended up using it in bed together. We were curled up together awkwardly on the twin-size loft bed I had at the time, and he pressed it against my vulva, it made a big loud annoying sound, and...

I came. Instantly, explosively, and continuously. For as long as he kept it there, I was coming. It was torture and Heaven. It was also not very long.

I looked up at him, panting and grinning. "Do that again!" I said.
"No," he said. "I don't like that it can make you do that. I can't do that."
"Ha ha," I said, "That's a very funny and hilarious joke you made. Do it again."
"No, really," he said. "I don't want you using it."

So we had sex regular, and when he left he took the vibrator with him, and that was the last I ever saw of it.

I wouldn't stand for any part of this story now, but I was fifteen then and a very different person. I was agonizingly embarrassed shopping for underwear, there was no way I could've bought myself a vibrator or told my boyfriend to loosen the fuck up because this was awesome. When he took the toy away I just let it go.

I don't generally play with super-hard vibration when I have my druthers. I usually find that a tiny bullet vibe on the very lowest setting is the best for masturbation; more than that is simply overwhelming. But then again, I'm the kind of girl who likes to be overwhelmed a little. Being overstimulated and forced to come continuously and uncontrollably isn't something I'd inflict on myself--which is why I need someone to inflict it on me.

The flip side of Kevin's prudish insecurity, though, is Bill. Bill brought me a big ol' Magic Wand-type vibrator, pressed it against a dildo hilt-deep in my pussy, and went to town. It was great, I came like crazy, and... he didn't stop. I came again and again and it began to pass from ecstasy into irritation. I don't know how many times I can come, but it's more than I want to. After a while it's uncomfortable. But I was older then, and able to tell him to stop, so the night wasn't ruined. I was just amazed by how responsive my body is to that kind of stimulation--and to how dumb a guy thinking "wow, it's like an Infinite Orgasm Factory, I wonder if this will keep going for an hour" can get.

It's not something I can do to myself, and it's not something I'd want a partner to do to me all the time, but my reaction to hard vibration is definitely amazing. I'm kinda missing it now.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

How to give a blowjob.

In my limited experience, of course. Your mileage will vary and men are all unique penis snowflakes. So tip number zero is communicate--listen to his reactions and straight-up ask him what he likes, and always take his word over what you think guys like. But these are some hints I've found useful.

1. Want it. Love it. Very few of the mechanical details matter if you don't love his cock. This isn't you doing something for him, this is the two of you doing it together. Take pleasure in through your mouth. Explore his cock and enjoy it.

2. Start slow and build. If you start at 500 RPM you'll either finish him before he's begun or tire yourself out. Start with an "I could do this all day" pace and mindset, then get worked up as he does.

3. A gentle--really gentle!--hand on the base of the cock and the balls is nice for most guys. You can lick the balls too, but generally don't suck on them.

4. For that matter, don't suck too much at all. A little suction can be nice I guess, but most guys don't like hard vacu-sucking. A blowjob is neither blowing nor sucking; it's fucking with your mouth.

5. Careful of your teeth. Practice on your thumb to figure out how to do this comfortably--it's easier for me to just use relaxed lips and an open jaw than to actually wrap my lips over my teeth.

6. Get and keep everything absolutely sloppy wet. You can't drool too much here. It's hard to give a blowjob when you're dehydrated and I don't recommend it.

7. Depending on the guy and your own preferences, this can be halfway a handjob. Your hand isn't as soft and wet as your mouth, but it can provide much firmer pressure and reach further back. Giving a handjob with your mouth just on the head can be fun.

8. I can't say much about deep throating because, honestly, it makes me gag really bad. But based on that, I can tell you that guys are quite satisfied if you don't deep throat.

9. If it feels natural and you want to, masturbate or stroke your breasts, or take his hand and put it on your fun bits. Or do the whole deal with a toy in a fun place. He'll be more excited, but that's a side effect--it'll be a whole lot more fun for you.

10. Again, if it's natural, make some noise. An excited little moan around his cock will mean a lot.

11. Spit, swallow, or facial, I don't think it matters that much (although I always swallow because it's like some point of pride with me). The important thing is to keep up some sort of stimulation while he's coming and taper down fast as he finishes. Guys go pretty quickly from "please don't stop" to "please don't touch it," and it took me some practice to learn to finish gracefully.

Ugh. I should go fucking write for fucking Cosmo or something. At least none of these are generally painful.

The problem with BBW.

I guess I'm a BBW? I'm never sure if I really count. I'm pretty fat, but if I Google "BBW" they're all way bigger than me. (Except for the depressing few who are tagged "BBW" and are, like, 135.) More importantly, they're not really shaped like me. It seems like a lot of the appeal is "they may be fat, but hey, big ol' titties," and I don't work that way. My titties are extremely moderate in scope. And my ass, although not precisely small, fails to provide the desirable "bubble" effect as it isn't really round and it's not much wider than my waist. My fat is mostly belly. I'm like 38-38-38.

So even though it's relegated to the ghetto of shameful fetish interest to begin with, I don't find much solace in the BBW label. It's not acceptance of fat chicks, it's just another, larger beauty standard. I can't measure up to 40DDDs and big shakin' booties any more than I can measure up to 32Ds and lithe little waists. I'm a third creature entirely.

(It sucks buying clothes too. Tops that are cut to gracefully cover a belly are always also cut to display ginormous boobs that I don't have. All those square-neckline "peasant" tops would be great if they didn't display a giant square of flat ribcage on me.)

Then again, I can't ask society to create the Holly Pervocracy Beauty Standard in which short big-bellied B-cup girls with weightlifter biceps and frizzy red hair are the most sexiest thing ever. There's not enough girls like me, and anyway, where would that leave girls with frizzy blonde hair? You can't make the beauty standard cover everyone or it stops being a standard.

So I'd rather raise the question, why do we need a standard anyway? It's hardly fair to demand a breed standard in the shows when the breeding is random. More importantly, though no group has ever held my type up as a paragon, plenty of individuals have been quite enthusiastic about it. There may not be Holly-type porn sites, but I know a few guys who liked my naked pictures just fine.

Individual preference isn't the only problem with standards. The other problem is that it's really unhealthy to create the idea of the perfect mate in your head and then try to find humans who match. I didn't know that short blond men were sexy to me until I met Tommy. In fact I still don't know that they are--I just know that Tommy is, and I think a tall dark Tommy would appeal to me more than a short blond random guy. We don't live in a world of types but people.

So "standards" suck, but that doesn't mean everyone has to find everyone equally attractive. That's silly and it's not going to happen. Plus it leads to creepers going "you can't find me unattractive, that's discrimination!" This also doesn't mean that "everyone's got someone"; the vast majority of people do but I can't make you promises. What it really means is that sexiness is the chemistry between individuals. "Society" isn't going to date me no matter how thin and busty I am; the intersection of one person's unique appearance and one person's unique and malleable preferences is all that matters.

Asking if I'm "sexy" is, ultimately, like asking if I'm "a friend." The answer isn't yes, no, kinda, or even "depends by what standards"; it's "to whom?"

Friday, January 8, 2010


What really gets me about the whole "gay marriage" debate, besides, you know, everything, is that it seems to be based ultimately in the idea that men and women are importantly and irreconcilably different. If a marriage between two men is less legitimate than a marriage between a man and a woman, it follows that men and women must play different roles in a marriage. The genders aren't interchangeable because they're not equal.

In other words, the problem really is "which one of y'all does the dishes?"

(Actually, that's probably only about half of it. The other half is believing that gay doesn't mean "attracted to the same gender," it's an entire "lifestyle" of which same-sex attraction is only one symptom and the others are all different manifestations of hedonism and debasement.)

Something I don't have time to fully pontificate on right now because I have work in like ten minutes: the difference between feminism that describes womanhood as unique and special, and feminism that says women are equal to men because they're basically the same. I tend to fall on the side of equality, because "women's culture is secret and beautiful" sounds a little too much like "ladies have their own role to play" to me. That culture and that role's the fucking kitchen, man. I don't want to be special, I want to have a life.

(Barely related comment: I hate it when people say "if gays can get married, what about polygamy?", not just because it's a dumb slippery slope, but because in my sheltered little way I really want to just say "what about it?" Sometimes a mommy and a daddy and another mommy love each other very much...)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Everyone's still talking G-spot. They're talking about it like some poorly-designed self-reported twin study makes the G-spot retroactively have never existed, and they're talking about it with fantastic headlines you could never ever get away with in America.

And one of the sentiments that seems to be coming up on both sides of this "debate" (sorry to scare-quote, but it's weird to think of a serious debate over something I've personally experienced is a very old, very stealth-sexist one. "Female sexuality is complicated!"

Sexuality is complicated, no question. The culture and subculture and politics and emotions and biology and poetry of sex could set your head spinning. And humans are complicated, like super ultra mega complicated. And life is complicated.

But men are not simple. Male sexuality, trust me here and read back in the archives, is not simple. Men come with the full suite of hangups and fetishes and dysfunctions and quirks and mysteries . Male sexuality is not reducible to "touch him on the penis" in any meaningful way. And ladies aren't that complicated. Individual, certainly, but once you figure out a particular woman's buttons it's not rocket science to push them in an escalating sequence until happy happens. All else being in order (yeah, good luck with that), you can basically just touch them on the vagina.

So maybe I'm biased here by the whole thing where an evil wizard cursed me to be a human soul in the body of a woman, but I see a lot of sexism in the "vaginas are complicated mysteries!" thing. It assumes the perspective of a heterosexual man looking at women from the outside. It assumes that women are incapable of perceiving and communicating clearly about their own sexuality. It assumes that women are something to be "figured out," as if some intrepid man could discover the Solution To Women and retire happy with 3 billion girlfriends. It tells women with sexual dysfunction that they don't have a real problem, they're just being complicated. It reinforces the idea that women don't really like sex that much. It lets guys who've mastered "touch her on the vagina" self-congratulate like they've solved the fucking Unified Field Theorem. And it gives guys who have crappy selfish sex a great excuse--hey, I'd like to please her, but she's so damn complicated!

I'm not some exotic puzzle box. I'm a horny but conflicted human being. So's everyone.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The myth of the myth of the vaginal orgasm.

Okay everybody on the Internet, let's make a deal: I won't tell you how to have orgasms, and you won't tell me that mine don't exist.

Figleaf linked to this post on Pandagon about how the G-spot is really just a magic feather that might give you orgasms if you believe, and we shouldn't think less of it just because it doesn't exist in objective reality. Which is deeply weird for me to read, because as far as I'm concerned, it's right there! Give me your finger and I'll show you. It's like reading a debate on the existence of the human nose. (Complete with smartasses saying "what we've thought of as the 'nose' is actually just a cartilage structure containing scent-sensitive cells!" as if that's some paradigm-shifting revelation.) I have a spot in my vagina that is both palpable and sensitive, and it gives me crazy orgasms from penetrative sex.

I really hate the disdainful tone people take toward "the ol' pump and dump," because that's how I get off! I don't get off at all on "the ol' fiddly diddly," but I don't think that means no one likes clitoral stimulation. I hate being told that that PIV sex is dudeocentric or old-fashioned when it makes me come my brains out.

But I think the overwhelming reason [people believe in the G-spot] is that the desire to believe women when they report subjective experiences is ascendant, while willingness to believe that women might trick themselves into believing something because it’s what men want to hear is descendant in feminist thought right now. Women say they have G spot orgasms, we believe women, end of story. I respect where this desire comes from.
No! This isn't philosophy! This is my vagina! It exists in consensus reality! Shit like "respect the desire" is condescending as fuck. "Oh yes, I understand why you might say you have a nose, and I respect that. It's important to believe you!"

But what this struggle ends up doing is obscuring that there’s a third possibility, one that neither G spot defenders or dismissers seem willing to entertain, which is that the women’s experiences can be totally real and also that there’s no such thing as the G-spot.
I never really thought of myself as a G-spot "defender." More like "owner." But I guess that makes me a really rabid defender? Reasonable people should be able to compromise on whether something exists. Like maybe I only have half a nose really.

It’s interesting to consider if the G spot only occurs in some women, which would explain the huge gap between experiences without further shaming of women who don’t have G spot orgasms. But what this research indicates is that if this is true, then it isn’t genetic. I’m personally quite comfortable with the possibility that the G spot “exists” only in women that find the process of stimulating it exciting instead of boring, but of course, that kind of thing is culturally difficult to swallow.
If the G-spot was a placebo effect, though, I wouldn't have this experience, which happens very often: "mmm, not quite, mmm, a little further in... OH GOD DON'T YOU DARE MOVE ONE INCH OH GOD RIGHT EXACTLY THERE." It's a pretty complex hallucinatory process if I can hallucinate that much difference between two spots that are millimeters apart and would feel the same if one of them wasn't, you know, my G-spot.

The problem is that if the difference between having a G spot and not having one is suggestibility to the possibility---i.e. that you have orgasms by stimulating a specific part of your body when other women don’t, because you believe that you can---then the shame would transfer from those who don’t to those who do, who would be falsely led to believe that it’s all in their heads and they’re crazy or something. This is due to the aforementioned weirdness people have about believing that what’s in your head is real, plus an giant dose of sexism. [...] But part of it is that “it’s all in your head” is used to dismiss the reality of women’s experiences, even though something that happens in your head is quite real.
No. This isn't the problem. The problem is that it isn't all in my head. It's all in my vagina. There's a ribbedy bit and it makes me make funny noises. Being told "it's real to you, sweetie" is infuriating not because I don't respect subjective experiences but because this isn't subjective!

Look. I get the picture. Amanda Marcotte doesn't have a sensitive G-spot. Fine for her. But she's got no damn right to go around telling me how my vagina is.

It also bothers me how much this whole thing is couched in implications that women who claim to have G-spots are giving in to the evil mens. Any form of female pleasure that is easy and pleasurable for men is suspect. It makes you a collaborator, and your existence (or at least your talking about it) is an impediment to the women who have more difficulty with orgasms. I can't help reading between the lines that a woman who gets off on cock alone is giving it up too damn easy, the slut.

"The existence of the clitoris has always been hotly debated, and new research suggests that identical twins don't have clitorises either, or something. But many women claim to feel clitoral stimulation. Many claim that they're just filthy sellout sluts making things harder for the good girls, and we should respect this important feminist opinion. My theory, however, is that they're merely imagining they have a clitoris and this gets them off, and we should respect their hallucination if it works for them."

Monday, January 4, 2010

Search Term Saf... Sightseeing Journey!

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Cosmocking: Random shit off the Cosmo website!

I'm tired. I worked a bunch and it was hard and stuff. So, hey, Cosmocking. Everyone likes Cosmocking.

5 Girly-Man Trends That Have Got to Go
It's no longer socially acceptable to demand that women be womanly in all the narrow prescribed ways. You just couldn't get away with telling women that pants and careers have got to go. But you have to maintain a differential somehow, otherwise, you know--human sacrifice, cats and dogs living together, mass hysteria. Hence the recent emphasis on affected, exaggerated manliness. Women can be men, if they insist, but for men to be women would be totally undignified.

Man-Gagement Rings: For all you ladies who want to put a ring on it (and men who love a little sparkle), diamonds are no longer just a girl’s best friend. Some jewelry designers now offer male engagement rings. Maybe it’s a way of "marking" your man, but we’d rather just trust the guy — and save the cash for the honeymoon.
So, uh... why the fuck doesn't he trust me?

I don't think engagement rings are meant as enforcement devices anyway. I always saw them more as symbols of a commitment--a commitment you're both making. If either of you wants to "mark" the other or wonder whether they "trust" them, you're nowhere near ready to get married, kids.

Why Bad Sex Is Shortening Your Life
This article is Cosmo Science at its finest. Even the title is stupid; the content is about the health benefits of orgasms. It doesn't follow that not orgasming is bad for you, nor that an orgasm is the determinant of good sex.

Research shows that men who have two or more orgasms a week live longer than do guys who have fewer than that. And while female orgasms haven’t yet been studied separately, another study shows that women who report enjoying intercourse live longer than do women who reported less pleasure in sex.
I wonder how this could possibly be corrected for the fact that people in worse health have fewer orgasms and less pleasure in sex. Someone with robust circulation and energy and sensation is going to have better sex, but that doesn't mean you can screw yourself healthy when you've got underlying problems.

In a study of 3,500 people, those who were rated to look 7 to 12 years younger than they they nearly always achieve orgasm alone, while less than half say that holds true during sex with a partner.

50 Sexy Ways to Touch Him There
"Touch him on the penis!"

3. Take his penis between your open palms and, using your hands like ping-pong paddles, very lightly bat it back and forth. The quick touches feel invigorating and increase circulation to the surface of the skin.
Okay, I don't have a penis, so I don't know these things, but I'm pretty sure that "like ping-pong paddles" can't possibly be a good thing.

16. Play with very light pinching on his scrotal skin in the area where the base of the shaft meets the testicles. Warning: just the skin — not the jewels!
Oh man, I just crossed my legs.

20. Rub the flat sides of your fingernails (not the edges!) against his scrotum to give him a different sensation. They are harder and smoother and feel a little cooler than your fingertips.
You know how if you rub alcohol on your hands you'll learn real quickly whether you have any little cuts you didn't notice before? This seems a lot like that, only for hangnails.

First-Date Red Flags
"I'm between jobs." - Don't let a line like this get lost in translation. When a dude feeds you this one, what he's really trying to say is "I have no friggin' clue what I want to do with my life." [...] Warning: This guy's mom still does his laundry, and there's a good chance you're springing for dinner.
No. This is just a straight up euphemism for unemployed. Whether you're okay with that is your decision, but it's not some line and it doesn't mean he's hopeless. He may be a drifting slacker, or he may have just gotten laid off.

"I never move this fast on the first date." - Yeah, right! Truth be told: He can't believe you're letting him move that fast. [...] Bottom line: If you hand a guy a piece of ass on a silver platter, he's going to take it.
Letting him? Handing him a piece of ass? Listen, Cosmo, I'm going to get just as much out of this as he is. How can a magazine that blathers so much about orgasms suddenly turn around and act like sex is some big favor I'm doing him?

Sexy Sprinkler
You really have to look at the picture for this one. It's amazing.

Save this position for a day (or night) when you two have the backyard to yourselves. Stand beside a soft-spraying sprinkler and bend over so the water hits your genitals. [...]The sprinkler provides the same kind of clitoral stimulation as a handheld nozzle (see The Rub-a-Dub). And the aroma of wet grass boosts your sense of smell, making this a supersensory experience. COSMO HINT: Instead of keeping the sprinkler on the stationary setting, switch it to rotate so you get a bliss-inducing blast all over your body.
Just one question, Cosmo. (Actually several, including what kind of sprinkler sprays up at that angle, and whether there'll be any pressure at all left in the stream by the time it gets up to crotch height, and whether the position as drawn requires me to be seven feet tall. But anyway.)

Isn't sprinkler water really, really, really cold?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Leaving Home.

Today I went to the town I grew up in. I moved there when I was ten and it was home, or at least the family home, until a year ago. There's nothing there for me now. None of my friends still live there, the house is sold, the stores have all changed and the people look at me like I don't belong there. Which I don't; downtown Bellevue's gotten real rich lately, rich in a shallow and nasty way, and what I remember as an ordinary suburb with a smoothie shop and a drugstore has become a valet-parking-designer-outlet nightmare, a Jimmy Choo stiletto stamping on a human face, forever.

But I went to the park I used to go to as a kid, to Mercer Slough, and that was the same. Swampy, empty, quiet. Cattails and blackberries, ducks and herons. The little canoe dock I played on when I was ten years old was right there waiting for me. I had to be the one to leave it.

There's less than two months left now. Everything I do in Washington is starting to have "maybe for the last time" appended to it. That might have been the last time that I'll sit on that little dock. And I don't know exactly why I'm leaving. I like Tommy, but I'm not moving for him. I have good memories of Massachusetts, but they're really old ones. I very nearly threw a dart at a map.

I'm starting to get afraid. I have a nice apartment here, some good friends, a steady job that doesn't suck, I know my way around town. When I get to Boston I'll be lost and broke, I'll be couch-surfing and filling out job applications. Things could get screwed up. If I can't get a job, if I can only get a horrible minimum-wage job, if the apartments are too expensive or have horrifying roommates, if I spend every Friday night alone, if I don't know how to get around or what to do--I'll be a long way from home.

Except that I don't have a home. I have a rental that's ending in two months anyway. I have no possessions of note, no love of my life, no serious career, no children, no family here. I have history in Washington, but I don't have roots.

And that's the real reason I'm moving. Simply because I can. I'm going to get stuck somewhere (I hope), so I might as well see a little more of the world while I can. Life in Washington isn't bad, but I don't want it to be my whole life. Doing something for the last time makes me sad--but less sad, in the long run, than doing the same things over and over. In a new city there will be so many first times.

I can't tell myself that everything in Boston will be better, I can't tell myself that a new start will be easy or that I won't make mistakes, but it will be different. I'm ready for that.

There's a quiet little dock somewhere in Massachusetts, just waiting for me.

Friday, January 1, 2010

The Life of An Underpants Photo.

Today I took a photo of myself in my undies. That's the easy part, whether you're an amateur camwhore or a zillionare Evil Patriachial Media Overlord.

(Note: I am not a professional Photoshoppeur, and these examples will not be as polished as the EPMOs' plastic women. Also I don't have access to quality lighting/wardrobe/backdrops/cameras/models/etc., so my raw material is rough as hell. But I think these pictures can still serve as a basic example of what a difference software makes.)

This is the original photo with no alteration except resizing and de-face-ification.

Step One

Here's the level of modification I'd feel okay posting on the Pervocracy - I tweaked the colors, cropped and blurred the random junk in the background, and made my skin a bit smoother, but it's still basically me. It's a little vain but I wouldn't consider it dishonest.

Step Two

Okay, so the model isn't green and lumpy anymore, but she's still... you know. Not exactly ideal. At this level we're still using only the original photo, we're not importing Mary-Kate Olsen's ribcage, but we can put a little polish on her. She'll still be a "plus-size" case, but much less objectionable. This is still much less modification than your average magazine ad.

Step Three

Let's face it, Three looks a little silly, because there's only so much you can do with the original pixels. The distortions get obvious (the underwear styles look funny now), and there's some defects that cannot be easily removed. If this photo was theoretically "editorial" content I'd start to have some guilt at this point, but if it was purely "artistic" or advertising I'd have absolutely no problem grafting in better parts as needed. The perfect woman is not some gestalt, she's the perfect rack plus the perfect ass plus the perfect tummy, and I have no problem using a different woman for each of those if that provides the most perfection.

Step Four

Okay, so it's an unholy Frankensteinian abomination and still kinda stocky. (Mostly for lack of time.) But it's a sexy Frankensteinian abomination. A FAILF. And the part that creeps me out is that when I was turning myself into this ludicrous "ideal woman" made of four people and the Liquefy tool, I never had to question which direction I should go in to be more "ideal." I didn't have to look up reference photos or consult the breed standards; I knew, instinctually, exactly what about my body "needed" to be changed.

It's as if "woman" is a Platonic solid, every angle mathematically known, and any deviation is not an aesthetic difference, not a natural variation, but an error.

Oh, not in real life. Plenty of guys have met Step One and liked her just fine. But here's the weird part--those guys and their preferences are just as underrepresented in the media as I am. A man who thinks that fat/short/small-boobed/etc. women are sexy is going to be pretty hard up for a beer ad that caters to his preferences. This goes beyond sexism and straight into just weird.