Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Why have sex?

Rowdy and I had another little relationship summit last night.  We're trying to make it a monthly thing.  It's quickly gone from "well, that's a little silly, we can talk whenever something comes up" to "oh my God I'm so glad we have a designated time to air everything out."  Doing it once a month also means that the airing-outs are relatively small; with only a month of conflict backlog, there's no big "here's everything about you that bothers me, all at once" emotion-dump.

We had two important discussions at this meeting.  (Well, two that are any of your business.)

The first one went a little like this:

"I feel like we're not having as much sex as I'd like lately."
"Yeah, me too, I'd like to have a lot more sex."
"Really? I haven't been initiating because I thought you weren't interested and I didn't want to pressure you!"
"...I wasn't initiating because I thought you weren't interested and I didn't want to pressure you!"

So that was nice to clear up before our little sexual "who's on first" turned tragic.

The second big discussion came when I whipped out my kink worksheet for us to do together. Again, it seemed a little silly, considering we've been together a year and a half.  And again... turns out we've been together a year and a half and there were still things we didn't know about each other's sexuality.

The most interesting one had very little to do with kink.  Rowdy and I found out that we have sex for completely different reasons.

The question of "why do you want to have sex?"* sometimes sounds silly--because you've got a sex drive, right?  Hormones and stuff.  And because you're attracted to your partner and hopefully like them at least a little. Emotions and stuff.

It sounds self-evident, but when you start asking "okay, so why do you want to have sex, rather than just masturbate for the hormones and cuddle for the emotions?", it gets complicated fast.  And it gets diverse.

In my case, it's about escapism.  I'm a person who spends a lot of time in my head, criticizing and analyzing, and I love something that yanks me out of my head into my body, puts me in the here and now, narrows my focus to nothing but sensation.  For Rowdy, it's about pleasing.  He's very much of a service top and even something of a service fucker--he wants to see me come more than he wants to come.

And for me it's also a little bit about validation--about knowing someone finds me sexy, holy shit, sexy enough to actually fuck, whoa.  (Somehow it's still a surprise.)  And for him it's also a little bit about sensation; a very specific sensation, the muscularity of our play and sex, the whumph of muscle on muscle, the dull thudding impact of fucking.

The sex we had after this little meeting was amazing.  It went whumph and it drove me out of my mind.

So I think "why do you want to have sex?" is a good question to ask your partner and yourself.  When you treat it like a foregone conclusion then it's harder to know exactly what you want out of sex.  When you think "I want it for the usual reasons" it's too easy to have what you assume is the usual sex--instead of your sex.

Plus I just think it's sort of funny: when I tell someone (outside Kinkland) I like to get punched and flogged and thrown around like a ragdoll and kicked in the crotch, the first and most obvious question is "why? what's in that for you?"  But when I tell them I like to have a penis in my vagina, nobody thinks to ask.

Why not?

*All this is assuming that you do want to have sex.  Which shouldn't be a foregone conclusion either.  There's also a universe of reasons to not want sex.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Cosmocking! April '12! Part Two!

Okay, let's get this out of the way so I can write real posts again.  My jaw is finally healing (it seriously was horrible for a while there, I had wounds going down to visible bone in my mouth) and I got no excuse.

Cosmo's idea of "If Men Edited Cosmo." They don't think much of men I guess.
Do Women Wrestlers Know Something We Don't?
...How to wrestle?

(This turns out to just be a bunch of bad metaphors about how you should "never let your guard down" and "roll with the punches" and I think these are actually boxing concepts but whatever.)
You are out with pals and want the last bar stool but the chick in the adjacent chair has her purse hanging off it. Don't ask to sit there--it implies you think you're doing something wrong. Just take the seat.  She'll get the hint to grab her stuff.
Or there's someone sitting there!  For a magazine that tries to project an ultra-sophisticated, master-manipulator facade, Cosmo can be pretty dense about basic human interactions.  Anyway I'm pretty unclear on what happens if I "imply I think I'm doing something wrong."  Total ostracism from human society?
The Crazy Thing My Gyno Said to Me
This is a genuinely disturbing article.  It's a mix of the merely goofy:
"My gyno used a mirror to show me my cervix, which she called my 'pink doughnut.' Gross!"
And the completely inappropriate and borderline criminal:
"While doing an exam, my OB-gyn, his face closer to my hoo-ha than it needed to be, told me how beautifully groomed I was, then patted my butt.  I was so floored, I just mumbled 'thank you' and prayed for the exam to be over."
The upsetting thing is that Cosmo doesn't make any distinction between the two, nor any suggestion that the latter is something that you can take up with the doctor's employer or the state licensing board.  It's just another wacky hijink!  Just another thing that you're expected to put up with and shrug off.  The concept that sometimes shit is wrong and dangerous only exists in the "very special socially aware story of the month" section of Cosmo, and absolutely nowhere else.  Everywhere else, sexual harassment is a hijink.
My guy is small down below but gets really big when he has an erection.  Is this normal?
Yeah, it's called an erection.

The weirder part here, though, is the question of "normal."  I mean, clearly this isn't the symptom of a disease or some horrific genetic defect.  So does it really matter in some big anxiety-provoking way whether "small but gets big" is a common way for penises to be?  Unless you were considering whether to submit him to Ripley's Believe It Or Not, I guess.  Then you definitely want to do some research beforehand.

There wasn't much bad sex advice in this issue.  Cosmo, I am disappointed.  When you don't give me bad sex advice, I'm left with nothing but sexism and social buffoonery.  It gets depressing!  At least tell me something amusing I could do to testicles.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Cosmocking: April '12! Part One!

It's that time again.  (And it's totally Tuesday, just like I promised.  Shhh.)  Thanks to Rowdy and Star for co-Cosmocking!

White cover! Megan Fox! Bizarre giraffe neck pointing a whole different direction than her head, as per Cosmo standard practices!  "Megan Fox: Naughty or Nice? You Decide..." Cosmo, I don't know her!  "What He Wants to See During Sex!" I thought the answer was "a naked person" but it turns out the Cosmo answer is "his own penis"!  Too bad, because having sex can make it really hard to see your penis!
[in the letters section] Wow, the February story "Deadly Decisions: How Smart Women Put Themselves at Risk" opened my eyes. No way will I be heading home alone at night anymore."
Well, that's going to be pretty goddamn inconvenient.  I mean, if you go out with female friends, I guess the last two friends have to have a sleepover so neither of them goes home alone?  And if you go out with a man you have to commit to letting him take you home?  (Which, to take a brief real-world-break here, puts you at far greater risk than walking home alone.)  And if you go out alone that's just unthinkable because woman?

...And if your friends all leave before you then I guess you have to sleep at the bar.
The Naughtiest Thing I've Ever Done: "I hacked his email and then hooked up with his friend"
Cosmo always runs these "Naughtiest Thing" stories and they're always incredibly fucked up.  The one last month was about a girl gaslighting her roommate by secretly moving the roommate's car to illegal spots.  And this month it's about a girl who steals her boyfriend's password (like you do) and finds out that he's cheating on her, so she books a plane flight to the guy's long-distance-best-friend to fuck him.  Without telling the best friend.  I don't mean without telling him about the cheating, I mean without telling him anything.  Her first contact with the guy is a text from the airport:
"I've got the lace panties covered. You might want to pick up some condoms this weekend."
Fortunately, in Cosmoland all men are both indiscriminately horny and mildly psychic, so of course they have  awesome wild revenge-sex, instead of him texting back "I think you sent this to the wrong number. o.0"
Researchers found that the vibration of women's voices are more complex for men to hear, so dudes end up using the part of the brain that interprets music. Translation: You have to be direct, since he may be at a biological disadvantage when it comes to listening--and processing--what you say.
[incomprehensible high-pitched lady noises]

[listening closely, you can make out a strange warbling tune that sounds oddly like the words "FUCK YOU."]
[signs your friend-with-benefits wants to date you:] He lingers in bed postbooty for cuddle time. If he's only in it for the s-e-x, he'll nearly leap off the mattress when you're finished.  Sticking around shows he's into you for more than your bod.
Okay, I get that there are some people who just don't enjoy cuddling, but not cuddling because you think it'll mean you're getting attached? Actually kind of a giant dick move. Guys who spend the entire time trying to keep you at arm's length and protesting "BUT I'M NOT YOUR BOYFRIEND" make terrible fuckbuddies.  If you don't have the maturity to trust that your "this is just sex, kay?" negotiations were real and that women aren't all secretly trying to entrap men in their relationship-tentacles, you don't have the maturity to be a fuckbuddy.

Friends with benefits are supposed to be "friends with benefits," not "strangers with body parts."
Girlie Stuff Guys Don't Get
This feature is amazing, because it's not so much misogynistic as just... strangely unfamiliar with basic Earth activities.
Long baths: Lying in a lukewarm tub of your own filth? No thanks.
Bed skirts: Your mattress doesn't need cute clothes.
Emoticons in texts: Typing eight frowny faces after telling us you're running late doesn't make us think you're really sorry. It makes us think you're an emotional wreck.
And so on.  Other impossibly girly things he doesn't get: brunch, tote bags, space heaters, bobby pins, phone cases. I've seen a million "ha ha, frivolous feminine things" articles, but this is the first one to just start naming random household objects and activities.  He's overdoing his misogyny so hard he accidentally overshot women and hit the entire human race.

...Which is a pretty good description of Cosmo in general.

But wait... there's more!  Unfortunately.  But I have an anatomy midterm so I'll finish this later.
(Anatomy: Come on ladies, having body parts? Really? Grow up!)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Brief hiatus.

Why haven't I posted this week?

Because this:
I had two badly infected teeth pulled on Monday, and well, without getting graphic, it has not been a smooth recovery.  I've spent the week in a state alternating between Vicodin haze and "oh God I don't want to have a mouth any more."

I'll try and have new content up by Tuesday at the latest.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Five Things You Might Not Know About Contraception.

Contraception's been in the news lately.  Which is so weird.  I mean, it's the 21st century!  We have iPhones and robotic surgery and Roombas and Segways!  How is this even a thing?

In a sense, it's not.  The real issue is "will religious organizations be required to include free contraception in their healthcare plans?" which while still an important issue, isn't at all the same thing as "should contraception even exist?"  And yet it seems to have drawn all the creeps who want to yell "contraception shouldn't exist because SLUTS!" out of the woodwork anyway.

I don't want to expound too much on how I feel about this, because I think it's pretty obvious where I stand.  You think I'm going to spring the anti-birth-control stance on you here?  Seriously.

So instead, I'm going to expound on some relatively little-known, and hopefully useful, facts about birth control.

1. You can use regular birth control pills as an emergency contraceptive.
If you have access to birth control pills but not Plan B, you can take extra pills to prevent pregnancy after having unprotected sex.  Here's a table of the correct dosages.  This is not an abortion method and won't stop an implanted pregnancy, but it's effective for more than just the "morning after"--although sooner is better, emergency contraception can work up to five days after unprotected sex.  (It also doesn't appear to cause any birth defects, so if it doesn't work, keeping the pregnancy and having a healthy child is still an option.)

2. You're probably paying too much for condoms.
Drugstore prices are highway robbery.  (Or at least highway rubbery.)  $15 for a package of 12?  Maybe $10 for the crappy brand?  Yep, still cheaper than diapers, but you can do way better than that.

If you have a credit card and a mailing address, you can buy a giant bag of 100 for less than $19 here.  I can personally vouch for that brand being reliable and comfortable on the vagina side, and I've gotten good reports on the comfort for the penis side.  I can't vouch for these, but they're even cheaper--under $14 for 100.  At that price, you can afford to have sex and make ballon animals.

3. "Pulling out" works better than you think.
Withdrawal has a bad reputation; most people think it's more of a bad joke than a birth control method.  But actually, if it's done correctly, it works better than a sponge or a diaphragm.  Interruptusing your coitus is 96% effective over the course of a year--if you do it right.

That's the catch, though.  Pulling out is trustworthy; penises often are not.  And if you have an "oh oh OHHHHH oh shit" moment, or if there's residual sperm in the urethra, your risk of pregnancy goes up to 27% over the course of a year.  (You can remove residual sperm from your urethra by always peeing before sex and after any time you ejaculate.)  So I don't really recommend this method--except that it is by far the most effective method that requires no money, no drugs, no trips to the doctor or drugstore, no pre-planning.  All you need is your bodies (and some trust and ejaculatory control).  It's not the best birth control method, but it's the best one that you can do entirely on your own.

Note: I am not advising you to rely on withdrawal for contraception.  It is not a very good idea.  It provides no protection from STIs and 27% is not great odds. Condoms can be gotten for free or dirt cheap and they protect you from infection as well as being much more effective protection against pregnancy.

4. Spermicide is way, way, worse than you think.
The pregnancy rate (over a year) with typical use of spermicidal foam/jelly/film is 29%.  That's not great odds.  It's certainly better than nothing (85% risk), but it's worse than condoms (15% typical risk), worse than the pill (8% typical risk), worse than the rhythm method (25% typical risk), even slightly worse than pulling out!

Also, if you have a vagina, using spermicide can put your health at risk.  The most common spermicide is nonoxynol-9, which has been found to increase the risk of HIV, HPV, trichomonas, and vaginosis infections.  Sex workers are 50% more likely to contract HIV if they use nonoxynol-9.  And the reason is nasty--because it can cause ulcers to form in your vagina, which creates open wounds for infection to enter.

As pregnancy prevention, spermicide is crappy, but better than nothing; as infection prevention, spermicide is actually worse than nothing.

5. If you're on birth control pills, you don't get a period.
It certainly seems like you do, at least if you're on the 28-day-cycle kind of pill.  But the "period" you get between pill cycles is not a period at all--it's withdrawal bleeding from the change in hormone levels.  Unlike a true period, there's no uterine lining buildup and no egg in it.  It doesn't perform any cleaning or renewing function. It's just bleeding.

So why do pretty much all conventional (and the most affordable) birth control pills make you bleed every month, if it doesn't serve any purpose?  The answer pretty much comes down to "tradition."  "Normalcy."  I've heard claims it gives users "a sense of well-being," which is slightly hilarious.   Confirmation you're not pregnant--I guess that's nice-ish, but is it really worth a week's worth of cramps and stained underpants?  Ultimately, I might have to chalk this one up to "male doctors."

So calling Lybrel "the birth control where you don't have periods" isn't quite right.  Hormonal methods all stop you from getting a period.  Lybrel is really "the birth control where they don't make you bleed for no reason."