Discipline and Recovery

There is no way to say this in a way that doesn’t sound shameful. But I am an addict. To what you may ask? Well, it’s not to anything substance related. My weakness is for social media. The almost drug-like high feeling of seeing my followers retweet my work, the fun interactions, the browsing of media content, all of it is a rush for me. Heroin doesn’t hold a candle to the instant gratification of penning a tweet that gets likes. Seeing my blog do well gets me jazzed to the point of distraction. And I should be happy! But unfortunately, this gets in the way of the real crisis. As someone currently unemployed (having just quit my waitressing job), social media has been kneecapping my dreams.

By putting all my energy into my online presence, my real life situation has stagnated. I haven’t studied like I should for the tests I claim to want to take. My application for jobs lately is admittedly half-assed, wanting to just send in my resume without putting in the extra ten minutes to make it appealing to the actual employer. I can explain in part, that social media is something I’m good at and my deep fear of failure is crippling me. But of course, that just leaves the ugly solution staring me in the face. If not quitting cold turkey then at the very least highly structuring my online activity such that it doesn’t ever encroach upon my real life ambitions to such a degree ever again.

Social media is addictive to people like me. And when I say people like me, I mean people with executive dysfunction/ADD. A lot of bloggers struggle with mental illness, and I’m not any different. My struggle is one of self control, anxiety and maladaptive coping. I cope with my feelings of inadequacy and fear badly. Sometimes I get into funks where I don’t eat and don’t buy groceries because I feel stuck in my own brain. And the way I’ve been coping with this illness until now has been harmful to me and to the people who believe in me. And so something will have to change.

I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t painful to write this. As I think of it now, I’m ashamed to show anyone these words. It’s tempting to hide this post in a journal entry and forget about it. But I need to make a stand here and now to tell not just myself, but everyone that I’m going to discipline myself and recover. That I’m going to get my life on track and seriously pursue my ambitions and once again commit to putting in the hard work.

So what does this mean for this blog? Is this a fiery declaration of imminent shut down? Well no. I still believe this blog is important. It’s brought me into a wonderful world that I honestly believe has made me a better person. What it will mean is that I’ll be taking a much more structured and scheduled approach. I’ll be less active on my Twitter, being reachable there for just a portion of the day. I’ll set boundaries and deadlines and work on them in a way befitting of a professional. In short, this is not the end, merely a restructuring for the benefit of myself and others.

There is one note of brightness. I know I can do this. I have the most supportive friends and family I know. My partner loves me deeply and will help me get through this. I’m going to get better. For everyone who believes in me. My parents, my partner, and my friends all want me to succeed, and I haven’t been worthy of that support. Not yet anyway. But I will be working to be worthy of these people.

How to manage your anxiety and have better sex

I know I might not look it, but I am an anxious person. I worry constantly about my status as a non-employed person being supported and about several other existential worries. And yes, for a long while I worried about sex. But over the years, I’ve slowly learned ways to manage the nagging fears and worries in the sexual arena, and it’s made all the difference. This is intended to be a comprehensive guide to conquering all of your insecurities, but are some tips to get you started. And so without further ado: how to manage your anxiety and have better sex.

  1. Get on a reliable birth control method. If you’ve got a vagina and ovaries, there’s a lot of fantastic options out there. Personally, I would advocate for the IUD if your insurance covers it and you can tolerate slightly more painful menstrual cramps that the procedure feels like. But if that’s not your style, other options include the pill, the ring, the implant, and the Depo-shot. If you’ve got a penis, sadly there are far fewer options for controlling your fertility. The best I can offer you is condoms unless you’d like to get a vasectomy.
  2. Get an STI test. Most health clinics will offer one and most insurance covers it. This is basic sexual health and I understand that it may be incredibly nerve wracking to go into a clinic, but you shouldn’t encounter anything other than routine tests. They may take blood, do a vaginal swab, and may take a urine sample. It’s a little inconvenient, but having test results to look at will alleviate a lot of gnawing fears. And being tested in advance makes it easy to ask your partner or partners to get tested as well since you’ve gone ahead.
  3. Have pregnancy tests on hand/emergency contraception on hand. If there’s a possibility you or your partners could get pregnant, having a test handily available will make it much easier for the pair of you to learn your results and then make decisions from there. Emergency contraception (the pill kind) is also extremely valuable, as having it handily available will kneecap a lot of pregnancy anxiety. It’s no substitute for regular birth control, but if your regular methods should fail, then this is vital. Plan B has a four year shelf life, so you don’t have to use it right away for it to be effective. It can be ordered online now, so make sure you’ve got something on hand before you have sex to prevent these sorts of fears.
  4. Negotiate in advance what you want to do. This can be as simple as you like. But honestly telling your partner what you’re into and what acts are on or off the table is a good way to start.

These are the beginner tips. Once you’ve got these settled, here are a few more specific ones to make your sex life that much better:

  1. Light the room. Having a softly lit room can do wonders for the ambience and will cast you in your best light. If you overhead light leaves something to be desired, consider some fairy lights or a standing lamp to cast your room in a warm glow.
  2. Wear your good luck accessories. Not everyone has access to perfectly tailored lingerie or fetishwear. But a pair of bondage rope earrings? Rocking that accessory is not only cute but gives your partner a sorta subtle clue about what you’re into. If that seems too daring, pick anything that makes you feel sensual and beautiful.
  3. Fish for a compliment or two. Listen, we all want to feel attractive and appreciated. While you shouldn’t pester your potential partner with questions about your own attractiveness, asking for a little feedback is normal and will boost your self esteem.
  4. Journal about your worst fear. Once you’ve got your fear on the page, you can properly address it. Maybe you’ll see it’s something irrational, like your partner being a murderous serial killer. Or maybe it’s more rational, like you’re worried about a particular scar. Either way, now that you’ve got it on paper, you can address it and formulate a way to communicate it to your partner.
  5. Take a deep breath and think about your best feature. If you’re plagued by anxiety with how your body looks, consider that this person likely wouldn’t have accepted your invitation to sleep with you if they didn’t find you attractive. And also? Mostly, people have what you expect under their clothes. There will be genitals, shaved or hairy or some stage in between. There will be cellulite, scars, freckles and birthmarks. They have all these things, just like you. And they probably don’t care about yours.
  6. Exercise. Now I don’t mean in the lose weight sense. I mean in the ‘get your blood flowing and your endorphins going sense’. Exercise often makes people feel more positive and upbeat. Whatever this looks like for you is excellent. Maybe you go up and down some stairs or walk around the block a few times. Maybe you bust out a couple squats. Whatever it is, a little light exercise will help you feel more confident.
  7. Know that you’re valuable and worthy even if the encounter isn’t magical. This one is hard. If something goes wrong, it’s very easy to get very down on yourself. Please don’t. Not being able to make someone come or having a a lackluster experience in bed is normal and not something you need to beat yourself about. If you listened to your partner, respected their boundaries, and had consensual sex then you did your best. Encounters can go wrong for all kinds of reasons, and some may not have anything to do with you.

As I said, this isn’t a comprehensive guide. But as someone who used to agonize over sex and what could happen, following these kinds of guidelines has helped me to have much more pleasurable encounters that don’t have anxiety buzzing in the back of my head. So go forth and have fun!

Halloween Watch 2018

It’s Halloween, and therefore it is time to bust out your movie snack of choice and dig in to some horror movies. Earlier I spoke with Lust Arts about collaborating on a Halloween Movie Watch List, and to my delight, they were up for such a collaboration! Here’s our list of recommended horror movies:

All of these are excellent horror and action films, and if you were ever in need of something to watch this Halloween, Lust Arts and I have got you covered!

Visions of The Future 10/13

Currently I’m away visiting my family, so my review work is being put on hold. But I’ve been wanting to update you with what you can expect from my blog the rest of October! There’s going to be some very varied content!

This is a plug I received from the absolutely DARLING Peepshow Toys. It features a beaded design that I have quite a few thoughts about. That’ll be this October.

This is my first dual density dildo that I ever purchased. It’s long, straightish and has the strongest suction cup of all my toys.

I started lusting after an acrylic paddle after Girly Juice raved about hers. While her particular paddle isn’t available anymore, Ethos Leather makes an absolutely GORGEOUS paddle that I purchased for myself and I’m excited to review.

  • Kinktober Erotica

I’ve been keeping up with Kinktober in my journal and I’ve written some pretty raunchy pieces. After running a poll on Twitter, apparently some of you are interested in seeing what gets my motor revved. So expect to see a few of those!

  • A Horror Move Playlist

The product of Lust Arts and yours truly coming up with a quintessential Halloween watching experience! GOTTA LOVE A DILDO MAKER WHO KNOWS THEIR FILMS.

  • Pretty in Pink, Better in Butch

A personal piece dealing with how I experience femininity and my constant conflict with it.

Marco is a VISIONARY ARTIST and a damned good dongmonger. These were a delight to receive and I’m pretty excited to share about em!

Hopefully I’ll surprise myself with even more posts, but these are my plans as of now! Happy haunting y’all.

My First Full-Sized Wand: An experience and a review

I have never owned a full sized, plug-in wand vibrator until this year. And funnily enough, my first plug in wasn’t the legendary Magic Wand, or Hitachi as it’s known by by its diehard fans. No, mine is the tokidoki x Lovehoney Unicorn Multispeed Massage Wand Vibrator I snagged when Super Smash Cache was throwing out toys. I felt really lucky to be able to rescue it from the trash, because now I finally get the hype behind full-size wands. I won’t say it’s my favorite vibrator, but I will say that I have not unplugged it for several days. This is a vibrator that is as cute as it is powerful and I’ve come to adore mine.

PUNK JACKET AND VIBE 100718
My vibrator and jean jacket. Both are symbols of living life on my terms.

The tokidoki line is all extremely adorable. These are vibrators that say ‘I had a Hot Topic phase in my youth’ with their adorable unicorn wands that come in varieties such as: Punk, Goth, and Prep. I had a Hot Topic phase, but I could never convince my parents to let me dye my hair teal, wear black filmy shirts or wear black lipstick. So instead as 22 year old adult, I snag a punk unicorn vibrator and have orgasms with it. 16 year old Liz would be proud.

The vibrator is big, over thirteen inches long and it’s HEAVY. I don’t know how heavy, but enough to surprise me when I use it for longer than a few minutes. I typically rest mine against my thigh in such a way so that my wrist doesn’t bear the full weight. Part of what distinguishes this vibrator is that it doesn’t have set speed settings, it has a scrolling wheel I can use to adjust the intensity by minute gradations if I so choose. This has been invaluable when I want just a little more for that final push towards orgasm. Sometimes jumping from the medium setting of a vibrator to the high one can be jarring, but the scroll wheel takes care of this problem neatly. The other thing that sets this vibrator apart is the adorable punk unicorn silicone cap.  This cap is more than just cute, it has a surprisingly excellent functionality: it funnels those powerful vibrations into a point that I can dig into my clit. And I do! Mine is a clit that has always enjoyed pressure, and this lets me put pressure exactly where I want it.

I’ve been using this vibrator continuously since I got it and it hasn’t failed to get me off yet. It has always been strong enough, and with my libido waking up this October, it’s seen quite a bit of use. But that’s not to say there haven’t been downsides for the wand. The noise level is something else. Other vibrators simply don’t compare to the blender like noises of the wand and it invariably makes me self conscious when my roommates are home. Secondly, the heaviness of the vibrator makes it an exercise in endurance when jacking off. And lastly, these are strong vibrations, but these are very, very buzzy. At times it can be overpowering and numbing. Some days the top speed feels like it wants to sand off my genitals and is the furthest things from pleasurable. So while it’s enjoyable, it’s not something I’m always up for.

For a long time I doubted wands. I know I’m on the more sensitive end so I eschewed them for most of my masturbatory life. But now, I think I’m finally starting to get it. With my entering the reviewer world, I’m hopeful I’ll get to try more wand vibrators. But this punk unicorn vibrator is near and dear to my heart, because it lets me have my Hot Topic phase now. Except with more orgasms.

Hey! If you want more content like mine, Super Smash Cache’s blog is a fantastic place to get more reviews and writing. She didn’t sponsor me, I just think she’s great.

What to watch out for: Toxic Toys

“You get what you pay for,” is an adage that I have heard since I was old enough to have memories. Most often I heard it when I attempted to get something cheap that broke when I should’ve gotten something more expensive that would’ve lasted as long as I needed it. If you’ve ever met me in person, then you know I often get wound up about people buying toxic sex toys just because they’re cheap. But since you probably haven’t met me, I’ll go ahead and tell you that nothing upsets me quite as much as any sex toy made of materials that are unsafe. Unsafe materials include (but aren’t limited to):

  • PVC
  • Jelly
  • “Skin Safe” rubber
  • Latex (fine for condoms, they’re one use)
  • Cyberskin/Fantaflesh/Other proprietary TPE/TPR blends
  • TPE and TPR.

What makes these unsafe or toxic toy materials? Well the first thing to note is that all these materials are porous, meaning that they’re all going to hold onto bacteria from use and can harbor viruses, mold and fungi. This happens due to the fact that after you use your toy, you can’t clean the microscopic pores of the toy where bacteria have made a home. No anti bacterial toy cleaner will help, as this will still only clean the surface of your toy and not penetrate the pores. Since you can’t clean it, bacteria, mold and other nasties will have free reign to grow in your toy while you store it. This means when you go to use your toy again, you risk giving yourself an illness or infection from the bacteria you reintroduce into your body. This can lead to chronic yeast infections, UTIs and potentially STIs if shared with someone who was positive for an STI.

In addition to this porous nature, these materials are also subject to a host of other problems: unstable material, potential for having pthalates in the material, and toxicity of the material. Unstable materials are bad for a variety of a reasons. These toys will “sweat” meaning they might leach oil or melt under certain conditions. Two toys in an unstable material will react with each other and might melt into each other. If they’re reacting to each other this way and degrading day by day simply by existing, what these toys are doing in the human body is a horrible thing to consider. In both the anus and the vagina, there are mucus membranes and susceptible ecosystems. Subjecting either to the toxic toys and you could very easily upset this delicate ecosystems. Further more, these unstable materials have the potential to have a nasty chemical reaction inside your body. With this in mind, these toys are best avoided.

What are some safe materials then? Well, there are plenty! They include:

  • Silicone
  • Glass (borosilicate or soda lime)
  • Wood (properly sealed)
  • Stone (properly sealed)
  • Ceramic (with the correct glaze)
  • ABS Plastic
  • Stainless Steel

All of these materials are non-porous and non-toxic. They can be sanitized by boiling (if not a vibrator) or being spritzed with a ten percent bleach solution and then rinsed thoroughly. These materials will not degrade over time, are not able to hold onto bacteria, are sterilizable, waterproof and overall the most hygienic and body-safe options for toy materials.

These body-safe toys range in price, and so almost anyone can find a toy at a price point they can afford. SheVibe possesses a range of stock where you can find inexpensive toy options by searching from low to high pricing. Also, both Funkit Toys and Uberrime have put out new lines of affordable body-safe dildos which look great for people looking for their first dildo.

If you’re curious about sex toy material and safety, I’ve provided a little extra reading here below:

Dangerous Lilly’s Platinum Silicone Myths

Dangerous Lilly’s Toxic Toy Guide

Epiphora – Your Genitals Deserve Better

Now armed with some basic knowledge of what to watch out for, you’ll have a much better time in purchasing and using sex toys. So go forth and buy toys!

Warming Up: Part One on Foreplay

Something that’s been on my mind lately has been foreplay. Not just because I’m a particularly libidinous individual, but also because I’ve had someone ask me about it. I wanted to write something like a guide for properly going about foreplay, but I thought it would be important to first define what it is (at least, what I think it is) and why it’s important. So consider this a part one in my writing about foreplay, because while I think having some solid actionable tips are fun, having a better understanding of what it is and why it’s important first will make those tips more useful by putting them in context.

The definition of foreplay that I’ll be using runs something like this: ‘The sexual or sensual acts leading up to/warming up for the primary sexual event.’ This is admittedly a broad definition and I’m sure a lot of people would have fun with pointing out that many things which are not traditionally considered foreplay would fall into that category. Nonetheless, I think it’s worthwhile to have a definition like this, which allows for a wide variety of sexual acts to be considered the main sexual event. This definition also doesn’t put penetration at the center of sexual encounters, making it a more useful term for those people who, for a variety of reasons, cannot or will not have penetrative sex.

Now that I’ve got my definition down, why is foreplay important? There are a few reasons, some of which are mental and some of which are physical. For the physical side, foreplay provides a time and space for people to get ready for the main sexual event. In the same way that athletes stretch and warm up their bodies for their athletic event, the participants in the sexual encounter also need to be warmed up. Physical arousal takes time for any person, and going through gentler preparation can help for a more physically intensive event. For cis women about to have penetrative sex, foreplay might include oral sex or fingering so that they can become aroused enough. For cis men, foreplay might also include oral sex, as well as things like fingering or kissing. By engaging in foreplay, people become physically aroused enough to go on to their main event, whatever it might.

Foreplay also has a mental component in addition to people being physically warmed up enough. During the time people engage in foreplay, they can also ask questions about how they’d like the main encounter to go. The participants involved might have already discussed what it is that they want to do, communication every step of the way is important, especially when approaching the actual act. These warm up acts also allow the parties to get into a good mindset for whatever it is that they plan on doing. It might seem frivolous that someone might need warm up for something such as an evening of missionary sex or oral, but the truth is that it’s important for everyone involved to be ready for how performing these acts will feel physically and emotionally.

Questions about foreplay are everywhere. How much is enough? What counts as foreplay and what counts as sex? The answer is pretty frustrating: It’s up to you and your partner or partners. If you decide that a blowjob is the main event and everything up to it is foreplay, then that’s your decision. Similarly, if you decide that ten minutes is enough foreplay for penetrative sex, that’s also your decision. Some people really don’t need much to get ready while others need a slower, longer session to be able to get into it. It’s frustrating to be told nothing is certain, I understand that. But I’m afraid that’s a part of the human experience. I could say 20 minutes is the minimum amount of foreplay, but it would be arbitrary and not true for a lot of people who need more time or for people who find that they’re more than ready with just under ten minutes. The most important thing here is to communicate with whomever you’re with and asking if they’re ready to move on to whatever you’ve decided to do next. If you’re communicating honestly and openly with your partner, foreplay should be a fun and sexy way to get ready for whatever your main event is.