Posts Tagged ‘sexuality’

The More You Know… On Inclusivity and Sex Blogging

When I first started blogging, I had a lot to learn. Just in general. I was in my third year of university, and like most people in their third year of university, I thought I knew a lot of shit. I was totally wrong. Mostly, I was wrong about thinking I was a Libertarian, and in not understanding feminism or intersectionality.

When we talk about sex, it’s very often gendered, or at least sex-organs-based. As in, we talk about men as though they all have penises, women as though they all have vaginas, and the two of those as though they’re the only genders and are opposites. But there are people who identify all over the map, in terms of both gender and sexuality.

When we talk about dating, there’s often a lot of gendered advice. “Is it okay for a woman to ask a man out?” is a query that still gets a lot of hits, and a lot of the advice still addresses the question as though it were a reasonable fear. Why? Are we going to keep pandering to these ideas and these rules forever?

Clearly, things are changing. People are speaking up about why this makes them uncomfortable. Sometimes, these people are ridiculed, and even face violence. The language that we use on a daily basis can either reinforce the status quo, which some people find downright harmful to their personal wellbeing, or it can help things shift into a place where there’s greater safety for more people.

I’m sometimes very embarrassed by the things I used to say and the things I used to believe. I think that’s just a part of growing up and expanding your mind. I’m definitely not doing this perfectly, and I have no illusions about that. I’m straight, white, middle class, educated, cis-gendered (as in, I identify as a female and I was born/socialized as a female). There are spaces where I feel unsafe, but only because I’m a woman. I can’t imagine being a woman or a non-binary person with less privilege in those spaces. The toughness that some people I know have developed as a result of having to navigate unsafe spaces astounds me.

So, I hope that I can do better. I hope that by working in an emerging adult field, I can help make things better in the adult industry for people who don’t have the privileges that I have. I want to see the end of the days of sexist marketing and heteronormative ideals. It’s my goal to be part of the group moving forward instead of clinging to what benefits only people who are exactly like me. I hope that if I say something that’s hurtful or problematic going forward, someone will call me on it. I know that if they do, there’s a chance they won’t be “nice” but I won’t really necessarily deserve their niceness, you know?

Let’s Talk About Sex, Again

For two or three months, I sort of tried to be a “normal” blogger. Blogging about my life, my wedding, my move, my travels. It was sort of fun, but it wasn’t really… me.

When I think about the things that bring people to me, it’s overwhelmingly sex. From sex toys to sex positions to sexually transmitted diseases, if you made a word cloud of my day to day vernacular, sex-related terms would be both huge and plentiful. I just love talking about sex. Furthermore, the majority of search terms that lead people to this blog are sex or relationship related. So that’s what I’m going to get back to writing about, to bring you a marvelous sex life.

Even more good news: I have a box of goodies on its way, as well as 2 other toys that need to be reviewed. Since I’m now 1 week off The Pill, I can just feel those drives kicking in. So, do you have any topics you’d like me to cover?

 

It’s good to be back.

 

If you’re interested in keeping up with my travels, my (non sex toy related) photos, my dog, and anything else generally safe for work, please check out my Tumblr. It’s 100% safe for work and linked to my Instagram, so you know it’s gonna be full of Daphne goodness.

 

 

My Love/Hate Relationship with Hormonal Birth Control

For the past 9 years of my life, I’ve been on and off various forms of hormonal birth control. At 14, I was prescribed Yasmin by a dermatologist to get my acne under control. When combined with a strict face washing regimen and an oral antibiotic, it worked quite well. (Would I go back to that? Absolutely not, especially the oral antibiotics.) Sometime around age 16, I was switched to Yaz, which worked equally well. At 20, I got the Mirena IUD because my partner wanted to stop using condoms and I was too afraid to rely on just the pill because most of my friends used two forms of birth control. Mirena is where shit began to get crazy, and the love/hate affair began.

My skin freaked out. I had lovely skin until I got my Mirena. Suddenly, zit city. On the other hand, it stopped my periods entirely. This phenomenon might have caused other women to panic but I enjoyed every second of that period-free existence, except the part where my face looked like the surface of the moon. What was the best part? Mirena is >99% effective, and you just set it and forget it (provided you have either the means or the insurance to afford it).

When I determined that I couldn’t stand the acne anymore and decided to have the Mirena removed, I opted for NuvaRing, which I hate with a burning passion. Hate it, hate it, hate it. First of all, there’s a slight chance you’re going to end up playing a game of Penis Ring Toss. That’s not as fun as it sounds, especially when it’s your birth control. Additionally, it was somehow really hard for me to remember to replace it every month, even with a calendar event. Sometimes, the alarm would go off and I wouldn’t be home, and would thus totally forget until a day or so later. But worst of all, it made my vagina dry. Like, Sahara desert dry. Multiple applications of even the best Sliquid has to offer, dry. When your partner is wincing trying to put it in, you know there’s a problem. So, out came the ring.

For somewhere between 8 and 12 months, I went au naturale. During this time, I switched my skincare over to a brand I used to work for (hate to bad mouth them – it just didn’t work for me), and my skin decided it was once again not pleased. Was this more to do with my skincare switch, or my birth control ditch? I might never know. What I do know is that my sex drive was normal, my periods were erratic but never terrible, and I took the chance to experiment with all kinds of condoms to become a bit of a connoisseur (Lifestyles Skyn are my condoms of choice).

Around July, I became frustrated again with my acne. It was majorly flaring up, and I had scars from previous flares to boot. I wasn’t even considering switching my skincare, so I decided to try hormonal birth control again. Enter: Sprintec, a mono-phasic birth control pill that’s approved for acne treatment. So what’s the problem? It murdered my sex drive. Totally annihilated it. I’m a newlywed! I should be having sex like 20 times a week, taking breaks only for sustenance! It’s only been three months, but in these three months, my sex life has taken quite a blow. Sure, it’s nice being 98% sure I won’t get pregnant. But you know what? If I’m not having sex, it’s not really doing me any good. Furthermore, it’s really dampening my desire to test products and write quality reviews.

I’ve spent the last week doing some research to see if another pill might be a good option for me. Unfortunately, it looks like the ones that don’t negatively affect your sex drive do tend to cause acne. These two things are not items that I’m willing to compromise on. I will not trade one for the other. If I’m going to take a pill, it had better positively impact both, otherwise I’m not sure what I’m paying Big Pharma for, you know? Which leads me to my solution: The humble condom.

Since I’ve finally gotten my skin under control, which I believe is much more a result of discovering the magic that is Avene, a healthy diet, and regular exercise than using Sprintec; and because I would like to actually bone my husband more than once in a blue moon, I’m switching back to good old condoms. Lifestyles, don’t let me down.

 

Please note: This is entirely my own personal experience. I am not in any way a health care provider or expert, and you should always consult your own before making any birth control decisions. What’s right for one person might not be right for you. But I do highly recommend Lifestyles Skyn condoms, because I am at least an expert in wrapping before tapping.

50/50 Split: Namaste Harmony by CalEx

Once again, many thanks to SheVibe for their patience and generosity! I was originally sent this vibe months ago, and I could not decide how I felt about it. It was such a head scratcher that I skipped over it and even reviewed a few other toys first.

So, what do I think about the California Exotics Namaste Harmony? I’m cautiously optimistic about the direction of their company. Known for being a “novelties” brand – think grape scented jelly double dongs – CalEx doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence in me. But it’s not exactly easy for most people to drop $100+ on a vibrator, either. Is the Harmony worth its mid-range $46 price tag? It depends.

I was initially drawn to the Harmony because it reminded me of the Leaf Life, a quiet, beautiful toy by Swan. Harmony has a similar shape, but with a wider tip at either end. The thing is, Harmony is considerably bigger. While Harmony is 5″ long and 2.25″ wide, Life is only 4.1″ long and 1.6″ wide. Harmony is not much of a pinpoint toy, because its tips are rounded, unlike Life’s pointed ends. These aren’t good or bad things: simply differences in design and execution.

Now, really, Harmony is buzzy. It’s on the stronger end of buzzy, and the materials (ABS plastic, PU, with a silicone button), conduct vibration well. Because it’s so buzzy, if you have a strong grip or you have a partner who tends to clutch toys for dear life, you might dampen the vibrations significantly. Its 3 straight vibration settings go from what I would call medium to high to intense. If you like to barely graze your skin with the sensation, this would probably be a fantastic option for you, since the vibrations conduct nicely at surface-level. Another unfortunate side effect of buzzy vibrations from a toy of this material: it’s loud. Room-mate disturbing loud, but not neighbors disturbing loud. Is it college dorm appropriate? No. Would it would for someone living in your average apartment complex or town house? Yes.

Where Harmony really has the chance to shine is in the fine detail of its curvature. For me personally, the curve was perfect for clitoral stimulation. It sort of created a surrounding effect, making the vibrations feel more intense. I was actually surprised by how great it felt.

Harmony is rechargeable, which is fantastically convenient. I very rarely consider trying battery-operated toys because I just never keep batteries around the house. (I’m terrible at being an adult.) It comes with a USB cable and a wall adapter (for US outlets). The thing I found very puzzling about Harmony’s packaging is that it comes with a magnetic cover for one side of the toy. In the picture on SheVibe’s website, the toy looks like a yin and yang symbol, or Free Willy. That white part actually detaches. Why? I’m not 100% sure. It might be for perceived cleanliness, might be to hide the USB portal, might be for style. Who knows? I almost lost it 3 separate times while working on this review.

In conclusion, answer the following questions if you’re considering purchasing a Harmony.

1. Do you love the shape of Leaf Life but can’t afford it, want a bigger toy, or are happy spending $50 but not $100? (Worth it.)

2. Is this your first clitoral vibe? Are you on a mid-range budget ($30 – $75), and does this shape appeal to you more than a lipstick style? (Worth it.)

3. Do you own a MiMi, a Mia, a Mystic Wand, or a Salsa/Tango? Are you satisfied with it? (Nope. Go buy tequila.)

Thanks so much, SheVibe!

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BS is Nice Dildo Review

I kind of forgot that I had this dildo because for some reason it ended up in the back of my toy chest, which is weird because it’s very colorful and not the type of thing you could easily miss. I was sent the small, classically shaped BS Dildo, in the same colors as this beautiful G-spot BS dildo. Unfortunately, SheVibe is not currently stocking the model they sent me.

The packaging for my BS Dildo is very minimal: Just a clear but sturdy plastic bag with information about the company, a tiny info packet, and a sample of Yes lubricant. Frankly, I like it. There’s no BS (had to). No, it’s not subtle, but shouldn’t you feel good about the fact that your money is going towards a high quality toy and not some overblown luxury packaging? The bag is resealable, so it would make a perfectly good storage bag if you need that sort of thing. I tend to accidentally leave my (clean) dildos out, just standing around like tiny toy soldiers guarding various rooms of my house.

Because I’m the one sex toy reviewer who doesn’t have a measuring tape, and I can’t find a size estimate for the BS Dildo, I’m going to work with the fact that my hand is exactly 6″ long (same size as USD!). The dildo, then, is about 6″ long, with about 5.5″ being insertable. The girth is very reasonable, at around 1.25″ max. Because its a realistic phallic shape, the widest point is either the base or the ridge of the head. It does have a flared base, making it perfect for an O-ring harness or anal play. It is slightly curved, so it’s easy to thrust if you’re using it solo. (More on that later.)

The dildo is made of pure silicone and does have some drag to it. I used a pea-sized amount of Good Clean Love lubricant and had no problems with the material after that. I did perform a flame test, and it passed with flying colors, as I expected. It’s a single density silicone that’s soft and squishy, which makes for a very comfortable insertion. If you grab the base and wave the dildo in the air, it wobbles quite a bit. However, if you hold it paralel to the ground, it doesn’t droop. It’s clear that this toy was made perfectly for partner play. I don’t believe that it would be suitable for packing, but I’ve also never tried.

My experience using the toy was pleasant, but not earth shattering. It’s a very nice penis shape, and is small enough for me to use comfortably without the necessity of a warm up dildo. I think I would love this toy if I were in a relationship where we frequently used a strap-on, because it does feel pretty realistic without being overwhelming. Honestly, I’m a bit too lazy to put in the effort of manually thrusting for a while if I’m not getting considerable G-spot stimulation, so I prefer this toy to clench around or to use in preparation for larger toys.

If I were grading the BS Dildo on craftsmanship alone, it would absolutely be an A+. It’s awesome to see some more quality manufacturers becoming available in the States, and I’m glad SheVibe is carrying their stuff. As far as a solo masturbation toy goes, I don’t know that this particular design really goes the distance for me.

Thanks, SheVibe!

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