little boxes, all the same.

People keep telling me I should be a therapist. I say I know. I feel like that’s what I’m already doing here. Sometimes I think people just need someone to tell them the truth. We spend our lives making friends that we hope will die before we do, a risky reaffirmation that it might just be possible to live forever. We lie to ourselves and say we hope we go first so we won’t have to live through it all. Then it happens, someone goes, passes on, and what’s left is this irrevocable sense of relief. I’m still here, I’m still here, I’m still here. It’s like an itch just below your sock line that irritates throughout the day. You’re awfully sad they’re gone and you loved them but you’re so happy to be alive.

I like to dress the truth up in pretty lies. It’s hard to know what is real and what isn’t real sometimes. I used to put my ken doll in dresses because I thought that was a lie but that was also before I knew anything about gender identity. He came with this little foam razor that, when you heated it up, could shave away his chemically induced stubble if only for a few minutes. I liked things that didn’t make sense and I think I still do. The less it makes sense the more I like it. Ironically I hate math, puzzles, statistics, and anything else that requires me to put two and two together. I think that’s because there is the assumption that there is one real true solution. That things are supposed to fit together precisely perfect in some way.

It was a long time before I differentiated between sociology and psychology. I hated sociology because it viewed groups of people as something that was classifiable. Psychology broke things down to the individual level, to the singular neuron firing. There was something about that which excited me. For sociology I polled people on who they thought was attractive. The entire situation seemed so totally pointless. We were trying to apply reason to something that doesn’t need to have reason. We were trying to put numbers on something abstract. Let it not make sense. Let people like who they like. Drop the orientations, the sub-orientations, the heterosexual or the bisexual or the pansexual. Let it not make sense. Let it be unclassifiable.

When you’re giving someone advice you’re trying to make sense of the non-sense. I don’t think that’s necessarily the same thing as understanding. You’re saying that the world is confusing and fucked up and there are a million different ways of understanding something, you just have to find the right one that clicks.

Have you ever read a book and there was a line that just hit you in the gut? That line, the line that summarized all the things you’d been thinking, and feeling, all the hurt or the joy in your life in some strangers tongue. That’s all advice is.

STIs and Oral Sex

Where is the best place to get STI information? I got into a discussion about unprotected oral sex being “safer” than unprotected penetrative sex. The only thing I’ve found is that HIV and Hepatitis are harder to get through unprotected oral sex. It seems to me the risk of getting something through unprotected oral sex would be just as likely as getting something through unprotected penetrative sex. Is that right?

My go to place for STI information is Planned Parenthood. I find the website to be user friendly and filled with the information people actually want to know. Sometimes I double check that information with information from the CDC.

It seems sort of arbitrary to say oral sex is safer than penetrative sex when you could get an infection either way. Perhaps it is the stigma associated with STIs on the genitals in particular that leads to this mentality, or a lack of sexual education when it comes to oral sex.

The language of “you’re more safe if you _____” is hazardous, because it gives people the opportunity to take risks they might not otherwise take.

Are some STIs noted as being more easily transferable through oral or penetrative sex? Sure. You can find resources out there that will break that down for you. But when you can get STIs from oral or penetrative sex, and pass them back and forth between the mouth and the genitals, I personally lose interest in semantics.

If there is doubt as to whether or not a partner has a clean bill of health, or if they are currently being treated for an STI, use barrier methods. While you might not be able to judge the exact risk of getting an oral or genital STI, there is a tangible difference in using a condom or a dental dam to protect yourself and your partner.

If you’re more interested in STIs and the statistics behind them and how they are transmitted, read up and stay read up. I don’t want to begrudge those of you who are interested in all of the specific details of these infections because I think it’s super important to know how things are passed back and forth.

To me, at the end of the day, whats important is how I weigh my safety. Either someone has been recently tested as clean and I’m doing all I can to protect myself, or I’m unsure whether or not someone is clean and I’m taking a risk with myself and my health.

Have a question about sex or love? Submit at the top by hitting ask advice and I’ll answer it on my blog.

Review: The Ultimate Guide to Sex after Fifty

One might ask themselves what someone who is 26 has to say about sex after fifty. Truthfully, most of my short life has been spent hazing over those later years, making the assumption that I’d just deal with it when I got there. In this haze of whats ahead, I found myself deeply enjoying the words of Joan Price. Price writes about senior sex and what to expect with sexuality as you age. Even more simply, Joan acknowledges that sex continues to exist as one ages.

I was eager to get my hands on her new book to confront two realities: I’m going to age, and I’m definitely not going to want to stop having sex. What can I expect and how can I act now to set myself up for a better transition?

The book covers a large scope of subjects: myths about aging, changes in your body, getting your chemistry back, sex and toys, sex with a longtime partner, exploring and stretching boundaries, when intimacy goes away, medication and your doctor, painful sex, cancer and sex, heart/brain/joints and sex, sex without an erection and erectile dysfunction, being over 50 and single, dating over 50, dating a new partner, grief and loss, safer sex, and moving forward.

I love that this book covered things like non-monogamy. I love that it talked about grief openly and honestly. I love that it explored masturbation and toys and lubrication and vaginal/penile exercises.

What I loved most about this book is that it emphasized something I’ve long believed about sex. Sex changes. Even in the last few years I’ve been able to see myself shift as a sexual being. From the discovery phase, self-exploration, figuring out who I am and what I like, and then seeing that all change again. What feels good to you might change, what you want to do might change, and your preferences might be different depending on who you’re with.

Price explores all of the changes you might not expect, and how to grow with those changes. Sometimes frustrating, but always workable.

The biggest myth she breaks down is that sex is about penetration. This book pulls apart the mentality that sex is about a big fat erect penis. It takes you on a mental rearrangement to see sex as a whole body and mind experience, something that can feel good in so many different ways that go beyond penetration. We need more voices out there shouting this truth.

This book was useful for me in seeing what to expect but it offered a lot for the moment as well. How to create chemistry and keep chemistry alive, how to appreciate my partner, how to make sure we keep a healthy sex life. For those who struggle with sex after fifty, this book provides ample support for every single issue I could think of. From infidelity, to unhappiness, miss-matched libidos, a vanilla partner who wants to grow kink, a fading of chemistry, sickness and pain, to so much more.

If you’re interested in how sex might look as you age (or if you’re already of a certain age where you’re noticing that sex is different) I would highly recommend this book as a starting point. Depending on where you want to go after that (single? non-monogamy? therapy? medication?) the book provides other resources for how to continue striving for a happier sex, and a happier you.

This book was provided for review by Cleis Press. Visit Her Website.

Transgender Studies: Week Two

Week two of transgender studies went by in such a blur that I can hardly believe we are going into week three. This week one of my classes consisted of a panel of people who identified as trans. They were there to talk about their experiences with gender and answer any questions people might have.

A lot of the stories (and the questions that were asked) revolved around these ideas of privilege and performance. For instance, one woman talked about the shift from people seeing her as a man and then later as a woman. She said that she went from being “smart” to “smart for a woman.” There were also remarks about not being able to walk down the street and feel invisible. Someone is always looking at you or trying to talk to you.

When you shift from one gender to the next, you see how the other gender is treated. We can also come to understand how locked in place gender is in our society. If we don’t know what gender someone is, it makes us uncomfortable. We don’t know which rules to go by when we’re interacting with them. We see that our behavior is often modified depending on if we’re talking to a boy or a girl.

Why is this necessary? Why can’t we treat everyone with the same level of attention and respect when we interact with them? What does gender negotiate for us?

There are a lot of answers to that question depending on what field you’re coming from. Whether you’re a women studies major, a biologist, a psychologist, or just some dude.

The panel was asked how cis people could be allies, a word that is sometimes problematic. Some general thoughts were: don’t reassert the binary in your own life. Take an interest in peoples life and experiences and not their body/gender.

To me, it felt like the answer to that question was really: listen. If theres an opportunity to let someone who has experience talk, let that person talk. Being an ally can become a problem when you’re fighting someone else’s fight and using your words to try to fight for something they might not even want.

(For instance: Many gay allies fight for marriage equality, but many people who are gay see the institution of marriage as problematic, and reinforcing of the gender binary.)

A big lesson I’m getting from this class is that nothing exists as black and white, these people feel this way, this is the right way to do something. It’s not a line from one end to the other, it’s a globe. And people are floating around in the globe like little flecks of glitter. There is no up or down or right or wrong, it’s all unique experience. What one person sees as good and right might not be the same for the next person.

At that point we’re forced to do something sort of absurd. Listen to people talk about how they feel and accept that it might completely conflict with everything else we’ve heard.

Transgender studies is changing every single day, at a rate far faster than what I have studied of womens rights, or gay rights. This is a group of people who are demanding to be seen at a time when we have otherwise been preoccupied with a new binary – gay or straight.

More next time!

Weekly Update: January is Hot

Seriously, it’s hot. It’s been resting in the mid-50s in Portland which is obscene. I want rain, I want gray, I want wind, I want snow, I want winter. The cool and harsh shift of sky plates that bring forth my sweet internal miseries.

Well, whatever. This is what I’ve been up to. It’s mostly food. Sorry.

I threw a mean girls party, complete with hot pink solo cups, a fluffy pink cake, and my own little burn center book. (In which we write positive things about one another, because, apparently, I’m a hippy.) I got to use my kitchenaid mixer to make this delicious hunk of sugar and I can’t wait to try more cake baking soon!

I finally got to use my genital pasta from my good friend T. She traveled all the way back from Italy with this, where she had purchased them from a small child working the shop. I boiled them and turned them into macaroni and cheese.

We picked up a spiralizer recently and I’ve been spiraling the shit out of everything I can find. The general goal here is to convince myself that vegetables are fun and capable of diversity. Mild success.

We also are the proud owners of a brand new vintage record player! This has sent me into a haze of vinyl, and appreciation for all things music. I’m so stoked to build up a little collection of records that suits my music taste. (Not death, probably more like Sufjan Stevens, CCR, Childish Gambino.)

Hope you’re all well,

st

Feeling at Peace: Relationships & Self Control

Yesterday I tweeted this – something that demanded a lot of response. I was asked to write a little more about it on my blog.

How awful you think people are has a lot to do with 1) who you surround yourself with and 2) how you process conflicting ideas.

What I was trying to get at in under 140 characters is that you’re responsible for how you process the world around you. We all have the responsibility to monitor what and who we let into our lives. We also have the responsibility to practice self care and make sure that we are treating ourselves well.

I see a lot of people who are mad all the time. They’re mad that the people in their lives aren’t good to them. They’re mad that people they don’t even know exist. They’re mad that people can’t see the world like they can see the world. They’re just mad people. And when you’re a mad person you hold on to a lot of really yucky feelings that can present themselves in a variety of different ways. For some people, a belief emerges.

People that aren’t me don’t understand what it’s like to be me, and people who are different than me are doing something wrong.

This must be an awfully lonely way to live and it must be an unhealthy way to live. In response to the desire to not be this way, I try to live by a few guidelines.

1. If someone doesn’t approve of me or any part of my life that I deeply care about, that person doesn’t belong in my life. If we were all being honest with ourselves, it should be easy to make a distinction between those who do and those who don’t.

2. If someone has different opinions than you do, talk to them about those opinions sometime and let those options either strengthen or break down your own world view. We should never be afraid of learning something from someone different than us.

3. Make your own opinions of every single person in your life. If someone is talking about someone else negatively behind their back, encourage them to stop. We gain nothing from bonding over hatred and we lose everything by believing that someone is inherently evil.

4. If you feel pushback against an idea (something new or foreign) ask yourself why it makes you feel that way. Pushback would be thinking something is gross, or saying ‘I would never do that.’ Why is it gross? Why would you never do it? And conversely, why do other people think its great or do it regularly?

5. Try to be a good person every day. Often times this means going out of your way to consider what other people want and need and not just what you think they want and need. For instance, I am not in constant communication with all my friends, but I know some people desire higher levels of communication. I try to go out of my way to let them know I’m thinking about them when I can.

A lot of this has to do with two simple concepts. Get rid of the people in your life that anger you, and consider why it was that you were so angry in the first place. Learn how to use self care. If you are upset or angry, if you lash out, if you are constantly talking shit about other people, why? How can you shift negative aspects of your life to be a happier person? Not just for yourself, but for the people who are around you every day?

Do you have any tips that keep you cool as a cucumber? Do you know someone who is just really angry all the time – and have you been able to chill their harsh?

Have questions about life? Love? Sex? Submit at the top by hitting ask advice and I’ll answer it on my blog.

Kink 101: Snowballing

I had someone write in with the desire to know more about snowballing. It’s been a long while since I’ve written about kink, and snowballing definitely fits into that category.

What is snowballing?

Snowballing is when you ejaculate into your partners mouth and then they, holding the semen in their mouth, pass it back (or to a third party) through a kiss. That’s all it is, really. Passing semen around from mouth to mouth. If this is done enough times it can create a snowball effect, where the amount of fluid increases through saliva.

Why would someone want to do that?

A primary reason for trying snowballing might be that it sounds kinky. In the heat of the moment, things that sound kinky can increase the sexual tension of the moment, boost arousal, and totally change the vibe of the situation. If you’ve reached this headspace, things that previously seemed outlandish or disgusting might seem curiously fun.

How might you ask someone to try it with you?

The same way you would ask them to try anything else! Express a desire to try something new and explain what interests you about it. Perhaps you just want to share with your partner that its a kinky fantasy. Maybe it will be involved in a submissive role-play. Maybe you’re simply curious.

What do I think?

I feel that snowballing is sort of a shock term that is more often used in conversation than in actual sexual practice. Similar to the idea that men actually sit around in a circle and jerk off onto a cookie before eating it (soggy biscuit.) I find the interest and disinterest men have with semen to be really fascinating. Many men will confess interests in tasting their own semen in the heat of the moment, for instance, but will quickly back down once they ejaculate and lose their arousal.

To me, that is the largest problem with snowballing. To acquire semen to swap in the first place, the male partner must “finish” which often erases the desire for snowballing. In this light, snowballing might be placed in better context with threesomes or group sex, where varying levels of arousal exist in one bed between several people.

Do you have a question about sex or love? Submit at the top by hitting ask advice and I’ll answer it on my blog.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,243 other followers