Weekly Update: Why I Love Birthdays (And Hate Being Sick)

Fall hits hard in Portland

For the first time in what feels like a few years I’m actually sick. Fever, cold sweats, burning up, freezing cold, slightly delirious, and not at all interested in my nightly glass of red wine.

We’ve had one of the most beautiful falls in recent memory. Typically we’ll get a lot of rain or one big windstorm which causes all of the leaves to blow off at once and turn into a mush. This year the leaves had their good chance to fall and stay on the ground in miraculous piles of crunchy goodness.

Despite feeling pretty miserable right now, I’m still at my most happiest this time of year.

It’s dark, it’s grey, it’s wet, and the holiday season is looming. My birthday is in just one week (Nov 17) and Jason’s is one week later. We celebrate our birthdays, we celebrate the Oregon Civil War Football game, and then we celebrate a big thanksgiving dinner (or two) before dramatically slipping into Christmas with the cutting of our tree.

I love birthdays. I love birthdays so much. I’m young enough (about to turn 29) that I can still attribute my love for birthdays as “being young.” That’s something people older than me typically say to me when they’re 1) more weary than me 2) more jaded than me 3) feeling like dicks. But it’s true, I’m pretty young, and I’m still in that phase of my life where I just want to see whats next. All the time. I like this, give me more.

why I like birthdays so much, a short list:

  1. its literally a holiday just to celebrate you. get over yourself and blow the candles out.
  2. see point 1. you get cake. or whatever the fuck you want because its your birthday.
  3. you make the rules on your birthday. just say ‘but its my birthday’ as a clause following any statement.
  4. snail mail. while this decreases the older I get, I still like getting birthday cards in the mail.
  5. its kinda like new years eve. i get that rush of a fresh start. a new year.
  6. those people who come out of the cracks in the floor to say “happy birthday!” on the internet even though you haven’t talked to them all year and probably wont again until its their birthday.
  7. who are these people. seriously. do you want to be my friend or not.
  8. gift wrap. i know its bad for the environment. im imperfect.
  9. champagne.
  10. looking back at the last year of my life and thinking “what did 28 mean to me”

Ultimately I like birthdays because I like holidays and I like celebrating life and things. You really get valentines day and the fourth of july and then not much until halloween so when my birthday rolls around its like seeing a sweet sweet pond of joy in an otherwise dark valley of dread.

With any luck this cold will be totally gone by tomorrow so I can officially kick off birthday month with all my other november babes. (which is about half of the people I know.)

Hope November is treating you right,

xx, st

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Three Ways To Have Safer Sex In Your Monogamous Relationship

You shouldn’t stop thinking about safer sex just because you’re in a monogamous relationship

When we’re talking about safer sex we’re usually talking about preventing the transmission of STDs. Safer sex extends beyond any potential infections you might get! Here are some examples of ways you can have safer sex in your monogamous relationship.

Feel Safe – Emotionally – Establish Open & Healthy Communication

Safer sex isn’t just physical, it’s also emotional. Feeling safe is incredibly important, especially if you’ve had partners in the past who have not respected your body or your personal space. If your partner does something that does not make you feel safe or comfortable talk to them about it. It’s never too late to introduce new boundaries or change old ones. For instance, I often hear about people who used to be into degradation (being called names in the bedroom) but for one reason or another are no longer interested in that particular kind of dirty talk. Keeping lines of communication open and feeling safe telling your partner when things change is very important. If you do not feel safe or if this kind of communication doesn’t happen in your relationship, talk to someone you do trust for help.

Mind How Your Body Communicates With You

Experience unexpected pain or bleeding? It’s probably because something was a little rougher than your body was OK with and it’s trying to tell you “stop, let me heal/rest/recooperate.” Maybe you have a bruised cervix from penetration that was too deep or maybe low-lubrication led to some light bleeding from a piece of your skin rubbed raw. Whatever the pain is, stop what you’re doing, and listen to your body. Avoid any creams or ointments that simply cover the pain (I’m looking at you, numbing lube) and swap to another kind of play until the pain stops. If this pain (or bleeding, or soreness) does not stop, or if it gets worse, see a doctor. Keep track of any unusual symptoms in a journal or calendar so you can communicate more clearly with your doctor.

Get Your STD Test, Anyways!

Just because you’re monogamous doesn’t mean you don’t have to get STD tests! A full STD panel can be a regular part of your yearly checkup routine. It may even help curb the deeply engrained panicked feeling (even if you haven’t even had sex, isn’t that fear universal?) waiting for results if you start getting checkups regularly instead of just when you need them!

 

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Exploring Unusual Kinks With Books

Your Reading List Just Expanded

One of my favorite things about being in college was being aggressively pelted with new ideas and new knowledge on the daily. Post-college, it’s been a lot harder to seek out ideas that challenge my perceptions of sex and sexuality.

SheBop does a great job of pulling out books that push boundaries in all the right ways. It doesn’t matter if you’re interested in these ideas. Learning more about what other people are interested in can make us smarter, wiser, more compassionate people. Check out these books to learn more about the kinks (fetishes, and sexual preferences) people are talking about today.

Intimate Invasions: The Erotic Ins & Outs of Enema Play _ $13.00

Play Piercing – $14.00

The Artisan’s Book of Fetishcraft – $28.00

The Toybag Guide to Age Play – $10.00

The Toybag Guide to Chastity Play – $10.00

The Master’s Manual – $16.00

Food Porn – $30.00

Sexting: The Grownups Little Book of Sex Tips for Getting Dirty Digitally – $15.00

Buy through SheBop via these links and 15% of your purchase goes right back into running my blog! 👏🏼

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Five Tips for Maintaining Your Hobbies When You’re Really Busy

I used to write upwards of 3-5 posts per day when I first started blogging. I was publishing around 100 posts per month; the amount of blogs a small company with interns usually churns out. Everything is different now.

When I got my first job I was still able to blog fairly regularly but I started to wonder how to better negotiate my time. You have to do that all the time when you get really busy. Negotiate your time.

Can I have three hours today for writing? Now here’s why I think I should have three hours today. It’s really going to show you results, Lorelei. 

With my new job, I’m even busier, so here are some ways I’ve been able to maintain my hobbies:

Drop anything that’s not incredibly important to you

The first thing I did, first due to lack of choice, was drop off my freelance work. I was no longer seeking new clients and any marketing I had been doing for my own work went away entirely. This put into perspective how much energy running your own business really takes. I realized I was no longer interested in chasing that career path so I slammed a big pause button and let it go.

Your hobbies are your life

The things that I enjoy doing the most are the things that naturally become a part of my life. Falling asleep reading a book or drawing while I watch television. These hobbies were most important and I didn’t struggle very hard to keep them afloat. There’s the simple truth, and sometimes a hard pill to swallow. When something is important to you, you’ll naturally make time for it. If you’re not making time for something, if you don’t want to make time for something, maybe it’s not as important as you think it is.

Make tech-free zones, tech-free times

My goals is to eventually have a drop spot by the door where my technology departs for the evening into little sleepings pods with chargers. Phone, laptop, iPad, kindle, bluetooth headphones, anything with a gentle buzz when you go near it. I think learning how to fight the itch of “what am I missing?” is healthy. When I intentionally go an hour or two without my phone I realize just how much I can truly accomplish. Time seems to double and my productivity goes up.

Devote yourself to one or two things

Some people want to dip their toe in a little bit of everything and be a little bit good at all the things. I’ve been trying to separate myself from this and focus on the hobbies that get joy from, not the hobbies that other people think I should try. Go back to basics. What makes you happiest to do? Spend a whole week just devoting an hour or 30 minutes a day to that one thing.

Write a to do list every morning

Create a mental reminder for yourself to do your hobbies by creating an abbreviated task list for yourself each morning. Jot down any important pieces of work you need to do and then write a little reminder for yourself that your hobby is its own piece of business. Create. Write. Read. Play Golf. Play Chess. Paint. Run. Cook. Add anything that will help you direct that hobby. A recipe you’ll make, a goal for your hobby (finish that painting!) or a new personal challenge (8 minute mile!)

 

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Weekly Update: Everything Halloween

Earlier this week we saw Train to Busan which is on Netflix right now. Hot damn does South Korea know how to make a horror movie. It was supremely creepy but also had plot and made me cry without being actually so terrifying that I felt uncomfortable watching it.

Quick plot: zombie outbreak, train, neglectful father must prove himself to his young daughter. I thought I was over and done with zombies but this movie proved me wrong somehow.

We went and got Pumpkins and it was great. I’ve been roasting vegetables as much as humanly possible. I never thought I’d be the girl guiltily hovering over the stove trying to eat the leftover broccoli and brussel sprouts but this is my life now.

Quick tip: cut up all the veggies you have in the fridge (I like broc, carrots, brussels, and some butternut squash if you have the patience), toss some sliced onions on top. Douse it in olive oil and salt and pretty much just leave in the oven at 425 until it looks the slightest bit burnt on the tops. Usually ~30-45 minutes.

My job is getting insanely hectic and I like pretty much every single second of it. I know this because I don’t have to be there until 10am but I show up around 8-9am every day so I can get started sooner. Managing projects satisfies all the little curious pieces of me that require order and organization. I also get to take public transportation to work now which, while a bit of a pain some days, allows me to remember on the daily that I live in Portland. 

Boyfriend is one month into his graduate program and kicking butt and I am proud of him. That’s all there is to say for this bullet point. Pretty straight forward.

I’ve challenged myself to read one book per day for as long as I can. If you stay in touch on sloughavenue.wordpress.com you’ll hopefully see some updates there soon. I’m just over a week in now and it’s a huge pain in the ass. I can say that I’ve been happier in the last week taking some distance from the computer when I’m not at work. I also find I’m following books better reading them in one sitting. The plot feels richer. I’m able to retain more of the storyline.

We fully re-watched Stranger Things Season 1. Have you? I’m ready for my eggos.

ITS KINGPALOOZA OUT THERE RN YOU GUYS! Pick up a copy of Steven & Owen King’s Sleeping Beauties and prepare yourself for Joe Hills latest book Strange Weather coming out next week!

You know where I’ll be.

That’s all.

ps. Got this sweatshirt. No regrets. Maximum pumpkin comfort 24/7. Will be wearing out of season. That’s just how we pumpkin around here.

How are you celebrating this fall and halloween season?

Find more on my Fall To Do List for this year!

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On Questioning Our Feminist Intent

Q: I crossdress and I am planning to eventually transition, MTF. The issue is money. I have heard women can earn extra cash selling their underwear online. I don’t know if it actually is a good money making idea but ethically speaking, do or should I tell the guys I’m still male? Not sure on this point, but if I can earn more income, does it matter? Or am I glorifying women’s bodies (even if it’s my body) to be objectified by creepy men? Why does it feel like I’m being a traitor to womenhood?

Saying that being a woman is complicated is an understatement. There are so many messages women get on the right way to be, think, feel. Even from other feminists. I really enjoy the book Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay. If you haven’t read it yet, or if you’re not familiar, I highly recommend you check it out. The general idea is that there is no such thing as the perfect feminist. All women are imperfectly perfect.

I would also check out Kate Bornstein who you should wiki if you do not know her. Here are a few suggested reads from her writings:

A Queer and Pleasant Danger
Gender Outlaw
My New Gender Workbook

Bottom line: Follow your gut and your instincts. If something does not feel right, don’t do it. But I don’t think you’re under any obligations to not do it, either. If it doesn’t make you feel good, if you feel unsafe doing it, I would advise not to do it.

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Three Quick Ways To Ease The Tension In Your Fight

So, we fight. It’s not very often and it’s not what I imagined it would be like. The longer we’re together, the better we’re able to work together. Here are some tips I think are pro. Try incorporating them into your next disagreement or serious conversation.

1. Pull A Goof

You’ll have to time the pause right for your fight, but there’s nothing to bring a couple closer together than a gentle eyebrow wiggle in the middle of a tense moment. Play this card wrong (or too often) and you’ll be accused of being unable to have a serious relationship talk. Don’t avoid difficult subjects with humor, but use them as a playing card when you want to remember that you and your partner are actually fighting together, not against one another.

2. Say “You’re Right”

Or “I didn’t say that the best way I could have” or “I said some things I did mean and some things I didn’t mean.” When you’re angry you often get defensive. If you don’t get defensive, you probably get some other emotion that doesn’t feel too hot. Whatever that emotion is can lead you to say some things that aren’t strictly true. You have to learn when to say you’re right. You don’t want to be right all the time, but it’s hard to remember that when you’re in the heat of it. Sometimes you should want your partner to be right, because it means they were able to see something you didn’t. That’s what a partnership is.

3. Ask Your Partner What They Mean

When you don’t quite understand what your partner is saying, ask them what they mean by repeating it back to them. In therapy this is called mirroring. Repeat what they said back to you word for word. When they hear it coming out of your mouth, they might realize that they didn’t quite phrase it exactly right. It might give them the opportunity to add more clarifying details. Be sure you don’t put words into your partners mouth, which I can at times be guilty of accidentally doing. Sometimes saying the same thing in a different way can help both partners come to an understanding about what you’re actually talking about. Best way to fix a misunderstanding in a relationship? Communicate.


Did you end a fight and things don’t feel totally 100% okey dokey yet? The cool down period is a good time to think about how your partner is feeling. At the end of a fight you’re fully feeling your own emotions. You might feel hot, you might be crying, you’re probably pretty emotional. Consider after a breath where your partner was coming from and approach the conversation a second time with as much understanding as you can muster. Not all arguments find light after one conversation.


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How Do You Arrange a Heterosexual MMF Threesome?

Q: How do you go about having a 3some? With 1 girl, 2 straight guys

I like this question because a lot of conversation tends to focus on the two girl / one guy threesome.

My advice for having a successful threesome is very simple: you cannot expect perfection; learn to seek adventure and fun between the lines of what you imagine perfect sex to be and the actual experience you’re having. Expectations for an experience can often ruin that experience. Prepare as best as you can for shared goals, general compatibility and safety.

One common issue in threesomes is that three is an odd number.

That means that one person is often left to be the circling participant. They are either watching or meandering around the outside of the action. That’s perfectly okay if they are aware of that, prefer that, or are comfortable making their way back in.

Another common way to handle this balance is by making one person the center of attention.

In a two straight guy one girl threesome, it’s likely that the attention is focused on the girl.

There is some difference of opinion on how to arrange a threesome. Should it be people you’re really close to and comfortable with? Should it be people who you’re just kind of friends with? Should it be people you don’t know very well and don’t see again? Different people are going to have different opinions on this. How you form your threesome depends on what part of the threesome you are, and whether or not you’re in a relationship.

Each participant matters (!)

Generally I would go into the planning process with the understanding that everyone in the threesome is sharing an experience, so everyones experience matters. So, if you’re planning the threesome, take everyones feelings into consideration.

One size doesn’t fit all 

Because threesomes vary so much, it’s difficult to give advice that’s one size fits all. Are you in a relationship and looking to plan a threesome? Are you single and looking to have a threesome? where in the world do you live? What is your age range? Do you feel like you’re generally surrounded by pretty sex-positive friends? Are you in a pretty sex-positive community? Are you looking for a one-time threesome? Do you want to really plan it out to hopefully achieve a certain scenario or are you looking for something more laid back and relaxed with no agenda?

Think about these questions and how they apply to you and if you have additional questions on the subject, let me know, and we’ll talk more!

xxst

 

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Should Your Partner Be Your Best Friend?

holding seashells up in a heart

Jason is my best friend. By any and all qualifications that matter in a friend, let alone a best friend, he ranks supreme. He is the first person I text when I want to share news. He’s the first person I text when I have nothing to say. And he’s the only person that I’ll actually use my phone to call – except the government, my healthcare provider, and very rarely with some shame, Comcast.

How I communicate with him makes him my best friend. Not just when and how I communicate, but also what I say.

At the start of a relationship we tell each other whispered secrets as tests of loyalty. In bed at night, those first sleepovers, we stay up later than we’re used to, running on pure adrenaline. We tell each other secrets. I feel this way, I’ve never told anyone else before. We wait for them to scream. They don’t. We fall into the honeymoon period, we rock back and forth, we fall in love. And then, deep-seeded security, comfortable and content, it becomes all too easy to stop sharing these things. More often than not it’s because these feelings we used to share are now about this person. We wonder if it’s safe to share. I am afraid, are you afraid too?

A best friend says yes, a best friend says, lets be afraid together. Then maybe we won’t be so afraid anymore. The relationship you have with your partner, because of the depths it seeks, is one of the most important relationships you have.

The problem with articles that ask this question, this big question: who is your best friend? is that they work off of, and often value, outdated modes of relationships. Antiquities of culture. This perception that you will have a soul mate of a best friend, the same way you have a soul mate of a partner. Maybe you have a best friend, just one, the very best. The person who you have rated and graded, who floated to the top, the science experiment of all your people. I look at my friends and I see too many. I know that the work I put into these soul mate-friendships is what makes them special. No arbitrary grading scale will do.

Putting people into these boxes of best or worst or most valuable isn’t fair to me and it’s certainly not fair to my friends. I steal from polyamory, I steal and I don’t care. They’re all important to me in different ways.

Learning how to express this, learning how to value your friends so they feel best, that’s what’s the most important thing.


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When To Say I Love You

when we moved your mattress out of your apartment it got stuck on the stairs

and I looked at you and said that one day we’d find this funny

and I still remember the look on your face because we were already halfway down

and when we made it outside, it started raining

so I sat in the bed of the moving truck and laughed

and told you to sit next to me

and the canvas of my shoes got wet

and my hair got all frizzy.

we’d just been dating for six months when we held hands on that same old walk

still in that phase, you know, exploring each others palms like fortune tellers

and I said “when you want to move in with me, I’m ready”

and you said “I think I’ll end my lease early”

and we rationalized the cost of

moving

ending your lease

that trip to ikea

those new appliances

because when you say something out loud and it sounds right

when it just sounds like the thing you’re going to do

the perspective changes and

everything flips all upside down, you know

what used to be down is up and what used to be up is down

and I think that’s love

that dizzy feeling I get when

you dance in the kitchen

or read me harry potter

or call the cat pet names, we both answer.

 

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