All The Things You’ve Given Me

March 22nd, 2015

In 2015, I am in the middle of a heartbreak. I know it will not last forever. I know that it may not be my greatest to date. And it may not be the greatest I’ll ever experience. That knowledge offers solace in its own way.

But now is not the time for solace. Now is the time to be grateful and to achieve that, I have been musing over all the things that the bartender has given me throughout our long and tumultuous triste. And I can think of no better way to do this than by saying “thank you.”

Thank you for surprising me. I am no psychic. I cannot see the future, and sometimes I assume that my inability to do so means that nothing good will ever happen. You proved me wrong. You proved that good times and amazing memories and even love, the type of loves that pushes you to the ground and knocks the breath out of you and leaves your vision in swirls, can come from unexpected places when you least expect it. It gives me hope that the future truly is better than I can imagine and that something good might just be around the corner.

And you are just the latest in a parade of people, flirtationships, partners, almost lovers and more, who have give me perhaps more than I deserve.

To the first one after my divorce — so many years after my divorce. Thank you for being comfortable, for being a kind person with whom to experience such a terrifying experience anew. You gave me the confidence and the assurance that it wasn’t so terrifying to be with someone else. You made me feel desirable.

Thank you you for liking me as much as you did. I needed that. I am sorry that I couldn’t provide the same for you in return. I hope you will have fond memories anyway.

Where would I be without the hot geek, the guy who felt like he would be my one who got away for years? Despite the fact that I know this is no longer the case, I wouldn’t be even a fraction of who I am without his accidental assistance.

Thank you, then, to him who taught me I am a nice person. I had never dared consider that about myself before him. Thank you for flirting and laughter and cuddles and the best kisses of my adult life. Thank you for allowing me to (re)discover my geekery. Thanks for being humble despite being such a treat for my eyes to feast upon.

I hope the woman you found does all of this for you and more!

To my ex-husband, the person who deserves thanks in various and confusing ways. I know I will miss things that could be added to this list, but four years is a long time to remember all those little things.

Thank you for the inside jokes, your adorable silliness and for being the first person with whom I could express my sexual side without hiding it. Thank you for, literally, showing me the world. The time away from my home town and my family made me appreciate them all the more when it was finally time to return to them.

Thank you for making me believe in the institution of marriage, for the first time in my life, if only for a little while. Thank you for bringing a sense of calm and serenity to my life and for being the first person to hold me together, physically and emotionally.

I am forever in your debt, not only for sharing a life, money and a home, but for the pets we would adopt together. Thank you for allowing me to keep them. During out time together, I was finally able to feel like I wasn’t facing this world alone. I felt like I was part of a team, and that other people understood the same struggles we were going through.

And, finally, thank you for leaving me. I am not sure when, or if, I ever would have had the courage to leave our marriage. I loved you so much, but you were slowly killing me. Although I still disagree with your reasons and ultimately think that our marriage could have worked had we better worked together, the sudden change in the direction my life went in is the single greatest motivation I’ve ever had to be happy. And I needed that.

It was through our separation and divorce that I finally found a counselor who clicked and a counseling style that I still rely on to this day. It was through those trials and many, many errors that I would build the foundation of the adult that I am today — well-adjusted, compassionate, caring, helpful, three-dimensional, sex positive and more.  While I cannot say for sure that it wouldn’t have happened anyway given time, thank you for pushing it to happen more quickly. I am glad to have the worst behind me.

Thank you for showing me that I needed to believe in myself so that I could avoid the same mistakes we made with future partners. I hope you’ve learned anything at all from us. Without you, I am not sure I would be able to feel grateful to anyone who came after you.

Thank you.

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Lovehoney Plus Size Adore Me Bustier

March 20th, 2015

You guys, I love black and red. Obviously. The color combination is great. Given that it’s the palette Lovehoney decided to go with for their new Adore Me line of lingerie, I instantly fell in love with almost every single piece. No lie.

So I left it pretty open when it came to choosing which piece to send me, and I got the Adore Me bustier. I opted for plus size because standard sizing has no XL. This might be a mistake on their part, but I think the design takes into consideration different body shapes and sizes by being stretchy and adjustable in multiple places.

This might be might first bustier. I generally choose babydolls that are more loose fitting around the midsection. So how did my first experience go?

I liked the feel of the Adore Me bustier as soon as I put it on. The microfiber bustier is super comfy. It slides right across your skin and isn’t much of a barrier between your body and your partner or even your own hands. You could probably sleep in it.

But like any bustier, it’s going to show any bulges or whatnot. If you’re worried about your tummy, you might look for something other than the G-string it comes with to prevent panty lines and bulges. As a whole, this is the more revealing piece when compared to the Adore Me Chemise, which is a little longer, features a straight laced hem all the way around and covers the breasts with a layer of microfiber. The chemise is still pretty form-fitting, even though it’s longer and covers your butt, so these pieces might not be up your alley if you’re working on body issues.

The chemise might offer a little bit more support to the chest. Although neither of these pieces of lingerie have underwire, the lace cups on the Adore Me bustier are definitely on the low end of support. My breasts needed a little adjusting to be ideal. Because I need more support from the side, this wasn’t perfect for me.

However, the straps are a thicker fabric, which should be good if you’re more well-endowed. You can adjust both the length of the shoulder straps as well as the two straps that cross in the cutout at the back. This enables you to choose how much skin you want to wear and even adjust the fit. Because the plus sizes cover a range 1x/2x or 3x/4x, this is important and a smart decision on Lovehoney’s design team’s part.

So how does sizing run on this piece? I am barely plus-sized and it was comfortable. There’s a lot  of stretch so you could definitely fit up to a a 2x, but it likely wouldn’t be as flattering. I took a couple measurements. These are flat measurements:

  • Empire waist: 17.5 inches
  • Center waist to bottom hem in front: 12.5″
  • Side waist to beginning of garter: 17″
  • Distance from bottom of cutout to lace hem edge along ruching: 7″
  • Minimum shoulder strap length: 5″
  • Max shoulder strap length: 9,5″
  • Min garter length: 2.5″
  • Max garter length:  5″
  • Length of cups in center: 9″

Obviously, 35 inches for the waist line isn’t super plus sized, but I was easily able to stretch it to 25 inches. It may not wear comfortable that way, but there’s a generous amount of give in the fabric. In the product photo, its stretched much more so that it will cover the taller-than-I-am model’s tummy and some of her pubic area.  I stand only 5’2″ and this is about how long it is on me, unstretched, with the bra straps about 1/2 longer than the minimum.

Aside from the cups, pretty much everything on the Adore Me Bustier is adjustable, and I think many people will find they’ve gotten their money’s worth with this piece.

lovehoney-adore-me-bustier-details

Adjustable straps, Lovehoney charm and twisted strap

The detailing doesn’t just stop with adjustability. I enjoy the lace details at the empire waist and along the back hem, which isn’t as drastic of a curve as the front. Beneath the open back, there’s vertical ruching in the center of your lower back/butt, which brings the lace hem upward. This allows your butt to peak out from beneath it, as you can see in product photos.

There’s a tiny Lovehoney charm between the breasts that I initially didn’t even notice, but I quite like it! In fact, the attention to detail really shows through. It’s not a groundbreaking design by any means, but the lace, ruching, ribbon and charm all make it feel very “complete.”

However, one thing I did notice was that one of the shoulder straps was sewn incorrectly, so that one side of the strap always twists and won’t lie flat. It’s not a deal breaker, but it is something I would notice.

Like any set that comes with a G-string, this one was much too large for me. If sizing is an issue, you could consider the Adore Me garter panties, which have removeable garters and come in both standard and plus sizes, for a better fit.

I might have liked the Adore Me Chemise a little better in hindsight, but I definitely enjoyed my first experience with a bustier overall. If the attention to detail and general quality — minus the one twisted strap — is any indicator, Lovehoney’s doing a good job with their lingerie!

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The Big Book of Domination Review + Giveaway

March 5th, 2015

Perhaps the single most noticeable way that The Big Book of Domination differs from The big Book of Submission is the number of stories. At over 200 pages, this book could have dozens of stories, but it actually only contains 25 stories. With 69 stories in The Big Book of Submission, each story was shorter on average.

When it comes to what I like in erotica, this isn’t actually a boon. I love sudden fiction. I love sultry sex in 2000 words or less. I like reading it. I like writing it. I don’t need the flowery descriptions that add to word count. I’m not a huge fan to a ton of buildup. Show me the main event.

It just seems like the point where I would end the story introduces another scene, and I can’t keep myself glued to the pages. Perhaps I get off too quickly, but this isn’t really conducive to how I use erotica.

I also found it hard to keep my attention rapt through the first three stories, which involved male domination. Fortunately, the fourth ushers in a domme, but the first three could, perhaps, been broken up in a different order. While most of the stories do seem to pair a male dominant with a female submissive, I do like how several of them play with BDSM roles. Several stories involve submissive experiment with holding the metaphorical whip.

There are other themes that I noted in The Big Book of Domination. These include power exchanges that are surprising and somewhat sudden, either between strangers or from the point of a view of a submissive discovering another’s dominant tendencies.

Because so many of these stories seem to be from the submissive’s view point, The Big Book of Domination isn’t as different from The Big Book of Submission as I think it could be. It’s more of a general BDSM collection in my opinion. With that said, the stories happen in many different and sometimes unusual settings. There is an overall lack of cliche, even if that means I sometimes am turned off by something such as manly boot licking.

This isn’t to say that I hated the book. I didn’t. There were a few stories I found particularly enjoyable, especially the last story, “Little Angel” by Evan Mora. It was one of the many stories where someone who typically identifies as a submissive experiments with dominance and finds it thrilling!

Now, this might not be the perfect book for me but I feel confident that many people will like it. In fact, some people specifically like erotica that’s a little longer than most sudden fiction. If you liked The Big Book of Submission but thought the stories should be longer or even if you didn’t like it because each piece wasn’t long enough, I would suggest you check out The Big Book of Domination.

One lucky reader of OSAL will get their chance to read the book thanks to the folks at Cleis Press, who are sponsoring a giveaway. One American winner will get their hands on this anthology, and you can determine whether or not this book is two thumbs up.

Enter using the giveaway widget below. Remember to check back daily to earn more entries and increase your chance of winning!

Good luck!

The Big Book of Domination

Ends March 26.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Mona Wave

March 2nd, 2015

Mona Wave
$179 from Lelo

Listen, guys. Lelo is trying really hard to be innovative. It’s not enough to make toys of silicone that are rechargeable. They did that. And then everyone else did that. They’ve got to get a couple steps ahead of the game.

It certainly wasn’t cutting it for them to try to revamp some of their most-loved items. The sophomore versions of most toys, including the Gigi, just fell short. Perhaps the second Mona was an improvement.

And Lelo took heart, maybe? Because they tried to do something completely different with Ora, which was met with disdain from almost the entire sex-toy-buying community. I liked it, but the original obviously wasn’t ready to be released. And Siri 2? Props on increasing the motor for one of my favorite clit toys, but that whole “music vibe” thing is a joke.

So what else can Lelo do? Fun Factory has already done something interesting and relatively successful with the Stronic line, so I guess Lelo’s going to stick to mimicking manual g-spot stimulation.

That’s where this whole Wave thing comes in. Lelo picked two popular toys, Mona and Ina, to “upgrade.” Rather than just creating another g-spot vibe, Lelo has allowed the head of Mona to wag back and forth — like the “come hither” motion. There is also vibration, and you can use them together or separately if you’d like.

The vibration alone isn’t any better than the original Mona or Mona 2. The original has been discontinued, but you’re going to save a chunk of money if you buy Mona 2. To be honest, this is probably the best option for anyone who isn’t entirely sure that Mona Wave isn’t for them. Unless you’re comfortable throwing away money. And this is why.

The problem, I think, with Mona Wave is that it’s one size fits most. And if it fits me fairly well, that means it’s going to fall short for a lot of other people.

The back-and-forth motion performs at a uniform pace. If it works for you, that’s great. It’s just kind of boring. And there’s no increase or decrease in intensity to get you to the point where you’re going to have a g-spot orgasm or squirt. This is going to mean that “one size fits most,” results in some pretty unhappy customers.

As far as toys go, the Mona Wave is all about providing the same sensation instantly. Maybe you’ll reach for it after another toy has gotten you almost there.. but why would you? You could use the vibration and curved shaft to stimulate your G-spot and then turn on the wave function, but that seems kinda fickle, and you may find yourself removing the toy to look at the buttons.

This is always an issue with me when I’m using toys that have more than one function. I can never just switch between them, and I’ve never thought that Lelo’s standard 4-button control panel was quite as intuitive as it could be.

Mona Wave might have 10 speeds, be waterproof and come with a warranty, but none of that is going to mean much to disappointed sex toy lovers who aren’t able to successfully cater their masturbation style to the Mona Wave rather than the other way around, which I think many people argue is the better way. So Lelo’s claims that Mona Wave is the first of its kind that will revolutionize vibrators is just a claim the company can’t back up.

 

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Five Head Wartenberg Wheel

February 23rd, 2015

The five heads work exactly the same as a single head — except there’s more. They’ll cover a wider path and the prongs won’t line up exactly, so there will be more variation in sensation. However. they’ll all move in the same direction.

The appearance of this is a little more “Wicked” than the regular pinwheel. Indeed, people who have seen this or my single Wartenberg wheel have assumed it was a tool of punishment that would make anyone squeal. They’re not quite right; although, they’re not quite wrong, either.

Obviously, stimulation can range from a light to possibly breaking the skin. I’v yet to be able to achieve that, but with firm pressure, I was able to achieve a nice “perforation” effect on my skin. It took a few moments for the tracks to really show up, though. I like the marks left by a Wartenberg wheel and they’re not permanent, which is nice.

If you do use it with enough pressure to draw blood, it will be a little more difficult to clean around each pinwheel and all the spokes. I’m thinking a brush or cloth would do the trick without causing it to rust, because that would suck. I definitely wouldn’t let it soak.

The Five Head Wartenberg Pinwheel is everything you like about the original, just more. In fact, I think the quality of this one is higher than that of my original pinwheel, which seem to have edges of different sharpnesses and a few imperfections. When it comes to metal, it’s pretty easy to tell when companies have skimped because of imperfections on the surface. This isn’t the case with the Five Head Wartenberg Pinwheel.

The five head pinwheel comes in the same sort of plastic sheath as other Wartenberg pinwheels. It might be a bit wider to fit it. It’s not wide enough, however. It should be more box-like or have a flared end (like a condom) to better with the pinwheel. Because it’s so sharp, it’s cut the shit out of the sheath during shipping alone. Frequent use, which would involve removing and replacing the pinwheel, would only exacerbate this. Needless to say, I won’t be keeping mine in the plastic cover.

Despite its looks, the Wartenberg wheel can be newb-friendly while still offering more intense sensations for people who like it a bit rougher. There’s not a huge difference in sensation between this one and the pinwheel with the single head, however, so I would based my decision on price and quality.

 

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She, Tigress

February 22nd, 2015

When my best friend talks about her marriage, it’s as though she’s describing life as a caged tiger in a zoo. But she wasn’t plucked from her homeland by hunters who wanted to make a quick buck and fast. Rather, she followed the metaphorical steak, so tantalizing that it usurped her entire field of vision, right into that cage. And she was the one who locked it tight after the door swung shut.

My best friend, the tiger, spends most of her time lamenting about unhappiness inside the cage. Yet, she sees no way to make her escape. Not only has she locked the door behind her, but the things that happen once one marries — financial burdens and children specifically — have piled up on the inside of that door, making it seem all bit impossible that she could even escape.

After some eight years of marriage, three children, moving across the world and back and no less than three Army bases, she has begun to lose some of her luster. Her hair is thinning. She looks more haggard than ever before. We play, but not as frequently as before and, perhaps more importantly, it lacks a certain sense of freedom that we once shared. This, I imagine, is similar to the tiger’s life in captivity. His stripes will be a little less intense. His fur will be less shiny. He might mope around, or he may do nothing at all.

My friend’s thoughts of liberation are confused at best. She fiercely wants to protect her cubs. From the cruel world outside. From her husband and their terrible never-ending fights and sometimes, I suspect, from her own self. It cannot be an easy slavery. She describes the lack of romance from her husband. Sex occurs rarely. I suspect he views physical coupling as a way for them to connect. She does not. He must coerce her. The times that their romps have been notable she can count on one hand. I cannot imagine a sex life so dismal.

And I would be remiss if I called her husband her captive. I think, if I am being honest, he is like another animal. I am not entirely sure that he is a tiger she like, and this might be where the problems arise. But he is also a caged beast, and like most beasts, he does not know how to communicate his thoughts or feelings. Instead, he emits a roar loud enough to get attention but perhaps too feeble to get anything done.

Thus, the pair of them, with their litters, lives in a cage from which they both would like freedom but neither of them are sure how to escape. Truth be told, they’re not entirely sure what freedom looks like anymore. and that scares them. They’ve been together for most of a decade, and the world outside their cage surely doesn’t resemble their lives before their mating in any way. Freedom is change, and change is terrifying.

Isn’t it unfortunate, then, that everyone on the outside of the cage feels so sorry for these two? My heart breaks for my best friend, but she is in part master of her own captivity. The boulders against the door are as much in her head and, from the outside, I can see that the key has never been removed from the lock. All she has to do is reach around to open the door.

Scary? Absolutely. I’ve been in a similar position, and looking forward was nigh impossible given how terrifying it was. Damning? Hardly. Here I stand, on the other side, ready to hold her hand and help her to take her first shaky steps on new legs. If only she would stand up first.

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My Life on the Swingset: Adventures in Swinging & Polyamory

February 17th, 2015

My Life on the Swingset
$6.99 (Kindle) from Amazon

When I was initially approached by author and lifestyle swinger Cooper Beckett to review his book, My Life on the Swingset, I was interested. But I had never heard of the guy or his podcast or website before. I’m no swinger, and I’m not much into podcasts, so maybe this isn’t to be surprised. However, I said “Yes” anyway.

My Life on the Swingset is a collection of edited writings from the Cooper’s blog, along with some new works by Cooper. If you’re already familiar with his previous works, then you’ll be acquainted with some of the characters and events, including the annual swingers retreat Desire, that are mentioned in this book. However, this is absolutely not necessary. You’ll also already be aware of the conversation way that Beckett speaks, with nerdy quips and nested brackets that I couldn’t help myself but smile at.

Conversational tone can be difficult to pull off, but it looks like years writing for Life on the Swingset has helped Cooper Beckett find his voice. In fact, I’d probably be willing to read a paper or novel on just about anything that he wrote if he did so in this style. It took very little time to think of Cooper as a friend and someone with whom I might enjoy a cup of coffee. No doubt it helped that he refers to his mistakes, his awkwardness and his geeky (a common interest!) in ways that make him seem utterly approachable. While My Life on the Swingset might not be an instructional manual, there is a lesson to be learned from this: anyone can be a swinger. It’s not a lifestyle from which you should exclude yourself if you’re interested.

There are other lessons to be found in this book, which was a quick and enjoyable read. Cooper walks us through his experimentation with swinging and the true difficulties that lay ahead for him and his now ex-wife. He talks about new relationships, becoming polyamorous and discovering himself as a bisexual man in a scene that so often discriminates against that sort of creature.

The inside look shows the sort of prejudices even swingers and self-proclaimed sex-positive kinksters can hold and use against one another, and as Beckett moves between the different types of open relationships, he shows this with honesty. Could it possibly offend some people who only want to paint the perfect picture of this lifestyle? Perhaps. But Cooper Beckett is human, after all, just like all of us any anyone who might be in any sort of open relationship. And Cooper isn’t afraid to call those humans his friends or name drop where it’s appropriate. My reading list has grown from suggestions mentioned in these pages alone.

Honesty is key to the stories told within these pages. It makes them enjoyable, and it also makes Cooper seem like the type of person I’d like to better know. Cooper also does his own self-discovery, and he reiterates how becoming polyamorous has helped him learn more about himself. There’s a child-like amazement that, even as his age, he can grow and learn about himself. It’s something that I also love about being alive.

Ultimately, ending My Life On the Swingset was like finishing an amazing conversation with a person who completely surprised me. It finished too soon, and I was sad. But the bitter was married with sweet; surely there will be other chances to pick up the conversation again. And if Cooper’s ultimate goal was to draw me in, make me a friend and motivate me to stop by the website to continue that conversation, I think we can call My Life on the Swingset a success!

 

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Judging His Cover

February 15th, 2015

He was plain. There was nothing special about him. He was lanky with too much gut from years of drinking. His hair was thinning prematurely, and he tried to hide it by wearing it long or, more frequently, wearing hats.

He was tall enough to look awkward. All of his t-shirts looked two sizes too large. If we’re being honest, they were. It’s hard to clothe that frame.

He wore glasses ill-suited to his face shape. Without anti-glare, looking at him was like looking into some sort of abyss. It was empty and soulless.

Whenever he gained weight, his face ballooned out like a chipmunk foraging for its very survival. He tried to hide this by growing a beard. To a certain extent, it worked, but he let it become unruly. At this point, his childlike nose poked out from between the whiskers, and he just looked silly.

That’s all he was: silly.

And yet with all this silliness, his mediocrity and his inability to style himself in a manner that indicated any thought at all, he was confident. He was cool. He was fun. He was the laid back type of person whom you always want to be around because he makes everything look so damned easy.

So despite his awkwardness, his overly-worn hats and glasses that made it impossible to tell whether his eyes were green or blue anyway, I fell in love with him. In spite of myself, I found my mind drifting to him whenever it wanted, whether or not I wanted it to at all.

And despite all of his own insecurities, he carried himself with enough confidence that he was magnetic, his charisma always pulling me closer to him when his arms weren’t physically wrapping around me and bending me to his will. He twisted and pulled and I melted against him, this plain, not-special, awkward boy who was trying too hard to be a man.

What was it about him? It wasn’t visible. It was chemical, running through his veins and jolting across neural pathways. It was gustatory, sliding across my tongue and sticking in my mouth with a sweetness that was only as bitter as I imagined. It was tangible, electric, breath-quickening and pulse-quickening.

What it was that drew me to him, kept me at his side and begging for me, left me looking after him when he’d already walked away, was an eddy of forces so subtle and quick that I was already gasping for breath by the time that I realized what had happened. And by then, his animal magnetism had already replaced oxygen as my primary source of survival.

That is the power of the main who looks plain from the outside but feels like a storm once he’s inside you. Flowery descriptions seem so far from apropos when it comes to the boy who slouches and drinks too much and isn’t sure of his own self worth.

But when I think of the awkward boy with all his flaws, even through the filter of my broken heart, I cannot help but see a little beauty.

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Uberlube

February 8th, 2015

It must be hard being silicone lube in my possession. First, it sits on my counter or my table for a few days. Days turn into weeks, and the lube makes it way into my bedroom. There, it sits on my dresser before taking months to move to my nightstand, where it will sit a while more until I can think about using it.

You see, it doesn’t matter if you’re nice and slick, perfect for partner vaginal or anal sex. Long-lasting doesn’t matter. A lack of stick is just great.. someone else. Silicone lube can be compatible with most of my toys and all condoms, and it can come in a cute pump bottle that’s also made of glass. An ingredient list that’s short and easy to pronounce should be something that I approve of. But none of that just really matters.

At the end of the day, silicone-based lubes get the short end of the stick because they feel so artificial to me. There’s no way around it. Water-based lubes are shorter lasting and become sticky as they dry, but it feels closer to my natural lubrication. It’s more natural feeling, less like a plastic bag in my vagina.

So, you see, UberLube didn’t have a chance. Umlaut and everything, I still wasn’t swayed. It was just another silicone-based lube that will likely collect dust because I don’t particularly care for that type of lube. I don’t like how it feels inside me, on my hands or on my toys despite how often and long I’ve washed them.

And while the pump bottle is cute, it’s also not travel friendly because it could break and there’s no way to lock it. And $19 is far more than I would spend on any bottle of lube. If I was a die-hard silicone lube fan, I’d probably recommend a lube like System Jo for Women, which is a hair more affordable. If you’re really interested in Uberlube, Good Vibes does sell travel sets, which cost $16 each, but the other silicone-based lubes offer a more competitive price.

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My Sex Life Can Legally Vote

February 3rd, 2015

And marry. And it can drink in Japan.

That is, to say, I’ve been a consciously sexual being since I was around 8 years old. Give or take.

I don’t remember the first time I masturbated exactly. I remember simply grinding against balled up blankets — never pillows — until I became sweaty and hot and felt finished. In hindsight, that must have been an orgasm. But either I didn’t know the word or maybe it really wasn’t. Perhaps I felt some sort of other closure. And I would stop for the night.

Some twenty years later, I occasionally find myself getting off in the same way. I almost-but-not-quite wake up in the middle of the night, reach down for a corner of my blanket and grind against it for dear life. I’ve always been a fan of grinding.

Of course, it’s not the only routine in my repertoire now, but that’s how this all got started. I was still in the single digits, and I was humping blankets when I was supposed to be sleeping. I suppose I became bolder, sometimes doing it during the day time. I recall masturbating in my best friend’s bed one night while she talked in the other room. I couldn’t quite remember where her brother was. I was relieved to know he wasn’t in the room.

I remember, in high school, masturbating with the door to my room not quite closed. Could someone in the living room see the movement of my feet and legs and guess what was happening even though I wasn’t making a noise?

It wasn’t that I was a voyeur. I was just a horny teenager, and I couldn’t resist if the mood strike. And strike it did — hard and often.

During my teen years, I spent countless hours in chatrooms talking to boys, men, women. Cyber sex, they called it. Back then, it was simply erotic roleplaying. There were no photos and videos, not really. People would try to encourage them, but I wasn’t comfortable in my skin in any way shape or form. During those times, the blood would rush to my clit and my G-spot, making me feel like I had to pee. I read plenty of articles about G-spot stimulation, but it wasn’t that. It wasn’t impending orgasm. I just mistook the equivalent of blue balls as a different sort of bodily fluid.

I experimented with technique during these times. I once read that you could use the handle of a Venus razor as an impromptu dildo. I tried. It wasn’t necessarily pleasurable and I freaked out when I realized I was bleeding. I was never entirely sure if it was a cut from vigorous thrusting of a first-time penetrator or if that was my hymen. It didn’t hurt, and neither did sex for the first time. I didn’t give it much thought. I was happy to be masturbating and having sex.

I guess there must have been other household objects, but nothing stuck. It was that blanket or nothing. At some point, I added in fingers to rub my clit, which afforded me the opportunity to jack off wherever the hell I wanted. Eventually, the feeling-like-I-needed-to-pee sensation would fade away, and I’d forget about it.

It wasn’t until 10 years after I started masturbating that I bought my first sex toy, a purple jelly beast. In hindsight, it might have been a bit large. But I used it for a couple years, and it worked for several years after that without the purple glitter jelly leaking. I was surprised. I enjoyed this toy internally and externally, but it wasn’t doing me any favors. I can now recognize that my body just wasn’t used to masturbating in different ways.

I decided that I need clitoral stimulation, too, and plopped down money on another purple beast: the Rabbit Habit. In less than a month’s time, I had broken it because my tendency was to pull the base upward, forcing the shaft to bend. I bought another, not realizing the dubious construction or materials were something that should prevent me from doing so. I hadn’t ever thought about silicone, even though the original Form 6 had already been added to my wishlist.

The second rabbit eventually broke, too, but because loose beads are simply a terrible idea. But between the two bunnies, I had managed to have a toy-induced orgasm. Except, I had no fucking idea what it was. The quick contractions of my vagina felt like an alien, and that’s literally how I described it to a Livejournal group I was part of. Some women replied with “Yes! That’s an orgasm.” Others thought I should see a doctor.

I spend a lot of time researching whether or not a person, especially a woman, could have an orgasm and not realize it. Weren’t they all supposed to be toe-curling and earth-shattering? Mine surely weren’t. In fact, to this day, I’d still describe them as somewhat perfunctory. There have certainly been some pleasurable orgasms, but they’re notable, not frequent.

A few more shitty toys, including pocket rockets, would call my makeshift converted shoebox home before I would finally upgrade to something better, mostly thanks to this blog.  I still focus on clitoral stimulation, and I often use nothing more than my fingers despite my growing collection.

Rabbit after rabbit followed. An interesting night with k-balls and the Miracle Massager led to me squirting for the first time, awakening my G-spot. Or perhaps re-awakening it and reminding me of sensations I had experienced but learned to fight years before.

The years following would include more clitoral and G-spot vibrators, glass, wood, stainless steel and various ceramic toys. Several of those years were spent with my ex-husband.

5 years ago, my marriage started to crumble. Although masturbation was much the same, my sex life would change forever when the divroce was finalized a little over 4 years ago. For months, I would struggled to be aroused and masturbate without fantasizing about my ex, an issue I still face when dealing with heartbreak.

For three years, I would remain sexually celibate. It wasn’t necessarily on purpose, but I also didn’t want to deal with the hassle that came with romance and/or sex. I was sick of terrible first dates. And for nearly two of those years, the hot geek was unintentionally breaking my heart.

2 years ago, I finally left my celibacy behind. I was glad to have broken the fast, but it didn’t enhance my sex life. My drive might have been kicked alive once more, but the very act that was the catalyst for this change also opened my eyes to the fact that there would be no coming back for seconds with this person.

Just under 2 years ago, I would begin a haphazard romantic and sexual relationship with the bartender. There were as many highs as there were lows, but the sex was some of the best in my life. It brought out parts of me that I hadn’t understood or perhaps had even hidden from light for years. I felt whole and I finally understood that my sexuality can never be quite complete without a partner.

1 day, 1 week, 1 month from now, I don’t know how my sex life might look. I can imagine. I can hope that the next time I have sex, it will satiate me in every way. But if there’s anything that the past two decades have taught me, it’s that the life my sexuality takes on is bigger, bolder and better than I can imagine.

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