Join Us Sunday for a Dildo Discussion!

June 30th, 2014

I am proud to announced that this Sunday at 7 PM CST I will be joining Sangsara and Lori for an episode of Sex Toy Nitty Gritty, a live podcast that those two have starts. Our subject will be dildos, and we’ll spend the first half of the episode telling you everything you need to know about them. During the second half of the show, you’ll be able to call in to ask questions, and one called will win the Pussy Willow dildo from Fucking Sculptures, the episode’s sponsor!

You can find more about Sex Toy Nitty Gritty on their blog. The podcast site is hosted on Blog Talk Radio, where you can also listen to their first two episodes. This is where you want to head to listen to the show on Sunday.

I’m excited. Nervous that you’ll guys hear my real voice for only the second time ever! Worried that we won’t be able to cover dildos in just 30 minutes! But mostly excited!

I’ll report back with the call-in number for you guys. You’re sure to hear plenty about it on Twitter. Maybe we should start a hashtag? #sextoynittygritty? Use it now to talk about the show! Whatever you want!

 

Sadly, SangSara and Lori have had to put this project on hold, so there was no discussion tonight. However, I will be excited to work with them in the future when it will be more awesome than you can shake a dildo at!

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You do what, now?

December 1st, 2012

Every once in a while, I discover a new sex toy that makes me go “what the fuck?” if it’s really weird. Sometimes, I see something and wonder who is into that. Although I’ve tried my fair share of toys, I lack a penis, and I think the masturbation experience is a little different for men. Not only do women have the better selection of sex toys, but masturbation is sometimes more sensual, more prolonged, and more fantasy-oriented in our heads. At least, that’s it for me. I find trying to look at things to be a little distracting. It’s easier for me to visualize things with my eyes closed.

That’s why when I learned about Beaniebang Babes, I was more than a little curious. On the one hand, it seems like a lot of work and I am definitely lazy. On the other hand, I admire the attempt to capitalize on an already successful sex toy — the Fleshlight — and the porn industry to produce something that could possibly enhance masturbation. I understand why people want to make masturbation more sex-like, but I also don’t know if the intent itself isn’t misguided or if sticking a picture on a pornstar and beaniebanging “her” is the right way to go about it.

But, guys deserve a wider range of sex toys, too, so I can’t fault anyone who wants to know how to beaniebang. At least they’d be taking their desires — and penis — into their own hands, and I commend that.

Plus, I think naming sex toys after children’s toys is kinda lulzy.

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Why Ask a Stranger? (or “Go Talk To Your Partner”)

January 13th, 2010

Having been around the internet a time or two, I’ve sought out advice from others. Who hasn’t? But as my knowledge in just about everything expands, I find myself being the one who offers instead of seeks counsel, more often than not. I don’t mind. In fact, I thrive on it. I love helping people and answering questions. And if my advice works? Excellent. I give myself a little pat on the back and feel hopeful that someone has somehow worked over and issue in their life whether it’s communication within a relationship or just finding the right sex toy for them.

But I have come to notice a certain type of question which I cannot answer – not because I am unfamiliar with the territory or even because I disagree with something that gets someone off. No, the questions that bother me most are the questions about relationships and dynamics and communication which clearly should be asked to a partner, not random strangers on the internet. Don’t get me wrong; it’s good to show initiative. If you want to do something a little extra special, I’ve got ideas. So does everyone else and these ideas are not necessarily dependent on your partner’s tastes or relationship status. But I cannot answer these questions

  • Why is my partner less interested in sex?
  • Why does my partner no longer initiate sex?
  • Does my partner still love me or find me attractive?
  • How do I deal with my partners ED/disability/insecurities without talking to him or her?
  • What does it mean when my partner ignores my advances?

Yet, if your partner’s interest in sex has decrease or his or her attitude has altered suddenly, I cannot tell you why. I just can’t. I’m not your partner. I don’t share his or her stress at work or home. I do not react to things the same way nor do I have the same life experiences. My life influences and brain chemistry are, quite simply, incredibly different. I don’t know what makes your partner tick and, if you’re asking me, it seems like neither do you.

Perhaps the internet offers anonymity when it comes to our problems. We can say “this is going on” without saying “and my name is John Smith and I live in Miami with my wife, 2 children, cat and dog.” Sex is not always the easiest thing to talk about and I understand that but sexual and romantic relationships frequently suffer from lack of or poor communication. Sure, some relationships are completely effortless but most are not. You don’t need to talk to the world about your sex life; you just need to talk to the person(s) with whom you are having sex.

Get off the internet (after all, you signed on to ask your question) and have a heart to heart with your lover. Ask about changes in behaviour or reluctance to do a certain activity. Ask why things are different from how they were in the hot and heavy days or why things just never seemed to pick up from the beginning. Ask your partner how he or she feels and offer a shoulder to cry on. Perhaps you will find that your partner has been struggling with something and you can help.

Your partner may be relieved that you brought up the subject. It offers both of you the opportunity to make improvements, something which cannot be done when one or both partners are in the dark about the other’s feelings. Sometimes we forget that our partners have the same fears and aspirations as we may and we can fight them together, not fight one another because of them. Occasionally, you are positive something is a problem when talking can reveal it to actually be a misunderstanding. You may find that knowing more about your partner may make you feel closer and boosts your confidence in your relationship. Conversely, not speaking about these options frequently only exacerbates the problems.

Of course, there are some guidelines to follow when talking about sexual issues and many of them have to do with when to bring them up or, rather, when not to. Don’t bring up your concerns at any of these inopportune times:

  • Right before sex
  • In the middle of sex
  • Immediately after sex
  • In public (or in front of the in laws)
  • During a fight (especially not as ammunition)
  • When there are distractions (computer, TV, kids, phone, while preparing dinner et cetera)

Every effort should be made to express your feelings and concerns without putting blame on your lover. Pay attention to your partner’s responses, both verbal and nonverbal. Body language can serve as a guide to the success (or lack there of) of your discussion. Allow your partner to speak freely and avoid making assumptions; ask for clarification when need be. Finally, be open to suggestions. Ask how things can be improved and avoid dictating measures your partner “must” or “should” do. After all, you probably don’t want to be commanded yourself.

Unfortunately, sometimes knowing what is going on in a partner’s heart or mind (or pants) can pose problems that we cannot overcome. Sometimes talking paints a clear picture but it’s not of a happy ending (Cinderella style, not massage). I think sometimes people reach out to strangers, looking for a way to deal with symptoms of larger problems rather than admitting to themselves or their partners, all so they can continue to avoid the inevitable. But sometimes the inevitable (especially when it’s a parting of ways), although difficult in the present, offers the best possible future.

Either way, talking to your partner will truly shed light on a situation. It may not be the best light. Let’s face it, the truth is not always comfortable but the truth, as they say, can set us free.

I am just a stranger on the internet who has no ideas what is really going on in your head or in your bed.

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Does it help?

November 29th, 2009

Last night I saw a post by Essin’ Em in which she discussed a post by Sinclair Sexsmith on the subject of “femme invisibility.” My long-story-short understanding is that femmes are frequently assumed by folks straight and queer alike to be straight based on looks. There’s a lot of judgment that can deal someone quite the mental or emotional blog. I sympathized by Essin’ Em’s account and the countless comments on Sinclair’s post and chastised myself for being guilty of treating people similarly in the past (hey, I’m only human). I had to sign off before finishing them because I should have headed to bed hours before.

Now, I’m not lesbian and, even if I were, probably wouldn’t fall into either category but these comments all got me thinking and think is what I did as I lay in bed for over an hour, still not sleeping. And the thought that struck my was “does the internet help?” I thought of e-mailing Essin’ Em but decided just to blog about it.

Does the internet help reduce this invisibility? Does it allow femmes to congregate, to boost each other’s esteem or just to hear a sympathetic voice? Does it help by allowing issues like these to be discussed? To point out to people who may be participating in this offensive and hurtful behaviour (and who may not even know it), why it’s offensive or hurtful? To pass along helpful hints about how to react/deal when someone does treat a femme as invisible? Does it help because the people you meat judge less based on looks? And, if you meed them face to face, are they more accepting because you knew each other online? Does it help point people in the direction of people, places or groups who do not behave in such a manner? Do any potential lessons actually go farther than the screen?

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Stigma of STDs

November 24th, 2009

A while back I was reading a piece in Best Sex Writing 2009 about the advent of online dating communities for people with STDs. The article talked about these different communities, some aimed for STD sufferers in general and others aimed for folks with more specific STDs, which aid people in finding similar folks. It’s supposed to help folks in a couple ways. First, it helps to get the message across because the fact that So and So has X virus is right out in the open. There’s no third date jitters because you don’t know how your partner will react to the bad news. It also helps people look for others with the same STD/strain so they needn’t worry about giving it to someone else.

But it definitely reduces the dating pool. In the article, one of the users of such a site mentioned how there were only ever 1 or 2 folks in her location on the sites and those were not matches made in heaven. It can be difficult to find even a possibility, nevertheless a hit, on general dating sites whose users surely number in the thousands think AdultFriendFinder or a specific match sites like think Alt.com. So reducing those numbers even more can make the task of finding a partner even more hopeless, under the guise of hopefulness. To put it plainly, it’s hard enough to find someone (or sometimes several) when you’re considering all the fish in the sea but STD dating sites are just a little pond.

I’m not entirely sure that folks with STDs should have to limit themselves to that little pond. Not only are the pickings sometimes slim but it’s all too easy to write off someone because their STD status is displayed so prominently. Assuming everyone chooses their partners wisely (ha!), there are circumstances where STDs do not have to be the deciding factor of a relationship but the stigma is so high that it can even penetrate a community intended for those whose STDs run the gamut. If someone with disease X can turn his nose down on someone with infection Y, it’s no wonder there’s such a stigma around STD sufferers in general. It’s no wonder someone thought it would be a good idea to make such a dating site (not that it’s not).

And the stigma? Is there. It’s certainly real. There’s a “them versus us” mentality. I’m not proud to say that I’d had an STI invade my body and I still think that way sometimes. I try not but it comes so easily. I imagine the type of person who could possibly be so stupid or silly and I realize that.. I was that person. I start thinking about my friends and acquaintances, knowing at least 3 of them have all had at least one STD or STI. We’re not loose women – some of us have only ever been with one person – and we’re certainly not stupid. Our cabinets aren’t stocked with cocaine nor are we sex workers. Basically, no one I know with an STD has fit any fantastic stereotype of an STD sufferer.

It’s then that I realize it’s now “us” and “them” because they are us and vice versa. If I could have an STD, then so could my best friend, my mom, my coworker or my neighbor. Not only is it plausible, but it’s likely that more of my friends and family than I know have struggled with an STD and, by its nature, the stigma involved with it. Science agrees: “Among those ages 15-49, only one in four Americans has not had a genital HPV infection” and 12 million Americans contract an STD each year 1. That means the other 75% have HPV and it’s likely they don’t even know it because many strains have no symptoms even even those which do can lay low for some time. I wouldn’t have known, if not for my yearly Pap and there’s currently no test for men at all. Of course, HPV is only one of many STDs. It becomes clear; although, many people who perpetuate the stigma actually have an STD. The reality is, not only is there no way to distinguish between people, it becomes far less necessary to do so (simply to feed the gossip and stereotypes), when considering the numbers.

Of course, I don’t even realize the stigma has affect me, even as I wonder if I would ever be able to have sex with someone besides my husband (should we ever get to that point) and I cringe because I don’t know what to say about my HPV. I don’t realize how easily it is to perpetuate the problem even as I picture that stereotypical “STD-person” all covered in warts and strung out in my head. It’s a stigma that does no one any good and a stigma which could use a good boot to the butt.

So does a dating site for STD sufferers help? I guess it depends on how you define the problem.

1 – American Social Health Association, Myths and Misconceptions about HPV

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Confessions of a Sex (Toy) Blogger: My Multiple Identity Crisis

November 17th, 2009

My titled sounds so provocative. Well, so does anything which starts “Confessions of..”. Except maybe a plumber. Those are some confessions I’d rather nor hear, thank you very much. Not that I have anything against plumbers but it’s a dirty job. Sometimes it’s funny to watch Dirty Jobs, the show with Mike Rowe but that’s completely off topic.

The topic is how sometimes life with a secret identity becomes confusing. You see, while some people are only their “sex blogger” identity, I have two full presences online. I run this blog, post on sex forums, write reviews for different sites, post on Twitter and am a member of some different sex communities. I do that all as Adriana. The web presence I have under my “real” identity is even more complex. I have 4 blogs (one of which is a review blog) and I manage to update at least one every day, I update Twitter, I am active in several communities and post at their forums, I have accounts at Facebook and Myspace, not to mention dozens of other sites, I play a handful of games and sometimes I take the time to enter giveaways every once in a while. The “real” me has had a full internet life for nearly a decade and it was very well established long before I became a toy reviewer.

It’s not like I don’t enjoy it. I have a wide variety of interests. There’s always something to do. I’ve met a lot of people in both worlds and I have seen, first hand, the overlap between the two. If I had a nickle for every time I saw a review for EdenFantasys on a mommy blog (while browsing as the PG-rated reviewer, not the sex toy reviewer), I could get a shiny new toy. It’s not like I do everything all the time. It doesn’t take long to Tweet or switch between accounts. I don’t get so much e-mail that it’s all I do. There are stretches when I don’t write a review at all and my blogs don’t take so much time that I’ve forgotten my husband’s face (nor would I let them). And, let’s face it, it’s not like I have anything better to do.

But in this game of multiple identities, I’ve had several close calls and a few times when I could have even “outed” myself. I’ve e-mailed folks from the wrong e-mail account, not realizing which one was selected in my e-mail client. I’ve retweeted contests under the wrong Twitter account; my other one reposts everything to my Facebook. Oops! Once I left the wrong site URL in a comment form and I’ve signed up using to some sites twice, without realizing it, having forgotten I’d shopped there before all this sex toy reviewing stuff.

But my greatest offense involves “The Google”. I am always signed into my Google account but I only ever use it to comment on blogs so I frequently forget who I am signed in as. I’ve made a comment or two as the “wrong” me. I’ve been lucky so far; I haven’t said anything to give me away. Although, there was that one time I was helping Airlia with her site with my regular Google account and it showed a link to my profile in her blog. Oops, deux.

None of those things have been the end of the world. Sometimes people don’t even notice and even if I were “outed,” I have much less to lose than others. In fact, I have directed friends of the “real” me to of Sex and Love or my reviews at other sites on more than one occasion. It’s just not a link I want to be made easily. Anyway, there’s ways to get around those silly mistakes. I mean, besides actually paying attention, some folks run multiple browsers or instances of the same browsers. Not really my thing, nor does my dinosaur of a computer want to. But I could.

The thing that gets me the most, is I never know how to sign correspondences. Obviously, “Adriana Ravenlust” is not my real name. Sorry to break it to you. It is a name I chose, with help from my husband. “Ravenlust” actually is a take on a name I’ve used as the “real” me so that’s kind of cool. It’s a name I like and it’s probably easy for others to remember because it is a real name. No one ever adds extra letters to Adriana. Well, maybe another “n” but that’s not bad. When I’m signed into chat or a forum, I feel like Adriana.

Which is why I have no idea how to sign e-mails. If you know my real name, do I end with that? If I use one of my “real” identity e-mail addresses, should I just keep my signature as it automatically shows up? Do I need to explain that the name I go by is a nickname of my real name, which I hardly use? Does it matter if we have a business relationship, like if I review for a company? Or is it just okay if I can always be Adriana and just pretend neither of us no any better? I don’t really want to be rude, you know. I just don’t (know).

What do you do?

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Personally, Passionately, Anonymously Yours

October 1st, 2009

I write about sex here, on this blog, because I want to and I can. It’s really as simple as that and the internet has created a place where I can do it. What’s more, people seem to want to read what I have to say and this is great motivation to keep doing it.

Although the internet has prompted a lot of discussion and behaviour that aren’t exactly positive or productive, it has certainly created a forum for discussion of a sexual nature and I appreciate it. Whether someone finds a sympathetic shoulder, reassurance or even advice to seek medical attention, the internet has allowed people to come forward with their ideas, thoughts and concerns. This is important because sex is such a private topic that people are sometimes reluctant to discuss it even when they should, sometimes especially when they should. Not to be too dramatic but I do think that the internet has helped people make some positive decisions regarding their sexual health and that’s a priceless benefit in my opinion.

As I said, sexuality is a private thing and a personal thing. That fact makes it so interesting to so many people. Because I literally cannot replicate every possible experience, I am limited to my own mental and physical responses to sex. Even though these may (and have!) change over time, I will still only have experienced the tip of the iceberg in my lifetime. The internet allows us to share these personal experiences more freely than we might have, because of anonymity. We can see how others are more like us than we may have imagined and how others are far more different than we ever might have thought.

This sharing can affirm that, yes, we have had fairly typical experiences or that, no we haven’t. The internet can help to show us that our experiences are not typical, for better or worse, and help us to appreciate them anyway. Sex is one of those areas in which almost any discussion is good discussion. The internet offers priceless aid in this, especially if our personal lives otherwise prohibit discussion.

Of course, sex is also a passionate subject. Sure, some people could go either way but their are advocates speaking loudly on the behalf of sex as well as those who speak, just as loudly, against it. All of these opinions can be heard on the internet. If you can’t tell, I am for sex, for discussion, experimentation and understanding sex. It has become an important part of my life and I wish for others to have positive experiences like mine.

Which brings me back to why I love being able to blog here and participate in sexuality communities. It allows me do that, to help others, to offer than sympathetic shoulder or to urge medical assistance. It lets me feel as though I am helpful.

Unfortunately, the anonymity of the internet also makes it easy to say and do things without much, or any, repercussion. People can behave in ways that are not helpful and they do not need to take responsibility of their actions. Feeling passionate about a subject can illicit responses which aren’t so strong in the productivity department, even if the intent is not malicious. The anonymity of the internet can further excuse such behaviour until it eventually turns malicious.

This is what happened with some recent comments on another article of mine. I understand that the sharing on the internet sometimes winds up with messages we’d rather not hear, experiences which we do not share and opinions with which we disagree. I respect that for that is part of what makes the internet great. On the other hand, just because sex is a personal and passionate matter does not mean we have to respond in unfruitful ways. We can still agree and be productive.

We can disagree without coming off as defensive, rude or ignorant. We can read experiences which differ from our own (and share ours as well) and both experiences can be valid. Jumping to the defense or offense or posting hastily (which is often done in such an immediate environment) can prove detrimental to the positive experience of the internet, especially when it comes to sex. It is the opposite of the support some need when exploring their sexuality. That can be a difficult move for some and I commend them. In fact, negative responses can start a hurtful chain of behavior, succeeding in only exacerbating the problem.

It’s important to remember that differing opinions and experiences do not invalidate your own. Your voice is no less worthy and, in fact, being unique can be a strength, not a weakness.

The internet is big enough for all and, whatever your experience, it’s okay. It’s okay if you’re straight, gay, bi, queer or unsure. It’s okay if you’re male, female or trans. It’s okay if you experience great orgasms, multiple orgasms, difficult orgasms or no orgasm at all. It’s okay if you enjoy oral, anal or vaginal sex – or if you don’t. It’s okay if you like to masturbate, have tried it and don’t like it or if you have no descire. It’s okay if everything came naturally and easily or if you’ve struggled to explore your sexuality. It’s okay if you’re vanilla, slightly kinky or a hardcore fetishist. It’s okay if you fit the trends of break the mold. Whatever you are – it’s okay.

Let that be a message you pass on personally, passionately and anonymously, on the internet.

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