On one hand, lemons

November 10th, 2017

I don’t know when I first stumbled across Dr Emily Nagoski’s post on Lemonade Sex. I think I began reading her blog after I read her book. I’ve continued to read and references her work since then.

If you’re not familiar with Dr. Emily, she’s an expert on sex whom I greatly respect. Teaching and speaking about sex are her day job and, I suspect, her passion. Among her work is a relationship guide, and her post on lemonade sex starts with the following sentiment:

I spend a chunk of time talking about coping in my relationship guide because it turns out that effectively coping with stress is quite possibly the most important thing you can do to improve your sex life.

I believe you, doc.

Dr. Nagoski goes on to explain how stress can kill one person’s libido or raise another’s. And it wreaks havoc on your relationships. This is where coping comes into play. Coping is all about taking the hand you’ve been dealt and making the most of it or, you know, making lemonade out of sour lemons.

The good doctor recommends having sex with your partner even when you’re too stressed to really want it. It doesn’t need to be amazing but maybe could be. And you don’t do it because you’re expected or you feel obligated to do it for your partner. Lemonade sex isn’t about how sex is good for you. 

Lemonade sex paints having sex like flexing a muscle to keep it strong or maintaining something even though you’re not actively using it. Emily compares it to eating vegetables, something that people rarely like but that they do because it’s good for them — just like lemonade sex.

And the analogy to veggies works for me because eating them isn’t amazing, but the energy is. I’ll periodically ingest something with tomatoes (okay, technically a fruit) or spinach that’s so tasty that I feel legitimately excited over something that’s good for me.

I’ve been there with sex, too. The slumps with my ex-husband were never more than a few weeks and less so related to a lack of desire and more due to a lack of habit. It’s easier to fall out of the habit of something, even sex and even if you’re a pretty sexual person, than we always realize.

So I’d throw my ex a bone, and sometimes he would me. I found that this bone, or lemonade sex, worked in exactly the way that Dr. Emily predicted. Where my body went, my head followed, even though it hadn’t been in the game just a few moments before (she describe this as responsive desire). A similar thing happens when I watch someone I’m in a relationship with masturbate. I think I’m only an audience member but find myself drawn to willing participation in short order.

The concept of lemonade sex is one that’s controversial, and Emily admits this in her blog post. No one is suggesting anything that’s nonconsensual.  It’s important that if you have lemonade sex, you do it for you, because it’s beneficial for yourself, and not your partner. I think that’s the emphasis that Emily is trying to make toward the end of her post.

That’s also what’s stuck with me since I originally read this post. The kneejerk reaction might be to view lemonade sex as something that’s negative and potentially blurs the lines of consent, but I certainly think that it’s useful to consider whether throwing someone else a bone is really throwing yourself a bone in the long run.

Check out Dr. Emily’s post about lemonade sex on the Dirty Normal, and stay for her other insights into sex.


The Purge

April 13th, 2017

No, I’m not talking about some presumably terrible horror (thriller?) movie. Rather, I mean the semi-annual completely random time at which I realized the product packaging dilemma in my apartment has gotten way out of hand. Not just a little out of hand but, you know, I’ve been waiting months to deal with this but I haven’t yet. And there’s a reason for that.

Because companies put so much extra shit in their packaging that I need to spend an ungodly amount of timing removing plastic and foam insert (even if they’re glued in), cutting out plastic windows, breaking down boxes, snipping fabric handles, removing magnets and for some ungodly reason cutout out metal fucking eyelets from sex toy boxes.

Listen, this isn’t my first rant about packaging. I don’t care how fancy your box is if it’s going to take up room and be difficult to dispose of, and I am downright angered when the toy inside is mostly a piece of shit that’s never going to do anything for me.

And I might be the only one, and maybe I make it harder for myself, but the way that boxes have become harder to recycle is downright creative. 

So if you must, allow us to remove the foam and plastic. Use open windows, not plastic. Don’t embed anything, okay? If I need to attack it with a pair of scissors or box cutter and my god damn hands wind up hurting, I’ll wanna hurt you.

The shitty thing is that while I can read reviews and look at product photos on sites, assuming that packaging is shown, it’s impossible to know if something is embedded or glued in to avoid buying it. Sigh.

Whatever. I’ll live. It’s done with. For now.


I Get Paid to Write About Sex

November 3rd, 2016

..and it has nothing to do with this blog.

Which isn’t to say that I haven’t made money from this blog. But I am not so awesome (like Epiphora!) to have made it my job.

I do get paid to write about sex, though, even if I’m not directly paid to write about sex toys. And I like it that way.

Mostly, I do tfghost-writing. Although, I do get a byline here and there. I typically write blog posts for sex toy stores and communities, including the Bad Girl’s Bible, Romantix and Cirillas, among others. I get to tell people how to choose sex toys, how to talk about sex, what it means to slut shame and which lubes are best for which sexual activities. All in all, it’s a charmed life.

And yet, it wasn’t at all what I set out to do. In the beginning of my freelance writing career, I wrote often about technology-related topics: cell phones and iPods, routers and browser settings. Several years ago, I began writing almost exclusively about search engine optimization (SEO). There were many things happening in the world of SEO, which meant there was much to write about.

All of these topics interested me as most things do – at least for a while. Writing about sex, relationships and toys fell right in line. It has given me an opportunity to write things that I truly believe have helped readers (and I’ve seen feedback from readers that validates this). Like I said, a charmed life.

Sure, it sometimes feels monotonous or redundant. There are topics that I find frivolous or shallow, but not everyone has read (let alone written) a blog like mine for 8 years. Some people are just discovered their sexual side, and my words may help make it easier or more fun. Who knows? And everyone once in a while, I learn something new to me as well.

So, yes, I get paid to write about sex. And, yes, you can hire me.


Making Sense of Dating, Sex and the Internet with Chase & Hunter Candles

November 2nd, 2016

Being a woman in her 30s in 2016 is a bag of mixed nuts, to say the least. I didn’t grow up with smartphones, but I am fluent using them. I’ve watched the Internet move from home pages and forums to Facebook and Tinder (which has resulted in a brand-new wave of dating mistakes). Voice mails? Why bother when you can leave a text!

Technology changes how we do everything, from sex and relationships to scheduling a doctor’s appointment. And we’re all learning how to navigate those changes together. But it doesn’t come without its difficulties, especially for men who are so often expected to be the pursuers and take the lead in relationships.

It’s easy to miss cues and steps when you do the bulk of your communication over text and while the anonymity of the Internet means many of us are being more open than ever (just look at this blog as an example!) people are, in some ways, as much a mystery as well.

One of the great abilities of the Internet and surrounding technology is the ability to crowd source — ideas, money, talent and efforts. If you can dream it, you can (probably) do it. You can get answers without worrying about saving face, and your favorite social networks are full of “life hacks” (not to mention instructions about building your own sex toys!) that make this world just a little bit easier to live in.

You’re probably wondering where this all is going, and it’s here: For the man who doesn’t just want to learn more about women (and can, thanks to the Internet), I introduce Chase & Hunter. What might as first seem like a simple candle is actual a tool — to create ambiance, to impress a partner, to case a flattering glow and more.

Chase and Hunter Candles

Chase & Hunter candles are specifically for men, adding a touch of sophistication to your bachelor pad. Chase & Hunter go on step further by helping you to pick the right candle (like, you might sex, a sex toy reviewer helps readers choose the right G-spot vibrator or dildo!). The result are scents designed to fit a certain mood, whether it’s makeup sex or a booty call in the wee hours of the morning.

Now, I don’t know that I would be floored by names such as “First and Goal” (although “Miranda Rights” is fairly clever) but I would relish walking into a man’s home that smells good. It’s an interesting idea.

And it needs your help to get off the ground. Chase & Hunter candles aren’t yet available to purchase, but you can help them become a reality by contributing to their Kickstarter. A $15,000 goal would allow the minds behind Chase & Hunter candles to create disposable, soy candles that are made in the U.S.A. and a variety of other merchandise.

The campaign has only been going for a day, and they’re already making strides toward that goal. If you choose to contribute, you’ll see perks such as candles, merchandise and even a trip to Montreal. Click here to learn more.



Intimacy Disorders: Sex Addiction in Women

March 24th, 2016

Lack of knowledge and research about female sex addiction led to a tendency to think of hypersexual behavior as a male problem. Men are more likely to have some recognizable ways of acting out sexually such as having anonymous sexual hook-ups or compulsively watching pornography. But women can also be sex addicts, although, in their case, it might be more difficult to get a correct diagnosis and a proper treatment. For instance, the proliferation of free pornography sites has made more and more women “visually excited” or responsive to erotic images, a characteristic previously thought to be encountered only in men.

What is Sex Addiction? Male vs. Female Acceptance of the Condition

Sex addiction, also known as hypersexual disorder, has been typically described only in the male realm, so the fact that studies on female sex addiction is pretty poor does not come as a surprise. Up till now, research has shown that men are more than comfortable discussing their behavior of sexual nature with a therapist, unlike women who always seem to downplay their sexual activity, redirecting the discussion towards their relationships. The reason is that men who suffer from hypersexual disorder are generally seen as studs, while the women – as sluts, according to cultural references.

Sex addiction is a condition which is characterized by excessive preoccupation with sexual behavior and fantasies and these obsessions have such a high degree that they come to interfere with personal safety, health, work, school or home and they are extremely damaging to relationships. The condition is often destructive both physically and emotionally.

The stigma and the sexual double standard concerning female sexuality have created a gap in the study on sex addiction; therefore, almost all of the research has been conducted with male subjects and female addicts have been ignored.

Linda Hudson, a licensed professional counselor and ex-president of the Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health, has been treating female sex addicts for over 20 years. Together with several therapists, she published the first book which offers treatment options for specialists who work with female sex addicts: Making Advances: A Comprehensive Guide for Treating Female Sex and Love Addicts.

Elisabeth Edge, another certified sex addiction therapist from Atlanta says that “society’s belief is that women do not have sex issues”, although this has obviously changed for younger generations. For instance, the proliferation of pornography has made more and more women “visually excited” are very responsive to erotic images, a characteristic previously thought to be encountered only in men. Research on female sex addicts shows that a definition of sex and love addiction might be: a disease of loneliness, fueled by despair and shame; a powerful urge to use sexuality, romance and people to be able to feel more alive.

Causes of Sex Addiction in Women

The causes of sexual addiction in women are not yet fully known but they’ve been strongly associated with childhood abuse or neglect, emotional and physical abandonment and trauma. Female sexual addicts report having experienced some kind of abuse during their childhood and this affected their ability to bond in healthy ways with others as adults. This usually leads to chronic relationship issues of intimacy which will eventually morph into sexual disorders.

The lack of sexual education caused women to be usually ashamed of identifying their problems as sex addiction. It’s possible that they don’t even realize what the condition is and they call it “love or relationship addiction”. Female sex addiction is surrounded with more shame because men are usually respected if they have lots of sex or multiple sexual partners, unlike women. Men are basically seen as cool studs, and women, as sluts. So, it easier for women to cope with their condition if they simply call it “love addiction” or “relationship addiction”. Allison, a sex addict, perfectly describes the sexual urge in just a few words: “like a shark that must constantly hunt, I feel the need to move from one relationship to another, from man to man”.

Treatment for Sexual Addiction

The treatment for women is usually similar to the methods used in case of men; it includes the exploration of the causes that led to the addiction and developing some coping strategy in order to be able to combat the craving for sex. When the intimacy disorder treatments are successful, women will have a better chance for a long-time recovery from other emotional problems linked to sex addiction.

It’s important to acknowledge the fact that sexual addiction is not just a “guy thing” and it’s time we try to better understand the subject of women’s sexuality.


I Don’t Want to Have Sex with Myself

October 28th, 2015

Well, no, that’s not exactly right. I am a sexual being. I generally enjoy masturbating, even if my orgasms are more perfunctory than anything else, and even if the most I get out of squirting is bragging rights (it doesn’t accompany orgasm).

But it’s not something I’ve ever been good at planning per se. Because I don’t I want to. Unlike with sex, masturbation is almost always something I do at the spur of the moment, and that’s how I like it. If the mood strikes after watching a particularly sexy movie scene or browsing Tumblr, I’ll pause for somewhere between 1 and 10 orgasms, weak wrists and fatigued arm muscles allowing.

I can’t really entice it to happen, however. Sometimes erotica helps, but it doesn’t always. And I don’t necessarily care that much. It’s like I simply can’t be bothered to stop playing Ingress or watching another episode of The Munsters (because it’s almost Halloween!) or playing some random Facebook game that’s not just a time suck but a boring one at that.

It’s disconcerting to care so little for something that defines me so much, but right now it’s something I can “get away with” because of my lack of sexual partner. And even if you argued I am my own partner in this, it’s not something I’m chasing myself down to do. I’ve no doubt this will change eventually, but it’s a weird place to be in right now.


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The Latest Bondage Trends: From the Bedroom to the Catwalk

October 23rd, 2015

Fashion designers are looking to bondage for some inspiration this season. So how can you sex up your look?

Bondage has been pretty popular in the bedroom for a long time. Plenty of people use things like whips, cuffs and chains to spice up their love lives – but bondage has been reaching a far bigger audience of late. Yes, we’re talking about fashion. From handbags to wedding dresses, the runway has been decidedly raunchy this season. So if you’re wanting to invest in some bondage-inspired buys, here are some ideas.


Catwoman takes a few cues from bondage

Dressing to impress

The fashion industry’s fascination with all things bondage isn’t exactly new (remember that dress of Liz Hurley’s?), but recently we’re really seeing a lot of it on the catwalk. From sheer tops with strategically placed leather straps at Tom Ford, to big, bold black leather coats at Givenchy, it seems that designers are keen to walk on the wild side. If you want to spice up your wardrobe this winter, then take inspiration from what we’ve already seen on the runway. Dresses with sheer panels that flash the flesh are great for those who are a little daring. Likewise, corset detailing and metal studs will ensure that you turn heads for all the right reasons.

Those all-important accessories

If you’re not feeling quite brave enough to rock the look head to toe, then why not invest in some accessories? Knee or thigh high leather boots are really popular at the moment, and look just as great with skinny jeans as they do fishnet tights. For extra style points, go for a pair with buckle or lace-up details. The same goes for handbags too. A bag made from black, patent leather with chain handles is a great way to introduce a little bit of raunchiness to your wardrobe.

Walking up the aisle in style

It’s not just everyday fashion that’s getting a bit risqué though. Bridal dresses are taking some inspiration from bondage too. This year’s Bridal Fashion Week has seen plenty of out-there designs from some of the top designers in the industry – with one memorable dress featuring black straps that just preserved the model’s modesty! If you’re not feeling that daring, then just opt for some sheer fabric detailing and delicate cut out designs.

Something a little racier

If you’re bringing some excitement to your wardrobe, then it’s only fair that your sex life gets the same treatment too. Treating yourself to some bondage gear is the perfect way to spice things up in the bedroom. For beginners, handcuffs and soft whips are the perfect introduction into the world of S&M. If you’re more of a seasoned bondage enthusiast though, you can really push the boat out. Sensory deprivation hoods, medical instruments and strap-ons are all there to be taken advantage of. Whatever you decide to buy, you can be sure that your sex life will reap the rewards!

How will you rock the trend?

As you can see, bondage has never been hotter than it is right now. It doesn’t matter if you’re buying yourself a new pair of shoes, a party dress or upgrading your sex toy collection, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Remember, your look can be as daring as you want it to be – whether that’s in or outside the bedroom. So go on – indulge your love for all things x-rated!