First things first. Do you know Charlie Glickman? If not, I highly recommend you hightail it over to his corner of the Internet (after you read this post of course). His thoughts on sex-positivity, inclusively and how to be an overall nice person are kind of brilliant.
Earlier this week, Charlie and were discussing microaggression. Microaggressions are little indignities that people experience, which convey a negative or oppressive attitude.They're subtle and sometimes unintentional but over time, the cumulative effect of repeated acts of microaggression can be as harmful as one major emotional assault.
Charlie and I were mulling over these sobering thoughts when we — well mostly he —- came up with the idea of microacceptance. If a series of minor oppressive experiences can do great harm over time, perhaps a series of positive, affirming experiences will do the opposite. Microacceptances are small simple ways of letting someone know we respect, value and love them as they are. Like microaggression, over time microacceptance can have a profound effect on a person's emotional well being, except, you know...in a good way.
I have to admit, I'm very intrigued by this idea, particularly as it applies to creating a sex-positive home. How can I practice microacceptance as a parent, as a partner and for myself? What might it look like?
As a parent, microacceptance can be promoting a sex/body positive attitude with something as simple as using correct terms for genitals. It could be supporting their right to consent when they resist kisses from a relative. Taking that moment to answer questions like "Why do boobs look like bum?" even if you're in the middle of the grocery store and everyone is staring. And microacceptance may be especially vital for children who are queer or gender non-conforming.
For those of us who are partnered, microacceptance can be a powerful tool in creating greater intimacy. "I think you're fantastic just the way you are," is a pretty rad message to send someone. Speaking for myself, I know that as much as I dig a grand dramatic gesture, the sweet, small acts of consideration from my partner are what make me feel secure in my relationship. Those moments are the ones that let know that my partner loves me and that he likes me. And for me, it's a LOT easier to be naked and randy when I feel valued and accepted.
It's also a lot easier to cut loose with the sexy making when I feel okay with myself. As I think about this idea, I realize that microacceptance is something I can do for myself. I do struggle with my self-image. I've spent a lot of time and energy in my life taking stock of my flaws and failings. In some ways it's a become a habit.It's so easy to internally itemize my flaws and shortcomings, that even when I want to stop, sometimes I can't. Maybe the solution isn't just about getting a big-self esteem boosters (though, those are great too!) Maybe over time, small moments of self-affirmation will lead to deeper, more authentic self-love. Strong self-esteem is important in its own right but it's also kind of sexy...and that's not a bad side-effect.
Microacceptance. A little idea that might make life a whole lot better. Have you experienced microacceptance lately? Is it something you practice or plan to practice with your loved ones? Let me know how in the comments!
I bought my first vibrator almost fifteen years ago when a university pal invited me to a Fantasia party that she was hosting. At the time I didn’t even know that sex toys were a thing, let alone that people threw whole parties for them. I was intrigued yet incredibly nervous about the whole thing, not knowing to expect. But the party rep was sunny, funny, and immediately put me at ease. By the end of the evening, I couldn’t wait to get my hands—and other parts—on a vibe of my very own. I left that evening the proud new owner of a simple Silver Bullet.
From there my love of sex toys bloomed. I added to my collection whenever my finances permitted. I loved vibrators so much that eventually I got a job selling sex toys at Venus Envy, an awesome sex-positive boutique in Ottawa.
I met a lot of customers during my vibe-peddling years, and by far the most common question I was asked was, “What’s the best vibrator?” When it comes to vibrators, there are a myriad of colours, shapes, materials, functions, and speeds to choose from. The options are virtually endless and sometimes completely overwhelming. In a way it would be nice if we could identify one toy as The One Vibrator To Excite Us All. But the reason there’s a market for so many types of vibes is because there are so many types of bodies.
Over the years, I learned a few strategies that help me narrow down my choices. If you’re thinking of buying your first vibrator, these might help you, too.
Look for a vibrator with multiple or variable speeds. So many people told me that The Hitachi Magic Wand was the Cadillac of vibrators. I saved my pennies and bought one but the motor was waaaay to intense for me. Because it only has one setting, our sexual relationship fizzled—though she does a great job massaging my tight shoulder muscles!
How do you want to use it? With whom? There are vibes designed for clitorises, anuses, vaginas, penises, testicles, nipples and other bodily hot spots. There are vibes designed to be used by one body at a time and others meant for shared use.
Sometimes less is more. There are toys that can flick clits, tickle testicles, and vibrate vaginas with the flip of single switch. Good times for some, but others may find it’s too much sensation at the same time. Multi-function toys like the iconic Rabbit Pearl can be on the expensive side, which is great if you know you like that. But don’t feel you have to spend money on an all-out genital carnival to get a great vibrator.
Speaking of which, it’s good to have a price range mind. Vibrators range in price from $15 to upwards of $300. A less expensive vibe can be a great way to try a sex toy without breaking the bank. A pricier model made of durable, long-lasting materials can be a good investment if it makes you feel good. There are lots of options to suit every budget.
Is noise a concern for you? Vibrators made of firmer materials like hard plastic tend to transmit sound and buzz more loudly than toys made of softer silicones and vinyl. Our bodies also muffle noise, so a vibe that’s in your vagina or anus probably won’t be heard through walls, while a loud vibe sitting on your clit may prompt your kid to knock on the door and ask why you have daddy’s shaver with you in the bedroom.
Did you know there’s a G-rated way to test a toy’s intensity before you take it home? Turn it on and touch it to the tip of your nose. If you instinctively recoil, the vibration is too intense for you. Incidentally, I tried to do this with the Hitachi wand, but it got away from me and I vibe-punched myself in the mouth. Later, a Venus Envy rep showed me how to do the same test on the skin between your index finger and thumb. I call that the klutz alternative.
Those are a few of my vibe-shopping tips! How about you all? Do you have stories of sex-toy shopping trials and triumphs to share? Are you thinking about buying your very first vibe? Let me know in the comments!
Sometimes when our minds start to wander, they head straight to the smuttiest corner of our imaginations. We may be surprised, amused, or even embarrassed by the types of thoughts that turn us on. But not only is sexual fantasy very common, it can also be healthy and fun.
Here’s some info on fantasy to give you you food and fuel for thought.
1. Fantasy can help relieve anxiety about sexual performance
Sex with a partner can be tough if we’re preoccupied or feeling self-conscious. Romance novels tell us that great sex is all about intense connection and focus on our partners. Sometimes it is that. And sometimes it’s fighting thoughts about work, kids and the day’s to do list or insecurities about what we look like and how we’re performing. That’s where sexual fantasies can be a great mental distraction. It’s a shiny thing to distract your brain from getting anxiety because your partner’s going down on you and you haven’t showered today. Losing yourself in red hot thoughts of sex on the table at your favourite restaurant, even just for a couple of minutes, can put you in the perfect mood for sexy times with someone else.
2. Fantasy may give you more control over your libido
Before we had the technology to record and store information externally we kept vital knowledge in our brains. Now we’re able to access virtually any piece of info with just a few swipes of a screen. Wonderfully convenient, but some believe that our brains may not be as adept at mental recall as they used to be. Similarly, easy access to pornography means that for some getting aroused is as easy getting online. While porn can be great fun, after awhile some people may find that it’s harder to feel turned on without it. Fortunately, we can improve our ability to turn ourselves on if we practice sexual fantasizing.
Just like we train our bodies, we can train our brains through mental exercise. Spend one minute every day imagining something super hot. The next week spend two minutes a day. Build up to five minutes, maybe even ten. Writing out a sexy fantasy in explicit detail is also a great exercise for our erotic imaginations. I did this recently and I was surprised by how much of a challenge — and a turn on — it was.
3. Fantasy Is Common
The research we have on fantasizing suggests that almost everyone experiences erotic thoughts. Infidelity, sex with multiple partners, and forced sex are amongst the most commonly reported sexual fantasies. People also report fantasizing about specific sex acts like cunnilingus, fellatio, or specific parts of the body like bare breasts or the penis.
It’s important to note that sexual fantasy is also kind of hard to study. Because of shame, social taboo, or moral beliefs, some people may not want to talk about their most ribald thoughts...especially with a scientist. So it’s likely that there’s a lot about erotic thought that hasn’t been captured through formal research.
4. Fantasy can be used to diagnose sexual dysfunction
Sex therapists and sexologists sometimes use fantasy as a way to find out more about a patient experiencing lack of arousal. If a person can become aroused while fantasizing, it may be a clue that there is a psychological rather than a physical issue impeding their mojo.
5. Fantasy is not reality
This one may seem painfully obvious. After all “not real” is pretty much the definition of fantasy. Yet there’s a pretty common misconception that our sexual fantasies are reflections of what we want in our sexual reality, which isn’t really true.
Our imaginations are pretty cool places where we can explore all sorts of scenarios minus the downer that is real-world consequences. We might daydream about competing for Olympic Gold, bravely rescuing kids from a burning school house, or living in solitude on a desert island. I personally have won the Nobel Prize for Rollerskating several times now and I must say it is always an honour.
Enjoying these situations in our minds doesn’t necessarily imply a desire to live them out. We don’t have any true wish to experience years of grueling physical training, see a school burn down or live apart from our loved ones. Sexual fantasies aren’t any different. Sometimes we may be alarmed, even ashamed, by the places our sexual imaginations want to go, particularly if we find ourselves aroused by the thought of something that in reality might be dangerous, illegal or unethical. Does that mean there’s some part of us that really wants this? The answer: probably not. Fantasy is not the expression of a literal real-world desire. Rather it’s a safe way to explore the elements of an idea that we find appealing, fun or arousing. Your sexual fantasies are for you to craft however you want. So remember, just because you’re thinking about it, doesn’t mean you want to do it!