Dec 212013
 

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I got a letter from a guy who was just dying to make his girlfriend squirt. “I’m a bass player and have very strong hands and fingers. When I have fingered her before and really gone for it, she’s had a trickle come out. But I would love her to soak me in her juices!” he wrote. Some men are actually freaked out when a woman ejaculates; they may not understand it or they may think she’s peeing. I loved his enthusiasm, and I had plenty to say to him.

There are so many factors-and many unknowns-when it comes to female ejaculation. Every woman has a g-spot (also known as the urethral sponge), so, technically speaking, all women have the “equipment” to be able to do ejaculate. When stimulated, the tissue of the urethral sponge fills with blood, becomes engorged, and swells. The paraurethral glands surrounding the sponge fill with fluid and also swell. No one is sure why some women ejaculate often, some women do it occasionally, and some women never do. The majority of women achieve it through direct g-spot stimulation, but some can squirt via clitoral stimulation or anal penetration alone. When a woman is very aroused, (and especially when firm pressure is applied to her urethral sponge) the glands release the fluid through the urethra, and she ejaculates. The fluid is similar to fluid produced by a man’s prostate, and although it comes out the urethra, it is different from urine. The quantity of fluid and the way it comes out can also very widely. Some women produce a lot of fluid, others only a little; some gush like a fountain while others dribble. Many women fall in between the two ends of the spectrum, and, of course, some experience one or the other depending on the situation.

As we communicated, it was clear that the letter writer had a good grip on technique in terms of finding that spongy area about an inch and a half to two inches inside the pussy and using firm, deliberate motion with his fingers. I also encouraged him to get his girlfriend as turned on as possible before even starting to work her g-spot. The more aroused she is, the more her urethral sponge will swell and fill with fluid. Use a “come here” motion with fingers or a very firm toy (like one made of acrylic, glass, or metal) or act like you’re almost pulling down on the g-spot. If you’ve got something big inside her-four or more fingers, a large dildo, or your cock-you may have to pull out and switch to just two fingers. Something large can actually block the urethra and either prevent ejaculation or lessen its potential explosive delivery. The best way to get my ex-girlfriend to squirt was to fist her and work her g-spot with the knuckle of my thumb as I pumped my hand in and out of her pussy. But once she felt like she was going to squirt (and she knew, so she’d always tell me), I had to slide my hand out, and replace it with only a finger or two. Then, I’d basically press firmly on her g-spot and out the fluid would come!

My ex knew a lot about her own ejaculation process, what worked and what didn’t. But if the potential squirter is a novice, the first thing she needs to do is relax-as much as one can relax when they’re really turned on! Then she should bear down slightly as if she is trying to push something out of her pussy. This is one of the toughest things for women to do because many are afraid they’re going to pee. But bearing down will help push the fluid out the urethra. In fact, often, just before a woman is about to squirt, she has that urgent “I’ve gotta pee feeling” and she may also have this sense of overstimulation. Sometimes, both these feelings make her stop. Once it feels like too much, that’s often the edge of ejaculation, and if you keep going, then you’ll squirt.

Some experienced squirters say that once they squirt the first time, if they continue the stimulation, they can do it several times more. In fact, the first time I ever saw a woman ejaculate was at a sex party. I ran into my friend Kim in the bathroom. She was obviously fresh from some kind of escapade, and she said, “Dave made me gush like crazy!” I was curious, so she said, “Wanna see?” She grabbed me and dragged me out of the ladies’ room to a corner of one of the playrooms. She slipped two fingers inside her pussy and made herself ejaculate. “Once I start,” she said, “I can just keep going and going!”

So, I gave this guy some advice and information, but there was another point I really wanted to stress. This is important in the wake of the increased discussion about g-spot stimulation and female ejaculation in books, articles, and on the Web. Sometimes women feel like if they don’t enjoy this kind of stimulation or they can’t ejaculate, then they’ve failed in some way. I want to caution you about any kind of goal-oriented sex. I think it’s fun to explore new things, but it’s also important to value your sexuality as it is. Maybe this guy’s girlfriend will only ejaculate occasionally and maybe she’s a “leaker” or a “dribbler” rather than a geyser of gush. That may be just they way her body works. That’s okay. I don’t want any woman to feel pressure to perform in some way or to do something that doesn’t turn her on. Sometimes, we really buy into the whole bigger-is-better ideal and lose sight of the fact that our sexuality can be amazing just as it is.

Nov 252013
 

Ask Tristan logoLast month I interviewed Sandra Pertot for an episode of Sex Out Loud. It was an amazing show filled with great audience questions…and we didn’t even get to them all! Pertot was generous enough to take the time to provide answers to everyone who wrote in to us. Enjoy this guest edition of Ask Tristan, courtesy of expert psychologist, Sandra Pertot.

When I met my wife, (in our late 30′s) we would have sex all the time. We used to joke that our sex life needed a HMO.  She had to get a Hysterectomy a couple of years later due to (fucking) cancer. She refused hormone treatments and her libido “Fell off a cliff.” as she says. We are now in our early 40′s, and have had sex once in the last year and a half.  She did not have an orgasm. I have tried to be understanding in all of this and have not cheated on her, but because I know she doesn’t want to, I have resigned myself to not having sex, so on the rare occasion that she says she might want to do it, I’m either not prepared, or worried that she’s not enjoying it and just “throwing me a bone,” so to speak.

Cancer changes many aspects of a person’s life, and the couple’s sexual relationship is often hit hard. In your wife’s case, her hysterectomy has added to the complex recovery from a life-threatening illness. It is likely that your wife is grieving the loss of her sex drive and the wonderful sex life she had with you while at the same time being grateful to still be alive. It sounds like you have a very strong emotional relationship, and if you are going to rebuild your sex life, this is where to start. Firstly, I would encourage you to talk about your joint grief of the loss of something that was so special. Then talk about what you each miss most – is it the closeness, the sensuality, the arousal and orgasm? There’s a good chance that your wife misses the intimacy as much or more than the arousal and orgasm (not that this isn’t important!), and if so this is the basis for building a sex life. If your wife feels she can come to sex without the expectation that she will be as she was before, and explore the sensual and emotionally reassuring aspects of sex with someone she loves, you may find she has reasons to say yes to sex more often. At the same time, she may be willing to meet your needs even though she doesn’t feel the same way. This is far from “throwing you a bone”: individuals can be very different in their sexual wants and needs and still have a satisfying sex life, even if there is the sadness that it isn’t what you had before.

I have been in a relationship for over 20 years.  We have had times where mismatch in libido has switched back and forth (kids can do that), but generally it evens out (and who says masturbation is a problem?).  The one thing that has had the biggest impact is my partner using anti-depressants.  He doesn’t want to give up the benefits of the medication (I don’t want him to either), but the side effects are a challenge.  He experiences loss of libido and then quite often when he IS turned on, he ends up not being able to come.  The doctors just disregard the impact of the sexual problems. I am not saying our sex life is bad, but this is a challenge that I think is fairly common but not discussed a lot.

Unfortunately some anti-depressants do have these sexual side effects, and it is disappointing the prescribing doctor is not comfortable discussing this with you. There are some anti-depressants that are thought to have less impact on sexual functioning, so I would encourage you to seek out a medical practitioner who would explore this option.  However, it may be that the medication he is on is the best one for his depression, and that leaves you and your partner to come to terms with this ongoing change if your sexual relationship. It sounds like you have done quite well in adjusting to the new relationship, but it can still be disappointing for you both. Generally in this situation if the couple explore sensual pleasure together (cuddles, massage), then if one partner becomes aroused and not the other, it is okay for the turned on partner to enjoy those feelings and not feel guilty.

One thing I would suggest is that when your partner is able to arouse, does he notice if his thoughts are able to stay connected to good sexual feelings, or do they wander into worrying about coming? If he has trouble staying focused, he might benefit from developing mindfulness skills. He might also want to explore activities that will give him stronger stimulation, such as experimenting with sex toys. Unfortunately, though, sometimes nothing triggers orgasm so he needs to recognise when his feelings and thoughts have shifted from “this feels good” to “this feels like hard work”, and at that point it is best if he stops trying to come and allow his arousal to subside, as frustrating as that may be.

My partner and I just had the most stressful year of our lives – job changes, living temporarily with no privacy, moving to a new town – so the sex life got backburnered. Now we’re in a better place, but my physical desire hasn’t gotten the message. I’ve always been a regular masturbator, but even that has felt more utilitarian than sexy. I’m also the Top in the relationship and feel the pressure is on me to instigate, but I’d like to switch more often. Can you talk a bit about how dealing with changing libido and sexual dynamics with regards to desire, roleplay, domination?

 

What is great to hear is that even though your physical desire has gone down, you haven’t given up on sex! The more we learn about sex drive for men and women, the more we understand that there is much more to it than a physical urge, so if you are expecting that to be the trigger for sex, you may be missing some opportunities. However, it is important that you avoid masturbation and sex as a way of coping with negative feelings such as boredom, stress and fatigue. Instead, notice feelings of well-being – feeling close to your partner, life is good, and so on – then see if that is a good time for sex or masturbation. Don’t expect sex to be as it was before, at least not immediately; begin with sensual and gentle touch.  Stay connected to good feelings and you may find your arousal and desire kicks in.

The key to all good sexual relationships is communication, and good communication depends of self-confidence (I’m not stupid/inadequate/weird because I feel this way) while at the same time accepting that your partner may not want what you want or feel the same way about the things that give you pleasure. Some people don’t initiate sex because they just don’t think of it, others avoid initiating because they worry their partner will assume they are hot and ready to go, when they may be still quite unaroused. Check out with your partner what is happening – if they just don’t think about it, maybe suggesting a cue like being  the initiator once a week (or month . . .) might help, and if the worry is about what you will expect, let them know that you will enjoy any initiation and go from there!

If you want to change your usual position and to introduce roleplay and domination, talk to your partner about what you would like in a confident and respectful way, and be curious about what they think about this. Obviously it is difficult if your partner is definitely against any change, but if it doesn’t come across as a demand or a judgement if your ideas aren’t met with instant enthusiasm, your partner may be willing to try it out. At the same time, make sure you know what makes sex good for your partner, so that they know that this isn’t just about you getting what you want. In an ideal world, you would both want the same things and get the same satisfaction, but for many couples this isn’t how it is.  In my view, couples who willingly compromise in their sexual relationship so both partners get what they want some of the time develop a depth of understanding that perhaps couples for whom it all happens easily don’t experience.

Different sex drives? Changes in libido? Oh, we have those. Since my encounter with cancer a two years ago (I’ve been all better over a year), my sex drive has been nearly nil. My partner’s drive, however, is just as strong as it’s always been. We’ve always been poly, but neither of us has had other partners for a while. Fortunately, we also have a power dynamic. We’ve kept close and him happy by working the power exchange into it – chastity device, controlled masturbation, and the like. He still gets to have me involved in his sex life, and I don’t have to feel guilty for not wanting sex. I still do feel guilty frequently and miss my sex drive deeply, though. Got any other tips on how to cope with a nearly-absent libido?

Congratulations on your recovery from cancer and your determination to keep your sex life going even though your desire has lessened. I’m always curious about why people feel guilty about not feeling sexual, because guilt implies you have done something wrong, and to me you are doing everything right in such a difficult situation. Feelings of loss, disappointment and sadness, on the other hand, are completely natural and healthy when something you value has been lost. Sadly, I don’t have any tips for boosting your libido as I’m guessing you are already doing as much as possible. The best suggestion I can give is to shift your focus from what you used to feel that signalled sexual interest, and look for other cues such as a feeling of well-being, feeling physically well, emotionally content, and so on. Focus on what is present now rather than what is missing. I would encourage you to explore other ways for sex to be initiated, which might in the first instance be more about gentleness and soft touch, which can release oxytocin (sometimes known as the cuddle hormone or hormone of bonding), and this can sometimes be a springboard for sexual arousal – perhaps not as you felt it before, but still a lovely buzz and a soft but satisfying orgasm.

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Thank you so much to everyone who wrote in with these great questions! You can hear more advice from Sandra Pertot by listening to her episode of Sex Out Loud or visiting her website.

 

Sep 202013
 

This past Friday we kicked off the second season of Sex Out Loud with an amazing guest, Metis Black from Tantus Inc. We had so many questions from listeners that she didn’t have time to answer them all on the air, so she graciously wrote them up for us afterwards.

Q: Who makes the silicone toys that are the very healthiest for people to use?

I like to think Tantus does. There are only a few raw silicone manufacturers and for some reason they have all come to get Tantus’ business from time to time telling us who else they sell to- so I’m pretty much in the know about who uses what. But Tantus actually doesn’t buy off the shelf silicone- we actually do have a unique formula . If a company wants our business, they have to meet our standards. Not all of them are able to.  When I saw we are the largest silicone toy maker that information comes directly from the raw material companies. We buy more RTV silicone than anyone else in North America including Fleetwood RV or Fisher Price. I was actually stunned by this news.

Q: Silicone toys are expensive compared to other types of toys. Is it very costly to make them? What is the manufacturing process? How much does the material cost, and what factors go into the pricing?

First off silicone raw materials are at least triple the cost of RTV or Latex. Then as any manufacturing business, you need to account for overhead (the building, electricity, and most of all labor). If you choose to manufacture in the USA rather than say China or other  third world manufacturing facilities, the labor expense is included in the  pricing. Tantus also gives our employees health benefits…. that goes in there too.

Q: When did silicone sex toys first enter the market?

Thank you for asking this because I love to share this information. Gosnell Duncan created the first silicone dildos in 1971 for the disabled community. He went on to create the company Scorpio who took it to Eve’s Garden, the first feminist sex toy store in the world. I first heard about Mr. Duncan from Susie Bright who was the manager for Good Vibrations at the time. GV was a tiny hole in the wall store with books and 3 vibrators (ok I don’t think that number is really accurate), but Susie saw dildos and she instantly recognized that this was something she wanted for the store.

Q: What prompted you to explore aluminum as a material (the Alumina line)?

You know I am a sex toy slut. I love toys and I have an amazing collection of some of the most original amazing designs. One of my favorite designers is Ray Cirino who made Inner Space Toys. He was the designer of all the toys in the Penthouse centerfolds. He specialized in hard acrylic toys but he also made several into metal toys, and I own a few of them. I love playing with hard toys like these and so we created Alumina.

Q: My packer, which I wear outside my body all day every day, is made of silicone. I notice that sometimes it leaves a little bit of a greasy stain sometimes. Why is that? Is it normal? Can it hurt me?

That oil is Dimethicone. It is silicone and won’t hurt you at all. Dimethicone is used to soften the silicone. You’ll find it in every silicone lubricant. Beautifully body safe.

Q: I use a cyberskin packer and clean it with soap most every day but also boil it once a month. My friend said this isn’t a good idea. Is it ok? Will it destroy it?

Cyberskin is a SEBS material and won’t stand the temperature of boiling. If you’ve been able to boil it once… than it shouldn’t have any difficulty being boiled again but I’ve yet to see a super soft material that was boilable and wasn’t silicone and I’ve been looking hard. Santiprene is boilable (it’s the soft material on toothbrushes) but it’s still too hard for most sex toys.

Q: Are there any sex toys you have a dream of creating but cannot physically manufacture? Are there limitations?

Well, there used to be. And I still can’t manufacture all the toys of my dreams in my facility, but there is technology now that allows companies to make just about anything out of silicone- being able to afford the R&D, now that can be a problem. Most toys made that are intricate have a molding expense that is pretty prohibitive of making small changes to. It’s hard to proof your toys and make certain they play to your specifications, before bringing them to market- but we’re still evolving.

Thank you all so much for listening and sharing with me your questions. I’m available on twitter if you have any more. – Metis Black  Listen to the full episode here.

You can find Tantus toys at Good Vibrations, and if you use code “TRISTANGOODVIBES”, you’ll get $20 off any purchase of $100 or more!

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May 242013
 
Madison Young as a pony girl on the set of Rough Sex 2

Madison Young as a pony girl on the set of Rough Sex 2


Last month, I gave a talk as part of an evening called
The Truth Behind Fifty Shades of Grey at University of Maryland in College Park. There was a lively audience discussion, and we gave students the opportunity to ask questions anonymously. I asked several of my colleagues to chime in and answer a few of those questions.

Can it be hard to enjoy “vanilla” sex once you’ve escalated [to BDSM]? I’ve heard porn indulgence can desensitize people until they keep needing to escalate–is this the case with BDSM?

I asked my friend and colleague Felice Shays, a sex and BDSM educator, to take this one on. Listen to my fantastic interview with her on Sex Out Loud here. Felice says:

So, you are afraid to try things other than missionary positions, kissing, and other sexy acts because pot always leads to crack? And spanking always leads to bestiality? No, friend, don’t worry about escalation, as you call it. When you try out different things you’re figuring out what you like. Keep experimenting—add to what you and your partner enjoy; keep what works and don’t keep what doesn’t feel so good. But don’t be afraid to try something again down the road—what may feel eh today might feel off the charts next week. Watching lots of porn isn’t a bad thing unless it interferes in the healthy functioning of someone’s life (see Hernando Chaves’ discussion of sex addiction). People don’t get desensitized when watching lots of porn, hopefully they keep getting turned on. Their interests might shift over time, so what may have been a fantasy last month, may not be as hot this month. And yet other people love to watch the same kind of images throughout their lives. The good news is that sex is not like a runaway car, careening down a side of a mountain into the tiny town about to destroy the innocent townsfolk who live there. No. Instead, you get to make decisions about what you want, and when you want it. That includes if you want to gently kiss someone on their neck or press your teeth in a firm way against that flesh. Or if you want to be on top or you want to give or get it from behind. The other good news, is that no one gets to hold the truth to what vanilla or kink actually is. I can hear you say, “You know what I mean. Like spanking and dirty talk and like that.” And I say, what is someone’s “vanilla” may be someone else’s ‘you’ve gone a bit too far, pal’.  And vice versa. My friend says she and her husband are vanilla, yet he holds the back of her head as she’s sucking him off. He’s not forcing her or choking her, just getting off on how pretty she is, how good he feels, his hand in her hair, his cock in her mouth. And she loves it too; feeling just the right amount of pressure on the back of her head that makes her feel high and hot.

That’s playing with power right there. And they consider themselves vanilla—not kinky.

So I can’t tell you what vanilla is. And frankly, I don’t really give’s a rat’s ass. I want you happy and turned on, not bored.

It’s about what turns you on and what your desires are.

Desire, like other tastes, change and morph as we gain experience in the world.  And just because you love pizza, doesn’t mean you want to eat it every night.

Worry less and EXPLORE and EXPERIMENT more.

So when you add new ways of being sexy and sexual to getting it on, you might want to keep those new ways—plus any of the other ways you used to—whatever make you happy. And you probably won’t want to make love or fuck exactly the same way every time either. Mood, partner, time of day, if you’re high or drunk, all these things will affect what you want.

So if you try slapping someone’s face and realize you both really like it, the doors to vanilla are still yours to walk through. Cuddling, sex without an edge or ferocity, are still yours whenever you want it.

Keep open and curious—and don’t let fear run your sex, or your life, for that matter.

You are allowed to experiment explore and discover what you like.

ADD to your sexual vocabulary, don’t limit it.

Just think of the stories you will tell with all that new language.

It’s worth repeating: Worry less and EXPLORE more.

Felice Shays, Sex and BDSM Educator. Follow Felice on Twitter @FeliceShays

May 242013
 
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Sinnamon Love and Orpheus Black from Rough Sex 2


Last month, I gave a talk as part of an evening called
The Truth Behind Fifty Shades of Grey at University of Maryland in College Park. There was a lively audience discussion, and we gave students the opportunity to ask questions anonymously. I asked several of my colleagues to chime in and answer a few of those questions.

Can BDSM be addictive?

I asked my colleague Dr. Hernando Chaves to respond to this one. He says:

I’m not in favor of the addiction term being used with any sexual expression for a number of reasons. It can promote the use of pejorative sex negative terminology, the creation and/or reinforcement of negative sexual identity, alleviate responsibility of choices and actions, and the inability of professionals to agree on an accurate definition of sexual addiction or testing measures as well as limited, controversial data and evidence supporting sexual addiction makes this a difficult concept to support. With so much uncertainty, it’s more harmful than helpful to attribute addiction to unique sexual expression.

That being said, I understand some people use their sexual expression in a manner that is out of control, compulsive, or as a way to cope with difficulties and unresolved issues in their lives. For most, sexual expression is an enhancer to pleasure and happiness. For some, their sexual expression is linked to pain and suffering, but not the good kind of pain and suffering that many in the BDSM community understand can be central to arousal, pleasure, and enjoyment. The untrained outside observer may see pain and suffering, even label it as abusive, and deem these sexual behaviors as problematic, symptomatic, and related to a disorder. They may miss the importance of consent and may not be able to differentiate the intent as coming from a place of empowerment, intimacy, satisfaction, or mutual pleasure.

Can BDSM, like food, gambling, Facebook, and video games, be misused to where it can become a problem? I would argue that BDSM cannot be addictive, but anything can become problematic if misused. It’s possible that a person can become reliant on what BDSM may bring to them; the dopamine, adrenaline, and endorphin rush, the attention from partners and peers, the way it makes them feel and the impact on their self-esteem and self-worth, and the avoidance of stressors or problems. But can this be addictive? Who decides if this is addiction, mental health professionals or doctors?

I believe it’s more important to focus on what the impact may be on the individual and the subjective distress they identify that is problematic rather than focusing on the behaviors a person engages in or how often. Each person is different and so is their response and reactions to play. So when someone comes along and says that BDSM play is addictive, ask them to accurately define kink addiction, ask for empirical evidence to support their perspective, and be skeptical.

Hernando Chaves, M.F.T., D.H.S., Licensed CA Marriage and Family Therapist, Doctor of Human Sexuality, and Human Sexuality Professor. Follow Dr. Chaves on Twitter @Hernando_Chaves

May 242013
 
Mark Davis, Chayse Evans & Adrianna Nicole from Rough Sex 2

Mark Davis, Chayse Evans & Adrianna Nicole from Rough Sex 2


Last month, I gave a talk as part of an evening called
The Truth Behind Fifty Shades of Grey at University of Maryland in College Park. There was a lively audience discussion, and we gave students the opportunity to ask questions anonymously. Here are those questions with my responses. Note: I asked several of my colleagues to chime in and answer a few of the questions. Because several of them inspired longer answers, I will post those separately under Ask Tristan.

What is caning?

I’m going to quote an expert, Lolita Wolf, from her chapter, “Making an Impact: Spanking, Caning, and Flogging” in The Ultimate Guide to Kink:

Caning was traditional for severe punishment in the Victorian era and in the British school system, so canes can be the center of some great role play opportunities. Because of their perceived severity, canes have developed a reputation as the “scariest” of all BDSM impact toys, but a caning can be light and sensuous or heavy and painful—it’s all about how you wield the cane… Traditional canes are made of rattan, not bamboo or wood, and should be able to bend significantly.

Are there any races/ethnicities/religious groups that are members of the BDSM community?

People of all races and ethnicities practice BSDM, although some people of color have critiqued kink communities for being overwhelmingly white. Mollena Williams writes eloquently and teaches about the challenges of being a person of color in the BDSM community. There are some organizations and groups that cater specifically to kinky people of color including Poly Patao Productions and BlackBEAT.

Does the BDSM community have a higher percentage of LGBT people than mainstream sex?

People who practice BDSM comes from all walks of life and represent a diverse sampling in terms of gender, race, ethnicity, class, age, ability, and sexual orientation. LGBT people have varied sex lives, just as heterosexuals do; some are kinky, some aren’t, and some fall in between.

Do BDSM people date and marry, or just hook up?

BDSM folks are like everyone else in with regards to their sexual, romantic, and emotional relationships: they hook up, they date, they marry, they divorce, they have kids. In my research for my book Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships, I found that there was a lot if overlap between BDSM communities and non-monogamous communities, so I think it might be that a higher percentage of BDSM people practice some form of consensual, ethical non-monogamy than the general population.

Has BDSM been shown to lower divorce rates?

There is limited research about BDSM and the people who practice it. There is no data that I know of that correlates BDSM with lower divorce rates. What I can tell you from personal experience is that many kinky folks have open, expansive views on sex, pleasure, relationships, and love plus above-average communication skills, and those elements can all contribute to the success of a marriage or relationship.

In the book Fifty Shades of Grey, when Christian and Anastasia communicate on a daily basis, Christian is always in charge. Do BDSM couples talk like that normally?

It depends. Some people adopt the roles of dominant and submissive during a scene (a scene is when people practice BDSM), but once the scene is done, they interact without those roles. Others may stay in role for a weekend. In those cases, when they are in role, the dominant takes charge and dictates how things go. Some people have dominant/submissive relationships where the power dynamic is always (or almost always) present. In all cases, as part of the negotiation process, dominants and submissives may agree to certain rules or protocols which dictate behavior. One such protocol could be that the dominant is in charge of what the submissive wears or the dominant decides what they eat for dinner. Another protocol could be that the submissive has to ask permission before speaking or always use an honorific when speaking to the dominant, like Sir. Protocols vary wildly, are particular to the people involved, and make sense to them; they are meant to represent and reinforce the power dynamic.

Is there a book or books that are more accurate to the BDSM community than Fifty Shades of Grey?

The Ultimate Guide to Kink: BDSM, Role Play and The Erotic Edge, 50 Shades of Kink: An Introduction to BDSM, SM 101: A Realistic Introduction, Playing Well With Others: Your Field Guide to Discovering, Exploring, and Navigating The Kink, Leather and BDSM Communities, The New Topping Book, The New Bottoming Book, Screw the Roses, Send Me The Thorns, as well as books by Jack Rinella, Lee Harrington, and Midori.

How do you find kink friendly professionals like doctors or therapists?

There are two great resources I recommend: Kink Aware Professionals and The Open List.

Is rape performed by BDSM people?

The word “performed” threw me a little because my interpretation of that word could lead me down two very different roads. On the one hand, are you asking, “Do BDSM people act out consensual rape fantasies?” The answer is yes, and a stellar resource all about those kinds of fantasies is Mollena Williams who wrote the chapter “Digging in the Dirt: The Lure of Taboo Role Play” in in The Ultimate Guide to Kink. But the other interpretation is, “Do BDSM people commit rape?” Unfortunately, the answer to that question is also yes. While the vast majority of folks who practice BDSM consider consent the cornerstone of their kink, that doesn’t mean that every kinky person is immune from sexual coercion, trauma, abuse, and violence. These things are still far too common in our society. For an excellent discussion about consent, sexual assault, and BDSM, I recommend Thomas’ series of posts on the blog Yes Means Yes.

Can BDSM be addictive?

This question inspires a longer response, so it has its own post here by therapist Dr. Hernando Chaves.

Can it be hard to enjoy “vanilla” sex once you’ve escalated [to BDSM]? I’ve heard porn indulgence can desensitize people until they keep needing to escalate–is this the case with BDSM?

For this one, I asked my friend BDSM educator Felice Shays, and here is her response.

Apr 252013
 

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How can gender identity affect a sexual experience or a sexual relationship (even mentally)? How can we avoid gender identity becoming a point of contestation? We are both doms.
If you are trans* or your gender identity is complex, non-normative, fluid, genderqueer, or your body doesn’t entirely reflect your gender expression, it can absolutely affect your sexual experiences and relationships. As you begin to figure out your gender identity (knowing of course that it’s still not fixed and can change), share as much of that information as you can with your partner. This includes your relationship to your body, your preferred words for your body parts, how you want to be touched, and your sexual boundaries. Communicate with your partner about words that feel authentic and sexy in relation to your body and certain sex acts—words like dick, cock, cunt, pussy, as well as “fucking” or “making love”—can be loaded for people, no matter what their gender identity is, so ask your partner what words they use in regards to their own body and then respect those choices. It’s also helpful to stick to gender-neutral adjectives instead of nouns (hard, tight, wet, open, etc.). Your gender identity should not be a “point of contestation” between the two of you. The more comfortable you are with your gender identity, and the more you can talk about it with your partner, the more likely they are to understand it. Gender identity with regard to sexuality and sexual dynamics can vary for everyone, not just trans* and genderqueer people. For example, a straight man may want to be dominated and treated like a bad girl by his female partner, a lesbian may like to imagine she’s a straight man who’s seducing another man for the first time. We often get turned on by gender and sexual dynamics that don’t match our everyday gender on the street. Even when people aren’t explicitly roleplaying, there’s a certain energy dynamic that goes into the act itself that connects to our gender identity. Make a list of what gender identities you connect to in the bedroom (and which ones you don’t), share it with your partner, then have them do the same thing and find where you overlap and connect.
Recommended: Take Me There: Trans and Genderqueer Erotica, PoMoSexuals: Challenging Assumptions About Gender and Sexuality and Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation

Apr 252013
 

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I gave my Sexploration lecture at Bucknell University on Tuesday April 23, and there was a huge crowd. I often do anonymous questions at college events where students write their questions on notecards and everyone has to write something, even if it’s “no question.” The anonymity gives folks the freedom to ask their most pressing questions. I only had time to answer about 60% of the questions, so I’m answering the rest here. I’ve combined some questions that are on the same topic.

Is it weird that I want sex all the time even though I’m a virgin?
No. It’s common to have sexual desires regardless of your sexual experience. Remember what I said about the problematic concept of virginity? I encourage you to define sex as broadly as you want and not buy into the cultural construction of virginity.
Recommended: The Purity Myth: How America’s Obsession with Virginity Is Hurting Young Women

How often do most people masturbate?
It varies wildly from person to person, and how often just one person masturbates can vary depending on their energy level, desire, stress, opportunity, etc. There are some interesting stats you can check out. In general, I don’t think masturbation is ever a bad thing. Everyone should have a sexual relationship with themselves, and it’s a great way to figure out what you like.

I masturbate so much it’s turned into a chore; any tips for spicing it up?
Masturbation shouldn’t be a chore! But people can get into a repetitive rut. Don’t think of it merely as a quick way to get off, think of it as a date with yourself. Try changing positions, experimenting with new stimulation techniques, adding lube and a toy to the mix.

How long does it take to give a guy a blow job?
There is no set amount of time that it takes anyone to do anything sexual. If you’re giving the blow job, take charge of the situation and do it for as long as it feels good, for as long as you want to. If you get tired or overwhelmed, switch to using your hand or doing something else.
Recommended: The Expert Guide to Oral Sex 2: Fellatio

How long should a guy last during a blow job?
I hate to repeat myself, but: there is no set amount of time. Depending on the guy, the stimulation of oral sex could bring him to orgasm slowly, quickly, or not at all. Blow jobs do it for some people and not for others.

How nutritious is semen and how can I convince my girlfriend to swallow?
Semen has little to no nutritional value because you don’t ingest all that much of it. You don’t want to convince anyone to do anything they don’t want to do. You can share your desire with her and tell her why it turns you on, but ultimately, it’s her choice to swallow or not, and you’ve got to respect it. Also, swallowing semen is a riskier practice in terms of safer sex than not swallowing, and I am a fan of condoms for blow jobs.

How do you improve oral sex?
Since you didn’t specify, I’m going to make some statements that apply to all kinds of oral sex (cunnilingus, fellatio, and analingus), then give you some particulars. Enthusiasm, focus, tenacity, and paying attention to your partner’s body language are all good qualities to have when giving oral sex. Use your fingers and hands along with your mouth. For cunnilingus, experiment with different techniques using your lips, mouth, and tongue, and ask your partner to tell you what she likes (if she doesn’t know, explore and ask her to alert you when you’ve stumbled on something great). For fellatio, concentrate on the head and the sensitive frenulum on its underside (remember our anatomy lesson); experiment by applying different amounts of pressure with your mouth along the head and shaft. For analingus, use your tongue and lips to get into the folds of the sensitive anus.
Recommended: The Expert Guide to Oral Sex 1: Cunnilingus, The Expert Guide to Oral Sex 2: Fellatio, and The Expert Guide to Advanced Fellatio

I don’t think I enjoy sex at all. The picture of the vagina (in your presentation) made me squirm, and I have one. What can I do to be comfortable and enjoy the experience when my partner wants to have it?
First, this is a question I can’t answer with a pithy one minute (or three sentence) response. It was a line drawing, but an explicit one, of a vulva, and we are not used to looking at those images on the big screen or in public, so it can make some people uncomfortable for a number of reasons. But you said you don’t enjoy sex at all. Could you be asexual? If you have sexual desire, then it’s a matter of getting comfortable with your body and with sex. Do you masturbate? It all begins there, so I’d start with establishing a sexual relationship with yourself before you address sex with a partner.
Recommended: Sex for One: The Joy of Selfloving

What is the best way to have sex in a long distance relationship?
I assume you mean when you and your partner are apart? Use technology to keep you connected. Dirty text messages, naughty instant messages, steamy emails, and Skype with mutual masturbation. I caution you against sending naked or sex pictures to each other, however, since we’ve seen all the trouble that can cause.

Got any good positions?
Each position has its pros and cons, and experimentation is key. If you like Missionary, try Flying Missionary where the person on their back puts their feet on their partner’s chest. If you like Cowgirl, try Froggie where the person on top balances on their feet. If you like Doggie Style, try Tailgate, where the receiver lies on their stomach and the penetrator then lies directly on top of them.

Do you have tips for using a toy to stimulate the G-spot?
Pick a curved toy like Pure Wand, and always aim the curve toward the front of the person’s body. Many G-spots respond to deliberate, firm pressure rather than gentle stroking, so don’t be afraid to apply pressure—just make sure your partner is aroused and ready before you do.
Recommended: The Secrets of Great G-Spot Orgasms and Female Ejaculation and The Big Book of Sex Toys

Does size matter?
The easy answer is no. People are way too wrapped up in penis size, when most folks want a compassionate, responsive lover more than a particular size. But I don’t want to deny that everyone has different tastes and turn ons, and some people do like penetration with big stuff. But that’s why God created dildos.

How do I get a vibrator and which kind do I get?
If possible, visit a sex-positive store like The Smitten Kitten, Good Vibrations, or Babeland. When you shop in person at stores like these, the toys are out of their packages, so you can see and feel them, feel the vibration, hear how quiet or loud they are, plus you benefit from the advice of experienced sex educators who work there. If that’s not possible, try one of their websites; they all have detailed product information and customer reviews.
Recommended: The Big Book of Sex Toys

I’m a girl. Do I need to shave my pubic hair before I have sex?
Your pubic hair is your business! It’s a matter of personal taste, just like how you cut and style your other hair. Some people let it grow, others trim it back, and others wax or shave some or all of it off.

As a female, how do you know if you’ve had an orgasm?
I want to say, “Oh you’ll know!” but I want to be more specific. Some of the physiological responses include: a feeling of release; muscle contractions of the uterus, vagina, and sphincter muscles; other muscle contractions and muscle tension throughout the body; involuntary muscle responses that cause you to make strange faces; and cramping of hands and feet. Talking to your peers about what their orgasms feel like is a great way to open up a conversation and hear from real people about their experiences.
Recommended: The Expert Guide to Female Orgasms and The Ultimate Guide to Orgasm for Women: How to Become Orgasmic for a Lifetime

How long does it take a woman to climax?
There is no set amount of time, and I hesitate to even say there is an average amount of time. Women often put pressure on themselves about this (I hear all the time “It takes me a really long time,” or “It takes too long”). Concentrate on what’s going on and how it feels, and don’t think about the clock and how you measure up to it.

Do you have any suggestions for mixing things up during sex?
Lube. Sex toys. Role play. Analingus. New positions. Porn. Do anything except intercourse. Mutual masturbation.
Recommended: What You Really Really Want: The Smart Girl’s Shame-Free Guide to Sex and Safety

Do you poop when you have anal sex? How do you have “clean” anal sex?
When you have a bowel movement, feces stored in the colon pass through the rectum, down into the anal canal, and out the anus. The colon is the storage area, and the rectum and anal canal are pathways. If you have good bowel habits and plenty of fiber in your diet, then there should be very little fecal matter in the rectum and anal canal. When you play with fingers, a toy, or a penis, you’re not going beyond the rectum. Go to the bathroom before anal play. In addition, take a warm, soapy shower or bath before anal sex to make sure your genitals are clean. You can even slide a soapy finger into your anus. Always use the most mild soap you can—either a castile or pure glycerine. A trip to the bathroom and a shower will go a long way toward you having relatively clean anal penetration. I say “relatively clean” because I want you to be realistic. There are no guarantees in life, and some amount of fecal matter may be present in someone’s rectum. If you want to go the extra step to make sure you’re totally cleaned out, you can give yourself an enema beforehand.
Recommended: The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women

How safe is anal sex and how do I avoid anal fissures?
I always recommend that people use safer sex barriers if they are not currently tested and in a sexually monogamous relationship. You can transmit most sexually-transmitted infections (including gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, HPV, genital warts, herpes, and HIV) through unprotected anal sex, especially penis/ass intercourse. In addition, as I said in my presentation, the ass is made of delicate, sensitive tissue which is susceptible to small tears or anal fissures. The best way to protect against them: use gloves to make your fingers butt-friendly, use plenty of lube, focus on warm up and don’t rush penetration, and, as the receiver, listen to your body.
Recommended: The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women

Is it inappropriate to go up to someone and say, “Wanna fuck? Right here, right now?” (I’m female.)
I like people being direct about what they want. I appreciate shameless assertion of your desires. So I don’t think it’s inappropriate to speak your desires in the right context with potential lovers. But, that said, there are repercussions for women who speak openly about their sexual desire, so you’ve got to take those into account, knowing that reactions to your honesty will be mixed (see next question).

How can I, as a woman, express wanting to have sex without looking like a slut?
Just do it. Own it. Don’t let anyone shame you for your sexual desires, experience, or consensual behavior. And don’t shame other women for theirs. Don’t buy into our society’s double standards that applaud men for their sexual prowess and punish women for the very same behavior. (Easier said than done, I know.)
Recommended: He’s a Stud, She’s a Slut, and 49 Other Double Standards Every Woman Should Know and What You Really Really Want: The Smart Girl’s Shame-Free Guide to Sex and Safety

How do we as a society combat false sex information like the “What Not To Do Guide to BDSM,” aka Fifty Shades of Grey?
You’re right, Fifty Shades of Grey is not an instruction manual, it’s a romance novel with some kink thrown in. But lots of people have read it and it’s opened up conversations about kinky sex, which is ultimately a good thing for society. If a friend mentions reading it or being inspired by it, be ready to let them know that it’s not a how-to and have recommendations for other resources that give solid information about BDSM.
Recommended: The Ultimate Guide to Kink and SM 101: A Realistic Introduction

I am really into bondage. How do I bring it up to a casual hookup without being scary and intense?
It’s all in the way you present it. Be direct and put it out there (“I want to tie you up” or “It would turn me on if you tied me up”) and make it clear that it’s a suggestion that your partner is welcome to embrace or turn down. If they agree, be prepared to give them information about safety before you start and always use a safeword.
Recommended: The Ultimate Guide to Kink and Midori’s Expert Guide to Sensual Bondage

How does a girl approach the idea of being a dominant with a guy?
Talk about roleplaying fantasies and see what kinds of scenarios you each come up with. Suggest some scenes where you play a dominant role and see what he says. Context is everything.
Recommended: The Ultimate Guide to Kink

Why do I have rape fantasies? It feels problematic.
Our fantasies often do not reflect our politics. Rape fantasies can be about exploring submission, masochism, surrender, objectification, control, and a slew of other dynamics. Although “rape” is the hot-button word in this question, the operative word here is fantasy. It’s a fantasy where you create the script, imagine the details, call the shots, and know how it ends—which is an entirely different thing than actual rape.
Recommended: Toybag Guide to Playing With Taboo and Mollena Williams’ two chapters in The Ultimate Guide to Kink

Any advice for a woman who wants to peg her man? Techniques, a particular toy, a particular position?
Pegging is strap-on anal sex where the woman is the giver and the man the receiver, and it can open up a whole new world of erotic exploration for couples. Great anal sex is all about the warm up. You’ve got to take your time, relish each sensation, and tease your partner into a frenzy before any serious penetration begins. As for toys, I love the Mistress dildo by Vixen Creations and any harness made by Aslan Leather.
Recommended: The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women and The Expert Guide to Pegging

What are your thoughts on tantra, sexual ecstasy and spirituality?
That’s a big question on a big topic. More and more people are getting interested in sacred sexuality, the intersection of sex and spirituality, sex magic, and Tantric sex. I want to refer you to two of the best, most accessible books on the subject: Urban Tantra: Sacred Sex for the Twenty-First Century and Tantra for Erotic Empowerment: The Key to Enriching Your Sexual Life.

How do you feel about porn, which often portrays false or fantastical situations? How realistic is porn? Is it misleading?
Well, it depends on the porn! Much of mainstream pornography portrays a fantasy and a performance, so there’s a lot of athletic positions, high energy and high libido, heightened reactions to stimulation, and earth shaking orgasms (both real and performed). You don’t often get to see honest communication, awkward moves, enough warm up before intercourse, a focus on other kinds of sex besides intercourse, partners being shy or quiet, stopping and starting, and much more. I like to portray more realistic sexual scenes in my films, where people verbally negotiate, ask for what they want, use lube and sex toys, focus on activities that turn them on rather than a “script” of how sex should unfold, get into positions that feel good for them, and allow enough arousal time and stimulation to allow female performers to have real orgasms. There are lots of feminists who make porn, and you may want to check out their films as well as films featuring real couples including Make Love Not Porn.
Recommended: The Feminist Porn Book

How can gender identity affect a sexual experience or a sexual relationship (even mentally)? How can we avoid gender identity becoming a point of contestation? We are both doms.
This question requires a longer answer, so I gave it its own Ask Tristan post.

 

 

 

 

Jan 182013
 

Ask Tristan logo450

[Ed. note: This question is a legal one, so I asked my awesome expert, Davis from Sexquire to answer it.]

So, I was just reading a Coyote L.A. article that talks about what Prostitution is defined as, and I noticed that one can
define Prostitution as masturbation for pay. Would that mean that webcam modeling could be included in that definition? Is there an exception for cam, because I am using my camera?

To be sure I was answering the right question, I did some research to find the Coyote LA article you mentioned. After reviewing it, I can see how the issue might still be a bit confusing. The answer to your question is most likely no, but let me add a few caveats before getting in to too much detail.

Caveat 1 –The article you cited discussed California laws regarding prostitution, and each state (and often city or town) has its own specific rules that govern what is/is not illegal there. I’m going to answer your question under California law, but if you’re wondering about another state, or even an area in California other than LA, you’ll need to do some additional research.

Caveat 2 – Some places don’t have very specific laws, and often whoever is in power (mayors, council persons, sheriffs) dictate what types of things are more vigorously pursued at any particular time. If you’re new to an area, be sure you learn about the prostitution and sex work laws that govern, but also find out a bit about the area’s political climate and whether local governmental authorities are particularly active in this area.

Caveat 3 – Your question was about prostitution laws, but obscenity laws may also govern cam or fetish video work. Just because a local government agent can’t fit what you’re doing into the definition of prostitution doesn’t mean you’re necessarily in the clear, as obscenity and “lewdness” laws vary quite a bit from state to state.

Okay, with all that being said, let’s dive into your question. The article you mentioned discussed how dancing nude and masturbating oneself might meet the definition of prostitution under California Penal Code Sec. 647 (which defines prostitution). The actual language of the law is long and confusing, but the article is correct that the law includes in its definition of prostitution “a lewd act for money or other consideration” which is “the touching of breast, buttocks or genitals for the purpose of sexual gratification or arousal.” The article goes on to say that since the law does not define WHO is doing the touching, that one who dances nude or masturbates oneself as part of their act could, if their customer achieves sexual gratification, be found to have committed an act of prostitution. However, your question was not about someone dancing nude or masturbating themselves in front of someone IN PERSON, it was about cam work, where you are far removed from, and indeed may not even have any information at all about, your client. And this is what, at least for now, removes cam work from the definition of prostitution. It does not take place between two persons in public or private, as the California statute states for every definition of prostitution. It may seem a bit fuzzy, but because you have the barrier of the computer, the internet and space/time between you and the person purchasing your services, it simply doesn’t fit the current definition of illegal sex work. Of course it may fit under a pornography or obscenity definition, and with the recent laws and referendums in California one never knows how laws may change, but for now, at least in California, cam work does not likely fit the definition of prostitution and to my knowledge, no cases have been pursued.

One final caveat though – despite not technically fitting the definition, nothing prevents local law enforcement from claiming that a particular act is illegal, so know that although a case would likely not prevail, an overzealous officer and prosecutor could certainly charge someone with prostitution simply for cam or other work. So be careful out there regardless of what your local law currently says.

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Davis is the founder of Sexquire, a complete sex-positive business services company. Davis is the legal arm of Sexquire, having advised brick and mortar sex toy stores, sex educators, sex workers and other sex positive business folk on all manner of legal issues for over 7 years.   In addition to legal matters, Sexquire also provides bookkeeping, accounting, personal assistance and other business services all with a sex-positive spin.  You can find them online at their website, as well as Twitter and Facebook.

Jan 272012
 

[Ed. note: For this question, I turned it over to my legal expert, Davis from Sexquire.]

As a fellow New Yorker and former sex shop clerk, I’m hoping you can shed some light on this subject.  I’m a clerk at a sex shop in the Finger Lakes of New York, and I love the job – I’ve been a sex educator for seven years and love helping people pick out safe, well-designed sexy things. My boss, however, asks that clerks not give directions as to how to use the products in our store (we actually direct them to the store copy of your Big Book of Sex Toys).  But I can’t help myself!  Sex ed is in my blood!  Sex toys are not intuitive to people who have never seen one before! My boss says this is a legal issue: because the products are “novelties,” we can’t come right out and say what they’re for. In Jessica Valenti’s book, The Purity Myth, she points to a case in Texas about a “Passion Party” saleswoman who faced obscenity charges for explaining how to use a vibrator.  That scared the crap out of me.  Do you know what the deal is with obscenity laws and sex toys?  Is it really a legal risk for a clerk to talk about this stuff?  Is it only a risk in certain states?  Any response will be very much appreciated!

- Concerned Shopkeep

Let’s start with the technical legal part of your question, and then get to what it means for clerks like you.

The saleswoman Valenti speaks of, Joanne Webb, was initially charged, but once the case received attention, the Johnson County prosecutor dropped the charges, and later, in an unrelated case, the law under which she was charged was struck down as unconstitutional by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. (The United States federal court system is divided into 13 U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal by geographic location, so when the Fifth Circuit struck down the Texas law, it had the effect of also invalidating a similar law in Mississippi though that law had not yet been directly challenged).

Most legal scholars felt that this case, coupled with the Supreme Court case of Lawrence v. Texas 539 U.S. 558 (2003) (which struck down a Texas law prohibiting sodomy between consenting adults in their own home) signaled the eventual end of laws regulating sex/sex toys and consenting adults.  However, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit later upheld a similar Alabama law that criminalized the sale of sex toys.  The court cited the fact that the Alabama law regulated only commercial activity – the sale of sexual aids, and not their use (unlike the more broad-based Texas law) in its justification for reaching a different result than the previous Fifth Circuit decision.

So what does all of this litigation mean to sex shop clerks? First, unless you are in Alabama, you have no reason to fear being arrested on obscenity charges for providing sex education about or selling these products as other than novelties. Second, if it is customer litigation that your boss fears, they should know that although some sex toy manufacturers apply a “FOR NOVELTY USE ONLY” label to sex toys in an attempt to circumvent potential injury claims from consumers, there has never been a reported case of this being a successful defense against such a claim. In fact there has not, to my knowledge, ever been a reported case of a consumer suing for damage caused by a sex toy, likely due not to the lack of such injuries but more to the social stigma and publicity such a case would cause for the potential plaintiff. And finally, and perhaps most importantly for you, know that New York is an at-will employment state, so despite your being technically right, your boss can legally fire you for any or no reason, just not an illegal reason, and sex educators are not a protected class. So, proceed forward with your new knowledge with caution, and feel free to refer any further questions your boss might have to me!

~~~

Davis is the founder of Sexquire, a complete sex-positive business services company. Davis is the legal arm of Sexquire, having advised brick and mortar sex toy stores, sex educators, sex workers and other sex positive business folk on all manner of legal issues for over 7 years.   In addition to legal matters, Sexquire also provides bookkeeping, accounting, personal assistance and other business services all with a sex-positive spin.  You can find them online at their website, as well as Twitter and Facebook.