Aug 012013


Pioneering Sex Positive Retailer Invites You to Get Cheeky with Educational Workshops & Timeline

SAN FRANCISCO (August 1, 2013): August is “Anal Pleasure Month” according to Good Vibrations, the trusted San Francisco-based company that takes pride in providing accurate information on sexuality and toys for grown-ups. In celebration of this theme they have put together an impressive timeline of the history of anal sex, along with a month of workshops and events in California to bring know-how and pleasure to the people.

“While anal pleasure is widely enjoyed, it is still considered taboo, so access to clear and accurate information about it is sadly limited. Good Vibrations declared August to be Anal Pleasure month as a way to illuminate the subject and make information available to interested adults. You can see how the cultural conversation around anal sex has evolved in our anal history timeline –- it’s fun and fascinating!” says Staff Sexologist Dr. Carol Queen.

Good Vibrations has also teamed up with famed sex educator and author Tristan Taormino to celebrate Anal Pleasure Month on her Sex Out Loud Radio show where she’ll be discussing the ins and outs of safe and fun anal play. Tristan directed The Expert Guide to Anal Sex and has her own collection of favorite sex toys at Good Vibrations, including “Back Door Beginner” kit and Beginner Pegging Kit and also contributed to Good Vibrations’ anal history timeline. This and other anal safe toys will be featured in the month of August.

Follow along online as Anal Sex Month highlights useful resources and information, normalizing and celebrating anal pleasure. Good Vibrations’ Social Networks including Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, Google Plus, and even Instagram and Vine with hashtag #analpleasuremonth.

Jun 152013

I was so sad to hear of Jack Morin’s passing. He was a true innovator and the author of two of the most important books on sexuality: Anal Pleasure and Health and The Erotic Mind. When I found out that Morin was dying, I wrote him this letter. I am sharing it here to celebrate his amazing life.

Dear Jack,

There really aren’t enough words to describe just how important your work in the field of sexuality is, but words are all I’ve got, so that’s what I’ll go with. I feel like none of my work could exist without yours. When it comes to anal sex and anal health education, obviously, you wrote the book. But it goes far beyond that: you broke the ground, you blazed the trail, you opened up the discussion, and you boldly put your name on all of it at a time when no one was talking about this taboo subject. By doing so, you made so many things possible. Anal Pleasure and Health has a pivotal place in the history of sexuality and sex education in the last century, and I am forever grateful that you wrote it. I still have my copy of what I think is the first or second edition, the one I read in the early nineties, with its dented baby blue cover and pages all marked up. I was interviewed last month for a full page article in Glamour magazine about anal sex, and that’s just one example of the tremendous cultural shift that’s happened in the dialogue about anal pleasure. You made that happen, basically. It all comes back to you. You made it possible for my book—and countless other books, articles, websites, videos, and workshops that discuss anal sex—to exist.

You’ve left a legacy of shame-free, sex-positive, holistic, pioneering work on anal pleasure. It inspired me to write my book. And I know it has inspired thousands and thousands of people to explore anal pleasure in their lives. And that’s just one of so many things you’ve done in your career. You are a leader and a light in the field of sex education. From the bottom of my heart, I want to express my gratitude, my respect, and my awe for everything you’ve done to make this world a better place. I promise to honor you by taking the torch you lit and setting the motherfucking world on fire. I’ll do my best, anyway.

May 222013

My girlfriend and I have just begun talking about engaging in anal sex. Both of us are curious but have concerns. We are concerned about safety. We are worried about her ass being torn inside in some way. Can that happen?

–Curious But Concerned

The anus, anal canal and rectum are incredibly sensitive and are made up of very delicate tissue, so your concern is absolutely warranted. As long as you go very slowly, do lots of warm up, and use plenty of lube, it should feel comfortable and pleasurable for your girlfriend. If she feels any pain, you need to slow down or stop altogether. If you are patient and careful, you should not cause any tearing. However, because the area is so delicate, sometimes, you may cause a tiny tear without even knowing it. For example, afterwards, when she goes to the bathroom, there may be a little bit of blood on the tissue signaling a slight cut. She may not feel any pain or discomfort at all. If that does happen, don’t be alarmed. The body should heal itself and all should be back to normal within twenty-four hours.

Apr 252013

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.





Feb 202013

It’s embarrassing for me to write this letter to you because this is the first time I will admit to anyone that my husband and I have anal sex. I actually am getting past the pain, and learning to enjoy it. A friend told me that you can eventually get colon cancer and other things from letting a man come inside your butt, is this true?

–A Little Scared

Please don’t be embarrassed by your admission and know that there are tons of other people having anal sex out there! Let’s talk about the risks of a man ejaculating inside your ass. The ass is made of delicate tissue that can have minute tears in it, allowing easy access to the bloodstream. If you are monogamous and he has tested negative for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), then he can come in your ass. If you are not monogamous or don’t know his STD status, then, by having unprotected anal sex and ejaculating in your ass, he can transmit gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, herpes, human papilloma virus (HPV) also called anal warts, HIV, or hepatitis.

There isn’t any definitive link between semen in your butt and colon cancer. However, according to the National Cancer Institute, contracting HPV in the ass (anal warts) can increase your chances of colon cancer. Some studies suggest that other STDs and trauma to the anal canal and rectum — the kind that would result from not using lube or warming the ass up properly — can also lead to rectal or colon cancer.

Nov 282012

The Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy published a study on anal sex last month that was ignored by most folks in the media – except for Debby Herbenick at Salon!

In an incredibly short period of time, anal sex has become a common part of Americans’ sex lives. As of the 1990s, only about one-quarter to one-third of young women and men in the U.S. had tried anal sex at least once. Less than 20 years later, my research team’s 2009 National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior found that as many as 40-45 percent of women and men in some age groups had tried anal sex. With its rising prevalence, I felt it was important to devote a chapter of my first book, “Because It Feels Good,” to anal health and pleasure — only to find that a magazine editor wouldn’t review it because the topic of anal sex was “not in the best interest of our readership.” Even though nearly half of American women in some age groups have done it! She added, “In the correct circles, I personally will be suggesting the book to those with whom I can share such a resource.”

Hmm. The correct circles. Which ones would those be?

Read the whole article here:

Sep 052012

Are you able to have anal sex if you have hemorrhoids?

The first rule of thumb when it comes to sex is don’t do something that doesn’t feel good—physically or emotionally. Hemorrhoids do not feel good. Probing them with a cock, dildo, fist, finger, or any other penetrative object can intensify this pain (and not in a fun way). Anal play with hemorrhoids also increases your chance of anal tearing, which, in turn, increases your risk of transmitting diseases.

For these reasons, it is best to hold off on anal play until the swelling goes down. If you’re unsure whether your ass is ready to cum out and play, talk to your doctor. Do not be embarrassed. Physicians have seen and heard it all, especially in the anal realm.

If your hemorrhoids are mild, the swelling has decreased, or you cannot wait to stick things in your ass, remember that anal play with hemorrhoids (or without hemorrhoids, for that matter) requires a lot of open communication. And lube. Lots of lube. Lube is necessary for all anal play. But it is ESPECIALLY important when you’re dealing with hemorrhoids. There is no such thing as too much lube. So lather, rub, dip, and slather on the magical, slippery stuff. Your ass will be happy you did.


Abby Spector is a recent graduate of Wesleyan University, where she majored in Feminist/Gender/Sexuality Studies. She is currently interning for Tristan, a job that allows her to write about sex, research feminist porn, and play with dogs (among other, equally awesome things). When she isn’t working, Abby enjoys comfortable nudity and salty foods. Her dream? A world where she could sit around naked and eat overly-salted french fries. Her blog is Sexy Awkward Times.

Sep 052005

My girlfriend has an insatiable appetite for sex. We often have it once a day, and, if not, she masturbates. We both enjoy anal stimulation and have a collection of varying size toys. However, my girl uses them daily. Can someone have too much anal sex or anal toy play? Is it okay to do it almost every day?

–Backdoor Fan

You’ve got one of those problems that lots of other readers wish for! It is absolutely safe to have anal penetration every day as long as you are doing it safely and responsibly. That means: plenty of warm-up, lots of lube, and stopping if you experience any pain. The key for your girlfriend is to listen to her body. As long as everything feels good, she doesn’t rush the process (which even experienced players can do), and she takes a break if she’s sore, she will be fine. Obviously, if she starts to experience anything significant, like cramping, bleeding, or discomfort, she needs to stop and see a doctor.

Aug 072005

I have been in an ongoing debate with my girlfriend for a little over a year now concerning what I consider to be an urban legend about the dangers of anal play. My girlfriend and I enjoy anal play and take part in it on a regular basis. However, she is absolutely convinced that anal play over a long period of time (years) will damage the anal sphincter and result in anal leakage, or the inability of one to retain their feces in their rectum. Apparently her gynecologist told her that homosexual men often end up having to wear tampons in their anus to prevent embarrassing accidents because their anal sphincter has become so stretched out from anal play.

I was a paramedic for eight years and am getting ready to go into medical school. I have spent a good deal of time studying the human body, and I have tried to explain to her that this story just does not make sense from a physiological or anatomical standpoint. Rather, I believe that this is an urban legend which was propagated through the usual channels and which can likely be traced back to two separate verifiable issues:

  1. There are men who wear tampons in their anus, however it is done as part of a fetish such as feminization or cross dressing and is in itself part of the sex play and not necessitated by an inability to retain their feces; and
  2. There have been cases, I suspect, where persons damaged their anal sphincter by inserting objects which were too large and/or without proper lubrication and in doing so physically injured the tissue, causing tears and other damage, possibly to the point of affecting retention.

In these cases I think it would be highly unlikely that the injured party would attempt to rectify the situation using a tampon, but would more likely seek medical attention and undergo surgical repair of the injury. Unfortunately, my girlfriend doesn’t buy my theory, and while she has never refused or even hesitated to participated in any kind of sexual play, she does occasionally make a statement to the effect that I will wish that I had listened to her by the time I’m forty. What do you think?

–Urban Legend Myth Buster

Your girlfriend and her gynecologist are wrong, and you are right. Lots of anal play over time increases circulation to the area, exercises and tones the sphincter muscles, and helps you stay more connected to your ass in general. It does not cause you to lose control of your bowels. Certainly there have been cases where people developed certain anal ailments after years of anal play (more commonly, people develop anal fissures). But in my experience, the problems were caused by unsafe anal sex practices, like not using lube, combining drugs with anal play, or shoving huge things in the ass without warm up.

As to the tampon issue, you’re correct on both counts. There are men who play with tampons as part of a fetish, but no one who is incontinent should ever use a tampon anally. If you’ve truly lost control of your bowels, there are several medical options, but tampon use isn’t one of them.