Uncategorized

It Is Your Job To Stop Orlando From Happening Again

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I spent today not looking at Facebook. It was too much.

Truthfully, I don’t know what to write. I had a very different post planned for this week. I spent a couple of hours on Saturday writing it, and it was good. I was excited to share. And then I woke up this morning to a nondescript New York Times update on my phone about a “club shooting in Orlando.”

I braced myself for the thing that happens when people shoot other people in America: politicians start talking about me. Well, not me, but mental illness. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder a little less than three years ago, and there’s nothing like a mass shooting to get people talking about my health care.

I logged onto Facebook and I did find people talking about me. Well, not me, but people like me. Queer people.

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Sex Toys

Penis Vibrators Are Here And They Will Change Your Life

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This isn’t primarily a sex toy blog, but every once in a while I stumble across toys that completely challenge my way of thinking about sex. Penis vibrators are a genre of toy that I’ve been curious about for a while, but mostly I was skeptical – after all, my right hand has gotten the job done admirably for my entire life – but when I was offered the chance to take two vibrators for a test-drive, I figured I’d see what all the hubbub was about.

As it turns out, they’re revolutionary – and not for the reasons I expected.

I tried out the Hot Octopuss Pulse II SOLO and the Fun Factory Cobra Libre II, and as far as I know those are the only vibrators designed specifically for penises. Though they’re actually quite different technologically, both operate under the same general premise: deep vibrations against the frenulum of the penis lead to orgasm – crazy-powerful, taint-shaking orgasms.

The Hot Octopuss Pulse II SOLO

The Fun Factory Cobra Libre II

The Fun Factory Cobra Libre II

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, do they work? Yes… and no.

The first time I used the Cobra Libre, it took me over forty-five minutes (!!) to orgasm. For reference, when I use my hands it can take as little as thirty seconds. And it wasn’t even particularly enjoyable at first. In fact, it wasn’t much of anything. It was just vibration. Basically, if you’ve got a penis and you’re used to masturbating with your hands, these toys might feel pretty boring at first, especially the Cobra Libre, which produces a much more subtle sensation than the Hot Octopuss.

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Dating Relationships

A Field Guide to Bad Relationships

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I’m not a statistics whiz, but I’m willing to bet that you’ve had at least one bad relationship.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. For most people, bad relationships are part of the growing-up process: we have to know what doesn’t work for us in order to figure out what does. Unfortunately, a lot of us do a pretty bad job of parsing out our bad relationships – that is, figuring out what didn’t work – and end up relying on simplistic stereotypes that obscure our needs rather than clarify them.

For example: the ever-popular “it’s not you, it’s me” framework (and its converse, “It’s not me, it’s you“) often ends up reducing people in failed relationships to unchangeable, static figures that are simply “wrong” for each other. In reality, relationships are… well, relational. They’re about patterns of interaction – how your partner reacts when you touch him, how you react when he burps, how both of you react when the other is cranky from not eating enough food.

In other words, breakups generally have less to do with the individuals involved than with the way those individuals react to each other. A more accurate assessment of the situation would be, “It’s not you, it’s me when I’m around you when you’re doing something that doesn’t work for me.” But that’s not simple to say or easy to figure out, because it requires metacognition: the ability to recognize and understand your own thought processes and patterns of interaction. Metacognition is a skill, and it takes time to develop – hence the lengthy line of bad relationships that most of us subject ourselves to.

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Relationships Social Theory

Why All Men Should Be Penetrated

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Despite the fact that I’m a sex educator and spend much of my time thinking about sex, I’m not actually very good at instigating sex. Despite the fact that I’m basically always down for sex, I almost never initiate, which has been a point of contention in some of my relationships. One Saturday morning a while back, however, I woke up in bed next to my partner and – to my surprise – really wanted to roll around with him. Even more surprising was that I wanted to top him, which is another thing that almost never happens.

I hugged my partner closer and tried to slide one of my legs in between his, but he didn’t seem to understand what I was trying to do and simply moved his legs out of the way. So I tried another tactic, this time turning towards him and trying to climb gently on top of him. He rolled onto his side.

[Animation: a baby panda falling off of an adult panda's back]

I just wanna be on top!

Huh?

As it turned out, my partner knew exactly what I was angling for, and he wasn’t down. “But I bottom for you all the time,” I said, knowing full well that that I was at risk of violating the oldest, most obvious rule of consent: no means no.

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Sex Ed Social Theory

Stop Talking About Sex

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First of all, I’m sorry for disappearing. In my never-ending quest for financial solvency, I did the unthinkable and got a job. It’s been hard to find a regular writing schedule since then, but I haven’t forgotten about this blog (or its wonderful readers!), and I’ve got some exciting pieces in the metaphorical oven.

Speaking of metaphors, I’d like to throw around a theory that I’ve been contemplating recently. It goes like this: for some people, the best way to talk about sex is to talk about something else entirely.

Here at Yaybody, I try my best to approach sexuality head-on. I’ve found that if I get cutesy or beat around the bush too much, it becomes harder for people to understand what I mean. Also, I want to equip my readers with the language and concepts necessary for them to understand their bodies and desires.

That’s all well and good, but sometimes it seems as though people – even sex educators – would rather talk about anything aside from sex. Take food, for example. Al Vernacchio says that we should talk about sex the way we talk about pizza. Emmeline May says that sex (or, more specifically, consent) should be treated like tea. My sex ed students have decided that sex is actually more like macaroni and cheese.

What gives? Or, in the words of one of my students: “Why you gotta make all of my meals about sex?”

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Sex Ed

Masturbating Makes You Feel Gross? Blame Your Amygdala.

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In case you haven’t gotten the memo, masturbating is both normal and healthy. Woohoo!

[Animation: Black man dancing happily in front of a light blue, pink, and blue screen.]

Something that feels good… is good. Fascinating.

There’s more to the masturbation story than rainbows and puppies, however. Apparently, just knowing  that it’s good doesn’t always make masturbation an amazing act. Ever since I began to teach sex ed, people young and old have asked me about the “gross” feeling that people sometimes get after they masturbate. For a while my answer always circled back to the idea that sexual shame is inescapable in modern society. And that’s definitely part of it, but even the most liberated people I know have confessed to occasionally feeling a little squicked after masturbation.

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Birth Control Mythbusting Sex Ed

What’s REALLY Up With the IUD?

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Welcome to part two of “Birth Control Beyond the Basics,” a series of guest posts written by a dear friend of mine who knows a whole lot about sexual and reproductive health. Click here for the first entry, Birth Control Beyond the Basics: Pill Power!

Are you thinking of getting an IUD? Great! Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are low-maintenance, long-lasting methods that are highly effective at preventing pregnancy. And they’re often covered 100% by insurance, even if you have a deductible! (Always call and check—IUDs are expensive, so you don’t want to have a claim rejected.)

An IUD is a t-shaped device that goes inside your uterus. It’s placed there by a provider and lasts for 3-12 years, depending on which model you select—you can get it removed sooner if you want, though. Once it’s time for it to come out, a provider will remove it using the strings that hang outside of the cervix.

Even if you already know the basic spiel about what an IUD is, you might have some questions or concerns that are making the decision difficult. Here are the most common questions I was asked as a birth control counselor, as well as some questions I had myself when I was deciding to get an IUD.

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Dating Relationships Social Theory

Poly Armory: Thoughts To Keep You Safe In Polyamory

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I’ve mentioned a couple of times on this blog that I’m polyamorous. I’ve been inclined towards polyamory for at least the past four years, maybe longer. My current partner is the first one who’s been willing to jump into the polyamory pool with me, though, and to my surprise, the water’s not always warm. Sometimes, it’s downright frigid. Sometimes, I’d much rather be hanging out on the shores of monogamy. I’m not even a very good swimmer.

Animation: From "The Incredibles." A little boy bobbing up and down in the water. Text: "We're dead! We're dead! We survived but we're dead!"

It’s not all bad, I swear.

Shouldn’t polyamory feel good? I know that it is “right” for me: I’ve been articulating its basic tenets since before I ever heard the word. I’ve read countless articles about the ups and downs of ethical non-monogamy. I felt prepared.

And yet.

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Birth Control Mythbusting Sex Ed

Birth Control Beyond the Basics: Pill Power!

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Today’s post is written by Annie, a dear friend of mine who knows a whole lot about sexual and reproductive health. This is part one out of three in her series, “Birth Control Beyond the Basics.” Enjoy! 

Birth control pills are the most commonly used method of contraception in the US, and are so ubiquitous that they’re probably the first thing that pops to mind when you hear the phrase “birth control.” There are actually a lot of other methods, most of which are actually easier to use than the pill, but the pill can be a really great method for those who don’t struggle with taking it every day at the same. (Yes, you really do need to be taking it at the same time for full efficacy.) Although it can come with negative side effects, the pill actually has some potential POSITIVE side effects as well. It reduces your risk of certain cancers, often reduces acne, and helps many people get relief from irregular, heavy or painful periods. The pill is often prescribed specifically to deal with these issues!

What you might not know, though, is that you actually don’t need to get your period AT ALL while taking the pill!

Image: white woman looking suspiciously over her sunglasses.

Say what?

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Relationships

I Still Hate-Stalk My Exes (And So Can You!)

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[Editor’s note: I do not advocate actual stalking.]

Nearly two years ago–okay, one year and eight months ago–my longest and strongest relationship ended. Actually, “ended” is a mild word for what happened. The relationship combusted.

Image: Footage of a nuclear bomb detonation.

Big boom.

The breakup started off fairly amicable. I was living in New Hampshire at the time (where I’d moved to be with him for his final year of college), and he was doing an internship in New York City. Our communication was faltering. Our dialogue was stilted. His “I love you” sounded like about as genuine as a three-year-old’s “I’m sorry.” So I asked if he wanted to break up–assuring him that I did not want to break up–and he said yes.

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