Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Cosmocking: November '12!

Pink cover!  Kate Upton!  That one facial expression that's apparently "sexy" but would read as unbearably snotty if anyone actually gave you that look in real life!  "25 Ways To Kiss A Naked Man!"  Are there really that many parts to a penis?  "8 Very Naughty New Positions!"  These feature stick figures in positions that only work if your partner has extra penises growing out of his belly button and upper thighs!  Perhaps that's why they were able to find 25 different parts!

(However, one of the positions is named "Spank Me Maybe," and I have nothing but respect for that.)

Again, my deepest respect for the name, but dear God, those spines.

6 Ways To Ace a First Date: Predate, don't reach out to confirm your plans; let him do that. [...] If a man wants to open the door for you, let him. [...] There's no reason to seem too eager. Even if you are, hide it. [...] Just be yourself.
And if your self is a person who naturally micromanages and overthinks every aspect of a date, this isn't hypocritical at all!

There's a bigger problem here, though.  And that problem is that I don't want to ace a first date.  I want to feel out if we're compatible, and that means I want it to fail if we're not.  If a guy isn't going to be okay with me calling ahead or opening doors or whatever, I want to know that sooner rather than later and cut our losses.

So... this happened.  Shirtless men with black boxes so you can imagine they're naked.  I'm about to blow your mind: SOMETIMES MEN ARE NAKED FOR REAL.  Pretty steamy, huh?

Q: My boyfriend wants me to be on my knees while giving him oral. It seems disrespectful... isn't that what porn stars do? 
A: Who says that men disrespect porn stars?  The messy truth is, sometimes they do and sometimes they don't.  The only way to really know what this means to your man is to ask him why he's into it.  Regardless of whether his answer satisfies you or not, remember it's always okay to say no if you're uncomfortable.
No, ha ha, I'm just shitting you.  The real answer was:
A: It has nothing to do with respect or disrespect. To be honest, those concepts are far too complex for the caveman level on which male brains operate during sex. [...] You can create a similar thrill by giving him oral when he's not expecting it, like when he's watching TV.
Why you would go out of your way to be sexy for a caveman who doesn't understand respect is beyond me.  I guess if you figure all men are just as bad, then any woman who's been cursed with heterosexuality has to learn to live with it or be alone forever.

Cosmo is set in a really bleak parallel universe.
I regret every single instance when I've wept at work.  If you feel the tears coming on after a tough meeting or a failed project, excuse yourself to the bathroom (or even go outside), and let the tears flow. Otherwise, you risk seeming unstable, and your boss will be hesitant to give you big responsibilities in the future.
I usually don't criticize the work advice in Cosmo, but it's also from a parallel universe--in this case, one in which every woman works a genteel, upper-middle-class paper-shuffling job.  Everyone's a middle manager or maybe a marketer; nobody's a mechanical engineer, an aesthetician, a professor, or a baker.

I've cried at work a couple times.  Usually it was because I'd just had someone die in front of me.  Once because we rolled over a dead body, and he had a tattoo of his baby daughter on his back.  A few times because I saw children who'd been really horribly abused.  Once because someone threatened to beat me.

So, y'know... let's not assume the hardest thing that happens to women at work is they have a tough meeting.

(Is the reason for the simplfication because Cosmo writers honestly don't consider that women have different jobs, or because it's too hard to write advice that actually applies to both professors and bakers?  ...And can we ask this same question about their sex advice?)
The area where the scrotum meets the perineum is ultra-sensitive. Press on this spot with your tongue.  His erectile tissue extends all the way back there, so it'll give him a jolt of pleasure.
I'll admit it, I have a grudge, because Cosmo really screwed up my early sex life with stuff like this.  Not because it's wrong, exactly--lots of guys really do like being touched there--but because it presents an individual and situational reaction as a guarantee.  It makes it sound like there's an automatic Taint Pleasure Button installed in all taints.

So the first time you go for the Taint Pleasure Button and the guy giggles, or goes "meh," or says "whoa, not there," you feel like a failure at sex.  You followed the instructions faithfully, but the results aren't what you wanted--the logical conclusion is that your taint-licking technique just sucks.  Because you suck.  Because there's something wrong with you and you can't even know what it is.

I don't know if the author just didn't consider that some men don't like taint-licking, or if they thought it would be hard or tedious to acknowledge the fact--but when you're an insecure sixteen-year-old with a mouth full of indifferent taint, that ignorance/laziness has some dark-ass consequences.

Like I said, it's a grudge.

DEAR INSECURE SIXTEEN-YEAR OLDS AND ALSO OTHER PEOPLE: Some people like this and some people like that.  Some people like taint-licking.  Some people like juggling geese.  The only ways to know for sure what sort of person you're with--and what sort of person you are--are to ask and to experiment.

That's okay, because the asking is sexy and the experimenting is awesome.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Using my vagina.

(Yes, I have a modular hacked vibrator in my bedroom.
I don't know why you'd imagine for an instant that I wouldn't.)
I can be very good at standing back and using my body instrumentally.  When I have to do something disgusting at work, I can dissociate from my hands.  I can still feel them (obviously), but I don't invest any emotion in it and I don't expect to enjoy it.  Washing out a wound or emptying a bedpan isn't about how my hands feel, and that's okay.

And I can do the same thing with my vagina.  When intercourse doesn't feel good to me, or even if it outright hurts, but my partner seems about to orgasm or he's just really emotionally invested and I can't bear to let him down, I can make that disconnect from my vagina.  I'm up here, stuff's happening down there; unless it's unbearably painful or pleasurable, I can decide not to put much of my consciousness down there.  I can stop living in my pussy, and just use it.

It'd be facile to say "so when you notice yourself doing this, it's bad and you should stop everything."  The truth is, there are times when creating a little space between your self and your body is a valuable skill.  It's a means to exercise self-control over your sexuality.  And it's okay to make the adult, uncoerced decision to use your body to please your partner and not yourself--whether because of a D/s dynamic, for sex work, to cope with genital dysfunction, or simply because that's your deal.

The problem comes when it's not your deal. I've caught myself tuning out my vagina when the sex was supposed to be all about pleasuring me.  For whatever Mysterious Vagina Reason, it wasn't going well, and instead of saying something, I just hit the off switch. In a sex act that began as "let's relax and have some fun", I quietly slid into "let's tolerate it and get through this." That's a crappy, unsexy, scary situation when you're not planning for it.

So: when you notice yourself doing this, notice it, question it, and if you decide to keep doing it, make it a conscious decision.

It's hard to say "this doesn't feel good to me" to a partner.  When you've done all your consent and communication just right--when the sex is exactly what you asked for and your partner is trying hard to do it just the way you like--it's tough to turn around and go "er... it's not working."  You feel like you're being infuriatingly fussy.

But when your body's being fussy, you're just the messenger.  I have a generally reliable orgasm machine in my pants, and even so, there are some days it's like trying to feed a cat.  "You liked this sex last week. You liked it so much that I went out and got a whole case of it.  And now you won't touch it?  You're impossible."

So my choice isn't really "be a flawless fuck" or "be a demanding fuck."  "Flawless" just isn't an option open to me.  It's down to "risk conflict but avoid discomfort" or "avoid conflict but endure discomfort."  Well, when you put it like that... it's not necessarily a foregone conclusion, but at least I know what choice I'm making.  (And if I'm willing to suffer pain to avoid conflict with a partner, it's not proof I need to leave the relationship immediately, but it's definitely information about the relationship that I need to compare with my expectations.)

All this, besides dealing with a specific vagina-issue, pretty much sums up my current take on sex-positivity.  Saying "all sex should be good happy orgasm fun sex!" doesn't work for me any more.  It sounds nice, but there are legitimate circumstances where someone can't or doesn't want to have happy orgasm fun sex, and I don't want to deny their agency with cheery platitudes and dancing vibrators.  You have the choice to have "bad" sex.  All I'd hope is that it's a freely made and fully aware choice.

What I want is not a world of good sex.  What I want is a world of chosen and considered sex.  I don't think no one should ever have pleasureless sex.  I think no one should ever have pleasureless sex unless  they've thought about it and decided they really want to.