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Diana J Torres- Vagaculation Workshop

pennysblog_vagaculationworkshop

I didn’t really know what to expect from queer, anarcha-feminist activist and performance artist Diana J Torres’ Vagaculation1 workshop at Forbidden Fruit Thursday night. Or rather, I kind of just expected it to be a class on techniques on how to ejaculate, but it was so much more than that–it was full of real talk about the social and political reasons why women (or people who have a vagina) don’t ejaculate.

Diana began by telling us her story–she’s always been an ejaculator, leaving a “lake on the bed.”  For years she thought she was peeing every time she had great sex, but something clicked for her after a time when she noticed a white ring around the puddle she’d left.

She had a feeling that she wasn’t peeing during sex but didn’t know what was happening, so Diana turned to science to try to figure out what was going on with her body, where she found bullshit and sexist ignorance at every turn. At the University of Barcelona, she found scientific diagrams of female anatomy with white space where the female prostate should be. Medical descriptions undermined women’s pleasure, calling the vulva a “secondary characteristic” and the clitoris an “incidental organ” (are you fucking kidding?)

I’d rather have my head cut off than my clit, she said in response to that.

Basically, women’s anatomy that isn’t related to reproduction or hetero sex is undermined or ignored within medicine and ignorance reigns. So much so, that in Spain and Mexico, if you go to a gyno and explain that you think you’re peeing during sex (ejaculating), that they’ll send you to a urologist, and then they’ll remove your prostate to “fix the problem.” Girls as young as 18 have come to Diana’s workshops and have told her about this happening to them. I know that cunt ejaculation is still very taboo, but I had no idea this was happening–it’s beyond infuriating!

pennysblog_vagaculationworkshop3You may have noticed by now that I haven’t referred to the “g-spot” so far in this post, and there’s a reason for that. Another thing Diana talked about was what she considers the conspiracy or war against the (female) prostate. She explained that she thinks that Gräfenberg (the man who “discovered” the g-spot) couldn’t just come out and say that women have prostates because of his era, but that everything he discovered pointed to what he found (the g-spot) as being a prostate very similar to men’s prostates.

From that point on, according to Torres, the idea of the g-spot and especially its relation to orgasm was a money making ploy to get people to buy books and products about how to find the g-spot, while at the same time keeping women from actually knowing their bodies. Many of the books about finding the g-spot were aimed at men, as if women can’t find it themselves. In her opinion, the word g-spot is overly femme and misleading because in reality it’s a prostate, and there’s no reason not to call it that.2 She explained that women can get prostate cancer, but that by the time it’s caught it’s often spread and is classified as vaginal cancer, and that the prostate isn’t a gendered thing–there aren’t a lot of differences between male and female prostates.

pennysblog_vagaculationworkshop2Her ideas were reinforced by research of other cultures that mention female ejaculation as completely normal. Aristotle, Hypocrates, and Galenus all mentioned cunt ejaculation and the term sperm wasn’t gendered because they didn’t know yet that sperm are only present in male ejaculation. Female ejaculation is also part of a ritual in matriarchal socities called “kachapati” in Uganda, wherein older women teach young women to ejaculate as part of a rite of passage.

So if ejaculation was seen in history as a normal part of women’s sexuality (and is considered normal in some other cultures), what happened? Our western cultures and oppressive religion happened (namely, Catholicism.)

After talking about the ways in which female ejaculation has been systematically ignored, or worse, vilified as something that only whores do, Torres went on to explain how we can GET REVENGE (aka take back our sexuality) by:

-Knowing out bodies better than science does. Mistrust science always.

-Make up for lost time by practicing.

-Spread the word! You don’t have to tell everyone you meet on the street about cunt ejaculation (though that sounds kind of amazing to me.) Tell everyone you care about.

She also shared tips on how to start ejaculating (or become ok with it if there is shame associated with it):

-It’s NOT pee. Repeat this like a mantra. She suggests cumming onto a black sheet so that you can see a white ring around it after it dries as she did, or ejaculating into a container to see that it’s not yellow.

Even though I ejaculate, and I know it’s not pee, I still stick my nose in my come almost every time, just to smell it and remind myself. I’ve also blotted the wetness with toilet paper to check its color. She also suggests checking your pee color right after sex, because if you don’t expel ejaculate, retrograde ejaculation happens and it ends up in the bladder, often changing the color of your pee to white.

-Get over the women are “clean” and their pleasure is “discreet” lies. LIES. LIES. LIES.

-Techniques: Relax right before orgasm instead of contracting, which is usually our reflex. If you do start to ejaculate, push to keep it going. You can’t contract and push at the same time, so if you push, you’ll stop your contracting. She also suggests using fingers (and putting your shoulder into it when your hand gets tired) though personally dildos work better for me. Either way, you can’t usually ejaculate when you have anything big inside of you, so it’ll have to come out at some point.

-Be patient.

-Protect your mattress. Get a plastic mattress cover (or if you want to be fancy, a Throe–I don’t know what I would do without mine!) This is actually a health issue, as fungus can grow on a wet mattress and cause health problems.

-Tell partners ahead of time that you might ejaculate. This can serve as a filter for good lovers and will help avoid people who may have unintentionally (or intentionally) negative responses when surprised by vagaculation.

Although her workshop was very different from the one Deborah Sundahl hosted here in Austin a few years ago, the core theme I took away from both of them was the same–that the reasons women don’t ejaculate are mainly psychological.

What does this mean for us though? It’s definitely not as simple as, “Oh, ok, I’ve been told that women are meant to be clean and proper, and that’s BS so I’ll just start ejaculating now!” As Diana said–you’re not going to erase centuries of oppression in one workshop (or one attempt.) It takes time and effort. And it may never happen, and that’s fine. Not being able to ejaculate doesn’t make you any less of a “real women” or a “real feminist.” You aren’t missing mind blowing orgasms if you don’t ejaculate (in fact, ejaculation isn’t even necessarily connected to orgasms at all.)

pennysblog_vagaculationworkshop1Another thing I found incredibly interesting during the class was that Diana told us about how once she tried to stop her ejaculation by putting her finger over her urethra, and she still ejaculated. So she looked into it more and discovered there are actually other holes besides the urethra that expel ejaculate–the Skene’s ducts.

This led to an interesting discussion that I started on Twitter. She said you can see the ducts if you pull the labia taught and shine a light directly in front of it. I have yet to see them on my vulva (I need a magnifying mirror stat!) but I am definitely going to explore this.

I could go on and on about the workshop. It was extremely thought provoking, and Diana was in your face and intense and at times hilarious. At first I wondered if I should share the things I learned in this workshop on my blog…since we did pay ($10 which was well worth it) to go to her workshop.

But that is the opposite of what her workshop was about. It was about fighting ignorance and spreading knowledge and breaking through the patriarchal bullshit and owning our sexuality. It was about explaining that the g-spot/prostate isn’t something you need to spend money to find or something mysterious you have to go mining in your vagina for.

And on the flip side–this is by no means an all inclusive explanation of her workshop. I took copious notes, but there was an energy in the class that I can’t explain by just describing her points. I may write more about some of the things she talked about in greater depth because there was so much to think about, and if anyone has questions or thoughts, I’d love to chat.

If you’re in Austin, Diana’s doing two more events this weekend, one tonight (Porno Terrorismo) and one on Sunday (Muestra marrana.) And if you ever get a chance to go to one of her workshops, GO. Just trust me. Also, she’s coming out with a book soon, so I can’t wait to read that.

*Thanks for hosting this awesome workshop Forbidden Fruit!


  1. I love the name vagaculation, btw. Vagaculation. Vagaculation. 

  2. I’m not condemning the term g-spot, but it’s definitely something worth thinking about. 

Shame Hurts

pennysblog_faint

I’m generally pretty adept at not letting society’s women-shaming, body-shaming, sex-shaming attitudes bring me down. I surround myself with sex positive people, and since I work from home, I don’t encounter as many closed minded people as I used to. I hardly ever see my conservative family, so that’s not usually an issue. Shame still comes from at me in a general sense, but when it’s from ignorant people I don’t care about, it’s just an annoyance.

But when the shame comes from my Mom, it hurts.

I told my Mom about my blog early in its creation. It was probably a mistake, as I was merely stroking my ego (the blog helped me get a job, and that’s initially why I told her about it.) At first she was proud, and while the topic of sex toys isn’t her thing, she didn’t condemn it. We’d discuss it from a business standpoint from time to time, and she never seemed to have a problem with it.

That is, until I started posting nude photos. It started when she emailed me this photo of myself from my blog, along with a frantic “warning” that my images could be copied & posted on billboards and in ads. I saw this as a passive aggressive way of her bringing up my nude photography, said as much about it and that it hurt my feelings, and this was her reply:

Your posting of nude photos of yourself shows a lack of self respect, low self esteem and is really a selfish act , which could embarrass you and your family should these photos be copied and posted in the newspaper, books etc……. And you think I should be concerned about hurting your feelings? This selfish act of YOURS has truly hurt my feelings tremendously….do you really feel like this is what you have to do to get an online following? Isn’t your writing talent enough? Isn’t your photography creative enough without posting nudity?Can’t you sell something besides very initimate pictures of your body? I think you have many other talents, which should be used to get work, not your body.

First of all, I am aware that my posting nude images on the Internet results in a lack of control over the images (though they are copyrighted, and I post them at low resolution, so they can’t be easily posted to billboards, etc. Plus it’s illegal to post nudes without model releases & proof of legal age.)

The real issue here though, is that my Mom sees nudity as shameful. She was fine with me talking about using sex toys on the Internet, but as soon as I posted photos of the body I was born with, I have a “lack of self-respect” and “low self-esteem.”

On the contrary, I post nude photos of myself because I am PROUD of my body and my sexuality, and I no longer feel the need to hide it.  Why do people assume that if a woman does nude modeling, exotic dancing, or sex work, that she lacks self-respect?  Why is showing a woman’s body considered so horrible? In my case, I post nude photography for artistic self-expression, and I don’t currently do it to gain followers or to make money, but what if I did? Why would that be so wrong?  What if I didn’t enjoy nude modeling, and just did it for a paycheck? How is that different from someone working a grilling 9 to 5 they don’t enjoy just to pay the bills?

It’s not. Work related to sex is still just work, it’s just stigmatized because it’s related to sex. There is nothing wrong with choosing to work at a strip club instead of choosing to work a desk job. It’ naive to assume that someone doesn’t like their job just because you don’t like it or wouldn’t like it, and it’s also naive to assume that everyone needs to love their job. Sure, it’s great to do things that fulfill you in life, but if you wouldn’t judge someone for cleaning toilets even if they don’t like it because they need to feed their kids, then why would you judge that same person for being a nude model or a sex worker?

I don’t think sharing any degree of nudity or pornographic imagery is shameful, but the particular photo my Mom was so offended by isn’t even super explicit or pornographic. It shows my breasts. It shows my NIPPLES, heaven forbid. I am deeply offended by the fact that women are expected to hide their breasts, while no one thinks twice when they see a topless man. Contrary to sexist belief, breasts do not exist to sexually temp and titillate men. Yes, the photo I posted was meant to be sexy, but that doesn’t matter. Any photos of women’s nipples are regarded as explicit, even women breastfeeding, regardless of intent, and that is not only unfair, it’s infuriating.

I’ve already written about how I don’t see being open about my body and being a talented, intelligent writer as mutually exclusive. I understand that it would be “safer” for me to not post my nude photography and only focus on my writing, but I enjoy nude photography. And honestly, things will never change if we all play it safe. I respect and admire women like Molly who share intelligent writing as well as erotic imagery because it’s a bold act, women daring to be both smart and openly sexual. I am proud to be one of those women. It comes with consequences, but so would hiding the work I’m proud of. So would going to sleep knowing that I let people with narrow minded views of the world control my life.

I didn’t expect my Mom to jump for joy at my posting nude photography. I don’t think most people want to think about their parents or children’s sex lives. But my posting nude photography does not mean I have a lack of self-respect or low self-esteem. And I think it’s (almost) funny that she considers my naked body as more offensive than me describing my sex life in detail. My body certainly isn’t shameful, and neither is my sex life.

Shaming people for their bodies and sexuality is hurtful. Shaming people because they make different life choices than you is also hurtful. Thankfully my Mom and I have been able to agree to disagree on the subject for the most part (we don’t talk about it anymore), and we still have a semi-decent relationship, but she will always consider what I do less valuable than other work (if not downright shameful and embarrassing.) And that’s part of why I care so much about being open about sex and nudity. With all of the negativity and shame that surrounds sex and nudity in our culture, we are in desperate need of strong, positive voices that declare:

Naked bodies are not shameful.

Sex is not shameful.

Sex is natural.

Bodies are beautiful.

wickedwed

*I wrote this piece in response to the Wicked Wednesday prompt “Shaming…or being shamed.”

Yes, the G-Spot Is Real

Yesterday I finally made it out to Q-Toys, the only store in Austin that carries only safe, non-toxic sex toys, for a g-spot workshop. The small shop on Burnet is a mecca for those seeking quality toys in Texas, and I had a great time checking out some I’ve been eyeing, like the We-Vibe Touch, Vixskin Mustang, and Pure Plugs, and talking to the awesome and friendly owner Stephanie.

What I wasn’t impressed with though was the g-spot workshop. And by not impressed I actually mean very upset.

The class seemed to have potential, with the Pure Wand, Gigi, and other quality g-spot toys lining the front table, but things went downhill fast when the presenter (Julie Sunday) started the workshop by saying that no one really knows if the g-spot exists.

At first I thought maybe it was a joke or a transition into discussing how the study of female pleasure is often dismissed or distorted, but it wasn’t. We’ve all heard the debates about whether or not the g-spot exists, even though we know it does. The g-spot is the urethral sponge. It sits around the urethra & can be felt through the front wall of the vagina. I’m not surprised (but still upset) when I hear these discussions in mainstream media, but in a sex positive store, from a sex educator?

Yes, a sex educator started the g-spot workshop by saying that no one knows if the g-spot exists, and if it does, no one knows what it is. She drew up a diagram of vaginal anatomy, but with ??? instead of labeling the g-spot.

workshopdiagramMy heightened blood pressure lowered a bit as the presenter moved on to talk about toys that stimulate the g-spot…until at the end of the class, as if it was an afterthought, she mentioned female ejaculation.

Specifically, she claimed that some women just ejaculate and others don’t, and if you don’t already ejaculate naturally, you probably never will, so don’t worry about it. She joked, “there are some porn dvds that claim they can teach it, so if you want to drop $50, I’m sure it works (sarcastic tone.)”

What??

At this point I was screaming on the inside, and I wanted to get up in front of the class and say this is absolutely not true! But I didn’t want to get into a big confrontation, so I waited until she was done. I whispered to my friend about it, who was equally shocked by the presentation, and then I approached Julie when someone else was done asking her a question.

I tried to be friendly as I told her that it’s definitely possible to learn how to ejaculate, that I have, and that I know of a lot of others who have too. Her response was to tell me that it’s a big thing in porn to ejaculate, and that it puts unnecessary pressure on people and that plenty of people are just fine without it. I understand that this may be the case for some people, but isn’t that why we’re here at a g-spot class, to learn about stimulating the g-spot?

I tried talking to her more about my concerns with what she’d said, but it was going nowhere. I started feeling pretty uncomfortable talking to her, and I’m not great with confrontation, so I let it go and went back to looking at toys and talking to the owner.

I wasn’t planning on critiquing the workshop at all, but I feel obligated to say something about the misinformation in the class. We already have enough people claiming the g-spot isn’t real and that female ejaculation isn’t real or you have to be a porn star to do it, and the fact that a sex educator is furthering these misconceptions worries me. If I didn’t already know what the g-spot is and how to stimulate mine, I would have left the workshop confused, frustrated, and discouraged.

It’s definitely possible to learn how to ejaculate. I’ve done it, plenty of others have done it, and there are books and classes that can help. Not everyone can do it, and not everyone likes it, and that’s fine, but there’s certainly nothing wrong with wanting to or trying to learn.

There are a plethora of misconceptions about the g-spot. It isn’t the be all end all of female pleasure. It’s not a magic place you can just find and immediately start having the best orgasms of your life. Everyone’s g-spot is different, some are more sensitive than others, and not everyone enjoys the way g-spot stimulation feels.

But the g-spot is a real, physical thing. Period.

From The Smart Girl's Guide to the G-spot

From The Smart Girl’s Guide to the G-spot

*Helpful G-Spot Links & Resources:

Does the G-Spot Exist? – She Blog

Female Ejaculation & the G-Spot – Deborah Sundahl

G-spot Resource Guide & G-spot Facts – Violet Blue

How To Find the G-Spot – Ducky Doolittle

The G-Spot Does Exist! – Oh, Megan!

The Secrets of Great G-Spot Orgasms & Female Ejaculation

The Smart Girl’s Guide to the G-Spot

Tristan Taormino, Danny Wylde, & Dylan Ryan Talk the G-spot

**Update 6/27**

The owner of Q Toy’s response to my post (which I emailed her about) was mostly dismissive. She said that she wouldn’t address Julie’s stance on female ejaculation because she had already talked to her about it and knew they disagreed on the subject (so she knew before the workshop that the educator doesn’t believe women can learn to ejaculate, which is a problem.)

As for the g-spot not existing, she defended the presentation, saying that no one was claiming the g-spot doesn’t exist, only that the scientific community hasn’t agreed on it etc. But as I explained before, the presentation started by saying that no one knows if the g-spot exists or what it is, and Julie didn’t assert that it is real or explain the basics of what it is. Hence the ??? on the diagram.  She did say that if I took it that way, others might too, so she’d talk to Julie about re-framing the discussion, which is something, but the fact that she defended the presentation and made it seem like it was acceptable and normal is frustrating. Not surprisingly, she also said she wished I had come to her before posting (which actually means, I wish you had come to me so I could convince you not to post.)

I explained myself further in another email, although I feel it was already properly addressed in my post:

“I wanted to wait until the presentation was over to bring it up to be polite, but as I said in my post, I was not able to engage in a constructive conversation with Julie. When I said there are books about the g-spot, she immediately said they don’t know what they’re talking about. I responded, “Violet Blue doesn’t know what she’s talking about?” and she said “no, definitely not,” immediately dismissing me. The way she described female ejaculation & trying to learn was also sarcastic and negative. A workshop space should not be a place that makes fun of people who are trying to learn about female ejaculation or any sexual topic.”

I never heard back after that. After her response to my 1st email & lack of response to my 2nd, I don’t feel comfortable shopping at Q Toys again, which is unfortunate because I liked the store. Also, from the response I got, it seems the problematic presentation will continue mostly as is, with the same presenter.

Vampire Themed Sex Toys

pennysblog_buffyholywaterlubeDo you have a thing for creatures of the night? There’s just something about their strength, blood lust, and pointy teeth isn’t there? Or maybe you’re a vampire who wants to incorporate slayer-play into your sexual routine? Do you crave the warm touch of a human but you’re too embarrassed to admit it or afraid of rejection? Maybe you’re just lonely? Well you’re in luck!

Recently I saw someone on Twitter looking for a sex toy “stake” for some x-rated Buffy play, and if you know me, then you know I am a huge BTVS fan, and the topic of Buff/vampire fantasy play and toys has definitely crossed my mind before (pun intended.) I make sure to have my Hitachi out before I watch Smashed, and my favorite threesome fantasy features Angel and Spike, but I’d also do pretty much any combo of any of the characters on Buffy or Angel (Buffy+Spike, Willow+Tara, Xander+Anya, Cordy+Angel, Willow+Fred, Wesley+Gunn, Willow+Vamp Willow…I think you see where I’m going with this.) I’ve also fantasized about Eric & Bill, though it’s been awhile.

So after some diligent patrolling of the Inter-webs for vampire themed sex toys, I’ve compiled this list for all of the vampire/slayer/Buffy/Sookie/Twilight/Anne Rice peeps out there. This also serves as an ongoing wishlist of mine…someday there will be some epic sex toy photos atop Buffy the board game. Without further ado, here it is:

The Ultimate List of Vampire Themed Sex Toys:

Vamp Penis

vamp Oh Tantus, as if I didn’t love you enough already, you actually created a dildo that caters to vampire obsessed fans like me. I’m pretty sure the Vamp was created with Twilighters in mind, but Spike is who I’ll picture when this glorious toy is in my vagina. If the Vamp’s shape isn’t exactly what you’re looking for but you still want a vamp cock, any of the realistic Tantus dildos (Adam, Mark, etc.) or Vixen dildos (Mustang, Maverick, etc.) can pass for vamp (or human.) Also, for all of the Dracula followers out there, Fleshlight makes a Drac dildo that will put you under his thrall.

Vamp Orifices

succudry If a life-like vamp mouth or vagina is what you seek, Fleshlight has you covered with their Drac, Succu dry, & Count Cockula masturbators. With these realistic toys, you can have safe vampire sex without the threat of death or unwanted siring. And vamps who crave a warm touch, there are tons of human orifices of all kinds for your enjoyment!

Stake Dildos

intrigue If you’re going to fight vampires, you need a stake, and if you’re going to pull off some really hot X-rated Buffy scenes, you need a stake dildo. If you’re a vampire, these are perfect for acting out dangerous fantasies without the real threat of turning to dust. My top pick is the Intrigue because it looks a lot like Mr. Pointy, but the Delve could definitely pass for your typical straight stake also.

Crucifix Dildos

JesusSteelMed Equal parts funny, offensive, and creepy, the Jackhammer Jesus is definitely a toy Buffy would keep in her weapons chest if the show were XXX. While cross dildos are perfect for slayer fantasies, vamps beware–crosses are only ideal for true masochists and should be used with caution.

Holy Water Lube

HolyWaterFrontMed Another must have in any x-rated weapons chest: Holy water lube. Yep, it’s real peeps! And since it’s not actually blessed, vamps can use it for sexy, pain-free fantasies too! (I’d recommend doing a patch test though, just in case.)

Temperature Play

glasscock Vamps and humans alike can enjoy fantasies of each others’ company by incorporating temperature play into their sex play. Glass & metal are the best materials, but silicone can work as well. Just dip the toy in a bowl full of warm or cold water, and you’re good to go. Warming and cooling lubes can also help you get that cold-as-ice vamp or warm human touch you desire.

Vamp Kink

vampiregloves If you want to play out rough vampire sex fantasies, replicate the thrill of being bitten, held captive, or almost staked etc., you’ll need some kinky toys. Vampire gloves are a natural choice, as are handcuffs and other restraints and impact toys. Remember, if you’re pretending to capture someone as dangerous as say, Angelus, you’ll need something heavy duty!

Vamp Porn

buffy-xxx-dvd Though I haven’t watched any yet (Spuffy scenes are enough to send me off), there is quite a bit of vampire porn out there, such as the Buffy the Vampire Slayer XXX Porn Parody, Buffy the Vampire Layer, This Ain’t Dracula XXX, other Dracula titles, Twilight porn, Tru- An XXX Parody and other general vampire porn. Nothing could ever be hotter than James Marsters though. Nothing.

*Vampire friends & fans, if you have any other ideas, if I missed something, or you just want to share your fave fantasies, please comment!*

 

Why I Post Nude Photos (and why I blog about sex)

My photography is one facet of my creative expression through my blog, and the reason I do it is related to why I blog about sex in general. It’s all a part of reclaiming my love for my body and my sexuality.

I’ve always known that I’m a sexual being. Though they’re fuzzy, I have many memories of sexual exploration with girlfriends, as well as reading and thinking about sex as a child. I’ve also always liked attention and having my photo taken; I’ve had a strong sensual energy from an early age.

By the time I was a teenager though, I began to feel ashamed of my urges to explore my sexuality. The Catholic Church taught me that women should be “pure” and “modest” and hide their bodies, and that any sexual encounters before marriage are mortal sins.

I remember videotaping myself one night at age 13, doing a dance I’d made up, wearing a swimsuit top that I pulled up high so you could see the bottoms of my small breasts peeking out. As I danced, I felt in touch with my body, I felt sexy, and when I watched myself afterwards on the little video screen up in my room, I became more and more turned on and excited, but feelings of guilt quickly creeped into my head, and I hastily deleted the video because I thought that if anyone ever saw it they would think I was a slut.

This tension between what I was constantly told to do and think and how I actually felt, acted, and thought, damaged my body image, my view of my own sexuality, and my overall self-esteem.

In High School I started having sex, rejecting the idea that I would be dammed to hell for it, but I had no access to sex education, so I was pretty clueless. My Mom let me get on the pill after I complained about cramps, but I still constantly worried about getting pregnant or getting an STI. Looking back, I’m really lucky that neither of those things happened, since I didn’t even know how to properly use a condom (abstinence only education at its finest.)

The church’s scare tactics didn’t keep me from having sex, but the shame associated with sexuality seeped into my subconscious, and even though I wanted to love myself and my body, I struggled with the embarrassment I had been taught to feel, by both my religion and society in general.

Even though I was having sex, I could hardly look at myself up close, let alone name the important parts like my clit and g-spot. I looked at my vulva once with a compact mirror, and I was terrified by what I saw. I thought it was ugly. I didn’t like my natural smell and constantly feared that I had an STI, so I douched, which is actually horrible for your body.  I didn’t know about the importance of communication in relationships, and I hadn’t even heard of the word “consent.” I thought rape was black and white and only encompassed physical force; I didn’t realize that feeling pressured to do things when you don’t want to isn’t healthy, safe, or consensual.

My true sexual revolution didn’t happen until I started working at a sex shop during my senior year at UT. During the three years I worked there, I read and learned more about sex and met sex positive women who I could talk to. I finally got to the point where I was truly proud of my body and my sexuality again.

While working at the shop I started modeling (sometimes nude), but at that point I only showed the photos to Jake and certain friends who I knew would appreciate them. Eventually I started my blog because I loved talking about sex with people at work, and I wanted a bigger outlet for sexual discussion and exploration.

Since I already had sexy and nude photos, I wondered if I should post some on my blog when I started it. I’d always wanted to share my images with a wider audience, but at the same time I was also afraid to. My main fears had to do with family members seeing them or with the possibility of my real identity getting out and the repercussions or lost career opportunities that could come with that. The exhibitionist in me won though, and I began posting photos, although at first only ones that didn’t reveal my face and didn’t show any actual nudity.

After blogging for a while, I realized that I was tired of hiding my face from my photos. I admired women who had the courage to post nude images that showed everything, including their faces, boldly and with pride. I gradually became less concerned with hiding my face.

Posting nude photos as well as sex blogging in general has been an extremely liberating experience for me. Finally, I don’t feel like my body is something I need to hide. I’ve come a long way from my scared and ashamed 13 year old self, and I’m extremely proud of that, especially considering I was raised to believe that my body is obscene and sex is sinful.

I’m proud to say I now know where my g-spot is, how to female ejaculate, how to communicate with a partner, how to explore “taboo” aspects of my sexuality, and how to accept other people’s sexuality without judgment. I’m proud to admit I still have a lot to learn.

I’m also glad that I’ve helped other people in their sexual exploration. I get lots of positive feedback from friends and readers of my blog, and I feel good when people tell say they love my photography as well as my writing.

Sure, I like the attention I get from having a sex blog and from posting nude images. I am a bit of an exhibitionist, and I find it thrilling when people tell me they’re attracted to me or that they get turned on reading my stories and looking at my photos. But that’s not the sole reason why I blog or post nude images (though even if it was, I don’t see that as a problem.)

I blog about sex for creative outlet, for exploration, and to facilitate open sexual discussion. I post nudes because I consider photography and the human body art forms, and because I enjoy self-portraiture. When I photograph myself, I explore different aspects of my personality. Sometimes I’m feeling dark, or shy, or weird, or sexy. I find myself in my images.  I choose to share them online because I want people to see the work I’m proud of.

I’m not naïve, and I know the risks of posting nude photos in a society that is still overwhelmingly sex negative, sexist, and body-shaming. I have to deal with consequences, like my mother’s harsh words (yes, she knows and doesn’t approve) and society’s pressure and judgments.

I do worry that I might not be taken seriously as a writer because I post nude images. But I resist the idea that being sexually open about my body and being intelligent are mutually exclusive or that they must inhabit separate spaces. I’m smart, I’m good at writing and photography, and I’m also passionate about expressing my sexuality. I know it would be “safer” for me to not reveal my face, or to have separate blogs for writing and for erotic photography, or to not post nude images at all.  My heart still races every time I post a new image, but that’s part of why I do it.

I post nudes on my blog because they are beautiful and because I finally have the courage to do so. I post nudes because I feel they are mine to post, finally. After years of struggle and inner tension, I have reclaimed my body and my sexuality, finally. No one is pressuring me, I don’t do it to increase blog traffic or to gain followers; I share myself on my blog because I decide to.

My reasons for blogging and sharing nude photos are important to me. My sexual truth is important to me.  I’ve decided to explain it because I’m passionate about it, and so my readers can learn more about my background if they want to. But I didn’t write this piece because I think I need to justify what I do. I don’t need to explain why I share my sexuality or post nude photos, but I do think it’s important to reflect on it.

My sexuality is mine to share with whomever I want to, in any form that I want to. It isn’t something society or religion or my family or any partner can control or define, it’s mine.

My body is mine. My sexuality is mine.

Self Portrait: Free

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