Sunday, May 8, 2011

Updated update

Studying for my last final as an undergraduate. YAY.

Staying up WAY too late at night to do so. Not so yay.

Trying to convince my body that it doesn't need to consume its weight in sugar to stay awake, just because I'm not allowed much caffeine... body isn't listening to me. Body is going to be in a world of hurts when I start forcing the weight off come summer.

Trying not to be resentful that boyfriend's family took him out of the country to visit family during my graduation. Because they forgot I was graduating this year. And it didn't occur to them that being gone the whole middle of May meant missing that.

Grateful that the way-too-freakin-long rocky patch with the boyfriend finally seems to be smoothing over. The bad shit just isn't happening any more. We're having sex again. We're telling stories and laughing and having tickle fights again. We're sharing fantasies (sexual and otherwise) again. I don't dread the thought of him visiting, and me having to hide that I just want to be alone, anymore. But now I'm clingy, and I need him... and they took him away for 3 weeks. Assholes.

Failing at the whole not-being-resentful thing.

Slapping self upside the head for being a bitch.

Trying to figure out if there was going to be a point to this post, or if it's just a gramatically impaired braindump.

Nope.

I got nothin.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Quick Update

Just a quick update - I haven't been around because I've been running around like a chicken with its head cut off. I graduate in 2 weeks (OMG when the heck did that get here?!), I have medical school applications to work on (OMG I'm gonna be a doctor!), and my health's been kind of shitty (OMG I pulled a muscle coughing, yay for two months of bronchitis). So, I will be back, but things may be a bit sparse for a few more weeks.

Friday, April 22, 2011

HUZZAH

I HAD SEX.

IT WAS AWESOME.

I am a happy Lily. And a sore Lily (in a good way). And a Lily that has to get up for work in a few hours, so doesn't have time to freak out all over her blog about how awesome and wonderful and loving and wonderful it was, because she needs sleep.

That is all.

PS - For those wondering why this is such a big deal, this is the first time we've successfully had full-on PIV mutually enjoyable sex in a whole pile of months. So yeah, it's kind of a big deal. ;)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Bronchitis and Getting Ready for Medical School Applications

I've spent 8 of the past 10 weeks keeled over with Bronchitis. I do have more posts and reviews (including my first porn/educational vid review!) in the pipeline, but they're going to have to wait a few days while I retrieve the lung I just coughed out.

In other news, I got my MCAT scores back, and the news is VERY good - my shiny 35 means I can apply to any medical school in the US, and have a good shot at getting in. That puts me one huge step closer to my dream school. I'm super excited; now I just have to get and stay healthy enough to get all my paperwork together to apply in time!

It's really hitting me - some day, it'll be Dr. Lily, MD. For years I've imagined growing up to be Dr. Lily, Ph.D, and it's taken a long time for my subconscious to really wrap itself around the idea of OMFG LILY'S GOING TO BE A DOCTOR!!!

And with this collection of fever-addled thoughts I bid you good night.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Moving Home after Graduation

In almost exactly 6 weeks, I will graduate. After 5 long years, my undergraduate schooling will be over (and then... helloooooo years upon years of medical training!) I'm looking forward to being able to get a bit of rest, and to breaking away from endless academic deadlines for a year.

What I'm not looking forward to is moving home. While I love my family, I'm not looking forward to losing the autonomy and privacy I've gotten used to here at school. The ability to close my door and disappear for a day or two to recharge, not interacting with anyone, is kind of nice. Having the privacy and autonomy to jerk off whenever I feel like it, to watch porn without fear, to have my boyfriend sleep over and to have sex, to play my music without worrying about disturbing my family, to eat my meals in peace without anyone judging my attempts to lose weight or to self-medicate with food, to set the thermostat to a temperature where I don't have blue fingers, all this means a lot to me. All the little things that I've come to take for granted about living alone. All of the things I won't even realize are important till they're gone.

There's also the whole thing my therapist said about how moving home right now would be one of the worst possible things I could do to my mind at the moment, but when has that ever stopped me?

Then there's the problem of all of my good friends being here around my school (or way, way, WAY out of state). I have no close friends at home. The only person from my hometown that I still talk to on a regular basis is my boyfriend. Huzzah for going in blind.

And damn, I'm going to miss the unlimited jack-off opportunities.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pleasurists #123



Beauty by Any Definition by UniqueNudes

Welcome to Pleasurists, a round-up of the adult product and sex toy reviews that came out in the last seven days. For updates and information follow our RSS Feed and Twitter.
Did you miss Pleasurists #122? Read it all here. Do you have a review for Pleasurists #124? Be sure to read the submission guidelines and then use the submission form and submit it before Sunday March 27th @ 11:59pm Pacific.

Monday, March 28, 2011

On Privilege

Privilege. It's a nasty word for those who have never had it applied to them before. If they even understand what you're talking about, most people told they have privilege of some kind will react as if you had made an attack on their character, as if you had made a judgment on who they are as a person based on, for example, whether they had been born cis and white or not.

In many ways, one of the most insidious expressions of exploitation of privilege comes from some of the people who claim to be fighting against exploitation of themselves. (take for example the way RadFems so often treat Trans women and people of color) They are fighting against discrimination, so how could they possibly be discriminating against someone else? They are on the Side of Right on their pet issue, so how could they possibly be on the wrong side on another front?

Also, the majority of people who get the short end of the privilege stick in one facet of their lives will fight you tooth and nail should you suggest that they are in fact privileged in some way. Privilege doesn't "balance out," it's not a checkbook or a balance sheet. However, it is possible to be privileged in some areas but not in others. (I, for example, have white privilege, but I'm a PWD*; I'm well off financially, but I'm a woman trying to make a career in a "male" field) Having some other privilege doesn't make you a bad activist, or a bad spokesperson for the disadvantages you have. Having one privilege doesn't invalidate your experiences with your other disadvantages.

Before anyone starts getting huffy and trying to start into Oppression Olympics, remember that everyone who has the ability to read this blog has a hell of a lot of privilege - literacy and access to the internet, to name just two. Done derailing? Awesome.

It's hard for people to understand or accept that aspects of life they take for granted are part of some facet of privilege. It's very uncomfortable to acknowledge that some of the nice things in their lives aren't standard, and that things they do may directly or indirectly take those nice things away from other people. It usually isn't intentional - hence why I said that most of privilege is stuff we simply take for granted. People don't think about it, they don't intend to cause harm... but that doesn't in any way prevent harm from being done. It's generally not someone's fault that they have some kind of privilege. Unfortunately, most people see statements of privilege as personal attacks (you have X privilege over me, so you are an evil scumbag who is deliberately repressing me) and react accordingly. Honestly, if you thought someone was trying to say something like that, it's a reasonable reaction.

The thing both sides need to understand is that you "get" the majority of the most powerful privileges the same way people "get" onto the receiving end of repression - birth. A person has no control over being born into a white, middle class family. A person has no control over whether they are born with testosterone or estrogen developmentally marked bodies, or over their sexual orientation. (obviously, this does not apply to privileged groups people can theoretically move in and out of, like thin privilege and socioeconomic status and others)

What people do have control over is what they do about that privilege. Do they pretend it doesn't exist and shout to the world that discrimination is dead? Do they exploit their privilege, consciously or unconsciously? Do they try not to cause harm with their privilege? Do they try to strike down privilege to build a more egalitarian society?

This is what marks the difference between someone who has privilege and doesn't know it, and someone who you can justifiably say is an evil scumbag who is deliberately oppressing you. This is what marks the difference between someone who has no idea they have privilege, and someone who knows but has no fucking clue what to do about it.

Many activists have said that the first step is acknowledging that privilege exists, and that you have it. To that end, I've tried to be as honest as possible with myself about the sources of my privilege. At this point in my lift, with the shit that's going on, I figure it's at least a start, and not one I deserve a damn cookie for. I'm going to keep working on this whole "being a decent human being when it comes to privilege" thing. Because it's the right thing to do.


* Person/People with Disabilities

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Review: 26" Plain Crop

While I've played with other kinds of impact toys, this crop was a first for me. A first that took a while to grow on me, but has come to be a favorite.

The design is simple, but well executed. There are no bells and whistles, but honestly? A good crop doesn't need them. The handle is narrow, about half an inch wide with a slightly flared back end. It's molded of a rubbery material with a slight texture, like it was pressed against sand. Most of the length is covered in ridges, and it compresses slightly with pressure. The end result is a handle that is comfortable to hold for extended periods, but won't go flying at inopportune times.

The shaft has a bit of flex and is rather springy. After wielding it a few separate times, my boyfriend said that the ~15 degrees of flex were great for getting a nice springing snap going without wearing out his wrist. The entire shaft is wrapped in a herringbone-like weave with a black synthetic thread. After banging around for a while, there are a few black fuzzies showing, but otherwise it looks pristine.

The leather tip is whipped onto the shaft for about two inches with what appears to be button cord (nice and strong). There is some kind of glue or epoxy between the leather and the cord to secure it, which dried to a hard and glossy finish. The end result is that I wouldn't be able to remove that tip without cutting the leather off, or trying to cut the shaft itself. The leather tip is stitched down around the very end of the shaft. This stitching may be too tight or too flush to the shaft, as there are a few spots where the leather looks like it may begin to rip around the thread.

The tip itself is made of a nice leather. The dye is not struck through, so while the outsides are black, the suede inside is a medium gray. Unlike many crops I've seen, this tip is two pieces of leather open at the end, instead of a single piece folded over, looped end out.

The edges are rounded, so the sensation is almost purely the slap of the leather instead of the bite of corners. Aimed correctly, (which is harder than it looks for a beginner like me) it gives a powerful stinging slap felt mostly at the skin surface, then blooming downward. I also found out the hard way that if you are not a fan of canes, you want to avoid accidentally hitting with the shaft end with great care - it seriously hurts, and at the speeds crops are often used it could cause some serious damage. That said, the shaft itself could be used as a decent slightly-springy cane in a pinch.

I have one complaint, and one complaint only about this crop: I wish it had a hanging loop. I prefer to store it with my other impact toys, and I store them all on a series of hooks. It's not the end of the world, though - some cord and a quick larkshead knot around one of the grooves of the handle lets me hang it just fine.

This was a great introduction to crops for us - it's inexpensive yet well made, and there's nothing fancy like rose tips or funny shapes to make it harder to learn to use consistently. Thanks for a great toy, Fascinations!


This product was provided to me free of charge by Fascinations in exchange for an unbiased review. This review is in compliance with the FTC guidelines.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Ableism

For the last few years, I've jokingly called myself a cripple. It's always been a joke, a reclaiming of an ableist term among friends. But you know what? Having a medical condition that physcially limits me doesn't make me a lesser person. It doesn't make me lazy, hypochondriac, or over-worried. It does not mean I'm crazy, or that it's all in my head. It does not mean I'm just not working hard enough to get over it. It does not mean that my divinity of choice hates me. It doesn't make me a slacker. It doesn't make me less able to do intense mental labor, though I may never be able to do the same physical things you take for granted.

It sure as sunshine doesn't give you the right to interfere with my life in any way, nor does it give you the right to condescend to me, nor does it give you the right to force your "advice" on me.

Cripple I may be, but don't look down on me for it. And don't EVER call me that without my permission.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

"It could never happen to me" and a culture of Sanism

The more exposure I have to the field of mental health, the more I realize that a curious fallacy has taken hold in the minds of the general population. Mental illness has come to be seen as something that is either there, or is not. They see it as black and white, with raving psychotics and suicidal depressives on one side, and the rest of the world (themselves included, of course) on the other. In reality, it is a gradient, with very few people completely untouched by the slightest hint. It's hard to draw the line that says This is just normal variation and healthy, and This is mental illness. You simply can't arbitrarily draw a line in the sand and say below this point, you're perfectly mentally healthy, but the tiniest step beyond it and you're a lunatic.

And yet that is what society would have us do. It's an alluring proposition. Most people can look inside themselves and say, I am nothing like that screaming, thrashing creature. That, then, is mentally ill. Therefore, I could not possibly be mentally ill, because I'm nothing like that nut. It's an easy, though logically flawed way of reassuring ourselves that we are sane.

The world is a terrifyingly unpredictable place, so it is understandable that so much of our thought revolves around making ourselves feel safe. I couldn't possibly be crazy, look at that crazy person, I'm nothing like that! That poor nut, they must have been abused as a child; I was never abused, so I don't have to worry about ending up like that. What a shame, that person is crazy because his brain is broken somehow; thank goodness I have a healthy brain, I'll never have a mental illness. Being poor and homeless is terrible, lucky for me I work so hard, I couldn't ever end up that way, I'm not lazy. That poor rape victim must have done something to encourage the rapist, poor thing; I'd never do anything to put myself at risk or encourage a predator, so it couldn't possibly happen to me. Look at that kid getting such bad grades; he must be lazy, anyone can learn to be exemplary at anything if they just try hard enough.

These may seem extreme, but there are people who believe each and every word I wrote. It's a coping mechanism for dealing with the fears of our world, rationalizing why it couldn't possibly happen to you.When it comes to the many faces of mental illness, sanism has gone undercover and become a part of the fabric of our culture. Perhaps it's time to shock people awake to the knowledge that unbalanced brain chemistry or faulty wiring isn't an immutable sentence to mental illness, nor is a perfectly healthy brain a guarantee against the same. (aside from the fact that neuropsychiatric research is a field in its infancy, so we're not even sure if "unbalanced brain chemistry" or "faulty wiring" are causal elements in mental illness at all) Abuse is not a required prerequisite for instability, nor will it doom someone to craziness. There is no way of predicting for sure if someone will or will not have some form or level of mental illness. No way at all.

The scary truth is that it could happen to anyone, no matter what you do, no matter what happens to you. The reassuring truth is that for most people, the monster never does more than peak around the closet door or send a tail swishing out from under the bed. Most people never see the monster come charging down on them to devour their lives. And for those who do have to face the monsters which lurk at the edges of our vision, may there always be those who will join them in battle, lend them a sword or protect them with their shield or bind their wounds so they can continue to fight and keep from being devoured. You may call them damn shrinks, mucking around in peoples heads with shoddy guesswork, or you can call them meddling bleeding hearts who won't make people take responsibility for their lives. We call them doctors, teachers, therapists, psychiatrists, priests, councilors, parents, lovers, children, friends. And without them, few of us would be here.

As a wise professor of mine once said, when asked if psychiatric patients should be allowed to become doctors:
"Just about every human being who has walked this earth could've used some psychiatric help at some point. You should be more worried about those that don't get it than those of us that do."

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Review: Chocolate Massage and Body Oil

I am a chocolate snob. I when I can get it, I prefer my chocolate to be very high quality. Give me single origin, give me perfectly blended, give me Fair Trade (I swear, these companies have some of the best chocolate around!), give me that perfect smooth blend just light enough to really appreciate the notes of berries, citrus, rum, nuts, and leather. Give me chocolate that is so delightfully complex that a little bite will have me floating on clouds of bliss for an hour.

Sweet Beauty has brought to life a wonderful dream I never knew I had - they've made a chocolate massage oil so decadent that it fulfills my chocolate cravings without a single calorie. How is this possible? They used real, honest-to-goodness cocoa nibs to scent the oil.

Pause for a moment. Let that sink in.

A massage oil made with real chocolate.

From the very first moment I opened the bottle of Chocolate Massage and Body Oil that Babeland had sent me, I was in love. I wouldn't have cared if it had otherwise been the crappiest massage oil on the planet, sticky and gunky and unusable for massage. I would have been perfectly content to just sniff the stuff.

When I got the pump going (which can take quite a few pumps the first time, don't give up!), I got another surprise -  it was very runny. I discovered that day that yes, this stuff will leave permanent oil stains on sheets. However, once I was prepared, I came to like the low viscosity. A single pump leaves a nice-sized puddle in the hand, which warms very quickly and spreads oh so easily.

The first use it saw was as a body oil. Having never used one before, I wasn't sure what to expect. What I definitely wasn't expecting was for it to be so easy to apply, hydrate so well, and disappear so completely into my skin! If you have the 5-10 minutes to wait for it to dry, this oil hydrates as well as my go-to Gold Bond lotion, but doesn't leave a sheen of dimethicone hanging around to make it hard to pull on socks and pants. I did a comparison test deep in the depths of winter, one leg with the oil, one with my usual lotion. At first, they looked similar, but by mid-day the lotion leg was itchy from the cold, dry wind that cuts straight through clothing, while the oiled leg was still soft and supple. I later discovered that this oil is even gentle enough to use on my face! I have a face so picky that I can only use 2-3 different lotions or creams on the market, so this was a pleasant shock.

Verdict: As a body oil, this stuff ROCKS.

As far as massage went, I can happily say that this is by far and away the nicest massage oil I have ever used. The only massage product I like anywhere near as well is a massage bar I reviewed, but that's like comparing apples and salmon. As I said before, it warms quickly, and you don't have to fight to get it spread around. A single pump was enough for a 10-20 minute massage of the back, or a pair of aching legs. (How long it lasted depended on the dryness of the skin) As usual, nobody wanted to move for a while after the massages; by the time either of us were ready to get up and trade places, the oil had all but disappeared into the skin, leaving behind a hint of chocolate scent. There was a trace of greasiness on the hands of the massager, but a quick rub with a tissue or wipe was all it took to remove the feel.

Verdict: Best massage oil I've ever used.

I adore this oil. From the worry-free ingredient list, to the heavenly smell, to the way it makes my skin feel, I love it. The packaging is completely safe to leave out on a dresser, unlike many sensual massage oils. (yes, I'm looking at you Kama Sutra) The only flaw I could find was in the locking mechanism for the pump. It simply doesn't work for travel. Multiple times I've locked it and tossed it in a zip-top bag, only to reach my destination and discover that it unlocked itself and squirted precious oil all over the inside of the plastic bag. Frustrating, but not the end of the world - I just transferred some into a small pop-top bottle for when I'm on the go. [1]

I can't sing the praises of this product enough. It's wonderful. If you like chocolate and massages at all, you need some.


[1] - Since I received my bottle, Babeland seems to have switched over to selling only the pop-top bottles of this oil.


This product was provided to me free of charge by Babeland in exchange for an unbiased review. This review is in compliance with the FTC guidelines.

PSA: Dating Rights

Public Service Announcement:

Neither I, nor anyone else, in any way "owes" it to humanity to "shop around" more on the dating scene to give them a "chance" at us. We are not National Parks, we are people.

Addendum:

This also applies to procreation. We do not "owe" society any copies of our supposedly wonderful DNA.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Assumptions and Shower Sex

My friend and fellow blogger Rockin' wrote a great post a while back about societal assumptions in sexual language. She does some really insightful deconstruction of some of the ways people talk about sex; you should take a look. It got me thinking about the way people think about certain, sometimes non-sexual activities.

Let's be honest here - how many people who have actually tried it think shower sex is a good idea? (I'm assuming that you are of average strength and flexibility, and don't own any of those "shower sex" handles and steps to make life easier) I've tried it at least a dozen times now, and it's difficult, it's often dangerous, and in most showers there isn't enough room to get in a pleasurable position anyway. When we take showers together now, we might cop a feel, or at most go down for a very quick bit of oral sex, but mostly we just... shower together. It's nice to have someone who can scrub your back for you, you know? And letting him shampoo my hair and massage my scalp is absolutely divine. I love to be able to reach over and get a naked hug while we're showering. Trying to kiss without drowning is silly and awesome.

But sex? We'll wait till we're out of the shower.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Just For Grins

It's amazing how the little things can do so much to brighten a day.

The first amaryllis poking its green head out of the icy ground.
Neon pink nail polish on sale at the drug store when you're picking up yet another round of antibiotics.
A random twitter follower checking in to make sure you're ok, and not ignoring a medical issue.
Your favorite candy being back in stock on campus.
A random patch of blue sky on a cloudy, cold, crappy day.
A random text from an old friend long lost touch with, asking how you've been.
Taking terrible-yet-funny pictures of stuffed animals with dildos, just for shits and giggles. (yes, really)

The little things are what remind us that all of life can be wonderful, beautiful, interesting, important. The little things are what remind us that just because we aren't having a peak moment of our lives, doesn't mean life sucks. They remind us to enjoy the day-to-day, the beauty that is all around us in the world, in our experiences, and in the people we rub shoulders with on the subway. They jolt us out of our gray little worlds, knock us off of autopilot for a moment, just long enough to think "Wow! That was awesome!" They give us a little smile in a world were so many of us seem to have forgotten how to smile just for the sake of doing so.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Wicked Faire 2011

This weekend, I went to the wonderfully crazy event known as Wicked Faire. To make a long explanation short, Wicked Faire is a little bit of Renn Faire, combined with a Con, mixed with a hefty dose of the local (and not so local) kink and pagan communities. It's an absolutely epic blast. For my boyfriend and I, our second year going was even better than our first. No, we weren't able to go to many of the performances (and I'm PISSED that I completely missed seeing White Elephant Burlesque perform, they're a wonderful group) but we still had a really good time.

We did our first pass of the vendors Friday night, a few hours in when everyone was set up and stuff had really gotten going. Between fondling silk and leather and oggling gorgeous hardware, we caught an amazing fire-spinning performance by Hubris. While their flaming stunts were wicked cool, the weather had also gotten wicked cold, so after their main performance was done we ran back inside, missing the encore and extras.

After watching the fire, we spent a while at a fun display by The Bee Folks. They had a mind-boggling array of handmade beeswax candles, from simple tapers to ornately carved dragons and puppies and flowers and Greenmen and... penises and boobs. Yes, really. The line was called "Mother's Special Candles," and they were hidden under a cloth so that those who didn't want to see naughty wax wouldn't have to. They were very well done, and absolutely hilarious. They also had a whole line of hand creams and lip balms made from beeswax and/or honey, which were quite decadent. The crowning jewel of their display, however, was their array of varietal honey. There was honey from bees fed from only blueberry bushes, and from almond trees, and on bamboo and buckwheat and radishes, and my new absolute favorite, from avocado trees. It's richly flavored, yet mellow. There is little to none of the dry aftertaste that some honey gets, and no bitterness, yet it isn't too sweet, either. I usually don't gush about honey, but this stuff is crazy good. (unfortunately, they don't seem to have it on their website right now. I has a sad.)

Later that night, we ended up at the ginormous display of Red Falcon Armories. I cannot say enough good things about these people. Seriously. First of all, they make wonderful, cool, amazing stuff. (check out their site: they may not be good at the whole "making a website" thing, but they know their leather!) My boyfriend got a flask and leather belt case for it, and a fun "mana potion" bottle with belt case. And me? I ended up spending FAR more than I planned on a fantastic lamb leather corset vest. It is worth every penny I paid, though. It's incredibly comfortable, the craftsmanship is superb, and it looks amazing. Plus, between the high-quality leather and the styling, I could use it for some kinds of everyday wear. Paired with a light blouse and a blazer? I could totally wear this thing to a job interview, then ditch the blazer and go dancing in it, then go home and Domme it up a little with my boyfriend. Their customer service is also fantastic - about two hours after I purchased it, the busk had a catastrophic mechanical failure. I sat down, and suddenly one of the closure posts parted company with the busk, and flew across the room, almost taking someone's eye out! I quickly unlaced and removed the dangerous garment and went back to Red Falcon, where they immediately replaced the corset with effusive apologies... then started digging around for the number of their busk provider, muttering dark imprecations upon the people who provided such a dangerously sub-par busk. No such issues occurred with the second corset, I'm happy to say, and I'm happily looking for any and every excuse to wear it.

The last thing we did before leaving was spend almost an hour chatting with Dr. Clockwork about his stock in trade, Violet Wands. My boyfriend got to feel what they can do for the first time, after hearing me talk about them for a year. All I can say is, it is now certain that when we can finally afford one, we will acquire a Violet Wand. Somehow. Because I rarely see that expression on my boyfriend's face when he tries something new, and I love it.

Saturday was long, and wonderful. To make a long story short (or an already long story not quite so endless), our shopping loot from the rest of the Faire included 15' of bright teal hemp rope (recommended by our friend the Wiccan Shibari Boy), a one-hand set of eagle talons (metal talons that attach to the tips of your fingers, for sharp sensation play or electro play), a pretty suede pouch for me to wear at Renn Faires, a stunning hand-dyed silk scarf/shawl/veil (5'x2.5' of sheer, multi-shaded purple silk. I'm in heaven.), and a lot of fantastic memories. I met new friends, reconnected with old ones, and spent time with friends I didn't even know were interested in faires/steampunk/kink/any of this crazy stuff. I was invited to an absinthe party by a close friend (which I missed due to my body deciding to start getting sick), and I saw some of the most amazing costumes.

I adored it all. It was a wonderful weekend, and I wish I didn't have to wait a whole year for the next Wicked Faire!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Seller Shout-Out: TheDominaesWorkshop

I usually don't hype sellers here on my blog; it's just not my thing. However, once in a while I stumble across something so beautiful, so wonderful, so unique, or so incredibly epic that I have to share with all of you.

Today, in my internet meanderings I ended up in TheDominaesWorkshop, a store on Etsy. While occasionally other items show up, the primary fare for this little shop, run by "two slaves and their domina," is paddles.

And oh, what marvelous paddles they are! They come in a variety of woods and shapes, from red oak to basswood to poplar, frat paddles and round paddles and fat paddles and skinny paddles. However, it is what the artist puts on the paddles that make them such unique works of art. Each paddle has an image lovingly burned into the surface. My favorite is a pegasus on pine, titled Volatus. Each feather in the wings is delicately detailed, the hairs of the mane seem to curl in the wind, and there's even a twinkle in the pegasus' eye. It's a truly beautiful piece, worthy of hanging on a wall to display for the world to admire. (and discretion be damned!)

Those of you with more disposable income than this poor college student should really go check this shop out. Their work is beautiful, like nothing else I've ever seen.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Crazy Sex Toys Found on Etsy

Those of you familiar with Regretsy know that some of the craziest, strangest handcrafted oddities end up listed on Etsy. One day, in a fit of whimsy, I discovered that a strange, wonderful, and sometimes terrifying array of hand-made sex toys are also hidden in the depths of Etsy. I decided that I needed to immortalize a few of these gems...

Click each image to jump straight to the listing!

A knitted bamboo/silk vibrator bag. I was going to make fun of this concept, but then I realized how awesome it was. I can totally see myself storing Lelo or Njoy toys in something like this. Or glass toys that need a bit more padding.


Again, I was going to make fun of this one, until I realized that it was such a great idea. A tube full of water will hold its temperature much longer than a hunk of solid ceramic - basic thermodynamics.


It's a fish. Carved out of holly wood. For your vagina.


I know it's just the glaze job, but this thing looks like it's filthy and covered in mold. Even if I bleached and boiled it myself, I'm not sure I could ever get over the squik factor enough to introduce it to my vagina.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Jerks

Following a woman around, listing off characteristics about her and trying to guess things about her, loudly, is assanine. It is not flattering, it is not cool, it is not funny, and it sure as hell is not going to earn you points with her.

"Look, there, no, her over there. The hot one with the ponytail. Yeah, I see her walking along here every week. I know it's her because she always wears the same coat and pants" (Which I don't, I just happen to prefer dark denim, and it's been cold so I wear my parka most days.) "She's got to be somewhere between 18 and 19. I'm betting... she's got to be 17 3/4. Don't worry man, she'll be 19 soon. *lecherous chuckle" (I'm 23.) "But she's definitely a sophomore, definitely man, so you're good." (I'm a 5th year "super-senior.") "That hair is probably dyed, too." (No, I'm just the first natural blond you've seen this side of the Atlantic.) "Yeah, she's DEFINITELY possible. Dude, totally! *laughter* *mutter mutter* ask her *mutter mutter* See ya later, man!" (No. Hell fucking no. I am not even a remote possibility for you assholes.)

Seriously? Do parents teach their children no manners anymore? Thank goodness I'm not looking for a boyfriend right now, because I might be tempted to stab my eyes out in frustration at the 3rd grade social tactics of the testosterone-drenched sex.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Motivation

It's strange what things can motivate us to great lengths, and what fails to even hit the radar. Take my extreme lack of libido as an example. I don't want to have sex anymore. Ever. However, I really, really want to want to have sex. Unfortunately, this was like wanting to not want sugary foods - desperately desired, but not forthcoming. I'm just not interested in sex. I'm not even interested in jacking off most of the time. Confession - as of today, I've had exactly 3 spontaneous jack-off sessions (i.e. not "ok, time to go review these toys" chore-turned-orgasm sessions) in the last two months... and two were in the last week. I just couldn't bring myself to "bother" to jack off.


I had a thousand good reasons that I should force myself to start masturbating again. First of all, I know very well that the more often I jerk off, the more I'll want to jerk off, and the better I'll feel. (actually, it's a lot like working out that way... but I digress) I knew that it would help with the stress, the anxiety attacks, the joint pain, the beginnings of what may be depression... It would be a damn good panacea for what ails me. I knew that when I jack off, I feel like a sexual being again, and that's an important first step.

And I just couldn't be bothered to give a damn. I wasn't having sex. So? I didn't have a sex drive, so it didn't bother me to go without sex. Once in a blue moon I'd manage to feel a twinge of arousal at the right time, and bam! We'd have sex, it would be awesome, I'd orgasm my brains out, we'd cuddle and kiss and reconnect and revitalize our relationship... and then we'd go another few months without sex.

What finally motivated me to start trying to get myself interested in jerking off again was not me - it was my boyfriend. While cuddling after some hardcore Mario Party, it came out that he almost never masturbates any more, either. He just doesn't want to, because it's not me, and he misses me so much that it's horribly unsatisfying. I wasn't just killing my sex drive, I was killing his. I had driven a 2-3 times a day tantric multiple orgasms jack-off guy down to a once a week, maybe. I was shredding him to pieces inside bit by bit while I sat there and ignored my lady bits.

And so, I started on a new plan. I didn't tell my boyfriend, because I was afraid of how hurt he'd be if I failed. I decided to try to force myself to jack off once a day for a few weeks, hoping that this would lead to returned libido. As usual, I didn't stick to the ambitious "every day" agenda, but I still count this as a success thus far - I'm jerking off again, and enjoying it. I'm not staring at my crotch, wondering why I feel nothing more than if I shoved my Wahl against my forearm.

I have hope. I have motivation. I don't know how long either will last, but they're a start.

Monday, February 7, 2011

PSA: WTFJELLY

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT

Let it be known that any material known as Jelly, Jel-lee, Jellie, Gelly, etc, is NOT sterilizable, under any circumstances.1 Such materials are highly porous, and very unstable when subjected to high temperatures. They cannot be sterilized, or even sanitized, with boiling water, bleach, rubbing alcohol, UV wands, or antibacterial soap. Even medical grade Quatricide cannot sterilize a jelly toy.

You cannot sterilize jelly. Ever. Period.


__________________________________________________________________

(1) And oh, sprockets, I wish I was kidding when I tell you I've heard people claim this.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Post-MCAT Maunderings

And so she returns at long last, from the endless desert of studying for the MCAT exams. There is a heaviness in the air as our heroine pauses for a rest - is it the looming month before the scores will be released? Is it the mountain of the application process that looms before her? Is it the prospect of leaving her nice, comfortable lab to find a "real job" for the year between graduation and medical school? Or is it simply being unable to believe that the 8 months of frantic studying for the epic 5-hour exam are finally over?

---

Melodramatics aside, I can finally say I've done it: I've made it through the medical rite of passage that is the MCAT exam. Not only did I survive it, I left feeling very, very confident that I had done well. I'm amazed, elated, relieved, and exhausted. I've spent the last week doing a lot of sleeping and playing video games and staring at walls. Now, it's time to start picking up the pieces of my life and putting them back together.

Because honestly, completely changing your life plans this quickly does shatter your life. My friendships need mending, because I disappeared to study for so long. My academic relationships with professors and advisors need cultivating so that I can get good letters of recommendation soon. My networking needs help, so I can find the elusive medical-field-with-just-a-BS job for my gap year. My relationship with my boyfriend is in desperate trouble - we're working on it, and he's promised not to give up on me, and I'm still madly in love with him even when he's frustrating, so there's still hope. I just have to drag myself out of bed and get back to seeing my therapist, because anxiety disorders are hell on relationships.

Also, I'm going to be getting back to writing reviews. I sincerely apologize to both my readers and the companies I work with for falling so far behind in reviews. I have a whole pile in the works, so we'll be returning to our regularly scheduled reviews, rants, and ridiculousness soon.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Nuvaring - 1 Year In

I have now been on the Nuvaring for a year, and I must say I am impressed. I seem to be one of the lucky ones who has minimal side effects. My hormonally-driven mood swings are gone. I self-lubricate again. I'm not bleeding like the losing gladiator every freaking month. (I'm lookin' at you, Yaz) It works, I don't have to fuss with it except before and after sex, I don't have to remember pills, I don't have to worry about whether I can take my BC when I get sick (with my health, this is a serious concern. I just put it in, set a reminder on my phone to take it out in 3 weeks, and forget about it.

There have been a few slight drawbacks. Once in a while, an average of once every 3-4 months, I spot randomly for a day. Once in a blue moon (literally, it happened once all year) I have breakthrough bleeding. And that's seriously a bitch - I bled for 2 weeks, then I got to have my period ("withdrawal bleed" to be precise). Not cool, and a bit scary the first time, but not the end of the world. Also, the discharge production is up, but that's to be expected - when you've got a little ring hanging out up in there 24/7, any self-respecting mucus membrane is going to get a bit fussy. Again, no big deal, whoop-dee-doo.

If I had to really nitpick, the one thing that bugs me is that I HAVE to take the ring out for sex. I have a bitchy, whiny cervix, and she freaks the hell out if something even remotely pointy (i.e. the folded ring) trespasses on her domain. Seriously, that bitch is crazy.

Overall, I'm very happy with the Nuvaring. I can definitely say that I recommend it for anyone who has side effects with other birth control pills - it's the lowest effective dosage available, and being able to stop taking a pill on the clock is nice.

This month, I'm starting my second year of Nuvaring. Here's hoping that we have another good, side-effect-free year.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Pleasurists #112



Tied Up by Sherwin-Prague

Welcome to Pleasurists, a round-up of the adult product and sex toy reviews that came out in the last seven days. For updates and information follow our RSS Feed and Twitter.
Did you miss Pleasurists #111? Read it all here. Do you have a review for Pleasurists #113? Be sure to read the submission guidelines and then use the submission form and submit it before Sunday January 1st @ 11:59pm Pacific.
Want to win some swag? All you’ve got to do is enter.
Editor

Scarlet Lotus St. Syr
On to the reviews…
Vibrators
Dildos
Anal Toys
Toys for Cocks
Lube, Massage Oil, Bath Stuff, & etc.
BDSM/Fetish
Adult Books/Games
Adult DVDs & Porn
Sex Furniture
Lingerie
Miscellaneous

Pleasurists adult product review round-up

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Spam FIlter Issues

I'd like to apologize on behalf of Blogger's spam filter to the people whose comments have been drifting in limbo. I'm trying to beat the stupid filter into submission so your wonderful, insightful comments will go back to posting automatically again. The filter seems to be snagging anything that mentions sex or anything pertaining to it... which kind of defeats the purpose of a sex and sexuality themed blog, dontcha think?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The fallacy of polarities and binaries

Polarity. Binaries. As humans, we're drawn to them, because they make the world easier to understand. They take the work out of classifying what we encounter in life.

If you're not with us, then you're against us.
If you're not perfect, then you're a failure.
If you're not straight, then you're gay.
If you're not gay, then you're straight.
If you're not male, then you're female.
If it's not perfectly good, then it's utterly evil.
If the answer isn't no, then it must be yes.
If it's not a scientifically proven fact, then it's a horrendous lie.
If it's not so clean it's sterile, then it's totally filthy.
If you're not a virgin, then you're a whore.
If you're not monogamous, then you have no loyalty or ability to love.
If you're not a scientist/doctor, then you're stupid and ignorant.
If you're not a layperson, then you can't understand what real life is like.
If you're not a size 0, then you're fat.

Look at those statements carefully. Anyone who can't see that there's a deep, common conceptual problem with each and every one of those statements should stop reading now.

In real life, there are few, if any, true natural binaries. All of these heavily polarized binaries are human inventions, human concepts. Even Alive vs Not Alive is a gradient - viruses are so hard to categorize because they straddle the barrier. We classify them as "not alive," but they haunt us, because they have so many of the characteristics we use to describe "alive." The barrier, the cut-off point is completely, humanly arbitrary.

So are all of the binaries I listed above. Each is a gradient, not just shades of gray but a glorious field of color. We have artificially created binary categories to define them because it makes it easier for our poor little brains. Sometimes, that's a good thing (for example, "food" vs "not food" was incredibly adaptive from day one); other times, it is horribly damaging.

How many times has "if you're not with us, then you're against us" been used as justification for hatred, violence, subjugation, exclusion?

How many bisexual people have found that they aren't welcome in many gay communities?

How many transpeople have found themselves unable to find acceptance at either pole of the gender spectrum?

How many non-monogamous parents have had their children taken away?

How many spiritual or philosophical truths have been laughed away simply because they cannot be tested?

How many people give up, or never even try, because because they cannot be perfect?

How many wonderful accomplishments are ignored or even reviled because they are not perfection?

How many good people find their lives destroyed because they made a single mistake, and were identified only by that mistake for the rest of their lives?

The answer is not to destroy all classification systems, all binaries and categories and labels. We're human, we need them - that's just how the brain works. The answer is to be aware of your binaries and your biases, your categories and your labels. The answer is to question them. How are they helpful? How are they hurtful? Why are they there? What does it mean to me? Do I really need it in order to function? When you find ones that are more healthy than hurtful, keep them, but always under surveillance. When you find ones that are harmful, try to understand them, and to perceive the gradient of color that lies between and around the poles.

Dare yourself to look inside, and to be honest with what you find. No one is perfect. No one can eliminate all of their false binaries and biases and stereotypes. That's not the point. The point is the awareness, the attempt.

The process.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Snowed in again

The last vehicle to make it up my street before the snow made it impassible was the USPS guy, delivering a box of sex toys for me to play with. I think this is a good sign.

I'm snowed in with new toys. Let the fun begin!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Review: Incognito

I'm usually not much of one for watch battery bullets or sex toys that masquerade as something innocuous. I mean, why try to explain a giant plastic sunflower when you can leave a big honkin' back massager on your desk with no one the wiser?

However, said big honkin' massagers aren't the most portable of devices. For one thing, they're big. For another, they're usually tethered to a wall by that pesky power cord, and/or they're really, really loud. This is where small, quiet, portable, discrete toys come in. I figured it could be fun to have the thrill of walking around with a vibrator in my purse that no one would recognize. I wanted to be able to grab a quick orgasm between classes.

The Incognito is one such discrete toy. Designed to look like a bottle of nail polish, it hides a secret - removing the lid reveals not a pot of lacquer, but a small bullet vibrator. To turn on the bullet, you simply twist the business end. This is very easy to do, so make sure you take out the batteries when not in use unless you want your purse to start vibrating randomly.

The power is quite respectable for something that runs on (included!) button cell batteries, but there is only so much they can do. Its strength is about on par with your average 1-AAA vibrator, and quite buzzy. However, the trade-off is that the Incognito is comparatively quiet - not quiet enough to use in a bathroom if no one else is there, but quiet enough to be covered by a little background noise, like a fan or air conditioner. The bullet easily lifts out of the bottle for cleaning, and there is plenty of space below in the bottle to hold the batteries or even a small foil packet of lube when not in use.

The biggest downfall of the Incognito as a discrete toy for tossing in your purse or leaving on a nightstand is that it simply fails to pass as a nail polish bottle, except for the quickest of glances while it's half-buried in the deepest, darkest recesses of a purse. To be brutally honest, it looks like a small child's toy makeup. Its presence could easily be explained away by caretakers for feminine children under the age of around 6-7, but the rest of us are going to get some rather strange looks for carrying what appears to be a child's toy in our purses.

Is it worth it? Maybe. Buyers with a little more money to toss around and a little less need for toys that don't look like toys would do better with something that runs on AA or AAA batteries, like a pocket rocket or larger corded bullet. If you absolutely must have discretion, but want a higher quality toy, the Lelo Mia is the way to go. However, at only $10, the Incognito would make a nice toy for a beginner to start testing the waters. While the quality is not as high as other, more expensive toys, beginners are often afraid to spend too much at the outset. The Incognito is non-threatening, the appearance isn't as likely to get them "caught" as a cheap jelly dildo, and for a toy in this price range, it packs some serious punch. For such people, this could make a good "gateway" toy, or a fun gag gift.


This product was provided to me free of charge by MyPleasure in exchange for an unbiased review. This review is in compliance with the FTC guidelines.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Where did the vacation go?

And here I thought that I'd have all this time to catch up on reviews over my lovely winter break. I guess I forgot that living under this roof means no locking of doors, no privacy because of freaky acoustics, no playing in the shower because of the small water heater, and no computer time because if I can't prove I'm studying for the MCAT, I get bitched at for wasting time goofing off online when I should be studying or cleaning up after my sister or, most importantly, spending time with my family!

(Oh Great and Terrible Goddess of Grammar, I do beseech thee to forgive me for creating such a hideous run-on sentence.)

I planned on testing toys at my boyfriend's house... until his family decided after 4 years of us enjoying ourselves in his attic room, that they didn't want to hear the floorboards creak anymore. Boo, hiss. (Also, they don't approve of kink, so I can't test my very first crop, or play with my scrumptious deer suede flogger)

I planned in finding time to test that nice crop... until I injured most of my upper back. (long story short, I caught someone WAY too heavy for me)

I planned on getting reacquainted with myself sexually, now that I might have a libido again... until I got hit by
epic stress + nuvaring = month-long "period"

And since then, I've been either ill, or in the hospital for a procedure (went fine, thanks), or studying my brains out for the MCAT. Free time? What's that?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Review: Lelo Ina

I like pressure with my clit stimulation. A lot. I'm what you might call a pressure junkie - I actually have a hard time getting off at all without pressure. Confession time: on two separate occasions, I have actually left visible bruises on my poor crotch in my, ahem, enthusiasm.

So when people started griping about how Lelo's first dual stimulator, the Ina, pressed down on their clits WAY too hard, my ears perked up. I might even have done a little happy dance. Epic pressure, without hurting my wrist or worrying about breaking the toy.

Bottom line? I adore it. It is the first and only dual stimulator I've ever tried that gave me the kind of vibration and pressure I wanted, without me needing to get another hand down there manipulating things. The inner portion was shaped just right to make it to my g-spot every time. It's no Pure Wand, but it does well enough. The motors are definitely stronger and are felt more deeply than the earlier motors.

Yes, motors. The Ina has not one, but two motors - one in the clit portion, and one up in the shaft. The vibration patterns let you choose between steady with both on, or with just one or the other, then patterns that include both. My favorite? When the vibration switches back and forth between the two motors. Some people have described it as almost feeling like thrusting; I'm not sure I feel that, but it's very, very fun.

For me, the icing on the cake was the pressure. The clit arm isn't rigidly attached to the shaft, as a solid piece of underlying plastic. Both the shaft and clit arm are solid under the pure silicone coating, but the attachment point is flexible. However, it is also quite stiff. You have to push it a bit to open it up for use, and once it's in place, it clamps down. The majority of reviewers have described it as pinching, painful, even torturous. Personally, I found it enjoyable and not at all painful, but I love pressure on my clitoris. Be warned - if you aren't a diehard clit-pressure fan, (or a masochist who's into clit torture) this toy may hurt!

I had very few gripes about the Ina. Sure, I would have liked a wee bit more power, but I'm a power queen. It was more than enough to get me off multiple times in a reasonable amount of time. I'd love to see them do a variation with the Gigi's head on a dual stimulator, because I still love that shape. As always, I wish it was waterproof, or at least splashproof - dorm-dwelling college students get most of their private time in the shower, ya know? It would make cleanup easier, too. (Since I received my Ina, Lelo has come out with the Soraya in their Insignia line, which appears to be functionally identical, just waterproof. Huzzah!) Otherwise, I'm happy as a geek in a gadget shop. This toy  has lived in my bedside drawer, charged, at all times since I got it months ago.

And? It's bright lime green. LIME. FREAKING. GREEN. Why don't more companies make toys in such wonderful colors?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all of you! May this coming year be a wonderful one, filled with blessings, opportunities, joy, love, and sex toys!