BUST: For Women With Something To Get Off Their Chests - BUST http://bust.com/sex/ Fri, 15 Dec 2017 07:07:57 -0500 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb no-reply@bust.com (BUST ) What's Your December Sex Horoscope? http://bust.com/sex/193886-december-january-sex-horoscope.html http://bust.com/sex/193886-december-january-sex-horoscope.html  

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Sonia Ortiz shares her astrological advice for ladies looking to get laid, from BUST's December/January print issue. 


sagittarius opt 0626b 5a332
Nov. 22 to Dec. 21

When Mercury goes into retrograde on December 3, you may accidentally butt dial an ex or risk other miscommunications. You’ll be getting lots of attention from others looking to have a good time, but don’t invest too much in a fling. Things get serious once the retrograde ends on December 22, and the full moon in Cancer on January 1 has you seeking a serious partner.


capricorn opt 48dba c7516
Dec. 22 to Jan. 19

Things will get confusing when Mercury goes into retrograde on December 3, the same day as the full moon in Gemini. Have your fun, but don’t take anyone seriously. Once the Sun enters Capricorn on December 21, you’ll weed out the fuckbois once and for all. Venus enters Capricorn on Christmas, boosting your chances at true love. Mercury will be direct by then, ensuring a happy new year.

Jan. 20 to Feb. 18

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Rushing things with your objet d’amour will only create heartbreak when Mercury goes retrograde December 3. You’ll have difficulty listening to people, so try extra hard to let things sink in. When Venus enters your sign on January 17, you’ll feel extra gorgeous and ready to get your groove back. Drama or issues from 2017 will disappear, and you’ll be crazy in love again before long.

Feb. 19 to Mar. 20

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Your December dance card will be filled with holiday parties and happy hours, as well as plenty of flirting. Once Mercury retrograde hits December 3, you’ll be tempted to hop into the online dating fray so you can settle down ASAP. Luckily, the full moon in Cancer will give you clarity and a healthier perspective on dating. You’ll carry that freshness into January and the new year.

Mar. 21 to Apr. 19

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Love will be on the backburner when Mercury goes retrograde December 3, with the focus instead on your career. However, you might find yourself the object of a co-worker’s affection. In-person flirting won’t work for you this month because you’ll be too aloof to notice. They may slide into your DMs, but you also might not see the message until weeks later.

Apr. 20 to May 20

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December will be a month of breaking up and making up thanks to Mercury going retrograde December 3. You’ll respond better to gifts than apologies, because actions will speak louder than words. It’s also a great time to clean house and get rid of folks who don’t interest you. Wait until after December 25 when Venus enters sensible Capricorn to decide who to ditch.

May 21 to June 20

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The universe plays matchmaker even during a retrograde. You may get lucky in an embarrassing situation, just like in a romcom! Mercury retrograde may make you crazy between December 3 and 21, but you’ll land on secure ground once the new year hits. The full moon eclipse in Leo at the end of the month will mark a new beginning with someone special.

June 21 to July 22

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Avoid gossip and turmoil by keeping things just between you and your boo during Mercury retrograde, December 3 through 21. That being said, your partner will be receptive to your needs so speak up and let them know what you want. The full moon in Cancer on January 1 will make you more emotional and sensitive to the needs of others. Perhaps celebrate the new year by returning the favor.

July 23 to Aug. 22

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Fellow fire sign Sagittarius enters Venus on December 1, inspiring creativity both in and out of the bedroom. You’ll want to skip town with your date, but travel plans could hit a snag after December 3, when Mercury is in retrograde. January will be calm until the very end, when an intense full moon lunar eclipse in your own sign of Leo comes for you.


Aug. 23 to Sept. 22
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If you’re paired off, Mercury retrograde might have you questioning your relationship, or even thinking about straying around December 3. However, your Virgoan tendencies will probably keep these thoughts in the realm of fantasy. Talk with your partner and find out how you can spark things up. You’ll have a better idea of your future around January 17, when Venus enters Aquarius.



libra opt 1368a e099a
Sept. 23 to Oct. 22

Mercury retrograde on December 3 will have you questioning your romantic relationships, flirting with cuties, or indulging in other extracurriculars. You also may be questioning your self-worth because of your finances. Use this time to fall in love with yourself. Your New Year’s resolution should be to find someone who can handle you at your worst because they deserve you at your best.

Oct. 23 to Nov. 21

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Don’t be shocked if you start falling for people who aren’t your type, thanks to Mercury retrograde starting December 3. You might even catch surprising feels for a friend. Once the sun enters Capricorn on December 21, you’ll know if you want to take these hookups further. Expect to be vulnerable January 1, when the full moon in Cancer amplifies emotions and makes everything extra watery.

By Sonia Ortiz
Illustrated by Ada Buchholc

This article originally appeared in the December/January 2017 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!

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socialmedia@bust.com (BUST Magazine) Sex Fri, 01 Dec 2017 13:08:01 -0500
Goddess Aviva And Sophie Saint Thomas Answer Questions You've Always Wanted To Ask About BDSM And Consent http://bust.com/sex/193803-a-bdsm-101-from-two-premier-bdsm-practitioners.html http://bust.com/sex/193803-a-bdsm-101-from-two-premier-bdsm-practitioners.html Screen Shot 2017 11 22 at 12.59.07 pm 0d5e2

Meet Goddess Aviva and Sophie Saint Thomas, two powerful women who have made sex and talking about sex, particularly BDSM, a life passion and career. Goddess Aviva strongly believes in the advantages of BDSM, likening the practice to a kind of therapy which allows people access to repressed emotions, providing a cathartic release. As a professional and lifestyle dominatrix, she travels both domestically and internationally offering femdom and fetish sessions, and she teaches classes and workshops which promote sex positivity, debunking harmful myths associated with BDSM.

Meanwhile, Sophie Saint Thomas, an influential N.Y.C-based writer, takes on taboo topics with an unmistakable openness, irreverence, and biting wit that has garnered international recognition. Her accounts chronicle sex and relationships in general, but also include personal sagas which are oftentimes as relatable as they are shocking. Her writing continuously pushes boundaries by being unapologetically honest and has won her a place on Brooklyn Magazine’s annual 30 Under 30: The Envy Index. Her work has appeared in major publications such as Vice, Refinery29, Cosmopolitan, GQ and more.

Though the two women may identify with different roles on the BDSM spectrum, both believe in the inherent power of BDSM as a deeply transformative practice which, when done in a safe and consensual setting, can awaken hidden powers and even launch a profound spiritual awakening. BDSM, they argue, is a practice that requires great focus, mutual respect, patience, and maturity. Their teachings promote BDSM as a particularly helpful way to way to work through repressed issues and even traumas.

For someone who might be interested in BDSM but doesn’t know where to start, what’s a good introduction?

Goddess Aviva: Research and educate yourself! There is a lot of information on the internet, in podcasts, and books. Consider joining FetLife and seeing what local events might interest you. A “munch” is a meeting of kinky people in a public place (like a bar or cafe) where you can be social in an environment where nothing kinky is going to happen. Be respectful of the spaces and events you attend, and understand that you are there to learn and explore.

Sophie Saint Thomas: I agree that joining FetLife can be a great way to explore online. You can also watch ethically made kinky porn to help learn what turns you on. Read up on consent and I would suggest masturbating to BDSM fantasies first before finding a partner to consensually try them out with. If you live somewhere with a BDSM community I would attend something such as an impact play demo to familiarize yourself with the scene, while, as Aviva said, acting respectfully.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how people get to liking the stuff they like. How do fetishes begin? With a particular memory? A particular experience?

A: Fetishes form differently for different people. I've been able to ask a lot of people about their own relationship to fetishes. Many say that they can remember liking something as a child, and then sexualizing it as they go through puberty. For example, many people with a foot fetish remember liking looking at feet, but only getting sexually aroused by feet later on in life. For other people, they can be introduced to something (like latex for example) later on in life and develop a fetish as they explore. It can certainly help to have a very sexually-charged or pleasurable experience where something is introduced.  The link to that something made in that moment can evolve into a fetish.

S: I think it's different for everyone, but I agree with Aviva. For some, they do seem to be linked to childhood memories. For instance, I've met men with foot fetishes with specific memories that correspond to seeing a family friend in stockings. For others, and I would include myself in this, they emerge simply from exploration and growing into your sexuality.

Screen Shot 2017 11 22 at 1.03.12 pm bc4fb

What about the function that role reversal plays in BDSM? It seems that sometimes people's kinks are so far from their actual lives, like the men who come to Goddess Aviva asking to be dominated but don’t get that opportunity normally. What makes the reversal of a norm so attractive to some people?

A: People can feel trapped by routine or societal norms that they have adopted to fit in, so the relief of reversing roles or expressing yourself outside of your day-to-day can be a huge relief and very exciting as a taboo. We all need moments of freedom to express our deepest desires and fantasies, otherwise we feel unsatisfied and unfulfilled.

S: As someone who expects to be treated with respect professionally, but enjoys being consensually degraded during play, it can indeed be extremely blissful to surrender and submit and get spit on and whatnot in a setting that requires consent and communication. Kink allows you to explore all the facets of yourself in a (when done correctly) safe space

 Speaking of a safe space, I’ve read quite a bit about how you both view the act of of BDSM as a spiritual experience when done in a setting that is safe and consensual. Can you tell me more about that?

A: BDSM requires so much vulnerability, trust, and focused attention. At its best it opens people up and allows for deep connection (both with your partner and with yourself) that I have not experienced elsewhere. At its best, it is a truly beautiful experience of people connecting on physical, emotional, and spiritual levels. It can also be very therapeutic as a safe space to work through trauma or uncomfortable emotions and explore the shadow-side and depths of oneself.

S: I think any form of sexual play can be spiritual; you're connecting deeply with your partner(s) and returning to a primal nature. BDSM often can involve more extreme mental or physical experiences which allow you to tap into energies and endorphin bursts in a healthy manner, or take you to a point of meditation that can feel like an altered state of conscious. I often experience this in "subspace" (an altered psychological state entered in the submissive/bottom role, brought on by endorphins from play). Taking ownership of your sexuality is also very powerful, and therefore can be a healthy tool for becoming aware of your spiritual power.

Screen Shot 2017 11 22 at 12.49.00 pm f46b1

Are there certain kinks you’ve come across that are not particularly sexy in theory (or don't necessarily have to do with sex or pleasure) but that you have been asked to perform?

A: I don't like the wording “asked to perform.” Personally I approach BDSM and sessions as an opportunity to channel what is inherently a part of me and connect to a sub's energy, not as a performance I am putting on to appease a client. With that approach, I have held space for clients’ kinks which from the outside have very little to do with sex or sexual pleasure. One example is a submissive who gets satisfaction from being treated like a piece of furniture. Much of BDSM exists outside of conventional ideas of sex and pleasure, and many submissives find pleasure and satisfaction from these experiences even if physical arousal is not occurring. What is pleasing and exciting to your mind may be different than what gets you off. Many people find that "getting off" mentally is more fulfilling and valuable than getting off physically.

But can “play” ever be taken too far? When is it too far?

A: Respecting boundaries and obtaining enthusiastic consent is paramount, so "too far" means going past a hard limit. You must always be practicing BDSM that is SSC: Safe, Sane, and Consensual.

Goddess Aviva, I’m wondering if you can tell us what the greatest thrill of dominating is for you?

A: For me it is feeling a deep connection to my sub, and witnessing the great heights I can guide them to. Seeing someone blissfully lose themselves in the moment through your control and power is exhilarating.

And on the flip side, Sophie, can you tell us what the greatest thrill of subbing is?

S: I can only speak for myself, but having a partner who understands it's a power exchange rather than having power over me, who can respectfully and consensually treat me like an object while loving and respecting me as a person is where I want—and have to be.

Screen Shot 2017 11 22 at 1.03.18 pm c56af

How do you justify certain things that may go against what you’re supposed to believe is ‘feminist,’ like a powerful woman who enjoys being humiliated, punched, or called a “good girl or slut”?

S: This is something horribly misunderstood; there’s nothing anti-feminist about enjoying being consensually degraded in the bedroom. It's extremely feminist to address and meet your sexual needs without shame with a partner who respects you.

A: I believe true feminism is about the equal treatment of women and men by society and the government, which includes freedom of sexual self-expression for all. Feminism is about not policing women's desires. Personally I enjoy expressing myself by dominating men, particularly in the face of a patriarchal society that trains women to be accommodating and modest. It's all about discovering what works for you, and embracing those desires without judgment or shame.

I completely agree that it is horribly misunderstood and still seems to be a very controversial topic in some circles. And for my last question, I'm going to bring it back home. What makes the taboo so irresistible?

A: The appeal of the taboo is the chance to live outside of rules or expectations. I believe as humans we inherently want freedom and struggle with authority and control. It can be irresistible to explore something you're not "supposed" to, and gives you relief from the norms and expectations of society.

S: Secrets are hot, right? I think kink should become more normalized so we don't have to keep it a secret, but having one is indeed sexy. It's just also hot to do what you've been taught you're not supposed to do, and take ownership over what has been forbidden for the wrong reasons, such as society being so kink and whorephoboic.

 *You can catch Goddess Aviva and Sophie Saint Thomas at this year's BUST Holiday Craftacular where they will be holding a joint workshop, "BDSM for Beginners: Lessons on BDSM From Both the Domme and Sub Perspective." In this workshop they will discuss tips and techniques of BDSM and how to navigate it safely while exploring your kinks.

Stiletto images supplied by Goddess Aviva, rope images supplied by Sophie Saint Thomas

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rachelangel33@gmail.com (Rachel Angel) Sex Mon, 13 Nov 2017 14:16:35 -0500
Annie Sprinkle Is An Ecosexual. Here's What That Means http://bust.com/sex/193760-annie-sprinkle-interview.html http://bust.com/sex/193760-annie-sprinkle-interview.html  anniesprinkle 2c56f

Annie Sprinkle, Ph.D., is a bubbly, badass artist and sex education pioneer who got her start in the adult industry pretty much by accident. Now 63, Sprinkle recalls how a job as a popcorn girl when she was 18 at the infamous X-rated Plaza Cinema in Tuscon, AZ, changed her life. “I didn’t even know X-rated films existed. I just needed a job, and I liked movies,” she explains from her home in the Bay Area, which she shares with her partner Beth Stephens. “As a young hippie, I dabbled in prostitution right after that, too. Well, I wouldn’t say dabbled. I threw myself into it.” Eventually, she found her way into adult film, making seminal movies like Deep Inside Annie Sprinkle, which she co-directed, and a counter-culture heroine was born. 

Sprinkle has always been ahead of the adult curve when it comes to porn, art, and activism, from redefining S&M porn and educational porn, to inventing “post-porn,” which she defines as “porn outside the box.” Some of her most famous works include her Public Cervix Announcement, a live show where audience members were handed a speculum and invited to get up close and personal with Sprinkle’s cervix, and Annie Sprinkle’s Herstory of Porn, a solo performance and film diary that traced 30-years-worth of Sprinkle’s sexual experimentation.

Sprinkle and Stephens are now out-and-proud “ecosexuals,” combining environmentalism with eroticism in new and exciting ways. It’s both an “identity concept and sexual orientation,” she says, and they share it with others by creating walking tours, multimedia art projects, documentaries (like the recent Goodbye Gauley Mountain), and books, including their latest title, The Explorer’s Guide to Planet Orgasm. Here, the feminist icon opens up about 45 years on the cutting edge of sexual expression.

People like to say when it comes to sex, everything has already been said and done. How do you manage to keep your tank full and not just burn out?

By continuing to learn new things. I go through personal changes decade-to-decade; there’s a whole new kind of sexuality each decade, if not every year. Most people go through changes in their sex life just like they do in life, in general, like in their career life or their hobby life. You know, you could do photography for 10 years and maybe at some point, you suddenly become interested in riding bicycles.

Has it been difficult to be 
taken seriously as an artist and academic because your work 
is sexual?

Sex is political, sex is controversial, and if you like anything outside the norm, then you are a “slut and a pervert,” of course. I’m outside the box. Every single time I go in a different direction, people scoff and go, “Oh my God!” I was very heterosexual in my 20s. I was not interested in women at all sexually. And then I became interested in women, and everybody rolled their eyes and resisted that. And then I became interested in trans people. Everyone rolled their eyes. “Oh God, what’s she into now?” And with the ecosex [projects] we’re doing, believe me, a lot of my friends roll their eyes, “What’s she into now?” There’s always resistance every time I change. But then people come around, and they get it, and they become interested, too.

Tell me more about ecosex. What does that mean? How do you and your partner express yourselves ecosexually?

I imagine the Earth as my lover and partner, and I find nature (both human and non human) sensual. Beth and I [symbolically] married the Earth in 2006, and that day we started exploring ecosexuality though activities like telling the Earth “I love you,” spending time with her, asking her what she wants and needs and trying to give that to her, admiring her, stroking her, touching her, tasting her, swimming naked in her waters, burying our body parts deep in her soil, and planting seeds within her. We are artists, so for us, ecosex is an art project! 

By Jenni Miller

Photo via anniesprinkle.org

This article originally appeared in the October/November 2017 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!

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socialmedia@bust.com (BUST Magazine) Sex Fri, 03 Nov 2017 15:02:11 -0400
Please Do Not Put Vicks VapoRub In Your Vagina http://bust.com/sex/193777-vicks-vaporub-vagina.html http://bust.com/sex/193777-vicks-vaporub-vagina.html vicks f76a6

We are *back* with another weird vaginal trend! Following our warning not to put glitter in your vagina or glue on your labia, we would like to also remind you to keep Vicks VapoRub out of your vag, too.

In late October, several publications — from the Daily Mail to Mommyish to Allure — picked up message boards and blogs that were encouraging women to use Vicks VapoRub to “clean” their vaginas (not necessary), cure vaginal thrush, soothe itching, prevent yeast infections, create a “pleasant odor,” and ~spice things up~ in the bedroom. 

Spoiler alert, Vicks VapoRub doesn't do any of these things. Women who tried it wrote about a tingling sensation, but uhhh, that is a bad sign!

In a post appropriately titled, “Vaginal Vicks VapoRub, oh my God people just don’t,” the internet’s favorite gyno, Dr. Jen Gunter, spelled out the risks of doing this. Vicks VapoRub’s ingredients include camphor, menthol, nutmeg oil, thymol, eucalyptus oil, turpentine oil, and cedar leaf oil. If applied vaginally, she writes, these ingredients can lead to irritation and infection.

Vaginas are self-cleaning and naturally have an odor. Your vag is probably fine! Great, even! But if there’s a change in odor you’re worried about or if you’re itching, get yourself to a doctor and leave the Vicks alone.

Top photo: Vicks VapoRub

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erikawsmith@bust.com (Erika W. Smith) Sex Tue, 07 Nov 2017 12:47:05 -0500
I Was A Professional Dominatrix — Until Having A Baby Changed How I See BDSM http://bust.com/sex/19175-mother-may-i-bdsm-mom.html http://bust.com/sex/19175-mother-may-i-bdsm-mom.html 53

When a professional dominatrix 
decides to start a family, her life 
changes in ways she never expected

By Yin Q.
Illustration by Marianna Tomaselli

My husband kneels by my bedside, his nose to the floor with his hands stretched out in a yogic “Child’s Pose.” I enter the room to stand at the crown of his head and he moves to press his lips to my boots. I pull a soft leather hood over his face and Robert disappears. His body is the one I lie next to every night, but his identity has morphed—no longer the man who chides me over the grocery budget or the jolly father who throws his daughters over his shoulders. His face is a dark spot against the white bedroom walls as I instruct him to stand at the far end of the canopy bed. Quickly, I weave a web that binds him to the metal frame. My fingers pause by his chest, squeezing his nipples—those sensitive triggers that activate his groin. From the experiences I’ve had as a professional dominatrix, I’ve learned that the body can be taken to greater lengths of pain if the entrance is first through pleasure. For many people, the line between pleasure and pain is not clear—a deep tissue massage, a spicy Indian meal, the 17th mile of a marathon. For sadomasochists, that threshold is our limbo stick to lower, again and again, until our limit is reached.

I peruse a collection of instruments lain on the windowsill: a slim bamboo cane; a thick, deerskin flogger; a single-tail whip. I select the single tail, an elegant and exacting instrument. I am a sadist; I adore the tear of the skin, the pain that so effectively and visually trembles the flesh. Later, I will satisfy my sexual needs, gripping the welts as the slave’s body presses over mine. Then suddenly, a baby starts to cry, a meowing muffled from behind two sets of closed doors and a hallway. The sound is faint and yet it hooks into my gut and swells my chest. It’s time to breastfeed.

I chose to be a professional dominant in bondage, discipline, and sadomasochism (BDSM) 13 years ago as an extension of my personal curiosities. I remember buying my first crop at the N.Y.C. shop Leather Man. My high school girlfriend and I were celebrating at Gay Pride when I saw my first leather daddy in the window—a buff mannequin dressed in leather chaps and an officer’s cap—demanding that I get on my knees and crawl into the store. I pulled Dee in, and suddenly, I was trembling in a shop that smelled of sex—primal and ecstatic. Black leather gear and heavy steel instruments hung in rows. The men raised their brows at us and turned away, but one sales person asked me if I needed help (“Sir, yes please, sir”). And that’s how I found home.

That evening, I pulled out the crop and swung it at Dee’s bottom. She, in turn, threw her boot at me as her form of playful objection. I didn’t know about negotiations or safe words then, but soon learned. I picked up books on BDSM and began to participate in formal classes taught by the leather community, adopting their code of “Safe, Sane, and Consensual.” Upon completing my Barnard senior thesis on BDSM, I sought hands-on apprenticeship from the masters and madams of the craft, and embarked on a career as a professional dominatrix.

I chose this line of work neither to support a drug habit nor to make my way until a real job popped up. I worked in the sex industry with deliberation—it satisfied my personal interests and was a lucrative business. My roommate at the time questioned me. “You have a degree from a prestigious college, why are you limiting yourself to this kind of work?” But to me, this work felt important and worthwhile—I was helping others, like myself, explore their vulnerabilities. I encouraged clients to embrace their sexuality, to find pride in submission and strength in masochism, to transform shame into reclamation, all in a safe space. My roommate was coming home miserable from the menial duties and tedious social politics of her office job. So really, which one of us was actually the one limiting herself?

I had once enjoyed the control I had over my husband—bound and helpless—but with a truly helpless baby in my care, I found that to be a burden.

Professional BDSM work does not usually incorporate overt sexual activity. In fact, most professional dominatrixes adhere to a kind of sorority pledge that, while the client may satisfy themselves, the dominant lady is not to directly engage in the physical relief of the client’s, ahem, tension. It’s a funny dividing line in the sex industry, and there are always harsh whispers for the professionals who cross that line. I’ve always been safe in my corner, touting a solid reputation in the industry as a bondage aficionado and experienced sadist, but I shrug my shoulders at the theoretical dividing lines: escort, prostitute, porn star, stripper, erotic masseuse, dominatrix, whore.

Eventually, I created my own BDSM studio in the financial district of Manhattan. Located on the same street as a strip club, a sex shop, and a boxing gym, my private loft was a sanctuary for consensual sexual violence. Outfitted with custom suspension beams; a heavy, metal cage; and a designer bondage chair, the studio was aptly named “The Dojo.” There, I conducted sessions where men, women, and couples explored their inner desires. I tied and teased, dressed men in panties and women in strap-ons, and caned the bodies of consenting adults. I was good at my job and I loved it.

Now for the inevitable, “But then....” Robert and I met at a piercing demonstration at Babeland, a sex toy store on the Lower East Side. I was assisting another domina as she taught a class on how to safely use needles in sensation play. Robert was the demo-bottom, the human pincushion. After the workshop, we went to a café and discovered that we had both just moved from San Francisco to New York. Our story unfolded like a kinky version of When Harry Met Sally, both of us dating other partners while confiding our failures and hopes to each other, until we fell in love. That love spawned the growth of a heartbeat and toes, and a storm of baby food and diapers quickly swept away the life I once knew.

During my first pregnancy, I tried to be a goddess Earth mother, but wasn’t. There were magic moments, especially when I felt the first flutter of movement, but much of the time, I just felt big and unsuitable for a life amongst subway stairs and leather thigh-high boots.

After I gave birth, my days started to feel like a Saturday Night Live skit: the “Dommy Mommy.” There were evenings I would trot from the cage to the crib, checking on each of my dependents. Power exchange had been upended. I had once enjoyed the control I had over my husband—bound and helpless—but with a truly helpless baby in my care, I found that former domination to be a burden. I didn’t want my partner to be immobile, I wanted him to be changing diapers and helping with the two, four, and six a.m. feedings. Robert did all that, sure, but he’s also a bondage fetishist. It was one of the reasons we got married: our sex lives fit. So once a week, he would need that fix, and I, with swollen breasts and depleted libido, felt what so many new mothers feel toward the partners they love: utter dispassion and resentment. These two pillars—motherhood and sexuality—were toppling over me. And along with babies come their accessories. Our Manhattan apartment could not accommodate the accumulation of sensorial stimulation toys for both children and adults: pacifiers and ball gags; swaddle blankets and straight jackets; cribs and cages. So, naturally, we moved to Brooklyn.

While I despise the Madonna/whore binary, there was something about becoming a mother that made my career uncomfortable. Not in an ethical way—I just no longer had the empathetic capacity to involve myself with the erotic needs of others. I was no longer curious or patient enough to deal with my clients’ desires. After I returned to the Dojo from maternity leave, while a client exhaled to prepare for my cane, my mind wandered from my subject’s pain to what I should buy—kale or spinach?— for dinner. I was no longer in the game. It was time to move on.

I am not alone in my struggles with libido after motherhood, but I wonder if I felt the diminishment all the more drastically because it also drained my professional interest. Sexuality had always been a fluid thing in my life—an ever-present trickle of curiosity in childhood, a flood in my teens and 20s, then an ocean with high and low tides in my 30s. Pregnancy offered sudden spurts and dry spells, and early motherhood ushered in a prolonged period of stretch marks, sleeplessness, and low sex drive. My sexuality became introverted. My fingertips felt reserved for private encounters. I had grown a child inside my body. Now more than ever, it was a sacred space. And since Robert and I were financially secure enough to give up my income, I packed up my whips, wheeled the cage onto a moving truck, and receded from professional domination.

I left sex work only to face the reality that sex had become work. As a single woman, I had counseled married-with-kids couples on how to keep their sexual tension alive. As a mother, however, I realized that back then I knew nothing. But I did follow my own advice: I dressed in clothes that made me feel sexy (and still fit me); I selected mood music that wouldn’t wake the baby; I took out my ropes and whips, which were now kept in a locked trunk, and role-played the sexy me until I really felt sexy. As the saying goes, “Fake it ‘til you make it.” I faked it for four years. Not the orgasm, but the feeling sexy part. Just as you can force a smile until your brain starts to register happiness, you can go through the motions of sex until the heat actually starts to rise. With the proper equipment, including my husband, I worked my body to orgasm without feeling sexy in my brain until a nanosecond before. When the climax was reached, that victory was a relief in so many ways. Sometimes, getting myself to orgasm felt like a lap around the track, something I needed to pump out to stay in sexual health. The release of oxytocin definitely calmed me afterward and the pulsations, though they were not as strong as my pre-motherhood orgasms (for years), were a lovely reminder that my body is for my pleasure.

When I left my BDSM career to be a swing-pusher, I found myself isolating behind a wall of the unsaid. While other stay-at-home parents could openly lament the professional identities they had passed off, I had four scarlet letters attached to my resume: BDSM. Pre-children, I was adamantly out to my social circle. I felt a duty to challenge the mainstream perceptions of sex workers and kinksters, but as a new mother, I hesitated to risk scrutiny of my children. I hesitated and hesitated until the hesitation felt like shame, the same kind of shame I had spent my career trying to help clients cast aside. I became accustomed to muttering broad lies about my past career under the pretense of protecting my children.

Parents should protect their children—from sugary cereals and violent video games. Parents should protect their children from busy streets, drugs, sharp knives, and other hard realities. We even need to protect them from ourselves sometimes—our anger and frustrations, our anxieties, and our sex. But as they grow, our protection turns into education. We teach them to handle sharp knives, to choose their own foods. They should learn what our anxieties are based on, that anger is human and can be a useful emotion. Our sexual activities should never be in front of their eyes, but neither should our sexual identities be hidden.

My five-year-old recently found my vibrator when I left it on the nightstand. She turned it on and was delighted by the purple “pocket rocket” as it sputtered across the floor. When she asked me what it was for, I pressed it behind her shoulders and told her it was for massaging muscles. She opened her mouth and let out a choppy breathed “a-a-a-ahhh” and didn’t need any more explanation. Perhaps when she starts puberty, I’ll buy her one for her own private explorations. I suspect that another more formidable instrument will be found one day—probably from her snooping rather than my carelessness—a whip, perhaps, or Robert’s heavy metal cuffs. I don’t fear that conversation in the least.

When I left my BDSM career to be a swing-pusher, I found myself isolating behind a 
wall of the unsaid.

I do, however, fear the day that someone—some playground bully or perhaps even a vindictive adult—will tell my daughters that their mother is a whore. I fear the hurt and confusion it will cause. Explaining sex work to my daughters might be more complicated, but perhaps in the next 10 years, views on sexual commerce will change. Sex work activists are already progressing their cause in social justice and health organizations, re-claiming the word “whore.” It’s a word with a big, open sound; a word that could swallow one’s identity. I write the word now; I say it out loud, appropriate it, so I’ll be ready to face it again with confidence.

This article originally appeared in the  February/March 2017 issue print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!

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socialmedia@bust.com (BUST Magazine) Sex Wed, 22 Feb 2017 15:28:36 -0500
The Secret Sex Lives Of Witches, From Brooms As Dildos To Ritual Orgies http://bust.com/sex/193723-secret-sex-lives-witches.html http://bust.com/sex/193723-secret-sex-lives-witches.html witchsexdetail 96eac

From riding greased-up broomsticks to weaving seduction spells, the secret sex lives of witches are the stuff both wet dreams and nightmares are made of

By Kristen J. Sollee

Sex is the X factor in witchcraft. Both serious practitioners and characters in witchy lore are known for their abilities to unleash primal desires. Witches use sexual energy to commune, to manifest, to make magic, and—in the case of the Medieval hags described in the 1486 witch-hunting bible the Malleus Maleficarum—even to steal penises. For millennia, sex magic has been a powerful tool in the hands of gifted conjurers, but it has also been a practice slapped with negative distortions by generations of freaked out male historians. As a result, the labyrinthine history of sex in witchcraft is a heady brew of intrigue, transgression, and repression.

During the early modern witch-hunts in Europe (roughly 1300-1750), female sexuality was viewed as an abomination, but it was also a cultural obsession. Women’s bodies and minds were presumed to be more susceptible to vice, and thus more likely to be overtaken by the charms of Satan. In fact, the familiar image of a witch flying on a broomstick has a surprisingly sexual origin.

ointment 47728Basque witch illustration, artist unknown

Author Michael Pollan gives perhaps the most detailed description of the alleged sexual connection between witches and their brooms in his book, The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World. As he tells it, midwives, herbalists, and ladies in the know (aka witches) would cultivate “psychoactive” agents including datura, opium poppies, belladona, hashish, and even the skin of toads with trace levels of the hallucinogen DMT. “These ingredients would be combined in a hempseed-oil-based ‘flying ointment’ that the witches would then administer vaginally using a special dildo,” he writes. “This was the ‘broomstick’ by which these women were said to travel.” Other sources, including historian William A. Emboden, confirm that this type of hallucinogen would best be absorbed into the body through a mucous membrane like the vagina, further explaining why the traditional image of the witch would depict her astride an ointment-coated broomstick.

Albert Joseph Penot Depart pour le Sabbat 1910 be21c"Départ pour le Sabbat" by Albert Joseph Pénot (1910)

Whether this is an accurate account of an early-modern ritual or merely historical hearsay is unclear. But in extant documents from the 1324 trials of Ireland’s first accused witch, Lady Alice Kyteler, inquisitors describe finding her special stash of “flying ointment.” “In rifleing the closet of the ladie, they found a pipe of oyntment, wherewith she greased a staffe, upon which she ambled and galloped through thick and thin,” they write. Imagine being arrested after the cops found your Hitachi Magic Wand? (This could conceivably still happen in Alabama today, where sex toys remain illegal.)

DP815535 e9396"Witch Riding Backwards On A Goat" by Albercht Dürer (c. 1500), Library of Congress
Less than a hundred years after Lady Alice’s alleged dildo was taken as evidence of her witchery, the broom-as-sex-toy discourse found its way into visual art. An unattributed woodcut from circa 1400 depicts a witch, demon, and warlock gliding on their broomsticks toward a peasant woman. Soon after, Ulrich Molitor’s 1489 etchings star strange beasts riding backward on a cooking fork, and Albrecht Dürer’s circa 1500 engraving “Witch Riding Backwards on a Goat” shows a broom between a sorceress’ thighs.

By the time “witches” came to the new world, the idea of deviant femininity unfurled atop a broomstick was ubiquitous. In The Enemy Within: A Short History of Witch-Hunting, John Demos reveals one book found in the American colonies directing the devout to cut a cross into a broom to ensure wanton women would use it to sweep, not straddle.

The witches Sabbath by Luis Ricardo Falero 86048"The Witches Sabbath" by Luis Ricardo Faléro (1880)

As scandalous as drug experimentation may be, however, the outrage over women finding pleasure separate from procreative sex is a stigma that persists to this day. As ever, many men in power have little use for female sexual agency—unless they are penetrating its warm embrace. We will never know for certain the extent to which the broomstick was a metaphorical or metaphysical device, but modern witches continue to employ flying ointments on their nether regions for magical purposes. 

One present-day young witch, E.G. (who wishes to remain anonymous), recently sampled a flying ointment she found on Etsy. The salve was grown and blended by a woman in Spain who says she fertilizes her henbane, mandrake, belladonna, and datura under the full moon with her own menstrual blood. “I had a beautiful experience with it actually,” E.G. told me after trying it. “I was feeling very connected to the energy of the plants, feeling like they were giving me a new lens with which to understand the universe and have this dialogue with the plants, the spirit of the plants, whatever you want to call it.”

Champion des dames Vaudoises 21027Detail from "Le Champion des Dames" by Martin Le France (1451)
“I was reading about the witch’s ointment and the idea of witches riding broomsticks and how it’s still debated about whether it took place or not,” E.G. continues. “Either it was slander by the church or it was real, and even if it was just slander, it’s still fascinating because we’re scared of women humping broomsticks and getting high. Sex and drugs are so threatening to our society, and in particular women’s sexuality and women having access to altered states. It did feel like a real reclaiming to be rubbing that ointment on my pussy.”

While the history of solo sex magic brings us back to the Medieval witch and her disco stick, partnered sex magic is connected to an even older lineage. Uniting the spiritual and the sexual in ritual was the domain of proto-witches known as “sacred whores.” Such women were priestesses in ancient Mesopotamia, Greece, and India who served as living expressions of the love goddesses over whose temples they presided. Through sexual congress with these women, worshippers hoped to reach higher states of religious connection.

Museo del Prado Goya Caprichos No. 68 Linda maestra 6cd00"Beautiful Teacher!" by Francisco de Goya (1799)
Evidence of the sacred whore can be found in The Code of Hammurabi, the Babylonian laws from circa 1754 BC, and in Greek historian Herodotus’ fifth-century BC Histories. Particulars of sacred whores vary, with some accounts depicting them as capable healers and others suggesting they were merely victims of their patriarchs or simply women who exploited sacred sex for profit. By and large, what is written about sacred whoredom reflects the biases of male writers and the times in which they were writing, rather than representing the first-hand experiences of sacred whores themselves. After all, representations of witches always reveal the beliefs of their beholders. Whether they appear as satanic sluts or astute magicians has everything to do with who controls the discourse.

Just as women who defied sex in the ancient world were later persecuted as witches, modern female sex workers are shamed for using their bodies to survive and thrive in a culture that has never granted them complete bodily autonomy. Nevertheless, the legacy of sacred whoredom is palpably alive today amongst many witch-identified sex workers who are harnessing sex magic in their professional practices. Weaving a spell of seduction, like any spell, requires an intimacy with both the physical and metaphysical realms.

DP826629 e81a2"The Witches" by Hans Baldung Grien (1510)

“In my opinion, sex work is the purest form of sex magic,” explains Morgan Claire Sirene, creator of the Slutist Tarot, a deck that centers on sex workers and divine whores. “Sex work is emotional and physical labor, it’s alchemy in the form of turning cum into gold. In my own practice as a witch and a sex worker, I find it incredibly healing to enchant and give sexual energy and services. It helps me tap into a part of myself that isn’t self-serving or ego-feeding. It’s a vulnerable place that I make stronger with experience.” 

Witches going to their Sabbath 1878 by Luis Ricardo Falero b4bff"Witches Going to Their Sabbath" by Luis Ricardo Faléro (1878)

Sacred sex isn’t always about a pilgrim seeking holy communion in the arms of a priestess, however. And it need not only be through the act of intercourse or masturbation that sex magic occurs. In The Mystical Qabalah, occultist Dion Fortune refers to the less explicit side of channeling erotic energies. “The subtler aspects of sex appear to be entirely lost to the Western world,” she wrote in 1935. “It must suffice to point out that all the more important aspects of sex are etheric and magnetic. We might liken it to an iceberg, five-sixths of whose bulk is below the surface. The actual physical reactions of sex form a very small proportion, and by no means the most vital portion of its functioning.


Durer The Four Witches 3d1ff"The Foru Witches" by Alberecht Dürer (1497), Wikimedia Commons

As sexual politics are complex by their very nature, accusations of rituals involving coercive sex or men in power manipulating their positions for pleasure are unfortunately common. For example, in the 1940s, when Gerald Gardner’s fledgling Wiccan movement was taking shape in the United Kingdom, sex in ritual became codified in new ways. Drawing from the aforementioned sex magic practices of ancient times, Gardner and his cohorts created something called the “Great Rite” to symbolize the union between male and female, god and goddess, in a marriage of polarities. This rite—enacted when the coven was in need of powerful spiritual intervention—was performed as intercourse between priest and priestess before existing coven members, and was also an initiation rite between a priest or priestess and a new coven member. Despite this history, the Great Rite continues to be performed by witches today, albeit most commonly as a metaphorical act in which a chalice receives a ceremonial blade.

“I find the literal interpretation of the ritual—sexual intercourse between the high priest and priestess—unnecessary, and for me it would be distracting,” says Wiccan priestess Cat Cabral. “One of the most unique things about being in a coven is the sense of intimacy and trust developed over time, so if even one person felt uncomfortable with something, it shouldn’t be done out of respect for the group. But if you are working with people who are completely open and comfortable—as they were in olden times when practical fertility rituals were more common—it could be experienced as the ultimate unification.”

Witches Flight Goya a4f86"Witches' Flight" by Francisco de Goya (c. 1798), Public Domain

During the sexual revolution and the occult revival of the late 1960s, female sex magic practitioners were able to come out of the broom closet like never before. Louise Huebner, designated the “Official Witch of Los Angeles” in 1968 (by an actual L.A. County official, no less), was notoriously vocal about the importance of sex in witchcraft. At a “happening” held at the Hollywood Bowl attended by thousands, Huebner led a mass ritual to heighten the “romantic and emotional vitality” of the city. A year later, she would release an audio recording of psychedelic spellcraft that to this day has occultists poring over bargain bins to find in vinyl form.

That album, Seduction Through Witchcraft, is a sonic grimoire, offering listeners a chance to tune in, turn on, and witch out. One track, subtly titled “Orgies—A Tool of Witchcraft,” gives a succinct overview of why group sex magic works. “Orgies are ritualistic energy exchanges that provide the concentration of power needed for spellcasting,” Huebner purrs as spacey synths bubble beneath her. “Witches and wizards crave energy…and there’s a special kind of energy derived from uniting with another. And so spellcasters do a tremendous amount of uniting.”

album 811f7"Seduction Through Witchcraft" LP Cover

While to the modern ear, the record has a definite camp quality about it, there are serious spells contained within it, with Huebner referencing traditional Egyptian magic, Turkish magic, Sicilian magic, and more, from centuries of sex magic practices around the world.

If you ask most modern witches about working in the sexual realm, they will be sure to include a caveat about due diligence. Many will tell you that actively using sex magic to draw a specific person into your love life can spell trouble. There are plenty of other ways to call in the light of sensual love and connection for yourself, though, and to heighten your own ability to receive pleasure. Performance artist Paige A. Flash suggests getting deep into Kundalini meditation; tarot reader (and BUST columnist) Sonia Ortiz suggests rubbing a sunflower on your vulva to stir your sacral chakra; and healing artist Damali Abrams advises including cinnamon, mango, the herb oatstraw, and jasmine in your kitchen witchery to tap into your sexual power.

Baldung hexen ca1514 b3279"Hexen" by Hans Baldung Grien (1514)

“I no longer cast attraction or love spells,” reveals Sirene when asked about her ritualistic sex life. “I did this for most of my 20s and although I had so much fun, it was truly chaotic. However, I was recently gifted a spell by a fellow stripper named Hope. She played a song on her steel drums and used rose quartz, a carnelian crystal, and a dick-shaped disco ball (‘Dickscoball’) in order to bring an orgasmic, romantic, sublime sexual experience to me. Sex magic, like sex, is about giving.” 

The panoply of options for practicing sex magic is what makes the art so versatile and accessible. Like sex positivity, sex magic need not only be conceived of in ways that compel witchcraft practitioners into joining orgiastic bacchanals—unless, of course, they freely want to. Contrary to pejorative stereotypes that have been percolating since the early modern witch-trials, the secret sex lives of witches can be chaste or wild. They can involve a partner of any gender identity, a roomful of such partners, or not a soul, save for an anointed magic wand. Above all, sexual magic is an energetic exploration of the divine, which, as any witch will tell you, ultimately comes from within.

Top photo: "Witches Going To Their Sabbath" by Luis Ricardo Faléro (1878), detail

This article originally appeared in the October/November 2017 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!

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socialmedia@bust.com (BUST Magazine) Sex Mon, 30 Oct 2017 11:20:16 -0400
Dan Savage Has A New Podcast and It Is Sex Positive AF http://bust.com/sex/193619-dan-savage-has-a-new-podcast-and-it-sex-positive-af.html http://bust.com/sex/193619-dan-savage-has-a-new-podcast-and-it-sex-positive-af.html DanSavage hotMic preview d9dfa 

Dav Savage has come out with a new podcast Hot Mic, a curated, hand-selected, show made up of sex-positive tell-all stories and interviews. Like his advice column and podcast, Savage Love, Hot Mic contains Dan's tough love interjections and moments of truth. I got a chance to talk about what made Dan Savage one of the 21st centuries leading sex positive writers.

What were the dinner conversations in your family? And what was that environment for you?

Well, my parents were both raised in homes where children were meant to be seen and not heard, and they wanted to do the opposite with their kids, so they encouraged us to think, and argue, and debate. Dinner was punctuated by not enough food because we were so poor. Sometimes you wouldn’t get fed if you didn’t win an argument. We were allowed to have opinions, and we had to defend those opinions. We didn’t get gold stars just for thinking thoughts.

Did these discussions ever include what we would now call sex positivity? 

When we were teenagers, my parents felt that they needed to talk with us about sex, and that good parents could have an open dialogue with their children about sex, but it was hard for them. It made them uncomfortable. Them pretending that they were comfortable with it, and straining, made us really uncomfortable. More so then I think the standard-issue kid discomfort with parents talking with them about sex.

My parents talking to their kids about sex were like dogs trying to swim: They could do it, but really just barely. What planted the seed in me was my difference. The realization that when I was getting called a faggot when I was seven, and eight, and nine, and ten, and eleven, and twelve, and then realizing at twelve, “Oh yeah, everyone was right."

Who then did you see as people you could explore those topics with?

No one. It’s funny, there is that very famous Harvey Milk speech about the kid growing up in Iowa who realizes that they are gay and thinks that they have two options, the closet or suicide, and then they open a newspaper and read about this gay man who was elected to the city council in San Francisco, and suddenly they realized they have a third option, which is come to California. And I was literally that kid. I was twelve years old or thirteen years old when Harvey Milk got elected, and I read about it in the newspaper. So it is very emotional for me when I hear the tape of that speech. When I first heard that speech like a decade later, after being that kid at twelve that he was talking about, that was really shattering for me, and I really felt this connection. Even though I wasn’t the exact kid he was talking about, I was one of the kids he was talking about.

And the thing that was so crushing was the realization that you were gay, and your parents say they love you, and you look at them and you think, "No you don’t. Because I have heard what you’ve said about people like me. And you don’t know I am one of those people. But you will one day. Right now I cannot risk telling you, and right now when you say, 'I love you,' I don’t believe you."

The reason that I ask who you reached out to is that you seem to have a facility with people and how they talk about sex, not just how they think about sex, but how they have sex.

I was always just really curious about what other people experienced, and I think that it all comes back to being gay. Because when you are gay and out, you end up having very explicit conversations with your friends — about when you came out to your parents, the first time you realized it, all this shit. That stuck with me, and I became curious about other people’s sexualities and how they experienced them, so I would just ask. Because I am a nosy parker that way.

And sex is fascinating, and everybody’s got their shit. In college, in the early '80s, everyone confided in you if you were gay. You were everyone’s advice columnist, even if you weren’t officially an advice columnist. Because the straight kids thought, perhaps even correctly so, that you knew more about sex.

How did that lead to your term “monogam-ish"?

I was always more interested in what was practical than for what was ideal. How do you make this work? How do you make a relationship work? I was seeing so many relationships, from my vantage point of doing the column or the podcast, fail. And fail not because there was something wrong with the relationship, but because there was something wrong with our expectations. Or the culture’s expectations.

I would see a relationship fall apart because monogamy wasn’t working for one or two of the people in this couple, so [they] would have to kill the relationship. Not kill the monogamy, get rid of the relationship. Because monogamy is the ideal, not love, not a relationship, not a survival. And then the next thing out of their mouth would be, “All three of my marriages were monogamous." What that says is that you are not committed to the people that you marry, not any one of them, but to monogamy.

So a lot of my advice is just practical and commonsensical. With the power of a monogamous commitment comes the responsibility of being someone’s source of sexual fulfillment. And if you’re their source of sexual frustration, well, sex wins. In the end, you’re going to get cheated on. Sorry, sex wins. Sex always wins.

Many people claim your advice or commentary can be harsh or rude, but sometimes it is just practical, like, "People watch porn."

Often, the question you get when someone has a problem with their partner watching porn, the statement that they make about why it makes them feel terrible is, “It makes me feel like I am not enough for [my partner].” You are expecting to be enough for someone, and you aren’t enough for anybody. No one person is all things to another person sexually.

So when somebody says, “It makes me feel like I am not enough for him." My answer is always, “You aren’t. Get over it." And that’s okay. Of course, that’s okay. It has to be okay, because that’s the reality. Your relationships are more likely to survive if you are not at war with reality. Because you are in it [reality].

What help or advice have you been asked for from people who identify as feminists?

This is going to sound awful, but what leaps to mind is that so often what happens when someone invokes their feminism in a question to me — particularly when a young woman does it — it that so often their feminism and sexual desire are in conflict. They'll say, “I’m a feminist, but I want to have my hair pulled and my ass slapped, or be tossed around in bed. How do I reconcile my desires with my feminism?" Maybe you cannot. Maybe you shouldn’t bother trying. Maybe you can live with the paradox. Maybe the chasm between your politics and your sexuality is something that you can enjoy.

Wouldn’t it be worse if it were the reverse? That you were not a feminist and that your desires were completely vanilla.

A lot of sex is about transgression. We are all burdened with the self, and so a lot of our fantasies are about not being ourselves, or being the opposite of ourselves. That’s play. Play is healthy for children, and it is healthy for adults. It is just that often with adults, play gets mixed up with orgasms and sex. And then the sex sensitivity in the culture tells us that that is wrong.

You can be Wonder Woman one minute and the damsel in distress the next, and you’re not going to put yourself on the rack about it. The moment you put sex into it or politics about feminism, and misogyny, some people start to seize up. I think you don’t have to seize up. I think you can have both.

There is that cliche about the male CEO who goes to the dungeon and wants to have a female partner who rips him apart and tells him he is scum? Is he betraying his gender? [Laughs] His role? His masculinity? In a way, he is reaffirming it. I think that is often what is at play for people with strong feminist politics and sexual fantasies is that they need a moment to let go of their power, or to give it to someone else. Then, when you orgasm, and you climb out of bed, how much more aware and in control of your power are you going to feel?

Photo courtesy Hot Mic


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jenpitt@gmail.com (Jen Pitt) Sex Fri, 13 Oct 2017 13:54:39 -0400
"The Spinster's Numeration Table" Offensively "Defined" The Traits Of Single Women From 17 To 55 http://bust.com/sex/193652-spinsters-numeration-table.html http://bust.com/sex/193652-spinsters-numeration-table.html

senseandsensibility 28b68

Recently, while researching, I came across a “Spinster’s Numeration Table” printed in the 1837 edition of the New Monthly Magazine. This table lists out the various ages of an unmarried woman and corresponds them to certain characteristics. It is meant to be humorous, but—as with all humor of this sort—there is a grain of historical truth to be gleaned from the descriptions. The table gives us insight into how spinsters were viewed and at what age unmarried women were deemed to be past their prime.

According to the New Monthly Magazine, it was from the age of seventeen that “the numerals figuring the age of our spinster friends become emblematical of their persons and qualifications.” With that in mind, they provide the following table for the benefit of the male sex so that each gentleman “may institute memoria technica of his own.” I’ve included the Spinster’s Table below in its entirety.

spinningwheel 96021An Encounter at the Spinning Wheel by George Goodwin Kilburne , n.d.

The Spinster’s Numeration Table

17 Years: Vast notions of a love-match. Enthusiastic for Bayley’s songs and pastoral poetry.

18 Years: Complexion and spirits high. Addicted to archery, the ‘Comic Annual,’ and ‘Charming Women.’ Willing to accept every partner that offers in a ball-room, dance fourteen quadrilles in a night, and reject a proposal a day. Staunch to love in a cottage.

19 Years: A trifle more refined in shape and taste. Love in a cottage renounced for love in a house in town.

20 Years: Shyness gone, fastidiousness increased. An equipage indispensable.

21 Years: Beginning to understand the meaning of the words "younger brother." Anxious to postpone my sister’s debut.

22 Years: Softened in complexion, hardened in heart. Laces for a waist, and thinks it possible to marry for rank.

23 Years: Fidgetty respecting Almack’s. A graceful glide substituted for the buoyant step of a boisterous eighteen. Refuses a country squire, sighs for the drawing-room, and prattles about a diamond necklace.

24 Years: The age of supreme loveliness and surpassing vanity; beauty and elegance in full bloom.

youngbeauty f92f3A Young Beauty at a Spinning Wheel by Madeleine Jeanne Lemaire, 1886

25 Years: Surprised at being still single, and beginning to count the conquests of the season. Figures in tableaux and charades.

26 Years: Torments papa to spend the winter at Brighton, and give some dinner parties. Rides showy horses, in preference to her former airings with mamma.

27 Years: Hair and shoulders growing rather thin. Ventures upon luncheon. Reads Mrs. Marcet, cultivates a flower garden, and affects decided opinions.

28 Years: Nose a little red before breakfast. Thinks it possible to marry a widower, and pass eight months of the year on his estate. Considers tableaux and charades silly things.

29 Years: Hazards a second glass of wine at dinner, and takes an interest in the debates. Refuses to figure in a quadrille of beauty among the chits of the day. Brighton a frivolous gossiping place.

30 Years: Thinks it possible to pass ten months of the year in the country. Assumes a cap for morning visits, and reads tracts on the education of the poor.

31 Years: Tries Leamington and a five-barred gate. Failure. Waist increased, smiles diminished by a speck upon a front tooth.

32 Years: Serious. Quotes from Hannah More, and replaces the specked tooth with a Mallan. Thinks it possible to pass the year round in the country with a man one esteems.—Wonders how anybody can care for diamonds.

33 Years: Affects to patronise girls, and plays the chaperon.—Prefers men of a certain age. Reads Mrs. Somerville, and frequents the Ventilator.

34 Years: Flattered by the attention of a boy of eighteen. ‘Intellectual attainments defy all considerations of age.’ Accepts a stall at a fancy fair, and resumes pink ribbons.

spinninghweel d7168The Spinning Wheel by Giovanni Battista Torriglia, n.d.


35 Years: A slight tint of rouge no harm by candlelight. Conversational, and a great acquisition in a country house.

36 Years: Calls herself nine-and-twenty, and would not be seen in a cap for the world. Takes to waltzing.

37 Years: Keeps down the drawing-room blinds, and has the chariot new lined with yellow. Resumes the cotillion.—Scraggy, fretful, and desperate.

38 Years: Makes parties to Beula Spa, and flirts by moonlight. Left in the lurch by an Ensign of the Guards.

39 Years: Spends the season with a cousin in Yorkshire, where second-rate London graces prove a bad substitute for the bloom of youth.

40 Years: Begins to busy herself about other people’s affairs.—Quotes the matrimonial squabbles of her married friends.—Nose decidedly red; lips decidedly blue.

41 Years: Thanks her stars that she is single. Threadpapers and housewife ordered to lie on the table, and a tabby cat under it.

42 Years: Indignant when told how well she wears. Attends church twice on a Sunday.

43 Years: Takes a constitutional walk before breakfast, and antibilious pills before dinner.

44 Years: Tries Harrowgate for the erysipelas; and indulges in a snooze in her own room after dinner.

gossip b052fGossip by George Agnew Reid, 1888. (Art Gallery of Ontario)

45 Years: Goes to service on Wednesdays and Fridays, or daily, if in a cathedral town. Takes sal volatile in her tea.

46 Years: Swears eternal friendship to a spinster friend, and keeps a cage of canary birds. Reads the Eclectic Review.

47 Years: Gives weekly tea-parties, and cultivates the saintly affection of Dr. Humgoose.

48 Years: Weeps cataracts at the discourses of dear Dr. Humgoose, and snoozes openly after an early dinner.

49 Years: Gratified to be told how well she wears. Makes her will. Leaves all to her beloved Arabella, except an annuity to the cat and canary birds.

50 Years: Startled by a proposal from dear Dr. Humgoose.—Consults Arabella, and determines to remain single.

51 Years: Alters her will on learning that her beloved Arabella has become Mrs. Humgoose.

52 Years: Survives the cats and canaries, and takes a companion.

53 Years: Triumphs at hearing how the Humgooses are cheated by their servants, and sets the companion to watch the giddy thing who lodges next door.

54 Years: Settles at Bath. Escapes the blue devils by becoming a blue.

55 Years: Assumes brevet rank. Becomes an esprit fort, and is thenceforward classed in our minds with beings of an epicine gender.

grandma fa384Grandma’s Spinning Wheel by Stephen James Ferris, 1867

Top photo: Sense and Sensibility

This post originally appeared on MimiMatthews.com and is reprinted here with permission.

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mimimatthewsauthor@gmail.com (Mimi Matthews) Sex Wed, 18 Oct 2017 12:38:55 -0400
If You Can Only Orgasm With A Full Bladder, You're Not Alone http://bust.com/sex/193642-carol-queen-full-bladder-orgasm.html http://bust.com/sex/193642-carol-queen-full-bladder-orgasm.html cashmere 5b2e7

We're bringing you this Q&A from BUST's Sex section, featuring advice from sexlogist Dr. Carol Queen.


have trouble reaching orgasm unless my bladder is full. There are nerves that just don’t get stimulated any other way. G-spot stimulation helps me get there, but feels like nothing without that added pressure. I’m in my 40s and have been too embarrassed to ask anyone this question ever, even though I’m super comfortable talking about sex and masturbation in general. (I even took Betty Dodson’s Bodysex seminar and didn’t ask.) How can I get the same physiological response without having to calculate how much I’m drinking and when? Miscalculations mean I can’t get off because my bladder is either empty or so full it’s uncomfortable. I’m not sure it’s relevant but I’ve never ejaculated. —Full Tank

Sexologist Carol Queen:  I’m not sure ejaculation is relevant here either, but what I do know is that a full (but not too full) bladder gives you nerve pressure you don’t get any other way, just as you state, and you have eroticized these feelings where many other women don’t. You’re not the only one, though; this isn’t super uncommon. My experience with people who like bladder pressure is that they sometimes find they can add downward pressure on their lower belly, just above the pubic bone, and that basically pushes the bladder down into the nerves that are situated between it and the phallus. Adding G-spot or prostate stimulation may help. (Yes, people of all genders might experience this preference, which is why I included the prostate, and also why I used the all-purpose “phallus” instead of “clitoris.”)

Adding the above pressure plus the below pressure from the G-spot may maximize your chance of getting the right nerves pleasurably firing. Especially because you’ve not ejaculated, I think your G-spot pleasure involves those bladder nerves and pressure on ‘em just about as much as it does the organ itself. There’s not a whole lot of real estate in there; while nerve response can be awfully specific, pressure anywhere near the bladder will likely stimulate those nerves at least a little.

I’d also consider you a candidate for the sex therapy trick in which you do the thing that works while simultaneously adding another erotic experience. People get weaned away from one thing, to a certain extent, and turned on to another because you don’t simply ignore the thing that works, but add its stimulation into seeking other pleasure points. Clitoris and vagina are common ways for this to work—two great feels that feel great together—but anal might be a sweet addition as well. When you masturbate, just try to stay aware of what gets you close to orgasm. If you can’t pay close enough attention, something must be working. Also, pay attention to how aroused you are, since higher arousal will give all your pelvic and genital neurology the best chance to help you feel great.


Carol Queen's latest book (written with Shar Rednour) is The Sex & Pleasure Book: Good Vibrations Guide to Great Sex for Everyone.

Got a sex or relationship question you need answered? Submit it here.

Top photo: Detail of Cashmere toilet paper ad

This article originally appeared in the October/November 2017 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!



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socialmedia@bust.com (BUST Magazine) Sex Tue, 17 Oct 2017 12:36:29 -0400
History's Worst Contraceptives (Including Crocodile Poo) http://bust.com/sex/193575-history-worst-contraceptives.html http://bust.com/sex/193575-history-worst-contraceptives.html  

croc ddbd8

The history of contraceptives has been a very interesting topic to research — honestly, there isn’t much people haven’t put in or on their genitals to do whatever they can to not produce a tiny, screaming human…


don't do itTrust us!


This ancient (and we mean ancient, like 1800 B.C) method of contraception brought together the appetising ingredients of crocodile poo and honey to make a nice little diaphragm that you popped up the vagina to stop all the sperms from reaching your egg sack (niiiice).

The Egyptians were a clever bunch though, and there was reasoning behind the ick! They realised a barrier stopped sperm getting through, and so deduced honey would make for a good barrier, being sticky and all that.

I suppose at least the honey makes the smell less bad. But cleaning that out can’t be fun.



This one is gonna make those of us with vaginas wince. Honestly, I’m having trouble just writing this one down.

The all-natural female condom used by ladies in the 1600s right up to Victorian times was half a lemon rind with the pulp scraped out, shoved into your crystal cave.

Apparently, Casanova employed this method when shagging around Europe. What a considerate dude.

eyHello sessy…

You could also soak a sponge in lemon juice and use that as a protective barrier when shoved up there. Or have a lemon juice douche straight after. OH THE CHOICES!

There is method behind the madness: citric acid was thought to kill off sperm, and as we know, diaphragms are an effective method of contraception. I’m still not sticking a lemon up my chuff though.



cokeI wouldn’t love, we know where that’s been… 

People did this even when there were other contraceptive options available to them in the 1950s. Oh America, you teach us so much.

The idea is after you’ve had the sexy time, you then squirt a nice bottle of coke up into your puss, and that’ll wash out and kill all the sperm!

I’m imagining you just give it a good shake then shove it up your vaginal canal in one swift movement. Honestly, this has given me thrush just writing this down.

ickExtreme same.

For it to have any chance of working, you’d have to do it within seconds of the pump and squirt finishing, so I guess if you came home to a bottle of coke on the bedside table you’d know it was Marvin Gaye time.



In the hundreds of years before the invention of rubber johnnies, condoms used to be made from animal guts, usually some poor sheep or goat.

We think it was discovered thusly… Basically some butcher was making sausages and thought, "I COULD PUT THAT ON MY WILLY!"

One of the earliest written examples of using this animal guts sheath method comes from the Greek legend of King Minos in Homer’s Iliad. He would use a goat’s bladder shoved in his wife to stop his sperm.

Btw, his sperm was said to contain “serpents and scorpions.”





Oh jeebus, this is the worst one. In ancient China, many thousands of years back, Mercury was used as a type of contraception.

Basically, after a night on all fours doing stuff that’d make Ron Jeremy blush, you take a swig of warm mercury & oil — and BOOM, then it stops you getting pregnant. Really, it just poisoned you slowly and painfully as all your organs start shutting down.


I guess it’s an effective method. Can’t get pregnant when you’re dead!

That was interesting, where can I find out more?

I don’t want to encourage anyone to look this stuff up if I’m honest. You wanna google it, then knock yourself out. These are the weirdest…


This post originally appeared on F Yeah History and is reprinted here with permission.

Top photo: Flickr Creative Commons/Chad Sparkes

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tashatidd@gmail.com (F Yeah History) Sex Fri, 06 Oct 2017 16:41:55 -0400