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    Faking It: The Lies Women Tell About Sex—And The Truths They Reveal
    By Lux Alptraum
    (Seal Press) 
          

    Why do women lie about sex? And do we really lie, or are our truths just misunderstood? These are questions Lux Alptraum ponders in Faking It by examining everyday untruths like lying about relationship status, lying about orgasms, and lying about being on your way when you’re really still outfit-planning. According to Alptraum, women lie to stay alive, to stay safe, and to have fun. And these lies say much more about society at large than they do about women specifically. For example, a made-up boyfriend is respected much more than a “Please leave me alone.” And lies about being a virgin or being on the pill are more likely to crop up when a woman’s truth is not what others want to hear. 

    An introspective analysis of why we tell sex lies both big and small (and why we don’t always feel bad about it), this book will leave readers with more questions than answers. But the truths Alptraum unearths point the way toward more sexual candor. (4/5)

    By Brianne Kane
    Faking It is released November 6, 2018
    This article originally appeared in the October/November 2018 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!

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    We're bringing you this Q&A from the Sex Files in our January/February 2019 print issue, featuring advice from sexologist Dr. Carol Queen.

    My sex drive has really decreased since I turned 40. I'm easily distracted and it seems like it takes a miracle for me to orgasm. My partner is incredibly helpful but I'm just not getting there. I used to be very sexual and always orgasmed. I just want my orgasm back. — Feeling Old

    I wouldn't call you old, but you might be perimenopausal. One of the many effects of the body's shifting hormone levels can be the feeling that your arousal and responsiveness are muffled or attenuated. Many think this is just part of midlife, but not everyone heading into menopause experiences a decline in pleasure. It might be worth a visit to a physician to find out whether your hormone levels are particularly low. I'm not a fan of long-term hormone replacement therapy, but some folks swear by it for getting through menopause and out the other side.

    There are a couple of other possibilities as well. The change you describe is also a notorious side effect of both depression and (irony of ironies) anti-depressants. Have you been experiencing any symptoms of depression? Are you on anti-depressants? What about other meds? Pharmaceuticals that affect blood flow and the nervous system could also have this sort of effect; heart and diabetes meds are known for sexually suppressive side effects. I've also noticed that folks who become sedentary at mid-life can experience this, only to see a fairly miraculous reversal when they start exercising.

    Speak to a doctor, preferably one who knows something about sexuality and menopause. If some other illness is causing this effect, you certainly want to know so you can deal with it. Ask the doc about any medications you're on. Do you smoke? Stop ASAP. Are you moving your body enough? Walking, dancing, and other forms of exercise (especially core workouts) can make a difference. Consider adding new elements to your sexual repertoire: vibrators, erotic talk, sexy movies, and other turn-ons might get your motor running again.

    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.

    This article originally appeared in the January/February 2019 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!

    Top photo: pxhere

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    Tonight, I was meant to go on a first date with a man who I met online. He seems funny, clever, kind and cute, but I’m relieved he canceled. Instead, I’ll be taking the bus home where I will cook some pasta with halloumi and chorizo and watch Insecure until I fall asleep on the sofa.

    My new plan is hardly exciting, let alone romantic. So why do I feel so content? It’s not because the guy no longer appeals to me — he likes “Sexy Sax Man” and Hamilton; how could I resist?! No, it’s because I am scared.

    I am what fashion calls “plus size,” what doctors term “overweight,” and what the boys I went to school with would laughingly refer to as “fat.” I am a size 18 in many stores and my body type is supposedly the average in the UK, where I live. But it feels like allies and people of similar shapes are few and far between in fashion, the industry in which I work.

    When I’m in the mood to meet someone, I often use dating apps, where I feel forced to lay my “flawed” body bare in my profile. If I don’t make it clear that I’m fat, I worry I’ll be accused of catfishing or lying and end up disappointing the poor sap who fell for what must have been a masterful use of filters and Photoshop.

    My body doesn’t have the features many men and women think make being fat okay; my wide hips are not in proportion to my cup size, and my big ass is wider than it is round. While I appreciate how a curvaceous, Kardashian-like figure is now viewed as desirable, I can’t say I share their attributes. Those hourglass figures remain unachievable for many women.

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    We all have our insecurities, and dating puts us up for judgement, which is particularly scary in swipe culture. But weight is an equalizer when it comes to criticism; society will not value you on any level if you are fat — and it’s not just deemed to be unattractive physically. You’re also lazy, stupid and perhaps even unable to perform sexually. The judgement attached to size is horrendously unfair at both ends of the scales, but fatness is something we’re told is safe to mock and be disgusted by.

    Even if by some miracle a man finds me attractive, I worry he will be questioned by his friends as to why — Does he feel like he has to settle? Does he have a fetish? Does he just want a girl who is probably so grateful to have a boyfriend she’ll be okay with him cheating? I have the same worries when a guy I am seeing is of a similar size to me. And it often feels like there’s a double standard for slim women paired with bigger men. Men are “allowed” to be fat and can still be considered attractive while it’s a cardinal sin for women.

    I’ve been single for a few months now because I wanted a break from dating. Now that I’m open to the idea of getting back out there, I’m frightened that all of the self-care I’ve cultivated will fall away. I worry that people think I deserve to be single because of my size. I was cheated on weeks before I was due to get married, and I know that these insecurities are related to that event. I felt like the shock, pain and humiliation were almost to be expected. Of course, my fiancé would stray, given my appearance, even after a 13-year relationship during which my weight was not a negative factor.

    I don’t deserve romance, sex or love because I am fat, and so anyone who takes the leap of faith to date me should be vetted closely first to check that they’re sane. I feel like they need to fill out a questionnaire before meeting me to make sure they’ve read the T&Cs, with all my vital statistics on the page in plain sight. I fear meeting someone for a first date unlike much else; I worry that the man will feel disappointed at best, misled at worst. And if they’re disappointed, I know there’s only one thing they need to say to justify it to others: “She was fat.”

    Insulting phrases I’ve heard over the years have stayed with me, even if I wasn’t on the receiving end. For example, “A fat girl with no boobs is God’s cruelest joke.” I’m no pin-up or hourglass, but I happen to mostly like my body. I don’t want to change it dramatically — my goals are to feel strong and toned and fit before considering if I want to lose weight. I’m not envious of other women’s slim thighs, more so their ability to run 5km.

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    My health and fitness goals are for me, but it feels like debate about my body is public property. I am made to feel as though I’m wrong, so why should I expect to find someone right? The implication is that I can’t hope to find a partner unless I lose weight. However, I feel like my fat is a part of my identity; changing my body, even if it was for “the better” feels like I’d be changing who I am. But I don’t want to have to change myself to find love. I strongly suspect the dramatic weight loss to attain the “acceptable” body would not last, seeing as I’d have to change my lifestyle, too. As well as changing my body, I’d also be changing how I spend my time. I would be unrecognizable. And despite the risk, I really do want to be seen as I am.

    What may just be my paranoia about my weight isn’t helped by the zeitgeist focus on wellness and athleticism. When scrolling through Tinder, I am in the minority — it is truly a challenge to find someone who doesn’t list “going to the gym” as one of their interests or hasn’t got a photo of themselves running a marathon as part of their profile. Everyone seems very keen to point out how frequently they feel the burn. Sometimes, I wonder if it’s because they just really, really want you to know they’re not fat. I actively avoid anyone who writes “I do love my gym,” because to me, this is not only an indication we’re incompatible thanks to our different lifestyles, but because I struggle to believe anyone who likes fitness would find me attractive.

    I recently went through a phase that had me feeling unsexy. I think I like myself, but I worry I’m too awkward, too chatty, too pale, too silly, too tall, too neurotic, too immature, too serious, too annoying, too boring, too needy, too lazy, too big, TOO MUCH. I literally take up too much space. I find it hard to accept I’m allowed even one shot at happiness, let alone multiple dating options. In the darkest depths of my psyche, I debate if I will never find someone to love me, as my slimmer, prettier, smarter and funnier friends all find partners, and so I steel myself further for my inevitable decline into being forever single. I spiral downward from there — I think about how nobody will want me, and eventually my friends will find it too hard to fit me into their lives full of partners and families. And then my own family will feel distant and resentful because they don’t understand me. And at the root of it all, it’s because I am fat.

    I may never be able to distance myself completely from these insecure ideas, but through therapy I’m learning to allow this negativity in order to better understand where it comes from. I’m actively working on taking actions to help me move forward with my life. My perception of self will inevitably influence how people treat me in dating and my judgmental attitude is likely holding me back far more than the numbers I see on the scale. It’s not fair for me to decide that someone who enjoys Crossfit wouldn’t also be down to hibernate with me and watch RuPaul’s Drag Race or share my deep love of mozzarella. I need to respect how we all genuinely find different attributes attractive and how the outcome of that really can be as positive for me as it would be for someone half my size. I’m learning to risk rejection on the road to affection with a resilience that’s not attached to someone else’s opinion, but I’m also determined not to stand in my own way.

    In my scarred but hopeful heart, I know I need to trust others as much as I have grown to trust myself. Are some people cruel when it comes to criticizing size? Yes. It makes dating really hard for people like me, and it hurts each time. But just as the shapes of our bodies are beautifully diverse, our minds are all wonderfully different, too. I believe I deserve fun, respect and compassion, and to paraphrase Gloria Gaynor: As long as I know how to love, I know I'll survive dating. In this spirit, I shared a bottle of Prosecco with friends before replying to the offer to reschedule that date with a big, fat yes.

    By Jen Kettle

    Illustration by Shanu Walpita

    Jen Kettle is a writer and editor living in London. Currently the Lead Sub Editor at trend forecasting company WGSN, Jen has also edited magazines focused on fashion and weddings. She is an advocate of plus-size beauty and self love to promote greater equality and diversity. Jen is now working on a project focused on film and fashion. Follow her on Instagram or on Twitter.

     

    Shanu Walpita is a London-based trend forecaster and editor with a not-so-secret illustration side-hustle. She's been drawing for as long as she can remember, often lost in a haze of lines and quirky characters. Her illustrations and GIFs have caught the eye of retailers, brands and agencies over the years, sparking unexpected collaborations and commissions. She doesn't put too much thought into her doodles, mostly treating them as a form of escapism and freestyle storytelling. You can check out more of her stuff on Instagram.

    Published January 29, 2018

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    We're bringing you this Q&A from BUST's print magazine's Sex Files, featuring advice from sexologist Dr. Carol Queen.

    The FX showPose taught me a lot about the sex lives of trans people and raised a few questions for me. For example, what are the rules of etiquette for engaging sexually with a pre-op or non-op trans person for the first time? What is the right way to ask delicate questions about gender and genitals while getting physical? –Category Is…Curious

    It’s true that some trans people aren’t comfortable with their genitals in a sexual context if they haven’t undergone gender confirmation processes; for that matter, they may not be comfortable with them in a nonsexual context either. Genitals are highly gendered in our society, historically definitive of gender, in fact. Some people aren’t able to get past the idea that a penis doesn’t automatically equal a man or a vulva/vagina a woman, even if those parts are attached to a person who identifies and/or presents otherwise. For some folks, their genitals don’t match their self-perception, their inner identity, or their body as they understand it, and that can make it difficult to get intimate. 

    However, there are also trans people for whom this is a much less cumbersome issue. Some are perfectly fine with their pleasure parts, and enjoy sex with all the nerve endings they have. 

    The basic rule of etiquette is: Don’t assume. Don’t assume you know what that hottie has in their pants; that they welcome your curiosity about the fascinating world of under-their-pants; that they welcome your sexual interest in the first place. Don’t assume you know what to call whatever parts they have. Don’t assume you know what role or activity they’ll want to engage in if they do want to get sexy with you. Don’t exoticize their nether parts or act uncomfortable about them (or worse). In fact, you shouldn’t be assuming all that about cis people, either. 

    That said, it doesn’t have to be such a challenge to get comfortable with a prospective lover who’s trans or gender non-binary. Here are some examples of what you could ask before getting down. “What do you like to do, sexually? Do you have any parts of your body you don’t like to have touched? What parts do you love having touched? How do you want me to refer to your genitals? If I start to do something you don’t enjoy, will you please tell me so I can try something you like better?” Don’t act like the person has arrived from another planet so you can explore their mystery. This is a human who has sensitive nerve endings that they probably like to have stimulated, just like everybody else.

    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.

    This article originally appeared in the October/November 2018 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!

    Top photo: JayMantri/Pixabay

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    A female firefighter for Montana was fired for posting supposedly “racy” content on her Instagram, she claims and has recently filed a wrongful termination act against the Evergreen Fire Rescue Department.

    Presley Pritchard announced the news to her followers online with a screenshot of an article published by Daily Inter Lake. “The article finally came out today regarding my lawsuit against the fire department for sexual discrimination & unlawful termination. The state ruled in my favor 4x since August,” she wrote. Adding, “Ladies, don’t ever let them harass you or try to silence you. SPEAK UP. God breaks chains, NOT promises.”

    Pritchard, who updates her Instagram frequently with fitness videos and photos, is arguing that some of the content was the reason behind her firin. But, upon looking, it appears to be like any other fitness influencers feed. There’s a lot of inspirational quotes that could be painted on a decorative piece from Target. There’s a lot about God and not giving up. Almost everything she posts is related to her workouts, even selfies (which include sponsored ads); a picture of Pritchard posing on a beach in her bikini is captioned with “DM for coaching inquiries.” The 27-year-old also shares much of her life, with entire highlighted stories about her children and faith. Guns, God, and fitness are the most popular of all, however.

    In an interview with Vice, Pritchard recalls when the complaints about her social media presence and overall “look” in the uniform was inappropriate. She claims that she was told to switch from women’s trousers to men’s, saying “So I was like 'Wow, fine, I'll wear men's pants! Are you serious? Am I supposed to leave my butt at home?'”

     

     
     
     
     
     
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    My face when someone mentions how I’m “provocative” in professional attire ? - This post is for all the ladies out there making a difference, doing their jobs day in & day out. - Have you ever been asked why you wear makeup in uniform? Or why you brush your hair and care how it looks? Or why you tighten your pants “too tight.” Or been told that you are too “manly,” “too skinny,” “too small,” or “you’re provocative” because of your curves or way you look that you can’t help? - If you’re a female in this field, especially an attractive or curvy girl, you’re GOING TO be ridiculed. You’re going to be mocked, made fun of, talked about poorly, judged by looks. - Here’s the thing; when you genuinely love yourself and others and what you’re doing while radiating the love of Jesus & walking in your calling, the enemy WILL try to knock you down. Did you know the enemy only attacks things of value? He sees you walking in God’s calling for your life, helping and inspiring others, and he will do EVERYTHING in his power to prevent you, stop you, discourage you, and talk you out of things meant for you. He does this through words, judgmental unbelievers, temptation; the devil has a bag of tricks up his sleeve. Don’t give in. Don’t be discouraged. Don’t throw in the towel. Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can. So be a light to others. Keep shining. Keep doing you. Keep staying in your lane, inspiring, and making a difference. . . . . . #firefighter #firefighterworkouts #sweaty #ems #firefighterfitness #firefighterworkout #fitfirefighter #femalefirefighter #thinredline #fitfemalefirefighter #paramedic #fitforduty #womeninuniform #functionaltraining #medic #firstresponder #firedepartment #onduty #fitnessmotivation #mediclife #functionalfitness

    A post shared by Presley Pritchard (@presleykp.fit) on

    In addition to being reprimanded at work, she was constantly being called out for her personal content- even though many of her male colleagues would post similar work-out videos, including topless photos. Pritchard showed Vice other things these men would post such as “Sandy Hook Was Fake” which went unpunished.

    “It just sucks, because you see firefighters out here with these sexy firefighter calendars, and if females did that, they would literally be like, beaten to death. Everyone would call them sluts and whores. But it's OK for guys, just like how it was OK for every guy in my department to have photos of themselves at training,” she said.

    While there will surely be an investigation as to whether her termination was due to sexism is yet to be established. Still, the fact that there is a well-known fetish for men in firefighter uniforms but real-life women firefighters are expected to act differently from their peers is alarming.

     

    Image Courtesy of Presley Pritchard/Instagram

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    A legal reckoning has finally come for Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle company, Goop—in the form of a $145,000 settlement, reports The Guardian. Investigations by the California Food, Drug, and Medical Device Task Force into three products by Goop, including two now-infamous vaginal eggs, found the products made unsubstantied scientific claims.

    Goop claimed the vaginal “eggs”—made of jade or quartz—increased bladder control, regulated menstrual cycles, balanced hormones, and prevented uterine collapse. Along with two eggs, the task force investigated the Inner Judge Flower Essence Blend, which the site claimed “could help prevent depression.”

    The vaginal eggs first spurred headlines, and ridicule, a few years backs. Backlash from the medical community was swift. On Twitter, gynecologists begged women to stop using the eggs, citing the risk of bacterial vaginosis or even Toxic Shock Syndrome.

    In a recent New York Times article, Santa Clara district attorney Jeff Rosen says, “The health and money of Santa Clara County residents should never be put at risk by misleading advertising. We will vigilantly protect consumers against companies that promise health benefits without the support of good science…or any science.”

    Despite the settlement, the $66 Jade Egg and $55 Rose Quartz egg are still for sale on the site—but Goop has tweaked the product description. The site now claims the items “cultivate sexual energy, clear chi pathways in the body, intensify femininity, and invigorate our life force.”

    Goop spokesman Heather Wilson released a statement saying, “This settlement does not indicate any liability on Goop’s part. The company has not received any complaints regarding these product claims.”

    It seems the eggs are here to stay. 

    Photo Credit: Andrea Raffin / Wikimedia Commons 

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    We are giving away a pair of general admission tickets to Planned Parenthood’s Summer, Sex & Spirits Event at Second Floor NYC. The event features Mike Hot-Pence (a Mike Pence impersonator who raise awareness and money for varying organizations including the Trevor Project), The Self-Portrait Project (a photo-based, interactive archive project whose mission is to empower people in the creation and curation of their own images), live performances, open bar all night, music by Hudson Horns, naughty balloon art by Mistress B, and a silent auction.

    Illustrations by Jennifer Lilya, sparkling wine by Dandelion Wine, Boisset Collection VIP Wine Tasting led by Ambassador Liz Howng, sponsored by Terry-Ann Burrell, and chocolate tasting by Fine and Raw.

    General Admission Tickets: $75. VIP Tickets: $150 includes admission to our VIP reception with a VIP-only raffle. All proceeds benefit PPNYC's healthcare services, education programs, and legislative work. For example, their Clinical Training and Research Initiative, Taking Care of You Workshops, and Pop-Up's that help educate youth from ages 11-21 about sexual and reproductive health all over the country.

    The event runs from 8:00 - 11:00 p.m and the VIP reception is from 7:00 -8:00 p.m.

    So enter your name below and we'll pick a winner. Must be 21+ to enter.

     

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