sexuality

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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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    A GUIDE TO SMALL-TOWN, FEMINIST-FRIENDLY SEX SHOPS

    THESE DAYS, THERE are vibrating cock rings for sale at your local drugstore and vibes abound on Amazon, but if you prefer a more intimate and guided experience, small boutique shops should be your first stop. Unfortunately, not everyone can just pop into 
Babeland or Good Vibrations on their lunch break. What should you do if you want to support independent, female-owned, brick-and-mortar shops, but you live in a small town? Well, you’d be surprised what you can find—and we’re here to help. Here are seven feminist-forward, sex-positive shops in places you might not expect. 

    The O!zone: Boise, Idaho
    1615 S Broadway Ave, Boise, ID 83706
    In addition to offering a wide variety of high-quality condoms at her store, founder Caryn Thompson works with cancer treatment clinics in Boise to provide special products, resources, and information for women being treated for cancer, especially those who are no longer producing estrogen or vaginal lubricant after breast cancer treatment. “We’re a conservative state,” Thompson explains. “There are a lot of people who never bought anything for their own intimacy until they were in pain. Pain finally got their attention.”

    Thornes of Concord: Concord, New Hampshire
    140 N Main St, Concord, NH 03301
    Thornes is too small to host workshops, but the staff works hard to educate customers as they browse. “When we hire here, we are looking for people who are nonjudgmental and open-minded,” store manager Cristie Williams says. Thornes also carries many organic, phthalate-free, and medical-grade products.

    Blue Boutique: Ogden, Utah
    3365 Washington Blvd, Ogden, UT 84401
    Founded by a husband-and-wife team, Blue Boutique has four locations and offers body piercing at the Ogden store. They have a robust Instagram presence that will give you a sense of what the store is like IRL, including the luxury toys they currently have in stock.

    Intimates Boutique: 
Naples, Florida
    2083 Pine Ridge Rd, Naples, FL 34109
    Intimates Boutique, founded by Lorene Sizemore in 1983, is a family affair; she left the store to her son and daughter-in-law Tim and Ally Sizemore, who now share ownership with employee Sonia Williams. Over time, Intimates ditched magazines and DVDs in favor of a more welcoming experience that focuses on female pleasure and health.

    Groove: Gilbert, Arizona
    1044 North Gilbert Rd, Gilbert, AZ 85234
    Phoenix-area residents have their pick of not one but two local Groove shops at their fingertips. The husband-and-wife-owned stores sell a wide range of books on everything from rope play to female ejaculation, an eye-opening variety of toys that go beyond basic vibrators (e-stim, anyone?), fetish gear, and more.

    Suit Your Fancy: 
Kalispell, Montana
    280 Second Ave, Kalispell, MT 59901
    Amy Jaeger, who opened Suit Your Fancy in 1997, says Montana “is conservative, so we have been very careful in the way we present ourselves. We focus on women and couples.” Staff members teach customers about new products when they come in, and they carry unique jewelry made by Jaeger’s silversmith husband.

    Sultry Adult Boutique: 
Huntsville, Alabama
    11531 Memorial Pkwy SW, Huntsville, AL 35803
    Tiara Trudeau-Gullotta opened Sultry Adult Boutique to bring sexual health education and products to Huntsville. The shop’s standout offering is Sultry Sunday, a private, guided experience that can be tailored to a customer’s needs. Shoppers can get one-on-one advice about which supplies to buy and how to use them, lingerie fittings, consultations on BDSM, post-menopausal intimacy guidance, and other tutorials with wellness coaches.

    Story by Cecilia Nowell
    Illustrated by Sofie Birkin

     

    This article originally appeared in the March/April 2019 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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    Seattle-based artist Natalie Krick’s latest message? Sexuality has no age.

    The Nude Grandmothers project, a series of nude portraits of older women, began as a collaboration between Krick and photo editor Amanda Gorence. “The impetus was to create a celebratory and liberating piece that explores female sensuality later in life, and how it evolves,” Gorence says of the series. “Women are often ‘aged out’ of conversations around sexuality at a certain point. We wanted to demystify that idea.”

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    Krick’s art often challenges perceptions of beauty, femininity, and nudity. The photographer, whose art has been featured everywhere from The New Yorker to Marie Claire South Africa to The Huffington Post, draws a lot of inspiration from fashion media and pin-ups, but she enjoys “playing with these cliches of beauty and sexuality,” she tells BUST. 

    “I felt conflicted when I looked at photographs of women in mainstream culture,” Krick says. “I started to think about how these photographs were constructed. How is the body styled and posed to appear female and sexual? How are the photographs retouched to appear beautiful?”

    The Nude Grandmothers series highlights three women, posed coquettishly against bright, colorful backgrounds. “I was telling a friend about finding a box of pictures of me at my mom’s that were taken over the span of my adult life, and I was  struck by how beautiful I was in all of my different stages of life—and how I never knew or felt it,” says Alaina, one of the models. “The idea [of the project] appealed to me on so many levels, not just as an opportunity to celebrate myself and work on loving my body, but also make a statement about aging, beauty, and sensuality.”

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    The other models, though, were a little more hesitant. “At first I thought the project was rather frivolous,” Judith, another subject, tells BUST. “But my 48-year-old daughter said that Americans have a very puritanical and weird attitude toward nudity, and that she felt it was very important that I do the shoot, both for her and for my granddaughter. My husband tried to talk me out of it, which had the effect of talking me into it. His reasons infuriated me, frankly.”

    The third model, who wished to remain anonymous, says, “I was definitely hesitant…[but] it felt good to just go for it. It was a lovely experience. I was made very comfortable and felt empowered at the end for doing something I never in a million years thought I would do.” 

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    Krick says that the project might be a continued series. You can check it all out for yourself here, and find more of the artist’s work, including information on her book Natural Deceptions, on her website.

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    All photos by Natalie Krick

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