This winter I grew out my pubic hair and weaved it into a beautiful sweater to keep my ladybits nice and warm. I’m not talking about a merkin here either, which was the name of Victorian pubic wigs used by prostitutes, now by modern Burlesque performers, and actors doing nude scenes. My vagina has just straight up gone rogue in the barren wasteland. The cobwebs just weren’t doing the trick, and every time I spread my legs those pesky tumbleweeds would just roll on out. Even on a good day I do not have the smooth vagina of a twelve-year-old girl, but this is ridiculous. When you have gone far beyond the tasteful 90s bush, and on to a full out thigh beard, you know it has been a while since you last even harbored the possibility of getting laid.

Lack of sex can drive a person absolutely crazy. Sometimes it is easy to just revert to sleeping with an EX – but is that what you really want, EX-SEX? It’s not really a new notch in the bed post, just etching an old one. As long as you have waited long enough and both parties agree to an emotionless romp, it could be a decent option. All the passion with none of the commitment – sign me up! You know each other’s bodies well, and can just do the best part. But usually, I find it just ends in disaster and you remember in an instant why you are not with that person anymore. Just remember to wrap it up before doing the deed, and I don’t advise spending the night after.

Cat with a rubber fist dildo. That’s what they’re for, right?

 

There’s always the Internet. If you REALLY want to get laid, trolling internet sites and phone dating apps is a great way to find like-minded adults (and a wide array of creepers) to satisfy your urges. I have been on my fair share of OKCupid dates with not much success. Usually it’s an instant creepy dick pic, or the person doesn’t quite match up with their profile. But hey, you never know, some people have found success. Again, no glove, no love. Especially since you don’t know the person well.

I have always found the best way to meet someone is not to be looking for them at all. Just work on YOU! Do the things YOU love and are passionate about and the rest will work itself out. Getting out there and participating in all the glorious things life has to offer is what makes everything worthwhile. Get involved with community outreach, paint a mural, work on a community garden, go to poetry readings, check out music, hang out in coffeehouses, play kickball, join a gym, or just do anything that you love! The right person will be there doing the things that you love right with you. You just have to be patient. Patience is a virtue though, so godspeed.

If a warm body is not an option (don’t go for a cold one, necrophilia is gross and unhealthy my friend), throw on some porn and get a sex toy! I myself am not the biggest fan of artificial stimulation – I need everything that goes along with sex. The smells, the sounds, and the touch are really what make it for me. Plus I think that my vibrator is quite possibly the loudest thing on the planet. My roommates must hear it. Its easy to put headphones on to hide the porn moans, but that loud BUZZZZZZZZZ is hard to mask, no matter how many pillows used to muffle it is still pretty intense. Tip: the sex toys that use D batteries or plug into the wall are best used when nobody else is home (or you can always blame it on a loud heating system). I prefer dittling my own skittle manually, but that also takes practice.

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Vibrator ad from the New York Tribune, 1913.

 

Sex toys have been around for a very long time and were initially used by doctors in the Victorian era to cure female patients suffering from “hysteria,” One of the first vibrators was invented in France in 1734, it was called the “Tremoussoir.” Now we have the magic bullet, the Hitachi Magic wand, the Rabbit, Pocket Rockets, and the always frightening Rubber Fist. The options are endless, there are so many shapes, sizes, colors, and designs (ranging from kitschy to uber-realistic) that you will definitely find one that tickles your fancy. Sex toys are nothing to be ashamed of or shy about, many women throw sex toy parties. It’s fun and empowering to get together with the girls, drink wine, and talk about sex toys – much more discrete than going into a store and much more fun than shopping alone online.

Sex is fun, and orgasms are awesome, but it is not the most important thing in your life. If you let the pursuit of sex completely consume you it will lead to nothing but heartache and bad decisions. Be true to yourself and do not settle for anything less than you deserve. Do not let someone take advantage of your desperation (and in turn do not ever take advantage of another person). Just have fun and be safe, let life happen, and enjoy every encounter. Spending time with friends can be more amazing than devoting all of your time to dating and the pursuit of the almighty nookie. Consider this dry spell as an opportunity to focus your energy on what you really love to do with life. The world is your oyster.

Featured photo by Danielle Boris.

There is nothing quite as lusty and exhilarating as bumping and grinding to a live, in the flesh, sweating, breathing, and hearts beating band! The drums changing the way your heart palpitates, the strumming of the upright bass (its smooth shape mimicking the beauty of a woman’s curves), ivories being tickled by skilled fingertips, a saxophone leading the twists and curves of gyrating hips, the trumpet, a washboard going right down your spine, the rhythmic ruckus of a guitar being strummed, and a voice with such passion and power it could make you cry (or take your clothes off).

Fringe swaying, asses shaking, heeled shoes tapping, tassels twirling, breasts revolving, hair tousled, arms flailing flawlessly, bodies moving to the rhythm of the moment. The chemistry between live musicians and dancers is probably the most beautiful thing that has ever existed. It is a connection only surmounted by sex (oh, you mean, coitus?). It is carnal, it is magical, and it is the stuff love stories are made of.

It is a basic human need, a deeper form of bonding than even speaking or kissing. Think about the primal sexual nature of African dancers and pound drum circles. Even a girl twerking to live rap music is sexier than someone with a boom box. Line dancers with real fiddles behind them always stomp a little harder. My body is an instrument.

In the brothels of the 1920s there were jazz piano players (and other musicians) who would look through a small peephole in the room and play along to the action. A famous jazz musician, Jelly Roll Morten, once told his mother that he had a job as “a night watchman.” The john would then tip the musician based on how well he aided the sexual performance. It’s genius really! I would love to be peephole singer and sing sexy songs to these wayward couples.

This is before there were ipods to give soundtracks to sex. Many ladies of the night became fabulous jazz singers themselves, accompanying the house musicians. Women contributed to New Orleans jazz in significant ways. They were vocalists, musicians, and bawdy dancers in the Storyville red-light district.

Burlesque and music: normally we dance to CDs or mp3 songs for burlesque, but god forbid the sound fucks up. A speaker pops, a CD skips, an iPod dies, or your phone turns into a terminator and kills you and all of your friends 10 seconds before showtime in a bloody massacre. Anything can happen, technology cannot be trusted. That is one of the gazillion reasons it is better to do burlesque with live music. Then anything that goes different than rehearsal can be played off or improvised. The audience will be doubly mesmerized.

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Cat performing a Halloween show with Well Worn Boot (photo Peter Dunn)

 

All of the classic performers have big bands backing them. Many current neo-burlesque dancers are trying to revive this tradition of live music and vaudeville performance art. I also love it when a cute girl sings/plays an instrument while stripping. I am currently learning to play ukulele for this very reason (I aim to be campfire ready by summer). Two of my sweet as pie troupe members Madina Madis and Fanny Debeau have started an old timey duo called The Coquette Sisters that does this very thing and its pure loveliness.

Both solo and with my burlesque troupe, The Stripteasers, I have been lucky enough to perform to many live bands. The Folkfaces, The Stamplickers, The Irving Klaws, Randell and the Late Night Scandels, most recently Blue Stone Groove, soon Pine Fever on Valentine’s Day, and many many more to come. The crowd gets ready by dancing to the band, then come in the dancers and BOOM!

During a recent Buffalo Infringement Festival fundraiser several dancers, Izzy Aman, Trixi Firecracker and I did impromptu performances to all of the live music that night and it was a huge success. I have also performed to live poetry/ spoken word (MC Vendetta, Molly Burhans, and Melanie Donofrio). Kathleen Hanna style feminist bad ass spoken word and burlesque is an incredible display of femininity and punk wonderfulness, a not giving a fuck about the superficial standard of beauty and expectations on how a woman should look and act.

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I do love vinyl. Listening to records is more visceral and real feeling than other forms of recorded music. The smooth crackle and timeless sexiness of the revolving masterpiece. The tangible largness and details of the album art.

Some of my favorite records (in my ever growing collection) to have sex to in no particular order: anything by… Billie Holiday, Portishead, St. Vincent, Etta James, Janis Joplin, Lou Reed (Velvet Underground), Duke Ellington, or Gogol Bordello. The only downside to banging by the sound of vinyl is having to pause and flip the record for continued ambiance. I usually use it for an opportunity to do a sexy little dance for my partner as the music starts back up. Challenge them to do the same for you next time they get up to flip. It is also a good way to initiate love making, a little striptease at the beginning of a new record.

You can also be lazy and throw on a sexy time playlist or a really great Pandora station (or maybe even throw in a few discs into that five disc changer you have from back in the day). I won’t judge you. Do you remember the song you lost your virginity to? Mine was Depeche Mode Enjoy the Silence. All I ever wanted, all I ever needed is here in my arms, words are very unnecessary, they can only bring harm… or something like that. The other discs in the changer at the time were Jimmy Eat Wold, NOFX, Brand New, and The Cure, any of which would have changed my virginity loss story forever. I’m sure your song is playing in your head right now. That song helped write your sexual story.

Enjoy #throwbackthursday

It is naïve to think that sex education class is the only way kids are learning about sex. I remember the first time I found a PlayBoy magazine, It was the August 1992 edition and I found it in around 1997. Flipping through the pages of fake breasts and tans, hairless pre-pubescent looking vaginas and early photoshopped perfection, I was not impressed. I had also seen some crazy 80s porn with huge bush at my best friend’s house. It was nothing compared to the dirty, filthy, slutty things I made my Barbies do. Sex slaves, lesbian 69 action, and so much more. My best friend and I were sick and twisted kids to say the least.

It was when I found a Hustler, maybe a year later in a different spot, that made me go: JACKPOT! The art of tasteful bush and PENETRATION! greased up bodies with strange lighting and snakes and all the accoutrements needed to make my libido realize it existed. The peen was in the vageen. Aye carumba! My heart raced a million miles an hour. This was the magazine that would live between my mattress and box spring for eternity.

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Me and Tiffany, my sick and twisted BFF right around the age we discovered porn.

 

Technology survives based on how well it adapts to porn. Early photos and paintings were all porn. Irving Klaws made tons of money sending smut (Betty Page and early bondage) to businessmen. You bet that the first films ever made were based on sex. People like watching other people fuck, it’s a proven fact. VHS survived over Betamax because of porn. The Internet (which spell check now makes me capitalize, didn’t realize the “internet” was a person) is built on porn. I remember using my AOL dial up in the middle of the night to attempt to watch porn, it was so much better than the fuzzy Skin-o Max softcore movies (like Bleu Nuit with worse picture for my Montreal readers) but still a challenge. HBO’s Real Sex also changed my life. I will never ever forget the Pony Play episode! Or watching the lonely women take turns having sex with a realistic sex doll. It was funny to watch them hoist him into a rolling computer chair to move him into the other room. I just recently acquired the VHS version of these shows and am excited to take a walk down memory lane.

I guess what I am getting at here is some of the most influential reading and viewing material on my youth was in fact pornography. It was taboo, it was slightly scary, and it was everything I wanted. The mind of a child is growing and learning so rapidly. I can’t imagine how connected to porn kids are these days. It’s everywhere. Every ad is explicit. Kids, this Generation XXX as it were, have tablets and phones that are smarter than their parents. I get sick thinking about these same kids and selfies gone wrong.

Much of my art (both on the stage and visual) deals with the exploitation and exploration of the human body. During the 2014 Montreal and Buffalo Infringement Festivals I displayed my series of mixed media collages called “Kitty Porn.” Kitty porn is exactly what it sounds like, I took a hardcore porn magazine and a Cat Fancy magazine and collaged the cat heads on to the porn bodies. The outcome is hilarious. It is a comment on the two most exploited and shared things on the INTERNET (I am going to capitalize ALL of the letters now just to prove a point): Cats and Porn. Porn and Cats, and Cats and Porn. I soon realized that the cats in the magazines were making the same strained faces as the barely legal women in the porn magazines. It was an alarming epiphany.

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“Kitty Porn”

 

I was almost late to work today because of porn – it is so easy when you can just pull it up on your phone reaaaally quick. Access to all of the nastiest fetishes are at the click of a button. Hardcore Bisexual Strapon Femdom MMFF BBW DP ATM BDSM Cosplay porn would probably be my flavor of choice. Some good old fashion Gay Barback Twink and Bear orgies are also pretty hot – you can’t fake a giant cock in the ass. The moans and groans that can shatter glass bursting through your speakers. Don’t even get me started on furries. I often thought about doing feeder web cam porn, just letting people watch me eat stuff while they jerk off in the privacy of their own home or office.

I really enjoy the terrible plot lines of early porn flicks – Think “Log Jammin’” from The Big Lebowski. At least they were trying to make it interesting, LOL. We have gone a long way from the “Deep Throat” and “Debbie Does Dallas” days of pornography. Smut has to be wild and crazy. Nobody cares about doggie style, regular old “hardcore” is passat, girl on girl? Ha! so 1992. People want pain. They want cum shot compilations. They want gang bangs. They want it now, and fast, and again, again, and harder next time, more pain, more stretching and gaping, and younger, bigger, smaller, louder, sweeter, more covered in cum, humiliated and even more barely legal than before. It’s exhausting.

That’s why I like classic burlesque, leaves a little to the imagination. Old pinups are lovelier than any current porn star, or stripper straddling a beer bottle. Labioplasty should not be a thing. Young women should not be so destroyed from rough sex that they need reconstructive surgery. There is something to be said for innocence and intrigue. Innocence has been stripped from the youth for years, and its only getting worse. We need to bring back positive and safe displays of sexuality. Girls should never have to think that they need to do filthy porno things to be happy. We need to empower the youth and show them that sex is beautiful, kink can be healthy, consent is everything, and there is no one type of sex.

You will never find a man! NEVER! Ever. Nope. Not if you don’t put down that fucking Snickers bar. Shopping in the husky section of the store while other children are starving all around the world. Eating thousand plus calorie Happy Meals and whole cans of cherry pie filling in the closet, with only my Barbie dolls to judge me. They were my role models. Where were my jelly roll models? My Barbies were all skinny whores with unreasonable breasts having plastic crotch orgies with the Ken doll, Jordan McKnight (complete with a rat tail) doll, and each other.

cat bi2

Fat Cat. I have been fat my entire life, considered morbidly obese at a young age, but I have never had trouble finding a man, or whatever I was looking for. I remember getting my first phone number at 11 years old (I was big for my age), it was written on a sugar packet. I never could make out the number, but the name scribbled on it was Chester and he looked at least 13. I have always been whistled at in the street, as well as heckled by people in cars passing by – “FREAK” and “JENNY CRAIG” were some of my favorites – so it evens out. In fact I probably have more luck in the relationship department than most skinny girls I know.

Now my most meaningful experiences with romance involve eating food and cooking with someone. Good cooking is the key to someone’s heart. Anytime I am held back or denied it is not because of my size, but it is because of my timidness, lack of communication, or pure incapability with the other person. People of all shapes and sizes have insecurity and doubt; it is the human condition. People always want to be what they aren’t. A lot of people are not thin by choice. It can be health conditions, and it is not fair to say that all thin people are happy, just in the same way it isn’t fair to say all fat people hate their bodies. Size 0 is just as hard to find as a size 20.

Being fat is not the only thing that people feel bad about. It’s body image in a whole that is the problem. Celebration of body diversity needs to start trending. Fat shaming and unrealistic body goals are VERY present in our society, but also getting a little better. For instance the fashion industry is starting to show more than just thin models on the runway. Crystal Renn is someone who stood out to me at the Jean Paul Gaultier show several years ago. She was a plus size model for Torrid years ago, when I worked there. Plus size modeling still has a looooong way to go, often models are padded to create fuller figures, and that just pisses me off.

I loved working for a plus size store geared toward current trends for young women. I was literally helping girls feel beautiful that had never felt so in their entire lives. This is the prime time of your life to develop your sexual identity, not be down on yourself and de-sexualized. I was just like them, told that I was never ever going to find a man or be good enough because of my size. Fashion can be so empowering. A well fitting dress and the perfect accessory (a smile) is a game changer. As a young, fat girl I hated shopping. After Torrid, I became obsessed. Now I consider myself as someone who takes fashion to new levels.

cat bi1

I am a burlesque performer, getting undressed for an audience is my game. However on several occasions I have taken to the runway and walked as a model for the wearable art portion of a large scale fashion show called Mass Appeal in Buffalo NY. It was exhilarating to walk in front of that many people wearing a corset made of Pabst Blue Ribbon cans or Pizza Crust. In those occasions I was the only large model. For the pizza dress, a project called “Upper Crust Punk,” artist Melissa Campbell and I created a corset out of actual pizza crust. I was eating pizza while walking down the runway, people were shocked and freaked out. It was the craziest roar I had ever heard in my entire life, I felt like I had scored the big touchdown at a football game. I was featured on The Beckerman blog’s Instagram (lil fashionista blonde twins from Toronto with a pretty serious following) and in a comment someone had mentioned I was the biggest model they had ever seen. This seeming insult turned into a slew of compliments and positive reactions. For every hater there will always be celebrators.

Back stage after the show I had to pee really bad. I tore the pizza crust dress off of my body and ran greased and mostly naked through a sea of teeny tiny models. They all looked so jealous and hungry. They were hungry for more than just pizza, they yearned to have my confidence. They wanted to not give a fuck. I think that these girls feel responsible to be “beautiful” and perfect. It must be exhausting to care that much. I am freed by my imperfections. My body is unique. It is squishy. It is delightful. I am the Venus of Willendorf. I am strong. As my grandmother would say I have good birthing hips. I am healthy. I am thankful for the gifts that I have been given. As Meghan Trainor would say “Don’t worry about your size, boys like a little more booty to hold at night.”

There are some things in life that we have absolutely no say in. Attraction is one of these things. That instant electricity, your future life with this person flashes before your eyes, a wave of unconscious lust takes over, and suddenly every love song reminds you of them.

Love is madness! You want to push them against a wall and kiss their face, run your fingers through their hair, hold them tight to your quivering body, and tell them that any insecurity is moot because they are perfect in your eyes.

You are that 13-year-old girl who has her room plastered in Jonathan Taylor Thomas posters and he is standing right in front of you. However, nothing comes out, fear and inertia sets in, you are paralyzed, and become a completely useless human puddle of dumb.

No matter how hard you want to confess your true feelings, sometimes it just doesn’t happen. You then get friend-zoned. You are privileged to stories about their current fling. You think to yourself “Why would he ever chose that obnoxious girl with the stupid bangs and IQ of a potato over me?” Well, maybe because she wasn’t a pussy like you and asked.

Imagine being in their wedding, the feeling of utter despair when you walk down someone else’s aisle toward a man that once occupied your dreams. Sounds like the plot of a terrible romantic comedy. Often a great friendship is more important and long lasting than a passionate romance anyway.

It’s the New Year, social media really sticks it to those of us who are single this holiday season. Did you get your magical midnight kiss? I sure didn’t. Now more then ever I notice all of the engagement and pregnancy announcements, happy people doing happy things. Barf.

I once dated a boy for several years and had to end it, crushing him. I am not relationship material, as soon as I am “in a relationship” (in the Facebook official sense) I feel trapped. He wanted 2.5 children, a house in the suburbs, white picket fence, mini van with the little stick figure family on the back, and a dog.

He married the next girl that he dated. I do not ever need to get married, however it would be kind of nice to know that someone would want to marry lil’ ol’ me.

I will never ever understand why same sex marriage has ever been debated (much like when bi-racial marriage was still illegal). Love is love god damnit! Who people love and fuck is their own business, as long as it is between consenting adults.

Nobody has the right to censor your soul and tell you that your biological attraction to another human is wrong. These folks are just so caught up in their own righteous morality that they miss the entire point. Every love is as unique as the person who is doing the loving, no situation is ever the same, no rules apply to emotion, passion is blind, and there is no cookie cutter for a perfect life.

Can you imagine being with the same person for the rest of your life? That idea is so weighted. In sickness and health, to know that another person wants you to be in their life, to nurture and grow with them, and start a family.

I couldn’t imagine having children, that concept blows my mind! I am 100% in love with my cats, my free spirited lifestyle, and total insanity.

I am a feminist who doesn’t need anyone to complete me. Great job or great person, incredible in bed or an incredible artist, fantastic cook or fantastic at cuddling: if there was a checklist of what I need in a mate I am sure that it would be impossible to check them all.

Monogamy? I am an ethical slut that often ponders the idea of being polyamorous (someone in multiple romantic relationships), not saying I want to 20 sister wives (that’s polygamy), but many people grab my interest.

What would my mother think? We are programmed to want only one person. Promiscuity heightens your chances of contracting STDs and heartbreak.

Yet, the human soul has a great capacity for love. A multiple party or open relationship where everyone is safe, honest, consensual, open, and on the same page is beautiful. It is again another facet of possibility that should not be ruled out because societal standards say its taboo. Always be true to yourself and do what makes you happy!

Ever send a text message you regret? It has been crafted, a well written expression of love and lust that will be sure to win their heart or at least grant you some quality time with their naughty bits. All typed. Ok here it goes, press send. DELIVERED. No taking it back now. Oh hell, what will he think, why hasn’t he looked at it yet, it’s been two whole seconds! READ Ahhh! It’s the moment I’ve been waiting for. Then I wait and wait some more, no response. Life is over. 🙁

First there were newspaper personals, then on to chat rooms (ASL?). fast forward to Hot or Not, Friendster, Plenty of Fish, and the infamous Myspace. Now Tinder, Grinder, OKCupid, Facecrack, Craigslist, text messaging and social media in general have changed the way people look for sex and romance in this modern (technology obsessed) world.

Imagine having to walk into a bar and actually being forced to strike up a conversation with an attractive human?! Holy shit! You mean I don’t get to know what his quirky hobbies, food allergies, and favorite ironic tv shows are beforehand? Can you really ever “know” someone without seeing their “profile” first? Sketchy.

It’s so easy to browse for a mate with the swipe of a finger and a tracking system that lets you know how close they are to you! Only 20 feet away, now 10, only 6, and fast approaching. He is much shorter than it says, I wonder what else he lied about? Oh well, YOLO. Wow, stalking, I mean dating, has never been so convenient. Do you like scary movies?

There is a glow: illuminated face, eyes glazed and dilated, mouth slightly ajar, a small puddle of drool forms, and a muscular thumb ferociously taps away. Everywhere you look, from the darkened movie theatre to the family dinner table, there are people of all ages with their faces in their beloved phones.

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Photo credit: Phil Campbell, Flickr CC

Just think, most of these people are typing the filthiest things, sexting, and trying to get some action. These things are too dirty to even mention here. At any given moment there are probably millions of #selfie boob shots and even double that in dick pics being sent through the digital waves all around us.

What happened to “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours?” I actually have a back log of all the unsolicited dick pics sent my way. Some big, some not as big, curved to the left or right, hard as a rock, slightly chubby, cut, uncut, veiny, lots of pubes, or diligently manscaped.

My usual response is to send a big bulging ween right back to them. I recycle the ridiculous cock shots sent by others and claim them as my own flopping member. I hope these bros have learned a lesson. What did you expect me to send a lovey shot of my snatch instead? Not saying my bearded clam isn’t absolutely gorgeous, she’s just modest and looks kind of fat in pics.

It’s not ok to whip your dick out in public, what makes you think its cool to send it to my inbox? People hide behind technology. They feel a sense of confidence and sassiness that is unmatched. When you send a message, you can edit it and say just the right thing. There is no chance of being instantly rejected, slapped, or arrested for indecent exposure like in “real” life.

Call me old fashioned but there is no substitute for falling in love in person. That moment when you meet someone for the first time and just stop breathing. Your heartbeat changes. You lock eyes and melt into a puddle of dreams, hopes, and lust. All you can say is jibberish or nothing at all.

Love transforms us into babbling idiots, and that’s how it is supposed to be! The journey then begins, you get to ask him about the things he does, the places he has been, and explore the things that make him, well, him. It’s beautiful. It takes time.

Sometimes we get shot down, and it hurts, but you have to keep getting up and living life. Love comes around when you aren’t looking for it. You never know, the man reading Nietzsche at the coffee shop, the person baring their soul on stage, or the woman pumping gas next to you might be the one you have been looking for all along.

Life is too short to hide behind technology. Don’t get me wrong, I use and abuse it too, I have sent texts that I am not proud of and gone on dates that are even more unmentionable. I have even written a misconnection or two.

I’m sure there will be those who argue with me on this, that small percentage of folks who have met their soulmate on Christian Mingle and have lived happily ever after. But in general things that are fast are not good. Instead of emerging yourself in the digital sex trade please set down your phone, power down the tablet, close the laptop, brush your hair, put on a clean shirt, and get out there! You look great today btw.

Say hi to the next attractive person you see. (Hint: the hottest ones are generally the most insecure because they are so hot that nobody actually speaks to them). Keep your head up and always remember that you are a unique, totally interesting, confident, and incredible human. You are not afraid to have real face to face interaction and live life to the fullest. Go get ’em, tiger! I believe in you.

Phil Campbell, Flicker CC

Ah, Tinder. The latest buzz-making matchmaking app and my last obsession. Cause yeah, no more mooching off my friends to play… I created my own account! Hey man, no shame; everybody with a smartphone is drinking that Kool-Aid.

One great thing about Tinder is the fact that it’s semi-anonymous. No last names and few pictures paint an illusion of privacy to unashamedly pursue your online quest for booty. But it feels legit enough, requiring you to sign up with a valid Facebook profile, that finding yourself trapped in some psycho’s car trunk is not as high on the list of fears if meeting up. The person you are viewing is (almost always) real, and the information (first name and age) is probably accurate.

Unless you’re my sister who created Sloth McSlow to satisfy her Tinderiosity:

sloth mcslow
This guy is awesome.

Either you go on Tinder, or you play Tinder. How people talk about the app is a good indication of how seriously they take its hook-up potential. Sorry to crush your dreams bros, but many ladies are solely on there for an ego boost. There are just as many thundercunts as there are douchebags in this world.

But in regards to those who are really on Tinder to ignite some sparks, the app is no different than any other virtual dating playground. You’ll get all sorts of users ranging from seeking DTFs, real connections, right down to friendly acquaintances. I’ve even swiped through a few couples looking to add a little extra somethin’ somethin’ to the bedroom.

What’s crazy is how addictive it is. Like fo’ real. You will literally spend hours nope-ing the hell out of rando after rando. And for what? Honestly it’s like maintenance stroking your hard-on until the good porn finishes loading; you keep swiping with tired determination until you fall upon an actual “maybe” – or better yet – until you find an absolute YES (the unicorn of Tinder). That or your battery dies.

As a girl, and for simplicity’s sake, there are two types of men: Jerks and Nice Guys. Jerks are players who want to score with your pretty face but not pay for breakfast. Nice Guys always put on a condom and sometimes wear sweaters.

But hold the fuck up. With Tinder, jerk-o-meters get fuzzy. Because even if you think you found a Nice Guy, the dude’s gotta be superficial on some level, right? Tinder matches are founded on aesthetic compatibility after all. It’s a real Catch 22.

So what about superficial assumptions? My swiping system goes as such:

If you’re wearing sunglasses, I assume you have a lazy eye.
Swipe left.
Ed Hardy t-shirt wearers and swagfags alike.
Swipe left.

If you take a selfie while driving? That’s dangerous road conduct and terrible camera angle.
Swipe left.
If you’re posing in a mirror, you probably have short arms.
Swipe left.

If you quote James Dean, it’s just too cliche.
Swipe left.
If you have a tribal tattoo, you’re either 450 or have Chlamydia (don’t know which is worst).
Swipe left.
If you’re smoking a cigar, you have a small penis.
Swipe left.
If you’re shown traveling by backpack, you can’t afford a hotel and you’re probably broke.
Swipe left.
If you’re wearing a fedora, you’re the taint that girls try to bleach off their assholes.
Swipe left.
If you’re doing the Zoolander eyebrow thing, the equivalent of the male “duck face”.
Swipe left.
If you’re posing next to GSP, you look underwhelming by comparison no matter what.
Swipe left.
If you have kids, awwwwww…
Swipe left.

So basically, all guys. Swipe left. I’m window shopping 90% of the time.

Noobs take time to view your account. They appreciate the funny picture where you’re wearing that 3 Amigos sombrero. They give you points for writing a quirky bio. They feel morally obliged to answer your message if you matched.

Pros (you get your badge after, like, 3 days) need less than 0.75 seconds to process your picture. Your face becomes a blur along with every other stranger’s. Swipe, swipe, swi- Awe shit! I just swiped left a ‘maybe’!  Oh well, you continue compulsively worsening your tinderitis.

You have to wonder… Would you have really picked out your boyfriends or girlfriends if you had come across them on Tinder? Most likely not.

It’s such a commentary on today’s gen. Entitled, expecting immediate results, and ADD-level commitment. Tinder is the epitome of today’s Grass Is Always Greener society. It’s kind of sad, actually.

The app is fun and it definitely delivers what it promises. But after a couple of weeks, and a few numbers exchanged, and ONE super friendly meet… I decided Tinder wasn’t for me. I started to over-think it, see the bigger picture, and it cheapened the experience of making a connection with someone. So I quit that bitch. Bye Felicia.

And then I got a cat, my new obsession. Now I can never die alone!

I think I’m doing a really good job embracing the single life, don’t you?

Featured photo credit: Denis Bocquet, Flickr CC.

In last week’s article, I spoke about what motivates long distance romances. Since we’ve already covered the whys of the subject, I wanted to talk about the hows. Today, I’ve outlined a few key concepts to help you handle this clusterfuck of an emotional yo-yo that is long distance dating, if you ever find yourself wrapped up in one like I did.

Because, yes, at times you’ll be pulling out your hair. No relationship is ever easy, but shit, with the right person? Abso-fucking-lutely worth it.


Tip # 1: Make it temporary

Plan the end of your long distance from the get-go. Even if months or years down the road, getting over the hurdles is totally possible as long as there’s an end to all that crap. Things to look forwards to, right? You want a return on investment somewhere down line.

In the beginning of my LDR with Mr. W.A. (previously introduced), long-term end goals were part of the equation. Eventually living together, for example, was part of it. Not having that, flying back and forth would’ve felt redundant. You’ve got to clock-in before your time (or patience) runs out. If the distance isn’t temporary, what’s the point?

Tip # 2: Prioritize small things 

Would you stand up your girlfriend or boyfriend at a restaurant? Of course not, you’re not an asshat. Well, in LDRs, planned Skype conversations are real dates and should be treated as such. Might seem trivial to give such importance to little things, but bottom-line is it’s all about connecting. Emails, texts, Face-time, phone calls. Ever heard of FTD? Get on that shit! Small things, big impact. So don’t forget about them. Trust me, nothing will make your partner brain hemorrhage through their nose like the frustration of being left hanging or the worry that they’re taken for granted. That’s valid for ANY relationship, you just need to be extra vigilant in LDRs.

I rode the shorter end of that stick with Mr. W.A., and it sucked harder than a whore in a vacuum to feel forgotten. Small lapses can devastate long-distance relationships, but small thoughtful gestures have just as much exponential impact to improve them. So please, do sweat the small stuff.

Tip # 3: Quality over quantity

Quality words. Those emails? Make them colourful. Express the FEELS. Take out your thesaurus and use adjectives. Increase the value of your connecting moments by highlighting the sentiments behind them. It’ll take the same amount of time and have longer lasting impact on your honey, trust me. Bang for your buck, people.

Quality actions. Those visits?  Make them count! Sometimes shit happens and bad timing falls on “that” weekend. Well, tighten your big kid Pull-Ups and suck it up. Push yourself to be present and at your best on the rare occasions you have together. You can’t just “make up for it next weekend” if you act like a moody little bitch because, hello, in LDRs “next weekend” comes next month. Prioritize the Now. Or you might have to pay for it. For a long ass while. Because of your disgruntled better half.

[Pro-tip: If that happens: FTD. Stat.]


So there you go. Super simple stuff to nurture your LDR. Based on a personal and completely biased opinion.

Hey, at least I’m honest.

Disclosure: my long-distance relationship with W.A. didn’t really work out, unfortunately. I don’t necessarily blame the long distance so much as the lack of synchronicity with our priorities. Timing? Anyways, sometimes you got the right ingredients, the right chemistry, but the formula you have to work with is just off.

So, I had to call it. I had to take ol’ Bessie out in the back barn and shoot her between the eyes. Bang.

Calling it with W.A. gave me the big sads (Kleenex and Ben & Jerry’s jumped in profit margins that week) but time is never wasted when learning about yourself and what you need from others. Or you know, whatever cheese-tastic inspirational quote that floats your boat.

I haven’t ruled out long distance romance entirely. I’ll just have a more elaborate checklist to consult from before considering committing again. But that’s like for any new relationship, isn’t it?

Featured photo by Lara Binamé.

Because I couldn’t find a functional relationship in my own city, apparently I thought getting involved in a long distance relationship would help my situation. Cue the Hahahahahas. Don’t ask me what I was thinking. It was probably something along the lines of: Bah! All you need is love! How could this ever go wrong? 

Riiight.

You know, I do suffer from blonde moments from time to time and it’s safe to say this was clearly one of them. I just forgot how to brain for a hot minute and didn’t realize what I was signing up for. The six-pack and dimples caught me off guard. Summer of 2014 wasn’t chock-full of sound decisions.

Maybe I’m one of those people who suffered an unfortunate streak of bad luck or just caught a real case of the fuckits, but I ended up in a place where I was willing to try something different. I dated some absolute morons back in the day, maybe I just needed to retire the Montreal scene for a while and branch out. I’m not saying it was the best idea. I guess it’s like anal sex; can’t knock it ’til you try it.

According to Stats Can, 7% of Canadians are engaged in a long distance relationship. That’s like 2.4 million people having phone sex! The real kicker? Roughly 1/3 of young adults are in a LDR. Well color me fifty shades of shocked.

Before you pity those who find themselves in this situation, just remember that’s one in three people who’d rather have a long distance relationship over the option of dating your ass, who lives next door. Ouch. I’ll just let that sink in for a second.

Every relationship is different. LDRs are no exception. For one thing, most long-distance ménages don’t necessarily start out that way. Change of circumstances, like professional or academic obligations, is often the reason behind LDRs. I have a friend who once sustained a long distance relationship for a year while studying overseas.

A year of blue balls is a long fucking time, but 4 years were already invested in her relationship. Makes sense! You figure the reason behind any sane person willingly adding MORE challenges to their relationship is to preserve an already existing one; one you’ve actually poured time, energy, and sometimes tears into.

So why on earth begin a relationship in a long-distance context? You’d think that something like a border and 1000 km would discourage one from pursuing said relationship. It’s not like I couldn’t score a date in Montreal if I set my mind to it.

Why go the extra mile?

As previously mentioned, I met Mr. Washboard Abs this past summer while he was visiting Montreal. I was never unaware of the distance factor. Spending his last night in town together happened because… well, DAMN GURL, that’s what happens after too many glasses of Sauvignon Blanc with a cute stranger. A one night stand!

Until it wasn’t.

I didn’t really choose to be in a long distance relationship so much as I accidentally stumbled into one. When I said yes to seeing W.A. again, it was with absolute fucking naiveté. I truly believed I was in full control of my emotions.

Let’s be honest; I’m a terrible flyer and wouldn’t be taking several planes if I didn’t really, like really, like the guy in the first place. And what happens when you spend more time getting to know somebody you have great chemistry with? Bingo. You fall for him. I’m telling you, you can’t outsmart your heart’s stupidity.

Never would I have willingly signed up for an LDR. I simply brushed off reality long enough to find myself too invested in something that just calling off wasn’t the easiest of options anymore. Shit happens.

If you take W.A.’s case however, his motivations for taking up a long distance relationship were out of necessity. Guy work-travels so much that my living in Montreal made little difference anyways. Sometimes, it’s what suits someone’s lifestyle.

In the end, it’s all about the desire to connect. It’s that fucking simple. Clearly, our needs in romantic relationships are more emotional than physical.

Granted, sharing your day in-person is ten times better than exchanging over a pixilated Skype session. Yes, it’s hard to sustain a long distance relationship, but then again it’s just as hard to find somebody to connect with in the first place.

There’s no secret to it. You take it day by day, just like any other couple. ‘Normal’ relationship or not, we’re all in the same fucking boat.

Featured photo by Lara Binamé / www.larabiname.com

When I’m single, I usually have very short windows of opportunity to embrace singlehood to the fullest. I know this might pass off as wildly obnoxious, it is, but that’s just how it’s happened for me (so bite me).

There are downsides to this however: being the “perpetually-in-a-relationship” one within your mostly single group of friends feels like you’re missing out on the fun stupid shit and raunchy/sexy/embarrassing tale-telling that usually result from bachelordom. And so, when the chance came around again during summer of 2014, yours truly jumped on the virtual bandwagon.

I had never done online dating nor been on a blind date before, so, being an overachiever on a time-constraint, I orchestrated an online-dating blind first date. Yup, you heard me. How the fuck does that happen? Guy and I exchanged many emails, but no pictures. I thought, hell, here’s an intelligent motherfucker that can hold a conversation. How refreshing! So screw the pictures, let’s just meet. And why not; two birds one stone, right? As it turns out, I clearly needed to rethink my strategy because that meet-up was the first and the last nail in the coffin of my budding tech-savvy dating life.

Worst date ever. On the plus side, it’s also my best “worst date” story to date.

So, I meet this guy, Old Port, public area. Oh dear god.

Let’s just say I was banking on his “really nice personality”.

Jardin Nelson, the place I suggested, had too long of a wait, so we went elsewhere. RELIEF. I can still show my face there! But hey, calm your tits. Before you start labeling me as a shallow bitch (I am, but not the point), let me clarify: this guy was a world-class jerk.

The fake name, fake age, and what I suspect as fake teeth, should’ve sounded the first alarm. I tell myself to be open-minded. Personality, Personality, Personality. We sit down, order a pitcher of sangria.

Rookie mistake. Never commit to more than a glass of anything before the other person can open his/her mouth. Because once we were served, my “intelligent conversationalist” (cannot air quote this enough) went on a tirade about questions like “Why men make more money than women?” [Hint: they’re the smarter gender, apparently] And ,continued his monologue on the things he loves most in life: cars, money, bitches. Surprise surprise, his parents were not on that list. Way to leave a lasting impression, bro.

This experience made me realize a couple of things.

First, I’m way too polite for my own good because, yes, I stayed to finish the whole pitcher. I had a “Let’s embrace the insanity” moment. Plus, I can’t think of a more appropriate time for alcohol. Next time, I know to pick my jaw off the table and unapologetically walk the fuck out.

Second, it’s too easy to get enthralled over the ‘ideal’ picture someone paints about themselves online. Over half the people admit to lying online on some level, if that’s not the shadiest shit you’ve ever heard. Face-to-face real-time responses, that’s a better indicator of someone’s true nature; not the well thought-up words put on paper, or a webpage.

Would I ever try online dating again? Holy fuck. Not at this point in my life. Maybe one day, when I can dedicate some proper time in getting to know somebody, do my homework, and not rush through the process the way I did. For now, I’ll stick to good ol’ fashioned bar hookups, cause that’s still working fine for me. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

Til then, I’ll remain content by online dating vicariously through my friends, snatching their phones and playing the “hot or not” game on their Tinder accounts. Shhh!

Living in this city is one hell of a social experiment. You come to face, and sometimes date, a variety of people from different backgrounds and with different personalities. All sorts of shapes and sizes… if you know what I mean. Still, you’ll always encounter some kind of crazy. If you’ve ever left the house, you know what I’m talking about.

Yeah yeah, it’s an opportunity for gaining fresh perspectives. Still. Dating is hard, it’ll Jedi mind fuck with your head, and when you fall it’s rarely graceful.

I am an adult (I checked) and I still screw up. A lot. I wear too short skirts on windy days, forget to pack an adequate amount of tampons before heading out, or occasionally get blackout drunk on a Tuesday night. Dating, however, takes the cake. Or the pie. Whatever gets thrown in my face first.

Oddly enough, I tend to be the go-to person among my friends when it comes to relationship troubles. Don’t know if I should be flattered because I’m a comforting person, or slightly offended because I’m seen as an expert in failed relationships? Eh, maybe my friends haven’t caught on to that last part yet.

Clearly, there’s no shortage of dumbass-baggery in my little black book. I can’t say I know everything there is to know about relationship dynamics (false modesty- I do). Point being, this isn’t an advice column.

I was told once that the point of life is to fail at greater and greater things. Meaning our cumulative fuck-ups are a measure of ascension. Mildly comforting? Look, the way I see it: life tends to come served with a heaping side of “fuck you”, and since we’re all in it for the long haul (optimistically) we need to cut ourselves some slack, right? I do so with a sprinkle of sarcasm and self-deprecation in my morning coffee. What’s your coping mechanism?

I have no issue spreading it for the world to see (pun intended), but I don’t want this to turn into some narcissistic platform either. My goal here is to simply start a conversation. With firsthand account stuff.

Some horror stories, mostly reflections, definitely lots of questioning. It’s a learning-on-the-job kinda thing, ya feel me?

But whatever the case, no cookie-cutter bullshit. If you want “47 ways to please your man”, then go to your nearest pharmacy and pick up a Marie-Claire.

Hi, I’m Jules. It’s nice to meet you. Welcome to Relationship Rants.

Featured photo by Albert Zablit / www.albertzablit.com

Every year, the Quebec Public Interest Research Group (QPIRG) at McGill University and the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) hold a series of events and workshops called Culture Shock. This year’s Culture Shock will be held between November 5 and 9, and, as always, will aim to explore myths surrounding immigrants, refugees, indigenous people and communities of colour. The purpose is to create discussion around these topics, let members of these communities share their experiences with one another, but also to educate non-members about the issues faced by communities of colour in Canada and beyond.

What makes Culture Shock especially exciting is the fact that it is open to anyone and everyone, and not just students; which is precisely why we at Forget the Box have decided to give you an overview of the many workshops and events of Culture Shock! Here’s the twist, though. We have compiled the list based on topics that will be discussed, and not the schedule. This way you will be able to focus on one specific subject. Most event descriptions are based on those found on QPIRG McGill’s website.

The workshops are not the only events done under Culture Shock, there will also be a book launch of Nahla Abdo’s Captive Revolutiona keynote event by Dark Matter, a trans south asian art and activist collaboration; a fundraiser party held by Solidarity Across Borders; an anti-colonial dinner; and a Convergence for Indigenous peoples and people of colour.

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If you want access to the schedule, you may find it here.

You can also click on the names of the events to reach the associated Facebook events, for further details on location and times.

Migration 

Migrant Workers in Canada: Why Everyone Should Care

“Canada currently accepts more migrants under temporary permits than those who can immigrate permanently. Barriers to permanent residency for refugees, skilled workers and family members are increasing, while citizenship for migrants is becoming harder to get and easier to lose.” – Why everyone should care about the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, Harsha Walia

This workshop by the Immigrant Workers’ Centre (IWC), the Temporary Agency Worker’s Association (TAWA) and the Temporary Foreign Worker’s Assoication (ATTET) offers an overview of the history of temporary foreign work and migration in Canada. Think of it as a crash course and introduction to the topic. The workshop and the discussion around it should prove to be invaluable for those who wish to acquire a broader understanding of troubles facing migrant workers.

Immigrants With Disabilities In Canada: Discrimination, Segregation, Suicidal Deportation

“Though it is illegal to discriminate against a person for their disability (stated in Article 15 of The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms), this protection is contradicted by Canada’s Immigration Act where Article 19 (1)a,  refuses to grant  residence to immigrants with disability who are confirmed by at least two medical officers to be a threat to public health and public safety or are deemed an excessive burden to health/social services.”

To be held by the Committee-to-be for Immigrants with Disabilities of Solidarity Across Borders, this workshop will also focus on the topic of migration, but from a more focused perspective (compared to the one above), by focusing explicitly on the concept of being “an excessive burden” in Canada.

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Decolonization and Indigenous Rights

Oh Canada, our home on Native Land: Discussing Decolonization

It is no secret that Canada is built on Indigenous territories. For that reason, it is important to learn more about Indigenous histories, and position ourselves on the land that we work and live on, and call home.

This workshop, to be co-facilitated by Canadian Roots Exchange – Youth Reconciliation Initative and KANATA McGill Indigenous Studies Community, will strive to build cultural solidarity through an interactive dialogue about our relationships to the land and its histories.

Creating a Culture of Resistance, Decolonization as a Weapon, Rebuilding Nationhood, Land and Freedom, Indigenous Liberation

This workshop and film screening will be facilitated by Kanahus Manuel (Secwpemc). Kanahus is a mother and warrior from the Secwpemc Nation in the Shuswap region of “British Columbia.” She has been active in fighting against development projects and corporations such as the Sun Peaks Ski Resort and Imperial Metals. Recently, she has been involved in organizing to raise awareness about the Mount Polley gold-copper mine tailings spill, possibly the worst mining pollution disaster in Canadian history. For her efforts, she has been named as a defendant by Imperial Metals in a court injunction to stop blockades of the mining company’s operations.

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Colonialism and its Accomplices: A Critical History of the Colonization of Turtle Island

Colonialism is an inherently violent system which marginalizes and oppresses Indigenous people on Turtle Island, and people of colour. This workshop will explore the historical processes from which colonialism arises and how this is deeply tied to capitalism. Historically, Capitalism has been the motive for colonial policies. Colonialism has disempowered and dispossessed Indigenous peoples on Turtle Island through genocide, dislocation, and assimilation. Colonialism has been used to justify the exploitation of people, namely racialized and Indigenous bodies, as well as Indigenous lands and resources.

Molly Swain and Lindsay Nixon of the Indigenous Women and Two-Spirit Harm Reduction Coalition will critically explore processes such as racism, white supremacy, patriarchy, heteronormativity and how these concepts are derived from and enacted within colonialism. Settlers need to understand their positionality on Turtle Island and work towards a decolonized way of thinking so not to participate in harmful behaviors towards Indigenous peoples, and people of colour.

Race

Race @ McGill: Film Screening and Discussion

Race @ McGill is a film produced between 2012 and 2014 by student of colour, Sha, about the experiences and observations of students, faculty, and staff of colour at McGill.  It seeks to highlight and connect the shared struggles and resilience of racialized and indigenous community members at McGill.

While the film itself may be focused on McGill, the discussion afterwards should prove to be invaluable to those who wish to share their experiences, or to hear about these experiences to reflect upon themselves.

Giving Birth to Yourself: Revolutionary Storytelling for People of Colour, by Kai Cheng

According to Kai Cheng Thom aka Lady Sin Trayda, the facilitator of this workshop, racialized, Indigenous, and mixed-race folk very often come into the world with a story of what they are not: white, whole, beautiful, enough. This story is the soul of colonization: it drains them of the will to struggle, of the confidence to name themselves and their ancestors, the vision to see each other and act in solidarity.

The potential of stories as both revolutionary and therapeutic will be explored, as will the possibilities and limitations of writing/storytelling in indigenous versus colonial languages. Participants will experiment with the use of story tools, including meditation, visualization, play, story-listening, and group creation. Poets, writers, rappers, spoken word artists, slam poets, storytellers of all kinds and at all stages welcome.

Also, note that this is a closed workshop; meaning only Indigenous persons, mixed-race folk, and people of colour may attend.

Oppression & Design

White Space: A look into the relationship between graphic design and systems of oppression

Sajdeep Soomal, who is a self-taught graphic designer and a history student at McGill, will be facilitating this workshop which aims to trace out how graphic design contributes to the perpetuation and formation of systems of oppression. The topics to be discussed include Typefaces and Racial Formation, Minimalism and Economic Privilege.

Think of the wispy strokes and the diamond shaped dots used in Aladdin in order to create an aura of mysticism, which then becomes central to Western conceptions of brownness and contributes to the racial formation of brown people in the West. Or, in terms of Minimalism, the extensive use of whitespace, or empty space is a result of a level of economic privilege, where people do not feel the pressure to use that empty space. Come to the workshop to discuss these topics and more.

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Whether you’re choking the chicken, spanking the monkey or flicking the bean, you’re engaging in the natural and healthy form of self-pleasure being highlighted this May with National Masturbation Month. Needless to say this makes it one of my favorite months of the year… as if I needed another reason to masturbate.

This year marks the 19th anniversary of the month-long awareness raising campaign started by San Francisco-based sex shop Good Vibrations. It began in 1995, shortly after Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders was fired from her job for stating that masturbation should be part of sexual education for adolescents. They wanted to open up a dialogue about the importance of masturbation as part of healthy sexual exploration and help end some of the stigmas about it. Almost everyone in the world masturbates, many of us on a regular basis, but no one was really talking about it in an open and shameless matter.

Historically, masturbation was a degrading act believed to cause exhaustion and weakness while depleting the body of the precious, seemingly finite resource of sperm. While science has helped to dispel that myth, masturbation is still seen in some circles as an immature substitute for so-called “real” aka partnered sex instead of a natural part of a person’s sexual life.

Using the cheeky hashtag #maywerub on social media, Good Vibrations is sharing tips and interesting facts about the importance of self-love. In the spirit of fun facts, here are some of the prime benefits of masturbation:NationalMasturbationMonth2

1 – It’s safe, incredibly fun and free!

Sexual pleasure is something that is innate in each and every one of us, and masturbation is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to indulge in this. It’s also the ultimate form of safe sex, seeing as you can’t get pregnant or catch an STI from masturbation (mutual masturbation, or masturbation with a partner is also very low risk although any time there are fluids and exposed genitals, the risk of catching something, however nominal it may be, is present)

2 – Increased sexual awareness of your own body helps with other kinds of sex

Ultimately, no one knows your body and how it likes to be touched better than you do. Watching your partner masturbate can let you in on all the little secrets and tricks of their body. Also women who reach orgasm via masturbation have been known to have an easier time letting go with a partner.

3 – Relives depression and boosts immune system

There’s nothing better than a big, crashing orgasm on particularly stressful day. The deepening contraction of the muscles and that feeling of letting go and surrendering to the waves of endorphins have been known to relieve depression. Additionally, the post orgasm release of the hormone cortisol helps to boost the immune system, keeping you healthy enough for rounds two, three and four, and so on.

4 – Reduces risk of prostate cancer

A 2003 study found the men who ejaculated frequently (five times a week) reduced their risk of prostate cancer by up to 33%. Now if only you’d had that statistic under your belt that time your mom caught you in the shower…

spring fever“In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love” – Alfred Lord Tennyson

With this year going down as the winter that wouldn’t end, it makes it that much more satisfying to feel the gentle caress of the spring breeze on the back of your bare shoulders for those precious few moments when the sun peeks out from behind the clouds. We’re almost a month past the Vernal Equinox, the official beginning of the season, but in typical Canadian style, there’s still the odd patch of grimy snow grazing the occasional front lawn. Still, we’re shedding layer after layer as the days grow longer, and soon we’ll be hitting the terraces en masse, spreading pheromones that have been cooped up all winter long.

Needless to say spring makes people horny. Known colloquially as spring fever, the increase of vitamin D has many uplifting powers including energy levels and overall vitality. Additionally, the fluctuation in daylight hours between winter and spring triggers a reaction in the retina that signals the brain to produce less melatonin, which in turn can lead to elevated mood levels.

The correlation between spring and sex is pretty simple: getting out of the house more often means meeting more people, which in turn leads to more chances for spring romance. However, there are also biological and chemical factors at play for this increase in libido. As mammals, we’ve developed seasonal breeding patterns that promote long-term survival, which helps to explain the increase in birth rates in the springtime.

“From a biological perspective, most types of animals, and maybe even plants, have a seasonal variation in behavior and physiology; there are seasonal cycles in human rates of conception,” noted Thomas Wehr of the National Institute of Mental Health.

For example, a late-spring increase in the luteinizing hormone that is known to trigger biological changes like increased ovulation or testosterone production leading to an increase in spring births. Logically, if you’re going to be carrying and nurturing a baby for nine months, it makes sense for the latter ones to occur during winter when you spend most of your time hunkering down and hibernating anyways. tumblr_lcqd1ovk2n1qfnk3mo1_500

So what are some of the best ways to harness this added energy and channel it into something positive? Try working off some of that winter weight by starting a new exercise program. Incorporate outdoor activities like cycling or jogging to bask in the warming glow of the sun.

And for those of your ladies out there who might need a little extra motivation to get back to the gym, researchers from the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University have found that approximately 40% of the women they surveyed had experience exercise-induced pleasure, sometimes resulting in orgasm even when the women weren’t having any sexual thoughts at the time. Of the women who experienced orgasms during their workouts, a little less than half were engaging in abdominal exercises at the time, while almost 20% were biking or spinning, and nearly 10% were climbing poles or ropes.

So whether you’re full of spring vigor or just looking to put an extra spring in your step, the time for change is now. Spring means renewal of all kinds, and making it a renewal of love for yourself is the fastest way to attract love back to you. Now if only Mother Nature would hurry up and share some of that sweet sunshine love with us!

NymphomaniacMoviePosterWhen the title and subject matter of Lars von Trier’s latest film were announced, they surely piqued the interest of fans of the controversial director’s work. Known for putting female characters through brutal torment on screen as well as explicit sexual imagery (epitomized by the self-clitoridectomy in his last film Antichrist), it seemed that nymphomania would be a natural fit for him.

While those familiar elements are definitely at play in Nyphomaniac, released a few weeks ago in two parts, von Trier also interweaves a wild and poetic story rich in metaphoric associations and well-timed interjections. Charlotte Gainsbourg stars as Joe, the titular self-diagnosed nymphomaniac, who narrates her life story to an old, charming bachelor named Seligman (Stellan Skarsgard) who takes her in after finding her badly beaten in an alley.

She starts off in her formative years, detailing some of the experiences that lead down the path of deviant sexual behavior, including a competition with a friend on a train ride to see who could have more sexual partners. Joe wins the bag of chocolate sweets they were competing for by convincing a married man to accept sloppy train car head, giving you a sense of von Trier’s darkly comic sense of humor that balances the film’s more depressing scenes. She falls in love, she loses love and as her number of sexual partners exponentially increases, her life spins out of control to the point where she no longer derives pleasure, or any feeling at all, from the act by which she defines her identity.

Von Trier alleviates some of the story’s tension with a pseudo-documentary style of quick cuts of vintage-looking stock images and videos of subjects relating to the narrative. It also helps that Seligman has an encyclopedic knowledge of a wide array of topics, and his non-judgemental nature aids in drawing gorgeous allusions, like three different sexual partners completing a person on different levels, much the way three notes come together to form a chord. Sexual desire and the hunting of someone to fulfill it is also compared fly fishing and the Fibonacci sequence, which also plays a role in film’s devastating climactic scene.

It wouldn’t be a movie about nymphomania without some graphic sexual content. There are a few instances of very realistic looking oral sex and one scene that includes penetration that was performed by pornographic body doubles and digitally spliced into the scene in post-production. There is also a fair amount of full front nudity, both male and female, including a highly entertaining nearly two minute long montage of penises of all shapes, sizes and colors.

With a film chock full of sexual content, von Trier goes out of his way to illustrate that Joe’s desires are often being enacted because of a compulsion. In many of the film’s earlier scenes as a younger girl, Joe’s vapid and downright bored facial expression is akin to a person picking dirt out from under their fingernails while riding on the metro. Even later in her story when she is no longer able to reach orgasm and seeks out sadomasochistic solutions to her problem, she does so by abandoning her young child at home alone. Her overwhelming desire to satisfy her urges was worth more to her than anything else. She may have gotten an orgasm worth losing her family over, but she never forgives herself for it.

After trying to fight her nature, she comes to embraces it, loudly and proudly at a sex addict support group meeting. She profoundly tears each member of the group to shred for their triggers and lack of impulse control and chooses to declare herself a nymphomaniac rather than a sex addict. Whether or not Joe finds salvation and redemption at the film’s close may be up for dispute, but ultimately von Trier gives us a very excellent study of a salacious character at her most honest and vulnerable.

 

I bet if you were to ask a selection of happy couples how often they have sex, the most common answer would be somewhere along the lines of “as often as we want to.” Relationships tend to have a higher success rate if both partners have a similar sex drive, since a disparity in libido means that one party is always compromising. But what exactly is the “right” amount of sex for couples to be having in the first place, if there even is such thing as the Goldilocks standard for sexual frequency?

According to a very interesting take on the subject from Jezebel, couples who attend therapy to address their issues with incompatible sex drives are most often told that twice a week is a good benchmark to aim for. The author questions this seemingly arbitrary number and discovers that while there is no medical basis for this recommendation, it does seem to stack up with the average reported by happy couples.

For these couples, sex and happiness enjoy a synergistic link. Having more sex makes them happier, and being happy makes sex more likely as well.

But for couples where one partner craves sex more than the other, quantifying the amount with a rigid number can be very damaging for a couple looking to foster intimacy through genuine desire as opposed to the dreaded fulfillment of “duty.” Imposing this “twice a week” rule can also cause issues for couples that are happy with the amount of sex they’re having, especially if it’s less than this so-called proscribed amount. Seems like we’re always antsy for statistics about what’s normal so that we can have something to compare ourselves to, positively or negatively.

The truth is we should all probably be having more sex, considering its myriad of health and wellness benefits. First of all, it acts as a great form of stress relief while burning calories, approximately 85-100 per 25 minute session. Exchanging bodily fluids means exchanging all the germs that go along with them, and as it turns out, that can be a good thing for your immune system.

According to a study at Wilkes University, having sex once a week raises the level of immunoglobulin A in your saliva by 30%, an antibody that is part of the body’s first line of defense against germs and viruses. Therefore, having a healthy, frequently sex life makes you less prone to catching colds.

Sex leads to feelings of relaxation and physical intimacy, both of which are known to provide significant immunological benefits as well. Finally, as if that weren’t enough, sex has also been shown to boost your brain power and intelligence. Researchers have found that middle-aged rats experienced an increase in neuron generation after engaging in sexual activity, which is thought to restore cognitive function and boost brain power.

After this sexual activity was stopped, the benefits to the brain power were lost, giving more agency to the old expression, “if you don’t use it, you lose it.”