The To Do List: A teenage girl having sex without punishment

images-1I once read an interview with author Judy Blume, where she said that one of the reasons she wrote “Forever” was for her daughter, who said she wanted to read a book about a teenage girl losing her virginity without getting pregnant or getting an STI or worst of all, dying.

“Forever” was published in 1975, and remains on the banned book list because way too many people still think any story about a teenage girl losing her virginity needs to include her getting punished for it.

Sadly, stories like it still aren’t that common almost 40 years later.

But stories about boys losing their virginity without some gruesome consequence? There are plenty of those, and lots of them have been put on film. From “Risky Business” to “Porky’s” to “American Pie” to “The Girl Next Door,” boys have, and continue to, get it on with gusto and live happily ever after.

That’s why “The To Do List,” written and directed by Maggie Carey and starring Aubrey Plaza, is such a nice change.

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An Ode to Odes to ‘Kisses Down Low’

We love Kelly Rowland’s new album, particularly her instructive “Kisses Down Low,” part of a great musical tradition of detailed step-by-steps about how to go down on a lady. In honor of Ms. Rowland’s breakout album and her celebration of female sexuality, we offer this list of Great Songs About Cunnilingus (which is to say: any songs about cunnilingus):

 

Bikini Kill, “Sugar”

 

Khia, “My Neck, My Back”

 

Madonna, “Where Life Begins”

 

Missy Elliott, “Work It”

 

Mariah Carey, “Bliss”

 

Lil’ Kim, “How Many Licks”

 

Christina Aguilera, “Woohoo”

 

Janet Jackson, “Anytime Anyplace”

 

Liz Phair, “Glory”

 

Foxy Brown, “Candy”

 

The Gossip, “Swing Low”

 

Sheena Easton, “Sugar Walls”

 

Lady Gaga, “Teeth”

 

“Raspberry Swirl,” Tori Amos


The Best Feminist Porn and Erotica

booksIn this guest post, Los Angeles-based sex therapist Moushumi Ghose, co-host of The Sex Talk web series, recommends some great female-centric porn and erotic options. For more feminist-friendly sex advice, join us at The Pleasure Chest in LA July 10, where we’ll be leading a panel discussion and Q&A with Ghose.

Not all porn is created equal. Feminist porn and erotica is a genre that caters to the feminine senses of lust sensuality, eroticism and sex, drawing from the emotion centers of pleasure but are for men and women alike. On a deeper level porn may be considered feminist because the actors are treated fairly, with respect and with equality in terms of wages, gender roles, consent, beauty, pleasure, and more. I have devised a list of my favorite feminist porn movies (and the sites where they can be accessed) as well as some of my favorite erotica from the last year. Please note that there is so much well-made erotica and porn out there made by women that this list is by no means all inclusive, nor is it in any particular order.

 

  1. Lust Cinema presents Cabaret Desire: A Swedish director who relocated to Barcelona, Erika Lust has created her most personal and sensual film to date. Erika Lust and Lust Cinema are committed to incorporating women’s voices into adult entertainment, and this movie is a sensual delicacy.
  2. Lesbian Curves by Courtney TroubleFor women by women, this sexy film explores the far reaches of girl-on-girl sensuality and sexuality.
  3. I.M. in Love, available on BrightDesire.comI am a sucker for sexy nerd stories, so this nears the top of my list.
  4. Best Women’s Erotica 2013 by Violet Blue: This compilation of erotica, selected and edited by Violet Blue, is playful, smart, and of course sexy—told from female perspectives, these stories highlight female pleasure in every story.
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Female Condoms: Sexy and Empowering or ‘Ew’?

Dr. Donna Espeut takes on the female condom debate in this guest post.

For some of us, male condoms are the go-to, dual-protection method, even though there are other options in our cache of safer sex tools. Female condoms, on the other hand, get little or no love. A recent piece on Jezebel.com suggests that this case of unrequited love is justified. (Tracie Egan Morrissey writes, “female condoms are just ew.”) However, here are four reasons why we should stop giving the female condom the cold shoulder:

 

1. It adds a dash of empowerment to our safer-sex pursuits.

Of all the methods designed to prevent both pregnancy and STIs, only the female condom bears the distinction of being completely woman-initiated and woman-controlled. A lubricated and soft hypoallergenic sheath with a flexible ring on each end, it fits in with our diverse sexual repertoire. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, when used correctly, a female condom’s effectiveness in preventing pregnancy is 95 percent, compared with 98 percent for male condoms. Female condoms also cover more of the external genitalia than male condoms, offering better protection against herpes and other STIs. Those of us who have grown weary of negotiating male condom use every time we have sex might therefore find a welcomed bedfellow in the female condom.

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Best Erotica for Women: Greatest Hits of the ‘Sexy Stories that Are Better Than 50 Shades of Grey’ Lists

If 50 Shades of Grey has done anything (besides light up thousands of Kindles and iPads), it has opened up a discussion about the fact that — gasp — women enjoy badly written sexy stories as much as men enjoy badly written porn. And that discussion has included many female-oriented publications giving us lists of “erotica that’s better than 50 Shades.” Here, the best of the “better than” lists:

The Vine goes mostly classic: John Cleland’s Fanny Hill, D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Anais Nin’s Delta of Venus, Annie Proulx’s “Brokeback Mountain.” One of our faves, Cleis Press’ annual Best Women’s Erotica, also gets a mention.

BiblioBitch likes: Curvy Girls: Erotica for Women, Take Me There: Trans and Genderqueer Erotica, Anne Rice’s Sleeping Beauty Trilogy, and Pauline Reage’s The Story of O.

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Wound Up Over the Hook-Up: Is It All That Revolutionary?

Urban Dictionary defines the term “hook-up” in two main ways: 1) verb – to engage in any type of sexual activity or 2) noun: a) purposely ambiguous, equivocal word to describe almost any sexual action, usually used to exaggerate or minimize what exactly happened. A hook-up can range from a make-out session to full out sex. b) person you hook up with.

As a member of Generation Y or the Millennials or whatever the hell those of us between the ages of 18 to 32 are supposed to be called these days, it seems that “hooking up” has always existed—we’ve just put a name on the activity (or activities, as the case may be). Both women and men have used sex in all its iterations for pure pleasure, business, and everything in between.

With the recent publication of Hanna Rosin’s The End of Men, talk of “hook-up culture” has resurfaced with a vengeance. (Although one can argue it has never truly disappeared since its emergence in last 10 to 15 years.) And as always, we have polarized this topic: on one hand, there are those who feel the hook-up culture has “liberated” women and has few or no negative consequences and on the other, we hear the voices of those proclaiming its immorality and inevitable danger. (As if hooking up were analogous to tightrope-walking without a net.)

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How to Be a Feminist Girlfriend

While we fantasize about finding the perfect feminist boyfriend, the burden of bringing feminism into a hetero relationship often lies with the lady — like so many other burdens of relationships! So here are a few ways to bring an egalitarian spirit to your coupledom:

1. Talk about “women’s” issues as if they are not “women’s” issues but “human” issues. Because, you know, they are. Who wins if we have birth control, healthy reproductive systems, and equal pay? Our guys, who get to have consequence-free sex and more money coming into the household.

2. Have honest conversations about your sex life. Sure, yeah, talk about diseases and all that, of course. But talk about the fun stuff, too, which can oddly be more uncomfortable than the setting boundaries/STD chat. The longer you’re together, the more this is necessary. If you love or hate something he’s doing all the time, he needs to know; and that works the other way, too. Try both filling out a Yes/No/Maybe list (you can find these by searching online), which is exactly what it sounds like — a long list of sexual possibilities, for which you each circle yes, no, or maybe. (There are also lists that allow a more subtle 1-5 ranking system.) Then compare lists. Any yeses or maybes that match mean you have new stuff to try. Easy and fun!

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A Few of Our Favorite New Vibrators

Buying a vibrator can be a tricky task — just because it looks cool in your friendly neighborhood lady-friendly sex toy store (or online) doesn’t mean it’ll be great once you get it home. Too strong, not strong enough, too complicated — picking a vibrator is almost as complicated as picking a man. Luckily, we’ve tried several out so you don’t have to. Here are a few of our recent favorites:

Lelo Ina: We appreciate the sleek, modernist design of this easy-to-use vibrator. (We, personally, are not huge fans of vibrators that try too hard to look like penises. When we want the real thing, we’ll have it, thanks.) This two-pronged model allows for simultaneous vaginal and clitoral stimulation, though we happen to prefer just letting the vibrator work its clitoral magic and then call it a day. This more than does the job, with lots of fast/slow variations as well as several different kinds of rhythmic pulse. The up/down/left/right buttons on the Mac-inspired white plastic handle are very easy to use, and we love that this is part of a new crop of vibrators that charge up instead of requiring batteries. We don’t even want to figure out how to get batteries anymore, and there’s nothing sadder than your vibrator running out of charge when you want it most. Did we mention this also comes in three gorgeous colors?

We-Vibe 3: This design is so different that it’s a little intimidating at first: What to do with this purple, U-shaped, vibrating silicone thing? Turns out it’s pretty smart. One end goes inside, one goes outside, and you get that magical vaginal/clitoral stimulation in a way that doesn’t feel too forced. And yes, there’s even plenty of room left inside you to allow this to be, as the instructions tell you, “worn while making love.” (Being small, we were skeptical, but, yay, technology!) It’s also chargeable and comes with a cute little remote that makes it fun for your partner even if he/she is just watching (and controlling) from the sidelines. Most importantly, it works. And it, too, comes in three classy colors, complete with travel case!

BonBon: Brilliant — a vibrator that seems designed just to stimulate our clitoris, not to pretend to be a penis. It’s targeted, it works, it’s small, it’s quiet, and it’s powerful (though not too powerful). It also comes in a nice little storage pouch. Basically, it does everything we want a vibrator to do and nothing we don’t want a vibrator to do.


Obama Campaign Targets Women: Thanks, Mr. Limbaugh!

The Obama campaign is launching a concerted effort this week to target women, The New York Times reports. And as long as this isn’t the kind of woman-targeting that involves trying super-hard to sell us yogurt, this seems like great news. Not because we love being focus-grouped, but because we love being listened to. And the fact that Obama’s handlers see an opportunity in this all-too-long conservative War on Women means that we’re winning.

Many have wondered why Rush Limbaugh’s recent attempt at slut-shaming law student/contraception rights superhero Sandra Fluke caused so much uproar. That is, they’ve wondered why this particular “mouth dump,” as Jon Stewart recently called Limbaugh’s regular diatribes, of all his disgusting mouth dumps, got so much attention. Was it because Fluke is a private citizen, as opposed to regular political targets like Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton? Maybe. But I suspect it’s because he was calling her a “slut” for wanting basic insurance coverage of contraception, something most women in America want. I think it’s because in calling her a slut, he was calling the vast majority of American women sluts. And we don’t love that.

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Lady-Friendly Sex Toy Stores Across the U.S.

Move to a new city and you’ll have to find a new hair salon, dentist, gynecologist, massage therapist — and, more difficult than any of those, a great, classy, clean, comfortable place to buy your vibrators. As a public service, we compiled this list. Please let us know if there are more we should add — we can’t be everywhere at once!

Babeland (Seattle, Brooklyn, New York City)

Coco de Mer (Los Angeles)

The Pleasure Chest (Los Angeles)

Early to Bed (Chicago)

Eve’s Garden (New York City)

Forbidden Fruit (Austin, Texas)

Good Vibrations (San Francisco, Berkeley, and Oakland, Calif.; Brookline, Mass.)

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