NSFW Lesbosexy Sunday Is Breathing

Feature image of Kissy Burgundy and Cinnamon Maxxine in Covid Edition: Kissy Burgundy. All of the photographs in this NSFW Sunday are from the Crash Pad. The inclusion of a visual here should not be interpreted as an assertion of the model’s gender identity or sexual orientation. If you’re a photographer or model and think your work would be a good fit for NSFW Sunday, please email carolyn at autostraddle dot com.

Welcome to NSFW Sunday!

Kissy Burgundy and Cinnamon Maxxine

Kissy Burgundy and Cinnamon Maxxine in Covid Edition: Kissy Burgundy

“I tried (and quit) an orgasmic breath work class,” writes Morgan Jerkins at Zora.

Try these three breathing exercises for anxiety.

What’s on your summer sex (partnered or solo!) bucket list?

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Here’s how quarantine can be an opportunity to accept your body and gender identity.

Byron Dubois and Patience Morgan

Byron Dubois and Patience Morgan in Crash Pad Series Episode 218

In Britain, the “rough sex” defense of claiming that domestic violence or worse were actually consensual BDSM was recently undercut by new legislation that would classify all “actual bodily harm” as non-consensual. The problem is that “actual bodily harm” is thought of as starting with marks that last for longer than 20 minutes, which is… most marks from BDSM. Laws along these lines tend to conflate abuse and kink, which is worrying, writes Alice Snape at Vice:

“The ‘rough sex defence’ was a phrase originally coined by domestic violence campaigners in response to the rising numbers of men using it in murder cases to get a lighter sentence. In court, these men claimed that the fatal injuries of their victims had actually been caused during BDSM and consensual sex. But contrary to the initial headlines that this draft bill puts an end to the defence, it actually criminalises any actual bodily harm, even if it happens consensually, safely and for the purposes of sexual pleasure. […]

Instead of stating that no one can consent to harm, people in the BDSM community think we should be looking closer at the context of such incidents.”

La Muxer Diosa and Zoie Blackheart

La Muxer Diosa and Zoie Blackheart in Crash Pad Series episode 281

Lost when it comes to texting people you’re dating? Here are some suggestions.

Here’s how to tell someone you love that they need to see a therapist.

The age gap debate is getting old.

Hygiene Hustle is a Black-, queer-, and sex worker-owned business that makes sanitary products like hand sanitizer. Here’s how they got started.

Adina Powers and Scout

Adina Powers and Scout in Crash Pad Series episode 286

It is totally fine if you don’t like performing oral sex on people with vulvas. At Slate, Stoya recommends first trying dental dams, and also not using the word “gross” with sexual partners when you talk about what you like or don’t:

“‘Gross’ is hard to hear. I hope you’re choosing different words when speaking to current or prospective sexual partners. […] [D]o your best to help them remain receptive by using phrases like ‘I prefer to give and receive digital stimulation’ or ‘I’m generally not into giving or receiving oral.’

Try to remember that dating is a process of sorting through mismatch after mismatch until we find the person, or people, who click with us. When someone calls calls you a pillow princess as a pejorative, questions your bisexuality, or judges you for your open disinterest in oral, that’s a signal that it’s time to move along.”

Carolyn Yates was the NSFW Editor (2013–2018) and Literary Editor for Autostraddle.com, with bylines in Nylon, Refinery29, The Toast, Bitch, Xtra!, Jezebel, and elsewhere. They live in Los Angeles and also on twitter and instagram.

Carolyn has written 1055 articles for us.

12 Comments

  1. I’m really tired of the age conversation about literal consenting adults because it IS SO CONDESCENDING. It also detracts from the actual problem of abuse and manipulation that can happen in a relationship of any age range between adults. The conversation needs much more nuance than a lot of people will allow and it’s incredibly frustrating. And also, where is this energy for survivors of emotional and psychological abuse? Because I’m not seeing it.

  2. Hey Carolyn! Regarding the Vice piece you linked to about the Domestic Violence Bill, if you’ve read the piece, you will have seen that the claim about “marks lasting longer than 20 minutes” comes from a man they interviewed who is a dominant in the kink community, and not a passage from the bill itself. In fact, you can read the bill online and the word “minutes” isn’t in there. (I’m not linking because I don’t want to get flagged for spam, but it’s easy to find!) You don’t name the bill in this piece, but it’s called the “Domestic Abuse Bill.” Given the fact that this “20 minutes” claim appears to be an invention that hasn’t even been mentioned online outside of this Vice article and Twitter, I’m really disturbed by the notion that someone would just fabricate that–and I can’t see a reason why he would have done so other than to agitate people against legislation that is obviously intended to give justice to women who’ve been victims of violence. I highly recommend that you and readers of this article read the actual bill before making up your minds against it.

    Furthermore, I also have to wonder why Autostraddle chose to cover the possible downsides of this bill that might affect the kink community (though as I’ve stablished, they are unlikely to, because again, the “20 minutes” claim seems to be a lie) but not cover this victory for British women in one of your journalism columns. Is the abuse of women something that Autostraddle considers relevant to its readers or is Autostraddle more focused on protecting sex that is so violent that some of people who participate it worry about ending up on the wrong side of the law?

    • I appreciate you bringing it to our attention that the “20 minutes” line isn’t found in the bill itself. I take issue with some of the other points in your comment:

      Taking this one link in a sex-focused column, and my one comment on it, to imply broad conclusions about Autostraddle’s intention as a community – especially given that you are not aware of any of our own past experiences with abuse – is unwarranted and unfair. People can be both survivors and kink practitioners, and it’s quite upsetting to be told that we’re somehow doing harm to one circle that we belong to by voicing concerns about issues that affect us in another, or to imply that anyone doing so has harmful ulterior motives. I am a survivor, I read relevant sections of the bill, and I still have very valid concerns about how it might affect other parts of my life.

      Your characterization of BDSM as “sex so violent that people worry about it ending up on the wrong side of the law” is frankly offensive and biased. Fully mutually consensual sex between autonomous adults should never be illegal, that is the whole point. If fully mutually consensual sex results in something that this bill would define as illegal “bodily harm”, then this bill is problematic, whether or not its intent is to protect victims of abuse. Taking away the rights of one group in order to protect another is not justice.

      If the issue is that people are trying to use rough sex as a defense in cases of murder or grievous harm, then the law should simply state that that type of defense is not allowable in those cases. Period. There is no need to overreach in this way. Even if the “20 minutes” limit isn’t mentioned in the bill itself, it is still unclear how “actual bodily harm” would be defined, and whether this law could be misapplied to consensual acts.

      Finally, I have no faith, zero, zilch, nada, that this law or any other is going to significantly help victims/survivors. Legal systems do not significantly help victims of abuse, and never have. Law enforcement institutions do not significantly help victims of abuse, and never have. This law is not going to change that. Massive societal change is what we need – overhauling systems steeped in sexism and patriarchy and rape culture – and we’re not going to get there by falling back on puritanical ideals about what consensual sex should look like.

      • Are you honestly saying that “harming people shouldn’t be illegal” because it can be consensual? Please, read your own comment out loud, forget about your own sex life and just READ it.
        No one is actually interested in what your sex looks like. If it IS consensual, who exactly is the party taking this to justice? If the person who is harmed is actually saying “hey, I was harmed, I’m taking this to the police”, chances are this wasn’t consensual at all.

        • I’m saying that people should get to decide what counts as illegal harm on their own body and what does not, and if you’re having difficulty understanding that then maybe you should be the one rereading my comment. I have no particular interest in talking to you or anyone else about my sex life, but I am also not going to be silenced about issues that affect my autonomy over my own body.

          I never at ANY point questioned the validity of people taking their cases to the police – there obviously was no consent in those cases, and I very clearly addressed that in my comment. Those people should always be believed, and yes the laws should be strengthened to support them as I stated, but not in a way that overreaches like this one seems to do. Again, I myself fall into the group of people that you think you’re trying to protect, and I am telling you that this misguided reactionism is not helpful.

  3. Thanks for the links Carolyn, always informative and helpful to stretch our understanding of sex and pleasure in all its forms.

    And it’s helpful to keep up with the legislation ! I read the Bill, and though the legal principle is not new, it’s a good development to have the provisions in statute rather than relying on case law. But I can also see how it leaves the kink community in a vulnerable position and subject to abusive prosecution (see what I did there).

  4. A somewhat relevant bit of queer history here regarding rough sex and the (UK) law would be ‘Operation Spanner’, the much-publicised 1980s trial of a group of gay men for actual bodily harm (among other charges brought by an especially corrupt group of cops) within consensual BDSM practices. In the end the judge ruled that consent was not a “valid legal defence” for causing physical harm and many of the men went to prison.

    Spanner was a profoundly homophobic case intended to punish gay sexuality, and it took place in a national culture of increasingly hegemonic and extreme homophobia, so the situation is quite different from the current ‘rough sex defence’ case which aims to protect women from an epidemic of male violence. But it’s interesting to think about the similarities and differences between them–even down to the legal language used.

    There was a good documentary made about the Spanner case last year: Lasting Marks by Charlie Lyne, if you’re interested in learning more.

  5. the age gap article is tough for me, I’ve got such mixed feelings. I do think it needs to pull apart the difference between “age gaps” in general, and the pattern of middle-aged men dating very young women. Someone wondering if Elon Musk (49) and Grimes (32) are a problem is very different from someone wondering if a man (32) and a woman (18 or 19) is a problem, and the article treats those as the same issue.

    full disclosure though, I was a 19 year old woman who dated a 34 year old man. at the time I felt very special, particularly interesting, and very hostile towards people who told me I wasn’t equipped for that relationship. now, as a late 20-something, I find more troublesome in that relationship than not. of course that doesn’t mean I can extend my experience to everyone, but I think that particular pattern of middle aged straight men dating barely legal woman is troublesome, even if we reject very general concerns about age gaps.

    • completely agree, thanks for saying this! i definitely think that consenting people who are fully grown– i.e. roughly in their mid twenties and older– should never be questioned about the romantic or sexual choices they make on the grounds that they’re too young, and nobody should be accused of anything for dating someone who’s younger than them but still fully matured. but teenagers are not grown and i don’t think they’re generally prepared for relationships with people in their thirties (or late twenties for that matter). fwiw, i feel differently about casual sex than i do about full relationships and i don’t think that it should be decided by a single law whether a relationship is abusing an age-related power dynamic or not, but i also don’t think that we should be advocating for widespread acceptance of people in their thirties and forties pursuing barely legal kids

  6. What the article misses out is the context that “radical” feminism is a force to be reckoned with in Britain. The same group of so-called feminists who are vocally transphobic are also vocally anti-kink, regardless of its consensuality. The campaign was initiated and supported by Mumsnet.
    Intimate partner violence is a scourge and women’s sexual histories should not be used to justify their murder, but I have no faith whatsoever that the campaign groups behind this value the bodily autonomy of women and queer people

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