NSFW Lesbosexy Sunday Is Instagram Official

All of the photographs in this NSFW Sunday are from Jelena Vermilion and have been used with permission. 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!

Jelena Vermilion

More sex toy companies should court disabled users:

“[There is] the belief, among those in the sex toy industry who do think about disability, that there’s already enough toy diversity to work for all bodies. Ariana Rodriguez, pleasure products editor for the adult industry trade publication xBiz, argues that the only real issue is lack of awareness of all the options out there and how they could work for diverse bodies. In truth, Lynae tells me, ‘there will be lots of sex toys that are almost perfect, but then there will be one aspect—hard-to-press buttons, un-ergonomic handles, etc.—that ruin them.’ Hacks can only go so far in patching these shortcomings. And disability awareness advocate Andrew Gurza says that many disabled people are still underserved, at times still not well catered to by anything already on the market—especially those who have fine motor skill issues or sensory impairment.

These are, Lynae says, ‘usually things that would have only taken a small amount of effort for the manufacturer to make accessible if they’d been designing with disabled people in mind.’ The end result could still be a mass audience product, just accommodated for more bodies. To Gurza, not consulting disabled people while designing toys is basically just forsaking extra revenue.”

Jelena Vermilion

“Did you know that most people are positive for HSV-1, and that most are asymptomatic, meaning they have no symptoms?,” writes Kaleigh Fasanella at Allure on why testing positive for HSV-2 is not a big deal and why most doctors don’t test for herpes unless you have symptoms:

“Hilda Hutcherson, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, is one of those doctors. ‘I usually don’t do tests for herpes [unless] someone has a lesion or a sore, something I can see, [then] I will do a swab and take it to a culture or check the DNA on the materials I removed,’ she says. ‘If there’s nothing there and I do a blood test and the blood test comes back positive, let’s say it’s positive for type 1, what does that really mean? Most people are positive for type 1.’ She adds that someone could be HSV-1-positive and either have or not have genital herpes. The result ‘doesn’t mean much, and it makes people go crazy.'”

Jelena Vermilion

Sometimes you just have to quit your totally reasonably paid job to be a sex toy tester instead.

Going “Instagram official” is the new way to announce that you’re in a relationship, whatever that even is, or maybe more accurately to say, “you fit into my vision of my life,” writes Leah Chernikoff at Elle.

It’s hard when packrats and minimalists move in together.

The next big trends in porn search terms look “more like a roster of hardcore metal bands than wanking content.”

Do insanely expensive sex toys make a difference?

Can MDMA save your marriage?

At Oh Joy Sex Toy, Sara Valta writes about her first year in a polyamorous relationship.

Sex games suck.

Jelena Vermilion

What does porn do to the sexual imagination? At Bitch, adrienne maree brown discusses some of the ways in which porn can shape real-world desires, and the implications of not needing to use imagination to access erotic fantasy:

“[P]erhaps that would be fine if the top searches were ‘woman on top of someone she could never identify as a family member,’ ‘strapped women taking tender tushes,’ ‘grown up legal-aged professionals of all genders in hot consensual anti-racist role play.’ But if pornography is another space in which we practice exploring our fantasies, I have questions.

How do we face the national truth that our trending fantasy sexual experiences center around incest, underage lovers, racialized power dynamics, or sexual encounters in which women are objects?

How do we face ourselves and what we’ve been programmed to desire, especially if it works against our sense of agency and connection and integrity in our real life sex?

How do we move beyond the things we have accidentally come to want and need in order to get off, toward the desires we want and need to cultivate to break the intersecting cycles of harm we are in?”

Jelena Vermilion

It’s weird when “feminist” sex product companies are also kinda body-shamey, writes Suzannah Weiss at the Establishment:

“With so many companies pushing products designed to hide women’s bodies and sex lives in the name of feminism, it’s easy to forget what actual progress looks like. Real progress would mean people feeling comfortable enough with their vulvas that they don’t want to disguise their taste or smell, contain their fluids, or conceal what they’re doing with them.”

Jelena Vermilion

The photos in this week’s NSFW Sunday are from Jelena Vermilion, a self-described internationally acclaimed kinesthetic artistic, harlot and muse based in Kitchener-Waterloo, and an up-and-coming Canadian trans porn star. On the first time she made queer smut with her own body, Jelena says:

“I was a young teenager! I would take sexy photos/videos for myself, and would watch them to sort of develop a sense of performance within myself. Taking these photos made me feel more confident and happy about my body, especially as a trans woman. [What drew me to it was] the increased self-esteem and seemingly more social prowess via understanding body language and sexuality a bit more adeptly. The artistic inspiration, self-confidence, and morale-boosting of making smut and porn keeps me coming back! I enjoy normalizing sexuality and our nude human bodies.”

On this photo series, she says:

“I was thinking about how I wanted my pose(s) and the colours of my clothing to convey a type of sensuality, and how to convey that with my eyes.

I’m always a bit nervous before a shoot because I have a certain aesthetic and mood or energy that I try to convey. During the photoshoot, it’s kinda blank because I’m really in the moment and honing whatever that energy needs to be. Afterwards, I feel anticipation because I get excited to see the finished images and art!”

On where she wants to see erotic queer and trans representation go, Jelena notes:

“I really want to see a larger variety of queer, trans and NB bodies become normalized through smut, erotica, and porn as I feel these vocations facilitate vulnerable space for people to be in, which is needed for personal growth. I want to see trans women — especially of colour — centred in our media.”

Find her on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter!


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Carolyn Yates is the NSFW Consultant, and was formerly the NSFW Editor (2013–2018) and Literary Editor, for Autostraddle.com. Her writing has appeared in Nylon, Refinery29, The Toast, Bitch, Xtra!, Jezebel, and elsewhere. She recently moved to Los Angeles from Montreal. Find her on twitter.

Carolyn has written 877 articles for us.

5 Comments

  1. Treating “professionals” as a superior object of desire is not politically neutral and not universally “healthy” – I’m poor and disabled, and generally middle-class people with nice jobs regard me as pitiable at best. Me wanting to fuck them would, uh… not be a sign that I was okay.

    Meanwhile, “scarier” fantasies aren’t necessarily harmful to the people having them. Women, nonbinary people, and LGBTQ people of all genders living in a sexist and homophobic world are going to have interesting relationships to taboos and power and consent, and exploring those issues through fantasy can be a positive experience, a negative experience, or something in the middle. It all depends on the person.

    If someone’s fantasies are causing them distress, then it’s worth it to try breaking away from things that contribute to those fantasies and seeing if that helps, and it’s always a good idea to try to work past fantasies revolving around specifically fetishizing a minority group you don’t belong to (since that almost always comes from some kind of dehumanizing attitude toward that group in real life), But for the most part, fantasies are fantasies. They don’t need to be morally pure, and even if you’re not outright telling people to change, assigning any sort of moral scale to fantasies is not particularly compatible with harm reduction. It also does literally nothing to help with the problem of porn treating sexist degradation as normal, because the type of porn this article is talking about is not at all made for people who read Autostraddle and Bitch Magazine, it’s made for the worst of men, and the sexist degradation is there independently of any sort of extreme/taboo content because the people who make it assume the audience prefers it this way. This is not about “our” desires, it’s about their desires. It has nothing to do with how problematic we are, because they don’t care.

    • Wow. Incredible thumbs-up and seconded to everything you’re saying here, ash. I have issues with that Bitch article because, like you say, the complete disconnect of talking to a primarily female/feminist audience about pornography styles and genres and tropes generally associated with the toxic male gaze is troubling. I wish I could say it felt like preaching-to-the-choir virtue signaling, but with the addition of the bit about sex museums, it actually just feels like thinly-veiled anti-tech rhetoric. Get off your smartphones, kiddies–back in my day, you had to walk six miles uphill to a sex museum and imagine the actions from the still life!

      As someone who’s negotiated a lot of healthy versus unhealthy kink and fantasy politics via fandom spaces, I don’t even know where to begin with your points about scary fantasies without taking this to a private conversation space where we wouldn’t annoy people with tl;dr, other than to give you the most astoundingly respectful thumbs-up on your “fantasy is a neutral medium, it just depends on who’s using it/how you use it” ideology. Again, so seconded it feels like you’re looking right into my brain as well.

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