NSFW Lesbosexy Sunday Is Quantifying Desire

Feature image of Finn McKee and Scout in Crash Pad Series episode 267. All of the photographs in this NSFW Sunday are from the Crash Pad Series. 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!

Betty Blac and Kitty Stryker in Crash Pad Series episode 132

If you feel weird about your genitals, here are some tips for slowly getting more familiar with them if you want to from therapist Vanessa Marin, starting from visualization and moving all the way to watching yourself in a mirror:

[T]he best way to get more comfortable with your own genitals is to interact with them. The more often you look at and touch your own genitals, the more comfortable you will get with them, as familiarity creates more comfort. I know this can be anxiety-inducing at first, so you can break it down into baby steps. […]

First, imagine yourself touching yourself, and picture yourself feeling relaxed. Don’t actually look, just imagine yourself doing it. This is a great first step for women who are really nervous about creating a relationship with their genitals. You can stay at this step for weeks, or even months, until you start to feel more comfortable.”

Max Madame and Q in Crash Pad Series episode 261

Stop relationship cycling. Also break ups are hard but sleeping with your ex(es) isn’t going to help:

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“‘When your relationship is over, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your emotional connection with that person is over,’ she says. ‘Sometimes our heart has to catch up to our mind.’ The fact that you may still have feelings for a person doesn’t inherently mean that the breakup was a mistake, but it does mean that you’re human. The truth is people often have sex with their exes for reasons that are far deeper than being horny. ‘When we’ve made up our minds to leave, a lot of the time, people will continue to be intimate with someone or have sex with someone because of that emotional connection that has not been healed,’ says Thomas. She points out that, culturally, we assume a breakup means an end to these feelings, but that’s rarely the case. Give yourself the time to feel all your feelings, but remember that you don’t have to act on them (if you’ve decided that it’s not in your best interest).”

Odile and Daisy Ducati in Crash Pad Series episode 160

Desirability is subjective, so it’s weird to try to quantify it, as a recent study did. There are things that everyone considers to be part of desire – the researchers give physical appearance or presence, intelligence, and a sense of humor as examples. And then there are the things that you consider to be part of desire – like blue eyes, a tendency to strike up conversations with strangers in public, or a very detailed familiarity with certain BDSM practices, for example. That’s why desire is so unique (also why you need to meet that Tinder match in person), writes Cari Romm reporting on the study at the Cut:

“[W]hatever your personal collection of likes comprises, they don’t always play out as anticipated once a collection of likes becomes a living, breathing human. If you think a little more critically about the true utility of Tinder, OkCupid, and their ilk, ‘
None of these are dating sites'” Fisher says. ‘They’re introducing sites.’

Compatibility is a complex, often unknowable alchemy. And of the several bazillion factors that go into determining whether two people click, many can only be sussed out by having them actually interact with each other in person. That’s step two, where the real assessment of another person’s desirability happens. Evolutionary biologist Justin Garcia, who like Fisher is a researcher at the Kinsey Institute and a scientific adviser to Match, uses the analogy of fingerprints: ‘Every person you try and court, they’re also a unique fingerprint, so imagine you’re pushing two fingers together — every time, not only is the other finger different, but the dynamic interaction of you and the other person is going to be different.'”

Bhuma Belle and Tinder in Crash Pad episode 170

Your self-esteem peaks at age 60.

Sometimes late-night HBO is your sex education.

Sexual fantasies don’t translate to sexual behaviours – but these are the kinks people fantasize about most. Anna Pulley writes:

“Centuries of sexual policing by religious, medical, and political establishments—not to mention entrenched racism, sexism, homophobia, and colonialism—have really done a number on our collective sexual subconscious, as well as our beliefs about the kind of sex we are ‘supposed’ to have. Remember when fellatio was considered a felony? It wasn’t that long ago! And a fun fact: In 1778, Thomas Jefferson wrote a law in Virginia stating that men who commit polygamy and sodomy should be castrated, and women should be punished ‘by cutting thro’ the cartilage of her nose a hole of one half inch diameter at the least’ for either act.

It’s no wonder a great many Americans feel guilt, shame, and anxiety about what they desire. Yet, as Jack Morin taught us in his seminal book The Erotic Mind, sometimes it is precisely that very guilt, shame, and anxiety that fuel our desires—because nothing is hotter than wanting what we’ve been told we should not want.”

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 1069 articles for us.

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