NSFW Lesbosexy Sunday Will Invite You In

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Welcome to NSFW Sunday!

+ “It always surprises me how little people can get away with knowing about sex workers,” writes Marlena Evans at the Toast. She also discusses Melissa Farley, an anti-sex work activist; how little people know about sex workers; and how great it is to have to demonstrate your own agency all the time for people who still won’t believe you:

“The platform we’ve given to people to evangelize about a job they’ve never worked and whose workers they are not listening to has created a climate in which I must prove beyond all doubt that my choice is my own. This was phrased best by a man I used to be friends with who would regularly post articles about the horrifying conditions of human trafficking, equating this with what I choose to do for a living. I sent him a message once explaining his false equivocation, and though he was not cruel or belligerent, he persisted, telling me: ”I’m still not sold on the supposed agency of sex work.’ […]

Choices are complicated – it should go without saying, but it doesn’t, not when an overwhelming number of people who have never done my job keep trying to keep my job illegal and my work unsafe. I have to sell them on my own agency.”

+ People change and evolve and relationships change and evolve. This is a fact but it is somehow always surprising. Maybe instead of expecting things to stay the same we should expect things to change, like careers and religions and opinions on having kids and also sexual attraction:

“The more we accept and understand the spectrum of human sexuality, the more we must grapple with the fact that sexual attraction can change over a lifetime. It’s complicated. There are no hard numbers on how often this happens given that it’s very nuanced, and ideally it becomes less traumatizing as greater acceptance of fluid sexualities emerges.

But if you try not to think of everyone as fitting into tidy little categories in the first place, notions of shifting attraction don’t have to wreck everything. Besides, it’s really the commitment to the relationship that matters most.”

+ Saying “thank you” helps, too.

Hayley Fingersmith and Sadie Lune via the crash pad

Hayley Fingersmith and Sadie Lune via the crash pad

+ Wondering how to even exist in a romantic relationship? Have interests and friends and your own life, earn each others’ trust, remember no one is perfect, define things on your own terms and together, and be your own whole person:

“The first, most important step is to be an advocate for yourself. Being in a relationship doesn’t mean that you stop caring for your own needs, and only care for the other person’s. You are in charge of taking care of you, physically and emotionally — the other person should not have that job. Don’t push yourself further, or be pushed further, than you want to go. Give your body what it needs to feel healthy.”

+ Sometimes people just feel sad after having sex.

+ If you want to join the Mile High Club, travel at night, don’t fly in economy and head to the washroom separately.

+ One main takeaway from this piece, and from a growing body of sex writing, is that we need to stop thinking in binaries and assuming situations are straightforward, and that by failing to do so we are simplifying what things are and limiting what they can be. Also “consensual” is a low bar for judging sex:

“‘We tend to talk about consent ‘as an individual process,’ she wrote, ‘not asking ‘What kinds of power are operating in this situation?’ but only ‘Did you or did you not say yes?” Feminists, she continued, ‘sometimes talk about ‘yes’ and ‘no’ like they’re uncomplicated … But ethical sex is hard. And it won’t stop being hard until we … minimize, as much as possible, power imbalances related to sex.’

It may feel as though contemporary feminists are always talking about the power imbalances related to sex, thanks to the recently robust and radical campus campaigns against rape and sexual assault. But contemporary feminism’s shortcomings may lie in not its over­radicalization but rather its under­radicalization. Because, outside of sexual assault, there is little critique of sex. Young feminists have adopted an exuberant, raunchy, confident, righteously unapologetic, slut-walking ideology that sees sex — as long as it’s consensual — as an expression of feminist liberation. The result is a neatly halved sexual universe, in which there is either assault or there is sex positivity.”

+ Andrea Zanin wrote about exhaustion, breaches in the body, play piercing and intention:

“In this case [BDSM], the experience is perhaps the purest: there is no health-related obligation or need. There isn’t even a desire for an end goal of beautiful body art – though that can be part of the fun, for instance with decorative temporary piercing or image-based cutting. Usually the reason for purple-hanky play is to have the experience itself: a deliberately chosen tank breach with a practitioner picked for their skill at making that experience positive, or for the energetic connection you wish to feel with them. You get play-pierced because you trust the practitioner to breach your tank and to see and touch your Stuff, and perhaps because you want a little bit (or a lot) of that practitioner’s Stuff to enter you.

I’m not saying everyone who does play piercing would think of it this way, or that this is always the reason for it. But I do think for those of us who like blood play, which is often discussed as a technical or artistic skill set, it might be useful to think about the energetic implications of that play, and to consider them as part of why we do it.”

+ From the Autostraddle Lesbian Sex Archives: Ellie wrote about how searching for the right sex toy is like searching for yourself:

“I’ll try things on and toss them off again. The confluence of my particular sort of punkesque femme, gender non-conformity and transness leave me without a simple way to say ‘this is me.’ I cannot simply say that I’m a tranny femme, or a punk rock faggot, or a radical queer, or a woman, or a creature because I’ve been all of that, I am all of that. The process of finding a comfortable gender feels a lot like searching for the right sex toy to appease my numb and swollen cunt.”

Also, it was Fisting Day earlier this week!

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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 1122 articles for us.

3 Comments

    • Seriously, that article is so important! It should be compulsory reading for all new couples.
      My last relationship fell apart because we were so awful at navigating this. We really made a habit of erasing ourselves in favor of meeting the other’s needs. It was so unhealthy, I can’t believe we lasted so long like that!
      Yes to self love and care! Nay to merging!

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