I own very few sex toys.
Historically, I've found sex toys somewhat intimidating. I bought my first sex toy in my late teens — a large, cheap purple jelly vibrator from Spencer's Gifts at the mall (the only place I knew to find sex toys). I didn't really enjoy using it. The vibrations made my genitals go numb after a few minutes, and it was too big and rigid to feel good inside my vagina.
By Anonymous Pleasure Pie Contributor
A little under a year ago, I started dating a guy (I’ll call him my “partner”) who was especially adamant about me enthusiastically consenting to every sexual thing we did.
It wasn’t that he was asking for verbal consent more often than my other partners. It was that he pretty much begged me to never do anything sexual with him that I didn’t fully want to be doing.
By anonymous Pleasure Pie contributor
[Content notice: Rape and sexual coercion]
Last night I went on my first Tinder date, and it was horrible!
By Nicole Mazzeo
I am currently reading submissions for the masturbation zine that we’re making, and I love them so, so much! I am teary-eyed big-smiling and holding my hand to my chest as I read because it is so touching. I had no idea how powerful hearing about people’s experiences with masturbation would be for me!
But the reason I’m writing this post is to tell you that I am EXTENDING THE DEADLINE TO SUBMIT! You now have until May 25 to submit a piece.
Don’t be intimidated by how amazing I just made all of the submissions sound! We love submissions that are honest, open, and clear. You don’t have to be a professional writer to submit a piece. We just want to hear about your experience of masturbation, because that is fascinating in itself!
Submissions can be anonymous or not, up to you.
Click here to read the full prompt & submit a piece!
Update: This zine now exists! You can find it here.
We’re making a zine about masturbation! Why?
Last summer, I was at a sexuality-focused retreat where public sex was allowed, and I wanted to try masturbating in a very public place because I thought it might help me get over some of my shyness and discomfort with sexual expression. I was nervous, so one of my friends said that she would do it with me. Then I mentioned it to a few strangers at lunch, and they were all about the idea, so it turned into a little group of us, all reclining on lawn chairs by the pool, for a masturbation session. We all started touching our individual vulvas – we were all vulva-owners – and my friend looked at me and was like, “What’s with the underwear?” I think she thought I was being shy because I was still wearing underwear, but it was actually that I usually prefer to touch my vagina through fabric for a little while before transitioning to direct vulva contact, especially if I’m not using lube. I told her this, and she was like, “Well then, by all means, I’ll get us some lube!” She quickly came back with a round of lube for everyone, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and we all went about our business.
This experience made me realize: I pretty much never see other people masturbate. Because of that, I don’t know how you all are doing it! And I want to know.
So that is what this zine is about – sharing all our masturbation techniques, routines, stories, visuals, etc.
Tell us how you do it!
Submit a piece of writing (nonfiction preferred), art (ideally based on true experiences), photography, a diagram, etc. by April 30, 2016 to potentially have it featured in the zine. Submissions can be anonymous or not, up to you!
How do you masturbate?
Do you use lube? Toys? Erotica? If so, what kinds?
Where do you always touch yourself? Sometimes touch? Never touch?
Do you have any rituals (i.e. certain times, locations, etc.)?
What do you think about during it? People you know? A partner? Someone you were sexual with before? A crush? Friend? Acquaintance? Stranger? Celebrity? Imaginary person? Vague imaginary person? Something else?
How does your body feel/react? Do you usually orgasm? Does it ever hurt or feel uncomfortable? How does it compare to being sexual with a partner (if that’s something you do sometimes)?
You are welcome to answer some, none, or all of these questions in your submission.
We are looking for submissions from people of all genders. Must be 18+.
Submit a piece at pleasurepie.tumblr.com/submit or by emailing email@example.com.
Please share widely with anyone you think might be interested in submitting a piece!
Thanks so much! :)
Anonymous Pleasure Pie contributor
Is sex dirty? Is enjoying sex a bad thing? Is it only okay if you always do it with the same person? Or if you’ve made a forever commitment with them?
Why do we have so many restrictions on our sexual enjoyment? What are we afraid might happen if we embrace sexual pleasure?
I got really into religion when I was thirteen. At that time I also happened to be going through puberty and becoming very interested in the possibility of interacting sexually with another person. But my religious role models were sending me some firm messages about the need to control one’s sexuality in order to live a moral life. And I took all the values they taught me very seriously.
So I tried not to masturbate. That usually worked until just before my period each month when my hormones would go wild. But I didn’t know anything about hormones, so every time I masturbated and then got my period the next day, I thought god was punishing me for what I had done.
I determined that I needed to stop giving into my sexual (and sinful) urges. I thought that if I could make myself feel ashamed enough, this tower of shame would serve as a self control replacement when self control didn’t cut it. When this method didn’t work, I just kept adding shame to the top of the shame tower every time I slipped up.
Luckily for my young faith, I was never intimate with a person (other than myself) who knew how to make my genitals feel good (what, was I going to tell them what felt good? Ha!). So for that and other reasons (i.e. I was uncool) my sexual interactions with other people were rare.
But that stretch of clueless boyfriends/no boyfriends ended when I was 17. By this time, I was adamantly against the idea of experiencing any kind of sexual pleasure until I was married. But this one guy pressured me endlessly and eventually I gave in.
In my attempts to switch from demonizing sex to having a satisfying sex life, I was surprised to find that I couldn’t orgasm when I was with another person. During sexy times, I found myself having terrible anxiety. I worried about all sorts of things: whether or not I was pleasing my partner, the smell of my genitals, my heaps of overdue homework assignments, etc. And I wasn’t thinking at all about what I wanted or how I could enjoy what we were doing.
I was also afraid to seem like I was enjoying it, even when I kind of was. I know now that whoever I’m hooking up with wants me to enjoy the things we’re doing together, and would probably even be turned off if they thought I wasn’t. But at the time it didn’t even occur to me that part of the point was for me to enjoy it. I thought I would seem gross and porn-y if I expressed that I had any sort of sexual inclinations. I was beyond terrified of putting my true sexual feelings out there for others to see.
My boyfriend would ask me for a lap dance and I would freeze. I had taught myself to hide any trace of my sexuality from my self expression (and I was especially intentional about hiding it from my dancing, since I always heard people lamenting the hyper-sexualized music videos of the world today). Now I was supposed to just switch that off? I imagine this is how many couples who wait until they’re married to have sex feel once they try to embrace sex in the context of their marriage.
So I began a journey of reclaiming my sexuality. I read articles upon articles about sex positivity. I came out as queer*. I visited sex shops and bought a vibrator. I sampled many kinds of erotic media. The list goes on.
Now, eight years later, I’m still unlearning my internalized shame. And I’m up against a culture that has taught me that women aren’t supposed to want or enjoy sex. But I’ve finally learned to ask myself: What do I want? What would feel good or be fun for me?
I indulge in cozy blankets with an erotic story (tailed to my interests!) and have great sexy time with myself. I communicate my desires and sexual fantasies to my partner and – get this – we try them out! I give myself room to experiment with things that I don’t know whether or not I’ll like.
These simple practices are what embracing pleasure looks like for me. It’s appreciating the sexual aspect of who I am. It’s unapologetically saying that I’m horny**. It’s believing that my experience of pleasure is a good thing – something to be celebrated, not something to repent or hate myself for, not something to see as less important than my partner’s pleasure.
I like sexual pleasure. And that’s okay.
*Well, I still haven’t come out to everyone.
**It took me years to be able to use that word without just dying on the spot.
By Christina Bartson
During a recent Sunday brunch with my crew, my girlfriend was retelling her night’s sexscapades and blurted out a now infamous line her guy dropped right before things got hot-and-heavy. They’re making out, and he comes up for air, takes her by the shoulders and says completely seriously, “Ok, wanna make a game plan?”
He wanted to make a game plan for sex. We’ve laughed over this a thousand times, and frequently reference it in conversation because it’s funny, sure, but it’s also an ingenious sex-positive concept. A game plan for sex—both parties are collaborating to make decisions together, both people have equal power, both are consenting verbally. It warrants communication, and most importantly, a game plan means a thorough warm up. I’m talking about foreplay—a critical time for partners to turn up the heat and set some game rules. Anyways, you know you play better when you’re properly limbered up.
Foreplay gives partners a chance to build trust.
In the words of a good friend, foreplay is our time to, “physically and emotionally feel each other out.” You’re establishing your level of comfort, and guiding each other around your bodies the way you feel secure and respected. You learn each other’s style of communicating—how your partner responds and invites. You discover what makes them arch their back and bite their lip, respectfully exploring the wonders of their body. During foreplay, you can show your partner that they can rely on you to respect and honor their limits and preferences.
Trust increases pleasure.
Our bodies can sense when we are feeling unsafe. Our muscles are tense when we feel anxious, and when our bodies are not relaxed, they’re not ready for sex. Foreplay serves an important purpose in sex in preparing our bodies, warming us up not just emotionally, but bodily, too. This is important for everyone, but especially for people with vaginas. When bodies with vaginas become aroused, the muscles pull the uterus up and it makes more room in the vagina. This is called vaginal tenting and it creates more space to make penetration more comfortable and satisfying. Foreplay also helps boost natural lubrication—an ingredient that can make sex more enjoyable for all parties involved.
Communicating for consent and pleasure
How do you know when you’re partner is feeling ready to rumble? Talking about it, of course.
A common misconception is that talking during sex ruins the moment. Well, this is a ridiculous myth largely constructed by Hollywood—those flawless choreographed sex scenes where the individuals in the shot don’t need to communicate because they both already read the screenplay. In real-life sex, however, communication is necessary, and it makes it better, too. Personally speaking, hearing someone care for your body and emotional well-being is very sexy. Asking for what you want is empowering, and in return, inquiring about what feels good for your partner shows reciprocated attention to their experience.
For best results, try: How are you? Does this feel good? Is this okay? What do you want? These questions enhance sex, prolong it, and extend it (pardon the pun). Also, they’re a crucial step in foreplay and should be continued throughout. Keep asking, and never assume that one “yes” covers it all. Being attentive to your partner puts you fully in the moment and this makes your experience more fulfilling, too.
Foreplay, or More-play?*
Foreplay is about more than just hands on body parts—it’s the ways we communicate and establishing consent every step of the way in a creative, sensitive, and sexy manner. It’s the hushed talking at the corner in the party or the whisper in an ear on the walk home. It’s the firm hand-holding when you walk across an icy sidewalk, and the “Hey, watch your step, it’s slippery.” It’s the eye contact. It’s being present. It’s showing you’ve got the hots playfully, openly, and respectfully.
However, foreplay should not be reduced to just pre-gaming. Yes, it serves as a warm up, but it can be a main event, too. Why not try thinking of foreplay as sex? Perhaps we need to rethink our definition of sex. Sex is not just a means to an end. It’s everything leading up to the finale, too. We shouldn’t limit sex to homeruns, or scoring. This language ignores and forgets foreplay, and how the process can be equally as enjoyable and important as the end of the game.
Foreplay dedicates time to having those crucial conversations between partners that help sex and sexy feelings come from empowered places, not embarrassed or uneasy places. Next time you’re about to get it on, follow the wise words of the game-plan-guy and revel in the fervent functions of foreplay. Limber up, players.
*Cheesy pun courtesy of Nicole Mazzeo.