Unpacking the Toys

So, I’ve been unpacking and organizing my new digs. Clothes, for example, are roughly organized by type in the dresser. Two of the drawers screech horribly, so I’m avoiding them at the moment. Wintery odds and ends are shoved in the corners of the closet. *Shrug* But the toys, some of which I haven’t seen in three months? I’m treating them like lost children. “My babies!,” I think as I stroke through the floggers, hoping their tails will straighten out when I hang them up. I make a mental note to soak the end of the rattan cane. Everything gets wiped down as I unpack it into the closet. I debate whether to organize items by type (i.e. vibrators together) or activity (anal accoutrements together), or perhaps by frequency of use (dilators in front, ivory soap in back, etc.). The riding crop, which I’ve never been able to use well, is duly laid out. I add a small wooden cutting board. I thought maybe I’d contribute it to the kitchen, but now I think I’ll see how it does as a paddle. The leather care items I can put out on the shelf, at least. A short bamboo rod will arrive in the mail soon.

Most items? They get thrown together. Toys? They get special care. Maybe that’s because I intentionally bought or received most of them as gifts. But some of them, like the cutting board, are just ‘pervertibles’. I value them because their meaning is the meaning that I give, the life I breathe into them as a player. They’re not just objects, but histories told and adventures waiting to happen. I’m eager to learn what new adventures the next three months will bring–maybe even the mysterious crop will reveal its insight.

Psst–If you’re looking for a great toy-focused blog, check out JoEllen Notte, a.k.a. The Redhead Bedhead.

Why I Don’t Archive ‘Christian’ Sex Shops – Yes, They’re a Thing

Several self-described ‘Christian’ sex shops exist online, from Married Dance and Honoring Intimates to Covenant Spice. These shops sell “marital aids.” I have a lengthy and growing Resources page with several recommended adult retail vendors. I list sex shops because I want to connect readers with the safe, high quality sex toys and other adult items that work for them. I don’t want readers to feel shamed or excluded by the sex toy-buying experience. Thus, I don’t archive Christian sex shops among my recommendations. Why? In short, because they offer similar products to secular shops but vilify pornography, homosexuality, and sex outside of man-woman marriage. Some such sites even recommend that customers not use their toys for solo masturbation. Others don’t carry toys like strapon dildos, the sort of thing they might associate with queerness. 

For them as retailers, Christianity is a matter of marketing to a niche audience. That’s not necessarily an entirely bad thing. The religious selling point is what makes it okay for Christians (especially more conservative ones) to buy sex toys; I’m all for happier marriages and sexual exploration. 

Another differentiating element of Christian sex shops is their general refusal to associate with pornography. While I believe in promoting ethical pornogrpahy, if someone doesn’t want to see pornographic images, I understand. I wish that more websites had customizable menus, allowing viewers to opt into the various ways that it’s possible to engage with sexual information and content. That’s why I’m working on detailed systems of post categorization for this site–I want readers to be able to consent to what they are viewing. 

That said, while they expand the borders of what’s acceptable for Christian sex, these Christian sex shops still serve a purity-based framework that says “All sex is impure unless the participants meet an arbitrary set of standards.” For those who can meet the standards, whatever they are, these sites may be tenuously validating, but they invite a shaky and false sense of moral superiority (Honoring Intimates touts “Passion without perversion”). For those who don’t meet the standards (queer/trans folks, single and polyamorous folks, people who can’t marry, people who just want to explore their own sexuality without a partner, etc.) these sites perpetuate shame. 

When these shops call themselves “Christian-friendly,” they only mean friendly to a specific subset of Christians that fit their mold. It makes me sad. So many Christians (and non-Christians!) with passion to explore, and so few considered pure enough for vibrators and sexy underwear. For now, I’ll stick with the ‘heathens’.

Have you found any more inclusive Christian sex toy shops? If so, let me know!

Masturbation Monday – On Chronic Pain and Periods

[Image description: Photo is of a colorful silicone dilator set from Pure Romance arranged on top of its packaging box.]

I’ve decided to participate in the Masturbation Monday weekly blogging meme run by prolific sex blogger and freelance writer Kayla Lords! Please note, gentle readers, that while this post is not an erotica, it is sexually explicit and contains details about my own sex life, including masturbation, periods, and chronic pain. You can opt out of explicit posts by selecting “Non-Explicit Epistles” under Categories. 🙂 

So. My period started this morning. Huzzah! (Not really. I felt like my uterus was about to fall out.) Fortunately, I didn’t have to go anywhere. I had a silly thought while microwaving a heat pack: “I should’ve gotten off last night while I had the chance.” And then I realized “I still can.” 

Period masturbation takes a little extra work; I’ve turned it into a ritual. I started with a period-focused yoga practice to soothe my cramps and help me settle into my body. After spreading a towel out on my bed, turning on some ambient music, and assembling the implements (a handy little bullet vibe, an aloe-based lube, toilet paper, and a colorful silicone dilator set), I was ready to practice vaginal penetration. 

I have a chronic pelvic pain condition called vulvodynia that makes vaginal penetration difficult-to-impossible, so I don’t receive penetration with partners at this time (except for one time when I was riding my sub’s face; his tongue slipped right in without incident and felt good). Dilation is one way to retrain tight pelvic floor muscles to unclench, and it’s easiest for me when I’m relaxed and *drumroll* on my period. So I lay back, lubed the second-smallest dilator, and teased myself with it before starting to ease it in (technically, you can just lube, insert, and leave it be, but dilators work best for me when I treat them like sex toys). 

I didn’t get very far at first; I could tell that my left-side pelvic muscles were especially tense today. Rather than push harder, I turned on my vibrator and let it pulse lightly against the dilator. I let myself fantasize about being fingered by a mysterious dominant lady (I’m a switch). I don’t like getting fingered at this point in life, but I hope that I will someday. I love the idea of being physically open to a partner in that way. 

As my orgasm began to build, the dilator gradually slid further in. It’s always interesting to me, how the dilator reminds me that my orgasm is an internal and external process. When I finally came, I felt myself spasm around it, not in a painful, clenching way, but a wet, luxurious, full-bodied way.

After I built back up and came again, I turned off the vibe and rested for a moment. I removed the dilator very slowly–it had gone in about halfway. Then, I stretched like a cat, rose, cleaned up, and went downstairs for a bowl of macaroni-and-cheese. Not so bad for a period day. 

End-note: If you have pelvic pain (a very common and, sadly, under-treated issue), I highly recommend that you look into getting treatment with a pelvic pain specialist. You shouldn’t have to just live with it. Your pain matters. 

For anyone curious about vaginal dilation in consultation with a specialist, here’s a link to the dilator set I use. I used the red one this time (oddly enough, it has been easier to use than the smaller yellow one. I think my vulva likes its shape better). 

Masturbation Monday