Toys, Toys, Toys

June 3, 2010 at 5:15 pm | Posted in Sex | 5 Comments
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Yup, you heard me. Toys.

And I bet you can guess what kind of toys I mean. Yeah, those kinds. Get that mind in the gutter. Farther down. Yeah, there. ‘Atta girl.

I often get promotional emails and whatnot from a certain site where I’ve ordered some, well, necessary supplies in the past. (Don’t try telling me a vibrating egg isn’t a necessity. Keeps me from gettin’ cranky, and you won’t like it when I’m cranky. So it’s necessary.) The site is TooTimid.com.

I like them because they often offer new products completely free, just pay shipping and handling, so customers get a chance to try a new stock item and post some reviews. It’s a great way to get the occasional $30 piece for just the $6.95 shipping fee. And that’s what I use that site for: affordable new vibrating things. Sure, they don’t always last forever, but heck, I paid less than $10 for the thing, and some of them do last a while (and oh, have they lasted!) and it’s often worth a shot.

What I don’t usually use the site for: advice or reviews.

(I should mention now that many links that will follow are definitely NSFW. Wait until after 5 pm to look at them if you’re an office-desk jockey.)

Why? Because, seriously, take a look at some of the articles on the site. They’re patronizing, they’re cutesy, they’re juvenile, and they make assumptions about their readership, mainly that they’re upper-middle-class married women who are ashamed to talk about sex but are  simply looking to “spice things up” in the bedroom. There’s the occasional foray into the “for the single gals” line of thought, but they often are just… dumb. And irrelevant. They use the word “hubby” in too many reviews, use dumb stories to open up a line of thought, treat gay people like they’re trying to trick people, use CAPS FOR EMPHASIS (seriously, is the HTML for italics, bold, or underline really that hard?), or even when they do give weight to a topic that can empower women, it’s just… badly written. (You don’t need to be a grammar geek like me to realize that it’s just written like a 12-year-old girl, not a grown woman who essentially writes for a living. Though I’m sure even that is an insult to some 12-year-old girls out there who write better than that.) So, I ignore them.

But one article popped up in the newsletter this week, and while yeah, it’s also not written terribly well, I was intrigued and mildly impressed:

Sex Toys for Threesomes

Did you read it? Yeah? Good. (Before you judge me, remember I said “mildly” before “impressed.”)

I was also a little frustrated with it.

Why, you ask?

Well, let’s start with the good things. First of all, the article includes all combinations of genders (within the binary, at least) as possibilities: FFM, MMF, FFF, and MMM. Second, it recognizes that threesomes are, in fact, more “work” than coupling: you have to keep all three people engaged as much of the time as possible, and that can be difficult, since many sexual acts are simply not easy to alter to accommodate a third body. (Not impossible, mind you, and perhaps not even terribly difficult, but some are not easy.) And it even hints that keeping someone “engaged” could also mean having them watch, which is a role which several people, myself included, enjoy taking on in multi-person playtime. Third, and most importantly, it emphasizes safety! Condoms and dental dams are good, good, good things to mention. Threesomes can be sexy, they can be liberating, and they can be exciting — but it’s important not to let safety go amidst all the excitement. It’s particularly good to mention safety in the case of a third joining a couple (as opposed to three singletons coming together): the couple may have moved beyond using protection and be certified-safe with each other (tested, on birth control, etc.), but the newcomer? Who knows what his or her situation is. If the couple isn’t used to thinking about protection, then they might not think about it in the heat of the moment with this new, exciting presence in the room. So I’m very glad that the author mentioned safety — and so early on in the article, too.

But yes. Frustrations. There are frustrating elements.

First off, sure, FFM threesomes are perceived to be the most common combination, with MMF running a close second. But really? Only one paragraph for MMM and FFF combined? Come on, people. I’ve participated in all three combinations which allow a woman into the mix. With two other girls, it felt even more conducive to toys than the other two. We wimmins like our vibrating thingies. And there are some combinations of toys which work so well in an FFF situation which aren’t as exciting as in others. (Try combining a butterfly, a vibrating egg, a double dildo, and a blindfold or two… or three… and damn. That will do things that simply aren’t going to happen if there are any fewer than 3 women in the playroom.) Sure, the toys I mentioned were also mentioned earlier in the article for other combinations, but the author glosses over the same-sex threesomes so much that if someone were truly trying to figure out what to bring into the bedroom with his or her two same-sex paramours, it wouldn’t really speak to them at all. All she says is “look at the other combinations and pick and choose from there!” She could have done a much better job at making gay and lesbian triples feel like they had a place in the sex toy world. After all, she’s really just trying to sell the toys on the site, so she really should be giving equal weight to all the groups mentioned.

Second: “MMF = bondage” puts me off a bit. Sure, I can see it happening quite easily. But why so much more so than FFM or same-sex triplets? My MMF experience didn’t involve bondage at all. It was more in the “playful romp” category than the “whips and chains” sector. It’s fine, good, and great if a MMF triplet wants bondage to be a part of the experience, but why can’t thoughts of bondage also permeate into the FFM, FFF, and MMM combinations?

Third: Why separate out the groupings by gender combinations in the first place? All the toys mentioned could add to the experience regardless of the gender(s) involved. (Okay, fine, the double-dildo might not be so useful in MMF or MMM, but that’s the only exception, really.) Vibrating bullets, listed under FFM, are good for anyone: male, female, or in between. It’s essentially a catch-all toy. You’d have to be slightly messed up in the head not to enjoy the vibrations of a good ol’ basic egg. Edible body gels, mentioned in the MMF section, are just as good in FFM. Or FFF. Or MMM. Or MMFF. Or FFFM. Or MF. Or…. you get the picture. Some of these are generically useful for mixing things up; while it’s great to be offering information on threesomes, and thereby “normalize” the use of toys in such situations, it’s also good to keep in mind that toys don’t have just one purpose. Just like a paperclip can not only hold pieces of paper together, but can hit reset buttons on phones, get the gunk out from under a key in your keyboard, be clipped to a dozen other paperclips for a necklace, or be turned into a spring-toy for playing tiddly-winks, most of the toys mentioned don’t have just one purpose. I think this may be the point she’s getting across — but instead, she ends up pigeon-holing the toys even further: “When you’re in X situation, you can use Y toy!” will actually sound like “You can use Y toy in X situation, but not in any others!” And just like gender and sexuality, toys are flexible.

And there you have it. I just queered the sex toy.

Not the most cohesive post I’ve ever written, and I hope to whatever deities are out there that my parents aren’t reading this, but whatever.

What do you think? What did I miss? What do you agree with? Or disagree? Or want to smack me upside the head for?

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“Dirty Girl” Culture: Good, Bad or Indifferent?

May 7, 2010 at 10:02 am | Posted in Sex | 1 Comment
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A friend of mine posts plenty of interesting article on Facebook all day, which results not only in distracting me from work more often than necessary (oops), but also plenty of good reads that I’m glad I came across.

One of those came up the other day: “In Defense of ‘Dirty Girl’ Culture” by Jaclyn Friedman.

You may have noticed from my previous post (or you may not have, whatever) that Jaclyn Friedman is one of my all-time heroes. She came and spoke on UMD’s campus and was the first one to truly affirming of how I was feeling when she flat-out and unequivocally said that revoked consent is just as imperative for a man to respect as non-consent in the first place.

In this article, in case you’re too lazy to read it (don’t be, though — it’s good!), she discusses “dirty girl” culture, such as Ke$ha and the like who promote (or at least display) a lifestyle of the “bad girl” in some manner. This has long been looked down on for many reasons, most of which are based in the Puritanical backdrop upon which American culture rests. (Remember, our first colonists weren’t escaping from England for religious pluralism — they were going for freedom to be Puritans, which were more restrictive than the predominantly Anglican society.) By the “proper” narrative, a girl should be friendly, but not overbearing; attractive, but not flaunting; sexually appealing, but not sexual. Anyone outside of these bounds risks being dubbed “dirty” in one way or another.

However, if a boy goes outside of those boundaries… well, boys will be boys, amiright? *nudge nudge*

So Ke$ha and the other “dirty girls” out there, from the Pussycat Dolls to Spice Girls to Britney Spears to that girl who sang at the coffee bar I went to last week with all the profane lyrics… what are they doing? Are they straying from the path of good and following the yellow brick road to evil ways? Or are they standing up for their right to be just as sexual, just as loud, and just as foul-mouthed as their brothers?

Or perhaps it’s a little bit of both — because sometimes, their lyrics are degrading to women. But sometimes, their lyrics can be empowering, too. Britney’s “Womanizer” sticks out in my mind. The video is sexy as all hell. And in some ways, it shows good ol’ Brit in some roles which extremist feminists would decry as “degrading”: she’s cooking in the kitchen for her boy, she’s naked and on display, she’s thrusting her body at the guy.

On the other hand, look at the lyrics, and the overall message.

Lollipop, you must mistake me for a sucker
To think that I would be a victim of another
Say it, play it, how you want it
But no way I’m never gonna fall for you, never you, baby.

She’s directly confronting the guy who treats women as sexual objects. She’s saying, “Hell yeah, I’m sexy. And hell no, I’m not gonna fall for your trap… unless I want to. But you can’t trick me: I’m no victim.” Britney isn’t a passive sex doll. She’s a woman with plenty of leg to stand on. She may have no problem opening up those legs when she wants to… but don’t you for one second think you’ve played her, because she may very well be playing you.

She’s saying that she likes sex just as much as the boys. But that doesn’t make her weak: in fact, it makes her stronger. She asserts that sex can be a woman’s domain, too. She’s saying that the men who think sex is a goal to be sought, and a woman’s body an object to be conquered, are “womanizers” and therefore not worthy of her attention. She’ll tease them, she’ll flaunt herself for them, but h-e-l-l no she’s not about to let that bastard touch her unless she makes the first move. She’s a dirty girl. But he’s a dirtier boy. And she wins this round, ding ding.

Sex is dirty. And sex is for girls. So what’s so wrong with a “dirty girl”? Why is a “dirty girl” so much worse than her male equivalent? Britney and Ke$ha both put up a blockade. Ke$ha will “smack him if he gettin’ too drunk, drunk” and starts “tryin’ to touch my junk, junk.” She can be dirty, but she can stand up for herself when a boy starts acting like an idiot. Britney has no problem calling out the guy for what he is: a womanizer who ain’t gettin’ none tonight from her, no matter how many tight-fitting costumes she drops in front of him.

So what are these “dirty girls”? Are they morally reprehensible figures who ought only be shown on TV after the youngsters have gone to bed? Or are they role models for how a girl can be sexual and strong? Or is there a happy medium?

What do you think?

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