When is Talking About Looks Damaging to Mental Health?

body image, Health, mental health

I’m a pretty confident gal. Actually, that’s an understatement. I am a seriously confident woman. I think I’m gorgeous, exceptionally talented, super interesting, and not least of all, very humble.

I’m lucky to have a fantastic mom, who always modelled body confidence, never talked about weight, and told me I was the most beautiful woman in the world (well, except for my equally beautiful sisters). My partners have never made me feel bad about my body. I go for a “queer, curvier Sophia Loren in 1964” vibe, and I’m pretty pleased with the results.

And yet…

Read the complete article at Talkspace and Thrive Global. Featured image: Pierre Best, Unsplash.


Chokhri, a New Sexual Health Project, Maps Marital Rape and Abortion in India

Health, India, Sexual violence, Sexuality

There’s a scene about birth control in the questionably feminist 2017 Hindi flick Lipstick Under My Burqa that stuck with me. Shireen, whose abusive husband rapes her and refuses to use condoms, goes to the gynecologist for another abortion. The gynecologist tells her she can’t keep having abortions and using the morning after pill, and the only other form of available birth control is the condom. Shireen, however, knows her husband won’t use them.

Hold up, I thought, sitting in the theater. What about the pill? After all, I get my pack easily available at my handy-dandy local Delhi pharmacy, prescription-free, for the grand total of 60 rupees (about 88 cents) a month. Easy, peasy, preventing pregnancy. Why wasn’t this fictional gynecologist suggesting that this lady who clearly needs a covert and independent form of birth control use the pill?

That wasn’t the first time I’d noticed a difference in the politics of contraception, and specifically the daily pill, in India versus in the United States. Compared to my friends at home, many if not most of whom are on the pill, none of my heterosexually-active women friends here uses the pill for birth control (more, in fact, use the morning after pill). I’ve had a lot of conversations about this, and friends pointed to many factors affecting our different attitudes toward hormonal contraceptives: mistrust for Western medicine, a mistrust for pharmaceutical companies, and lack of sex education in homes and schools (of course, far from an India-specific phenomenon). Friends also pointed to the role of state-sponsored family planning programs, exclusively geared toward married women and including sometimes-fatal forced sterilization, in sowing justified mistrust towards contraception programs as a potential act of state control. Finally, while we had these conversations among ourselves, there was a distinct lack of sexual and reproductive health resources on even our progressive university campus.

One new site is looking to change this. Called Chokhri, a Hindi word meaning “girl” (but in a pejorative, “woman of ill repute” kind of way), the site aims to create crowd-sourced maps of sexual assault, workplace sexual harassment, abortion access, and marital or intimate partner rape. While crowd-sourced maps of gendered violence aren’t new, Chokhri’s approach is important. First, the project includes a map of marital or intimate partner rape, which remains legal in India, and which is often overlooked in favor of sensationalized accounts of public sexual violence by lower-class and caste men against upper-class and caste women.

Second, the map of abortion access is useful in sparking a conversation about particularly young, unmarried women’s access to reproductive healthcare and contraception. In a social context where premarital sex is certainly common but remains quite taboo, discrimination and moral policing against sexually active unmarried women by gynecologists and other medical professionals is rampant. Meanwhile, there is a massive problem of sex-selective abortion against female fetuses, which contributes to a highly skewed sex ratio and the devaluing of girls’ lives. Yet access to abortion remains difficult particularly for poor and unmarried women. This is especially true considering that, while abortion by doctor’s recommendation to protect the health of a woman or in the case of rape is universally legal, elective abortion (abortion in case of contraceptive failure) is  technically only legal for married women. While  unmarried women can access elective abortion under-the-table even in reputed clinics, stigma and socioeconomic constraints mean that access remains an issue.

Chokhri’s demographic seems highly skewed toward young, English-speaking urban women, which definitely limits the scope of experiences it can represent. Yet the videos on its Twitter, featuring young women talking openly about sexual health, are great in a context where sexual health resources remain largely inaccessible even for privileged women.

Check out the site (plus an awesome cover image!) here, the Twitter feed (with videos!) here, and Vice India’sinterview with the site’s founder, Rashi Wadhera, here.

Read the original article here. Featured Image via Victor Byckttor at Wikimedia Commons.

What the New York Times Gets Wrong About Obesity


I hope you’re not valuing your dignity as a human person — or worse! feeling good about your body! — while you read yet another stilted and shame-y diatribe about the moral perils of snack food. If you are, you may catch a serious flaw in much of the New York Times’ recent obesity coverage: we continue blaming and moralizing fat people for the problems of the American food system.

In her February 26 installment, entitled “More Fitness, Less Fatness,” (and published, I kid you not, under the category “Obesity: The Big Picture”), health columnist Jane E. Brody blames the fat acceptance movement for obesity, arguing (incorrectly) that fat people’s self-love is causing a public health crisis. In her November 13, 2017 column, Brody effectively blames childhood obesity on the parents of America who “ply [their children] with snacks all day long.” The piece begins with this gem of an opening (which yes, I mad libbed in my own):

I hope you’re not chomping on a bagel or, worse, a doughnut while you read about what is probably the most serious public health irony of the last half century in this country: As one major killer — smoking — declined, another rose precipitously to take its place: obesity.

Besides being moralizing and downright smug, this opening points to a serious oversight which haunts most writing on obesity: blaming fat people for the American food system. In the world many health and nutrition writers conjure, snack foods fall from the clouds onto our grocery market shelves, where people then make bad, irresponsible individual choices (because they are by implication bad, irresponsible people) and eat these foods. In this explanatory universe, being fat is bad, and Americans are fat because they are bad.

There are several things wrong here. To begin with, there is nothing wrong with being fat. As Lindy West argues, fat people are just fine the way they are, and it is our society which has stigmatized them by making them into scapegoats of collective feelings of guilt and shame. This moralizing, individualizing language is a smokescreen to addressing an actual issue our society suffers from: A food system that does not nourish. By focusing on fatness, rather than the food system, health and nutrition writers scapegoat fat people and reduce a collective, societal, economic, and political problem into a narrow, individual, moral problem.

So let’s stop stigmatizing fatness and focus on what’s really wrong here — the intersection of capitalism, racism, gender oppression, and food.

Americans’ average weight has increased dramatically in the past three decades because our food system, backed by the U.S. government, has made out like bandits from pushing food that does not nourish us, and has profited especially from doing so in poor, black and brown communities and across the developing world. The stigma of this system comes down hardest on the backs of women, who are not only disproportionately responsible for food preparation, but who are also disproportionately scrutinized about weight. If there is a moral failing here, it is of a food system in which the wealthy few profit from reducing normal people’s access to nourishment, and then selling them weight loss products to keep them in a cycle. This is a systemic failure. It is not fat people’s fault or responsibility.

The funny thing here is that The New York Times is aware that there is such a thing as a food system, that it is deeply political, and that mass-produced, high-calorie, low-nutrient food products make a hell of a lot of money for very powerful corporate entities. The Times’ news coverage of the issue explicitly links obesity with the spread of global capitalism — for example, in their coverage of obesity in Kenya, which attributes increasing obesity to the effects of imported, corporate and ready-made food products and the decimation of newly urbanized people’s traditional forms of sustenance. They’ve covered the intentional efforts of the Trump government at NAFTA to advocate for the interests of the wealthy corporates against the people’s right to information about the food we eat. They’ve pointed out that campaigns to encourage (or guilt or shame) people into healthy eating have been hardly effective in the face of the current food system.

That’s why it’s even more dismaying to read New York Times Opinion writers recycling very tired stereotypes about fat people “chomping” on donuts rather than engaging with the system that makes processed foods most accessible for many especially impoverished people in the first place. Pretending that food is a personal, individual problem, a struggle between virtue and vice, puts more money in everyone’s pockets — food companies, diet companies, and commentators who write about this stuff. By isolating people in individual pockets of body-related guilt and shame, we allow the system to continue to function as usual.

We know that sexism is not the fault of individual women, and that poverty is not the result of a moral failure or poor work ethic. Similarly, let’s ditch stigmatizing fatness, forget bullying our bodies into an imagined ideal, and turn our attention to the real issue: the right of every person to have access to affordable, nourishing food.

You can read the original post on Feministing.

Fucking with Feministing: Squirt-O-Rama, Redux

Health, Relationships, Sexuality

Check out the original article on Feministing.

Welcome to Fucking with Feministing, Feministing’s column about all things fucking and fucking-adjacent. Got a question about dildos? We’re on it. Want to explore fun, sexy sex outside of the realm of p-and-v intercourse? All over it, baby. Or maybe you’ve got a totally different question, which you can send in to reina@feministing.com to see answered on national television. Just kidding, it’ll be answered here, on the blog. 

I’m your host, Reina Gattuso, and if I’ve never done the thing you’re asking about, then I’ve at least spent hours looking at Google images of it for research purposes. Plus, our super rad partners (not, like, the physical sexual kind) at theCenter for Sex and Culture definitely have the answers you’re looking for. So send me your sexy q’s atreina@feministing.com

Welcome to today’s topic: SQUIRT-O-RAMA, REDUX!

We’ve actually run a satisfying column on squirting already from the lovely and every-sexy Sesali, but the questions about this alluring practice continue to gush forth. The people want to know about squirting — and we’re here for the people.

So let’s revisit the debate and have a handy how-to on how to bring forth your inner fountain!

Today our fabulous reader asks:

What’s the trick with squirting? Does it feel good? Should I aim to learn how to do it because it benefits my sex life or is it something people see in porn and therefore think it’s sexy? Maybe I could learn it, but not if it doesn’t improve the already good sex I’m having.

Squirting probably comes up so much as a topic because in recent years it’s been featured in magazines and the like as one of the great mysteries of human sexuality, alongside the classics: “Can anyone actually suck their own dick?” and “Why am I attracted to Nicolas Cage??”

Is squirting real? Is squirting fake? Is squirting a myth invented to oppress women?

Nah, lots of people say they’ve squirted so it’s definitely real. But sexologists continue to debate the issue. Stirring questions in the realm of squirting include such age-old dilemmas as: Is squirting triggered by stimulating the G spot or is the G spot actually just part of a whole clitoral compound? Is the fluid that comes out of people when they squirt some special squirty-cum or is it just pee? 

Never fear, dear reader, for you are not alone on your journey for answers. For the purposes of writing this column, I am a fellow traveler with you on the squirty path of life. Luckily, our dear friends at the Centre for Sex and Culture are experts on squirting, so we’re in good hands.

So let’s get down to business and, like the rigorous sexy voyagers we are, examine several aspects of the issue. Namely: What exactly is squirting? How do you squirt? And, if I’m not squirting already, am I now obligated to learn the art of the squirt or else I’m a sexual nobody? (Nah.)

A Squirty Controversy

The debate on squirting has divided sexologists, people who work at feminist sex toy shops, and people who wear white coats in pharmaceutical adds for centuries — or at least a few decades.

First, the basics: Squirting, also called “female ejaculation,” is when someone without a penis ejaculates a fluid from their urethra, generally following a lot of G spot stimulation. Of course, because we’re feminists we know that the “female” in “female ejaculation” is misleading, since just ‘cause you don’t have a dick doesn’t mean you’re female.

Researchers have different opinions on squirting, a result of the relative lack of research on female pleasure in general and squirting more specifically. A controversy recently erupted, for example, when a very small study concluded that the fluid ejaculated during squirting is actually urine, a conclusion which the squirting humans of Twitter have vociferously protested.

As far as we know, however, squirting totally exists, results from G spot stimulation, and the ejaculate that results comes from the Skene’s gland. This is a gland located on the upper wall of the vagina, part of the complex known as the “prostata femina,” or “female prostate” (which again, misleading, ‘cause not all people with vaginas are female!). When you get this complex really, really happy, it erupts.

Some of the controversy about this happy organ and its ejaculatory fun, our friend Carol at the Center for Sex and Culture has noted, is because it’s quite possible not all women actually have Skene’s glands. And it’s also possible that some women pee a little during sex. The body is strange and this is all normal and acceptable, so don’t panic!

The Squirty Journey

So, how do you squirt? It’s all about the g spot.

First off, if you’re embarking on a journey to squirt city, remind yourself that sex is not a goal-oriented endeavor and that even if you don’t squirt, you get to touch yourself/have a partner touch you for a long time, which is great in and of itself.

If you care about not getting your sheets wet and you’re feeling optimistic, put down a towel. Also, so that you’re not paranoid about peeing on said towel, pee before you begin.

Now turn yourself on, friend (or recruit an enthusiastic lover to help you). Whatever gets you going. Book, porn, National Treasure parts 1 and 2. Stroke where you want to be stroked. Light a candle like Our Body, Ourselves used to suggest, if you get off on scented candles. Go to town on yourself (clit’s a good idea!).

When you’re super turned on, try meeting the G spot, if you’re not already friends. The G spot is located a couple inches into the vagina, and feels like a ribbed or spongy place on the upper wall. If you can feel it, give it a good press.

Also, remember that everything is chill and that even if you don’t have a moment of G spot revelation where you’re like “IT HATH BEEN FOUND!”, you’re totally normal. For years I thought I had found my G spot until a girlfriend actually stimulated my G spot for the first time. It really can feel like you’ve got to pee, but in a sexy way.

Now is where we get into the sticky part: G spot pressure. Lots of pressure. Use your fingers or use a sex toy; most of all, use your imagination! 

I personally get this far in my squirting journey, feel super pee-tastic, and then get really tense about the pee thing, which totally prevents the squirt thing. So don’t be like me: embrace the pee, listen to Sesali and enjoy the ride!

Pro tip: If you actually do pee at any point in the squirting journey, that’s okay. This is why we have detergent and water to wash sheets. No one will perish tragically from exposure to squirting-adjacent urine and you will get a great sex story out of it.

Go you!

If I’m not already squirting do I have to go and learn squirting or else I’ll be a sexual nobody???


If you are already a squirtin’ diva, that is awesome for you and I hope you are having lots of fun! Go you, human!

If you’re not already squirting like a water gun, but you feel that getting your ejaculation on would be a super fun experience that would up your general sexual hilarity, go for it! Try following the above advice, and hey — let me know if it works.

If you’re not a squirter and you feel that this particular piece of sexual trivia sounds meh/too complicated/or it is just not high on your priority list, you totally never have to read, think, or even utter the word “squirt” again. While we 100% respect the experiences of people who find that squirting is a great part of their sexual existence, we don’t all have to squirt ourselves. To each their very own, baby.

And as to whether porn has misled us as to the reality or desirability of squirting: People sometimes see things performed dramatically for a camera, are turned on by those things, and then want to replicate these things in the home bedroom and maybe even stake their sense of personal satisfaction on whether they can replicate said things. These attempts range from “borderline unrealistic” to “only safe for trained professionals,” depending on the activity. And also, of course, what mainstream pornography often does not adequately display is the wonderful variety of human sexuality.

So if you’re into squirty porn, that’s great, but don’t let it lead you to believe that you’re inadequate if you can’t squirt or can’t release, like, an entire bottle of whipped cream from your genitals. Also, if you find mainstream porn is giving you performance anxiety, might be a good moment to try out queer and feminist alternatives! At the end of the day, just remember that each human body is unique and does different things and that is why being a human is awesome.

Now, dear reader, we have come to the end. I wish you luck on your squirty journey, whatever form it takes. Enjoy, and remember — the journey, not the quantity of fluid ejaculated by your nether regions, is the real succor of life.

Fucking with Feministing: No Hard-On? No Problem!

Health, Relationships, Sexuality

Originally published at Feministing.

My question is: What are some ways to have great male to female sex without penetration/ with a male who suffers from erectile dysfunction (ED)?

My boyfriend was recently diagnosed with ED and its been really tough – that fucking patriarchal pressure for men to be ridiculous ultra-virile sex machines is hitting him very hard and, while there is some info out about ED there, it’s quite limited and we’ve been struggling to find new ideas about how to actually have fun and play without him being erect. I’m so excited to be making our sex less p-in-v centric regardless of the reason as I think its a really important move to make generally!

Oh, the tyranny of the hard cock.

The struggle is real and relevent to so many of us whose sexualities, gender identities, and genitals just don’t line up with the “cis dude jackhammering cis lady with SUPER HARD COCK” thing. I mean, hammering or being hammered with a SUPER HARD COCK can be fun! But it’s not the only fun or necessarily the most fun, and the idea that it is has been ruining sex lives probably since humankind has idealized hard cocks.

hard cock cave painting

Yes, that caveman has a hard-on.

This is a super relevent question not only for cis dudes who can’t get or maintain hard-ons for whatever reason. It’s also relevent for a lot of trans people, queer people, intersex people, and people with a diversity of penises which may or may not get hard. And honestly, as our friends at the Center for Sex and Culture reminded us, the messed-up sexual politics of our obsession with hard penises are already implied in the name “erectile dysfunction,” “dysfunction” implying that the whole point of dicks is hard-ons, and that not getting an erection is a failure. Sexologists, meanwhile, prefer to simply call this “not getting an erection when you want one.”

The paucity of info is real: Most of the articles online about having sex with ED are like, geared toward straight cis people from doctors who all seem to be operating on the assumption that p-in-v penetration is the only real deal. But we’re feminists and we know that just ain’t so.

So honestly, it sounds like you and your boyfriend are about to have a wild wonderful ride of pleasure in ways that maybe patriarchy has not previously allowed you to imagine!

And it sounds like you’ve taken just the right first steps in learning about ED (even though the farts on the ED websites seem to have very limited erotic vision), thinking critically about what sex even means for you guys in the first place, and opening up communication with your partner about what you’re both feeling and experiencing. A great first step for your boyfriend (if he hasn’t done this already) would be to make sure he’s communicating with his doc about what’s going on, since not being able to get an erection when he wants to can be a sign of another underlying medical problem.

Of course, as much as you can tell him that p-in-v is not the be all and end all of satisfying nookie, and as much as he might understand this mentally, the connection between masculinity and virility is a friggin’ scam and it’s probably gonna take some time for him to really internalize that he doesn’t need an erection to please you — or to experience a great sex life for himself.

So according to my research and *extensive personal experience having très fun sex that does not involve being hammered by a cis dude’s SUPER HARD COCK,* here are some myths and facts about society’s favorite topic, erect phalluses.

Myth: If the cock is not hard, the person with the cock is not turned on.

Fact: Nah. Listen, bodies are diverse and complicated, and penises are like Punxutawney Phil. Sometimes they peek their heads up, sometimes they don’t; some just never feel like it. People can have hard-ons when they’re not turned on, and they can be turned on without hard-ons.

Myth: If the cock is not hard, the person with the cock cannot experience pleasure or orgasm.

Fact: Nah. Orgasm is not actually the same thing as ejaculation, and a penis doesn’t actually need to be hard to ejaculate or for the penis-owner to experience orgasm. Just ‘cause someone’s penis is erect doesn’t mean they’ll ejaculate; just cause a penis is spasming and releasing fluid doesn’t mean the penis-owner is experiencing an orgasm. And someone can have an orgasm without being hard, or ejaculating at all. Wow!

Myth: If the cock is not hard, it can’t do fun things that please partners or the person with the cock.

Fact: Nah. A penis is basically a vaguely-cylindrical organ, often but not always with some tubes and some nerve endings. A lot of people with penises use them to have sex, but not everyone! A lot of the pleasure of penises comes from said nerve endings, and a lot comes from whatever mental and emotional associations we have about the penis and what it means to interact with said penis, which plays into identity in a variety of ways. So there’s a lot more to enjoying a penis than being able to make it hard or put it in a vagina.

Myth: If the person with the cock identifies as a dude, and the cock is not erect, the person with said cock is less of a dude

Fact: Nah. C’mon guys, you don’t have to have a penis to be a dude, and you can have a penis/cock/dick/phallus/honestly whatever you call yours and not be a dude. Soft, hard, medium-hard with no back support like my mattress, whatever. Being a dude is about what you feel, not whether you have a penis and what said penis does.

Myth: All people with vaginas are exclusively sexually pleasured and impressed by SUPER HARD COCK.

Fact: Nah.

Alrighty, now that we’ve worked through some myths and facts about penis machinery and identity, let’s take a fun walk through all the magical things we can do with ‘em, whatever their size or firmness!

Take a moment to check in about your contraception and STI scene. A penis that can’t get hard can still ejaculate and any kind of genital-genital or genital-oral contact can transmit STIs. If you use condoms, you get to have a fun time putting and keeping those babies on. Our friends at the Center for Sex and Culture advise using your hands to put the condom on or — fun added bonus — slipping it on during oral (suction helps). Since it’ll probably be loose, you’ll want to keep constant hand contact or perhaps elicit the help of a handy dandy cock ring (either of which, by the way, may be a fun extra for him).

Now let’s talk get into the nitty gritty of getting down, here. All the fuddy duddy doctors talking about Erectile Dysfunction are like, “your partner not being able to have an erection is a great opportunity for you to have lots of sweet intimate snuggle time!” This can certainly be the case, but this idea suffers from the strange misconception — which queer women and folks whose sex lives don’t involve penises deal with all the time — that sex without a SUPER HARD COCK is necessarily a super emotional snuggly spoonfest.

Of course there is nothing tastier than a well-timed spoon sesh, but you should also know that just ‘cause there’s not a SUPER HARD COCK involved doesn’t mean you can’t fuck. If you want to stroke each others’ bods with soft feathers til dawn breaks, do that. If you want to be pounded until you’re screaming the name of a relevent deity, that can also happen. Basically these doctors seems like misinformed bummers to have sex with.

Now lean in close, ‘cause I’m about to whisper the big secret about p-in-v intercourse. And here it is: P-in-v is not one, magical, un-reproducible experience that no other pleasure can equal.

P-in-v intercourse is a combination of different physical and emotional sensations. The mystique around it isn’t because nothing else feels like it (I mean, I can stick a cucumber in my pussy while hugging a teddy bear, you get the point). It’s largely a cultural and interpersonal mystique. So it’s helpful to think about the physical and emotional feelings you like to have with each other and in bed, and then fuck around until you find things that give you those feelings.

What are the feelings that he//his penis enjoy? Pressure? Wetness? The emotional rush of penetrating you? Those feels can all totes be experienced without p-in-v action. Here are some ideas, and I’m literally just getting started…

Oral: So I know some people dig it and power to them, but when someone is like “I’m going to shove my SUPER HARD COCK down your throat,” I generally feel like, well that’s nice but realistically I gag sometimes while brushing my teeth. So. If you and your partner like oral there is a whole universe to explore here. I think blowing smaller dicks/soft dicks is fun, ‘cause suddenly you feel like the deep throat champion. Play with all the magical things your mouths can do.

I, by the way, am a huge proponent of 69 and generally don’t understand why the internet hates it so much, though sometimes it can be logistically overwhelming if you’re doing it with someone who has a bigger/harder penis — so if you weren’t team 69 before, who knows, maybe this is your chance.

Penetration: If you are both like, wow I wish some penetration could happen here, good news: It can! Fingers are beautiful instruments. Dildos are heaven. Did you know that people have been penetrating themselves and others with root vegetables for literally thousands of years? (Wash it first/use a condom.) Anal beads if you and/or him are itching for some anal fun and want to check out Sesali’s fun guide to butt sex. Does your partner like being penetrated? Maybe this is his chance to find out.

L0033079 A woman using a dildo in the form of a root vegetable Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images images@wellcome.ac.uk http://wellcomeimages.org A woman using a dildo in the form of a root vegetable suspended from the branch of a tree. Gouache 19th century Published: [18--?] Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Yum, root vegetables.

Do you like riding him? Get on top, he can penetrate you with a dildo and you can simultaneously touch his penis if you’ve got that amount of focus and determination (bless you). Fingers work too but the wrist angle may get tiring.

Do you guys like for him to be on top while he feels pressure on his penis and penetrates you (guess what, this is all that missionary position is)? Cool! Grab a nice dildo or break out those handy dandy fingers and he can get on top of you and penetrate you while you touch his penis.

Frottage: Frottage is both a visual arts technique in making charcoal rubbings and a word early-twentieth-century French people started using to describe people rubbing their genitals all up on each other, which is why I giggled compulsively through a recent art history lecture.

frottage art process


sex frottage

Also frottage

You’ve got a body, he’s got a body. Rub ‘em together. Use your boobs if you feel like it! Does he miss feeling his penis all up in your junk? That’s fun, rub it around; he doesn’t have to go inside to get that signature pussy feeling. (If you use barrier methods, the wise humans from Center for Sex and Culture advise using saran wrap, with a little lube, to keep things safer here. Wow, kitchen tools are so multi-purpose!) Or go straight-up lesbian stereotype and try scissoring. Why not? You have the world to win. Oh, I’m jealous of your journey.

Toys toys toys: Get some stuff and fuck around. Does he like a vibrator on his penis? Only one way to find out!

Sweet Talk: Finally, ya know, words can hurt and they can also heal. Societal definitions of masculinity can squeeze the life out of us with a vice grip. If your boyfriend is a nice person he is probably concerned about your happiness, and if he’s like many of us he’s probably also concerned about his sexual pleasure.

Reassurance is important. Feeling comfortable and respected and appreciated is important. Remind him how hot and sexually talented you think he is and how good he makes you feel. Fantasy can be important — does he get off on imagining his penis is super hard or would he feel more comfortable thinking about the hot hot hot sex you’re having without his penis being super hard?

Well, that’s all for now, folks.

Wow, okay, deep breath, I apparently have a lot to say about penises and their hardness. But I think this is a super important question for everyone, whether we have penises or not, and whatever the firmness of said penises, in helping us question our own hetero, cis-centric idea of sex and of genitals more generally.

Basically my dear reader, it sounds to me that this crisis of society’s definition of masculinity presents you with an exciting opportunity to catapult yourself into the sexual stars. Go forth and frottage!