Comfort Sex: Why It’s Great And How to Do It

Sex with him was like swimming in the sea. When we were in bed together, the world stopped; we floated through each other’s bodies. In those moments, there was nothing but the safety of his skin. It was sexy as hell, but it was also deeper: the realization of my body’s desire to be nestled…

How to Say “No” to Sex

It was a perfect day for romance. The birds were singing, the flowers had just opened their faces to the early-spring sun, and I was walking hand-in-hand with a new date. I was midway through a story about a neighbor’s uncomfortable sexual advances when my love interest said something that stopped me in my tracks….

Rape is an Economic Crime: The Case for Mental Health Restitution

On TV, the plot looks something like this: a woman is raped or abused. She is a sympathetic character, traumatized yet brave. She reports the crime to the police, who perform a detailed forensic investigation and arrest the perpetrator. A trial ensues, and the survivor steps forward to tell her story. She wins over the…

How to Reclaim Your Sexuality After Trauma

Ending an abusive relationship felt like being reborn: slowly, painfully, sharp as shattered glass. My body had been rearranged, Mr. Potato Head-style, into something new, simultaneously more sensitive and blunter, more empathic but liable to shut down unexpectedly—on the sidewalk, in the bedroom, in the grocery store. Many of us, especially women and queer people, have survived some…

Why Bisexual Women Are at a Higher Risk for Violence

It feels strange to admit this, but when I first read that bisexual women are more vulnerable to sexual and intimate partner violence than people of other orientations, I felt relieved. It wasn’t the butterfly-winged relief of good news. It was the lightness of finally being able to breathe. Or perhaps, of feeling that I still couldn’t…

A Low-Grade Fever: On Aziz Ansari’s Comeback Netflix Special

Maybe it was his nice-guy image or the fact that Master of None was so endearing. Maybe it was because the scene of mounting sexual pressure “Grace” described was, unlike the outsized horror of the Harvey Weinstein or Bill Cosby allegations, so disturbingly familiar. Whatever it was, for women across the internet, the sexual assault accusations against Aziz Ansari, detailed on…

The Girl Who Jumped Out of a Pie and Into a Gilded Age Morality Tale

ON MAY 20, 1895, 16-YEAR-OLD Susie Johnson, wearing nothing but gauze and haloed by a flock of live canaries, burst through the crust of a giant pie. It was polo player John Ellliot Cowdin’s 10th wedding anniversary, and the dinner was lavish: 16 courses from clams to coffee, each punctuated by champagne. Two models entertained the…

Dealing with Complicated Feelings Around Abusers

Recently, a man I know was outed as a serial sexual harasser. I say “know” in a rather unfortunate sense: I’d been approached online by, went on a date with, and even kissed the guy a couple years ago. His too-forward sexual advances had always left a bad taste in my mouth. When the revelations…

One Year After #MeToo

The day after Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified before congress about her experience of sexual violence in relation to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) received the highest number of calls in its 24-year history. More than 3,000 people connected with the network on September 28, part of a record-breaking increase in…