How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Rainbow

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We’re right in the dirty middle of Pride here in Halifax, NS.
Hearts are racing, pulses are beating, our breathe comes heavy, and we’re all about to reach our collective Rainbow Climax.

This will be my fourth year “working” Pride.
I say “working” because that’s what I do during Pride Week – I work it (not werk it).
As an employee of the queerest sex shop in town, and the one & only distributor of all things rainbow, Pride for me means a week of loooong days dealin’ dildos & running workshops.

And for a long time, that is all Pride meant for me. A whole lot of work.

I always kind of felt like it wasn’t really my party.
See, I’m not the gayest girl I know.
I ain’t no hard as fuck femme, nor a babely butch. I don’t call myself gay, queer, bi, trans, or even straight. I’m no bear, no cub, no otter. I’d love to be a leather daddy, but that’ll have to wait for another lifetime. I can’t rightly claim to be a boi, a dyke, a lesbian,  or gender queer. I would not say I’m a twink, a fag, a queen, or a king.
I can wiggle my way into jeans that are too tight & shorts that are too short, but I just can’t seem to make any of these labels fit my contours.
Maybe my official colour is just a shitty brown, smooshing together all the colours of the rainbow into some unnameable desire to love and fuck all the sorts of people there are. Is there a colour for sort of straight ? Or a colour for kind of queer? What do you call yourself if your indifferent, in the middle, and just plain easy?

Anyway, being of an undefinable sexual orientation, I’ve always kind of felt like Pride ain’t my Party. I mean, I look straight and I am most often in straight relationships. I have never had to experience any social exclusion or state oppression on account of my appearance, or my gender identity, or my sexual orientation.

So, Pride has been something I work, not werk.

But, I’ve been thinking a lot about it, as I restock rainbow boas and redesign the placement of the rainbow Beanie Babies, and I realized that sometimes I’m a bonehead and that sometimes I am wrong. The kind of person I fuck  is actually pretty irrelevant to celebrating Pride. Pride is about a lot of things. It is about celebrating who you fuck, but it’s about so much more than that too. (And bear with me, because I’m about to lay on the camembert.)

Celebrating Pride is about celebrating the right to love. While everyone’s right to love whoever they want should be obvs, it clearly isn’t. Across the United States, the same-sex marriage debate continues (for reals). In Canada, you can marry whoever, but fucking whoever is a bit more problematic. For example, men can love other men, but if they have sex with them, they are banned from donating blood, furthering homophobic ideas about the sexual practices and STI-statuses of gay men. Closer to home, just last summer a hunky pair of gays I know had to deal with homophobic assholery when they showed their love by sharing a kiss out in public. So, evidently the right to love whoever you wanna is still up in the air. Considering this, Pride Week, and it’s unabashed Rainbowed celebrations, are pretty important.

Celebrating Pride is about celebrating the babeliness of whatever hot bod you got. Bodies that are queer, that are trans, that don’t conform to that messy gender binary the world somehow still believes in continue to face systemic oppression on the regs. Bathrooms, forms & bureaucracy of all sorts force us into one category or another, and leave no room for anything else. Even getting around, especially by air transit, isn’t allowed if your body doesn’t fit in with the powers that be. The Identity Screening Regulations applied in airports across Canada indicate that a person can be disallowed from flying if  they “do not appear to be of the gender indicated on the identification he or she presents.” While the state continues to oppress all gender non-conformers without inhibition, Pride Week is important in that it has the power to bring trans issues to the forefront.

Celebrating Pride is about making the world safer. That the world is still unsafe for all us sexual deviants shouldn’t shock you. But, if it does, I ask you to recall the multiple teen suicides that happened just two years ago across America, as gay teens (or teens who were perceived as gay) ended their lives rather than continue to deal with the pain and violence inflicted upon them by their peers. If it shocks you, then you should know just two weeks ago in Edmonton an openly gay university student was beat up while his attackers issued homophobic slurs. And you should know that in Canada hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation are more common than any other form of hate crime. Pride works against this violence by making LGBTQ communities more ubiquitous, showing that there are in fact strong queer communities in big cities and small towns all across the country.

There are still a lot of qualms I have with Pride. It’s heart-breaking that it has become a corporately sponsored parade which is permitted by the city, rather than a march performed in fierce opposition to those systems in power which exclude queer bodies. The overwhelming presence of government and corporately sponsored floats has turned Pride into something that can be bought – it too often feels like it’s about pink dollars, not politics. Businesses participate in the parade while they continue to show little to no visible support of LGBTQ rights throughout the rest of the year (since when is the Mac Pass gay?). And the purchasing power of big business and government bodies means that Pride is shaped by capitalist interests and values, eliminating it’s ability to critically examine and work against the systemic oppression that continues to marginalize queer voices. As Pride has aged and grown bigger, it has lost it’s political edge, something which isn’t worth celebrating.

Luckily, the Rainbow Season offers up radical alternatives where folks can celebrate themselves without buying into corporate Pride and depoliticized parades. This year in Halifax there is The Dyke and Trans March and Queer Punx Come Out!.

Pride, especially the alternative events such as these, is important, regardless of whatever colour you are on the rainbow, even if that colour is poop brown, even if you are straight, even if you are undefinable. Because Pride is the opposite of shame. It’s about loving something the world tried to teach you wasn’t worth loving, was in fact worth hiding. And celebrating that, that unwillingness to be shamed, should be everyone’s party.

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Coming? What? Where? When? Uh, Maybe?

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“I’ve never had one.”
“It maybe happened, like, once, or something, but I’m not sure.”
“Uh, maybe?”

Considering the gross uncertainty surrounding this missing thing, you’d think the item in question was something more elusive, like a visit from the spirit of MJ.
Unfortunately, I’m actually just talking about coming.
Having an orgasm – it ain’t always easy.
Some people can pop ’em out at the snap of their fingers; can come against a bike seat while pushing uphill; can make themselves O in a bathroom stall on their lunch break.
Others of us aren’t so prolific.
For some of us, coming can be a process that involves heavy machinery, 45 minutes of alone time, Prince records, and/or yoga-like bodily contortions.
And then there are some who worry that they just can’t have ’em at all.
At least once a week, if not more, I speak with someone who has yet to successfully rub one out, has not yet had that thigh-shakin’, toe-curlin’, hip-thrustin’ Big One.
Elusive orgasms – they are definitely not an anomaly.

There are a loads of things I can recommend you buy if you are having a hard time makin’ yer pussy purr, yer cunt come, or yer bits bark. Vibrators, dildos, books, stimulating gels, lubes, kegel balls, classes – orgasms are a lucrative market. And while I kind of hate telling someone to purchase their way into better sex, I also think some of these things are THE BEST. (I’ll fill you in on the best of the best at the end of this little blurb.)

But, if you don’t feel like droppin’ dollas like they hot just to make yourself squeal,  luckily for you, I have done all the research.
Reading the books, trying the toys, using the gels, teaching the classes – it’s actually my job.
I’m no expert. I’m smart enough to know that all bodies are different, all parts perform in their own particular way, and there are no definitive right answers.
However, there are some things that I have found helpful to know, both in figuring out my own orgasms and in hearing from other people about theirs.
So, here’s a list of things to know, or to try, or to watch, that could help ya reach the peak.

1. The Clit*

Maybe this is obvious to you. Everyone knows about the clitoris right? Well, speak for yourself. I didn’t figure out how great it was until I was 20. We aren’t taught about our anatomy in a way that is all that helpful. We learn about safe sex and menstruation, not feelin’ good and gettin’ off. I was told about my ability to get pregnant but not what my clitoris was or how nice it feels. And I was also taught, somewhere along the way in all those weird messages we are fed as children, that girls don’t masturbate. Needless to say, it took me a while to find that sweet spot.
So, if like me, you are late to understanding the clitoris, there are some things you should know about it.
For one, the head of the clitoris has more nerve endings per square inch than any other part of the human body. That is two to four times more than the head of the penis. It’s a part of our bodies that is purely for pleasure, which is pretty awesome. It is also pretty big. We can see the cute li’l head protruding, but what we don’t see is the clitoral legs, stretching all the way down through our labia. The clit is actually one big powerhouse of pleasure, and stroking it is often crucial to coming. According to Masters & Johnson, it takes on average 20 minutes of “direct clitoral stimulation” to reach orgasm.
Try some of that “direct clitoral stimulation”. Start gentle. All those nerve endings mean things can feel pretty good, but they can feel not so good too, if you’re too rough. Use some lube and gently stroke around your outer lips. Keep things wet and stoke the clit, lifting the clitoral hood. Try different pressures, speeds and directions. Take your time. Move your hot little fingers up and down and around and around.  Be patient and keep practising. If you wanna up the ante, or if your wrists are just too damn tired, try some vibrations (my personal favourites are recommended below).
Bottom line – give yer clit some direct, uninterrupted attention. Treat it like it’s the latest episode of Girls and it just can’t be missed.

2. Go It Alone vs. Doin’ It Together

According to the stats, it’s way easier to get yourself off if your goin’ solo. A whoppin’ 34% of women*  say the easiest way to come is through masturbation.
This makes a whole lotta sense to me. It’s way easier to fuck other people well if you know how to fuck yourself well. If your trying to achieve an O with a pal, there are so many other things that you are probably thinking about, like : “Are they having fun?”; “Am I doing this right?” ; “Do I look skinny?”. It’s pretty fucking distracting.
So, it would make sense that having your own self-lovin’ sesh would better facilitate the attainment of that climactic euphoria.
However, I personally find that fucking yourself can be just as distracting as fucking someone else. When your with someone else it can be so easy to get caught up in how hot they are that you can forget yourself in the moment and just roll on into all those hot n’ dirty muscle contractions that are an orgasm. Their are hands & hair & sweat & body parts & lube everywhere and it’s hot as shit. I could come just thinking about it.
But then, when your on your own, there is no one to keep you in the moment. You can start fucking yourself and then remember the dishes you didn’t do, the friend you forgot to call back, the emails you have to write at work, etc., etc., etc.
Maybe you aren’t as embarrassingly Type A as I am and can just fucking chill out for long enough to fuck yourself.
But, if you do find getting in the hot n’ bothered head space all on your own a bit of a trial, here’s what I recommend.

Take time and don’t rush it.
Don’t mechanically think  about moving your fingers and how your body feels and wonder if you are doing it right for yourself. Fantasize! Think about that hot sex you had last week, or maybe last year. Or think about the hot sex you would like to have. Think about how hot you are, how good your belly looks, how smooth your skin is, how sexy it is to see your own hand slippin’ slowly south.
Play some Prince, or some other sultry sounds to keep you focused in on the moment.
Make some sounds n’ move around. Breath heavy and moan. Thrust your hips up into the air, throw your knees above your head, writhe around a li’l bit. Just get into it. As soon as you start thinking about your endless To-Do List change positions, think about hot tits or big dicks or whatever it is you’re into. Visual aids – books n’ movies – can be pretty helpful on this account, and I listed my favourites below.

3. It may not be thigh-shakin’, tue-curlin’, hip-thrustin’ and life-changin’.

Another truth about orgasms is that they aren’t always the way we see ’em on T.V and in porn. Sometimes one can go totally bat-shit cray, and heave around like a wild animal, making inarticulate noises. Sometimes it may feel like your whole body is alive and you have some sort of life-altering epiphany, like ” I was made to be touched and I am actually just a cat that looks like a woman.”
But other times, it’s just a quiet and calm feeling of intense pleasure. Or it’s maybe just a warm n’ wet feeling. It can be subtle and serene and short.
And I, personally, believe that these nice feelings are just as valid and enjoyable and worth-having as those all-over-body-quaking events that are always portrayed.
I read in a book once that many people who weren’t sure if they had an orgasm or not had actually just experienced “intense pleasure” and not a “real orgasm”, because surely, if you had an O, you would know. But, I think that’s a load of shit. What’s the difference between a “real orgasm” and “intense pleasure”? Isn’t an orgasm intensely pleasurable? And why would one of these things be better than the other?
Orgasms, like bodies, come in all shapes and sizes. If you are experiencing intense pleasure, or real nice feelings, or a pretty damn good time, just roll with that. Stop worrying over whether or not you are having the “Real” Thing. Just enjoy what it is that you are experiencing, rather than comparing it to what it is that you have been told you should feel, or what you have seen on youporn.

4. Things To Buy (THE BEST)

And, if the above points aren’t giving you what you’re looking for, here are some thing that I think are really worth buying. I use the word Best, and the following is certainly the best for me, but you should try out other things and check out your own local sex shop for suggestions. What’s best for me isn’t necessarily what’s best for you.

The Best Book: I Love Female Orgasm by Solot and Miller

The Best DVD: Tristan Taormino’s Expert Guide to Female Orgasms

The Best External Vibrator: Siri by Lelo

The Best Internal Vibrator: The Boss by Fun Factory

The Best Stimulating Gel: O My! 

The Best Porn To Watch: Crash Pad (kinda queer) or Matinee (sorta straight)

The Best Porn To Read: Carole Queen’s The Leather Daddy & The Femme (kinda queer) or anything by Alison Tyler (sorta straight)

……………………………………………………………….

*Clit, or clitoris, is a gendered term. You may have a clit and not call it that, or you may have a vulva and not call it that, or you may have a vagina and not call it that too. A person’s bits don’t necessarily correspond to their gender identity. For ease of communication, I used the word clit here, but call your parts what you will and don’t ever go assuming what other people may or may not call theirs.

* “Women” is the term the surveys use, and I am assuming they are referring to cis-gendered women. But as stated above, the term woman is fluid and can refer to different sorts of people with different sorts of parts.