sex

Sunday Worship with Sophie Saint Thomas: How To Have Casual Sex (Like A Decent Person)

My latest episode of Sunday Worship with Sophie Saint Thomas is super duper short and required viewing for everyone.

Are you only interested in something casual at the moment? Follow these there steps to have casual sex without hurting feelings and acting like an asshole.

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Are Some People Just Slapping the “Poly” Label on Their Cheating?

This article was originally published in Playboy.

Image courtesy of Playboy. 

“I’d been spending time intimately with someone on multiple occasions when I learned he had a girlfriend,” says Melissa Vitale, a New York City-based publicist. He said that his relationship was open and that he was “ethically non-monogamous.” As it turned out, Vitale’s lover’s girlfriend was not aware that he was sleeping with others under the false label of ethical non-monogamy. “I later found out that he was full of shit. He’s just a small man who cheats on his beautiful girlfriend,” Vitale says.

New York magazine reported in 2017 that 20 percent of Americans had practiced polyamory at some point in their lives. As a side effect of the normalization, are more people not only misusing the term, but using it as an excuse for bad behavior—therefore stigmatizing non-traditional relationships and stomping on the hard work advocates have done to help normalize such relationships in the first place?

Anyone who has spent time on a dating app recently has likely noticed a rise in people identifying as ethically non-monogamous and polyamorous. The Latin translation of polyamory is “many loves,” and polyamorous people don’t just have sex with, but date and love more than one person. Polyamory is a form of ethical non-monogamy, but the two words are not interchangeable. Ethical non-monogamy is an umbrella term for open relationships formed on consent, trust, and honesty, and includes polyamory, swinging, and relationships in which a couple is emotionally exclusive but occasionally sleeps with others.

We see non-monogamy within “monogamous” relationships in the common practice known as cheating. Some people who cheat get off on the secrecy and sneaking that accompanies seeing someone behind their partner’s back. “Sometimes people get off on lying, that is their fetish,” says sex therapist Dr. Denise Renye. If you’re in an open relationship and wish to integrate secrecy into your sexual encounters, you can consensually negotiate that with your partner. “Most things are possible as long as consent is present. If the consent is not present, this completely clashes with the principles of ethical non-monogamy,” Dr. Renye says.

However, some folks seem to have attended Burning Man once, learned the word “polyamory,” stuck it on their Tinder bio, yet continued to date in a manner that involves non-consensual lies and secrecy. When they’re called out, they throw up their hands and say, I told you that I was poly! “They are attempting to sugarcoat their cheating styles. I do not necessarily think that people always know what they are talking about,” says sex educator Jimanekia Eborn.

Some folks, such as Vitale’s lover, may use words like “ethically non-monogamous” to cover up bad behavior. Others may simply be brand new to the poly lifestyle and in need of an education. “Do you even know who you are? Or do you know what kind of relationships actually work for you? You can also be hurting yourself in the process,” Eborn says. If you’ve serially failed at monogamy, it’s an exciting time when you learn about other options. You may feel eager to update your dating profile and embrace a new lifestyle. However, first, you have to do your research. To start, what kind of open relationship do you want? Do you want a relationship with a “primary” partner, with an option to sleep with other people? Do you want to date other people? Or do you want to be “solo poly,” in which all partners are on an equal playing field, and there’s no hierarchy?

Zachary Zane, a New York City-based writer, dated a woman who identified as poly, but did not live by its principals. “She would start dating someone new and completely forget about her previous partners. While all of us in the poly world cut a partner some slack when they start dating someone new and are in the midst of NRE [a poly expression for new relationship energy, or the giddy rush of joy you experience when you first start seeing someone], she never seemed to get over the NRE—until she found someone new and then forgot about her previous partner(s) all together,” Zane says.

It does not feel good to have a partner drop you the moment they meet someone new. You can avoid such misunderstandings by taking the time to think about what you’re truly looking for: one partner, multiple partners, or just multiple partners until you fall in love? Polyamory means many things to different people. For some, their relationship format changes depending on circumstance and partner(s). For others, it remains rigid and feels more like an orientation.

“A lot of us have been trained from the mainstream model to not ask tough questions about what realistically are you looking for, what are you available for, and what does your model for this kind of relationship look like?” says sex-positive psychologist Dr. Liz Powell. If you’re in a period of your life in which you want to be poly, but feel you may end up in a monogamous set-up one day, one argument is that it’s better to just identify as single. However, as long as you’re honest, you can identify however you want.

The plus side to identifying as open or poly, even if you may not always be that way, is the transparency. If you tell multiple partners that yes, there are others, and no, it won’t just be you right now, you don’t have to worry about hurting feelings with false pretenses. However, if you’re dating other poly people, you do have a responsibility to talk about what that word means to you. While it can be flexible to you, it may be a lifelong lifestyle to another, and vice-versa.

Any relationship, but especially relationships that involve more than two people, demand honest communication. That communication must begin with yourself, so you can clearly express your needs to other partners. That being said, dating is messy, and it takes trial and error to know what works best for you. The hard truth is, that while yes, there are some bad apples intentionally misusing words like “poly;” hurt feelings, learning curves and miscommunication are part of all relationships—including ethically non-monogamous ones.

“We’re reaching a point culturally where there are enough people being non-monogamous that folks are starting to use that label inappropriately, and that’s going to happen with any label,” Dr. Powell says. There’s a term known as “poly preaching,” which refers to poly people taking on an enlightened attitude that they date the way that humans are meant to—that it’s more intelligent than monogamy. While that is true for some, it doesn’t mean that poly people don’t mess up. And they should be allowed to.

“I think non-monogamous communities sometimes like to think of themselves as these like beautiful utopias full of enlightened people, who never have relationship drama. They only have relationships made completely of love and free of jealousy and fear. And that’s just not real. I’ve been non-monogamous on and off for 18 years, and I still have issues sometimes. We are all imperfect, messy humans,” Dr. Powell says. The key to being an ethical messy person, and not a harmful one, is honesty.

3 Conversations You Should Have Before You Go Condom-Free

Another winner for GQ.com. Illustration by Cecile Dormeau. 

Many monogamous relationships grow from love. Many other, less lame monogamous relationships grow from a desire to stop using condoms. The DTR (define the relationship) conversation is a great time to talk about having unprotected sex, but the reverse is also true: A conversation about unprotected sex often leads to a conversation about Us. Physical sensation aside (going condom-free also feels fantastic for women), it’s a bonding experience. A newly condom-less relationship is cause for celebration. Forget wedding invites, start designing your invitations to your “we don’t use condoms anymore” dinner party. There’s emotional intimacy and a greater physical connection in becoming fluid-bonded, but that also means your genital germs are becoming your partner’s genital germs. For the sake of your relationship and the general public’s health, there are three conversations you must have before you toss out your rubbers.

1. Test Results

You have the right to do whatever you want with your body. You can get as many tattoos as you want and smoke as much weed as you want. Those things don’t really hurt anyone else, and they might even make you look really cool. But you gotta get tested. Talking about viruses and bacteria of the loins we may have picked up from sexual decisions past may make you squirm. The joy of being a grown-up is that we can drink beer, have sex, and stay up late, but the downside is we have to talk about the clap.

Worrying about your STI status is kind of like when you were a kid and you worried you’d get abducted by aliens. You probably thought you were the only freak kept up at night by that thought, but so was every other kid in the class. Rest assured your partner has not practiced perfectly safe sex his or her entire life either, so just take advantage of the mutual anxiety and say, “Let’s get tested, because I really want to make love to you without either of us having to stress about anything.” Skip the “I know I’m clean” route, without getting tested, because ya don’t know. It can also be a surprisingly romantic experience to get tested together. Go out for ramen after.

2. Birth Control

Some people think children are a source of love and joy, but I think babies are the most dangerous sexually transmitted infection of them all. They affect your lifestyle the most, they’re expensive, and they’re bad for the environment. I doubt you clicked on this article because you’re ready to become a parent, but if you have a functioning penis, you can make babies. Is she on the pill? Would a more long-term method be a better option, such as an IUD? Are you on the same page about reproductive rights? You don’t have to decide if you ever want to have kids there and then. Just check in with your lady lover with an easy “Are you happy with your birth control? Because as beautiful as our babies would be, I’m not there right now.” Offer to split the cost of her birth control. If she’s going to be the one dealing with side effects of hormonal birth control or the pain of an IUD insertion, it’s the polite thing to do.

3. Monogamy

Having sex only with each other, after getting tested and discussing birth control, is the safest way to bone without condoms—end of story. You just have to talk about it. If you know you’re into monogamy, say, “I’d love for us to only sleep with each other, how do you feel about that?” But that’s not always how it goes down. Some people prefer open relationships. If you’re non-monogamous but you want to talk about unprotected sex, say, “Hey, I trust you, so if you’re comfortable with it, I’d love to talk about us having sex without condoms.”

There are plenty of couples who agree to not use condoms with each other, but with anyone else. If you go this route, just please make sure that everyone else you’re sleeping with knows that you and your primary partner do it raw, so they can decide how they feel about that. Remember that some STIs, such as HPV and HSV (herpes), can still be transmitted from skin-to-skin contact, and that condoms only reduce the risk. Condom companies love to brag about how they are 98 percent effective, but that’s not factoring in human error.

 

TL; DR: If you’re in an open relationship, communicate with everyone and accept the risks before quitting condoms. If you’re monogamous, actually be monogamous. Cheating is always more trouble than it’s worth.

Yes, You Really Can Fracture a Penis — Here’s What That Means

It’s true! I wrote this for Allure.com. Image via Getty.

There are a lot of sexual myths out there, but doctors confirm that broken penises aren’t one of them. Remember when Lexie Grey supposedly broke Mark Sloan’s penis back when all our favorite characters on Grey’s Anatomy were still alive? Nope, Shonda Rhimes wasn’t making that up. While there aren’t actually bones in the penis, a penile fracture is a real-life injury. We spoke to several urologists to learn how it happens, what a broken penis looks like, and how to treat one.

What exactly is a fractured penis (often known as a “broken dick”)?

First, a quick refresher on what inside a penis can break in the first place: A penis contains two chambers of tissue called the corpus cavernosum, which fill with blood when the penis becomes erect.

Blunt force to an erect penis can tear the sheath surrounding these chambers (and even rupture the erectile tissue inside) so that the blood inside leaks out to other areas of the penis. If you need another visual, Alex Shteynshlyuger, a urologist in New York City, says to think of this covering less like a bone and “more like a sausage casing.” (Doctors, however, call the covering of the corpus cavernosum the “tunica albuginea.”)

How do penile fractures happen?

A penis can be broken during vigorous penetrative sex or through masturbation. When this happens during partnered sex involving a penis and vagina, “generally speaking, the penis will come out of the vagina and strike against the pubic bone,” says Leslie Deane, an associate professor of urology at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

While a penis can fracture during sex in any position, research suggests that rear-entry positions such as doggy style may lead to penile fractures more often than others: A penis may be more likely to exit a vagina or anus entirely when thrusting from behind and then, instead of reentering, bang against something hard like the perineum. (If you’re an anal sex beginner, it’s important to take things slow — check out our anal sex prep tips right here.) Deane says penile fractures aren’t uncommon, and that he sees several cases a year. He adds that he observes higher rates of the injury around Valentine’s Day and that alcohol is sometimes involved.

What does a broken dick look like?

According to Stacy Loeb, an assistant professor of urology and population health at New York University, a penile fracture may be accompanied by a popping noise, a rapid loss of erection, and acute pain. “The penis may develop swelling and bruising, referred to as an ‘eggplant deformity,'” Loeb says. This means that the eggplant emoji isn’t totally off-base as a representation of dicks: It just looks like a broken one. Shteynshlyuger adds that some penile fractures lead to bleeding from the tip of the urethra and that patients may notice blood in their urine. If you’re having fun with a penis that suddenly “pops,” goes soft, and causes its owner immense pain, seek medical attention immediately. You might have a broken dick on your hands.

How is a broken penis treated?

Still reading? Good, because there’s some positive news: If treated, broken dicks stand a great chance of making a full recovery. Unfortunately, Deane says, surgery is required in most cases. While there are less severe penile injuries that can occur during sex, such as a tear of one of the superficial veins, the only way to know for sure what’s going on is to head to the emergency room.

It’s also important to do it fast: “Surgical repair of the tear usually results in good outcomes,” Shteynshlyuger emphasizes. However, “If a penile fracture is severe and not treated in a timely manner, it can lead to problems with obtaining or maintaining erections, [or] it may also cause scar formation in the penis and a condition called Peyronie’s disease, which causes curvature and deformity of the penis.”

After surgery to repair the ruptured “sausage casing” inside the penis, the recovering patient should be able to have sex again in about six to eight weeks, although Deane advises going slow at first. This doesn’t mean that wild, headboard-rattling sex is off the table after a penile fracture, but it’s not a bad idea for patients to ease their way back in.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Post-Hookup Etiquette

A must-read for men. Originally published at GQ.com. illustration by Cecile Dormeau. 

You’ve probably done a lot of research on what to do during sex. Which is to say, you’ve probably watched a lot of porn. But porn doesn’t teach you much about what to do after you’re done hooking up (usually in porn they just do more sex). When a new lady in your life invites you back to her place, there is post-coital etiquette you must follow to show that you are not only a good lover but also a decent human. So read on to learn how to politely dispose of condoms, when to head back to your place, and why you must text the next day—even if it’s just a one-night stand.

When can I go home?

To spend the night or not spend the night post-smashing is a personal decision. As an insomniac, I empathize with people who don’t spend the night after sex. Plus, I have cats. I don’t bring my Ambien with me or leave out food for my cats unless I want to marry you or, like, you flew me to an Airbnb in Paris. Try to make it clear, before you go home together, that you’re not staying over. If she invites you over but you know you want to sleep in your own bed, just say, “I’d love to come back with you, but I have to get up early for work and have trouble sleeping in new places. Do you mind if I don’t spend the night?” If you’re sincere, it shows. After sex, cuddle and bask in the afterglow. Talk. When your heartbeat has returned to resting and you’re both getting sleepy, say something like, “I had a wonderful time with you. I’m going to head back to my place now, but I’ll text you later.” Leave, and actually text her. Add a rose emoji.

What if I want to sleep over?

Ask her if she’s cool with it.

What if she has roommates?

Good for her, she sounds like a hardworking and self-sufficient woman without a trust fund. Her roommates are adults and they know the drill: You’re the boy who just banged their friend. Put on a shirt (yes, even you, you gym rat) on your way to the bathroom. Smile and wave. You can say, “Hi, I’m Pat” (or whatever). But don’t make it weird. Don’t try to be cute or chime in on what’s going on if they have Riverdale on. Just smile and pee (in the bathroom, with your shirt on). PUT THE SEAT DOWN.

What do I do with the condom(s)?

Don’t just yank the condom off and throw it on the ground like a child angry at a tie his mother made him wear to church. Definitely don’t flush it down the toilet, because that could clog her pipes (keep that for the bedroom, heh heh). Tie the condom up so your manly expulsions don’t spill everywhere, and throw it in the trash like an adult.

What if I want to take a shower?

If you’re a Virgo or a Catholic, you might be itching to shower after sex. But don’t bounce off to the shower the second you pull out. That will make your bedfellow feel like a used receptacle instead of a wanton sex goddess. Don’t shower alone at her place, either. It reeks of “I’m going home to my wife.” Why not extend the naked time and shower together? If you’re tuckered out, you don’t have to bone again, just scrub-a-dub-dub and then return to bed so fresh and so clean.

What do I do the next day?

Text her. Yes, even if it was casual. Yes, even if it’s a one-night stand. Why? Because intimacy is not exclusive to “serious” relationships. Casual sex, when done properly, is insanely hot and lustful but still intimate and respectful. You just have to be an adult about it, and understand that the person you’re boning is also an adult with thoughts and feelings. So text her to check in, to simply say you had a nice time, to ask if the hand prints from the spanking are still there, or to ask her out again.

I Used Weed Lube to Turn My Vagina into an Edible

I wrote this for Merry Jane. Image courtesy of Flickr. 

Pussy is magic. It has the power to give both its owner and those given the privilege of experiencing it extreme pleasure. Weed is also magic and shares with pussy the ability to give those close enough to inhale it pleasure. Having learned that drinking an entire bottle of Foria (450 mg of THC) will get you high for three days, I wondered: Can I turn my vagina into an edible?

The answer is yes. “If someone sprays [Foria] on their vulva and their partner goes down on them, their vulva has now become an edible at 2.5 mg per spray and will absolutely get the oral giver high,” says sex and cannabis educator Ashley Manta, the creator of CannaSexual. People getting high off their genitals is nothing new. Think about the decades of cocaine users who had a partner blow blow up their buttholes (otherwise known as “boofing” or for the revisionist rock historians out there, “pulling a Stevie Nicks”). Everyone is entitled to their own definition of magic. Personally, I find that laying down and getting my pussy eaten as my partner gets stoned makes me feel like a goddess while boofing is something I’m happy to forget about, like the time in my life where I was determined to fuck the dudes in MGMT. Not to mention that cannabis is an immensely safer substance than cocaine, despite the Federal Government’s insistence on labeling cannabis a Schedule I drug and cocaine a Schedule II.

Foria confirms on their website that if you squirt their pleasure spray on your vagina and then have your partner go down on you, they can get stoned. When just rubbed into the vulva, there’s rarely a psychoactive effect. Someone has to eat it. Foria doesn’t just say you can get stoned by going down on a cannabis-laced pussy, they’re active advocates of the practice. “We absolutely encourage couples to play with Foria for oral as a way to for the giver to get high,” says Mathew Gerson, the creator and co-CEO of Foria.

Brittany J. Confer, Foria’s Director of Marketing and PR, adds that when men overly concerned with their own pleasure (a penis can’t get stoned, guys need to put it up their butt for absorption) often ask her what’s in it for them. When faced with such a selfish question, she tells them, “It’s like turning her vagina into an edible. If you go down on her, you’ll be giving yourself a nice little high depending on how much product the two of you use and how long she waits to allow the Foria Pleasure to absorb.”

Everyone was telling me that I could turn my vagina into an edible, but I had to test it out to be certain. Thankfully I’m seeing a guy I’ll call Lupo, who enjoys eating both pussy and weed, and is delightfully concerned with my pleasure. After catching up on Game of Thrones together, he spritzed around three to four sprays––about 10mg worth of weed––around my clit and labia. We made out for about 15 minutes to let the pleasure spray do its thing in my mucous membranes, the time advised to let Foria kick in for sexual enhancement purposes, and then he went down on me. I’ll pull a curtain across the screen and ask anyone under 18 to look away for what happened over the next hour or so. When we concluded our adult activities, I eagerly asked him: “Are you stoned from my pussy?”

“I can’t really tell,” he answered, and then fell asleep.

Even though Lupo did a wonderful job helping with my experiment I was sad. I wanted my vagina to not only give the best orgasms but the best buzz. I asked Manta what could have gone wrong. “It seems likely that your vag absorbed a good bit of it,” Manta says. That’s what I get for being selfish and wanting to get my vagina stoned rather than asking him to lick it off immediately after application. “But also it would take up to two hours to kick in (like an edible), so it may have been that he didn’t feel the effects until later and his tolerance was high enough that it was barely perceptible. That’s my hunch, at least,” she tells me. Aha! So Lupo likely didn’t feel much either because he had a high tolerance, because my pussy had consumed all the THC, or because he fell asleep after about an hour of ingestion, so there wasn’t enough time to see the full effects (or all of the above).

I could have retried the experiment again with Lupo again with adjustments, but unfortunately, my job consists of more than spraying weed on my pussy and then having beautiful men go down on me. I also enjoying eating vaginas myself and pondered how I could go from scientist to test subject by licking Foria off of another vagina. There is a woman I have been intimate with, but she isn’t a cannabis consumer, and while there’s rarely a psychoactive effect from topical use on the vulva alone, some people do experience one. Plus I felt like a creep asking her. So I did the natural next step: I spritzed some on my own vagina, pulled out my yoga mat, and tried to see if I could eat my own pussy. Nope. I knew I needed to be stretching more. So I did the following logical thing: I squirted one 2.5 mg spray of Foria onto each of my nipples.

Now those, I am flexible enough to lick. Immediately after the spray made contact, I licked off approximately 5 mg of cannabis, my preferred edible dosage and the recommended starting size by campaigns aimed to make edibles a safer experience––aka, one that doesn’t last for three whole days.

It worked. After about two hours, I indeed got stoned from licking my nipples. I felt heavenly from combined the power of cannabis and erogenous zones.

If I were a scientist writing an academic paper on my experience, here’s what I would say: My thesis upon conducting this experiment was that I could turn my vagina into an edible by applying Foria pleasure spray. Both a sex and cannabis educator and the makers of Foria supported this thesis. Due to variables such as Lupo’s tolerance and the male’s tendency to fall asleep post-orgasm, my initial experiment did not produce my desired outcome. However, my second solo experiment (masturbation is the key to a happy life) confirmed you can turn your body can into an edible with the application of a cannabis topical such as Foria. My conclusion is that you can not only turn vaginas into edibles, but nipples, butt holes, toes, or whatever gets you off. Go forth and (safely and legally) try it for yourself.