sex

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.

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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.

What to Say When Your Girlfriend Gets Cosmetic Surgery

Read my sexy lips.

This article was originally published in GQ. Illustration by Cecile Dormeau. 

Recently I got lip fillers. I did it for myself, not “for a guy,” and my new lips look great (they look like my usual lips, but fuller and with a little Cupid’s bow). But when I told the men in my life what I was up to, they didn’t really know what to do with it.

From Donald Trump’s sexist tweet about MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski’s supposed facelift to Rob Kardashian’s bizarre social-media meltdown about Blac Chyna’s plastic surgery, there are a lot of examples of how not to speak to and about women who elect to get cosmetic procedures. Maybe you’d be stoked if your girlfriend announced that she wanted to get work done. But you might also feel apprehensive, especially if your lady is planning a nose job or a breast augmentation, more drastic procedures that require anesthesia. You respect her and you love the way she looks already, and that’s beautiful. But when she brings up getting work done, give her the benefit of the doubt: Trust that she’s put thought into this and done her research. If all she wants is a little Botox or lip fillers, chill. Ask her why she wants it done, and listen. Express your thoughts and concerns, but at the end of the day, it’s her body and her choice. Ultimately, you should support it. It might end up turning you on.

Don’t be like Donald and Rob—here’s what to say and do to be supportive each step of the way:

Before: Don’t Overdo It

“You’re beautiful just the way you are,” is at its core a supportive sentiment, and an important (albeit Bruno Mars-y) one. However, if your partner is telling you that she wants work done, please don’t undermine her intelligence and right to choose her own aesthetic by defaulting to praises of natural beauty. I, for instance, already have pink hair and eyelash extensions. Whenever a dude waxes poetic about how lovely I’d look if I let the pink wash out and opted for my natural brown hair, I feel like he’s undermining my decisions. I don’t feel like myself with long brown hair, I feel like myself with a messy magenta bob, damnit! The same goes for getting work done. When I first announced that I was going to get lip fillers, one guy said something mean about how I “just wanted to feel better about myself.” Well, in a sense, yeah—I wanted them because I enjoy feeling hot and powerful and I like how they look. Please don’t patronize me, or any woman, by assuming the desire to get work done is to fill some soul hole. Respect that this is my body, my choice, and my money, and if I want some Lana Del Rey-esque pouty lips, then that’s up to me. Don’t assume or say anything that infantilizes a woman’s choices about her body. And for fuck’s sake, don’t say something plain mean like “that’s gross,” because I know you follow Kylie Jenner on Instagram.

During: Be There in Person or in Texts

If your lady is getting something done that requires anesthesia, such as a nose or boob job, it might be nice to go with her, but injections are so quick that it’s not necessary. If you can’t join her on her beauty expedition, encourage her the day of and check in throughout in a supportive—but not annoying—manner. She’s about to experience a teeny bit of pain. Feel free to ask her, “Does it hurt?” and then laud women for having such high pain tolerance. Sitting in a comfy chair in Dr. Dara Liotta’s pristine Manhattan office, I loved getting my lips done. I have ten tattoos and enjoy BDSM so I may not be the best judge of pain threshold, but injections are truly no biggie. If you’re curious and want a fair comparison, I went to the dentist earlier that week and that sucked a million times more. Dr. Liotta’s office was sexy. Getting work done really does feel sexy, so totally amp that up—either verbally, if she allows you to accompany her, or through texts. Ask her things like, “How you holding up, champ?” or joke around about celebrity sightings. Truly the best things you can say during the procedure are words of encouragement, such as: “You got this! You’re going to look even hotter, if that’s possible.” Those newly plumped lips will reward you.

After: Give Her Soup and Space

If you want to score all the points after her procedure, bring her things like delicious soup, frozen yogurt, and ice packs. Snuggle up with movies or a House of Cards binge-watching session. Know that she may not be able to continue a conversation because her lips are sore. And if she wants space, give her space. Regarding lip augmentation, it takes a day or so to go from swollen to sexy—for other procedures it can take a lot longer. You know in High Fidelity, when John Cusack talks about his girlfriend’s plain cotton underwear “hanging on the thing,” and how there are parts of intimacy that aren’t inherently sexy? John Cusack fantasizes about other women, knowing that they too probably have cotton panties, but he only sees them in lingerie. Your girlfriend might not want to taint the sexy intimacy with this moment of puffy-lipped un-sexy intimacy. If you are allowed over to watch her attempt post-procedure ramen slurping, make sure she’s comfy, and if you make any jokes about how she looks puffy, do it with love. And then, yes: Please let go of any hang-ups you might have, and enjoy her beautiful newly plumped lips, which she elected to get done just because she wanted to. Since you’ve been so supportive of her choices you get to have fun with those suckers!

7 Things You Should Know Before Trying Butt Plugs

I wrote a butt plug bible for Allure. Image courtesy of Allure.  

If you’re not familiar with the joys of butt plugs, allow me to introduce you to a versatile toy you can enjoy regardless of gender, orientation, or genitalia. If you have a prostate, butt plugs can stimulate it, and if you have a vagina, a butt plug can create incredibly pleasurable pressure on the back vaginal wall. That’s not to mention that the anus itself is also surrounded by nerve endings. Whatever the reason you’re keen to dive into the world of butt plug play, there are a few things you should know first for a comfortable, safe, and sexy experience.

That’s just the intro. Because this article comes with seven must-have butt plug recommendations and corresponding images, I’m going to make you head over to their website to read it….so, click here

Missionary Position Is the Kinkiest Sex Position

This piece was originally published in Glamour. Photo courtesy of Stocksy. 

I have a controversial statement to make: The kinkiest sex of all happens in missionary position. Hear me out! When films present a female character as a takes-what-she-wants, raunchy femme fatale (think Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct), she’s usually on top during sex. Yes, pinning down your partner while using your hips to ride them can make you feel powerful. It also can allow for some intense clit-to-bod contact, which rules. But is it the hottest? I’m inclined to say nah. For me, despite society’s insistence on dipping missionary in vanilla, it wins the kink (and feel-good) contest.

But first, here’s my theory on why men love it when a girl gets on top: They’re lazy. Being on top is a CrossFit-level workout (or so I imagine—I’ve never tried CrossFit). The structure of the heteronormative missionary position—although the same idea is applied to sex between two people with vaginas when one is wearing a strap-on—requires some serious upper body strength, not to mention nailing the proper speed and rhythm of thrust (no jack-hammering, please). While there are no scientific studies at this time to back up my theory, I’m convinced that when a dude says, “Now you get on top,” it’s usually because his arms are sore, not because it’s the sexiest or kinkiest pose—even if it’s hard to argue with the spectacular boob view that girl-on-top provides.

But it’s hot to be on the bottom! Feeling someone’s body on top of you, thrusting, drenching the both of you in sweat, all the while maintaining eye contact? While doggy-style often gets the credit for being particularly kinky—and hitting it DS is dope for deeper penetration—you can risk some neck injuries turning around to throw some sexy eyes at your partner. When you’re on your back and want to get kinky, you can ask your partner to call you the dirty bedroom name of your choice without hurting yourself! And while being on top means you can control the depth of penetration—great if your partner is on the bigger side—in my experience (all vaginas are different, after all), missionary means more profound penetration than girl-on-top.

What’s more: Missionary is the best for masturbation. It’s a fact that at least three quarters of women need clitoral stimulation rather than vaginal penetration alone to get off during the deed. Many a sex position guide will tell you that when you’re on top, you can rub your clit or add a vibrator. Maybe it’s my poor coordination, but when I’m on top I’m focused on hip thrusting, booty bouncing, and perhaps a set or two of squats. Now I’m supposed to also add a hand or a toy? Too much multitasking. I’ve found that adding clitoral stimulation with my hands or a vibrator (and thus, orgasms) becomes far easier when I’m lying on my back. Kink for me usually means toys, and I’ve found using handcuffs and nipple clamps (they can slide off when you’re bouncing up and down) is far easier and thus more kink-friendly, in missionary.

I’m not done yet! While on the bottom during missionary sex, you can switch it up endlessly. You can lift one leg (or both!) for such intense stimulation you may need a quick breather. You can throw a pillow under your butt. You can wrap your legs like a pretzel around your partner and pull him or her closer to you. Yes, missionary can be a little vanilla. But have you seen the sheer array of toppings available?

And if you’re in the mood for something other than vanilla, missionary is the ultimate transition position. With a simple flip, you can turn over onto your belly for doggy-style, or get on top for cowgirl to give your partner a workout break. If you want to get a little selfish (and you totally should), missionary makes it easy if you want to ask your partner to pull out and go down on you for a bit.

In conclusion, the words missionary position may invoke visions of awkwardly losing your virginity or your parents conceiving you to the smooth sounds of Steely Dan’s Aja. But don’t be fooled by these unfortunate images: Missionary is the kinkiest.

This article is part of Summer of Sex, our 12-week long exploration of how women are having sex in 2017.

 

Shibari Is A Beautiful Form Of Japanese Bondage — & It Demands Respect

This article was originally published in Refinery29. Image courtesy of Refinery29.

For the average person who dabbles in bondage, adding a pair of handcuffs to their sex life is just a fun way to mix things up. For those who practice shibari, a specific type of Japanese rope bondage, it’s not just BDSM — it’s an art form.

Shibari is a Japanese word that literally means “to tie,” says Lord Morpheous, sex educator and author of several books on rope bondage, including Bondage Basics: Naughty Knots and Risque Restraints.

But let’s make one thing clear: If you’re new to bondage, (a.k.a. restraint play), shibari is probably not the best place to start. Simpler forms of bondage, like sex handcuffs or bed restraint kits, are easier to learn and use safely. “An absolute beginner might want to get a wider taste for several bondage styles and techniques before they focus on shibari,” Morpheous says. However, shibari instructors say that, for those who are more advanced in bondage and drawn to the visual delight of shibari rope patterns, there’s nothing better.

Unlike many forms of bondage within BDSM, shibari isn’t usually meant to foster a sense of helplessness and humiliation for the person who’s tied up (which many submissive people desire). “Shibari, conversely, focuses on the art, beauty, and geometry of the tying style over and above these things,” Morpheous says. But shibari practitioners’ emphasis on the craft itself doesn’t mean it can’t be an intensely erotic and spiritual sexual experience. “It fosters a real connection with your partner or partners, even when there is no other contact or erotic content to the play session,” Morpheous says. (But again, there are plenty of easier ways to achieve this connection, like using scarves or belts as basic restraints in a consensual dominant/submissive scenario.)

While it’s okay for anyone interested in shibari to safely explore the practice, it’s important to understand that shibari has a deep and rich cultural history. “I personally think one should study its history and origins, both Eastern and Western, because it’s interesting and helps one understand certain cultural meanings to why things may be done a certain way that doesn’t necessarily apply to our modern sentiments anymore,” says Kissmedeadlydoll, a New York-based rope bondage educator.

Morpheous says the practice originated from a Japanese martial arts tying style called “Hojōjutsu,” which the samurai used as a method of restraining captives. From there, it merged with “kinbaku,” the erotic practice of rope bondage. Jimi Tatu, a shibari and kinbaku educator, says that kinbaku is a prominent term still used in Japan to describe the act of binding things tightly. “In the West, these two terms have been merged into one, so what we refer to as shibari now is basically erotic, artistic rope bondage,” Morpheous says (though he says that “purists hate that”).

Along with learning about about shibari’s history, it’s important that people interested in trying it take the proper safety precautions — someone’s going to get tied up using heavy duty ropes, after all. Not to mention, shibari is often used in suspension situations, in which the person who’s tied up is dangling from the ceiling, so a lot could go wrong. “It is risky and requires attention to the details,” Kissmedeadlydoll says. If you’re interested in learning and practicing shibari, start by reading a book on the practice (Morpheous has written many) or attend an in-person workshop or class. Kissmedeadlydoll also suggests always keeping safety shears nearby, and both she and Morpheous recommend using rope made of a firm vegetable fiber called Jute.

Does this all sound complicated? That’s because it is. So, if you’re champing at the bit to give shibari a try, just make sure to do your homework before inviting someone over for an evening of beautiful, erotic bondage.

Sex Magic: How to Cast Spells with Your Orgasms

This article was originally published for Broadly. Illustration by Vivian Shih.

When people ask Kristen Korvette how she landed her first book deal, she normally responds with a predictable platitude: She achieved her dream through a combination of hard work and luck. In private, however, she attributes her success to masturbating under the full moon.

Korvette, the editrix of Slutist and a professor of the New School’s class “The Legacy of the Witch,” is a practitioner of sex magic, using sexual energy (often orgasm) for manifestation.”It happened to be a full moon on the evening I submitted my proposal, so I engaged in my usual practice”— which consists of “listening to my favorite erotically-charged music (which is always glam metal: Motley Crue mostly), lighting a candle that has been carved to symbolize my goal, and unsheathing my crystal dildo to consummate the spell”—”and exactly one month later, on the full moon, I received word that I was in,” she says.

Given the preponderance of love spells and evil-yet-seductive witches in pop culture, it’s understandable that sex magic is so often misunderstood. But according to those who practice the erotic craft, it’s just another form of magical manifestation. “You have an intention, and you’re using orgasms or sex as a tool to achieve that particular intention,” explains Cat Cabral, a Wiccan priestess who managed the East Village occult shop Enchantments for more than a decade. Bri Luna, owner of The Hood Witch, agrees with this characterization. “We’re not talking about how to be sexy or have an enhanced libido. We’re getting down to manifesting, talking about harnessing sexual energy to make very real results,” she says. “Sexual energy is just energy. It’s neutral.”

Neutral, maybe, but extremely powerful nonetheless. “With sex magick, all you need is to reach orgasm and you can change your world,” writes Damon Brand in Adventures in Sex Magick.

The history of sex magic as a whole is as expansive as it is elusive, and it’s often difficult to obtain records about it. According to Sex and the Supernatural by Benjamin Walker, sex magic and erotic mysticism were practiced earliest in Central Asia. The citizens of one area in particular, known as Urgyan, a “semi-mythical kingdom that fought for the rights of the Tibetan people,” and are said to have used rites involving tantra, the build-up (and avoidance to increase power) of sexual energy and orgasm. “[It] was a place of some notoriety, according to the Hundi Chronicles, where intercourse was regarded as not only pro-creative…but for the acquisition of magical power,” writes Walker.

Sex magic through tantra dates back to the middle of the first millennium. The diversity of tantric practices has made it difficult to pinpoint the precise origin, the first record of tantra is likely the Śaiva Mantramārga tradition during the fifth century. While today tantra has often taken on associations with new age sex workshops and Sting, it’s also about harnessing power, and even achieving enlightenment, according to Essence of Vajrayana: The Highest Yoga Tantra Practice of Heruka Body Mandala By Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. Unfortunately, many early tantric texts were destroyed by crusaders. The Gnostics, a collection of ancient religions and sects, found in a range of regions from the Middle East to China, also performed sex magic rituals, such as blood rituals and mantras to invoke sexual energy.

The most notorious sex magic practitioner in recent history is Aleister Crowley, a famous 19th century British occultist who viewed sex as “the supreme magical power.” A high-ranking member of the secret society Ordo Templi Orientis, which uses sex rituals heavily in its initiation ceremonies, he went onto write several books on the use of erotic magic. His views were extreme, as was his desire to experiment with new forms of sex magic. In Sex and the Supernatural, Walker writes: “In seeking to enlarge his tantrik-oriented experiences, Crowley advertised for females of all kinds, deformed women, dwarfs, hunchbacks, and as he put it in his characteristically unfeeling way, ‘freaks of all sorts.'”

Contemporary witches dismiss much of his work. “It veered on the more racist and sexist and just really weird,” says Luna. “I feel that a lot of his work, for what it was, was very self-serving and low vibrational, very demonic in a sense where you’re working with things that if you have no idea what the hell you’re doing, you could fuck yourself up. I’ve never felt compelled to go any further with studying him.”

Modern sex magic users have a myriad of historical, cultural practices to draw inspiration from, and many of them emphasize the importance of finding what works best for you. In ways, sex magic is similar to any other form of energy work, which harnesses energy, with the practitioner often tapping into their own spiritual energy to heal. the only difference is that the energy being harnessed in this case is the release of orgasm. “The first step is to have a clear goal and an intention of what you want,” says Luna. “I find for me that sex magic works best when your intention has to do with sex, love, confidence, power, strength.”

“Not, I need a new car, I’m gonna masturbate—that’s just so silly,” says Cabral.”

Other techniques involve repeating mantras during orgasm, focusing on sigils (a magical symbol) to help focus your energy, and invoking certain deities. Hathor, Isis, and Aphrodite are common goddess to invoke, but you can use whatever deity appeals most to you since sex magic is so personalized and intuitional. “I think everybody needs to find deities or mythology or archetypes that relate to them. So for some people that’s staying within their own heritage or culture,” says Cabral. “Personally, I love working with Venus or Aphrodite.” Intuition, she adds, is “the most important thing.”

Indeed, most witches will say that sex magic is one of the most intuitive practices. “I came to sex magic pretty intuitively,” recalls Korvett. “As a young girl, my mother taught me the power of manifestation, but in a G-rated way, of course. Somehow I made the connection between that and all the self-pleasure I was engaging in, and realized it could be used in a more powerful and productive way.”

Another, perhaps less intuitive, component of sex magic involves the use of bodily fluids. An early example of this is Abbe Guibourg, a French Roman Catholic occultistknown as a “renegade priest,” who in 1683 performed a Black Mass, a corruption of the traditional Catholic ceremony. Such ceremonies involve the nun figure urinatinginto a chalice, often as a demonstration of opposition to strict Catholic beliefs. Period blood is another useful liquid in sex magic, and according to Luna, there is a long folkloric history of women putting period blood into coffee or tea or red pasta sauce (because it is easy to hide!) often for binding spells, to cause sexual attraction, as in the Hoodoo tradition. Some practitioners also do spells with a concoction of semen mixed with period blood, which is considered very powerful. The mixture typically obtained and placed in a chalice, or swapped through kissing after oral sex, in a ritual believed to “seal” the magic performed, or create whatever manifestation the practitioner desires (again, sex magic goals don’t have to be about sex), according to Brand.

“Blood is life, especially menstrual blood; it nourishes life, you grow humans,” says Luna, adding that you can use bodily fluids to dress candles and talismans, meaning coating a candle, often carved with a sigil, with a substance whose properties are believed to help one achieve their goal.. (If you are going to work with bodily fluids, please be aware of the health risks. Feeding and eating bodily fluids carries the same danger as oral sex, so get tested, discuss it with partners beforehand, and become educated on dangers. “You’re playing with someone’s will and health. You can transmit diseases and all kinds of icky things,” cautions Luna.)

In general, when practicing with a partner, communication is very important. Luna says that you should either work together completely or keep your partner entirely in the dark about the fact that you’re manifesting magic during intercourse. “Either they know what it is that you’re doing, or they shouldn’t know at all. Because any person who kind of knows and isn’t really into it they can fuck up the whole flow of energy,” she explains. “So either keep them ignorant altogether, or they know and they are going to focus on that energy as well, so it makes it that much more powerful if you are going to come together.”

Even those uninterested or skeptical of practices such as magic can attest to the intimacy and intensity of coming at the same time. “With a partner, it becomes really cool and exciting when you can trust someone, and the both of you can work together. You know, staring at each other in the eyes, maybe slowing down an orgasm, breathing together,” says Cabral.

For many practitioners, though, the fact that sex magic can be practiced alone is one of its main draws. “Although I’ve experimented with partnered sex magic, I find the solo spells have worked better for me thus far,” says Korvette. In a world that’s traditionally punished women for freely enjoying both sex and magic, combining the two can feel revolutionary—and taking matters into one’s own hands only heightens that sense.

“Witchcraft in and of itself if very empowering for women… you know that all of your power is just innately within yourself,” says Luna. “One of the most powerful aspects any women can have is owning her sexuality, and not being afraid of that power, and not being afraid to use that power.”