Posts Tagged ‘guest posts’

Ask Mr. Sexsmith: What happens to the stuff on the anal toys when you boil them?

Ask Mr. Sexsmith: What happens to the stuff on the anal toys when you boil them?

September 20, 2013  |  advice  |  3 Comments

Dear Mr. Sexsmith,

Ok, this is a really dumb question. When you clean silicone toys used during anal sex, do you boil them? I know that you can clean silicone toys by boiling, or by soap and water, or 10% bleach, or by the top rack of the dishwasher. But like, if you boil them, does the leftover lube/etc stay on the pot? Do you wash the pot afterwards? Do you have a separate sex-toy pot for sey-toy cleaning? Why bother dirtying something else, especially something else used in food preparation?

Thanks for any help.
Christy

Hi Christy!

I am not an expert on toy cleaning, really—I have my own way of doing it, but I’m not always sure that’s the right way. Since my activities as of late are very low-risk (currently, I have one person I share toys with), what I do feels adequately good enough.

And, I have less knowledge of the healthcare side of cleaning toys and STIs than some of the other sex educators out there. So, instead of stumbling through my own answer, I asked my buddy Sejay Chu what their thoughts were on this question. They worked for Planned Parenthood doing sex education, and are one of the best workshop presenters I’ve ever seen. Their depth (heh heh) of knowledge is astounding. (And plus, they’re super hot, so that’s always a bonus.)

Sejay wrote:

(A) Not a dumb question.

(B) Before doing any cleaning intended to sanitize (bleach, boiling, soap, etc.), it’s best to always scrub the surface gunk off first. Kinda like you “clean the dishes before you clean the dishes” for the dishwasher — if you have a dish with globs of food & grease on it, just tossing it in the dishwasher probably won’t get rid of the globs of food & grease very well… get my drift?

Bleach, boiling, soap, etc. is intended to get the microscopic bits and do a good job of it, but it can’t do that very well if it’s blocked by a (relatively) gigantic mound of whateversonyourtoy. So do a preliminary scrubbing to get the gunk out of your sanitizer’s way.

(C) Some people use a sex-toy-only pot, and some just wash the pot afterwards. It’s a matter of preference, not necessarily cleanliness. Things you cook in pots tend to get boiled or super hot in the process of, y’know, cooking anyway, right? But if it “icks” you or the people you live with to eat out of something that boiled a buttplug yesterday, it might be worth the $10 pot. Plus then you can call it a “sexpot,” hehe.

(D) Just FYI, some dishwashers don’t actually get hot enough temperature-wise to disinfect the way you’d want to, so be weary of that.

Thank you Sejay! The number (B) point was basically going to be my point too, which is that I’d use a mild soap to scrub down all the toys before doing the sanitizing of boiling it.

Sidenote:

Sanitize, by the way, is more accurate that “sterilize,” even though most sex educators tend to say “sterilize your toys by boiling for 8 minutes, 10% bleach solution, or washing in the top shelf of the dishwasher.” However, in order to actually sterilize something, you need an AutoClave or some other hospital-strength unit. But as soon as something is exposed to the air, it’s no longer sterile. Regardless, what we’re doing is sanitizing sex toys, which kills most (idk, 99.9%?) bacteria and any STI viruses. (I learned this at Catalyst East in March and I’ve been meaning to write a post about it ever since—that I’ve been saying “sanitize” all these years and all along I had never actually sanitized my toys! I don’t think it’s just me, I think it’s a common mistake of words that sex educators often use. (Or maybe it is just me, and everybody else knows this difference, and I was the one always equating the two.)

Also, if you are worried about the extra santorum* on your toys or on your cookware, I suggest using a condom with anal sex toys, because that will add a protective layer to your toys and make them even easier to clean.

I didn’t know that (D) about the dishwashers. Sejay, do you know what the required temperature is, and how to figure out if your dishwasher gets that hot or not?

And, I love the idea of having a (C) sexpot, but I tend to just use the biggest soup pot in the house. I clean my toys first, and clean the pot after. All good!

* Definition of santorum: that frothy mixture of come and lube and other rectal contents created during anal sex. See: Savage Love, 2003. (I think the word “frothy” is the key part of that definition, personally.)

8against8: Law, Life, and Love

October 27, 2008  |  essays  |  2 Comments

Guest post from Allison Blixt, a friend-of-a-friend whose personal writeup about gay marriage activism touched me. She said I could reprint it here. Thanks, Allison.

Law, Life and Love
by Allison Blixt

Some of you will think these comments are political, but to me they are just about my day-to-day life. Generally I can’t stand politics and I can’t stand politicians. Too many politicians are all about political rhetoric and promises they won’t keep. I always vote, as it is a right for which women worked very hard, but I often think of it as a choice between the lesser of two evils.

I hope that by writing this, maybe even one person will think of things in a different light.

I have been chatting with some people about the recent decision in Connecticut and Prop 8 in California. For me, the idea of Prop 8 is incredibly frightening, maddening and sad all at the same time. I just can NOT understand why people are fighting with such determination and paying so much money to support efforts to write discrimination into a constitution. Constitutions are generally for guaranteeing rights, not taking them away. How is giving equal rights to gay and lesbian people (that’s right, “PEOPLE” as in working, taxpaying, living, laughing, loving human beings that are sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, nieces and nephews), in any way, affecting your rights? This I can not understand.

I try to be above it and know that whatever people think, I am OK with myself and my love and that this is all that matters. Unfortunately, the reality is that it is not all that matters. I had to leave the country because of people’s views of who I am and beliefs that I am not equal to them. Historically, people left England to go to the US for religious freedom and freedom from the crown. Look where we are today. It is almost worth laughing about, not quite, but almost.

I have had numerous conversations with people who don’t understand why “marriage” is the issue and why gay people can’t be happy with some other type of unions…domestic partnerships, civil unions, or something else. Domestic partnerships and civil unions are going in the right direction, BUT they are still saying it is socially and politically acceptable to treat gay and lesbian PEOPLE as something less than equal. Separate has never been equal.

Whether the unions are called marriage or something else, our federal government does not recognize any of them. This is a day-to-day issue for me, since I had to choose between my country and my love. My partner, soon to be recognized as my legal partner under UK law (we
can enter into a civil partnership here, giving us all the rights of a married couple for UK purposes only), is Italian. At least we were lucky that our circumstances allowed us to move to the UK to be together. She can live here without restriction, since she is a citizen of the EU. I was fortunate enough to have an employer that has an office in London and had opportunities for me to work here and continue my career. As much as I complain about the UK, it is one of TWO countries that we can legally reside in together at this juncture. For this, I am endlessly thankful to the UK. (We also could have lived together in Canada, if we had gone through a long visa process.)

The fact that I had to leave the US still saddens me everyday. I miss my family. I miss my friends. I miss Brooklyn. I miss being a 2 1/2 or less hour flight from almost everyone that I care about deeply. I miss the security of being regarded as a US citizen entitled to the same rights and protections as everyone else. I have been dealing with the reality of this for the past few years in trying to decide whether to move out of the country to be with my partner. I was often frustrated and sad and angry and 100,000 other emotions. It didn’t totally wallop me until I was already living over here and had gone back to NC for my sister’s wedding (funny that it was for a wedding, considering the situation). I moved over here in April and went back for the wedding in May. I was thoroughly moved and touched by the open-armed acceptance of my partner and me as a couple by friends, family, family friends and relatives. It has not been an easy road, but everyone was amazing. Friends of my mom that I see every once in awhile saw my partner in the elevator of the hotel, asked if they were correct in assuming she was who they thought, and gave her huge hugs. This was not in NY or CT, this was in Winston-Salem, NC. This is only one example, but everyone there was amazingly supportive. We had a wonderful time, and it made me really happy to feel so loved and accepted. Then we got on the plane to leave. That was the moment when it walloped me. I was flying away from all of these people that love me, respect me and accept me as me, because of the law; because of the religious right that is supposed to be separate from the law. I was flooded with emotion and left the ground in Charlotte as a bawling mess.

This is why I care about the politicization of my life and my love. I hope I have opened a few eyes to the real world impact of these measures on real people’s lives. I think one of the best ways to stop the spiral toward discrimination becoming the law is to talk about the impact of all of this with people that wouldn’t otherwise think about it: co-workers, friends of friends, random people that you meet, family friends, and others. When family friends and relatives realize what the stance of the federal government has meant to me, I hope it opens their eyes to what they would never have thought about otherwise. I hope that if anything like Prop 8 ends up on the ballot in NC, they will vote no. If they do, then that is one small way in which I have contributed.

responding, à la Lorde

March 12, 2008  |  essays  |  6 Comments

A response to the girl who posted that awful rant against female masculinity on Craigslist from The Closet Musician, one of my very best friends. Thank you.

I feel like there’s no way to properly respond in this particular forum that would have much of a chance of softening the angry girl’s mind about any of the angry things she said. So, what do I do? It’s obvious that all of this hurt and fear is in her from somewhere, and her default reaction is to put it back out in a hateful, anonymous add that anyone, from anywhere, in any place or state of being can run into.

So, what do we do?

Personally, I tucked right back into that slightly tougher skin of mine, so not to have my heart impaled by a hateful, cowardly stranger on Craigslist. This is that thicker skin that queers, people of color, disabled people, anyone different from the “norm,” have been wearing since the dawning of time. The one that at some point, we all have to learn to throw on at the drop of a dime, at any moment, for an immeasurable amount of unpredictable moments of attack. In this case, the one that all of us queers grew or will grow at some point: when we first cut our hair short, the first time we shop in the clothing dept. that doesn’t coincide with our biological sex. This is the skin we put on before we go into a public restroom, or when we are awkwardly sir-ed in a crowded place, or spat at, or threatened, beat up, ignored, laughed at, or when a really close friend or perfect stranger or parent or lover says some of the same things that the angry girl on Craigslist posted. This is the skin we wear when we aren’t butch enough, too butch, faggy, not gay enough, wear makeup, wear a suit, when we are insulted, rejected, fired, not hired, gawked at, thrown out or any of the other plethora of things that happen to us because people like this girl cannot or will not deal with their own internal issues of hurt and insecurity and so shove it on us somehow, carelessly and spitefully in the form of hate and discrimination. This is nothing new, right? We are just taken off guard, angry and offended and confused and hurt … again … or maybe for the first time.

Most of us aren’t counting the hits anymore, but there are some of us that ran into this post and got hit in that soft unarmed place, where our true and fragile identities are trying to bloom, for the first time. Some of us just cut our hair really short yesterday and then walked down a busy street, some of us just admitted to ourselves that we’re queer and that this was okay, some of us braved our first gay bar last night, some of us just had our first queer kiss, some of us just came out to someone and it went ok, some of us finally went out in a tie or a skirt for the first time and were told we looked handsome or pretty for the first time ever, by a pretty girl or cute boy or a parent or a friend or a stranger – and then we read this post and got hit in that soft place for the first time – and that thicker, tougher skin, that I’ve been wearing for a few decades now, that filters what can and can’t get into your heart, started to grow. And this makes me mad, this makes me very, very sad.

I wonder, even though it’s pointless, I wonder why she wrote most of everything she wrote. It didn’t really have anything to do with anything and was so careless and aimless. She just opened fire on anyone who ran into it. She hurt a lot of people.

Regardless, it’s out there now, for most of us as a reminder, for some of us as a harsh awakening, that our identity, our self understanding is just that: it is our own and it is deeply personal and sensitive and pliable and impressionable, breakable, insecure, vulnerable, real and very, very… very important. And as you discover you, you have to wear it, claim it, right? It’s who you are.

And I think that when who you are is hit with hate, go ahead and feel it, give yourself permission to react, just chose your reaction consciously so that maybe the hatred going around will lighten up and so that maybe insight and acceptance can have some room to get somewhere, and so that maybe this girl, who, like it or not, is everywhere, might learn something from you … and …but … maybe she won’t. But, for all of us who are brave enough to be who we are and let our identities free to style our hair, dress us, create our stride, our speech, and any and all of the infinite possibilities of potential expression for the identities we claim – good for us!

Audre Lorde said, “If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.” As a boi, butchy, lesbian, dyke, girl, androgynous, top, bottom, sister, partner, writer, daughter, friend, gardener, Cher-loving, liberal, sexy, funny, handsome, cocky, fragile, political, sensitive, angry, kind, self-loving person, I really like that quote.

And now my comment directed to the girl that wrote the original ad on Craigslist:

Angry, Anonymous Girl,

If your misplaced hatred is at all removable and you are even slightly open to things that don’t make sense to you, I (by myself) or some of my friends and I (a lovely bouquet of butches, bois, dykes, fags, hags, trans, femmes, studs, bi’s, queers, and straighties) would be more than willing to have an open discussion with you. If you promise to leave your sword at the door, I’ll take off my thicker skin and talk to you from an honest place: girl to girl, lesbian to lesbian, boi to however you so choose to self identify at that particular moment.

If you are going to respond to this letter with hate, please warn me first, maybe in the title, so I can put on a layer first.

Thanks for listening.

an argument for butch/femme

February 29, 2008  |  essays  |  7 Comments

Guest post from my best friend The Muse. We were discussing a post I found earlier today called “an argument against butch/femme,” which I may discuss more later, and she, brilliantly, sent me this.

That rhetoric is so frustrating. Why is it so hard for people to understand that for some, defining yourself can be liberating, not limiting. There’s so often a snobbery in queer women who feel they’ve transcended the societal expectations placed on them by rejecting femininity. Anyone who does it another way is clearly still oppressed, unenlightened.

I rejected my femininity too, for ten plus years, but that was mainly a rebellion against my hetero lifestyle. I was like, if men want me, they’re going to have to want me in spite of all this. I’m not doing them any favors, making it easy for them.

Realizing I was gay helped me back out of that contrary corner, but I still wasn’t sure where to go next. My first girlfriend was an andro dykey sort who really dug masculinity, and was a total bottom, so she often encouraged me to be more toppy, more masculine. “I like you so much better without makeup.” “Clearly you look femme, but your energy is very butch.” Haha.

After her, I knew I wanted a masculine girl. It turned me on. But I ended up with someone who rejected her masculinity, her butchness, and was deeply ambivalent about how she was perceived. One early morning she was going out for coffee, but first put on these dangly earrings. I remarked something like, “oh, aren’t you fancy, adding jewelry to your hoodie and jeans ensemble.” She looked at me, dead serious and a little sad, and said, “If I don’t wear them, sometimes people mistake me for a guy.”

So I was constantly conflicted about who I in was her context, since I was made to feel guilty for the very reasons I was interested in her. In turn, she gave me mixed messages about my femininity, sometimes rewarding it, sometimes rejecting it. Fairly often I was left hanging, frustrated and confused in the lingerie I’d bought for her amusement, feeling costumed and stupid.

After that one, I knew I wanted a self-identified butch, but I didn’t know how femme I was. Was I femme enough to get into the club? Would a real butch be satisfied with my level of overt femininity? I couldn’t really walk in heels and I defaulted to jeans 80% of the time, and I felt the need to apologize for that. I put up personal ads describing myself a “tomboy femme” or a “low-maintenance low femme,” which the butches I went out with tended to eschew. In spite of my ever-present jeans and my aversion to the huge collection of skirts in my closet, they thought I was femme. Definitely. “Just look at your perfect red toenails, and your cute little sandals,” one said. “That’s certainly not butch.”

But even dressing up for your reading at the Stain Bar that Sunday in September, I felt a little costumed. I had been in jeans at work and changed there, and walking down fifth avenue to the L train, I got lots of looks from people I passed. My gut reaction was to think, “oh, they think I look stupid, or like a slut, or maybe the tops of my stockings are showing…” It didn’t really occur to me that I might just look hot. It’s so much easier being under the radar in jeans, wow.

Two days later, though, I went on a date with a butch named Lee. For some reason, I decided to ditch the jeans and wear a skirt, tight busty sweater, fishnets, heels. I normally wouldn’t do that for a first date, preferring to set expectations low and give full disclosure that I’d usually be in jeans, that the dressing up was occasional. She even asked me, “so, do you normally dress like this?” and I responded, “no, I just wanted to look nice for you.”

Four hours later. After seeing the toppy look on her face that gets me instantly wet, makes me tilt my chin down and look at her wide and expectant through my eyelashes, my mouth dropping open a little, just before she leaned over and kissed me hard, interrupting whatever I was saying. After making out wildly in an overpillowed winebar, her hands running up my skirt and finding the baby pink band of my thigh-highs, looking at me surprised and saying, “oh, that’s nice.” After a shameless PDA marathon along 14th street, grinding up against brick walls and in the middle of the sidewalk and in dark corners and on subway platforms.

After all that, I was convinced of the utility of skirts. And heels, two and a half inches or more, that put her cock just below my clit when I’m up against a wall. Fuck yeah. A (high-minus? medium-plus?) femme was born.

So, it very much arose out of sex for me, this butch-femme thing. I finally had a context in which I made sense and felt hot, and I loved it. Still working out the details, but I feel more me than ever. And I got there without help from societal norms or heterosexual paradigms, which of course had been with me all along, and of no use whatsoever.

We definitely need to explain to these anti-butch-femme ranters that this is a subversion of the hetero masculine-feminine spectrum, not an emulation of it. The butch-femme identity is as queer as all get out, and other queers should respect that, and not hierarchize the “best ways” to be queer.