“What are you doing to take care of yourself this week?”
We go over a bit about the holidays, why Leigh hates Enya, possible hysterectomies and new dating/NRE. Leigh mentions Bilateral Music for anxiety, let us know if this works for you.
We answer emails on Lack of Lesbian Community & Trans women topping/bottoming. Want to share your thoughts, open a discussion or have questions for Ask Sex Coach Leigh, Email us at QueersNextDoor@gmail.com
27:00 begins Megan talking to Janet & Ted at Thunder In the Mountains, a Kink & BDSM conference. We talk about coming out as bisexual, raising bisexual children, polyamory, introducing polyamory to your children and family, and living your truth. (more…)
The Pulse III Duo from Hot Octopuss, touted as the “World’s first Guybrator,”is a vibrating sex toy that can be used solo or with a partner. As a sex coach and educator, I am super grateful to see more toys designed specifically for penis-owners. For a long time, masturbation sleeves have pretty much cornered the market. Vibrators have been generally targeted to those of us with vulvas. There are a plethora of toys for anal play, but those of course are not anatomy-dependent.
As I think the blog and podcast have clearly established, I’m a queer cis gal. So while I do not have a penis myself, I was able to watch my partner use the Pulse III and also participate in the couples part of this couples’ toy. But an important note about language: my partner is a queer trans woman. She has a penis, so while this “guybrator” is in many ways tailored to her body, it does not align with her identity. She is not a guy.
Obviously, all bodies are different and enjoy different things. I do think it is useful to distinguish between type and function of sex toys, but I also think it’s time to remove the “for him/for her” and “male/female” language from the ad copy for sexual products (and most consumer products in general). Gender and sexuality exist on too broad a spectrum to be limited to this binary, and inclusive marketing is better for everyone. Thankfully, this is an easy fix: male stimulator becomes penis stimulator, guybrator goes back to vibrator (dickbrator? cockbrator? I’ll admit that guybrator is cute, but not at the expense of inducing dysphoria in potential customers.)
But let’s talk about the good stuff: The Pulse III is sleek, midnight blue, and made of soft, high quality, body-safe silicone. (Reminder: that means that you should only use water-based lube with it.) It’s waterproof, which is a fun bonus. There are five vibration modes, so whether you prefer a little bit of a tease or more of a steady rumble, you can experiment with different patterns and intensities. It comes with a USB magnetic charger, which is a rad choice, but do note: it takes a full 24 hours of charging to be able to hold a vibration for more than a few seconds.
My partner has used and enjoyed my Hitachi Magic Wand, but it does take a lot of finagling to get it in the right spot. She is psyched that this vibrator can more easily target the sensitive underside of her penis (and isn’t jackhammer loud and tethered to a cord). The vibration is definitely audible, but not obnoxiously so, and it immediately gets those pleasurable sensations going. While not entirely a hands-free solo toy, she found that it is easy to position the toy where she wants it, and she only has to lightly hold it in place. The unique curved shape is definitely the Pulse III’s best asset.
As a toy for couples, it is a bit challenging, but I find that to be true of most couples’ toys, and would argue that mutual masturbation is an even better couples’ activity than trying to grind against the same piece of technology. As a Hitachi gal, I have essentially trained my body to need heavy machinery levels of vibration. So while the Pulse III doesn’t quite cut it, it is much more comfortable to press my clit against than anything else we’ve tried to use together. And even more so, touching myself, using my own toy, or just kissing and stroking my partner while she uses a toy on herself (and vice versa) is one of my favorite couples’ activities. I’m thrilled that she now has a toy that is better suited to her anatomy, and will stop stealing mine!
For vulva-owners with more responsive clits, this might be perfect for dual use. And to add to the fun, there is a remote control that either person can use to vary the vibration and intensity, which leads to endless possibilities. A note from my partner about the size: while she found it pretty comfortable for her, she does think that the “one size fits all” claim might not apply to folks with girthier penises, as the sides are pretty rigid. And for two penis-owners, the dual use is probably going to be more challenging, but nothing wrong with taking turns (after cleaning with warm soapy water).
Overall, we are both delighted that Hot Octopuss has created a product that has been missing from the sex toy landscape, and can’t wait to keep playing.
If you want to purchase the Pulse III Duo, head on over to Hot Octopuss.
*The pulse III duo was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.
Megan: Welcome to Queers Next Door Leigh: with your hosts M: Leigh and Megan. We take the topics you care about: L: sex, relationships, feminism, kink, social justice, and entertainment, M: and look at them through a queer as fuck lens. L: Find us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook @QueersNextDoor M: and make sure to follow the blog at queersnextdoor.com. L: Cheers, queers! (more…)
[I wrote this last year, but we thought it might be helpful to folks again this year.]
Last year, it seemed like every discussion about surviving the holidays focused on how to interact with the Trump voter at your family table. This remains disturbingly relevant, though my advice for that lands pretty solidly in the “just don’t” category. But this year, I want to direct my energy to you (and me), rather than them.
The holidays are hard, kittens. While some of us in the sex-positive community were raised by equally sex-positive parents, most of us were not. We have often had to wade through the dark waters of religious dogma, abuse, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, and shame to get to these shores. And since many of our families are still down in the muck, the holidays can be a painful reminder of the past. Maybe you have family members who misgender you or criticize your appearance. Maybe you can’t tell your parents that you’re queer. Maybe your family believes that your D/s dynamic is abusive, your polyamory is just cheating, or your sex work is degrading. Maybe they are so deeply unhappy that your very existence, with all its joy and freedom, is a threat.
This is the first year I wasn’t invited to my given family’s Christmas celebrations. I started to say that it’s because I’m queer, because my partner is trans… but this isn’t on me. I wasn’t invited because my family is toxic.
You know that scene in Home Alone where Kevin discovers, first with fear and then with elation, that he has made his family disappear? I am trying to find that joy myself. There is no emptiness in not spending the holidays with my family. There is just space. And I intend to fill that space with friends and chosen family, with music and food, with old traditions that feel relevant and new ones that feel meaningful.
Four years ago, when I told my parents I was getting a divorce, my mom said, “It seemed to me that you weren’t kind to each other. That always made me sad.” It was a rare criticism that I agreed with. There were reasons my ex and I weren’t kind to each other. There always are. But the fact that we didn’t know how to be kind to each other – that we had forgotten how, or never really learned – that’s why he’s not my family anymore. And when I think of the things I would say to my mom if I could really tell her how I felt, that’s what I keep coming back to: kindness. In all my relationships, be they romantic or familial, long-term or fleeting, kindness is non-negotiable. My mother loves me. But she is not kind to me. And I am worthy of kindness.
Lovelies, we are all worthy of kindness. I hope this holiday season, no matter how or if you celebrate, you surround yourself with folks who are kind. You don’t owe your time or your emotional energy to people who refuse to see you as you deserve to be seen. You have a right to where what you want to wear, eat what you want to eat, and love who (and how) you want to love. May the end of this tumultuous year be a space for expansion, not regression.
I like to create mantras out of the quotes that raise the little hairs on my arm, especially when I know things are going to be emotionally challenging. Kurt Vonnegut was my first favorite author, so I’ll leave you with this: “There’s only one rule that I know of, babies – ‘God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.’”
Hot Octopuss is best known for their award winning penis stimulation toys. With piston like pulsating, they claim to “reinvent the way you orgasm”. Once I found out they had a clitoral stimulation toy, The Queen Bee, I was delighted to try it out for a review.
When I first started to review toys I joked that I have a very easy to please clit. It’s rare that I meet a toy made for the clit that I don’t at the very least *like*, and I have many friends who do not feel that way at all.
With time, and a handful of great (and not so great) toys I’ve tested, I’ve realized that it’s not just my clit that needs attention, I prefer a toy that can hit the surrounding areas as well, one that can cover all over my vulva. The bigger the better. Not a pinpoint vibrator, more like a wand. When I saw the pulse plate on the Queen Bee, I knew there was a high chance I’d love this toy- and I was right.
Unboxing & About the QB
Materials: TPE, ABS
Vibrations Levels: 7, Vibration Patterns 5
Power Source: Magnetic Rechargeable
The packaging is beautiful, and the name is clever- Queen Bee, buzz buzz... speaking of which, the most common thing I’ve heard about this toy from social media is how loud it is, but more on that later.
It came with a drawstring pouch that can hold the Queen Bee and its charger, which excited me a lot more than it should have. I totally have a thing for pouches and bags.
My first thoughts were that it was not as big and heavy as I thought it would be. It looks like a hairbrush, which made me want to sing into it (And I totally did on snapchat! Picture provided, lol)
There are two different sides of the Queen Bee to enjoy. One is more gentle and can be used for a body massage, for your vulva or clit, or anywhere you want stimulation, really.
The other more intense side offers the pulse plate experience, which pulses deep, intense rumbles. It’s not just a vibrator, it oscillates.
“These high-amplitude oscillations are significantly more powerful and intense than standard vibrations and often lead to a unique and very powerful orgasm.”- Hot Octopuss
This toy is fully waterproof so you can enjoy it in the tub or shower, and it’s easy to clean. The magnetic USB charging is super easy and lights up red and green so you know when it’s fully charged.
Using the Queen Bee
Let’s get to the good stuff.
Since I heard that it was a loud toy, I waited for a day when all of my family was out of the house, set up my phone camera, and tried it out (because I like to use toys for the first time on cam or recording, it’s more fun for me that way). To my surprise, I came the first try. I actually come every time I use the toy, which is rarer for me.
When I use this toy sitting up in my cam chair, sometimes my thighs will push together and the pressure stops it from working. I like to use toys at the highest vibration setting and never touch the buttons again, so this became fun for me because I could stop and go as it got too intense, delaying my orgasm (my favorite!). I can see how this might be annoying for those who don’t want it to stop, though.
I find that when I lay on my bed with my legs spread wide, I don’t have to put as much pressure on my vulva/and or clit with the toy, and then the Queen Bee does not stop, it keeps on oscillating til I reach orgasm (usually about 7 minutes for me based on all my recordings ;0)
You have to charge it for 4 hours for just 1 hour of use, which also is no problem for me, but for some that may be.
Back to the noise. YES, it is noisy! Be aware of that before you purchase. Here is a little video of the noise for your information:
Lastly, while it says clitoral stimulator, I think any person who enjoys deep rumbly vibes might enjoy this if you have a clitoris or not!!!
Deep, broad, rumbly vibrations
comes with a cute storage bag
If you want to purchase the Queen Bee, head on over to Hot Octopuss.
*The queen bee was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.
Check back tomorrow for details about our first giveaway, you might be the lucky winner and get to try the Queen Bee for yourself!!!
In the last few months, I joined two book clubs, because I love to read, but also because I am a chronic over-scheduler. I didn’t finish either of the first books on time (what are book clubs for, if not to make you feel a little bad about yourself?), but then last month’s selection was Black Wave, Michelle Tea’s 2016, um, apocalypse memoir? Kittens, get to this book! It is heartbreaking, hilarious, weird, and queer as fuck. I have somehow never read any of Michelle’s books, but I did follow her excellent “Getting Pregnant with Michelle Tea” column on the now defunct white lady nonsense blog that was XOJane. Black Wave is sobriety memoir as postmodern fiction; a literalization of the idea that sometimes the end of a relationship feels like the end of the fucking world. It exists in an alternate 1990s timeline where the animals are extinct and the plants are dead and everyone just kind of accepts it, in a banality of evil sort of way that is so very 2018.
The book’s Michelle is a twenty-something disaster, drinking and using and fucking her way through San Francisco’s rapidly gentrifying queer community, until she burns enough bridges that she decides to move to Los Angeles (and ultimately get clean), right on the verge of the actual end of the world. She gives us a glimpse of a chemically-induced but tender relationship with a soft butch named Quinn, then pulls the rug out from under us by revealing that the real defining relationship of this time period has been removed from the story, per her ex’s request. The surgical removal of her former partner is as much a character as the folks who show up in and out of Michelle’s life, be they family, dream specters, or 90s heartthrob Matt Dillon. (I told you, shit gets weird.) And it begs the questions: Who owns our stories? How reliable is memory? What would our lives, our timelines, look like without the core people and experiences that seem so inextricably linked to the people we have become? What if we could literally write them out of our story? What if we felt like we had to?
As a queer, sober Angeleno, I over-identified with Michelle’s character like whoa. Some level of narcissism is unavoidable in memoir, and I think it’s the same for readers. We’re wired to love the versions of ourselves we see in media, even if they’re reflections of our worst incarnations. Michelle’s inner addict monologue is so spot on that I felt like I was crawling into my past self: “She would feel better and she would be embarrassed at how dramatic she had felt earlier, with the stop drinking stop drinking stop drinking. Why was she so extreme all the time, Jesus. So hysterical. A little hangover and it’s, Oh, don’t ever drink again.” But Michelle does decide not to drink again. As the chaos of the impending apocalypse because ever more present – riots in the streets, Scientology suicides, the used bookstore as makeshift bunker – Michelle’s internal chaos softens.. It’s hard for an addict to predict how extreme their rock bottom needs to be. Maybe for some folks, it’s nothing short of the end of the world.
The other idea that is still swirling around in my brain after reading this, is how does community, especially queer community, sustain itself in a world that is crumbling around us? Early in our introduction to Michelle and her SF community, she gushes about the love that queers have for queer teens: “Queer teens triggered so much in a grown homosexual. All the trauma of their gay youths bubbled up inside them and the earnest do-gooder gene possessed by every gay went into overdrive. They wanted to save the queer teens…” But this savior instinct often bumps up against the reality of queer adulthood, where so many folks are marginalized, broke, underemployed, or dealing with individual and collective trauma. Michelle’s drinking and drug use are portrayed as one (albeit flawed) antidote to this constant struggle for survival. With so many queers trying to simply survive – both in Michelle’s facsimile of the real world and our current one – how do we love each other fiercely enough to also thrive, even as the black wave approaches?
I would love to hear your thoughts on these questions. Have you read Black Wave, or any of Michelle Tea’s other books? Do you plan to? Are there other essential queer books that you think folks shouldn’t miss? Tell us in the comments!
**Sorry in advance for all of our ‘like!’ “mhmmm” “OMG!” we are such typical Cali girls 😉 haha… Anyway, enjoy! Thanks so much to Sam for this labor of love!!!
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Megan: Welcome to Queers Next Door Leigh: with your hosts M: Leigh and Megan.
We take the topics you care about: L: sex, relationships, feminism, kink, social justice, and entertainment, M: and look at them through a queer as fuck lens. L: Find us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook @QueersNextDoor M: and make sure to follow the blog at queersnextdoor.com. L: Cheers, queers!
L: Hey Megan! What are you doing to take care of yourself this week? M: Actually, that’s tough to answer cause I haven’t been doing great (laughs) with sleeping and managing work/life balance, which is like the story of my life. But I’ve been listening to music and dancing! I actually did dance and exercise this week. L: What are you listening to? M: I’m actually listening to Spanish dance music. I don’t even know who they are cause I don’t speak Spanish fluently at all. L: Nice. (more…)
Who are the Queers Next Door? Meet Leigh and Megan and find out what we’re all about, what queer means to us, and our coming out stories.
Content Warning: Some talk of Megan’s mom’s murder/ grief
Hot takes: Queer&A. Self care. Divorce & Rebuilding. Our identities as well as Mental Illness & Chronic Illness. “Check out Megan’s Butt on IG!” “A Case for Moist” Our life mottos. “Queer has a bit of a FUCK YOU to it” “I like my identity to have a bit of political rage.” “YAY BUTTS!” “All you have to do is be brave and be kind” Coming out stories. Oprah & my “ah-ha” gay moment.
Q: I’m a cis-gendered male who grew up in the Midwest. Years ago, I started calling my wife “my partner.” I’d like to get some other ways like that to make non-gendered language a part of my everyday speech. I mean, is cis-gendered even hyphenated?
A: Hello lovely! This question makes me so happy, and not just because I was an English major in my past life. I think that being mindful of the language we use is an easy and effective way to actively push back against sexism and the reinforcement of the gender binary. Using “partner” instead of husband, wife, boyfriend, or girlfriend is an awesome place to start.
It can take some practice, but there are lots of alternatives to gendered and binary words. My advice is to choose options that feel natural to you. Instead of addressing people as “you guys” or “dudes” or “ladies and gentlemen”, try “folks,” “friends,” “y’all,” or even “esteemed guests,” depending on the situation. I’m also partial to “lovelies,” “kittens,” and “cuties,” but you do you. Replace “he or she” or the dreaded “he/she” with “they.” This works any time you are unsure of a person’s gender, and you want to avoid making assumptions. And while I can only assume that you, lovely reader, know better, let me just say it again for the folks in the back: The singular “they” IS grammatically correct.
Consider words that have been unnecessarily feminized, like “waitress” or “actress,” and call people of all genders “waiters” or “actors” (or better yet, “servers” or “performers”). Avoid the “man” words like “mailman,” “Congressman,” “policeman,” etc. If someone talks about their doctor or their boss without using any pronouns, resist the urge to default to “he.”
Another thing to think about is the adjectives we ascribe to men and women, and especially to girls and boys. If your friend introduces you to their daughter, ask her what she likes to do instead of immediately telling her how pretty or cute she is. Stop calling prepubescent boys “Ladykillers” or saying that you’re not going to let your daughter date until she’s 25. Reject gendered (and all around shitty) phrases such as “run like a girl,” “man up,” and “have some balls.” Call men beautiful and women handsome. Think twice before referring to a woman as “bossy” or “emotional” or “shrill.” And don’t call women bitches, even as a joke.
This may not be applicable to your everyday life, but these ideas can extend to sex and body positivity as well. Rather than assuming that only (or all) women get periods, think about the more inclusive “people who menstruate” or “menstruation products.” Make sure that you’re not saying “men” when you mean “people with penises.” If you can, make the restrooms at your workplace gender neutral.
I hope these suggestions are helpful and can lead you to even more ways of making your words reflect your values. So now, let’s take a little detour and talk about that pesky hyphen. To answer your question, nope! Cisgender is not hyphenated – and it’s not cisgenderED, either.
Language is dynamic, and this is especially true when it comes to gender and sexuality. Words are constantly changing, and meaning is constantly evolving. Terms that were once considered appropriate have been discarded in favor of terms that more accurately and inclusively convey similar concepts. A perfect example is the replacement of “transsexual” with “transgender.” While some people who have had gender confirmation surgery, especially older folks, may still use the term “transsexual,” it doesn’t function as an umbrella term in the same way that “transgender” does.
Transgender means that one’s gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth, while cisgender means the opposite: one’s gender identity corresponds with the sex they were assigned at birth. Transgender and cisgender are adjectives, which is why we wouldn’t say “transgenders,” but instead, “transgender folks/people/etc.”. “Transgendered” is bulky, and is not used for the same reason I wouldn’t call you a “straighted man” or myself a “queered woman,” namely that, generally speaking, the adjectives that describe us are not things that have been done to us.
I acknowledge that this is all a lot to remember, and a lot to keep up with. But anything that can make more folks feel better heard and more clearly seen is worth the effort. You might make mistakes, but try to learn from them with an open heart. When we know better, we do better.