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Fabulous Four

Because The Dr Dick Review Crew has been inundated with loads of swell adult products to review, we will be presenting several different toys each week till we relieve the backlog.

Despite it not even being Halloween yet, I know from my forays into the land of retail that holiday gift giving is not far from the minds of a lot of people.  Perish the thought!  So expediting our reviews will also give you loads of gift-giving ideas.  And that, my friends, is all I’m gonna say about that till at least the middle of next month when we launch our annual Holiday Gift Giving Guide.

Today we will hear from Review Crew Members: Madora, Joy & Dixie, Brad and Glenn & Hank.  So without further ado…

There’s something brand-spankin new goin on at Fleshlight.   Here’s Brad to tell us all about it.
Sex In A Can: Spread Eagle Brew —— $39.95

The Fleshlight company has been around for a lone time. They make the legendary Fleshlight and Fleshjack. I’m the proud owner of my very own Fleshlight; it is my go-to toy for spankin the monkey. I never get tired of my Fleshlight and I wouldn’t give it up for the world. That’s way I wanted to review their new product: Sex In A Can.large_1759

I am of the mind that foolin’ around with or trying to improve on a great product, an icon even, will sure enough just fuck things up. I just couldn’t see why the Fleshlight people were tempting fate by bring out Sex In A Can. But I promised Dr Dick that I would set aside my preconceived ideas and approach this new product with an open mind.

Damn! I’ll be the first to admit, I was totally off base in thinking the iconic Fleshlight couldn’t be improved upon. Wait, improved is not the word I’m looking for, because Sex In A Can doesn’t really improve on the original design, it just gives the consumer yet another option.

Those of you familiar with Fleshlight will know that every customer can pretty much customize every aspect of the unit he wants to buy. They have several “orifice” options: pussy, mouth, asshole or “neutral”. The plastic case comes in silver, black or clear. The insert comes in different colors, and there are several different internal contours for the insert itself.

Sex In A Can is basically just another option in terms of size and shape. Here’s what I mean. Sex In A Can is shaped like a tallboy beer, instead of the traditional oversized Fleshlight shape. It is lighter, more compact, less expensive, yet it has all the features of its big brothers.

There are three brand new “orifice” options — two different pussies (Mmmm, pussies!) and a mouth. Three new insert contours too. Everything else — including the patented Superskin insert remains the same. The plastic case, the thing that looks like a tallboy beer, has removable caps at both ends, as does the Fleshlight. The top cap covers the head of the insert and keeps it clean when your dick’s not in it. The end cap can also be removed for easy cleaning.

Just like the Fleshlight, ya gotta loosen the end cap a bit before you attempt to stick in your dick. Sex In A Can is a whole lot tighter than my stalwart Fleshlight. In fact, bein the hefty-cock brother I am, it was a very tight squeeze. I had to use a shitload of lube just to get me started. Oh, and by the way, you can only use water-based lube with all the Fleshlight Superskin products. Here’s a tip: you adjust the suction created inside Sex In A Can by either loosening or tightening the base cap.

Clean up is a super-easy. A little soap and water will do the trick. But once the insert is dry, you have to dust it, inside and out, with a little cornstarch, or body powder. This will help keep things as fresh as the day you got it.

My Sex In A Can: Spread Eagle Brew, came with the Pink Spread Lady orifice; (Mmmm, pussies!) mini vortex insert; the cleverly designed beer can case; and sample packet of lube.

Sex furniture?  You betcha!  Glenn & Hank walk you around this offering from the amazing folks at Liberator.
Liberator Ramp —— $200.00

Glenn: “Check this out! This is the best thing that’s happened to butt fuckin since the invention of the sling. The Ramp is just one of Liberator’s many sex furniture shapes that are designed to add more fun and lessen bodily stress for whatever kind of sex you have up your sleeve.”
Hank: “Or down your pant leg, as the case may be. We got us a plus sized Ramp and it is covered in black pleather. But you can choose from a bunch of sizes and fabric options.”


Glenn: “Pleather is great, because it cleans up fast. And that’s a big plus because our sessions can get pretty messy.”
Hank: “Ok, so what is the Liberator Ramp exactly and why is even better than a sling, or a swing for that matter? Good questions. The Liberator Ramp is a big triangular shaped, sturdy, comfy and solidly made cushion. Ours is 29” X 35” X 12”. And it can be used in a multitude of ways.”
Glenn: “It’s better than a sling or swing, because it’s portable, storable and you don’t have to suspend it from the ceiling, or set it up every time you want to shag. It does stow easily under the bed. It’s perfect for butt fuckin, because regardless of what position you like the Liberator Ramp is gonna make the sex a whole lot better for the top as well as the bottom.”
Hank: “Glenn likes it doggie style. I just bend him over the Ramp and plow away at his ass. It’s easier on me, because his ass is elevated to just the right position for the ass-ult. I can go as deep as possible, because his pelvis is supported by the Ramp. Oh, and ya can’t really do doggie style in a sling or swing!”
Glenn: “Hank is right! I don’t have to arch my back or strain my arms and wrists pressing back against his manly thrusts. But he can still grab my hair and pull.”
Hank: “You joke, but I know you love it deep and heavy. You’re just a dirty little piggy bottom, aren’t you?”
Glenn: “Oink, oink! I do enjoy a furious ride, that’s for damn sure. Ok, so if you want to do another position, all you do is reposition yourself on the Ramp for a little face-to-face action. Like I lay down on the Ramp, with my head at the lowest part of the incline. I scoot my butt to the highest edge of the incline.”
Hank: “Again, his ass is perfectly positioned for me to fuck him silly. With Glenn already angled down, I can lift and open his legs with ease.”
Glenn: “My toes are pointed to Jesus, and I’m in fuckin’ heaven.”
Hank: “Oh, the Ramp is great for cocksucking too. I just lay back on the Ramp, in the position Glenn just described, which elevates my hips 12” off the floor. Glenn has all the access he needs to my dick, balls and rosebud. He can service me till his heart’s content.”
Glenn: “Again, there no stress or strain on my neck or back while I blow him. And in this position Hank can grab his knees and pull open his own legs. PERFECT!”

Joy & Dixie have the pleasure of introducing you to a new kid on the block, Duncan Charles Designs. They specialize in unique, handcrafted ceramic adult toys.

Signature —— $55.00

Dixie: “Here’s something refreshing, this ceramic textured dildo is handmade! I’m so tired of mass-produced sex toys, aren’t you? Oh to have something unique, something that is crafted not manufactured.”
Joy: “Dixie is so right; I love knowing that no one else on the planet had precisely the same toy as we have. Each Duncan Charles Designs piece is unlike any other. In fact, it’s beautiful art. And it is GREEN!”
Dixie: “Signature has a food grade high-gloss coating that makes it as smooth as glass. But it is also textured, just the way we like it. Despite it being ceramic, there is nothing fussy about this beauty.”
Joy: “However, you will want to treat Signature with loving care, not because it’s fragile, but because it is a fine-looking sculpture.”
Dixie: “Signature comes wrapped in a lovely lined ultrasuede pouch. Ours is jet black, but it also comes in red. It’s just under 8″ long and weighs in at just over 8 ounces.”
Joy: “It has a rounded head on top of its scalloped shaft. The ridges add immeasurable fun. Because of the super high-gloss finish, we only had to use a little bit of lube. And you can use any type of lube you want with this ceramic baby.”

DCD signature black

Dixie: “This dildo is designed for g-spot, clitoral or prostate massage. Unlike most of the other G-spot stimulators that have a curve to them Signature is straight as an arrow. And yet it is just as effective as the curved ones.”
Joy: “I also really like the fact that I can warm and chill the Signature to suit my mood. You can chill it in the refrigerator for a few minutes or warm it by placing it under running hot water.”

Finally, Madora, has something fun from Big Teaze Toys to show you.

Super Flower Power: 2 Piece Bouquet —— $29.99

Home; batteries included (triple A), YES! I love it when that happens. Inside there’s a bonus Flower Power keychain, a mini version of the vibe that looks like a little daisy without the stem, this one even comes with bonus extra batteries (the little watch kind), EXCELLENT!sfp-500px

My first impression is that the vibrating part, the center of the flower, is a little hard for me. At least for direct contact with my “flower”. The center of the flower is hard plastic. But I like the soft petals which spread the vibes out from its petals to yours. It’s like a gentle labia massage, which is cool and rare in a vibrator. These are especially nice if you use a little lube on the petals.

I’m starting to get used to the texture and hardness. I actually like it and like the strength of the vibe when I’m using it through my clothes, the barrier makes it not seem so hard and yet it’s still able to convey strong enough vibes right through to where they’re needed. I was thinking it could be fun for when you want to tease your partner right through her clothes. Did I mention these toys are waterproof?

All in all it definitely did the trick but when I really start to get into it, either with the vibe or the little keychain, the soft petal ring pops right off the vibrator. I either hafta kinda hold it on, or stop and put it back on, if I wanna keep playing with that part. So that’s a bummer.

The keychain has been a godsend. I’m on a trip right now and brought it with me and wasn’t concerned about security seeing it, It just looks like a toy. I ended up having cramps and everyone knows an orgasm is the best thing for cramps so I put it to use, you know, for medicinal purposes.


Disability and desire

Martha explores how to feel loved when you find it impossible to love yourself

'You can't conduct healthy relationships when you don't truly believe that anyone could ever be in love with you'

‘You can’t conduct healthy relationships when you don’t truly believe that anyone could ever be in love with you’

by Martha Saunders

“So, we’re autistic” said the man on the screen, flatly. I played the clip over and over again, searching for the joke. “So, we’re autistic.” “So, we’re autistic.” The meme was a clip from the show The Undateables, and it had surfaced on my news feed because someone I’d recently hooked up with had liked it. I typed out various increasingly explicit formulations on the response “Undateable? that’s not what you said the other night” before deleting them and throwing my phone across the room, furiously wiping tears from my eyes and a warm wave of familiar self-disgust churning through my stomach.

Confession: the main reason I don’t tell anyone about being autistic is that it isn’t very sexy. Disability in all its forms is utterly desexualised in our society – autism particularly so, in part due to it’s inaccurate representation as something which primarily affects young children. Autistic characters don’t have sexual relationships unless their clumsy attempts at doing so are a source of comedy for neurotypical viewers. We are “undateable.”

Young autistic women exist in a strange and dangerous contradiction. Young women are taught their primary value is their sexual attractiveness; disabled people are constantly publicly desexualised. As a result, I spent much of my teenage life obsessively chasing something which would always be, by definition, just a little out of my reach.

No matter how hard I worked to look pretty enough, sound smart enough, deliver flirty and funny enough comebacks, something about me still felt inherently undesirable. I cut my hair a different way every few months and saved my school lunch money for fake nails, a rainbow of lipsticks and boxes of hair dye in bright red, peroxide blonde, jet black, pastel pink and chocolate brown, hoping that one day I’d hit on some magic combination of chemicals that erased what felt like a ugly, rotten core.

Like many young women who’ve always felt something was a little out of place, I was drawn to fourth-wave feminism’s mantra of self-love and body positivity like a moth to a bulb. But while I saw women around me flourish in these spaces, they weren’t what I was looking for. In fact, as a slim, white, blue-eyed blonde, I am slightly incongruous in them; women who look like me are already constantly validated as being physically attractive. My sense of inadequacy hadn’t been coming from my body; conversely, I realised, I had been using making my physical self look as good as possible in order to to compensate for the insecurity I felt about my disability. When your insides feel uglier than your outside, the concept of inner beauty just makes you feel worse.

If it were that easy

If it were that easy

It’s not hard to predict how this deep-rooted sense of undesirability can manifest in unhealthy relationships. While the logical, stridently feminist, #StrongIndependentWoman side of me knows to take no shit from creepy men who feel entitled to my body, there is a part of me, larger and more influential than I’d like to admit, which feels someone like me should be pathetically grateful for sexual or romantic attention. Even when it comes to full relationships, it’s still very difficult for me to separate genuine attraction to a man from intense gratitude at his interest in me. Whether it’s likes on a selfie or a series of incredibly inadvisable involvements with boys I should theoretically despise, I am constantly looking for ways to compile quantifiable proof that I am desirable.

Women with invisible disabilities struggle with sex and relationships in many different ways; some of us become terrified of engaging in sex or dating at all; some of us attempt to fill our deep sense of inadequacy with as many flings and one night stands as possible. Some of us become prime targets for abusive relationships due to our predisposition to self-doubt and our fear that nobody else will accept us; some of us hold partners at arms length or self-sabotage as quickly as possible, fearing that if anyone gets close enough to find out what we’re really like they will be repulsed and hurt us more.

It sounds like a cheesy platitude, but you can’t conduct healthy relationships when you don’t truly believe that anyone could ever be in love with you, and you can’t believe that anyone could be in love with you until you’ve learned to love yourself. It’s hard to do this when you’ve only ever seen people like you degraded and mocked for their efforts to feel wanted. A lot of the people cracking jokes about your disorder will have no idea how many brilliant, captivating, engaging disabled people they’ve been attracted to. If that makes you “undateable” to them? Their loss.

Complete Article HERE!

Screw Science: The Futuristic Sex Tech Aiming to Penetrate Your Bedroom

From fully customizable vibrators to bioelectronic headsets, smart sex toys are on the way up. But does personal pleasure necessarily make for better health?


Pleasure is personal, mostly because it has to be, and not least because female scientists continue to face grinding discrimination regardless of their area of research. And when it comes to sexual health, breakthroughs are few and far between: in spite of increasing documentation of associated health risks, birth control hasn’t really been reformulated since the 60s, and last year’s much-anticipated release of Addyi, a pill meant to fix female sexual dysfunction, only worked for ten percent of the women who tried it.

It’s clear that sexual emancipation has not yet been freed from the bedroom. In spite of its roots in scientific misogyny—the vibrator was developed in the 19th century to cure women of hysteria, after all—a swathe of new devices have people looking hopefully to sex tech (or sextech, as it is also known) as the answer to systemic gaps in sexual health. History, it seems, is coming full circle; where the 1960s saw the vibrator de-medicalized and uncoupled from science, today’s consumer market is beginning to see pleasure and health unified in the pursuit of wellness. Yet what we call “sex tech” is tied more to the lucrative sex toy industry—worth $15 billion this year—than it is to scientific institutions, with much of its promise linked to idea that personal pleasure makes for better health.

These days, more people than ever understand that a woman’s ability to understand what turns her on and why is a crucial step in developing a healthy perspective on her sexual life. So it makes sense that we’re seeking out masturbatory experiences that are more tailored than your average stand-in phallus. It’s the driving force behind the popularity of devices like Crescendo, the first-ever fully customizable vibrator, which raised £1.6 million in funding to date and shipped out over 1,000 pre-orders after a successful crowdfunding round.

Designed to cater to the inherent complexities of female arousal, the vibrator can be finely customized, equipped with six motors and the ability to be bent into any favorable shape. An accompanying app allows users to control each motor individually; it remembers favorite behaviors, provides pre-set vibration patterns, and responds to mood-setting music.

“We were inspired by the concept of tech designed for the human, rather than the human having to adapt their behaviour to tech,” says Stephanie Alys, the co-founder of Crescendo creators Mysteryvibe. “Human beings aren’t just unique in terms of our size and how we’re put together genetically, but also in terms of what we like. What turns us on can be different from what turns another person on.”


Mysteryvibe’s flagship product is the Crescendo, a customizable sex toy.

But in spite of the life-improving promises of consumer sex tech, the reality is that official, peer-reviewed studies remain crucial to reforming policy and education. Founded by Dr. Nicole Prause, Liberos Center is one of the few sex-centric research institutions in the United States. Much of its work investigates the relationship between psychology, physiology, and sex, with an emphasis on the hard data that is often lacking in sex tech.

Liberos presses on in a particularly antagonistic climate; the American government is famously skittish about sexual content. Sexual material is banned from government-funded computers, says Prause, making it difficult for researchers to, say, screen porn to test subjects as part of a study on arousal. She adds that congressional bodies actively seek to pull funding from research that addresses the topic head-on—four recent studies that had already been awarded funding were re-opened for assessment because of their sexual content.

“People report having certain types of experiences all the time,” says Prause. “But they’re often poor observers of their own behaviour, and don’t see anyone’s behaviour but their own. They don’t really have that external perspective, which is why I think it’s important to take both a psychological and laboratory approach. For example, in science, people haven’t been verifying that orgasm actually occurs. So we’ve been developing an objective way of measuring that, and of measuring the effects of clitoral stimulation—on how to best capture the contractions that occur through the orgasm.”


Liberos is also investigating the effect of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and direct current stimulation (tDCS) on sexual responsiveness. Both are non-invasive treatments, meaning anyone seeking a cure for low libido may not require anything more than the use of a headset. TMS holds potential for long-term changes to a person’s sex drive; the technique, which uses a magnetic field generator to produce small electrical currents in the brain, has already been used to treat neuropathic pain and otherwise stubborn cases of major depressive disorder. DCS, on the other hand, uses a headset to deliver a low-intensity electrical charge, stimulating the brain areas where activity spikes at the sight, or touch, of a turn-on.

If using the brain’s electrical signals to control the rest of the body sounds like a dystopian fantasy, the reality is that these medical treatments aren’t far off. Bioelectronic firms are now backed by the likes of Glaxosmithkline and Alphabet, Google’s parent company, and similar applications have already been established for hypertension and sleep apnea, while chronic conditions like asthma, diabetes, and arthritis are targeted for future development.

According to Dr. Karen E. Adams, clinical professor of OBGYN at Oregon Health and Science University, anywhere from 40 to 50 percent of women experience varying degrees of sexual dysfunction. Medication that targets neurotransmitters, like the SSRIs used to treat depression and anxiety, can fluctuate in efficacy depending on the unique makeup of the person using it.

Combined with the trickiness of locking down the nebulousness of desire (and lack thereof), it’s no wonder that Addyi, a failed antidepressant pursued because of its unexpected effect on serotonin levels in female mice, was a flop. Non-sex-specific studies have shown that electrical stimulation can be more adaptive to the brain’s constantly-shifting landscape than medication that interacts with its chemistry. For the 90 percent of women who found Addyi to be a sore disappointment, bioelectronic treatments could soon offer an alternative solution to low sexual responsivity.

“By giving women information about their bodies that they can decide what to do with, we’re enabling more female empowerment,” says Prause. “And by allowing women to decide which aspects of sex they want to be more responsive to, we’re giving people more control, and not with charlatan claims. We actually have good scientific reasons that we think are going to work, that are going to make a difference.”

Yet the field’s burgeoning successes are only as good as the social environment they take hold in. Sociopolitical hurdles notwithstanding, money remains a significant roadblock for developers, as the controversial nature of sex research has many investors shying away from backing new projects in spite of consumer interest. Whether they’re seeking government funding or VC investments, sex start-ups and labs alike are often forced to turn to crowdfunding to raise money for development.

“It’s pretty unsurprising that heavily female-oriented tech products do so well on crowdfunding sites; these are solutions to problems faced by half of the population, that are overlooked by a male-dominated industry where male entrepreneurs are 86 percent more likely to be VC funded than women,” says Katy Young, behavioral analyst at research firm Canvas8. “But the audience is clearly there—Livia, a device which targets nerves in order to stop period pains, raised over $1 million on Indiegogo.”

Outdated sex ed programs, which emphasize procreation and normalize straight male sexuality without addressing female sexual development, are ground zero for unhealthy social perspectives on sex. Acknowledging that change can’t just come from devices alone, New York’s Unbound, a luxury sex toy subscription service, is teaming up with “campus sexpert” app Tabù to bring both sex education and affordable masturbation tools to colleges across the country.

“There’s a national discussion right now surrounding consent, which is 100 percent needed and super important,” says Polly Rodriguez, CEO and co-founder of Unbound. “But for women to be able to engage in sex and address consent as equals, they need to learn about female pleasure—they should understand their own bodies so that when they are engaging in sexual activities with someone else, they know what feels good to them, they know how to communicate that, and they don’t feel uncomfortable about it.”

It’s tempting to buy into the idea of tech as freeing: that the increased presence of smart devices in our lives will help us form healthier habits and a better understanding of our ourselves, or that the availability of medically-approved tech will be a panacea in the intricately fraught landscape of female sexual dysfunction—which is as socially determined as it is biological, and as cultural as it is psychological.

But sex tech is still far from being paradigm-shifting. Its success will be dependent not only on consumer dollars but on government policies and public attitudes; at a level of engagement this intimate, tech is only any good if people feel free to use it.

Complete Article HERE!

Expert Shares Tips for Talking Sexual Health With Cancer Survivors



Sexual health can be an uncomfortable or embarrassing topic to discuss for many people, and for patients with cancer and survivors it can feel even more awkward. Nevertheless, sex ranks among the top 5 unmet needs of survivors, and the good news is, proactive oncology practitioners can help fill that void.

Sixty percent of cancer survivors—9.3 million individuals in the United States alone—end up with long-term sexual problems, but fewer than 20% get professional help, according to Leslie R. Schover, PhD, founder of the digital health startup, Will2Love. Among the barriers she cited are overburdened oncology clinics, poor insurance coverage for services related to sexual health, and an overall lack of expertise on the part of providers, many of whom don’t know how to talk to patients about these issues.

And, oncologists and oncology nurses are well-positioned to open up that line of communication.

“At least take one sentence to bring up the topic of sexuality with a new patient to find out if it is a concern for that person,” Schover explained in a recent interview with Oncology Nursing News. “Then have someone ready to do the follow-up that is needed,” and have other patient resources, such as handouts and useful websites, on hand.

Sexual issues can affect every stage of the cancer journey. Schover, who hosted a recent webinar for practitioners on the topic, has been a pioneer in developing treatment for cancer-related problems with sexuality or fertility. After decades of research and clinical practice, she has witnessed firsthand how little training is available in the area of sexual health for healthcare professionals.

“Sex remains a low priority, with very little time devoted to managing sexual problems even in specialty residencies,” said Schover. “I submitted a grant four times before I retired, to provide an online interprofessional training program to encourage oncology teams to do a far better job of assessing and managing sexual problems. I could not get it funded.”

In her webinar, she offered tips for healthcare practitioners who want to learn more about how to address sexual health concerns with their patients, like using simple words that patients will understand and asking open-ended questions in order to engage patients and give them room to expand on their sex life.

Schover suggests posing a question such as: “This treatment will affect your sex life. Tell me a little about your sex life now.”

Sexual side effects after cancer treatment vary from person to person, and also from treatment to treatment. Common side effects for men and women include difficulty reaching climax, pain during sexual intercourse, lower sexual desire and feelings of being less attractive. Men specifically can experience erectile dysfunction and dry orgasm, while women may have vaginal dryness and/or tightness, as well as loss of erotic sensation such as on their breasts following breast cancer treatment.

Sexual dysfunction after cancer can often lead to depression and poor quality of life for both patients and their partners.

According to Schover, oncologists and oncology nurses should provide realistic expectations to patients when they are in the treatment decision-making process.

“Men with prostate cancer are told they are likely to have an 80% chance of having erections good enough for sex after cancer treatment,” Schover says. “But the truth is it’s more like 20 to 25% of men who will have erections like they had at baseline.”

To get more comfortable talking about sex with patients, Schover advises role-playing exercises with colleagues, friends, and family—acting as the healthcare professional and then the patient. When the process is finished, ask for feedback.

Brochures, books, websites and handouts are also good to have on hand for immediate guidance when patient questions do arise. But Schover is hoping for a bigger change rooted in multidisciplinary care and better patient–provider communication to find personalized treatments tailored to each individual’s concerns and needs.

Cancer treatment can impact hormonal cycles, nerves directing blood flow to the genitals, and the pelvic circulatory system itself, she explained. In addition, side effects like prolonged nausea, fatigue, and chronic pain also can disrupt a patient’s sex life.

“Simply to give medical solutions rarely resolves the problems because a person or couple needs to make changes in the sexual relationship to accommodate changes in physical function,” Schover stressed. “That kind of treatment is usually best coming from a trained mental health professional, especially if the couple has issues with communication or conflict.”

Schover wants to make sure that those resources are easily accessible to patients and survivors. Thus, she has created the startup, Will2Love, which offers information on the latest research and treatment, hosts webinars, and provides access to personalized services.

“Sexual health is a right,” concluded Schover, and both oncology professionals and patients need to be assertive in getting the conversation started.

Complete Article HERE!

Dismantling the myths of rape culture

By Matthew Wade


It’s a double edged sword: as a queer woman, your sex life is objectified if you’re too femme, or dismissed if you’re too masc. In light of the recent SlutWalk rally in Melbourne to protest slut-shaming and victim-blaming, Matthew Wade spoke to queer women about how their sexual identities are policed in Australia.

Men often fetishise the sex lives of queer women or erase them completely, with little elbow room in between.

When she first came out and started dating women, Natasha Smith was femme-presenting, and her sex life was a point of objectification.

“A common question at the time was around what I did in bed, but not in a way that made me feel empowered,” she told the Star Observer.

“People would ask if what I did was really sex, and who the ‘man’ was in the bedroom.

“When there’s no man involved other men have to try and figure out what this tantalising thing is… when a woman’s sexuality isn’t defined by them they turn it into a form of entertainment.”

On the flip side, Smith believes the sexualities of queer women that are more masc-presenting are often invisible, as they’re not seen by men as ‘real’ women.

“Queer women live in this weird dehumanising space where they’re stigmatised as sex objects for the straight male gaze or they’re denied,” she said.

For her Master’s thesis Smith focused on the impact homophobia and sexism had on same-sex attracted women.

She interviewed women aged 18 to 60 and many told her they had experienced street harassment and ogling, with men yelling at them for holding another woman’s hand.

“There’s this idea that you’re an object but if you fight back and resist that, it comes with the threat of escalating violence,” she said.

For many of her interviewees, revealing their sexuality to a male who may be flirting with them in a nightclub would have damaging repercussions.

“As soon as they said they were a lesbian, they’d be called a slut, a dyke, and would be subject to public humiliation,” she said.

While shame and stigma are commonly heaped on the sex lives of queer women, this becomes much more apparent when a queer woman has a more grievous encounter with sexual assault or rape.

According to the United Nations, Australia has one of the highest rates of reported sexual assault in the world, more than double the global average.

However, because men often try to delegitimise the sexualities of queer women, their voices and experiences are left off the table.

Smith believes rape culture affects society at large, but that for queer women it can be particularly damaging.

“If you’re a queer woman and you happen to be more masc-presenting there’s a weird sort of erasure of your sexuality,” she said.

“And because people misunderstand rape as something connected to sexuality, many think queer women aren’t likely to be raped.”

When it comes to survivors of sexual assault and rape, Smith wants to debunk a common misconception: that rape is about sex.

“There’s an assumption when it comes to sexual assault and rape that they’re inherently sexual acts – but they’re not,” she said.

“They’re violent acts of power that use sex as the weapon.

“The myth that rape is somehow related to the sexual attractiveness of women is what leads to the dismissal of the experiences of queer women.”

Beyond the masculine and feminine gender binary that subjects queer women who present either way to sexual fetishisation or erasure, queer women who sit somewhere along the spectrum also face stigma around their sexual identity.

Where Smith recalls being asked intrusive questions about her sex life as a femme-presenting woman, Melbourne resident Luca Vanags-Smith is at times assumed to not have one.

As someone who now identifies as gender queer, Vanags-Smith has seen a noticeable shift in the way her sexual identity has been perceived.

“I think if you’re femme you’re hyper sexualised, and if you don’t fit the stereotypical model of femininity you’re invisible,” she said.

“I’ve had the lived experience of being gender queer for about two years and I’m viewed by many men as being sexless, or as being an asexual creature.

“I think there’s also this idea that two people that have vulvas can’t really have sex because there’s no penetration involved, so men see women sleeping with each other as entertainment for them.”

The desexualisation and dismissal of masc-presenting or gender queer women can also lead to homophobic views around Vanags-Smith’s sexual identity and her relationships with other women.

“I think when I was more femme-presenting people didn’t take it as seriously, but now my relationships often get pushed into a more heterosexual lens, which isn’t the case at all – after three or four months at a job I had, I had to break it to my boss that I wasn’t in fact a man,” she said.

“It can definitely erase the queerness of my relationships.

“People just assume I must be the one that uses the strap on, when one: that’s none of their business and two: that isn’t the case at all.”

Vanags-Smith has also found that heterosexual men will treat her as ‘one of the guys’ and attempt to engage her in a sexist conversation.

“Men will come up to me, point out a particular woman and say, ‘she’s got a great ass mate,’” she said.

“I know how awful that can make someone feel, especially a same-sex attracted woman.

“I’ve also had guys calling me love and telling me I just haven’t had a good fuck, and asking me how I have sex.”

As a means to combat this, Vanags-Smith believes sex education in schools needs to become increasingly sex positive.

She also added that sexist attitudes and misogyny are the bedrock of homophobia, transphobia, and whorephobia.

“With same-sex intimate relationships between women, men don’t really fit into that equation,” she said.

“And some see that as affronting.”

Melbourne recently played host to the annual SlutWalk rally, a march developed as a means to protest the slut-shaming and victim-blaming of women around the world, irrespective of gender or sexual identity.

It was created in Canada in 2011 after a police officer said “women should avoid dressing like sluts” if they wanted to avoid being sexually assaulted.

In Melbourne the rally sees speakers with a diverse range of experiences speaking out against misogyny and rape culture, and how it affects women.

Smith believes SlutWalk does well at being as inclusive as it can be, particularly now that the conversation around trans and queer identities has become more prominent.

“When I started going to SlutWalk I wasn’t as out as I am now, and it was through being emerged in the march that I found a community of feminists that understood me,” she said.

“They enabled me to grow into someone I’m very proud of and to be comfortable in my sexuality.”

Vanags-Smith said she loves SlutWalk because it changes people’s opinions of what a sexual assault survivor might look like, to include women of different ages, cultural backgrounds, and sex ual and gender identities.

“It acknowledges that there may be people who are femme and attractive, but there may be women who don’t fit these archetypes who may also experience sexual assault,” she said.

“The idea that some women are more at risk than others is a massive myth in rape culture that SlutWalk seeks to dismantle.”

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