Romantic Despair

It’s a fairly normal day here in Belgium.  That is to say, my housemates are eating, it’s raining outside, and I’m catching up on uni readings (aka ‘procrastinating’).  I was idly wondering to myself this morning whether such procrastinating would result in an official Valentine’s Day post—I’m (perhaps obviously) not a V-Day kind of girl, especially given I dated a guy by that name.  Now, for the first half of February, I pretty much end up narrowing my eyes at all V-Day related signs and items.  If I weren’t entirely devoid of any notion of romanticism already, the first half of February would definitely cure me.

Naturally, an essential part of my procrastination today has been reading hilarious book reviews on Goodreads.  And eventually, it always always comes back to 50 Shades reviews.  After reading a review of the second book, I stumbled across this little gem:


There you have it, people: the abusive fuckwit character of Christian Grey is ranked 27th ‘best book boyfriend’ from at least 4911 possible options (I’m assuming there’s a predictably large number of love triangles in the books included on the list).  I actually teared up.  Not with laughter, mind you—with horror.

Then it struck me: what if this number 27 ranking was only his character for the second book.  What about the first book?


Second.  Second best book boyfriend.  Wtaf.  I mean for starters, have they never read Howl’s Moving Castle?!  And he’s neurotic as fuck!  Glaaaagh what hope for humanity.

But I’m not going to launch into another diatribe against the 50 Shades series, because apparently that’s exactly what I did last Valentine’s Day.  Instead I’m just going to leave this here, and conclude that people are screwed.  In a potentially rapey, manipulative kind of way.

Domestic abuse helplines

  • UK: 0808 2000 247
  • Australia: 1800 737 732 (1800 RESPECT)
  • Canada: 1800 363 9010
  • USA: 1800 799 7233

It’s easiest for me to find the English-language hotlines, but a quick Google should help find the relevant support in your local area.

Other stuff

Lastly, please oh please, if you meet a real life Christian (or Christina) Grey, stay far far away.

Hands Down

Some of the alternate names for this post which had me giggling inappropriately on the train:

  • All Hands on Deck
  • The Handover
  • Pants Party
  • The Masturbation Poem (less euphemism, more accuracy)

Today a friend commented on an article which suggested, through fallacious ‘science’, that people should masturbate less.  I wasn’t quite sure if it was a joke.  I mean, who doesn’t like orgasms?!  Robots?!  (News-flash with an emphasis upon the ‘flash’: I’m pretty sure even robots like orgasms, biological imperative or not).  Haha and under the heading of ‘Men: 5 Reasons to Stop Masturbating ASAP’, it had a picture of what was obviously a woman’s hand.  Sexy good times for all!!  (Note that I’m hoping the article was an April Fool’s joke, but either way there are a lot of people who appear to have bought into it, which makes me sad face.)

So now, with no further foreplay delay, I present to you a poem about masturbation.  It’s not even an angry poem this time—I just thought it would be fun.  Enjoy!  (I know you will.  Ayyyy.  😉 😉 ;))

I had a talk with my phone today,
It was being quite contrary.
It would not type ‘masturbation’
(I think it thought it lairy.)
And so I was forced instead to use
A little imagination
And I found some euphemisms
To suit my sweet flirtation.

To wank, to jerk, to flick the bean,
To come into your own;
To shake the snake, a solo flight,
Dial the rotary phone.
Tame the shrew, work one out,
Teach the Cyclops the lambada;
Wrist aerobics, digitise,
Show yourself some ardour.
Playing naked air guitar,
Giving a low five;
Spank the monkey, find yourself,
Do the downstairs jive.
Spin a record, choke the chicken,
Play upside-down piano,
Have safe sex, do handiwork
Give yourself a go.

We’ve heard all about going blind
And growing hairy palms
So instead I’ll list the goods,
To sooth all of your qualms.
Now listen up dear reader,
The benefits go on for hours
But the most important is that
It gives you super-powers!
I swear I am not lying,
though there’s more to tell.
(And let’s face it, masturbation
is an easy sell).
It helps you wake, it helps you sleep
Stops cancer of the prostate,
Reduces cramps and yeast infections
what a happy state!
Improves muscle tone and orgasms,
For both women and men
And the best part of it all
is it releases endorphins.
‘And what are these endorphins?’
I think I hear you say,
They’re the things that make you feel good
When you have a play.
Then of course there’s oxytocin
Which makes you want to hug.
It makes the world a cuddly place,
it’s a great old drug.
And you know what this means, right?
If these things you increase?
With happiness and cuddles,
We’ll bring on global peace!
Then there’s the boost to your immune
system (I’m a fan)
Between that and better sleeping, and lower blood pressure, and learning how to have multiple orgasms, and coping better with stress, and being more focused, and fighting depression, and increasing self-esteem, and helping with chronic pain
It makes you super(wo)man.

The time has come now my dear friends,
my readers smart and fools
To suggest a couple of things to you
which you might consider rules.
One thing that is quite popular
amongst all sorts of folk.
Is auto-erotic asphyxiation
(that’s where yourself you choke).
But you must be careful, friend,
For thousands meet their end;
So if you want to cut down on your air,
Always invite a friend ;).
If you’re given to materials,
there’s one thing to remember:
If you confuse porn with sex
You’re like to be dismembered.
Another thing, a little tip,
You’ll want to think about
The slight miscommunication
In the phrase to ‘rub one out’.
This doesn’t mean outside, my dears
(well, maybe on occasion)
Don’t be seen by kids or unwilling,
or you’re off to the station.
(I see a raised hand at the back—
You have a question, pet?
Why yes my dear, I did forget
Not on chatroulette).
One last thing, ‘fore we get back
To matters at hand,
Don’t use those who don’t want you
To get to orgaz-land.
This means that without invitation,
No pressure over text.
And certainly no calling them
While you’re giving yourself the sex.
Cos people are not toys, my dear
Though there’s stores for that
And while we’re on the topic,
Let’s have a little chat.
If you’re open-minded,
There’s some things you can try
And the internet’s your market,
If you want to buy.
There’s dildos and dil-don’ts of course,
and vibrators, to boot
Then flesh-lights for the guys as well;
The need I’ll not dispute.

And now my friends, my job is done,
I’ve discussed bodies’ demands
And now you’ve the information,
I’ll leave you in good hands 😉


  • Laci Green, a sex-positive youtuber and blogger.
  • SourceFedNerd’s TableTalk on the stigma around male sex toys.  Also includes hilarious impressions of male vs female orgasms.  (They talk about shoes for quite a long time first–the show’s amazing anyway, but it skips to the above at 13:00).
  • Ian Kerner, sex-positive psych and an amazing writer

The Numbers Game

Last night, I took my friend Mimi to a backpackers’ bar.  I guess I miss my people and/or normal life!  Before I proceed however I should probably give warning that this is more over-sharey and less role-modely in what is ordinarily a pretty oversharey, unrolemodely blog anyway (also, this post is not exactly under-18s friendly).  But it also takes a look at an aspect of travelling that I haven’t really discussed much before.

We were sitting behind a big round table of what I’m going to say were Swedes.  It’s funny actually—I’ve been going to this bar for just under ten years now, and you can just about tell (a) what season it is in other parts of the world and (b) whose economy’s doing well, just based on who’s travelling at the moment.  Years ago it was mainly Brits, then for a couple of years freaking everybody was Brazilian or Argentine, and now it’s Germans, Scandinavians, and an unexpected number of Italians.  Over the years the decor’s barely changed (there’s one wall with a list of cities around the world, and I’ve had so many conversations with people about which one they’re from, or which one they’re going to, or where they’ve been—ten years ago I could probably only identify where 5 of them are, and now I’ve been to half of the wall!).  More importantly, the cheap cocktail jugs haven’t changed at all.

As I was saying, we were sitting behind this round table, where everybody looked exactly the same.  All of the girls had the exact same hair colour, at the exact same length and parted in the exact same place.  They had the exact same tan, exact same make-up, almost the same clothes—clothes by which you could judge how long they’d been travelling, as they wore them with the distinct discomfort of people who’ve recently put on travel-weight.  The guys again had the exact same hair colour and style, and dressed in exactly the same way.  But more than the sameness of the people in front of us, the overall impression I got was one of loneliness.  The whole bar seemed to be full of lonely people, desperate to drink as much as they could to make a connection with anybody else.  Which, as we know, was a big part of the reason I left South America a couple of months early.

Of course, we all look for connections (snigger) in different ways.  One of the guys from the table, who had those incredibly hot pointy things next to his mouth and looked like a whole bucket of trouble, turned to me.  He watched me for a while, before saying “nice top”.  He was definitely staring in the vicinity of my top, but certainly not at any fabric.  I mentally finished off his sentence with ‘it’d look even better on my bedroom floor’, and immediately wrote him off as just another guy fucking his way around the world.

I shrugged and returned to talking with my friend, before suddenly recalling an article I’d recently read on Cracked (oh how I love thee).  There was one quote in it which absolutely shocked me: “In real life, men ages 25 to 44 — the age group of pretty much every sitcom character — average around six sexual partners. Women of that same age group average four. Over a lifetime, only 21 percent of men and 9 percent of women have had more than 15 sexual partners.”  I completely freaked–how was it even possible that people could have so few sexual partners?  I couldn’t figure it out, until suddenly it occurred to me that maybe my life, and the people I share it with, aren’t exactly normal.  To me, having slept with fifty people is completely ordinary, and I have friends who are in the multi-hundreds.  Compared to that, this idea of having sex with 4-6 people is just mind-bogglingly weird.  I mean, the idea of having sex with that number of people at the same time is less weird (though would involve rather a co-ordination effort I imagine).  Friends in my sphere will just casually ask me if I want to hook up with them, because in my world that’s a completely normal thing to do—so these low numbers seemed like they must be lies, because people are ashamed or whatever.

I then started to ponder how on earth I got socialised into this mindset, if the 4-6 figure is ‘normal’.  What on earth made me so completely abnormal?  Before I proceed I should probably clarify that no, I’m not known for sleeping around, but I don’t judge those who do—we just have a different take.  So here it’s my mindset I’m describing as ‘abnormal’, not my numbers.

Annnnd this seems like a completely appropriate time to bring up this idea of ‘numbers’.  Maybe six years ago (did mistype as ‘sex’ twice), I was seeing this guy on a somewhat casual and bad-idea’d basis.  I fell for him, not the other way around, yada yada.  Anyway, he’d always try to rationalise my feelings out, complaining that it’s only because I slept with so few people.  He told me I should have sex with way more people, and then I’d be able to deal with getting attached to people more easily, because people would just become numbers—like they were to him.  There was this whole fucked up game he and his friends would play, where obviously the highest ‘numbers’ won, but with the extra layer of a points system for what you could convince somebody to do with you.  When things between us inevitably ended (and about as awesomely as you can imagine), I decided to try and take his advice on board, to think of people as numbers.  Nope, that’s just not me—I not only couldn’t do it, I didn’t want to, either.

Maybe 18 months later, I did my second snow season.  Snowfields, btw, must be the most incestuous place in the world.  It’s quite strange actually—it’s very male-dominated (I think it’s 8 guys to 1 girl, as far as staff go—then the punters are predominantly men, too), and this created this really weird culture.  On the one hand, girls could sleep with whomever they liked, and very unusually, weren’t judged for it—unless they were being douche-bags, as in the case of one girl who slept with a couple of different guys every week while also having a boyfriend… dick move.  So to speak.  On the other hand, and in direct contrast to the ‘real world’, we were trained not to expect anything from it—sex was completely emotionless and meant nothing at all, with any attachment to be abhorred and justifiably resented.

Add in the amount of time I’ve spent in hostels and with other travellers, who are known for wanting to experience new things and not known for their inhibitions, and I guess it’s not totally surprising that I find ‘real world’ numbers (forgive me) incomprehensible.  I’ve often been labelled an ice queen because I just don’t want to fuck everybody.  On the contrary, I don’t even like people touching me on a casual basis (with the obvious exception of people I’m really close to)—something I found very confronting in Russia, where friends are super-affectionate.  It’s too intimate, and especially when travelling, I really need to feel safe.  If I do want to spend time with somebody, it’s because I want to share a moment with them specifically—it’s not just because they’re there.  I just feel like life’s too short to spend any more time with people who aren’t worth it.  And while that’s a cliché, it’s one of the strongest lessons you’ll learn while travelling—when you come into contact with hundreds and thousands of people who are doing their best to be themselves, you learn to only hold onto the ones who are genuinely worth it.  Needless to say, guy-with-great-facial-structure did not make the cut.