On Ovaries and Embracing Uncertainty

 

I’m going to start in the middle of this story when the doctor told me over the phone that I needed to get one of my ovaries removed. 

“The whole ovary?” I asked. 

“Yes, at your age it’s just easier to take out the whole thing,” she told me. 

You can function perfectly fine with just one ovary, but hearing that you have to get an organ removed is…unsettling. 

That was in the Spring. 

A few months earlier I’d spent the night in the emergency room experiencing some of the worst physical pain of my life. 

One morphine drip, one (useless) x-ray, a CAT scan, a second trip to the hospital and a lot of pain meds later, I finally had a diagnosis: 

A large benign ovarian cyst that would have to be removed at some point. 

The doctors sent me home with a pain med prescription and instructions to “wait and see.”  After a few days of lying on the couch watching a steady stream of Mike Tyson Mysteries (that show is a thing of beauty if you’re whacked out on opiates. Just saying) the pain subsided. 

That was in January. 

In February I attended a press trip on a sex cruise with one of my best friends, Mark. You can read about my experience here

A few weeks later, the pandemic erupted and well, you know the rest. 

Throughout the first few months of the pandemic I was having a cyst related pain attack on a monthly basis. When these attacks happen, the pain is unbearable. Impossible to keep it inside, screaming out loud pain. It feels like my entire lower torso is being gripped by the jaws of life; my organs twisting and turning on themselves. 

After the second attack, I was put on a waiting list for surgery, but with Covid I had no real idea when I’d actually get this thing removed. 

When these attacks happen (usually during ovulation), all I can do is lie on my side in bed, with heat packs wrapped around my mid-section and wait for the next round of pain meds to kick in. I turn on my salt lamp, plug in my ear phones and listen to podcasts, slipping in and out of sleep as I wait for my timer to go off (the signal to take more drugs). 

(I’ve struggled to listen to my usual diet of murdery podcasts during the pandemic; preferring slightly lighter fare. When I’m sick I keep things extra light. My go-to’s are Scam Goddess and RPDR podcasts like Race Chaser)

I breathe and wait. 

Because that’s all I can do. 

While I still feel like I’ve been run over by a truck for a few days every month, I haven’t had any severe pain attacks since late spring. I also have a surgery date to get the cyst (which is now 4 x 3 inches in size) removed. I’ll be going into surgery on November 19th. 

When I think about my experience of 2020, I always come back to those first few pain attacks and how they forced me to become intimately acquainted with the concept of uncertainty.

I didn’t know when/if the pain would end. All I could do was sit with the discomfort and embrace the small things that brought me comfort, like the soft glow of my salt lamp and the soothing banter of drag queens coming from my headphones. 

If that doesn’t sum up 2020, I don’t know what does. 

Halloween Costume DIY: How to Make the Katy Perry Cupcake Bra

*This post was originally published nine years ago (!!!), however with Halloween just around the corner I thought it would be fun to bring it back from the archives! (Also, I’m still kind of proud of myself that I managed to pull this off & wear it in public.) I’ve updated the cover photo to show I I re-wore the costume a few years ago. 

Here are a few things that make me happy: dancing, writing & making art projects. Its been a long time since I’ve made anything & even longer since I’ve really dressed up for Halloween (last year’s black American Apparel body con dress, fish-net tights, bun & red lipstick combo that I tried to pass off as “I’m a Robert Palmer back-up dancer” doesn’t count).

Then, late last week I was bit by the crafting bug after reading about some of the scary festivals from around the world in a recent article published by Betway.

 

 

I was lying in bed watching Katy Perry’s “California Girls” video (again) and drooling over how adorable Katy looks partying in candy land, when I had a brain wave: “I WANT A CUPCAKE BRA! I NEED TO MAKE THAT! I’M GOING TO DO IT FOR HALLOWEEN!”. So, that’s what I did and I have the photos to prove it.

INTRODUCING: How to live your own “Teenage Dream” a step by step tutorial. 

1. My biggest challenge was figuring out how to make the cupcake boobs. I don’t even bake, so I knew this was going to be interesting. On Friday afternoon, I bought some modelling clay, plastic bowls and sprinkles.

 
2. I shaped the wet clay around the bowls and then let them sit to dry. On Saturday morning I woke up early and ran into the kitchen to check on the boobs. Bad news! The boobs still weren’t dry and the parts that were dry were brittle and cracking. They also weighed about 5 lbs each. If I strapped these babies onto my chest I would surely topple over.
 
 
3. I ran to my tool box and pulled out a jar of Polyfilla. I grabbed two new bowls & covered them in white goop. The best part about Polyfilla is that it  has the same texture and consistency as icing. It’s also super lightweight.
 
 
While I waited for the “icing” to dry I took a trip down to the Gaybourhood to buy myself a blue wig and some eyelash glue.

4. When I came home, the Poly Filla had hardened nicely which meant…SPRINKLE TIME! I used crazy-glue to attach each sprinkle individually. This was a tedious process but I couldn’t really figure out a better way to attach them without damaging the icing.
 
 
5. With the sprinkles done, it was time to glue on the “cherries”. On the way home from the wig store, I stopped by Sugar Mountain , a local specialty candy store. I grabbed a bunch of different berry candies that I thought might work & a few extra for the road (I love gummy candy).
 

6. I ended up going with the raspberry organic juice berries. They were softer and less pointy than the Swedish Berries. I crazy glued them on…and voila! CANDY NIPPLES!
 
 
 

7. The trickiest part of this whole process was figuring out how to attach the cupcakes onto the bra. Originally I was just going to crazy glue them on but then I realized I didn’t want to wreck a perfectly good bra. Instead, I crazy glued some strips of blue ribbon onto the back of the plates and sewed the edges onto the bra. There has to be a better way to do this. I just didn’t figure it out in time.
 
 
Annnnnnd, Voila! The finished product! Caaaaaliffffforrrrrrrrrrrniiiiiiiaaaaaa!


The rest of the costume consisted of a pair of denim daisy dukes cut from an old pair of skinny Levis (I was originally going to spray them with glue glitter but decided not to just in case I wanted to wear them again – don’t judge!) , candy jewellery and a pair of pink glittery high heels (a drag queen somewhere is jealous.)

FYI. Adding on this much extra boob is…an experience. If you forget you’re wearing them and turn suddenly, there is a good chance you’ll knock someone’s drink out of their hand (true story) and forget about trying to hug your friends! Overall the costume held up well and the only major set-back was when I realized I’d lost one of my candy nipples mid-through the night.

This wasn’t the easiest costume and it wasn’t the cheapest (at $34.95, the wig was the biggest investment) but I had so much fun making and wearing it that I didn’t want to take it off at the end of the night.

When the DJ played “California Girls” I jumped up on one of the dancing platforms, grabbed my boobs and sprayed the crowd with whipped cream.

I’m totally kidding. I haven’t figured out how to do that yet. Maybe next year.

What are you dressing up as this Halloween?

8 Quarantine Purchases I Don’t Regret

It’s me, your friendly neighbourhood, semi-retired sex blogger reporting live from my basement office where I’m currently wearing an oversized vintage Mickey Mouse sweatsuit because we’re in the midst of a global pandemic & civil rights battle and I’ve temporarily given up on real clothes (for the record, I call this look, “Business Disney.”)

{Btw, the gorgeous image above is by Kendra Dandy of The Bouffants and can be purchased here.}

I’ve had this post in the hopper for a while, but before I begin talking about personal quarantine greatest hits list, this needs to be addressed:

Non-black folks, what are you doing to support Black Lives Matter and anti-racism work?

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but a few ways quick you can be useful right now.

+ Donate to a local bail fund.

+ Donate to one of these organizations.

+ Check out this comprehensive resource list which includes other (free!) ways to help.

+ Educate yourself and do the anti-racism work. I’ve posted a few resources on Instagram, but give it a quick ‘GOOG and you’ll find tons of action steps, reading lists & more (do your research!) This list of ways to learn about and act up for racial justice that Kate posted is a great place to start. This list of ally resources is also a super helpful primer.

________________________________

Like many of you, since the start of quarantine, my spending habits have shifted. Now with #blacklivesmatter front and centre, examining how and where I spend my money feels especially important.

Normally, at this point in the Spring I’d be obsessing over new sundresses and shoes and accessories — and for better or worse — spending my money accordingly. However, over the past few months, my taste for fast fashion has all but expired (WHAT ARE CLOTHES ANYWAY?).

The truth is, quarantine has given me the space to reflect on my consumption patterns and frankly I feel pretty gross about how I spent my money over the course of 2019. Also, without the option of going into physical stores, I’ve realized how much of my shopping is motivated by anxiety, avoidance and boredom (maybe I’ll write more on that later).

The past few months have been strange, sad and challenging. I’m still trying to figure things out, but going forward, I know I want to buy more used & vintage while making a point to support more small businesses –in particular, ones owned by BIPOC. In the meantime, here are a few pandemic purchases that I do feel good about & have helped make quarantine life a little better.

Causes that matter.

See above. I know money can’t solve everything, but it can help. Since last week, I’ve donated to a handful of bail funds and black centred organizations, but I want to commit to making this an on-going occurrence on a weekly and monthly basis.

Upgraded digital media subscriptions.

After years reading for free, I finally bit the bullet and purchased a monthly digital subscription to New York magazine. Being able to read freely without worrying about a paywall has kept me informed and entertained throughout quarantine.

A folding exercise bike.

Meet my #NotAPeleton. This folding exercise bike has been my saving grace since the start of quarantine. I recently started running (and love it), but knowing I can safely do my cardio at home feels like the ultimate luxury right now. Plus, this bike folds up and fits in a closet — making it perfect for small space living.

An adjustable bed desk.

I know there’s an unwritten rule that in order to be a productive freelancer you must never work from bed, but I feel like the pandemic completely blew that right up. Life has been uncomfortable and weird. Sometimes the only way anything is getting done is if I allow myself to work from bed, while ensconced in blankets.

Enter: this adjustable bed desk. This tiny blessing allows me to comfortably work in bed AND is perfect for when I want to watch Netflix on my laptop. Being able to adjust it so my screen is at the right level has saved me SO MUCH neck strain. Oh, and did I mention it can also be used as a standing desk?

Live virtual events.

Since the start of quarantine, I’ve made a point of attending live streamed virtual events. My favourite so far have included the Werk The World series which feature performances from RPDR alumni (ticket sales go to benefit drag performers who are currently out of work due to Covid-19). Their next show, Pride Castle (June 28th) will benefit The National Black Justice Coalition, an organization dedicated to empowerment of the black LGBT+ community.

Sweatpants.

These BP Joggers from Nordstrom may be the softest pants known to man. Who knew sweatpants could feel so deliciously luxurious? I’ll take comfort anywhere I can get it these days and these joggers have kept me warm and comfortable throughout quarantine.

Subscription to WOW Presents Plus.

If you know me in real life, you’re probably painfully aware of how much I love RuPaul’s Drag Race. Watching Season 12 and now All Stars 5 has given me something to look forward to every week during quarantine. The producer’s of Drag Race, World of Wonder (WOW) offer a subscription service ($4.99/month) which gives you access to all of their shows + quarantine content hosted by your favourite queens. Being able to tune into Trixie & Katya Save The World and watch their antics every week has been such a nice treat.

A non-terrible Bathroom cabinet.

Considering how much I disliked the majority of high school, I’m really surprised by how smitten I’ve become with locker inspired furniture. I recently bought this locker style cabinet for my bathroom and do not regret it one bit.

For the longest time I’ve had a set of clear plastic Rubbermaid drawers to hold the beauty product overflow in my bathroom. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with plastic bins (you gotta work with what you have!), my dingy and crowded drawers made me (unnecessarily) feel like a broke college student.

The world feels completely out of control right now, but at least my bathroom looks somewhat like it belongs to an organized adult.

What’s helped you get through the past few months?

The Sexual Apocalypse is Here and I’m Ready

Greetings from the pandemic where I’m currently hoarding imported Mexican salsa and drunk ordering books off Amazon late at night. How are you doing?

Lately, I’ve been writing a lot about the intersection of Covid-19, dating, sex and relationships for my Toronto Sun column . I’ve written pieces about the boom of the sex toy industry, called out the weird behaviour of single men in quarantine (I see you) and written A LOT about all the sex us single folk aren’t having right now. I don’t imagine a lot of people feel great about the idea of forced celibacy, but I’m strangely okay with it. Then it dawned on me why this is: I’ve been training for this my entire writing career.

Remember when I used to be a regular sex blogger? I know it’s been a while. Anyway, if you’re an OG Skinny Dip reader you might recall me once likening myself to Kenny “yo I gotta have sex tonight” Fisher because my stash of sex supplies far outweighed my current needs. At the height of my sex blogging, the stockpile of toys, lubes and candles my bedroom looked like I was gearing up for some kind of sexual apocalypse. Well, my friends, that day is here.

(FYI, the Kenny Fisher inspired artwork above can be found here)

My sexual doomsday prepper tendencies have finally paid off. While my hand sanitizer and Lysol wipe supply may be dwindling, I have everything I need to survive the era of solo-sex.

The other night, I decided to do an impromptu inventory of my wares, which lead to a Marie Kondo-esque cleaning out of my sex toy cabinets. Just like Kondo suggests, I pulled everything out and placed it on my bed. Not going to lie — it was a bit scary. I found a lot of stuff that I either forgot I owned, have never tried or never want to try.

In the spirit of sex toys that go hilariously wrong, I thought it would be fun to walk you through some of the weirder items I came across.

Like this thing. What fuck is this? Similar to the telltale dildo (RIP you veiny monstrosity), I always forget I own this thing until I open the drawer and it startles me back to reality. It would be hilarious, if it wasn’t so terrifying.

I solemnly swear that I do not like this toy and don’t want it anywhere near my genitals.

Made of creepy, tacky jelly material, I think this is supposed to used as an attachment for a wand vibrator. However, it doesn’t fit any of the wands I own, which begs the question: #why? Also, the fingers are creepily small *shudder*

Next, what fresh slice of hell is this? I was sent this confusing contraption a few years ago but have since thrown out the manual and now have no idea/desire to try and figure it out.

I assume it’s for a couple (both with vaginas, maybe?) to use internally together, but it’s almost two feet long. When fully inserted there’s still going to be at least 6 inches of plastic “arm” between the two of you. Even in the time of social distancing, this seems wrong.

I mean, I kind of wish it was a set of wearable speakers for running, but alas it is not.

By the way, I found these two throwback gems. Who can forget this unfortunate thirst purchase and the almighty candy cane vibrator? (Insert joke about Christmas “comes” all year round).

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I also unearthed a handful of vibrators that look like a stingray had sex with a computer mouse. I vaguely remember trying these? But why are there so many of them and why are they all so unmemorable? Also, I’m pretty sure one of them is called “The Chocolate” which makes zero sense because it’s pink.

While I mostly plan on sticking to my favourite sex toys during quarantine (if it ain’t broken, why fix it?), many of the less favoured items in my collection can still be put to good use.

For example, these Fifty Shades of Grey arm restraints can be repurposed as a stylish face mask in a pinch.

If things really go south, I’m also prepared for any Birdbox type situations that may arise.

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Oh, and those Fifty Shades of Grey handcuffs I never use because they have quotes from the book engraved on them (I kid you not)…

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If society descends into full out anarchy, the cuffs paired with the Fifty Shades of Grey blindfold are perfect for restraining adversaries.

It’s what Christian Grey would want.

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Like the inscription on the cuffs says, any predators will be “all mine.”

Since many of us are embracing home improvements lately, I think it’s also important to note that silicone lube is great for fixing a creaky door.

While it’s unlikely I’ll be using any of these toys in the bedroom, they can still be useful. My suggestion: combine two questionable toys into one horrifying back scratcher/high shelf-reacher/social distancing tool.

Here, let me get that for you!

Lastly, just because handshakes are off the table right now doesn’t mean you can’t still make those money moves.

Well, that’s all folks. I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and are all staying safe and well.

Where To Meet Swingers Online During Covid-19

Where do you meet swingers online? A good friend of mine asked me this exact question a few days ago. She and her husband have been happily married for about six years and are now looking to experiment with other people. She turned to me for tips because writing about sex is my beat.

A few things before I start dolling out advice:

1. The super sexy artwork above is by Tina Maria Elena Bak and can be purchased here.

2. While I’ve travelled to a bunch of swinger & lifestyle friendly resorts like Temptation Cancun, Desire Maya, Desire Pearl and Hedonism II and have on occasion enjoyed being the “special guest” in other people’s bedroom activities, I don’t consider myself a swinger or part of the lifestyle. In other words, I’m not an expert on all things lifestyle related. To borrow a line from my first trip to Temptation, “I’m not a swinger but some of the people I sleep with are.” 😉

2. Secondly, it’s impossible to ignore that we’re currently still in the midst of a global pandemic. Adding multiple new sex partner into the mix right now is flat out dangerous. With that said, that doesn’t mean you can’t meet new people online! (It might just take a little while before you can safely play with them.)

Just as a side note: I was super skeptical about online or virtual dating during Covid-19, but I’ve since been converted to a believer. If you can meet someone that you connect with (or in this case, several people), not being able to immediately hook-up provides the perfect opportunity to get to know each other. Think of it like very extended foreplay.

To write this post, I teamed up with the folks at Swingtowns, the world’s largest non-monogamy community.

If you’re looking to find swingers online, here’s a few things to keep in mind.

1. Go to a site that’s dedicated to non-monogamy.

When my friend first asked for my advice, my first impulse was to tell her to get on Tinder — after all, there seems to a lot of couples on there (see this post about the 20 guys you’ll meet online dating in Victoria). However, “vanilla” online dating apps tend to be a catch-all of people — Tinder especially. If you’re looking for a particular kind of interaction, why not head to where likeminded people hang out?

Instead of swiping endlessly, a site like Swingtowns allows you to get specific about who you are and what you’re looking for.

Once online, Swingtowns allows you to search local Swinger, Open Relationship and Polyamorous Dating Ads.

They also have a pretty extensive listing of swinger clubs, swinger events and local groups.

2. Check out local swinger groups.

If you’re new to the lifestyle, chances are you’re nervous. That’s totally normal! Enter: swinging groups. Swingtowns has a comprehensive list of local swingers groups across the globe (I even found a few groups in my hometown. Go figure). If you’re looking to dip your toes into non-monogamy, joining a swingers group can be a great, no-pressure first step. Lots of newbies join groups as a way to meet other couples, make friends and ask questions.

As social distancing continues, a lot of local swinger groups are hosting virtual events!

The way I see it, we’re all stuck at home right now anyways. If swinging or non-monogamy is something you’re curious about this is the perfect opportunity to use the internet to your advantage and do your research. You might even meet a couple (or more!) that you’ll want to connect with once the pandemic subsides.

This post was brought to you by Swingtowns. Thank you for supporting posts that support this blog.

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