Through Skinny Dip I’ve been able to sort through my feelings about dating, relationships, my body and my sexuality. While I’ve mostly retired from reviewing sex toys and no longer feel the need to share so much about my current love life on this blog, I still thought it would be fun to look back and share some of the things I’ve learned about myself over the past nine years (oof) of blogging.
1. Explore and experiment to your heart’s content.
I thought I had a pretty good handle on my body and self-pleasure before I started this blog, but trying a bazillion different sex toys for the purpose of writing about them has definitely expanded that knowledge in positive ways. I can now look at the shape of a toy or feel it’s vibration patterns on my fingers and make a very good educated guess as to whether I’ll enjoy it (and while I’m occasionally still surprised, I’m usually right). The point here: don’t be afraid to experiment with different gadgets or props — even the really weird looking sex toys. Worst case scenario, you’ll learn more about what you do and don’t like.
2. If you don’t like something or it doesn’t work for you, that doesn’t mean you’re broken.
There are plenty of stores online that claim they sell the best sex machines but not all toys are created equal or are designed with every human body in mind. What’s mind blowing for one person, is going to be a flop for someone else. For example, I’ve learned through trial and error that wand vibes like the ever popular Hitachi Magic Wand, just don’t work for me AT ALL. I’d much rather use something small and precise like the Crave Duet (a vibe that another blogger hailed as a flop). Long story short: not everything is going to work for everyone and that’s okay. Life would be kind of boring if everyone got off in the exactly same way. Keep trying stuff until you find what works for you.
3. You’re not required to define your sexuality for other people.
When I decided last spring to finally explore my bi-sexuality, I felt pressure to define my sexuality for other people. I thought it would be easier to explain myself and fit in with the queer community if I gave myself a label (queer, bi, hetero-flexible etc) — and I wasn’t totally wrong about the first one. People like clearly defined labels because they’re easier to digest. However, like Justin Bobby from The Hills, “I’m just not into labels” — at least when it comes to my sexuality. It wasn’t until I was on my first really great date with a woman and my date told me, “no one in the gay community is going to force you to define yourself,” that I felt comfortable just letting things be. The truest thing I can say about my sexuality is that I am a woman who mostly dates and loves men, but sometimes has romantic and sexual feelings for women.
4. You know yourself better than anyone else and it’s okay to like what you like, however kinky or vanilla that may be.
I’ve written about the ridiculous assumptions people have about me because I write about sex. For example, that I must be super kinky and/or sleep with evvvvveryone (I mean, really guys?) Nine years in and I’m really tired of having to explain on a weekly basis that I don’t have my very own sex dungeon (however, I’d kill for some more shoe storage space). While writing about sex has definitely opened my mind to new things and encouraged me to explore my sexuality, it’s also helped reconfirm what I’ve known to be true about myself all along: that I can enjoy different kinds of sexual experiences, but the kind I crave most isn’t necessarily very kinky. I want sex that is super passionate, but also includes a great mind-body/emotional connection. This isn’t always easy to find, which is part of the reason I don’t have as much sex as people probably think I do. Like #3, I also used to feel the need to explain this to people, until I realized that it’s no one’s business but my own.
5. Stay open.
Not only am I more open-minded when it comes to my own desires, writing about sex has given me a greater appreciation for the diversity of human sexuality. While I know myself a lot better than I did nine years ago and I still have some “hard passes” when it comes to dating and sex, I’m also open to those beliefs and desires changing. Sexuality isn’t static. It’s okay to evolve and change over time. In other words, know yourself but never say never.