How sex toys empowered me after trauma & shame #Life#genderqueer#LGBTQ#masturbation#pervertibles#sex#transgender April 15 2019 | Guest post by Tessa Fox Content warning: this post talks about themes of abuse and sex. If you'd rather not read about that right now, head to safety! Pickling Cucumber Seeds from kenyonorganics In December of 2009, I bought my first sex toy. It was purple, smooth, and slightly see-through. I later learned that the softened plastic was possibly toxic, but in 2009 I had no idea and probably wouldn't have cared. At the time was fun, exciting, and above all, bold. Related Post Finding your new BFF: Picking the perfect toy So, you've decided to improve the quality of your self-lovin' (and couple-lovin'). Good for you! You wander cautiously into your local sex shop or website... Read more I grew up a Good Christian Girl. My mother was the leader of my church's youth group, and so as a teen I was an example to the other church kids there, and a beacon for Christ in my high school. I was encouraged to dressed conservatively, so I didn't tempt our Christian brothers to sinful thoughts. Meanwhile, I also grew up a victim. A relative systematically groomed me from a young age, along with my older sister. We told my mother at some point, but in the interest of family harmony, she never really put a stop to it, or let us stay home without a valid excuse. So it was, we assumed, our responsibility, and any "slip-up" — anytime he said or did something inappropriate — was because we weren't sufficiently on our guard. So it was clear to me, as an adolescent and a young adult, that my body was for others' enjoyment, not for mine, and that any hint of sexuality was unacceptable. The problem with this was that I was horny as fuck, like 24/7. I don't remember how exactly I learned to masturbate, but I figured it out, and this was knowledge I utilized. Nightly. I felt like there was something wrong with me — surely women didn't masturbate this much. Sometimes I tried to give it up, but frankly, it was fun, and I was still horny. On occasion, I'd mention in a Bible study or a purity meeting or whatever that girls also had sexual desires, and often got a thoughtful, "Yeah, you're right," and nothing else. Here was an entire industry dedicated to the act of bringing my body pleasure. And it wasn't presented as secretive and embarrassing and shameful… for the first time, my body felt like mine and my sexuality belonged to me. At some point, I realized the religion wasn't for me, and started learning more about sexuality, sometimes in odd ways. I read a lot of dirty fan fiction, and explored LiveJournal which, at the time, had a surprisingly active and progressive sex ed community. Both fan fiction and LiveJournal were communities of, for the most part, women and queer people, which was revolutionary to me. In December of 2009, I bought my first sex toy, and it was incredible. Here was an entire industry dedicated to the act of bringing my body pleasure. Not for anyone else, but for my own enjoyment. And it wasn't presented as secretive and embarrassing and shameful: it was bright purple. And for the first time, my body felt like mine and my sexuality belonged to me. Since then, sex toys have been an active interest of mine, and I've learned a lot about them — and about how important they are. They're empowering to me, and empowering to countless others, and it takes all of my effort not to constantly sing their praises to random strangers on the street. Amethyst Chakrubs Sex toys can push sex beyond a heterosexual point of view Related Post Masturbation and my relationship: How I stopped worrying and learned to love myself… despite living with my partner We've talked about masturbation on Offbeat Home and Offbeat Bride before. We're familiar with solo sex here. But what if you no longer live solo?... Read more The heterosexual orgasm gap is still an issue, in part because people socialized as women are encouraged to defer to men and men's pleasure, and because anything other than PIV sex is still often considered optional — which sucks, because most people with vaginas can't orgasm from penetration alone. There's a market for "couple's sex toys" but to be honest, any sex toy can be used with a partner — of any gender. Sex toys enable people to pursue pleasure on their own For people uninterested or unable to pursue a relationship — and even a one-night stand is a relationship in the sense that another human is involved, and some emotional energy is necessary in the form of kindness and compassion and generally not being an asshole — they can take sexual pleasure into their own hands. Sex toys aren't a replacement for a real human — they're a tool that means that, sexually, you don't need one. Sex toys can help people with disabilities pursue sexual pleasure People with limited hand or body mobility may have trouble with manual masturbation or some forms of partnered sex. But the sex toy industry has position aids for people who need it, and there are toys with long handles that are great for people with limited motion or reach issues, and there are even penetrable toys that can mechanically pleasure a penis. Sex toys can help with gender dysphoria Manual masturbation or partnered sex can be unpleasant or even traumatic to some people whose bodies don't line up with their gender. There are sex toys designed for trans people, which is awesome on its own. But also, vibrators and some insertables (dildos, plugs, and so on) are toys that can literally be used by people of any gender. Some shops still divide toys into "male" and "female," but many are giving that up because, again, anyone can use a toy. Finding a queer-friendly sex store can be incredibly affirming. Sex toys can be healing People who are afraid to leave a relationship for sexual reasons have another option. People who have experienced trauma can reclaim their bodies. People who have spent their lives thinking pleasure isn't for them can have it, without relying on someone else to validate them. Sex toys can be beautiful There are some sex toys that are genuine works of art, and in a society where sexuality is still a shameful thing, it's an almost revolutionary act to say, "My sexual needs are real, and they are worth admiring." Let's talk Magic Wands: Can you handle the Cadillac of sex toys? Today I want to talk to you about the magic wand. Sorry Harry Potter fans, not that kind of magic wand. I'm talking about the Hitachi Magic Wand -- the… Read More Stash your sex toys (but remember where the hell you put them) We already talked about ways to hide your sex toys in plain sight by using household objects and even exercise equipment. This is great advice… except for if you're living… Read More BDSM DIY: The acronym-free guide to home pervertables As a practicing sub in my personal life, I can assure you exploring BDSM and other sexual fantasies doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg (or any other… Read More Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo Guest post written by Tessa Fox Tessa Fox is a queer sex blogger. In her spare time she cooks pasta and watches a lot of Star Trek. http://queerearthling.home.blog PREVIOUS SEATTLE EVENT: Sex Work is a Feminist Issue on April 22, 2019 Show/Hide comments [ 3 ] My first decent vibrator was a game changer, and my magic wand was downright revolutionary. "Holy shit, I can orgasm! … I can orgasm really hard, more than once!" Took until my late-20s to figure that one out, and my early 30's to really believe that my pleasure was valid and it was okay to demand that my partner meet my needs too. Reply SO VALID. Like, the arguments about how "if u use a vibrator, u'll never be able to come any other way!!" ignores the fact that for a lot of women & AFABs, they already can't come any other way! I'm really glad you found something that works for you. Reply This was supposed to be addressed to the previous comment, but mobile had me fooled. Ah, well. Reply Join the conversation Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Subscribe me to your mailing list No-drama comment policy Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.