Girls Talk About How They Masturbate.

Here’s a stock photo we found of a women simulating an orgasm. All photos via Shuttershock

Girls may not talk about masturbation as openly as guys, but that doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy rubbing one out every now and then. In fact, all it means is that we don’t feel everyone at the bar needs to know the minutiae of how “fucking cracking last night’s hand shandy” was, so we keep it to ourselves, or talk about it in groups that don’t contain 25 colleagues and Jake from accounting’s weird friend Quentin.

Of course, all that reticence means you end up only discussing this kind of stuff with a relatively small circle of wankers. And considering there are many, many ways in which a lady can get herself off, we felt like we might be missing out on some valuable techniques, or just some information we hadn’t come across before.

We were curious to find out what exactly it was we were missing, so asked a few ladies to break it down for us. Each paragraph below is from a different respondent, all of whom wanted to stay anonymous, presumably because they didn’t want anyone who googled their name to find the phrase, “Usually, I think about things like roller skating on some cloud and then falling down onto a total stranger’s dick.”

“I’m a big fan of porn. I think that the Stoya films are amazing, for example. Most of the time I just watch short clips on PornHub, just because it’s easy. You don’t need to download anything. Still, though, it can take a while to find something good on there. Sometimes the actors are super gross, or the thumbnail was a total lie, or whatever. In terms of categories, I’m into things that I don’t actually do myself—like toys (I don’t have any), lesbians (I’m into men), and threesomes (not really my thing, but I have tried it). The execution isn’t particularly spectacular—I just use my hand. As I said, I don’t own a vibrator or anything like that. As lame as it seems, I usually just think about whoever it is that I fancy at that given moment.”

“When I was 15 my best friend told me about the merits of shower heads and I developed a real taste for it. So that’s basically all I use now. Sure, I’ve tried other things, too, but I think dildos are quite unappealing and flat—they just lack fantasy, don’t they?”

“I guess I just do it normally, with my hand? When I was 17, me and my best friend bought a vibrator each—we’d heard that’s what you do when you’re a grown-up. I tried it and, for me, it was just really strange. I actually ended up throwing it out. Later on, I was given another one as a gift. It had this special little bit on it that would stimulate the clitoris while you had it inside you. That was pretty amazing. It changed my whole perception of vibrators. Once, I actually bought myself a really big dildo—purely out of curiosity. It wasn’t that sexy; it was just massive.”

“Vibrators don’t really turn me on. I don’t need to have something up inside me to cum. They can be quite funny when you use them with your partner, but my hand is more than enough when I’m alone. For some reason I always use my left hand, even though I’m actually right-handed. Not sure why. I don’t think women have that same urgent need to cum as men do. But I have to admit that sometimes I really just need to. It’s rare, but it happens. Often I do it in order to get rid of a certain fantasy that I’m having about someone, or whatever. Porn can be good—I usually watch things I wouldn’t ever like to try myself. A lot of the time I just use my imagination. I like using the shower head, but it needs to be the right kind. When you find the right one, it’s the greatest invention on the planet. How often I masturbate varies a lot. If I spend, let’s say, an entire Saturday in bed, I might get at it three times. Sometimes, if I’ve had a stressful week, I don’t do it at all.”

“The first time I masturbated, it was actually unintentional. I was 11 years old and in a swimming pool with a friend. I didn’t really get what happened but I became a really big fan of water afterwards. Showers, pools—basically all running water. Shower heads are definitely the way to go, but a few years back I got really paranoid that the constant jet of water would desensitize my vagina, so I gave it up. I love it, but I have no interest in having a paralyzed pussy. Today, I rely on my boring fingers. Usually, I think about things like roller skating on some cloud and then falling down onto a total stranger’s dick—a guy who just so happened to be waiting there with a huge boner.”

“I always need to have a specific imagine in my head if I want to pleasure myself. Imagining the hottest guy alive isn’t really enough. Porn is the best obviously, but all that monotonous in and out does nothing for me. I find things like manga and comics far more erotic. The writing is sort of like dirty talk to me—it really gets me going. If I’ve got access to the right material it doesn’t really matter whether I’m standing up or laying down. It certainly doesn’t take long, either. Sometimes it can all happen a little too quickly. If I could cum in the same way while having sex, I think I could happily call my life perfect.”

“I don’t masturbate that often. But when I do, it feels as if it’s super necessary. It’s usually when I’m worryingly under-fucked or dangerously horny. Now and then, I do it when I’m bored. I’m not the kind of girl that needs to stick some giant vibrator into each and every orifice of my body, to be honest. I was once given a vibrator as a birthday present, but it’s just gathering dust in my drawer at home. When I have a wank I usually think about guys that I fancy. If it’s a major emergency I’ll watch porn—usually something with oral sex. I know exactly which buttons I need to press to get off quickly.”

“I started masturbating when I was 13. We were on a school trip and one of the boys explained clitoral pleasure to me. I tried it right away and that sort of sparked years of intensive masturbation. I did it for various reasons—boredom, to beat my daily record, etc. Back then, I was really into seeing myself do it and showing myself off on Skype and other video chats. I’ve got a pretty embarrassing story involving my family’s camera. I’m not hugely into vaginal stimulation, I just stick to the clit. Using a vibrator is way too time-consuming for me, and it just doesn’t turn me on. Sometimes, if I’m on coke or something, then my sense of self-worth is totally off and my tastes end up in the weirdest places. The porn I’m into is very much about the power dynamics between men and women, especially when the guy is stronger or in a position of power. Whether it’s a babysitter, co-eds or whatever—if there’s power dynamics involved, there’s a good chance I won’t last longer than a minute.”

By VICE Staff for Vice

This article originally appeared on VICE Alps.

Welcome To The Smart Sex Movement.

It has begun! Something really big is here and has been getting big for quite some time now. Whether you are Straight, Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Transgender, Bigender, Pangender, Gender Fluid
, Androgynous
, Genderqueer, Transexual or one of the 50 different types of gender identifications Facebook and others sites offer, we are excited to have you join us. Check out this article from Skynews to find out more about gender options on Facebook and pick one!

Facebook users who do not want to identify their gender as male or female now can select from around 50 other terms. Among the new ones added by the social network site are androgynous, bi-gender, cisgender, intersex, gender fluid and transsexual. There are also three preferred pronoun options: him, her or them. The company said the changes were aimed at giving people more choice in how they describe themselves. The move came after years of lobbying from users, some of whom started Facebook pages to petition for the change. Facebook worked closely with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) activist groups to compile the new list of gender identity options.Company spokesman Will Hodges told “While to many this change may not mean much, for those it affects it means a great deal.

“We see this as one more way we can make Facebook a place where people can express their authentic identity.”

Facebook software engineer Brielle Harrison worked on the project and is herself undergoing gender transformation, from male to female. She said: “There’s going to be a lot of people for whom this is going to mean nothing, but for the few it does impact, it means the world.

“All too often transgender people like myself and other gender nonconforming people are given this binary option, do you want to be male or female? What is your gender? “And it’s kind of disheartening because none of those let us tell others who we really are.

“This really changes that, and for the first time I get to go to the site and specify to all the people I know what my gender is.” But the latest development seemed senseless to those who believe in two genders. Jeff Johnston from national religious organization Focus On The Family said: “Of course Facebook is entitled to manage its wildly popular site as it sees fit. “But here is the bottom line: it’s impossible to deny the biological reality that humanity is divided into two halves – male and female. “Those petitioning for the change insist that there are an infinite number of genders, but just saying it doesn’t make it so. That said, we have a great deal of compassion for those who reject their biological sex and believe they are the opposite sex.”

To see all of Facebook’s gender classifications click the link below.

Bisexual, Not Straight – Bisexual, Not Gay.

When we think about the issues faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people we rarely separate out the issues that they face as separate entities in the mainstream media. Why would we? Collectively as a group we still have lots to fight for. Most of those fights centred on humanities inability to see that gender roles in society needn’t be so stringent. The truth is though; despite various compelling reasons to stick together; like the idea walking down a street anywhere in the world can still be a daunting task; we can’t forget the fact that being a white lesbian woman isn’t the same as being a black bisexual woman and so on.

Now I’m not talking about the need for a separate campaign focusing on bisexuals or any other group they exist already and play their roles. I’m simply talking about collective individuality, a concept we’re yet to grasp. The idea that we can all work together but realise that even amongst the community we identify with most we still have a lot to learn, develop and progress on. Now so far this might seem like a simple concept. Nothing new I hear you say? Well sadly this way of thinking isn’t as mainstream as we think it is. The idea that intersectionality is brushed to the side seems odd when we’re talking about people at the frontline of fighting. It seems odd when on the surface we appear to be collectively at ease when the time is right.

As a bisexual young man living in London; somewhere I believe to be progressive on LGBT rights compared to the many other places in the world where people can be imprisoned for their sexuality; I find it increasingly hard to be open about my sexuality without explaining it in detail. Now you might be imagining a conversation with my straight friend from Uxbridge, or even a conversation with a stranger I’ve just met but actually it applies to conversations I’ll have in G-A-Y with my gay friend from Westminster. I’ll be sat having a drink (or two) with mates and it won’t be long before I’m quizzed on the last girl I dated or jokes are dropped about how greedy or confused I am. Imagine having lots of friends and family but still feeling lonely? Doesn’t quite sound right, does it?

Whenever I reveal my sexuality, I’m always ready for the generic reactions like ‘Oh I would have never known’ or ‘I’ve always known’ which are usually meant as a compliment or comfort but instead lead me to think about the fact those outside of the LGBT community are constantly pushed to believe that any man who is not straight is an extremely camp glitter fairy waiting for Mean Girls 3 to be released.

I am however never ready for the question that follows, which usually includes scaling my attraction to women over my attraction to men. I’m left feeling puzzled, like I should have asked my doctor when he measured my height and weight. My friends probably don’t realise but this moment always sends me off into a deep thought about whether bisexuality is even the right tag, is it that simple? What really constitutes my feelings towards people? How can I explain that in a world where we are driven to label everything? Because after all a label it makes us feel better. We can then begin to understand it and acknowledge it even exists.

Being bisexual leads to other issues that straights, gays and lesbians don’t have to deal with too often (in this format). The idea that on a weekly basis you get mistaken for being straight or gay, and you’re forced to decide whether it’s worth clarifying for the fifth time that week. Do I leave this lovely lady with the belief I’m straight, and therefore feel as if I’m once again hiding in a closet? Do I leave this young man to believe I’m gay or do I face looking defensive or ashamed of gay people by clarifying I’m bisexual? That’s all just before being faced with a colleague slandering gay people because despite the fact he knows my ex-girlfriend, he doesn’t know that I also have ex-boyfriends and hasn’t realised his comments weren’t only offensive they were directed at me.

This all becomes even more complicated when you reveal your bisexuality to a partner or date. Whether it’s with a straight women or a gay man, both present their own challenges. With straight women they are often left wondering whether my attraction to them is real and a linger of mistrust lies throughout the relationship. With gay men it’s a question of loyalty because they dislike the idea that I can make my sexuality invisible and just exit the harder life for a life with kids and widespread acceptance. I’ve even once been told by female friends they’d never date a guy that had been with another man, just before being told by a gay friend they’d be worried about having twice the competition, as if being bisexual makes you disloyal and or void of preference. Now this hasn’t applied to all of my past relationships, but the fact I and other friends have even considered entering another closet, by saying ‘I’m gay’ on top of ‘I’m straight’ to get through things isn’t great.

All these issues to think about while still coming to terms with the fact that being accused of being gay is still considered an insult. You may read this and distance yourself from my experiences but it’s still evident to me that amongst some of the more poignant issues like employment or marriage we still have a long journey to lead before sexuality is a problem of the past. Even in countries where acceptance of sexuality has advanced dramatically. Things might be getting better on paper but in practice the struggle continues.

By Rhammel Afflick for Huffington Post

Defending My Son Who Wears Skirts While Fighting Victim Blaming and Sexism.

My son is 4. When he was 2, he went through a phase of wearing pink pants to day care for about two weeks.

About four weeks before preschool ended for summer this year, he started wearing skirts, dresses and flowery shirts to school most days. I felt a little awkward about it for the first couple of days, but I didn’t have any good reason to stop it, and frankly, I had several good reasons to support it.

For one thing, it made the miserable drudgery of convincing him to get dressed for school bearable as summer vacation approached, seemingly at a snail’s pace. Our only hope of getting him to school on time was to let him wear ANYTHING that fit the school dress code. Every parent has heard the advice, “pick your battles.” Each item of clothing he chooses himself increases the likelihood that I’ll get a bite of vegetables in him at dinner, a reasonable bedtime and the car seat buckled without a scene.

The school responded to his wardrobe choices in exemplary fashion. As he went in, a teacher would ask him, “What are you going to say if someone asks you about your shirt/skirt/dress?” To which he would answer something along the lines of, “It is my concert shirt” or “It makes me happy.” The teacher would then say, “OK, that’s what you say if anyone asks you why you are wearing it!” In he would go, happy as a clam. Out he would come at the end of the day, having raised a few eyebrows and received lots of compliments, still happy as a clam. I was relieved. So I picked up a few items at a thrift store that fit him better (and may eventually be available to my younger child).

During the last week of school, my in-laws very generously offered to watch the kids so I could go out for dinner with friends. Upon my return, I faced a very unusual confrontation. It may not seem confrontational, but trust me, this is as confrontational as my in-laws get.

FIL: “So, what is with the skirts?”
Me: “Well, it is the path of least resistance right now. We would’ve been on time for school this morning if I had known he was willing to wear a skirt. Instead I spent an hour trying to get pants and shorts on him. I don’t know why he didn’t just ask for a skirt….”
MIL: “Do you think he prefers them?”
Me: “Well, you know, I do — especially when it is hot out like this, skirts are a lot more comfortable and cool. I mean, the Scots preferred them, too, right?”
FIL: “I just hope he isn’t getting teased too much at school.”
Me: “No, that isn’t a problem. I asked him the other night at dinner if anyone said anything about his dress. He said everyone loved it.”
FIL: “Mmm. I’m not sure how long that is gonna last.”

I’m no idiot. I know that school children can be merciless. However, even in this exceptionally civil conversation, I see a couple of concerning assumptions.

My son isn’t hurting anyone. For whatever reason, he is choosing to wear frills and frocks on occasion. Yet the assumption is that he will be teased for dressing “like a girl,” and that action should be taken to prevent this from happening. There is a simple phrase for this attitude: victim blaming. The implication is that my son, by wearing girls’ clothing, is “asking” to be teased; that he would be the perpetrator of his own [non-existent] torment; that he should conform to societal norms to avoid even the risk of bullying instead of society confronting bullying, in the event that it occurs. If it does occur, why not confront and educate the bully, rather than admonish the victim?

There is also a gender bias here. While girls are often judged for wearing just about anything — be it masculine, feminine, short or long — I think it is fair to say that societal norms favor girls wearing pants more than boys wearing skirts. Girls are permitted (if not encouraged) to emulate boys, while boys are shunned for emulating girls. This continues into adulthood, with serious ramifications for women, men and families. Women are encouraged to “lean in” to their work while child-rearing, but men receive little or no paternity leave and are learning to pass as workaholics so they can spend more time with family. The examples are endless, but suffice it to say that just as the opposite of science isn’t girl, the opposite of boy isn’t teacher, nurse, dancer or homemaker.

My son wore a a flowered shirt, frilly skirt and leg warmers on the last day of school. I am very proud of who he is and the many wonderful girls and women he may wish to emulate. I am proud of his school, which has accepted and embraced him completely thus far. And I am proud of myself for not caving to my in-laws.

By Lee Lee for Huffington

World Cup’s ‘Gender Testing’ Is Sexist And Would Never Happen to the Men.

Because FIFA needs help identifying what a woman looks like.

There are a lot of reasons FIFA could be seen as a bastion of sexism. The women played on damaging artificial turf that the men don’t have to contend with, Sepp Blatter (FIFA president) said women players should wear tighter shorts to draw a male audience, women are hardly present in any executive roles at the organization, and the prize for winning the Women’s World Cup is 40 times less than the prize for losing the Men’s World Cup in the first elimination round (more on that will come in another post, as soon as I stop flipping over tables in a blind rage). After piling insult on top of injury, FIFA also has an outdated gender verification policy that purports to be fair.

Although many Americans like to believe gender is a simple concept, it is anything but. Nowhere does this become more evident than when a person needs to somehow unquestionably verify their gender. You can’t use genitalia, as that varies widely due to both nature and surgical options (not to mention, hello, privacy). You can’t use hormones, since some men produce high levels of estrogen and some women produce high levels of testosterone. You can’t look at chromosomes, either, since sometimes women will have a Y chromosome and sometimes men have two Xs. And then there’s also a lot of gray area outside of the male/female binary.

The barrier to having a simple, infallible litmus test for gender is so great, and the idea so offensive, it’s a wonder anyone would ever bother with it. And yet they do. You may recall all the hullabaloo in 2009 over Caster Semenya, the South African runner whose femininity was questioned so much the International Association of Athletics Federations chose to submit her to gender verification. Because, you know, there’s an inverted relationship between amount of muscliness and amount of real-womanness… or something…

Dutee Chand of India was forced to undergo a gender test in 2014 that discovered she has “female hyperandrogenism,” meaning she produces more testosterone than the average woman. The Sports Authority of India told her she would have to either get surgery or hormone therapy to “fix” the “problem.” She said absolutely not, and is now challenging the entire policy.

FIFA’s policy is more broad than the IAAF’s and the Sports Authority of India’s. Rather than go on a case-by-case basis, their policy states they’ll do “random selection,” and that every team is responsible for ensuring that their players have been gender-verified. Random selection like how the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy totally was random, in that it isn’t random at all. Teams are responsible, yet while the women’s team out of England had to undergo testing, Mark Leather, of the Bolton Wanderers in the English Premier League, told The Guardian, “I’ve never come across testing being carried out for men. The footballing authorities don’t make the men do any.”

That’s because it wouldn’t be seen as a threat to the integrity of men’s athletics if a man were found to have estrogen levels outside of what is normal. In other words, in doing gender testing, and in only targeting women for it, FIFA is saying, “this is what it means to be a woman,” and “being womanly is a disadvantage in sports.” As Kate Fagan at ESPN points out, “the only reason this policy would be about fairness is if you believe it’s “unfair” that some human beings possess a genetic deviation, possess too much natural testosterone, and therefore, hold some sort of intense competitive advantage. But that has never been proved. (See here and here.)”

I’ll be celebrating our team’s win all week, but I’ll also be watching FIFA to see how they respond to the charges of sexism that are growing ever louder.


“We So Have A Very Good Sex Life”: Gay Men With Straight Wives Are Coming Out — As Happily Married.

“Mixed-orientation marriages” have always existed, but now they’re in the middle of the marriage equality battle.

On the surface, the question seems simple enough: “Are you sexually attracted to your wife?” That’s what I asked 34-year-old Joshua Weed during a phone call. He breathed in deep. “That’s a really difficult question,” he said. “It’s hard to say that with clarity.” Weed is sexually attracted to men, but he’s married to a woman. “I love her very much and we do have a very good sex life,” he said. “I think she’s beautiful.” But he adds: “I’m gay.”

Weed’s wife, Laurel, is well aware of his sexual orientation. They grew up together in Utah and she was the very first friend he told about his sexual attraction to other boys. For a while, he considered the possibility of a relationship with another man, but he ultimately decided to pursue relationships with women, despite his lack of sexual attraction to them. Weed is a practicing Mormon and the Church’s current stance on the topic of homosexuality can be summed up like so: “The attraction itself is not a sin, but acting on it is.” While Weed says he does not pass judgment on gay relationships in general, when it came to his own life, he says, “I didn’t feel it was right.” So, he married his best friend.

There’s a term for this kind of relationship: It’s “mixed-orientation marriage.” Sometimes, the men in these scenarios are referred to as “same-sex attracted men married to women.” It’s a demographic that recently came to public attention with an amicus brief filed in opposition of marriage equality by a group that described itself as “same-sex attracted men and their wives.” The petitioners argued that “man-woman marriage laws” are not discriminatory, because, look at them! They managed to marry straight, despite their same-sex attraction. The petitioners added that same-sex marriage would necessarily insult their own marital arrangements, because it would send “a harmful message that it is impossible, unnatural, and dangerous for the same-sex attracted to marry members of the opposite sex,” says the brief.

Note that we’re not talking about so-called ex-gays. In fact, the term “same-sex attracted,” or SSA, has taken off as the notion of “ex-gays” has fallen out of favor. There are some key differences between the two groups: “Ex-gays” believe that they have successfully “cured” themselves of homosexuality. Self-identified SSA men in heterosexual marriages generally accept the reality of their same-sex attractions but have chosen to get hitched to a woman.

“Ex-gays” have a rightful reputation for being bigoted, whereas SSAs are not necessarily opposed to homosexuality. I’ll give you a moment to digest all of that, because it gets much more complicated from here. As Warren Throckmorton, a psychology professor who has studied this group, told me, “They’re not all the same,” he said. “It is hard to keep it straight.” Ehem.

When Throckmorton surveyed SSA men in relationships with women, he found that the largest sub-group were bisexual. “These were the men who viewed themselves as attracted to women in general and men in general, to varying degrees,” he said. “There was a general attraction to people.”

The next largest group was what he calls “pretty exclusively gay.” He explains, “They didn’t really feel much present attraction to their wives, they didn’t feel a whole lot of attraction to their wife when they married, but they felt they needed to marry, they felt they would grow into attraction to their wives.” Of all the sub-groups, this category of men were most driven by religious pressure. The third-largest group consisted of same-sex attracted men who experienced sexual attraction to a single woman.

“One guy described it to me as, ‘She literally is the only girl for me,’” says Throckmorton.

“He didn’t think it would ever happen, he had resigned himself to being gay. He prayed and prayed and prayed and nothing happened — and then he met this girl and they got to be friends, they got to be really good friends.” Even more than friends: “Eventually something changed and he found himself being attracted to her,” he says. “They have a whole complete sex life. He fantasizes about her sexually. But he still fantasizes about men too.” He doesn’t fantasize about other women, because his wife is the only woman in the world to whom he is sexually attracted.

All of which is to say: Taken together, SSAs are an incredibly broad group. If a partner in a heterosexual relationship rates as anything other than 0 on the 7-point Kinsey scale, you arguably have yourself a mixed-orientation marriage. (Note that Kinsey’s “Sexual Behavior in the Human Male” found that only 10 percent of men were “more or less exclusively homosexual.”) So, what marriage is not at least to some small degree mixed-orientation? But where things get really interesting are relationships like Weed’s in which one partner is predominantly attracted to the same sex and yet is married to a member of the opposite sex.

Religion is often a strong motivator for these couples. Throckmorton, an evangelical Christian, developed a framework for counseling people whose sexuality is in conflict with their religious beliefs. Although he once supported conversion therapy, about a decade ago he came out against it and does not believe that gay people can be made straight. His therapeutic framework emphasizes that both sexuality and moral beliefs are “important aspects of personality,” and that “the therapist should not attempt to persuade clients about how to value these dimensions but can assist clients to determine their own valuations.

” This can mean that a client decides to embrace a gay identity over their religious identity. It can also mean that they choose their religious identity over their sexual desires. Or they might adapt their religious beliefs to allow for the expression of their sexuality. In 2009, the American Psychological Association came out in support of this approach, noting that it can be beneficial for some clients.

I mentioned earlier that SSAs are not necessarily anti-gay. But there are plenty of SSA men who believe that homosexual behaviors are a religious sin — and, as the recent amicus brief shows, some are willing to go so far as to politicize their identity in order to fight equal rights for gays. So it’s no surprise that religious institutions are increasingly embracing the SSA concept. The Mormon church has begun promoting the idea that it’s possible for same-sex attracted men and women to either enter into heterosexual marriage, despite their attractions, or live a fulfilling life of celibacy. There was even a recent TLC documentary, “My Husband’s Not Gay,” about Mormon households in Utah composed of same-sex attracted men married to women. A recent Catholic documentary called “The Third Way” promotes the same choice.But religion isn’t the only motivator here.

“Some men I’ve talked to over the years, and some women too, just prefer a more traditional life,” says Throckmorton.

“They just felt it would be more of what they’d always hoped for when they were growing up. They thought it would be easier to get along in society in general, even with the tolerance that exists now.” So they choose a life partner of the opposite sex, while acknowledging that it wholly contradicts their sexual orientation.

This does not sit well with a sex-positive liberal like myself who dreams of sexual freedom and fulfillment for everyone. But Throckmorton urges open-mindedness. “If we’re really going to be tolerant and non-judgmental, that’s what they want to do,” he says. “In some ways, a very religious, exclusively gay man married to an asexual woman, they can have a very nice friendship, a very wonderful relationship in many ways, and it wouldn’t be a family therapist’s dream, but it would be fine for them.” Indeed, it seems fine for Weed: He emphasizes the joy he gets from his friendship with his wife and the three daughters that they’ve had together. Weed, who has never had sex with a man, insists that his sex life with his wife is fulfilling: “Sexuality, I contend, is a lot about intimacy and vulnerability and connection between two human souls and not just about that carnal heat,” he explains.

That said, they do miss that carnal heat. “We both acknowledge that while our sex life and romantic life and emotional life is really, really good, we both at the same time acknowledge it’s missing a component, and sometimes that’s really sad,” he said. “Sometimes we grieve that and wish it could be a different way.”

Tracy Clark-Flory for

​I Grew Up in a Polyamorous Household,

Few cultural symbols have as much heft as the “traditional” nuclear family. You know the one: two heterosexual parents, two kids, one dog, two tablespoons of white picket fence, whisk gently. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with that—it’s just not how I was raised.

My parents are polyamorous, a Greek/Latin mishmash word meaning romantic non-monogamy with the consent of everyone involved. As a kid, I lived with my dad, my mom, my mom’s partner, and for a while, my mom’s partner’s partner. Mom might have up to four partners at a time. Dad had partners too. I was raised by an interconnected network of grownups whose relationships weren’t exclusive but remained committed for years, even decades.

They first explained it to me when I was about eight. My four-year-old brother asked why James, my mom’s partner, had been spending so much time with us.

“Because I love him,” Mom said, matter-of-factly.

“Well, that’s good,” my brother replied, “because I love him too.”

It was never really any more complicated than that. Looking back, that’s what I find most extraordinary about our situation: how mind-numbingly ordinary it all was. I almost wish it were more exciting than that—a wide-eyed kid, stumbling into amphetamine-fueled sexfests to find a gaggle of ass-naked circus mimes, nuns, and poultry—but we were just as run-of-the-mill-dysfunctional as every other family on the block.

I never resented my parents for hanging out with their partners. We all went on trips to the movies and narrow boat holidays together. Having more adults around the house meant there was more love and support, and more adults to look after us. Dad and James didn’t get jealous or resent each other either, far from the alpha male antler clattering you might expect. They were good friends.

I do remember the first time James told me off. I was eight and had almost toddled into traffic, when he pulled me to the pavement and shouted at me for not looking left and right. I remember thinking: Oh, this grown-up is allowed to discipline me too? But it didn’t take me long to realize that it also meant that another grown-up had my back—and would keep me from being flattened by oncoming traffic—and that this was a good thing after all.

It’s fortunate I was living in relative familial bliss at home, because school was a living nightmare. I had a stutter and a penchant for 80s power ballads—telling anyone about my domestic situation would be to give myself a wedgie by proxy. I mean, one kid got picked on by (weirdly patriarchal) bullies just for having a stay-at-home dad—I wasn’t about to profess that Mom had four boyfriends. I had only one best friend (any more would’ve interfered with my spiritual path of devotedly studying Star Wars encyclopedias and reveling in epiphanic early masturbatory experiences). He was the only one who knew about my parents, and he just shrugged it off.

Our church community, on the other hand, did find out about my parents’ arrangement. We were very close to our parish at a local Anglo-Catholic church in East London—my mom even taught at Sunday school. We never lied about our family dynamic; we just didn’t want to broadcast it. James was called “a family friend,” which worked for a while. Eventually though, we were outed. Someone trawled the web and tracked down my mom’s LiveJournal page, and word got out that my family was poly.

Most people tried to understand, but not everyone could. One family was so condemning of our parents’ lifestyle that they forbade their kids from playing with us. This later escalated into a particularly nasty phone call to social services, essentially conflating polyamorous parenting with child abuse, and sending a swarm of social workers into our home. I remember sitting on the living room floor with my Robot Wars toys, Hypno-Disc in one hand, Sir Killalot in the other, trying to convince them that my parents weren’t hurting me.

Good parents are good parents, whether there are one or two or three or four of them. Fortunately, mine were incredible.

Nowadays, if I mention to people that I have poly parents, reactions oscillate between “that’s so weird” and “that’s so cool.” Most people enjoy the novelty of it. Some feel threatened, but they’re usually OK once I reassure them that it’s not a criticism of their monogamy.

All in all, my upbringing shaped my personality for the better. I got to speak to adults from all manner of varying backgrounds, whether they were my parents’ partners, or parents’ partners’ partners, or whoever. I lived with people who were straight, gay, bi, trans, writers, scientists, psychologists, adoptees, Bermudians, Hongkongers, people of wealth, and benefits claimants. Maturing in that melting pot really cultivated and broadened my worldview, and helped me become the guy I am today.

I never envied my friends with monogamous parents. I knew kids who lived with two parents or one, or stepparents, or grandparents, or aunts and uncles. So what I had didn’t feel odd. I’d imagine there’s very little variation between the ways monogamous and poly parents fuck up their kids. Good parents are good parents, whether there are one or two or three or four of them. Fortunately, mine were incredible.

I don’t think polyamory is superior to monogamy in any way—it’s just different. But I wish it wasn’t so stigmatized. Only 17 percent of human cultures are strictly monogamous; the vast majority of human societies embrace a mix of marriage types. There is no traditional family. In his book Sex at Dawn, author Christopher Ryan argues that human monogamy only dates back as far as the agricultural revolution. Prior to this, we lived in small foraging communities and shared our property (food, shelter, wooden clubs, saber-tooth loincloths, etc). Then, post-agriculture, monogamy developed, out of concerns regarding paternity, and the inheritance of material goods. Ryan argues that our modern romantic attitudes are needlessly puritanical, “an outdated Victorian sense of human sexuality that conflates desire with property rights.” Since the 20th century, many of us have begun to return to our polyamorous roots, following the sexual revolution, and feminism, and by extension the increased financial independence of women. This upward trend will only continue.

A lot of people ask me whether having poly parents has shaped the way I look at love as an adult, which is hard to answer. Growing up with polyamory as the norm, monogamy seemed alien and counterintuitive. We can love more than one friend or family member at the same time, so the idea that romantic love only worked linearly was befuddling. I’m in my 20s now, and I tend to have multiple partners (though that’s more my libido than a philosophical conviction). I don’t consider myself poly, but I am open to having either multiple partners or just one.

Life is mostly pain and struggle; the rest is love and deep dish pizza. For the cosmic blink of a moment we spend on this tiny dust speck of a planet, can we simply accept that love is love, including love that happens to be interracial, same-sex, or poly? Discrimination against love is a disease of the heart—and we get enough of that from the pizza.

By Benedict Smith for Vice

The Last Old-School Orgy In New York.

Palagia started throwing orgies because she needed the money. It was the late 90s, and she and her friends had been living in a West Village squat until it was burned down by mistake—her roommates left before it was rebuilt, but despite threats of eviction, the Greek-American decided to stay. The problem was that she couldn’t afford rent on her salary as a teacher.

“I had to come up with a creative idea to keep living there because I was making next to nothing,” she told me during a recent conversation at her current apartment in Chelsea. The West Village townhouse was behind an iron gate and looked like a jail, making it an ideal space for a certain kind of theatrical—and erotic—party.

Palagia (pronounced pal-asia, it’s a pseudonym; she didn’t want her real name to appear in this article) had plenty of experience with sex-filled events. She attended her first orgy in 1990, before she was old enough to drink, at a DC restaurant near the National Mall. The event, thrown by a group called Capitol Couples, could be described as a swinger’s party, though Palagia refuses to use that term (or the word orgy, for that matter). She was “totally shocked” at first; she even ran into her second-grade teacher and her husband, who was handcuffed to a toilet and wearing a cock ring. Her teacher was so embarrassed that she immediately uncuffed her spouse, put his pants on, and left.

“What I learned from this wasn’t about shame, but it clarified something else,” she explained. “That couple always seemed the most in love, the most connected, as opposed to the other couples and families in my suburban town. They were living this lifestyle and creating fantasy together.”

Palagia remained a part of the group sex party scene after moving to New York in 1996, regularly attending S&M events at the Vault—a notorious kinky spot in the Meatpacking District that supposedly featured celebrity cameos from Madonna, Robert Downey Jr., and Heather Locklear. She went to sexy shindigs at places like the Hellfire Club, Idlewise, Trapeze, and Checkmates (the latter still exists). Each had its own style and vibe, but Palagia thought she could one-up them. “I always loved erotica, but didn’t like the rules of erotica or the rules that were currently in the books or in people’s minds,” she explained. “I wanted women to come to a sexy environment and make their own rules, break them, be naked, masturbate—but no one would touch them without permission.” One Leg Up was born.

“I wanted women to come to a sexy environment and make their own rules, break them, be naked, masturbate—but no one would touch them without permission.” —Palagia

In the beginning, OLU was strictly a rent party. Palagia’s friends would pay nothing, $10, or a max of $80 for a couple, and the hostess didn’t see it as a business. “It’s not like I woke up one day and said, ‘I want to start organizing sex parties as my career,'” she told me. “I came up with an idea to save my own self in the way that I wanted to be saved. And people thought I was fucking crazy.”

Palagia’s brother made her a simple website in 2000, and she developed a roster of paying members as well as a rigorous application process (you had to write an intelligent essay if you wanted in)—both features most sex parties didn’t have at the time. Her goal was to build a community that was about “safe and sensual environments for women.” By the early 2000s, OLU had expanded into two events, a “whetting your palate” sex-free party called a Take-Out where couples could mingle, and the full-on soirees, which Palagia branded as Eat-Ins.

“I played and I fucked and I had a great time. Those were the fun days,” she said.

In 2003 a writer from the New York Post came to one of her events and published a positive piece that emphasized her parties’ high standards. After that, Palagia resigned from her teaching position and became a full-time sex party planner. “After that article published, I knew I was on to something,” she said. “[One Leg Up] started to grow even more and blossomed into something that I didn’t expect.”

Over the years, the events have acquired an aesthetic—a fusion of burlesque performance art, nostalgia for the 20th century, and a type of sensuality you might find in vintage French porn. In other words, the sort of orgy your grandmother might have been comfortable attending, assuming she attended orgies. Each party has a theme: “Sexy Medics,” or “Flower Power,” or a Roaring 20s event that required guests to don pinstripe suits, flapper dresses, and old-timey masks.

Palagia goes out of her way to make each event as immersive (and theatrical) as possible. She hires live musicians, stilt walkers, fortunetellers, and conversation facilitators to help break the ice. She also bans guests from using technology like smartphones, ensuring a certain amount of focus on the task at hand. Each event starts out like an ordinary costume party before the focus shifts and the guests begin to engage in all types of sex—be it group play, sensual touching, or light BDSM.

One Leg Up is one of the oldest sex parties in New York—Palagia says she knows 15-year-old kids who were conceived at her events.

At one recent party, held in a sprawling apartment suite in downtown Manhattan, I saw a nude 50-something-year-old man use a feather duster to tickle a young Italian woman’s nipples while his wife went down on her. In another room, a 48-year-old woman from New Jersey sat on a leather couch and let a stranger hold her new fake breasts—though she didn’t allow him to touch her below the waist.

OLU is one of the oldest sex parties in New York—Palagia says she knows 15-year-old kids who were conceived at her events—and also a vestige of a bygone era, a remnant of the days when squatters lived in the West Village and hype spread through word of mouth, not social media. Today there are more sex parties than ever, and thanks to the internet it’s never been easier to indulge your sexual whims—take your Tinder date to a swingers club! Or cut out the middleman and form your own Tinder orgy! But as group sex becomes more mainstream, and a new wave of parties sell themselves on being expensive and exclusive, some experienced prurient partiers in the scene are wondering if they’ve lost a little bit of soul on the way.

Group sex has been around since at least the days of antiquity, but in the American imagination, orgies really took off in the 1970s. Not only is that decade now known for kicking off the ” Golden Age of Porn,” it was also when the swinging subculture emerged into mainstream consciousness (maybe most famously, a pair of New York Yankees swapped families in 1973). Stereotypes about orgies are still linked to that time: aging dudes with Ron Jeremy mustaches, vaguely European men wearing medallions in hot tubs, ” key parties.”

Libertine New York City was home to a thriving group-sex scene for years, but the community hit some turbulence in the 2000s. Rents were going up, making it difficult to maintain a consistent venue—Palagia had to move out of her townhouse and OLU became a wandering party that was held in a series of apartments and hotel rooms. But after 9/11, Palagia said, new regulations required hotels to restrict guests from having a certain number of people in a room unless they all signed in, making anonymous orgies more difficult to organize. The financial crisis only made things worse.

“Once the recession hit in 2008, I noticed that people’s creative energy was depleted and [party organizers] were under a lot of duress,” Palagia told me. At one point, she rented out her personal apartment for a full year to keep her business afloat.

“We built a dome on the roof, would bring fire spinners, multiple DJs, and had our own Burning Man camp.” —Kenny Blunt

Kenny Blunt, who has organized Chemistry, a New York sex party for Burning Man devotees, since 2006, remembers a similar orgy slowdown. When he and his co-hosts first started the event series, “it was always like a labor of love and it was always a crazy situation,” he told me. “We built a dome on the roof, would bring fire spinners, multiple DJs, and had our own Burning Man camp.” You couldn’t get away with that sort of thing now, however, he explained: “New York has changed a lot in the last ten years. We can’t get away with that stuff anymore, and it’s really sad to me because rooftop events aren’t the same. No one allows you to do anything on a rooftop anymore.”

But even if New York is tamer than it used to be, in many ways it’s easier to organize a sex party than ever. In the past few years, money has come flooding back into the city, and people are more open to the idea of orgies than they once were.

“When I first starting attending these kinds of events, they were hard to find,” explained Larisa Fuchs, founder of House of Scorpio, an LGBT-friendly sex party and longtime friend of Palagia’s. “I’ve seen kink, swinging, polysexuality, and polyamory come out of the shadows more and more in the last twenty years, and especially in the last few.

“The internet has helped a great deal—it’s so much easier to organize, promote, find your people,” she added. Thanks to the web, there are now “more sex parties than ever.”

And in a world where there’s an app to set up threesomes, fewer sex parties feel the need to hide their light under a bushel—there’s Sanctum, for instance, the exclusive club that bills itself as “LA’s #1 erotic experience.” In London, there are a host of fancy orgies, including the Heaven SX event series, which caters to the hottest of the hot. The most famous sex party to emerge in recent years is probably Killing Kittens, an extremely posh London-based affair that, like One Leg Up, sells itself partly on being about women’s pleasure. The difference is that KK is explicitly marketed to the “world’s sexual elite” and cultivates a mask-heavy Eyes Wide Shut vibe—and while OLU has stayed local, KK is attempting to become a global brand.

In March, KK came to New York, and a Post preview of the event practically drooled over the idea of 1 percenters having exotic encounters with one another:

Leggy models in Christian Louboutin heels and Wolford stockings glide from room to candlelit room. A dapper man in a custom suit eyes them while sipping Champagne by the mansion’s fireplace. A DJ plays in a corner. Oysters are slurped at the bar.

And then, in a matter of minutes, pants are off, bras are unhooked and a tangled web of nude revelers go at it on a bed plopped smack in the middle of the 12,000-square-foot home.

That sort of press undoubtedly helped KK’s NYC launch sell out (tickets were priced at $250 for couples and $150 for single women—men cannot attend by themselves), leading the organizers to add a second weekend. Call it the Coachella of orgies. Or, as one attendee later described her experience to me, “Killing Kittens felt like the Starbucks of sex clubs, complete with disgruntled workers suffering through a soundtrack of Rihanna dubstep remixes.” The sex writers who descended upon the event in the service of gonzo-style reviews were even more scathing, calling it “the nakedest middle school dance I’d attended in decades,” “a bust,” and “depressing.”

I attended the second KK party later that month, at a rented loft in the Flatiron district, and it was what you would expect: plasma TVs everywhere, a leopard-print pool table, speakers pulsing EDM. Guests—many of them Wall Streeters with foreign women on their arms—were wearing expensive suits and cheap masks. There was a lot of awkward mingling and chain-smoking on the tiny balcony while attendees gathered enough liquid courage to enter a “play area” in a separate room that included a humongous bed and a perimeter of pleather couches. At the bar, a real estate broker told me that attending Killing Kittens was a reward to himself for closing a multimillion-dollar deal. His date, a European woman who didn’t seem to know him very well, said the exclusivity attracted her.

Once attendees finally did embrace the “sex” part of the “sex party,” the physicality barely felt as interesting or unique as the price tag and branding might suggest. As I sat on the couch and observed the play room, a handsome man more or less climbed on my date (with her consent) and whispered something like, “You’re a freaky girl, aren’t you?” She humored him for a minute, but sharply kicked him off her lap once he began chewing on her ear like a dog toy. On the big bed, it looked like a flesh pit of people auditioning for amateur porn. As people fucked in Brazzers-friendly positions (doggy, missionary, nothing particularly exotic), it sounded like each cluster of well-tanned limbs was trying to out-moan the next.

Another guest, who had also attended One Leg Up the prior week, said “for a party that is promoting itself as ‘elite,’ you’d expect something better than TVs playing Breakfast at Tiffany’s on loop, IKEA furniture, and $15 vodka sodas in plastic cups. If I had paid for this myself, I would feel like a sucker.”

This points to an obstacle many sex parties overcome—it can be surprisingly hard to create intimacy at events centered around the most intimate act of all. This is especially true as parties like Kenny Blunt’s Chemistry grow and have to adapt to changing circumstances.

“We did a slight price increase a couple years ago. We have to because costs rise. It’s a much bigger production now than it used to be,” Blunt told me. “We used to fit everything we need in our conversion van, which was like a Scooby-Doo kind of van. And now we rent a 15-foot truck and have a storage space filled.”

That’s a big change for what was once a “friend-filled zone,” as Blunt described it, which is now populated by a lot of outsiders who might not be familiar with what is going on. “You know we do try, especially at the beginning [of an event], to welcome new people, and kind of answer questions,” he said. “But it is an environment where you are kind of thrown in on your own. It’s a big party.”

Killing Kittens, for one, shows no signs of feeling ambiguous about bigness—there’s another New York event on May 30, and founder Emma Sayle has expanded to Australia while eyeing Canada and other European cities. “We can launch anywhere in the world, as long as we have the right partners who understand the brand,” she told me in an email.

Chemistry is following that model of expansion as well, and their next party is also on May 30. “We’d like to do a few other big events and maybe do a ski weekend or trip with a core group,” Blunt told me. “We might want to start franchising in other cities, too.”

This is a normal enough model for any entertainment brand—develop a product that people like, test it in different markets, spread as far and as fast as you can. But some veteran erotic-party organizers are suspicious of these sorts of ventures.

“I think [Killing Kittens] is so cheesy,” Palagia told me. “It will be nothing but a one-hit wonder because it’s contrived and only focused on the money.

“People respect my parties and keep coming back because I’ve curated them in a way that’s true to my own vision,” she continued. “I’m not saying I’m better than all the other parties. I just have a different style, and that’s why I’ve been doing this the longest.

Larisa Fuchs agrees that the mentality some parties embrace is flawed. “One pet peeve I have about other parties is that entry requirements, like wearing a costume or bringing a partner, can be bypassed with enough money,” she said. “Having the ability to pay a premium doesn’t make someone a better fit for your party, unless what you’re really after is a following of those who can pay the premium.”

Plenty of people seem happy to pay, however, and the idea of rich people having strange forms of sex seems guaranteed to get press—as a Daily Mail headline from January put it, “The rise of the middle-class swinger! Posh orgies the hottest new trend as professional couples flock to VIP-style sex parties.”

The question is whether these erotic events will sustain themselves for a long time—whether they can make the transition from mere parties to communities a la One Leg Up. In any case, Palagia is still going to be in New York City doing her thing; it’s not just a job, it’s her lifestyle. “I’m going to throw these parties until I can’t fucking walk,” she told me. “Well, even then I still might throw them.”

By Zach Sokol for Vice

Badass People Proving Androgynous Fashion Is What You Make It.

“You can dress braver than you feel.”

BuzzFeed reached out to some beautiful people who are taking androgynous fashion and making it their own. We asked about everything — from style icons to the anxieties that come up when your clothes don’t fit people’s expectations — to explore the perceived connection between gender, fashion, and sexuality. Here are the things they shared:



Fitz is the creator of Tomboyish, an androgynous style web series. How do your clothes make you feel?

Ari: You serious? When I get dressed, I feel swaggy AF. When I’m well-dressed for an event or meeting, there’s absolutely nothing that can stop me. That’s how my clothes make me feel: unstoppable.

On identifying with labels and androgyny:

Ari: I never felt comfortable with “butch” or “stud,” although I used to feel pressure to use them. “Androgynous” is the most comfortable term for me; androgynous seems the most fluid. Lately, I’ve grown to love the term “tomboyish” and use it for my style series now. Tomboyish has a more playful and fun connotation. I use it to describe the individuals I feature on the series because “tomboy” somehow relates to more people, queer and otherwise.

What are the biggest misconceptions people have about you based on your style?

Ari: IThat I like girls, which is true, but problematic. I’m annoyed by this “dress like a lesbian” trope we throw around. Androgyny is not reserved for a subset of people. Clothing is not reserved for a subset of people. That’s why I never try to harp on the lifestyles of the subjects I shoot for Tomboyish, just the fashion.

On fashion inspiration:

Ari: Most of my friends or the people I capture on camera are my style icons now. Well, maybe Kanye. In fact, I did a style video on how to achieve his style a couple months back. OK, and A$AP Rocky. He’s next up on my series.

Has your personal style changed over the years? How so?

Ari: I get dressed for myself now. When I first came out, I dressed very masculine because I thought that’s what my lover wanted. I met another girl and I dressed more girly because I thought my masculine side turned her off. Over the years, I’ve recognized masculinity and femininity are not in opposition. I can acknowledge and exhibit all sides of myself without losing me — and the right person will love it all.

What problems do you run into while shopping for your preferred style?

Ari: I remember some guys in Amsterdam were very confused about who and what I was when I was shopping in the mens section a few weeks back. I think all of it is funny now — so maybe shopping can be tricky. I’m doing more and more shopping online and in vintage stores (which surprisingly don’t have those issues), so that helps.

Share an embarrassing fashion moment:

Ari: I have 1,000! I make them daily. I’m still finding my voice aesthetically. When I was young, the goal when getting dressed was to shock as many people as possible. Head-to-toe felt? Sure, why not. Nowadays, I think my embarrassing fashion moments happen when I don’t think about the way my body interacts with my clothing. I have a long torso, I’m very lanky… I can’t run around in a super-long-length tee. It’s just no bueno. But, I try it all anyway. That’s part of the fun. People who get fashion — to me — are those that take risks then put it on Instagram like, “try me.”



Wade’s best known for placing third on the 20th cycle o f America’s Next Top Model. How do your clothes make you feel?

Cory: My clothes make me feel fierce, fabulous and most importantly: confident. You should always feel confident in the clothes you choose to style yourself in.

On identifying with labels and androgyny:

Cory: When I was in theater school, I was told to “butch it up” all the time so I don’t really like that word but at the same time, I know that there is a community of women who identify as “butch” with great pride. This is how human beings are trained to function. We categorize things in an effort to help us better understand them. I like the word “androgynous” because it doesn’t require you to be either masculine OR feminine. Androgyny doesn’t require you to take on either of those classifiable roles and to me, that is a truly beautiful thing. We can have an easier time being ourselves when we don’t have to focus on fitting into these specific boxes.

On fashion inspiration:

Cory: Grace Jones, Boy George and David Bowie are all great style inspirations of mine. I love the 80’s andro glam look. People back then weren’t afraid to use bold colors and outrageous silhouettes. It looks like it would’ve been fun to be a fashionista in those times.

What are the biggest misconceptions people have about you based on your style?

Cory: Apart from some bigoted reactions I get from time to time in response to what I wear (mostly just from some insecure straight masculine men on the internet), there really aren’t many misconceptions in reference to my style that I notice. I would hope that the misconception people have about me is that I am some sassy unapproachable diva who is just too fierce to be bothered. Obviously that is not the case when it comes to me… but I’d like it to look that way! I can dream, right?

Has your personal style changed over the years?

Cory: The first time I decided to try expressing myself through fashion, I was in middle school and the style I took on was full on Goth. I would wear big black parachute pants, studded belts and those jelly wristbands (which apparently had different sexual meanings according to what color you wore… I had no idea). When I became a theater geek during my freshman year of high school, I started to incorporate more color… I was still an awkward kid with very little fashion sense but I pushed myself to at least try. My style changed for the better once I started hanging out with my drag queen friends in the “Gayborhood” of my hometown. I remember watching what they would wear and finally understanding how to accurately express myself using fashion as the medium. My style is always developing and always changing slightly. The more culture I experience along my journey, the more daring I become to try new things.

Do you experience any inconveniences while shopping for your preferred style?

Cory: Currently, the world is not tailored to meet the needs of a man who likes to dress with a feminine edge. If I feel like getting a pair of heels to compliment an extremely bold look I have planned, I am bound to run into trouble because anatomically a man’s foot is naturally larger than a woman’s and we are still trained to believe that high heels were meant for women exclusively (even though the truth is that high heels weren’t meant for anyone… seriously no man or woman was ever meant to walk with their feet contorted like that). The day that we can all just realize how contrived fashion is will be the day that we can stop styling ourselves within the confines of what society says we are aloud to wear according to our gender assignments.

Share an embarrassing fashion moment:

Cory: My most embarrassing fashion moment stands out in my mind so vividly. It was my first time performing in drag at one of my favorite gay bars in my hometown. I knew NOTHING about my style at that point. I also had no idea how to put on makeup. I wore an ugly pink tutu over top of a skimpy gray tube top dress. I wore a bra with STRAPS under it too! It was a complete fail… a travesty.



Washington dishes out fashion (and life) advice on her YouTube channel Amber’s Closet. How do your clothes make you feel?

Amber: My clothes make me feel comfortable! For years I tried to hide my sexuality by trying to be feminine because I felt like that is what society was pushing onto me. But when I decided that I’m done with that, I was able to let my true self shine. I do not wear things in order to stand out, but I think when you are comfortable in your own skin, it naturally catches people’s attention.

On identifying with labels and androgyny:

Amber: I do call myself androgynous or stem. Stem is a word for lesbian women that are in the middle category — if you’re not feminine or a stud (butch), then you’re somewhere in the middle.

What are the biggest misconceptions people have about you based on your style?

Amber: I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that I want to be a man. Just because I dress tomboyish or masculine does not mean I do not want to be a woman, but for people that are not used to seeing someone like me, that is the first conclusion that they draw in their mind.

On fashion inspiration:

Amber: As far as being a tomboy, my fashion icons growing up were Aaliyah and TLC. I love the ’90s look and I love how they were able to pull off the feminine aspect of wearing men’s clothing and making it sexy to the world! I would say that I grab inspiration from trendsetters such as my fellow androgynous friends and style icons such as Kanye West.

Has your personal style changed over the years?

Amber: I used to be very opposite from the day to the night, by dressing in girly business chic in the day and then looking like a rapper at night. But nowadays I blend those two style together and I am that person all day! My style is much more fitted and refined than it used to be. I wear higher-end clothing with a mix of thrift-store items and local clothing lines.
Do you experience any inconveniences while shopping for your preferred style?

Amber: Yes! Sometimes it’s so frustrating that while I’m in the store shopping in the men’s section, they try to send me to the women’s dressing room. It’s ridiculous to me, especially when they’re on separate floors. I have to go back and forth if I don’t grab my perfect size the first time. Plus it makes me feel singled out when I get shooed away.

Share an embarrassing fashion moment:

Amber: I think it was embarrassing when I used to wear pants and shirts that weren’t tailored to my body — or wearing a dress to a party because I felt like a suit would be inappropriate, so I stayed uncomfortable all night.

By Sarah Karlan BuzzFeed News Reporter and Heben Nigatu BuzzFeed Staff.

To view all 10 profiles click the link to

There’s Something Absolutely Wrong With What We Do To Boys Before They Grow Into Men.

“Be a man” is something we’ve all heard at one time or another, even a few of the women reading this right now. Being a “man” in that sense means something completely different to me (and maybe you, too) than what that phrase implies. I can’t even begin to describe the toll that the concept of masculinity has taken on my life. And it’s felt everywhere. It’s time we make changes, starting from within ourselves. 

Originally Published on Why Don’t You Try

There’s Something Absolutely Wrong With What We Do To Boys Before They Grow Into Men