Dear Straight Men, Come Out Already.

Apparently, they called it a “bro-job,” which referred to the oral sex the male rowers occasionally engaged in with one another in the showers back in high school. Or at least that’s what my friend told me. Neither he nor any of the other guys on the team identified as gay, but according to his reports, they would often hook up post-practice, but “like bros, you know? Not in a gay way.”

Every time we talked about it, we always stalemated on the same issues. How can a guy hook up with another and still be straight? Isn’t the act of hooking up with and sexually desiring someone of the same sex inherently gay?

Jane Ward may attempt to shed some light on this in her up and coming book, Not Gay: Sex Between Straight White Men. Crotch-deep in the world of “straight guy-on-guy action,” Not Gay explores the ways in which straight men engage in sexual activity with other straight men. According to the NYU Press release, “Ward illustrates that sex between straight white men allows them to leverage whiteness and masculinity to authenticate their heterosexuality in the context of sex with men.”

But controlling for race, can engaging in homosexual sex really reaffirm a man’s heterosexuality? Can being with another man make him more straight? Or is it more like the “one-drop rule” — one homosexual interaction and you are forever labeled gay? All of this begs and points to the million-dollar question: Is it the act or the person that makes someone gay or straight? And to this, I look to the split between “identity” and “preference.”

I believe that there is a distinct difference between “gay” and “homosexual.” By definition, homo- and heterosexuality refer specifically to a person’s sexual attraction or preference. In other words, it merely relates to whether the individual prefers or is attracted to partners of the same or opposite sex. Meanwhile, “gay” and “straight” are identities or social categories, which can only fully be assigned to an individual when self-proclaimed, either via declaration or coercion. Thus, I believe that a person is not truly gay until “out,” or in the worst-case scenario, “out-ed.”

Following this logic, I think that an out gay man can have sex with a woman and still be seen as rightfully gay. While the preference and act may be heterosexual, the individual identifies as gay, and identity trumps act. However, as soon as the roles are reversed, everything feels highly suspect. If a straight man has sex with a man, how can he still be straight?

I posit that this suspicion comes from the nature of the LGBT identity as self-selecting. Because sexual orientation is unlike other forms of identity, which are typically seen as inscribed on the body at birth — race, gender, ability — sexual orientation and identity can only be known by the individual. You mark it yourself, ideally, if and when you are ready to do so.

At the same time, we live in a hegemonically heteronormative society. What this means is that “straight” is the presumed default. So, while the gay man must internalize, come to terms with and re-present his sexuality back out into the world, the straight man simply has to be born. Everyone is straight until proven guilty.

This puts straight people in a tenuous position, as their sexual identities never have to be proven outside of the act of sex. Which is why, I believe, straight men who hook up with other men are regarded with such sexual suspicion. To the third party observer, these identities have gone unchecked and unquestioned, and because of this, it is unclear if these actions are part of the individual’s preference and identity or the beginning of a self-exploration process that may end in a gay declarative.

So, to Ward’s Not Gay point, I think straight men can engage in homosexual sex and still be deemed socially acceptably straight, if and only if they too come out — as straight. Rather than simply accepting their unmarked, default straight identity, they should have to interrogate, work through, accept and ultimately present their sexuality back out to the world.

Everyone should go through this process of self-identification. Think about what you prefer. Why do you prefer it? Are you OK with that? If the answer is yes, keep going. Keep questioning it. Keep rethinking what it is that you like and how it changes. And if and when you’re ready to tell the world, do it, unabashed and unashamed.

I honestly believe that if everyone did this, the world would be a more understanding place. Through the process of sexual and preference based interrogation, people would realize that sexuality is a fluid spectrum, with preferences ebbing and flowing through all forms of attraction. And while identity may encompass specific subsets of these spectrums, the mere act of questioning them individually would do away with much of the long held beliefs, assumptions, and prejudices surrounding marriage, partnership and equal rights.

So, bottom line: coming out shouldn’t just be for the gays. It should be for everyone — a coming of age process that all people are lucky enough to take part in. And if you do that and bro-jobs are still your thing, by all means, proceed. No questions asked.

By Mason Hsieh for Huffington Post

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.

This Cock Ring Quantifies Your Sex Life.

There are fitness trackers for your head, torso, wrist and calves, and then there are fitness trackers for your genitals. Drawing inspiration from Bondara’s conceptual SexFit, Lovely is a cock ring wearable device that’ll pull triple duty as an erotic toy, priapic activity monitor and sexual performance coach. Simply slide your penis into the hardware, get banging away and, when you’re done, a mobile app will tell you your score. Statistics that are recorded by the device include the calories you’ve burned, the force of your thrusting and even your top speed. The software will even look at your performance and come up with one of 120 new positions that you can try next time out.

The stretchable ring is made out of medical-grade silicone and will vibrate to give a little bit of extra stimulation to your partner. If you choose to keep that feature going, then Lovely will last for just two hours, but if you can think you can do the job on your own, the device will run for seven hours at a time. Between sessions, you can simply dump the gear onto an inductive charging dock to re-juice it ready for your next session, but for God’s sake, rinse it first.
Given that there’s a Y in the name of the day, you’ll be unsurprised to learn that Lovely’s creators are begging for your cash on Indiegogo. If you kick in $99 (early bird) $129 (everyone else) then you’ll expect to get your device by June 2016. Until then, you’ll just have to think of some other way to keep your other half entertained — maybe you should take up doubles Canasta or something.

By Daniel Cooper for

Sex People of The World Need To Unite and Make The Term ‘Sex Person’ a Thing.

Photo courtesy Comedy Central

“Is ‘titty fuck’ spelled with an ‘ie’ or a ‘y’?”

It is 2005, and I am an employee at a respected and credible national newswire in their Vancouver bureau. We publish an authoritative style guide that most newsrooms, PR companies, and journalism schools refer to when they need to figure out if “Church of Christ” is capitalized or “webmaster” is one word or two.

I’m editing interviews my colleague has filed from Penticton, BC, about a local nightclub that’s hosting a spin-the-wheel contest for a pair of breast implants. Young ladies from across the province, as well as Alberta and Seattle, have gathered in this tiny town for their shot at a pair of fake boobs. While most of the women my coworker interviewed have heart-wrenching stories about low self-esteem and disgust for their bodies, one contestant is a little more frank:

“I just wanna titty fuck!”

I know we can’t use this quote, but I’m still curious about the spelling, as I also know for certain it wouldn’t be in our style guide.

My editor, who resembles a sophisticated mid-30s Anne of Green Gables, looks at me with stunned eyes. This is clearly not the kind of question I should be asking aloud in this newsroom. And yet, I do.

It’s this type of situation that demonstrates what makes me feel statically different from the general population. Inappropriate questions, comments, and remarks about sex are my special thing. I have no filter and I know few boundaries. It’s my fuel. It’s my voice. It’s how I assert myself—brazenly. I am keen to provoke.

That’s because I identify as a Sex Person. It’s a noun I’d like to introduce to the English vocabulary, and I’m open to gifting it to other languages.

You’re either a Sex Person, or you’re not. What distinguishes the two types of people, generally, is how much they’re willing to share or go there. People who have a hard time uttering the names of genitals or fluids that come from genitals, for example, are not Sex People. They will discuss matters of sex discreetly, with people they trust, and never in a public place. Even talking about sex-related matters with their doctor is a challenging notion.

Sex People will somehow make themselves known. They are generally obvious (Andy Dick, Amy Schumer) but are capable of being subtle (Oscar Wilde). Every family has one:

They’re generally the person to make an inappropriate joke at the family Christening or gift relatives with dildos and vibrators at Hanukkah. Even though Kim Kardashian has the sex tape, it’s Khloe who’s the Sex Person. Her lack of demureness—getting her sister to wax her on camera and regularly and vocally big-upping black balls—places her squarely in our camp.

I’ve been compelled by this term ever since I first heard it being used in the comedy scene in Vancouver, around five years ago. To be accurate, it was the masculine version of the term, Sex Guy. One incident in particular stands out: An improv group was performing a scene, as themselves, rather than characters. When one member brought up the other’s recent compulsively slutty behavior, he said, “We’ve got ourselves a real Sex Guy over here.”

When I hear the term Sex Guy, it’s always with a zippy tone, as if the person should punctuate the words with a wink and fingers pointed in the shape of a gun, while making a clicking sound.

In Judd Apatow’s recent book, Sick in the Head: Conversations about Life and Comedy, he talks to Amy Schumer about her sexually charged material. Though she admits she’s not a promiscuous person, her willingness to share her experience makes her a Sex Person (emphasis mine):

Amy Schumer: Well, it’s a part of me, too. Because the stuff you’re copping to and the saddest, worst moments of your life—that’s the stuff people connect to and appreciate. In reality, I’ve almost always had a boyfriend. Every year, if I have like one or two sexual experiences, they might both be hilarious.

Judd Apatow: And then they add up, and people think, She must be doing this all the time. I have maybe six experiences from my whole life. But if I go onstage and tell three of them, it sounds like I have hundreds of them.

Amy Schumer: Right. But you can get up there and do that, and you’re not the Sex Guy. But if I do it, I am. So I just embraced it.

And yet, this isn’t officially considered a thing in our vernacular, like “humblebrag” or “letter carrier”… yet.

Precious little is on Google, and the only thing on Urban Dictionary is sex girl, which basically defines a lady who is open to casual sex, and doesn’t exactly align with my theory:

1. A female with whom one is not in a relationship, but is currently or potentially having sexual relations.

2. A casual sex partner.
Where’s the sex girls at!?

On YouTube, there’s a terrible song called “Sex Person” by the Grammar Club, and a seven-second clip from 30 Rock of Kenneth saying to Tracy Jordan’s wife: “I like your top. I’m a real good Sex Person. I do it in all the different ways.”

Every single linguist I approached to examine this term, including Ben Zimmer at the Wall Street Journal, had never heard of it.

“If no one knows about it, maybe it’s not really there, so to speak, and the few instances you’ve heard are idiosyncratic,” said Dr. Charles Boberg, associate professor of Linguistics at McGill. “It’s true that you might be onto the very first stirrings of a future trend, but it might just as easily fizzle out and go nowhere; it’s hard to predict the future of these things.”

I chatted with Kurt Metzger, a writer on Inside Amy Schumer, who isn’t exactly one to hold back his disdain for things. He admits to hearing the term “Sex Comic” used a lot though never “Sex Guy” or “Sex Person.” While he thinks such labels are “fucking dumb,” he could see it being used in his industry a lot.

“It’s all packaging,” he said. “I can see an agent doing that. ‘Yeah, he’s a Sex Guy, he’d be perfect for that.’ It’s all marketing.”

My intention to make Sex Person a thing isn’t about marketing or selling a brand. It’s about validating a way of being, a form of expression that is inherent in so many of us. That way, the next time someone close to you loudly asks if you’ve seen more clam- or oyster-shaped vaginas in your life, you’ll know what kind of a person you’re dealing with.

By Elianna Lev for Vice

This article originally appeared on VICE Canada.

How Millennials’ Sex Lives Are Different Than Their Parents’.

Millennials may be tagged as the hookup generation, but a new study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior suggests the label is misleading. An analysis of 40 years of sexual data from more than 33,000 Americans projects that millennials—those born between 1982 and 1999—will have sex with about eight different partners in their lifetime, behind Gen Xers with 10, and baby boomers with 12, reports Mashable.

“The big conclusion: Even though millennials are more the most sexually tolerant generation, the number of people they have sex with does not match a free love mentality—at least in the most black-and-white view,” writes Emily Shire at the Daily Beast. It’s not clear, however, whether millennials are having less sex overall than previous generations or just having sex with fewer partners. Think of it as the “friends-with-benefits” wrinkle.

After all, the study shows that they’re more likely to have had “casual sex” (38%) than earlier generations (25%), leading a co-author to suggest the need for more research into the dynamic: “Is it an ongoing sexual relationship with a non-romantic partner versus going to a bar and picking someone up? We need a more fine-grain distinction.” One theory being floated for the lower partner figure among millennials: Thanks to sex ed and the Internet, they’re generally more aware of the dangers of STIs than previous generations, reports the Washington Post. They’ve also had doting, “helicopter” parents: “Maybe that is coming into play with millennials—they’re more cautious,” says Jean Twenge of San Diego State University. (In other sex news, a chlamydia outbreak has stunned a Texas high school.)

By John Johnson for

Op-ed: Trans, Intersex Visibility And the Myth Of Scarcity.

Despite the media’s current obsession with Caitlyn Jenner, there are more stories to tell — and the space to tell them does in fact exist, says this intersex scholar.

The recent media focus on Caitlyn Jenner’s coming-out as a trans woman seems to celebrate her conformity to binary gender standards, with her serving as the doe-eyed cover girl for a major magazine. Indeed, the former Olympian strikes a provocative (and stunning) pose in a white bustier that leaves little to the imagination as to whether Jenner has undergone any gender-affirming surgeries.

But that media spotlight has illuminated some existing tensions among and between trans and intersex communities. As transgender civil rights have progressed and positive media attention increased in the past year, so have concerns about scarcity of coverage for the differing issues of each community.

In academic terms, this is known as the “scarcity myth.” It’s predicated on the belief that there is a finite amount of attention available for certain marginalized communities — pressuring any such coverage to be reflective of the entire community. This myth — and make no mistake, it is a myth — can encourage a dangerously divisive competition for resources in the wider LGBTQIA community.

Such division and mutually hostile suspicion prevent the kind of collective critical mass we need to disseminate positive social images and thus effect change for all nonbinary people. It also contributes to the common misperception in some LGB circles that gender-variant people are unstable, only siphoning energy and resources from LGB organizations rather than contributing to wider LGBTQIA community.

Inflamed tensions between the trans and intersex communities are even more deeply rooted in the common misconceptions that intersex and trans people often have about each other, well-detailed by intersex scholar Cary Gabriel Costello, Ph.D.

Specifically, the celebration of a particular type of gender-affirming surgery as liberating, brave, and beautiful (as Jenner’s Vanity Fair cover suggests) can be triggering and even offensive to many intersex people. In many cases, intersex advocates are fighting for the right to not be involuntarily subjected to surgeries many trans people find medically necessary to live authentically.

Some intersex conditions are visible at birth, which can lead to the horror of infants or children enduring genital surgery to make them “conform” to binary standards of gender. So opposing involuntary gender-assignment surgeries is central to the intersex awareness and advocacy movement.

By contrast, the common but mistaken assumption that all transgender people actively seek out similar surgeries as gender-affirming treatment has been promoted to oppose “transgenderism,” as if it were a choice or a social movement. Late last month, The Wall Street Journal ran an op-ed boldly claiming that “transgender surgery isn’t the solution” to “underlying psycho-social troubles.”

Of course, the last time I checked, there was no surgery that can make someone transgender. Like being intersex, it’s an identity that an individual holds, regardless of whether they have, do not have, or even desire any kind of medical intervention.

Indeed, those eager to boil down the arguments falsely claim that all trans people are demanding as a right the very surgeries that some intersex people experienced as involuntary mutilation in infancy. This fosters a false impression that trans* people and intersex people are polar opposites, seeking completely different things.

In brief, this is the false dichotomy we wrongly assume to be true: Intersex people seek the right not to have genital surgeries forced upon us, as many of us consider such procedures, done against our will, to be genital mutilation. Meanwhile, this erroneous logic asks us to believe that trans* people are universally seeking the right to undergo similar surgeries voluntarily.

How could we possibly work together on such opposing ends? Why would we even want to try?

This assumption that we are completely at odds with each other flattens both trans* and intersex experiences into a “single story,” which easily becomes a dangerously reductive narrative.

We must remember that in the wide diversity of trans* identities — which includes people who are agender, gender-fluid, genderqueer, nonbinary, and androgynous — not everyone wishes to alter themselves surgically. I’ve seen this truth borne out among my own acquaintances, and in some of the trans women pioneers of the LGBT movement profiled in the 2009 documentary Diagnosing Difference.

It’s also crucial to remember that 80 percent of intersex people don’t transition from one gender to another, according to a new comprehensive book by scholar Megan DeFranza.

In fact, those intersex individuals who do legally or socially transition from the gender they were assigned at birth may not even identify as transgender. That’s right: the vast majority of intersex people are not trans. Likewise, many trans people do not have any official intersex medical diagnosis. Though some, like myself, may find late in life, even after beginning transition, that their lifelong dysphoria actually does have its roots in one or more previously undiagnosed intersex conditions.

Human compassion and understanding are not finite resources in some kind of winner-take-all contest to be won by the cause deemed most worthy. Instead of focusing on our real and alleged differences, we should work together (allies included) to build compassionate community where we currently have competition and conflict. Collaboration, rather than mutual antagonism, is undoubtedly more likely to advance equality for our nonbinary identities generally, especially within the LGB organizations and community where some of us hope to find resources and acceptance.

So despite the celebration of certain individuals who seem to adhere to mainstream, cisnormative standards of beauty and gender expression — like Jenner at this moment — genuine fellowship across the diversity of nonbinary gender and sexual identities still eludes us.

But even when our sense of community is fractured, there are many individuals across the spectrum working together for positive change — without needing to qualify our identities to each other. Those activists profiled in the 2012 documentary Intersexion, and the intersectional work of Transfaith’s Interfaith Working Group attest to that truth.

There is little to lose and much to gain if we simply trust each other’s self-identification instead of demanding medical, surgical, or cosmetic credentials to “validate” our self-proclaimed truth. We can begin to heal our collective trauma — of which there is much — by seeking compassion and community instead of competition and judgment; love instead of hate.

Our common humanity beckons us to keep trying to support one another, to treat each other with more compassion, and to advocate for one another in spite of our differences. That is our charge, despite sometimes being vilified by the very communities for and with whom we hope to advocate.


How Stars Like Cara Delevingne, Kristen Stewart, & Miley Cyrus Are Leading the Gender Fluid Movement for Millennials.

At the recent 69th Annual Tony Awards, the composers Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron became the first female writing team in history to win a Tony for musical score. The duo took home the award for their contribution to Fun Home, the musical based on a 2006 coming-of-age memoir by lesbian cartoonist Alison Bechdel. In their acceptance speech, Tesori clarified the meaning behind “Ring of Keys,” an anthem about a young girl coming to terms with being gay performed by the 11-year-old Tony-nominee Sydney Lucas that evening on the telecast. The number is “not a song of love, it’s a song of identification,” she said. “Because for girls, you have to see it to be it.”

This new see-it-to-be-it visibility for lesbian and bisexual women, plus a new wave of women who adopt a more fluid label to their sexuality, is not limited to just the stage of Fun Home either. (Although winning the Tony has been an obvious boon: the show’s producers said that ticket sales had quadrupled by the next day.) Carol, a film directed by Todd Haynes based on the 1952 Patricia Highsmith lesbian romance novel The Price of Salt, had been in development for nearly 15 years before its Cannes debut this past May. The wait paid off: Rooney Mara, one of the film’s stars, won the Best Actress prize at the festival for her portrayal of Therese Belivet, a 19-year-old ingénue who falls in love with Carol Aird, a mysterious older blonde portrayed by Cate Blanchett. During an interview with Variety to promote the film, Blanchett was asked if her role in the movie was her first stab at being a lesbian. “On film — or in real life?” she quipped. Asked to clarify whether she’s had previous relationships with women, she responded: “Yes. Many times.” After a dispute with Variety over the context of her words, Blanchett summed up any confusion over whether or not she had previously been in a relationship with women with a sentiment perfect for today’s moment: “In 2015, the point should be: who cares?” she said during a press conference.

While Hollywood is still not always the most hospitable climate for gay women (or straight women, for that matter), Blanchett is not the only actress with a who-cares attitude. This new sense of comfortability is explored by the actress Maria Bello in her new book, Whatever….Love Is Love: Questioning the Labels We Give Ourselves, which came out in April. The memoir expands on a column Bellow wrote in 2013 for The New York Times that detailed how she unexpectedly fell in love with a female friend and the even more surprising support the relationship received from her 12-year-old son Jack. In a YouTube video titled “I’m a Whatever,” Bello said, “Labels should never make us feel judged or afraid.” In less than two months, the clip has amassed over 16,000 views. Just last week, Bello and her partner, Clare Munn, appeared arm-in-arm on the red carpet for the Sundance Institute Celebration in Culver City.

“This year seems to be a watershed year in lesbian representation, but it’s been on the boil for a little while,” said Merryn Johns, the editor of the lesbian magazine Curve. “With the rise of social media, not only does everyone have a platform, but celebrities and public individuals really have nowhere to hide or a way to stay in the closet by curating a certain kind of public image. This has led to a new openness and polymorphous visibility that has changed the culture permanently.”

In many ways, the current spotlight on lesbian and bisexual women owes a great deal to outspoken champions of underground culture that helped set the stage for today’s mainstream moment. Take the Berlin-based, Canada-born musician Merrill Nisker, better known as Peaches, for example, who has been subverting gender and sexuality norms for the past two decades. Her new book, What Else Is in the Teaches of Peaches, features snapshots with the likes of Iggy Pop and PJ Harvey and essays from Yoko Ono and Michael Stipe. A chapter from the actress Ellen Page, “She Offered Me Something I Could Not Find Elsewhere,” chronicles Peaches’ influence on Page’s own budding lesbian identity as a teenager.

“Peaches is ferocious, relentless, sexy, confident, and gives all of herself to her audience,” she said. “She is a person who inspires.”

Page, who is 28, is also the host of her own upcoming gay travel show on Vice’s new cable channel that is set to launch in early 2016. She joins a host of lesbian voices on the small screen, such as several of the lead actresses on Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black and Broad City’s Ilana (portrayed by Ilana Glazer), who pines after both sexes in almost every episode (including her one-step-too-far girl crush on her best friend Abbi). They join a growing sorority of out female stars who have grown up during the rapid advancement of gay rights and the breakneck speed of social media. Cara Delevingne, one of the most followed supermodels on Instagram, does little to shield her relationship with indie musician St. Vincent (Annie Clark) from the paparazzi. In an Instagram post from October of last year in support of National Coming Out Day, Delevingne wrote, “Don’t be scared to be who you are.” Last May during a Facebook Q & A in which Miley Cyrus was asked to define her sexuality, the singer espoused a similar open-ended viewpoint. “I never want to label myself. I am ready to love anyone that loves me for who I am. I am open,” she said. In the current issue of Paper magazine on newsstands now, Cyrus proudly discussed her previous relationships with women and even coming out to her mother when she was a teenager. “I remember telling her I admire women in a different way. And she asked me what that meant. And I said, I love them. I love them like I love boys,” she said.

Cyrus’s words “probably would have seemed more controversial even as recently as a year ago,” said Bradley Stern, the editor of the music and culture blog PopJustice. “But it feels like progress toward acceptance of concepts like sexual fluidity and genderqueer is moving forward at an exponential rate.”

Besides Page, Delevigne, and Cyrus, other high-profile lesbian image makers include J.Crew’s Jenna Lyons, the photographer Cass Bird, the house-music DJ Kimann Foxman, the television writer Ali Adler (Supergirl, a new show she codeveloped, is scheduled to premiere on CBS in November) and her fiancée Liz Brixius (creator of Showtime’s Nurse Jackie). Perhaps the most followed of all is Kristen Stewart, who is often snapped lovingly showcasing public displays of affection with her said-to-be girlfriend Alicia Cargile.

For some, an increase in visibility is also a pause for reflection. At Home With Themselves: Same-Sex Couples in 1980s America, a show at the Foley Gallery in New York City featuring a body of work by renowned photographer Sage Sohier that showcases photos of gay couples in domestic settings during the Reagan era, opens this July. In many ways, the exhibition’s tender black-and-white images foreshadow today’s more hospitable social climate. “Looking at these pictures now, I realize that it took a good deal more courage to stand up and be photographed as a same-sex couple in the 1980s than it does today, and I think the photographs somehow convey that,” said Sohier. “People in my father’s generation had grown up feeling that being openly gay was just not an acceptable option. In my generation that began to change, and I was grateful to be witness to it.”

By Alex Hawgood

Men Can Have Multiple Orgasms: The Little-Known Technique That Could Revolutionize Your Sexual Experience.

“Men and women are physiologically a lot more similar than people realize,” argues sex educator Jack Johnston

As a society we carry a lot of entrenched ideas about sex. Perhaps one of the most deeply ingrained assumptions is that women can have multiple orgasms, and that men can’t. But is that really true?

In 1986, sex therapists William Hartman and Marilyn Fithian put together the book, Any Man Can. They describe that by withholding ejaculation, men can experience “a number of sexual peaks.”

“The multi-orgasmic men we have studied have chosen to develop that capacity (stopping ejaculation using learned techniques)… The behavior itself (interrupting orgasm via such techniques) appears to be at least four thousand years old,” they wrote,

More than a decade later, sex educator Jack Johnston came out with a training program to help men work towards this experience. Johnston told me over the phone that he’s made it his life’s work to dispel the myth that only women are capable of experiencing multiple orgasms.

“Men and women are physiologically a lot more similar than people realize.Vive la différence, of course, but in terms of the neurological capacity for experiencing the orgasmic impulses, we’re wired in quite a similar manner.”

He added, “I try to help reacquaint people with the idea that orgasm is an energetic event, and that for men, it’s not automatically linked to ejaculation. They’re two separate events. Two separate reflexes.”

In contrast to other “experts,” Johnston avoids conventional “squeeze techniques” that encourage men to stop just short of “the point of no return.” These techniques typically require that men clench pelvic floor muscles, slow their breathing and allow the urge to ejaculate to pass.

As Johnston explained, “That’s not really a whole lot of fun for anybody. You’re constantly monitoring, it’s like ‘Am I there yet? Maybe I can go a little further. Oh shucks, I went too far.’”

“My working hypothesis was that there’s got to be a better way than that. I don’t think our creator was sadistic in that way.”

Johnston’s program is known as The Key Sound Multiple Orgasm (KSMO) training. The “Key Sound” refers to a particular sound one can make while engaging in some light stimulation during solo (or partnered) practice sessions, separate from the act of intercourse. He insists the vibrations brought on by the sound can help “unlock” the key to multiple orgasms.

One satisfied client writes, “As the sensations became stronger, my vocal expressions became deeper and louder. I continued until I was so overwhelmed by this feeling I literally could not move anymore – pleasantly paralyzed by orgasm with no urge to ejaculate.”

But while most men believe penile stimulation to be the primary means by which to experience orgasm, Johnston recommends guys bypass the penis and head for the perineum (the area between the scrotum and anus) during their solo sessions.

Johnston’s refers to the perineal area as the “the male G-spot.” Part of his training revolves around “helping men locate that area of their body, and then, as part of the ‘Multiple Orgasm Trigger,’ practice to gently massage [the perineal] area just enough to get a little tingle, or a little rush.” Johnston calls these sensations “Echo Effects.”

“How does one increase arousal to orgasmic intensity without using lots and lots of stimulation? For men in particular, more and more stimulation tends to trigger the ejaculation reflex. So the idea is, in a sense, how do you learn to sneak up on the orgasm?

“Very often, orgasm is centered right in the genital area, whereas the method that I teach tends to occur throughout ones body. One experiences arousal throughout one’s body. Neurologically, it’s all connected throughout the body, so the idea is to become aware of that. To become aware that when someone becomes aroused it’s not just in the genital area, those waves of energy start flowing throughout one’s entire body.”

On the official forum, one of Johnston’s clients reports, “As I am doing my sessions, I am really getting new sensations each time. Presently, I am feeling my prostate pumping (for lack of a better word) and this is causing me to get a slight erection. When my prostate pumps, it is sending pre-cum and I am beginning to leak a little. I have to stay relaxed because I feel that I could cross over and ejaculate. This pumping of my prostate are mini orgasms (I assume) and they feel great. My entire body is hot, shaking, and feeling really amazing. I can do this for about an hour and maybe a little longer.”

Another writes, “Tonight, after doing my 20 minutes and then sort of absent mindedly continuing, I do believe I had my first full body, non-ejaculatory orgasm. It just sort of came on as I was massaging the base of my penis, from out of nowhere–NOT like it came from within my body. It felt like a heat throughout my body, and a sort of giddiness, almost like the light, first rush of MDMA (er…or so I’ve read…).

“And the crazy thing was, instead of feeling like the orgasm was in me, it felt like I was in the orgasm–like it was surrounding and suffusing my whole body like a field of energy. Pretty wild.”

Johnston recommends that his clients practice the technique for 20 minutes every other day. He notes that ejaculation should be avoided on days devoted to practice.

He explained that in contrast to the “traditional” male ejaculatory orgasm, multiple orgasms typically arrive in “waves.” And since they aren’t linked to ejaculation, one’s energy doesn’t dissipate as it does when one ejaculates. He added that after having mastered the technique, most men come to prefer these kind of orgasms.

He continued, “It lasts so much longer. The after glow lasts so much longer too. It’s the kind of energy that can infuse your whole being.” He also notes that, after having completed the training, many men report experiencing more intense ejaculatory orgasms as well.

But mastering the physical technique is only half the battle. As Johnston explained, a good part of his training revolves around teaching men to expand their understanding of sexual pleasure, and open themselves up to the different means by which it can be attained.

He tells me, “There are a lot of people who think that it’s important for intellectual integrity to be really, really skeptical. I think it’s appropriate to have some skepticism, but it’s also really essential not to just be attached to being a skeptic. In the face of evidence to the contrary, one needs to have the intellectual integrity to consider it.”

“Once we learn the facts about our physiology, and what’s really possible. That’s a whole new world.”

Some people have years of sexual experience under their belt. Some don’t. But no matter where you land on the path of sexual self-exploration, it’s never too late to rewrite certain standards, and never too soon to start experimenting with different points of pleasure, no matter how obscure they may seem.


This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

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

Introducing Caitlyn Jenner.

Vanity Fair’s 22-page cover story features stunning Annie Leibovitz photos of Caitlyn Jenner, formerly known as Bruce, along with revealing new details. Here’s a preview of the story.

time since completing gender transition, Caitlyn Jenner compares her emotional two-day photo shoot with Annie Leibovitz for the July cover of Vanity Fair to winning the gold medal for the decathlon at the 1976 Olympics. She tells Pulitzer Prize–winning V.F. contributing editor and author of Friday Night Lights Buzz Bissinger, “That was a good day, but the last couple of days were better. . . . This shoot was about my life and who I am as a person. It’s not about the fanfare, it’s not about people cheering in the stadium, it’s not about going down the street and everybody giving you ‘that a boy, Bruce,’ pat on the back, O.K. This is about your life.”

Jenner tells Bissinger about how she suffered a panic attack the day after undergoing 10-hour facial-feminization surgery on March 15—a procedure she believed would take 5 hours. (Bissinger reveals that Jenner has not had genital surgery.) She recalls thinking, “What did I just do? What did I just do to myself?” A counselor from the Los Angeles Gender Center came to the house so Jenner could talk to a professional, and assured her that such reactions were often induced by pain medication, and that second-guessing was human and temporary.

Jenner tells Bissinger the thought has since passed and not come back: “If I was lying on my deathbed and I had kept this secret and never ever did anything about it, I would be lying there saying, ‘You just blew your entire life. You never dealt with yourself,’ and I don’t want that to happen.”

Bissinger spent hundreds of hours with the man the world knew as Bruce Jenner over a period of three months, and then countless hours with Caitlyn, also attending the photo shoot with Leibovitz at Jenner’s Malibu home.

Bissinger apologizes to Jenner for repeated pronoun confusion and asks whether she is sensitive about it. “I don’t really get hung up,” she tells him. “A guy came in the other day and I was fully dressed—it’s just habit, I said, ‘Hi, Bruce here,’ and I went, Oh fuck, it ain’t Bruce, I was screwing up doing it.”

Bissinger speaks extensively with Jenner’s four children from his first two marriages—Burt, 36, and Cassandra, 34, with first wife Chrystie, and Brandon, 33, and Brody, 31, with second wife Linda—and describes an insensitive father who had been absent for years at a time. Jenner openly acknowledges mistakes made with them as Bruce, and expresses genuine regret. Says Burt, “I have high hopes that Caitlyn is a better person than Bruce. I’m very much looking forward to that.”

Watch a behind-the-scenes video of Annie Leibovitz’s photo shoot, as Caitlyn discusses how much living fully as a woman means to her.

For the Jenner children, the issue of the transition has become a non-issue. They were already aware of their father’s identity as a woman when he told them individually about the transition—Burt and Cassandra had learned from their mother roughly 20 years earlier, when they were 13 and 11; Brandon had assumed it because of the obvious physical changes he had observed; and Brody was told by his mother when he was 29. They tell Bissinger they feel both happiness for their father and inspiration at his bravery, and they all still see their dad as their dad regardless of any gender label. Brandon said he was a little taken aback when he saw Caitlyn for the first time after surgery and she pulled her top up to reveal her new breasts. “Whoa, I’m still your son,” he reminded her.

As part of the transition, Jenner started hosting small gatherings called “girls’ nights” with wine and food where Jenner could dress as desired and feel natural in the presence of women, and it was there that her daughter Cassandra met Caitlyn for the first time. “I was just nervous that I wouldn’t make her feel comfortable,” Cassandra tells Bissinger. “I was worried I wouldn’t say the right things or act the right way or seem relaxed.” But almost all of it melted away when she got there. “We talked more than we ever have. We could just be girls together.”

Despite the renewed relationship with their father, the Jenner children have refused to participate in Caitlyn’s docu-series for the E! network, set to debut this summer, forgoing financial gain in favor of preserving their father’s legacy. Initially, Caitlyn was “terribly disappointed and terribly hurt,” but has come to accept their decision. For her part, Caitlyn is prepared for the criticism that it’s a publicity stunt: “‘Oh, she’s doing a stupid reality show. She’s doing it for the money. She’s doing this, she’s doing that.’ I’m not doing it for money. I’m doing it to help my soul and help other people. If I can make a dollar, I certainly am not stupid. [I have] house payments and all that kind of stuff. I will never make an excuse for something like that. Yeah, this is a business. You don’t go out and change your gender for a television show. O.K., it ain’t happening. I don’t care who you are.”

|||Photograph by Annie Leibovitz. To get special early access to the revealing story and stunning photographs now before the issue hits newsstands on June 9,

Jenner tells Bissinger that since the Diane Sawyer interview aired “it’s exciting to go to the mailbox, because I get letters every day from all of these people from all over the world.” One of them was addressed “Bruce Jenner, Malibu, California,” as if she had become her own country.

Bissinger writes that Caitlyn seems happy and relaxed, with a sense of purpose and confidence. She can’t wait when she goes out now to tell the paparazzi to “make sure it’s a good shot,” instead of asking patrons to help shield her from them in the parking lot of the local Starbucks. She looks forward to more girls’ nights “where everybody is treating you the same way. You can talk about anything you want to talk about. You can talk about outfits. You can talk about hair and makeup, anything you want. It becomes not a big deal.” She says that on the E! series she will focus on ways of lowering the rates of suicide and attempted suicide in the transgender community, among other issues.

Jenner tells Bissinger that Bruce was “always telling lies.” (She even describes doing public appearances after winning the gold medal, where “underneath my suit I have a bra and panty hose and this and that and thinking to myself, They know nothing about me. . . . Little did they know I was totally empty inside.”) Caitlyn, she says, “doesn’t have any lies.”

“I’m not doing this to be interesting. I’m doing this to live,” Jenner tells Bissinger. She then jokes, “I’m not doing this so I can hit it off the women’s tee,” but she does tell Bissinger that on her E! show she plans to do a segment in which she sees if she can still hit a golf ball 300 yards off the tee, even with her very ample breasts.

Also in the story, Bissinger speaks at length with Jenner’s three ex-wives (including Kris about what she knew and when she knew it); with Jenner’s 89-year-old mother, Esther, about the possible motives behind her son’s transition; and with Jenner about how she was moved by Monica Lewinsky’s TED talk, and how she reacted to the Diane Sawyer interview.

To get special early access to the revealing story and stunning photographs now before the issue hits newsstands on June 9, subscribe to Vanity Fair’s digital edition on the iPhone or iPad.