Seriously Smart Sex Advice From Stoya



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We love chatting with Stoya — writer, thinker, on-screen-sex haver — about all manner of sexual, sensual, and feminist topics. In fact, we had so much fun talking with her, we asked her to write a monthly sex and relationship advice column. Have a burning question? Send any and all queries to stoya@refinery29.com. (No dick pics, please.) Questions may be edited for clarity.

"How do you feel about curves in porn? I'm talking sizes 12 to 16, stretch marks, dimples, the works. Something currently being made popular by ladies like Elly Mayday, Crystal Renn, etc." — T in Nebraska

Are you aware of 4chan? Sure, the community as a whole can get pretty grody and exhibit majorly problematic views of minorities and women, but they’ve also spawned two really important things: Anonymous and Rule 34. Rule 34 states that there is porn of everything — meaning if a thing exists, it has been presented in a sexual light at least once. This truism speaks to the diversity of human sexual tastes which, thanks to search indexing and the perceived anonymity of the Internet, we’re just beginning to get a good look at. “Nobody fantasizes about ___” would be a fallacy.

If we’re talking about the professional kind of porn made in places like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Miami, there are plenty of curves to be found, and the women who have them deserve a brighter spotlight. I’d suggest you start with April Flores, Kelly Shibari, Jolene Parton, Courtney Trouble, and Betty Blac. I’d also suggest that you refrain from googling these performers at work.

Cellulite appears to have more to do with hormones than it does weight, and anyone who makes you feel like have to defend your right to have whatever body you have might be a bit of a judgey-wudgey jerk.
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"How do porn stars get their bikini lines and vaginas so smooth? Please help!"
— S in Florida


Every person's bikini line and outer-labia skin are different, so everyone’s way of handling those body parts is different. Adult performers don’t necessarily have magical razor-burn evasion secrets, but we do tend to make the appearance of our genital region a high priority — in the same way a person who drives for work might take extra care with their car.

Some performers are lucky in the genital-grooming department and just aren’t susceptible to ingrown hairs or shaving bumps. Others leave their pubic hair in its natural state for aesthetic, personal, or political reasons or specifically for the purpose of avoiding irritation from hair removal. Some people have intricate routines involving hot water followed by shaving with baby oil and then a cold-water rinse. Others use an electric shaver to keep their hair short, and still more people wax.

I had somewhat decent luck with zinc oxide as an aftershave and not allowing any fabric to touch my crotch for 24 hours after shaving. But, sitting around my apartment for a full day with my legs spread was messing with my productivity, so I got lasered. While laser-hair removal did make my hair thinner and more sparse, I still have some. I also still have mild to medium skin reactions to shaving so I end up wearing stockings a lot to cover my legs. There are different kinds of lasers used for different combinations of skin and hair types, and results do vary. Different methods of physical and chemical exfoliation are also factors. You’re going to have to try a whole bunch of different methods to figure out what works best for you.

Keep in mind the ways that Photoshop, lighting, and post-production filters can hide skin imperfections.
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"What is the exact difference between having an orgasm and cumming?"
— J in Mississippi


Semantics.

Orgasm is a word with a Greek root, which means sexual climax or the peak of sexual excitement. In a scientific context, it usually refers specifically to certain physical responses like involuntary female pelvic contractions and male ejaculation.

The origins of “cumming” or “coming” in a sexual context are murky. According to Mark Steven Morton’s The Lover’s Tongue, “come” as a euphemism for orgasm has appeared in many texts dating from the 16th century, including some by Shakespeare. When, exactly, it mutated to the spelling “cum” is unknown. Cum was already in use as a Latin word meaning “together” or “along with,” which could be a clue regarding how it arrived at its current use (or perhaps just an interesting coincidence).

Orgasm seems to belong with other clinical terms, like vulva and frenulum, while cum and come are more colloquial.
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"I'm an Aspie (an individual with Asperger's syndrome), and I would like any advice you can give on approaching potential neurotypical sex partners about the fact that sex with me will be, well, different."
— C in Texas

Exactly like that, but with more details and specifics. This goes for every person engaging in sexual activity. Communication is really important, though it can be extremely difficult to achieve with sexual partners. This is sometimes due to embarrassment or the inability to articulate desires because of a general lack of education and vocabulary surrounding sex. Talking about sex is difficult and awkward for almost everyone. Text or email about it — or stare at the ceiling with the lights off while talking — if it’s hard to have a face-to-face conversation.

You specifically might benefit from talking to a therapist who specializes in Asperger’s syndrome beforehand and afterwards. And, if professional help isn’t an option there’s a lot of stuff online from medical professionals and other people with Asperger’s that might help you understand your own responses and give you tools for articulating your needs more effectively. At the end of the day though, if your potential partners aren’t willing to actively listen and treat you with kindness and patience, they aren’t worth your time.