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 firstname.lastname@example.org. No dick pics, please.
I wasn't very into porn until after my last boyfriend and I split. So, I never really compared my body to anyone else's...until I started to watch porn. And, I know that many porn stars have lights, filters, [and] Photoshop done to enhance their parts — but I can't help but feel that my labia aren't light or pink enough. Also, I get very embarrassed now when males want to engage in sexual activities with me because I know that many guys watch porn and they can actually compare me to what they see. I don't know what to do. — P
Well, I'm a 20-year-old girl, and I'm in a phase [where] I'm trying to love and accept my body (since I had bulimia when I was younger), and I am almost there! But, when it comes to my labia I still feel really uncomfortable... I have really fair skin, just like you, but I also have really dark labia. I have a boyfriend, and he says I'm perfect and I don't need to change a thing, but I still feel very uncomfortable when he just looks at it. I know it is normal and natural, but what should I do? — C
I’m responding to both of you together so you can each see that your concern is normal.
I don’t know what kind of porn you’re watching, P, but I do know that I have seen all sorts of vulvas — at work and outside of work. I’ve seen vulvas with super-pale inner labia. I’ve seen vulvas with inner labia that are much darker than the outer labia. Sometimes, a woman’s inner labia match her nipples. Sometimes, they don’t. I’ve seen a veritable rainbow of inner-labia colors: red, pink, brown, purple, and once a very unique, light, beige-ish sort of tone. I’ve seen long inner labia, thick inner labia, and asymmetrical inner labia. I’ve also seen plenty of vulvas where nothing protrudes at all. My own vulva, if it were a face, would constantly have an expression similar to this: :b.
And, all that variety is without talking about anything other than the shape and color of inner labia. We haven’t even started on outer labia, perineums, pubic-hair textures, vaginal canals, or clitorises and their hoods. We’re nowhere close to discussing the visible changes a female genital area goes through during sexual arousal and orgasm.
Vulvas are kind of like fingerprints; they’re all different. I haven’t seen either of yours (and I’m not trolling for pics), but I’m 99.5% certain that they’re both beautiful and fall within the normal range of appearance.
To C specifically, if you saw a therapist for bulimia you might want to bring this up with him or her. For both of you, focus on the things you like about your body. Print this out and stick it in your underwear drawer. Try to think of your vulva as a body part that can make you feel good instead of a decoration for other people to look at. And, if anyone has something nasty to say about its appearance, they should clear out and make room for someone who can appreciate you.
I have a new guy in my life and we've done a lot of sexting and phone sex, but have yet to actually get together. He brings up how he likes blow jobs (I guess as much as any other guy) but I do not like giving them. I feel like I'm doing it wrong and feel awkward the whole time. How do I tell him this without making it weird? — S
Ask yourself whether you truly dislike giving blow jobs because you lack confidence in your skills, or if you dislike them for some other reason and are reaching for clichés to justify that dislike.
If the first case is the correct one, the next thing to do is debunk the concept of “doing it wrong.” See, the only real requirement for fellatio is a penis in a mouth. Everything else is a matter of personal taste. Even if a person has a lot of experience or a Rolodex of techniques, he or she still has to figure out from scratch what each new sexual partner likes. (Unless you're having sex at your partner instead of with them, which is definitely one way of doing it.) Think about incorporating discussion of his preferences into your sexting or phone sex.
If you want a crash course in blow-job techniques, check out Nina Hartley’s Advanced Guide to Oral Sex and jessica drake’s Guide to Wicked Sex: Fellatio. You probably don’t need both, but it couldn’t hurt.
Maybe you don’t like giving head for some other reason that has nothing to do with concern about proficiency. If that’s the case, tell him it isn’t your thing. If you’re really against blowing him and he really needs to get blown, you aren’t a good match for each other.
Oh, and how to tell him without making it weird? Talking about sex in general seems to be a little weird for a lot of people, but the more you talk about it, the less awkward it gets. A little weird probably won’t hurt you, but a huge lack of communication might.