Sign in

Human Parts
A publication about humanity from Medium: yours, mine, and ours.

Sexuality

In Human Parts. More on Medium.

This Is Us

To all the suds I’ve loved before

Bar soap.
Bar soap.

It is a season of sodium salts and stinging, cracking hands. When the pandemic broke out, I was in Mexico City, where the streets smell of pork frying and lemon Fabuloso. Restaurants and cafés started filling empty bottles of liquid hand soap with that neon yellow elixir: half water, half household cleaner, dementedly cheerful. The idea was to wash your hands with detergent because there was something scary coming. The idea was to wash your hands with something “strong.”

I am a bar soap girl. I have always loved bar soap. I was a teenager in the Herbal Essences era…


This Is Us

Coming to terms with my sexual anorexia

Double exposure photo of woman with light trails.
Double exposure photo of woman with light trails.

In her 2000 novel Aliens and Anorexia, Chris Kraus writes that it’s “impossible to conceive a female life that might extend outside itself.” That is, we expect women to be insular, private, shrinking. Kraus is writing about philosopher Simone Weil, who starved herself to death at 34, the age I am now.

I was first diagnosed with anorexia at age 11.

Weil refused to eat more than the rations allotted to French soldiers and citizens remaining on her native land. …


This Is Us

A bit of ‘wisdom’ passed down from man to man over the years that needs to stop

Shattered glass image of a man and woman about to kiss.
Shattered glass image of a man and woman about to kiss.

When I was around 10 years old, my parent’s friend Dick (yes, his name was Dick) sat me and my cousins down to tell us about this epic threesome he had in his twenties. I don’t remember the details, except that they were “babes.” I do remember that it was the first time — the first of many times — throughout my childhood and teen years that older adult men would corner me to regale me with their youthful sexual escapades, all of which starred women who never had an identity beyond their physical features. …


This Is Us

Even though I’m straight-passing, I’ve finally decided I’m allowed to take up space

A woman’s foot with sandals and a rainbow flag tied to the knuckle making a step forward on a rainbow sidewalk.
A woman’s foot with sandals and a rainbow flag tied to the knuckle making a step forward on a rainbow sidewalk.

I’ve always kept my mouth shut during Pride Month. So when this past June came around, I spent 30 days in a limbo (at least more of a limbo than usual), going back and forth, swirling around, deciding to just post nothing again and not acknowledge the truth lodged in my throat.

My sexuality is both nobody’s business, and yet something I want to embrace as loudly as I can. I feel like I’m wearing stilts; I’m shiny and impressive, but I’m also teetering, always thisclose to tipping over and falling over myself. My whole “thing” is writing and posting…


This Is Us

Rigid definitions of sex distracted me from enjoying my experiences

Black and white image of a dried rose.
Black and white image of a dried rose.

“If you don’t have sex by your 21st birthday, let us know.”

I had no idea how to respond to the offer. Was it a kindness? A joke at my expense? I barely knew these women from the dorm, but everyone knew about my “problem.” I was 20 and hadn’t had sex.

I considered myself a late bloomer. I didn’t have a single date during high school. I didn’t even chastely peck someone on the lips until the week after I graduated. I was rushing to make up for years I felt I missed out on. Or maybe I wanted…


Humans 101

There’s a reason we call it ‘play’: you experiment until you find what feels right

Have you ever asked your partner to hold you down during sex? What about a spank? Have you ever barked or purred in the middle of fooling around? Or maybe you’ve had more than a sideways glance at the floggers, paddles, and nipple clamps at a sex shop.

Whatever you want to call it — BDSM, fetish, S&M, kink — venturing beyond your standard sex repertoire can be damn intimidating. I know that’s how it felt for me. One way or another, I carried a persistent fear that if I picked up a flogger or squeezed myself into some rubber…


This Is Us

Masturbation isn’t wrong. It’s freeing.

A photo of two fingers dipping in a small jar of honey against a pink background.
A photo of two fingers dipping in a small jar of honey against a pink background.

Masturbation isn’t selfish.

Maybe that’s not much of a shocker for the sexually enlightened. Touching yourself, and making an effort to know what you find delicious, is a wonderful expression of sexuality.

But I’m writing this for the people like me, the people who’ve been told that sex is something that you give to someone else and not its own reward. Even if you have a partner, taking time for yourself can be delicious — and freeing.

I’m not entirely sure how I came to believe that masturbation is selfish. That was just the vibe I got when I started…


Exploring the nuances of BDSM as a ‘service top’

The sound is what I remember most. Not the thwap of tails against my exposed back, but the sound just before that — the flick of the flogger as it was being tossed back before the stroke, an abrupt yet soft sound, like a large bird ruffling its wings. The thud and the sting came just a moment later, to the beat of electronica pumping through the speaker overhead. I liked the song. Part of my attention wanted to tear itself away to remember something so I could listen again later. Thwap. “No, just stay here,” I reminded myself, and…


This Is Us

I believe God designed us to experience pleasure

A photo of a woman’s calves lying on a bed.
A photo of a woman’s calves lying on a bed.

I furrowed my brows and turned around as I ladled the last batter of bean cake into the deep fryer, taking a few seconds to process what my husband had just said.

“So many women have never had the big O,” he said as he poured boiling water over the black Lipton tea bags in our teacups. “Many even believe that they’re not supposed to.”

“How do you know this?” I asked curiously, leaping up to sit beside him on the cabinet. This was the beginning of a very long conversation that started in our kitchen and rolled into bedtime.


Humans 101

Everything you always wanted to know but were too afraid to ass

A photo of a peach against a cyan background.
A photo of a peach against a cyan background.

Assholes. Everyone’s got one. But have you ever done that little fancy squat in front of the mirror to see what you’re working with back there? It’s okay — we won’t tell. As an expert in anal health, you can imagine I see a lot of — yep, you guessed it — assholes.

During a recent training session with our laser hair-removal machine, I recruited a few of my closest friends to model. (“So, who wants their asshole lasered?” I dropped into our group text.) These were gay men, and while I’ve seen most of them naked at some point…

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store