Rainbow Holidays!

To soften the blow of losing, I bring you two awesome articles…

Yes, I cried about football. I has feels.

Yes, I cried about football. I has feels.

Oh football, how you break my heart. As you’ve possibly seen on twitter, I’m having strong football feels. When the Packers season ends I usually don’t know what to do with myself for a while. As I’ve said before, I have sportsball feels. I absolutely loathe the NFL, but I love my Packers. Over the NFL season I live on Deadspin, most of what I listen to as I go about my day is sports podcasts. Once the Packers aren’t playing? I don’t care anymore. Normally there is an odd void for a while until I find something else to occupy my time.

This year is different! I can combat that crushing defeat with focusing more of my time on my work. #OrgasmQuest has gone viral, which I am beyond thrilled about. Yes, of course, I am all about Shameless Self Promotion. It isn’t just “YAY I’m popular!” – The columns and articles about #OrgasmQuest have been positive. The comment sections have been wonderful. You could knock me over with a feather there. I’m so very used to being shredded to bits in comment sections, which is why for a while this site didn’t offer them, but they are full of people sharing their experiences. Sharing their struggles. Some their victories. (Oh, and there was thread derail on the Jezebel article when we started to talk about eyeshadow. Thrilling!)

Over the weekend I’ve received messages from people around the globe sharing their stories of how mental illness has affected their sexuality. Tried to respond to every one of them because I am deeply honored that they are willing to open up to me. Much like my days in sex toy retail, I take the trust that my customers, clients and readers place in me very seriously. No one has been comfortable with being quoted, but people are starting to share via the #OrgasmQuest hashtag. As I said on twitter, I don’t “own” that hashtag, I invite others to use it as well. The stigma that surrounds these issues needs to be busted. Sharing is a way of healing for many.

Now, I have two more wonderful articles to share with you:

Brave Mom Crista Anne Goes on OrgasmQuest to Fight Depression One Orgasm at a TimeBustle

OrgasmQuest isn’t about showing off, but rather, about helping to lift various stigmas, including those surrounding mental illness, which we all know are harmful and can prevent people from seeking the help they need. But what struck me about this project is how it clearly challenges the whole “women don’t masturbate myth.” Female masturbation is such a taboo to begin with that this mom’s commitment to exploring her body, and her ability to be so candid and public about it by writing about it on the internet is nothing short of courageous. While some nay-sayers might chastise her for daring to be a mom and post about sex at the same time (the horror!), I think I would have been proud to have a mom who was so open about sex and unafraid to talk about her struggles with mental illness.

Read the rest @ Bustle

Blogger Shares Her Struggle To Orgasm On AntidepressantsRefinery29

“I’ve been working in the sexuality field for 14 years, many of those were spent working in sex toy boutiques. Daily I was speaking to women who were struggling with loss of libido or anorgasmia from their medications,” she revealed. “Empathy went a long way in making them feel more comfortable… Everyday women would tell me how they had no idea this would happen, how they felt broken. Validating their feelings, giving them a safe space to share seemed to help them a great deal.”

Read the rest @ Refinery29

(PS Thank you Laura Hibbs McKenzie for using that photo of me, it’s one of my favorites.)

I would be remiss if I did not also thank my loves at SheVibe and Good Vibes for sponsoring #OrgasmQuest in the first place. Their support helped get this project off the ground and they have all my gratitude. Also, so much love to my dear friend Rachel Kramer Bussel for being the first to write about what I’m doing here. Her column on Philadelphia City Paper started it all. Thank you darling.

Choosing to focus on the positives

cconarrivebadge

Badge and swag from Tantus and Aneros

As almost everyone reading my words is aware, last weekend was Catalyst Con East, which Val and I attended. While there is a lot of negativity swirling around the convention through the various sex-positive circles, I’m choosing not to touch on that and only focus on the positives. For me, virtually the entire weekend was positive, affirming and exactly what my soul needed.

The weekend was my return to the world after my extended hiatuses. The reasons behind my going dark is content for another post, the important thing is that I’m back. Able to write again, return to my activism, get Dildology back up and running. In the lead up to #ccon, we were under immense personal stresses, which almost magically resolved themselves enough that I was able to let go and really experience each moment. Reconnect with friends, network with people who share my goals, meet new friends and loves.

Also, this was Val and my first weekend without kids. Ever. Our first trip away from home sans kids. Ever. We attended #ccon East last year with a 9 month old Rawr monster, who left such an impression that a number of my conversations were centered on what our little sex-pos mascot was up to now. It’s wonderful that his presence was appreciated and missed this year, but as my first extended break from endless parenting, I relished every child-free second with my love.

Recaps are not my forte, but many fantastic writers have shared theirs. I’ll post a collection of them in the next few days as they trickle across my feeds. What I want to share is the extreme joy I felt reconnecting with so many of you. Almost immediately after arriving we crossed paths with Ducky, who is a shining light in my life. J0Ellen and I had a running through the hallways tackle hug, surprisingly the epic that is our hair did not cause any rifts in the universe. For once I was able to spend quality time with Robin, who is such an incredible person all around. Finally meeting Laura Anne Stuart, who I think the world of, getting to hear the familiar accent of home as we exchanged buttons. (Wisconsin women are forces, no doubt.) Spending time with Ashley, Gwen, Lori, and so many other amazing, brilliant, outstanding folks…I don’t have all the words to express how great it was.

Sunday was quite possibly one of the greatest days of my life. Starting with Metis, Ducky and my panel on Creating Change in the Sex Toy Industry. I am an introvert and it has been years since I have done any public speaking, so I was more than a little nervous. Not that I feared I’d bomb, I have utter faith in my knowledge bank here, but it was stepping out of my comfort zone. There is also the fact that we were in the 9am slot and as I’ve often said, in my ideal world nothing would be expected of me before noon. The panel blew by though, and I had a great time. Being on a panel with incredible women that I utterly idolized early in my career, who are now my mentors, was an honor and an experience I’ll always treasure.

Afterwards, I had the rest of the day free of obligations. I donned my rainbow bustle (sitting in that thing is unpleasant, but the awesome is worth it) and went to find trouble. Helped out at the Tantus booth some, had the joy of talking dildos and queer porn with Tina Horn. It was the first time in years I fully was able to reconnect with my inner dildo peddler as I was behind the table, reminding me how much I love that experience.

Betty Fucking Dodson

Betty fucking Dodson

On my way out of the exhibitors hall, Betty Fucking Dodson called me over to talk to her. Betty fucking Dodson. She is a deity in my book, so much of who I am is from emulating her before I had my own voice. For the next three hours we swapped stories, bullshitted, made sexual advances towards Val and I tried so incredibly hard to keep the fangirl who was losing her mind under control. Betty fucking Dodson respects me and thinks I am doing good work. I can die happy now.

She and Carol Queen were the keynote, and what a keynote that was. I didn’t cry when my children were born, but I certainly tear up when Betty talks about vulvas or the spiritual experience of masturbation within her workshops. It was incredible and empowering to hear two hours of her stories. I do not agree with everything she said, her views on consent among other things are based in the past, her shock-jock tendencies are no longer needed, but without her work nothing I do or have done regarding sexuality would be possible. She is an icon, a trailblazer, a huge part of why any of us are doing what we’re doing. I refuse to make apologies for how deeply that experience touched me. (I’ve since named my old macbook Betty. For she is cantankerous, from a few generations ago and nothing I do would be possible without her.)

As the applause was dying down and people started to move around the room, Annie Sprinkle introduced herself to me. I was so overcome with emotion from the totality of the weekend when we were speaking, I was barely able to do more than blubber about how much I love her work and respect her. I’d actually like to have that conversation back, but Annie is another of my idols and having her gift me a “25 Ways To Make Love To The Earth” poster while saying she could tell we were kin was too much. Had to go down to the car to pull myself back together before we could make our rounds of goodbyes.

Really I could fill this site with all the stories and moments, there are so many experiences I am leaving out. The essence of the weekend empowered me, reconnected me to my passions, and reminded me that I am a whole person outside of my role as a Mother. I needed that reminder more than most could imagine.

Ah, before I go – Shout out to my favorite stalkers at SheVibe. Every time I turned around I was almost literally walking into them, so much so it became a running joke. Y’all are fantastic and I adore all your faces. Hopefully we will see you again soon.

I’m back y’all.
xoh

Always forward

This is what a happy Crista looks like. (Photo credit @kissmekasi)

This is what a happy Crista looks like. (Photo credit @kissmekasi)

As I know myself, and I know my depression, I’ve held back in saying this for a while – afraid that it was a brief upswing and not the real deal.

I actually, completely, feel like myself again. More Crista than I’ve felt since I quit the store and began the crazy 5 year roller coaster ride that got me to where I am now. That was my favorite “me”, and I feared that I had lost her for good.

No, I’m fully myself again. Better though. Parenting and survival of those years have taught me strengths I didn’t fathom I possessed. Bright, colorful, slightly odd, a force in my own right. Finally, I can self motivate. Push through. I may hunker down when things get hard, but I know that I’ll, we’ll, get through all storms. So, huzzah! I’m officially saying that I’ve made it to the other side of the absurdity. Still standing. Even brighter.

Every time I get a CCON email with information for speakers at this year’s conference, my stomach does a flip.

My panel will be awesome and I’ve got this. I’m not worried that I’m going to get up there and fail everywhere, I know I will be great. However, talking to people face to face isn’t exactly something I enjoy, so I’m gonna be panic city until it happens.

3 days.

omg.