My pain is not polished.

This post was written in October, 2016 – when I was positive we’d have Madam President right now and the “Grab em by the Pussy” tape had just leaked. On this day of protests, strikes, backlash, dudes being absurd man babies because something isn’t about them, and that this horrible monster is president, I’m reposting the piece in full, but you can see the orginal Medium post here.

No, I am not done yet. Nowhere near done.

I am going to continue to dump my intense fury, very raw pain and oh my stars y’all. The disillusionment. I *knew* that sexism would crawl out from under rocks like racism did with President Obama, I’ve been steeling myself for it. Assumed that as I interact with MRAs I’d be ahead of the curve.

I did not see being gaslighted by a large portion of my government, elected officials, writers I once respected, the nominee of the Republican party. I do not use the term gaslighting lightly either. (Few people I know do, but I know I’m facing the trope of the liberal feminist killjoy.) Since Friday I have been yelling at my screens, tweeting at people pleading to stop using victim blaming framing… Read More

Over your shit.

CristaAnne.com breaks into the Top Ten Sex Blogging Superheroes of 2015!!

So proud of my little blog that could…

#MedicatedandMighty selfie

#MedicatedandMighty 

When introducing myself in panels, workshops or in interviews I’ll often call myself “a professional oversharer who has blogged since long before the term “blog” even existed.” Starting with angelfire sites in the late 90’s and then LiveJournal, blogger and other platforms – writing online has been a natural comfort zone for my ambiverted self. As I moved through my journey of self discovery I tried out many urls and personas, looking for the perfect fit. Eventually it was obvious that I was most comfortable as myself, so I picked up this domain with the intention of it being a small personal blog and writing outlet.

About a year ago I began writing more about my battles with depression and PTSD which quickly turned into #OrgasmQuest. My little blog that could had worldwide media attention, my life changed permanently. When The Madness hit our life (the custody battle that consumed most of this year) I had to back off posting here for many reasons. For months this site was almost exclusively instagram posts and very sporadic brief updates while we made our way through our worst fears come to life.

While I was unable to speak about my life in a public way, you amazing folks stuck with me. Love and support flowed our way through and after the worst of the worst – I am forever grateful. Right as I began to return to the world, Kinkly launched their Top 100 Sex Blogging Superheroes of 2015 contest. Shamelessly I courted votes without a ton of expectations, my life and thus my writing had not been very sexy. My goal was top fifty, my hope was top twenty-five.

When the results were released a few days ago, I almost dropped my pad.

The Top 100 Sex Blogging Superheroes of 2015:

  1. The Black Pomegranate
  2. The Redhead Bedhead
  3. A Sexy Woman of a Certain Age
  4. Oh Joy, Sex Toy
  5. Girly Juice
  6. Crista Anne (!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
  7. Hey Epiphora
  8. Girl Boner
  9. Slutty Girl Problems
  10. The Ins and Outs

The rest of the Top 100

Crista Anne bills herself as a “rainbow-colored pleasure revolutionary.” We love that slogan as much as her bold writing on sex, depression and everything in between.

Credit where credit is due, my moniker of “Rainbow-colored Pleasure Revolutionary” was bequeathed to me by Carol Queen in the Good Vibes #OrgasmQuest interview. It’s perfect. When my writing is praised as being bold and unique – my goals have been achieved.

It’s taken me a few days to find words of gratitude. 2015 has been the hardest, most painfully soul wrenching year of my life. The darkness that covered so much of this year got the best of me more often than I care to admit. While I count down the days to the end of ’15 so I can put this horrific year behind me, this recognition means a great deal.

Thank you.

How to fight with your significant other

How to fight with your significant other:

Some couples set ground rules for their fights. For Crista, 33, of Richmond, Va., her basic rules with her partner are: no name-calling, no door-slamming and no walking away in the middle of a fight. They’ve also imposed brief periods of unplugging, which is challenging for two self-professed “Internet fiends,” so that they can be sure the other person is listening. “When one of us is talking about something sensitive or important, even if it’s just for a minute or two, the other shuts their laptop or puts the tablet down or out of view.”

Read the rest at the Washington Post by Rachel Kramer Bussel

Yes, part of why I’m sharing is because I was interviewed for the piece but also because I love the information and ideas contained within. I’m quoted as Crista, so this is me being me. Being able to disagree and argue is an important part of any relationship, romantic or not. V and I rarely have big fights and I attribute the rarity to the fact that we are constantly working on positive communication. Without positive communication and making sure the other feels heard is how we’ve come through these amazingly hard times as strong as ever.

We Will Not & Cannot Work for Free Product

Professional Compersion, it’s real and I am having it right now for JoEllen Notte & Elle Chase.

This week I received an email (I’m sure many of my colleagues received it too) from a large, well-known condom company offering me the “opportunity” to “collaborate” with them (you’ll understand all the quotation marks in a minute). I thought “Collaboration? That sounds fun! Do they want my input on a new kind of condom? Maybe they’re looking to bring in sex educators to help spread the safer sex word! Collaboration could mean so many fun things!”

Except it didn’t.
Read the rest of “Won’t Work For Free (Or Condoms)” By JoEllen Notte

Elle Chase also has excellent commentary here “Will (Not) Work for Condoms”

I am a now a professional sex educator and writer, who has worked for free, for many years to gain experience in my field (and still do, on occasion). I now get paid for a career I put a lot of work, time and money into creating. It might not be a lot, but I provide a valuable service to individuals, stores, institutions, websites, and companies who recognize that you actually have to payprofessionals in exchange for the work they do. They understand this because they are professionals who get paid in exchange for the work they do.

Read the rest of “Will (Not) Work for Condoms” by Elle Chase

Writing, like a real job with work and skills and everything

Made by JoEllen Notte, speaking truth

The world has changed with the rise of sex blogging/reviewing/activism online. It’s evolved drastically, the amount of work a writer puts into these marketing campaigns is significant. Free condoms, free product – it doesn’t pay our bills.

I’ve been here since the start in one form or another when it comes to blogging, so I’ve done a fuckton of free work. Most I was happy to do! The difference is now that it takes a great time of work and a lot of skill to run these successfully. Which is why I don’t do *any* on my site.

I highlight items that I find to be exceptional on my site from places that I trust with affiliate links – that do make me some money! (When I can find the time to actually do so) However these marketing campaigns are no longer worth my time. What we’re doing is work and we need to be compensated.

These posts are so grand, I’m so thrilled to see these words that I want to say being put out there. Thank you, both of you.  Professional Compersion: That glorious feeling of seeing your peers rocking it.

You Should Read This: Shit White Feminists Need To Stop Doing

I’m a white feminist, and let me tell you something: white feminism* is pretty bullshit. It’s exclusive, oppressive, and serves to further marginalize the people who are most impacted by misogyny. Unfortunately, white feminism is also the western status quo of feminism, meaning that white feminists have the biggest platforms, have increased access to resources and media, and are generally considered to be The Voice of Feminism. In theory, someone truly interested in equality would use these assets to amplify the voices of women of colour. In practice, white supremacy is a real thing and white feminists often seem to forget that their white privilege makes it easy as hell to trample over women of colour as they work to dismantle the patriarchy.

So, in honour of International Women’s Day, here is a non-exhaustive list of Shit White Feminists Need to Stop Doing:

1. Believing Their Experiences of Marginalization Are Universal

White feminists like to pretend that they get it. They get it because they’ve been there. They’ve experienced sexism. They’ve experienced misogyny. They’ve been passed over for promotions, whistled at on the street, and had to listen to boring dudes at parties who require approximately ten years of your time in order to explain how fascinating they actually are. These white women have been down in the feminist trenches for years, and like your world-weary Grandpa, they’ve seen it all. They understand the oppression of all women, ok?

Except not. Intersecting forces of oppression mean that women who are queer, racialized, disabled or trans will experience misogyny in very different (and frequently more deadly) ways than white women do. Saying that just because you’re a woman you totally understand all different ways that women are marginalized is not only wildly inaccurate, it’s also just plain ignorant.  Just because you don’t have male privilege doesn’t mean you aren’t the proud owner of a whole host of other types of privilege. And whether you like it or not, those various forms of privilege influence how people treat you.

White women don’t own womanhood, and they don’t get to explain it to women of colour. End of story.

Read the rest at The Belle Jar

An Open Letter to Folks in the Sex & Depression Conversation

This post is the results of JoEllen Notte (The Redhead Bedhead) and my endless conversations about what we love and hate about the conversations coming out regarding sexuality and depression. After the glorious response from her Must Read post: 5 Tips For Writing About Sex & Depression we decided to expand upon that and share our thoughts with the world.

PSA: An Open Letter to Folks in the Sex & Depression Conversation

By JoEllen Notte & Crista Anne

It’s heartening to see so many people talking about sex and depression, sharing their experiences, normalizing this topic that can be so scary and isolating for so many people – that is amazing. We are both thrilled by the increase in discourse!

What is a bit alarming, however, is the practice of drug-promoting. Let us explain…

We often say that when we talk about sex and depression we are standing at the intersection of two taboo topics. When we decide to talk about sex on the internet we have a huge responsibility to our audience.  Unlike if we were writing about, say, fashion, we are dealing with a very vulnerable audience, an audience that is looking to us for the answers to questions they are afraid to ask. We have a responsibility to not lie to them. A responsibility to not make them feel bad about themselves (the world does enough of that already), to do our homework so we can provide accurate information, to be good at our jobs, to be worthy of their trust.  When we decide to add mental health to the conversation we are increasing our responsibility exponentially because the vulnerability of our audience increases. Keeping that in mind is vital.

It may seem like no big deal to say “I fixed my problem with this drug” but let’s open that up a bit.

Who are you saying that to? You are saying that to a reader who is dealing with sexual dysfunction brought on by depression and/or its treatment – someone who is looking for answers. You are saying it to someone who feels broken. You are speaking with authority. You have a shiny website. Most importantly you claim to have solved the very problem they have – you have their answer. Now they think they need to go get the drug you have recommended.

So what happens when their insurance doesn’t cover that drug and they, who are already feeling like life is beating them down, are dealt another blow? What happens when they go to their doctor and she tells them that drug is completely wrong for them because it doesn’t fit their symptoms and now they feel more powerless than they did before? What happens when when they take that drug and it doesn’t work for them leaving feeling even more broken than when they came to your site to begin with? What happens then? These are all the things you need to think about before you announce that you have the “answer” with a brand name and a dosage amount.

Similarly, the practice of comments field drug suggesting (ex. “Why don’t you just take ______?” “The only good thing for that is _____.” or even “Just switch drugs!”) is problematic.

Why? Because it calls into question the ability of the person dealing with depression to make choices about their own body. It adds another person telling them what to do. It takes away a part of their bodily autonomy. Depression robs people of their bodily autonomy, their agency, in a huge way – it acts like an unwanted parasite on a host body- and by telling people who may be happy with their drug apart from this one side effect that (duh!) they just need to switch you are stomping on what little control they have left. Further, as all our bodies are different, you have no business telling them what drug will work for them because you do not know – what worked for you (or your sister, or your friend, or whatever) may not work for them at all. Finally, when we do things like this on the internet we are doing three things:

  1.  Contributing to a confusing conversation where (often) multiple people are offering differing accounts of what THE answer is. This is unhelpful
  2. Announcing an answer to all the world – this isn’t the same as making a suggestion to your friend. This is the internet- you are making this suggestion to EVERYONE.
  3. Shaming the person you are making the suggestion to. Yes, yes, you didn’t intend to. You thought you were helpfully passing on the name of something you have heard helps but people with depression get hundreds of those suggestions and eventually they all start to sound like “YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!” “WHY AREN’T YOU WORKING HARDER TO FIX THIS?!” “YOU HAVE TO TRY!”

The thing is, this is hard, important, necessary work and it comes with ethical standards that are higher than other forms of sex writing. You can’t review a drug like you do a vibrator. This can’t be a topic one jumps into because it’s hot and they want to capitalize on a hashtag – you have to be ready to work on this when it isn’t trending. This is hard, important and necessary work and when one person handles it indelicately it costs many of us the trust of the world – trust we have to work on building back up. We have to, en masse, accept the responsibility that comes with opening up this conversation. This is hard, important, necessary work and we’re thrilled to be doing it together.

-Crista Anne & JoEllen Notte

#OrgasmQuest, Brutal Honesty & Harassment

Yes, I’ve taken a mini Vacation from writing about #OrgasmQuest.

When I said that it was to combat the massive burnout I was experiencing, that was true – but it wasn’t the full story. Each night this week I’ve sat down and started a Quest post, only to get a paragraph or two in before I was paralyzed by a panic attack. Not just that I’m an introverted person who is uncomfortable with the spotlight (though that is true) but because I can’t handle the harassment.

Ever been globally mocked and slut shamed? Cause I have now and it’s…it’s a lot to take in. A lot to process. Continue reading

MicroBlogging: She Had Me At Unicorn Hustle

#AlwaysBeAUnicorn

#AlwaysBeAUnicorn

The other night Dr Drew’s show on HLN rebroadcast the #OrgasmQuest interview as part of a show on sex, which was mildly disorienting. A few folks on twitter thought it was live (understandably) and were tweeting at me about what “I had just said on TV”.  Now I am the first to admit that I can be a bit of a flake – I hardly remember what I said two hours ago – let alone a few weeks ago. Had to re-watch some of the segments to refresh myself. Opted not to argue with a few folks, and was a little annoyed until Avery Simone (@UnicornHustle) crossed my path. She’s a very fun follow and was kind enough to add a post on her site that’s delightful. Here’s Unicorn Hustle’s take on #OrgasmQuest!

#OrgasmSideQuest

XVO

So someone (whom I just made up) once asked me, “How does it feel to be behind the scenes of the #OrgasmQuest, as the partner, as a parent, and as a person?” And if that person weren’t imaginary, I’d answer them thusly:

It feels great. My partner CristaAnne is getting recognition for some of her life’s work. She’s sparking conversations in more than just the (somewhat choirpreaching) activist and educator spheres. She’s taken the conversation about self-love, self-care, sex-positivity, and body-positivity to the main thoroughfares of the internet – places like BuzzFeed, Cosmopolitan, Jezebel, Bustle, xoJane, Refinery29, DailyDot, and AMessageWithABottle – and we’re finally starting to have a dialogue as a culture about what seems to be a relatively ubiquitous problem – anorgasmia due to antidepressants – but (perhaps more importantly) prior to having that conversation, we’re forced to accept (or at least entertain) ideas about a woman having ownership of herself and her orgasms, about a woman being a mother but still a sexual being, and about a woman being open about such things in public, despite, I guess, being both a woman and a mother.

Though, one of the strangest things about this Quest, to me, is how little anyone seems to care about my place in it. Now, this isn’t me being narcissistic – I just assumed that, our world being so patriarchal, someone would eventually mention me, as a partner, or especially as a co-parent – the now infamous “So, do you ever think about your children?!” line awkwardly blurted out by Leeann Tweeden, being a prime example – I’m their parent too, you snarky fucking hypocrite! You think they’re just going feral while Mommy gets her rocks off? No! They’re playing video games with Daddy, or they’re asleep for the night after juice, brusha-brush, and bedtime stories. Are they going to be horribly scarred to learn that Mommy uses her bits for something other than peeing, or making and delivering babies? They haven’t yet, but since this is a sex-positive household, that information is going to be about as shocking as when they learn that they can make fart sounds with their armpits. Probably less so, for the boys.

People are being open with each other about psych meds, about side effects, about self-love, and these are all wonderful things. People (legends, perhaps?) whom Crista has idolized for as long as I’ve known her, have sent her loving letters of encouragement, and even interviewed her! (The one with Carol Queen over at the Good Vibes Blog is particularly good.)

I’m not threatened by my partner’s sexuality, or by her fame, and I will laugh in the face of anyone who tries to shame her for #OrgasmQuest – this one conversation is bringing sooooo much about our culture’s unexamined self to the surface, and I for one hope the ball keeps rolling.

Has #OrgasmQuest Inspired you to share? Please read this post by @Bedheadtweeting

The Redhead Bedhead Tips on Writing About Sex & Depression

I’m taking a little break from promoting #OrgasmQuest as this is one of my full load parenting weeks. However, I’m not gone. One of the many beautiful things to come out of #OrgasmQuest has been so many other people chiming in with their experiences. As they allow, I’ll be posting snippets of these posts here to share with all of you.

My love and collaborator JoEllen Notte, The Redhead Bedhead, who has talked about sex and depression *much* longer than I have, put out this incredibly important post. 5 Tips for Writing About Sex & Depression.

Well this story has, as the kids say, gone viral and folks are talking about Crista Anne all over the place! It’s amazing- sex and depression is suddenly everywhere, this is basically my wet dream. In addition to the stories about the lovely lady behind Orgasm Quest, other folks have been inspired to come forward and speak about sex and depression as well (seriously, how awesome is this!). In light of the fact that this subject matter can be sensitive and so many new folks are coming at it, I (self-appointed “sex and depression lady”) have put together this handy list of 5 tips to keep in mind when writing about sexy time and mental health- because, it’s a whole other animal from what many of us are used to. Enjoy!

Read these Tips @ The Redhead Bedhead

Microblogging: Stop Worrying About Orgasms. Seriously.

Scrolling through my morning reading, a Kinkly post caught my eye: Stop Worrying About Orgasms. Seriously.

Reading through, exclamation points went off in my head: “This is much of what I was saying with my clarification to #OrgasmQuest post!!” In an excited that others were on the same wavelength way.

Then I got to the end and saw that it was written by JoEllen, and it all made sense. She and I continually ride the same mental wavelength. Here is a snippet, then you should go read the piece because I fucking love it.

Taking orgasm out of the equation lets you appreciate the entirety of the sexual experience, rather than stressing about whether everyone has orgasms or if the orgasms are the right kind or orgasms or if the orgasms are good enough. You can just enjoy yourselves. Then, when you’re done, you can just lie back and think, “We just had some sex. That was hot.”

Read The Rest

Link

My Love Speaks: The House That Silence Built

I’m not the only person in this house that is depressed, Val has also battled it most of his life. For a long time I’ve talked about how much writing in a blog has helped me. Writing allows me to realize what I’m really feeling, expressing vulnerability makes me feel stronger, and the empathy that is shown me after I hit post is so incredibly reassuring. He listened, but he wasn’t ready to take that step.

Val hit post finally. He’s stepped out of his comfort zone and written a beautifully raw post about his struggles. Of course I am biased, but it’s really good. I think a great deal of people can relate to his struggle.

I’ve been silent for years. For just about everything that matters. At least, when it comes to you, la gente del mundo, the general public. I used to write for the world. Back when I felt like my pain and joy still mattered to anyone but me, before I let Them whittle away my self-worth. Before I let Them break me. Though I’m not sure I could have stopped Them even if I’d known then how to try. I know now that it’s not quite possible to do it alone.

Read the rest over at Protospect – Remember the Future

Condoms, Cancer & Scare Tactics – How One Company Is Using Fear to Sell

Hey folks, what would you think if I suddenly announced that a study (that I funded) had found that all sex blogs apart from mine cause computer viruses and I, being the crusader for good that  I am, have committed myself to ridding the sex blogging world of viruses (which btw, are in all the other blogs, but not mine!) and I now challenge the other blogs to stop being so virus-causing, you know, if they care at all.

What would you think? Would you think:

A.”OMG! I should stop reading all of these virus-y blogs and read only JoEllen from here on out!”

B.”This is my first time at this site and now other sites are scary- no more sex blogs for me!”

C. “JoEllen has lost it and is clearly trying to scare us into reading only her site,”

I’m really hoping you chose C, that everyone sees that as the logical way to respond to such a scenario because while I would never actually do something this absurd, as we speak a new condom company is using the exact strategy I just described. Yes, seriously.

Read More @ The Redhead Bedhead