Ahem, @buzzfeed? A quick note about antidepressants…

Buzzfeed has an article that is making the rounds, 16 Things No One Tells You About Taking Antidepressants.

Yay! Awesome! I am honestly thrilled to see more conversation that normalizes and de-stigmatizes taking antidepressants if needed. The piece has a lot of good information that’s shared in a positive and reassuring way. Again, awesome. Thank you.

That being said, let’s chat about “#5. Yes, they might affect your sex drive.”

I do enjoy this graphic

Antidepressants often have sexual side effects..

 No one tells you that sexual side effects can occur while on antidepressants?

*ahem*

If I could please direct you just over a few clicks to your Trashy” Feed. There, I linked it so it’s nice and easy. Scroll down a little over halfway down that page and note “This Woman Is Live-Tweeting Her Struggle To Orgasm On Anti-Depressants.”

Hi! That’s me.

Baby Crista!!

Selfie from right after I posted the first #OrgasmQuest post

A year later, still chillin on the “trashy” feed. Talking about how antidepressants can affect your sex life and ability to orgasm. Talking about how important it can be to prioritize your sex life/sexuality through depression if you are a sexual person. Talking about all the media attention I was getting and the bullshit I was dealing with because I deeply believe my message is vital.

Let me put this out there: Maybe. Just maybe, more people would be talking about the fact that medications can screw up your sex drive and orgasmic ability if they weren’t shamed or mocked for doing it.

Most of the comments on that article are great, and most of the votes are pretty okay. However this article on me/#OrgasmQuest – while marked “Win” – has stayed on the Trashy Feed for a fucking a year. I mean, thanks for the views an all, but seriously – the tag for the trashy feed says “adj. of poor quality …. Ugh, so trashy.” People are trying to tell people about how medications/antidepressants can affect sexuality, sex drive and orgasmic ability. Without being shamed.

Maybe try that.

Just sayin’

Edited to add: Re-reading this post 24 hours later I want to add that my issue/annoyance is not with the author of the piece. As I said at the top, I was/am thrilled to see good information shared in a positive and normative way about depression. I also don’t expect the author to know every article ever on Buzzfeed, especially one that is a year old. My annoyance is with Buzzfeed the site. I’ve seen a few articles that talk about the importance of de-stigmatizing depression/sexuality while a few clicks over I’m being stigmatized for talking about sexuality and depression. Apologies that I didn’t make that more clear at first.

Return of #OrgasmQuest!

#OrgasmQuest makes its return!!

#OrgasmQuest updates had to take a very sudden hiatus as the rest of my life went sideways. While I was unable to post about Quest, that doesn’t mean that I stopped Questing in my personal life by any means. Keeping Quest going for myself was one of the many ways I kept myself together through the most stressful and horrific period of my life. Now that we’re on the other side of that, it’s high time that #OrgasmQuest updates return. On to the Return of #OrgasmQuest!!!

#OrgasmQuest: Where I am now

As I approach the One year anniversary of Quest, I can absolutely call it a success. Over the quiet months I continued to make time for masturbation. That time was both as a coping mechanism like masturbation as always been for me and to continue working on regaining sensitivity and orgasmic ability. I can now reliably orgasm via masturbation and partnered sex!

Snapshot_2015218 (5)HUZZAH!!!!

I can reliably orgasm, but I am now orgasmically mortal. To get myself there I require extended foreplay, extra lubrication, and the orgasms that I have are still much weaker than those “universe creating” ‘gasms of the past. Multiple orgasms are mostly beyond my abilities, and I couldn’t tell you the last time I had an orgasm that included squirting. Trust me though, reliable orgasms again has improved my quality of life a great deal.

So happy

Cuddling my new Precious, the rechargeable Magic Wand

Over the summer there was the wonderful launch of the #MagicWandUnplugged. Those glorious folks at Good Vibrations were wonderful enough to send me one even though I wouldn’t be able to write about the glory for a while. I fell so in love with the Cordless Magic Wand that it completely replaced my corded model. (She has been lovingly retired with a place of honor in my locking #OrgasmQuest Toolbox.) The auto shut off had a learning curve for me, at first it was turning off on me right as I was getting there, but I’ve changed up my usage. Building up sensation at the lower speeds, turning it off to give my body a few seconds that build the craving for more stimulation, then turning it back up to ramp up through the third and fourth speeds.

The ability to have that Magic Wand power without planning where the nearest outlet is has made #OrgasmQuest time much easier, and the slightly lighter weight allows me to hold the wand longer and more comfortably. Earlier in an interview I was asked if I was comfortable giving the magic wand credit for the return of my orgasmic ability, which was answered with a VERY enthusiastic “YES!”

Another piece of my Anorgasmic puzzle that I’ve put together is that there is a strong hormonal component affecting my orgasmic ability. During my period and while I am ovulating is by far the easiest time for me to orgasm. The rest of the month I have to work for those orgasms, but during ovulation and menstruation? They are almost as easy as they were before anorgasmia struck. I am one year into having the Mirena IUD in place and will continue to track how that affects my orgasmic ability going forward.

The Future of #OrgasmQuest

Incredible progress has been made, but I am nowhere near done with #OrgasmQuest. Reliable orgasms are fantastic, but I want my full orgasmic experience back.  Multiple orgasms. Intense orgasms. Squirting. Perhaps Universe Creating Orgasms are beyond my ability, but I will keep working towards having them again.

I want to continue increasing my sensitivity. Love foreplay, but if I can get back to an orgasm with slightly less foreplay needed? That would be wonderful. Need to continue nurturing my Inner Sex Goddess. Plus, continued dedication to self care via pleasure is a wonderful component to keeping my mental health as positive as it can be.

Shortly, my dosage of amitriptyline will be increasing. This drug continues to be the best medication I have found for combating my depressive symptoms, but I have adjusted to the dosage I have been on for the last year. With the massive body blows we have taken in our personal family life, I’ve slipped deeper into depression than I’m comfortable with. There is a good chance that increasing dosage will change the progress I’ve made and I plan on keeping everyone updated with how those changes are affecting me on an orgasmic level and as a person with mental illness.

I love #freethewand and heartily endorse getting yourself one. (Of course I appreciate it if you grab yours via my links.) That being said, I want to expand my #OrgasmQuest arsenal. Have this glorious collection of exquisite sex toys from Woodhull’s Sexual Freedom Summit that have yet to get the loving attention they so deserve. There will be many Quest posts talking about the successes and possible failures of these new options.

REALLY looking forward to spending quality time with The Rumble once it is released so I can compare and contrast the differences between the wands I now own. So much anticipation!

Finally: #OrgasmQuest inspired many others to begin their own Quests. I’ll be highlighting those posts along with ideas on how anyone can be empowered to join the fun. #OrgasmQuest became much bigger than myself or this site. It is one of my proudest achievements, and a project I plan on keeping going for the rest of my days.

Now a request! What do YOU want to read about regarding #OrgasmQuest? Comment below or contact me privately here. I want Quest to be as useful as possible. <3

Of course, #OrgasmQuest is possible with the glorious support of my #OrgasmQuest Sponsors: SheVibe, Tantus & Good Vibrations. Thank you all for being such amazing and supportive friends and loves through the recent up and downs!

Mentally hugging each and every one of you.

Mentally hugging each and every one of you.

I Cannot Explain It, but I can Orgasm Again! #OrgasmQuest @JimmyJane & @SheVibe

Perhaps this level of stress has broken my brain? I don’t know why, but I’m reliably having Orgasms with #OrgasmQuest..

Don't ask me, I'm just a queernicorn

Don’t ask me, I’m just a queernicorn

My menstrual cycle is over, my medications have not changed even through this period of extreme stress. No changes in diet as I have friends and loves who remind me to eat when I forget. I have no real explanation for the how or why, but I’m having orgasms. Consistently now.

They are not the Universe Creating, touching the divine orgasms that I previously easily achieved, but they are glorious. Perhaps there is a god and she loves me? I’ve broken my brain operating through this much stress and processing trauma? If anything I would think that my body would be even less likely to process the orgasm, yet here I am.

Yesterday, on a whim, I attempted solo manual stimulation for the first time in weeks and had a delightful orgasm within minutes. The Magic Wand can get me off so quickly there isn’t time to fantasize or get into the experience. Not quite to the point I was at where I could work my PC muscles into a hands free orgasm, but it feels fucking fantastic.

So, I’ve delved into my collection of Quest Items. Let’s talk JimmyJane Form 5 shall we?

Yes, I am officially a fan!

Yes, I am officially a fan!

I’m enamored with this delightful product. When it isn’t being use as intended, I find myself fiddling with it as I write or respond to messages. When I requested to try it out, my main interest was to expand beyond the basic vibes I’ve always relied upon. Using the Form 5 in masturbation (I’ve yet to use it within partnered sex contexts, but that will happen.) is fun! With liberal use of Sliquid h20, I’m pretty sure I could spend hours twirling the supple wings up, down and over my labia. As I have an exceptionally sensitive clitoris, I find the inner bump, or pleasure dome to be perfection with moderate pressure.

Shockingly, I don’t find myself annoyed by the vibration modes. Usually options I don’t even bother with. They’re fun to play with, I find switching between them easy – even with lubed fingers that do not grip well. In the end I could live without them, but unlike 90% of the other vibes I’ve used with patterns, they don’t frustrate me. That’s saying a lot. While I don’t review often, this pussy has experienced more sex toys than I could begin to count.

While not an inexpensive item, if all of my money wasn’t going to a gorram custody battle, I’d be willing to fork over $145 for a delightful, unique and tap dancing dildo gods pleasurable product like the Form 5.

As always, I point you to SheVibe’s page for all the finer details of the Form 5. They do such a wonderful job giving their customers easy to understand information on their products. In case you missed the links before – Check the Form 5 Out Here.

This is the Greatest Header In The History Of Ever

This is the Greatest Header In The History Of Ever

 Disclaimer/Disclosure: SheVibe sent me this delightful vibe in exchange for an honest review, which is exactly what this is. Should you make the wise decision to buy any one for yourself, or any of their other fantastic offerings via my links, I will get a small commission from those sales. That amount of money is not enough to sway the views I’ve expressed here. If you are overwhelmed by your options, I have spent many years working in sex toy retail. You can contact me with questions or to set up a time for us to chat about your sexual accessory needs.

 

Oh My Stars, It’s an #OrgasmQuest Update!

Surprise! An Actual #OrgasmQuest Post!

Now that I have gotten my mental health and personal posts out of my system, it’s been far too long since I’ve updated y’all on Quest. Ready?

Let’s do this.

#OrgasmQuest is now approaching its third month, and progress is absolutely being made. The last proper #OrgasmQuest update was about Orgasmic Partnered Sex – feel free to pause and read back if needed. I left off still in a blissful place from touching my universe creating orgasms, sadly I am here to report that they have not returned.

There is more going on than just the amitriptyline, just before I began that glorious anti-depressant, I also had the mirenda IUD installed. I’ve not used any form of hormonal birth control in over a decade, adjusting to the hormones has been an experience. My cycle is currently unpredictable (as expected), shorter than before (Thank fucking fuck) but my hormones/mood are a force to be reckoned with. Right as I hit my cycle, my orgasmic ability comes back to a degree.

Right now I’m having my cycle, so I made sure to get my self-care/masturbation/Quest time this evening. After just a few minutes with the magic wand on the lower setting and a nice fantasy about a crush of mine, I experienced a delightfully intense wave of multiple body orgasms. Vaginal contractions, I became too sensitive to have the wand touching my vulva any longer, twitching, muscles contracting, back arching. It felt amazing, I was without pain for a period. First time that I’ve had multiple orgasms in what feels like forever.

My brain still did not register the experience as an orgasm, I physically felt the response, but my brain didn’t register the pleasure. Once it was over, I laid in my bed for a while sorting through the sensations. It was great that I got off quickly, great that I was able to have a physical orgasm via clitoral stimulation alone. I did get some pain relief from the orgasms, which is new and a step closer to the Universe Creating Orgasms I’m used to having.

Still not there yet. Trying not to be frustrated.

With partnered sex, to be honest, with our recent stress/illness there hasn’t been a ton of that. Partnered sex is still wonderful, I still crave it, it’s still enjoyable when I do not orgasm. If I do, its gentle waves of pleasure. Lovely, intimate, relationship bonding, but I still miss the extreme pleasure busts.

Snapshot_2015217 (17)Beyond making my dreams come true with the #OrgasmQuest Superhero status, my loves at SheVibe sent me the exquisite Vesper Crave vibrator necklace & the JimmyJane Form5. Need more personal time with both of these delightful items before I write them up, but I’m really excited about both. If you walk into my house for any reason, it’s a guarantee that I’ll be compelled to show them off to you. The necklace is lovely, I wear it daily. The Form5 offers different sensations than any other sex toy I’ve tried, which is wonderful.

Exploring both of them s part of my plans for Quest time this week and I’m very excited. Hiatus over, #OrgasmQuest is still going strong.

This is the Greatest Header In The History Of Ever

This is the Greatest Header In The History Of Ever

Reclaiming My Universe Creating Orgasm – #BOAW15 #OrgasmQuest

The long reclamation of my inner Sex Goddess

As my regular readers know – and now a good deal of the world – I’ve been on an #OrgasmQuest since December. Let me give a “quick” overview for any new readers: My identity has been in constant flux, ever-changing, but two things have been constants. I have Major Depressive Disorder and Empowered Sexuality. I came out of the womb depressed, but I also came out of the womb with a hand on my clitoris. Never shamed for exploring my body, I was taught early on that it was my “feeling good stuff”, it was a private experience and when I needed Feeling Good Stuff Time, I should do so in the privacy of my bedroom. This started my life long love of masturbation.

When I am in dark places due to my mental illness, I can orgasm as a way to remind myself that there are pleasurable feeling to be had. Not a cure for my depression, not a fix, but a tool that I’ve used as long as I can remember to keep myself going. My ability to find pleasure in the darkness saved me more times than I can count.

The added bonus from a lifetime of masturbation is that I have always been highly orgasmic. As an adult, I experienced orgasms that felt like touching the divine. While the label of my sexuality has often been in flux, that I am a highly sexual creäture has been a constant.

Five years ago I became a mother, which changed endless aspects of my life. It’s nearly impossible to feel sexy when your almost dying of sleep deprivation, covered in goodness knows what, your will overridden by that tiny person I created. Again, masturbatory orgasms helped me. I was able to remind myself that while everything else seemed to have dramatically changed, for a few moments I could be blissful.

After my second child, creating a life with my Partner-In-Everything, XVO, and adding his children into the mix – my depression became more than I could handle on my own. I found an amazing doctor and we decided to try an older antidepressant to help me. Oh, does it help me. On Amitriptyline for the first time in my life I truly enjoy being alive. My mental health is finally at a place where I can stay that I’m good.

The drawback is that one of the side effects is Anorgasmia – the inability to orgasm even with proper stimulation. This side effect affects countless people and there is a deep stigma about speaking aloud about how disruptive losing orgasm or libido can be on the entirety of someone’s life. So, I’m fighting back. This medication works on every other level, so I am uninterested in changing medications. I opted to go on a public #OrgasmQuest, and have invited anyone who is interested to read along with my journey.

This brings you up to speed on #OrgasmQuest, but Quest isn’t all that I am doing to reclaim my Sexual Goddess status. Motherhood, parenting, these are also huge stumbling blocks on the path to empowered sexuality. I am a queer woman in an open partnership, so I cultivate passionate friendships as I can. Make time for myself to be something other than Mama, stepping away from my motherhood role and passing the torch to the other parents in our world.

What does that look like for me? I revel in my beauty, my sexuality, through selfies. My career is that of a sexuality writer and educator – specializing in sex toys, so I write here in non explicit but frank terms about my masturbation and sex toy use. I put on elaborate makeup for myself, when I want to feel beautiful and empowered even though all I may do that day is write and clean the house. I make space for intimacy with my love. Flirt with trusted friends. As I work from home, I play with wild hair colors and vibrant clothing.

My universe creating orgasms have yet to fully return. Had one blissful evening when hormones overrode the side effects and I touched the divine again and again, but over all I’m not where I want to be. Most of my orgasms are physical now, vaginal contractions, wobbly legs, but my brain doesn’t experience the pleasure spike. This is progress though, and I have no plans on ending my Quest any time soon.

This may sound to woo” for some of my readers, I understand, it’s a little to woo for me too. However, I do feel a connection to Inanna, my personal spiritual path is close to that of paganism, and she is my Goddess. I am connected to the sacred whore and see myself as one. I refuse to lose this vital piece of my identity in exchange for finally having relief from most of my mental illness.

If you value pleasure, and I do make room for people who do not because that is a valid way to feel, I believe it is your birthright. I know that pleasure is mine, I revel in the pleasures that I can find now, and continue to fight to regain the fullness of my inner Sex Goddess.

Orgasmic Partnered Sex! & How This Relates to #OrgasmQuest

Last night I opened up my Ask Box on Tumblr before I put kiddo to bed, planning to answer the questions as my Friday night entertainment. This would have been an entertaining way to spend an evening for me, however my plans changed after the getting child to bed took four times longer than it should have. Instead, I crawled into bed with XVO, we left our computers closed to have some very needed us time.

Part of that very needed us time was incredibly awesome sex, where I had….

The Return of My Universe Creating Orgasms!

Yep, that's an orgasmic smile

Yep, that’s an orgasmic smile

I’m glowing today. One of those glows where you could look at me and go “yeah, she had amazing sex last night.” Which is incredibly accurate. Grand times were had by all, but mostly by me. Afterwards I rocked an intense pleasure high for a good hour, rolling around occasionally cackling about how my Sex Goddess Orgasms were not completely gone. There may have been joyful tears. What can I say, I really fucking missed those.

So! What does this mean? Well, best case option is that the anorgasmia as a side effect of my antidepressant (again, I am on a tricyclic antidepressant called amitriptyline) is fading away, as can happen after the first few months of being on a medication. That’s ideal for me, as it means in a few more weeks/months I could be back to having my masturbatory lifehack back & enjoy being alive!

It could mean that given the right level of intimacy, foreplay, and partnered connection, my empathetic pleasure connection with XVO overrides the anorgasmia. That might be too much “woo” for some people, but I’ve always gotten off on getting other people off, so for me – that’s a thing. We’ve had partnered sex where I’ve had orgasms, but they were light waves of pleasure. No, last night, that was back to creating universes with the power of my orgasm as well as being so multi-orgasmic that I stopped being able to tell when one ended and the next began. Which had been more or less my standard sexual experience.

After my masturbatory Orgasm the other night, I had not been able to recreate the results with the Magic Wand alone, or with the magic wand/Tsunami combo. Today I haven’t had the privacy to see if I can achieve universe creating orgasms on my own, but that will happen. Obviously, I’ll let you know.

Another factor that cannot be ignored is that I am menstruating, so my hormones may have come into play with my ability to orgasm intensely. There is a great deal of we’ll see and perhaps going on with this post. Obviously I need to have a great deal more solo and partnered sex – for science.

For the moment? I’m going to bask in the fact that I came like I’m used to for the first time in months. Tap dancing dildo gods, I needed that. Orgasmic Partnered Sex for the win, for me. Huzzah!

#OrgasmQuest Update: It was a Team Effort, but We Have Orgasm!

#OrgasmQuest has been far too much about the media response to Quest and far to little on the actual Quest itself recently, so let’s fix that shall we?

The chance to work on #OrgasmQuest came earlier than usual tonight, but I saw my moment and I embraced it.

That was totally (kinda sorta) an Orgasm!!!

My old orgasmic state spoiled me, oh how it spoiled me, but that folks? That was an orgasm. Vagina contractions, wobble legs and my brain finally registered the pleasure spike along with it. I AM MIGHTY!!!!

 

Crista Anne is Mighty

I am Mighty!!

That’s forever my I AM MIGHTY picture. Anyway! ORGASM HOLY SHIT I MISSED YOU!!!

As mentioned in the title, it was a team effort. Let’s give three cheers to GoodVibes’ Please Cream Lubricant, The Original Magic Wand and what I believe was the star of the show, Tantus’ Tsunami!!!

YES

This is my I Am Mighty I Orgasmed Face!!

Glorious hollow area for a bullet or a finger, which saves my hands from extreme pain

Glorious hollow area for a bullet or a finger, which saves my hands from extreme pain

I do give the Tsunami credit for getting me over the edge. After a liberal application of Please Cream, the size, shape and curve instantly ramped up my baseline pleasure level. I opted to remove the bullet from the base of the tsunami so I could use a finger in the hollow area of the base to keep gentle but constant pressure that was easy on my hands. The vibration from the Magic Wand is gloriously (for me) intense, so when I slid the head of the wand down my vulva to meet the base of the Tsunami, the vibrations transferred through wonderfully. I’m not a huge fan of intense internal vibration, the amount transferred was perfect for me.

This was not a quick and easy Orgasm. Before meds I could orgasm in under five minutes, this was closer to twenty. I did get close a few times over that period, but determination combined with extra rocking motion with the Tsunami did finally get me over the edge. Universes were not created, I did not see stars, the length of the orgasm itself was about a fourth of the earlier version, but I am not complaining! I FUCKING CAME!!!

No, obviously this is not the end of #OrgasmQuest. Need to recreate the results (because science!) Try to see if I am adjusting to the Amitriptyline and the anorgasmic side effect is wearing off naturally, if I can orgasm with a different collection of sex toys, no toys at all, and if I can get those universe creating orgasms back. Massive awesome fantastic stress relieving step forward though. Oh my stars, I needed that.

Of course, because I am me, there were a collection of celebratory selfies taken. Please forgive the darkness, but I snapped them from my rainbow covered quest area within my office.

Tap dancing dildo gods, thank you to my beloved Good Vibes and Tantus, for without them, I’d still be a frustrated little rainbow of a Crista. Now, let’s see what tomorrow holds.

 

(Remember: Tantus will take 15% off your entire order when you use the code “#OrgasmQuest” at checkout) 

I really don’t know what to say about today – #OrgasmQuest

IT HAPPENED TO ME: Antidepressants Took 10939304_10100272963221692_999743026_o (1)Away My Ability to Orgasm, So I Started a Public Quest to Get Them Back

I find it completely unacceptable that I must give up my life hack, my masturbatory orgasm, in order to fully enjoy being alive.

As you may have noticed on twitter, my xojane piece hit today. While I love what I wrote, I’m going to ride this wave of honesty to tell you that I regret doing it. In the end, it wasn’t worth it.

Wee Crista, budding Crista, she clung to Sassy and Jane before she moved up to Bitch and Bust. Pitched an “It happened to me” mostly because that budding girl I remember would have been amazed that her words hit one of their publications.

To be clear, all of my interactions with the folks working at xojane have been wonderful. No complaints about them at all.

Their readers? Their readers have behaved in an unacceptable way. The trolling, snark and pearl clutching in the comments didn’t bother me. I’ve done this a very long time, I know what to expect from comment sections. Until now, the comment sections on articles about Quest have been beautiful. So xojane has a lot of snark in their comments. I’m not a huge fan of that method of communication, but hey, to each their own.

I have received more hate mail and threats since that post went live than I have in years. The last times I had death and rape threats in my inbox were when dealing with MRAs and Anti-choicers. I refuse to give them any more attention than the time it takes to make copies and then remove them from my line of sight, certainly am not going to post them here.

Just going to say that people have gone so far as to threaten my children. You don’t want to fathom the level of Mother Rage that has brought up in me. They do not seem dangerous, not anything yet that signals real danger, but holy fuck. Do not threaten my kids.

Across the board, these threats are all attempts to scare me back into “my place”. That won’t work. You are only going to make me louder.

I’m really disappointed and sad. This was supposedly a feminist audience. My utter disgust with Privileged White Feminism has only grown.

Sad for the budding me who would have found this so awesome, and then be utterly crushed. I’m not her anymore, this doesn’t crush me, but I feel her sadness within me.

This is the only time I think I’ll mention this acticle for a while. I do not blame xojane the company, they were all lovely to work with, but their readers..I don’t know what to say.

Oh look, I’m on the cover. I really wish that made me happy. Instead I am dreading looking at my email. When I say it’s scary out there for a woman and that I’ve been low profile by design. This is why.

 

 

BEHOLD THE GLORY

A Combination of #OrgasmQuest & Blogging as Therapy

Who I am now, is not the factory standard for Crista.

Crista Anne is Mighty

I am Mighty

This me that you see now, that most of you have always known. This is not who I was born as. Personally, I don’t believe that people don’t change, I know I have. Fundamentally.

This post has been in my head for a few days now, creating itself in my random quiet moments. The times when the shock of everything wears off and I can step back from the chaos that the last bit of my life has been. In those times I’ve let it write itself, waiting for the time when I could sit down and let words fall off my fingertips.

This is not going to be a polished post, because I am not a polished person.

At those point you’ve all heard me say “I came out of the womb depressed, but I also came out of the womb with my hand on my clit.” I’ve left the details of my early depression semi murky, not because I won’t talk about that part of my life, but because I don’t want that part to be twisted or become the focus of the rest of my life, the rest of my Quest. Here it is in rather simple terms.

The Darkest Times:

My Dad, sister and I

My Dad, sister and I

As a young child I suffered a number of deep traumas. Yes, I believe that I was born depressed. That my brain has always had an illness. On top of the “natural” depression, the traumas I survived left me with PTSD. That manifested mostly as intense agoraphobia. I could not leave my house. It wasn’t just that I was shy, I was effectively mute through my elementary school days. A vivid memory for me is one time that I spoke in class, and a peer gasped in shock and exclaimed “I didn’t know she could talk!”. I didn’t have friends, a recesses I wandered around in my own little world alone while kids played around me. Had no interest in friends, other children, other people, they terrified me. Yes, I was that child who wanted books and to play alone.

Eventually my therapists and doctors, because I was getting intense treatment for my mental illnesses, decided that I mentally could not handle being in a public school environment. Thus my homeschooling began. I’ve often said that  was home schooled because I was sick, without disclosing it was because my social anxiety was so intense that I’d pass out from panic attacks at the idea of being around so many people in school. That I hoped that we’d be in a car accident and be killed versus having to go be in intense social situations.

I’m incredibly intelligent. Was home schooled through tutors from the school district, then on our own for my high school years. I opted to get my GED at 17 instead of try to earn enough credits for a HS diploma. At about 16, after years of glorious isolation, I found an amazing therapist who helped me more than anyone can imagine. She treated me on a sliding scale, sometimes for free, because we were in deep poverty but she was making massive progress with me. After two years working with her, I was ready to actually interact with the world.

Came into the world at 17, almost 18, as a blank slate. Had a crash course in social interaction, but had almost nothing in common with my peers. We had none of the same life experiences. I kept most of my first interactions online, in the forms of those early angelfire site “blogs” (though that term hadn’t come into the world yet), and with webcam selfies.

Having been raised in a sex-positive way, I lacked the sexual shame that so many of us have. I lived in a body that was twice the size of the body I live in now, so I had some body image issues, but I was a strange creature. An odd girl. My first jobs were working at hot topic, where I found a delightful group of other strange people to spend time with. (These people, it turns out, were also all Val’s friends, but we narrowly avoided meeting as teenagers many times. That’s a story for another post)

Queer Porn and Side Show Misfits:

I loved taking pictures of myself, I loved “selfies” (but they weren’t called that yet either) and around this time is

See? Told you. The rest of my photos are long gone. One of the few I have left.

See? Told you. The rest of my photos are long gone. One of the few I have left.

when queer porn on the internet started. I was already camming for fun, so I jumped on the idea of getting paid for photosets. Most of the sites I was on are long, long, long gone and forgotten – but NoFauxxx, eventually Indie Porn Revolution, was my main site. Oh, that’s right. I knew Courtney Trouble way back when, though I doubt she remembers me now. I was on that site as “Tryst”. Though queer porn, “Alt pr0n”, I learned to truly love myself, my body and my sexuality. I grew real confidence in myself. My world expanded, I left the house, I interacted with people. Queer porn was really my birth as the person you know now.

I adopted queer porn ethics and politics as my own. Eventually, I moved to Dallas and spent years dating a magician, hanging out with side-show misfits, walking through Deep Ellum fire-breathing for tips and with bands. It was wonderful. I started poly relationships, had my first triad, lived in absurd poverty but had an amazing time. This solidified my desire to live off the beaten path. I couldn’t fathom another way of life.

Sex Toys, Outlaw Dildo Peddler & Sex-Positivity:

Then I found sex toys through sex toy retail. A job I took because they didn’t care that my hair was pink, nor did they have a dress code and I could take as many smoke breaks as I wanted as long as the store was cared for. This is where I discovered my calling in life. Pleasure based sex education and sex toys. These were not progressive stores that I worked in, more your garden variety adult novelty store.

Dildos make me mighty

Dildos make me mighty

The difference between my stores and most others is that at that time, sex toys were illegal in Texas. I was prepped for vice raids. Told that I would be paid 3x my hourly rate if I was arrested until they could get me out. Every day I went to work I faced the very real possibility that I’d be arrested that day. I was hooked though, I loved working with customers to find the right item for them, the risk didn’t matter to me. I was on a mission. I was helping people.

I was also in my early and mid twenties and invincible. Long term consequences of possibly being charged with a sex crime didn’t register to me. I was an outlaw dildo peddler. This is what I was born to do. Made the magical discovery that my anxiety dissipated if I had a dildo in my hand. I could talk to anyone if it was about the store had to offer. I realized early on that many of my customers were telling me things they’d never admitted to anyone else before. That moved me. I took, I still take, that trust seriously. It’s an honor.

As my company didn’t offer much in the way of sex education to their employees, I spent my down time devouring sexuality texts. One day, in the dollar section of half price books, I found Carol Queen‘s Real Live Nude Girl: Chronicles of Sex-Positive Culture. I read that book over and over again until it fell apart. The missing pieces of my identity, the missing bits of the person I wanted to be, were entirely built from Carol Queen’s words. I devoured everything I could find of her words. They became my gospel. Around the same time I met Metis Black on LiveJournal, who amazingly took me under her wing.

I knew of Ducky Doolittle from the cam girl days, I learned of Violet Blue from the early days of sex blogs online. Violet Blue’s Toxic Toys post fueled my passion for safer sex toys. Good Vibrations Guide To Sex became my bible on how to help my customers. Carol Queen’s words were what resonated the most with me. RLNG was the first time I read someone else’s words and felt like they could have been my own.

When I moved up the chain within the chain of stores I worked for and began to have control over hiring, education and inventory, I built my stores on Good Vibrations. Realistically there was only so much I could do while living under the sex toy ban. Educators couldn’t come and teach, we couldn’t hold workshops without fear of police attention. I pushed on though. I did my best.

Time on the Front Lines:

We had protesters. Protesting with the zealotry you see out of anti-choicers. Prayer circles blocking the stores. Stores were vandalized all the time. One of my stores was shot at. I was stalked repeatedly. Some customers tried to negotiate with my boss how much it would be to take me home for the night, as if I was another piece of merchandise. Other times I was assaulted in the stores, grabbed, groped, flashed, backed into corners. At night I had to have armed security in the store with me. That’s before you get back to the point that my job, my career, was illegal. I missed being raided by minutes multiple times.

All of that only made me more passionate. All of that cemented my knowledge that what I was doing was important. That each day I went to work was a revolutionary act. Each time I sold a vibe, I was giving a giant fuck you to the sex-negative world. Felt that I was doing my time on the front lines. Fueled by my foremothers and forefathers in sex activism. Fueled by Betty Dodson. Fueled by Carol Queen. Annie Sprinkle. Metis. Ducky. Violet.

There was very little of sex blogging back in those days, very little online community. Absolutely nothing like there is now. I was in a very remote location as far as sex-positive activism was concerned, I felt incredibly isolated as I fought my good fight. Shortly after the ban was lifted, a day that I will never forget because I collapsed sobbing in relief for hours after I heard the news from Metis, circumstances came up that caused me to leave that job and that life.

Massive shift into Motherhood:

I tried a new way of life, I got married, became a Mom, did some sex blogging and random work within the sex toy world. Wrote blogs under pen names. Sold toys through Love U, which was a venture between Metis and Ducky. I was worn out though, those years of fighting took a lot out of me. Because I was now a Mom, something I never fathomed happening, I tried to keep my profile low while still having some connection to my beloved industry.

Poked my head out a few times, PinkSexGeek did well for a while. Made another re-entrance to the world with dildology200Dildology, but then our personal world fell apart with physical and mental illness taking precedence. Depression and anxiety ate me alive again. I lost so much of what I had gained, falling back into that nearly mute shell of a human I once had been. Over the years though, I had made deep connections with amazing people. Deep connections with my idols. While I was that nearly mute shell, I watched the sex blogging world, the sex toy reviewing world come of age. Grow into this mass that it is now. Quiet, but watching. At turns overjoyed by the amazing wealth of information and connectivity, and horrified by some of what was being put out there.

Again, I pulled myself back up. Scraping and clawing out of darkness, depression, PTSD. Talking with a therapist. Getting emotional support from my beloved and our circle of loves. Being inspired by what my friends were doing. I went back to my roots, I went back to rereading every word of Carol Queen’s I could get my hands on. Remembering who I was, what my passion was. I went back to blogging here. I didn’t promote this site much, life was precarious.

Scraping & Crawling Back Up to Myself & to #OrgasmQuest:

swingsetthumbI kept getting help. Real help. The kids got older, I finally had space to stop being only a Mom-bot. Started recording with Carnalcopia, with Swingset. Met Betty Dodson, who now calls me Sister and emails me to tell me to keep fighting. I got medications again, I don’t have script coverage so medical bills are absolutely financially eating us alive, but I started to get better. Then I got on Amitriptyline, and for the first time in my life I enjoy being alive.

Which brings us to #OrgasmQuest. I never fathomed *this* would happen. I never, ever, ever fathomed that the mute shell of a person, too scared to even eat at a restaurant because I might have to speak to the server, would ever talk over and through Dr fucking Drew live on national tv because I wasn’t done making my point. Because I wasn’t done standing up for myself.

I still can’t believe that happened. I still can’t believe that right fucking now I am on the front page of Cosmopolitan.com. (Maybe not fucking now when you read this, but at the moment of this writing, there I am.) I can’t fucking believe that I’m doing this, that I’m able to do this. That I’m *happy* doing this. Trolling, death threats and all. I’m back on the front lines, defending my passions. I can’t believe that I made it back here, made it back here as the best version of me.

The viral nature of #OrgasmQuest is bound to end soon, but I’m committed to continuing this quest. All of my quests. All of my work, fighting for all of my passions. This post is allowing me to go back through my history for myself and for the people who are now reading me, to understand where I come from. To understand how hard I have fought to get here, and then get here again. Understand how hard I’ll keep fighting to stay here. Not for “fame” or attention, but because I built myself into this fucking badass that I am. I built myself out of Carol Queen’s words, Ani Difranco’s lyrics and a decent whollop of Lisa Frank fantasy.

I did this, I’m proud of this. I’m not letting go. No one is getting rid of me.

#OrgasmQuest: 3 Week Update Featuring The Liberator Ramp via @SheVibe

I love SheVibe.

The wonderful folks at SheVibe are people I consider good friends, they were early supporters of Dildology, and we’ve had grand times at conferences together. When I told Sandra about #OrgasmQuest, she gave me free choice of their inventory on what I thought would help my quest the most. Immediately, I picked out The Liberator Ramp because I knew it would be helpful.

Here’s Why:

#OrgasmQuest is focused on my masturbatory orgasms though antidepressants, my partnered sex life with Val continues to be incredible. An issue I have with both masturbation and partnered sex is discomfort staying in various sexual positions due to Fibromyalgia. My limbs are sore or give out quickly, I need a great deal of ergonomic support in all areas of my life, support sexually has been at the top of my list for a while. With or without amitriptyline in my system, if I am in a ton of pain, pleasure is impossible.

So let’s talk about Liberator. I’ve not always been a fan of their PR, they’ve put out some downright misogynistic marketing tweets in the past. (It appears those have all been deleted) That issue seems to have been rectified. (I’m putting that in this review because I was one of the voices of dissent at the time.) Their marketing may have an iffy past, but their products are incredible.

They call the foam core of their products “Champagne Foam”. Okay. What I can say is that the foam core stabilizes, cushions and supports my body in a way that no other configuration of memory foam pillows has. The microfiber cover feels wonderful against my skin, which is wonderful because I do have texture issues. The cover also zips off and is machine washable. Getting the cover on and off is surprisingly easy, even with my weak grip.

Call me vanilla all you want, I love missionary. The lift from the liberator ramp makes that position feel more intimate, our bodies are closer, and I find that it is easier to get deeper penetration – something I am a huge fan of. Laid over the top of the ramp, I can grip the bottom comfortably for stability. My hips are cushioned and I am able to stay in that receiving position longer than before.

For masturbation, I’m a lay on my back kind of person. The elevation makes handling insert-able dildos easier. When using the Magic Wand, I can rest my elbow by my side which means that I can handle the weight of that beast longer. I’m in an elevated, cushioned, comfortable spot for #OrgasmQuest time, which makes a wonderful difference.

The last time we used the ramp, I laid on it for a good ten minutes asking Val if I could just please lay on it naked for the rest of my days and he could just enter me whenever he wanted. Apparently that’s not possible because I still need to parent. Sigh

Which brings me to storage. This sucker is big, there is no denying that. Zipped up it slides under the bed or sits in the closet taking up about as much space as a large suitcase. However, I’ll be honest. I wash the cover immediately after use, and then keep it at the end of our bed so the kids can race their cars down it. The toddlers think it’s the coolest thing ever. I’ve had arguments that the ramp is mine and that they cannot take it into the playroom to roll down.

When not being a car ramp, I lay across it while writing or watching TV. I’ve slept on it a few times because apparently the elevation takes my snoring down to a tolerable level for Val. Well, until I roll over. My ramp has become another wonderful life hack. My *only* complaint is that I really could use a handle or two on the side for moving it around with my mobility issues. Obviously I make it work, but a handle would make a wonderful product even more incredible. I may not have my masturbatory orgasms back YET, but I can honestly say that the ramp is an incredibly useful sexual tool for meeting my goal.

For more information on the specifics of the ramp itself, I invite you to visit SheVibe’s page for the Liberator Ramp. One of the many things I love about SheVibe’s website is the glorious amount of product information they make available to their customers. Trying to duplicate it here would not do them justice.

I also love their artistry, so I will close with this wonderful large banner for SheVibe, because it makes me happy. (Also, one of my goals in life is to be drawn as a SheVibe superhero. Ahem. Just sayin.)

 Disclaimer/Disclosure: SheVibe sent me this glorious ramp in exchange for an honest review, which is exactly what this is. Should you make the wise decision to buy any one for yourself, or any of their other fantastic offerings via my links, I will get a small commission from those sales. That amount of money is not enough to sway the views I’ve expressed here. If you are overwhelmed by your options, I have spent many years working in sex toy retail. You can contact me with questions or to set up a time for us to chat about your sexual accessory needs.

#OrgasmQuest returns to it’s birthplace, The Carnalcopia Podcast!

#OrgasmQuest was born on a Carnalcopia podcast, Depression, Orgasms, and Navigating the Murky Terrain of Mental Health. My filling in for Katie Mack was absolute last-minute, I’d already taken a ton of NyQuil to combat the cold I had, so midway through the episode I get a little loopy. Okay, more loopy than usual. It was great fun though, and obviously something special as #OrgasmQuest started right after that episode went live.

#OrgasmQuest returns to Carnalcopia!

With Katie on vacation, Crista Anne returns to explain her new mission, born on the Carnalcopia Sex and Depression episode: #OrgasmQuest. She is on a crusade to regain her ability to experience universe creating orgasms and she shares her progress, what has worked and failed so far, and her deep appreciation for her #OrgasmQuest sponsors who are filling her…life, with sex toys.

This episode was recorded before #OrgasmQuest went viral, but I have no doubt that you’ll hear “Surprise Motherfuckers” at the start of another episode of Carnalcopia in the near future covering more of my progress, as well as how gloriously strange it is to suddenly go viral.

Checkout Swingset.fm for Unique Podcasts about Sexuality & Geekery

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 friendRachel Kramer Bussel for being the first to write about what I’m doing here. Her column on Philadelphia City Paper started all the media coverage. Thank you darling.

Greetings Jezebel Folks

 

 

My webcam isn't the best, but I wave hello to you all

My webcam isn’t the best, but I wave hello to you all

Hi there!

Was eating a burrito, idly scrolling twitter when I saw that #OrgasmQuest was on the front page of Jezebel. Have spent most of the last hour staring in mild shock at the incredibly wonderful comments attached to the article. Thank you. Really.

Thank you.

The conversations going on over at that thread are beautiful. Seeing people sharing their stories and experiences is incredibly fulfilling, beyond the gains to my personal life, I deeply believe in lifting stigma around mental health, using medications to combat depression, and of course promoting masturbation. This is such a common issue, I’m proud to speak openly about it.

I am replying to comments on the article as I can, but please feel free to also comment here. I’m easily reached across social media and welcome these conversations. If you have a story that you’d like to share as part of #OrgasmQuest, I’d be honored to share it here. There is my Contact Me form here, or you can reach me on gmail (crista at).

Thank you for reading. Thank you for sharing. Thank you.

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.

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

Adventures in Better Living Through Pharmaceuticals

I am back to seeing the world through rainbows.

I am back to seeing the world through rainbows.

For most of my adult life I have lacked that magical thing known as health insurance. Once I came of age and was unable to utilize my Mother’s insurance, I lived in that terrifying place of facing financial ruin if I became ill or wanted to try and manage my conditions with medications. I came out of the womb depressed, then intense traumas at a young age added PTSD to the mix. Have intense migraine headaches. On top of all that I also have fibromyalgia. Managing that entanglement of physical and mental illnesses on my own has been a tough road, but I’m still here.

To try and care for myself on my own, I lost 150+ lbs over the course of many years, and have kept that weight off for 5 years. Less weight on my body greatly improved my baseline pain levels. Blissfully I’ve had friends who are physical therapists who helped me out, and other friends who are mental health professionals who allowed me to work through my intense bouts of depression or anxiety without much in the way of payment. My community has come together to keep me going and I am forever grateful for that.

After months upon months of the application process, I finally was approved for very basic medicare through the medicaid expansion in Virginia. Not full blown coverage, but enough that I could finally get a well woman (I hate that term) visit through Planned Parenthood and a visit with an amazing GP who works out of my local PP office. After extensively filling them in with my various conditions and then trying to dance around my medicaid limitations, we made a plan of action to start getting me to operating at something above barely functional.

After having multiple pregnancies around age 30, my period had become unbearable. That isn’t whining. I’ve had an unmediated childbirth in my livingroom, I know what labor feels like. Each and every month, I was having cramps on par with transitional labor and becoming anemic from blood loss. Every month I spent a week curled in agonizing pain, unable to do much of anything. So, our first step was to install the Mirena IUD with the goal of eventually ending my period all together. Fuck. Yes.

My GP had a laundry list of medications she wanted to put me on to combat the fibro, migraines, anxiety/PTSD, but my coverage does nothing to help with those costs. (We’re talking almost 2k a month out-of-pocket.) Until Val and I are legally married and I have his sweet, sweet health insurance, I’m on an inexpensive anti-depressant. I started that medication as the IUD was installed and prepared myself for the emotional roller coaster that is hormones and medications. Without going into too much detail, I went pretty fucking sideways for a few weeks.

Blissfully, things have evened out now and I feel AMAZING. My moods are much more even. I feel much more capable. Not overwhelmed every moment of every day. It’s wonderful, I’m so happy. So looking forward to insurance and seeing how much more I can improve with the other medications to help with fibro pain.

However – My orgasms have gone haywire.

Over my lifetime I have learned that if an anti-depressant says “sexual side effects may occur”, that means I will go hyper sexual. Constant arousal. Preferable to me than loss of sexual desire, but still annoying. As expected, the anti-depressant has done this. Most of the time I am eyeballing the couch debating rubbing against it. (This hasn’t actually happened. Yet.) I’m the Queen of Masturbation though, so I figured that spending all my free time with my We-Vibe Tango would reduce that issue. Sound plan, right?

Wrong.

When I orgasm now, I am instantly hit with intense cramping from the IUD. When I am intimate with my partners, this doesn’t enter my mind because I’m having a glorious time being fully in the moment with them and I orgasm with my usual frequency and intensity. Pain afterwards, but well worth it. When it comes to masturbation though, I think I am psyching myself out. Clitoral stimulation feels great (a majority of my masturbation is just external clitoral stimulation) getting right to the edge is no problem. I just cannot get over the top and into my usual stars exploding, universe creating, touching the divine orgasmic bliss.

It’s frustrating.

I feel mortal.

The obvious solution to keep me from humping walls while my body adjusts to the IUD is to have a ton of partnered sex. Here we hit another problem. We are both people with chronic pain. Times when we are both physically capable of intercourse and the kids aren’t banging on the door for more juice are few and far between.

I am a problem solver though, so I’ve reached out to some of my beloveds to test out some of the sexual accessories geared towards facilitating sex for people with pain or mobility issues. While I do not do many product reviews overall, I’m going to dip into that world on my quest to improve our cripple* sex life.

Do you have a suggestion on a product we should try? Want to join my quest by sending an item for an honest review? If so, please let me know via my Contact Page and I will get back to you ASAP.

*We are both physically disabled people who feel comfortable using the term cripple in regards to each other. I do not wish to upset anyone by using the term. <3