@GoodVibesToys Is Helping Spread Sex-Positivity To Festival

I love @GoodVibesToys So Very Much. This year they are sponsoring my endless quest to spread Sex Positivity while on our Vacation.

Every year Val and I take a two-week vacation to Brushwood Folklore Center in NY for their two festivals. Brushwood is our home away from home, time where we completely unplug from the outside world and spend quality time with some of our dearest loves who are flung across the country. Last year we started volunteering, both working the gate. With my rainbow wardrobe, I have been christened within the community “Rainbow Brite of the Gate”.

Of course, I’m also known for my train case of sex toys & constant desire to have conversations around Sex Positivity. This community is a beautiful collection of hippies, pagans and free thinkers. These folks are, overall, not very tech savvy or on the web much – so these are people who are already on a sex positive path, but haven’t encountered the larger sex positive community.

This year Good Vibrations has been wonderful enough to send me a large box full of Sliquid Organics and Please Cream in Water & Silicone samples, Glyde condoms in Ultra & Wild Berry &….

  The coveted Rechargeable Magic Wand!

At Catalyst Con East I attended a panel by Carol Queen on What Sex Positivity Is and Isn’t. At the end she implored us to spread the truly positive, inclusive brand of Sex Positivity as much as we could. So I am taking this wonderful opportunity to do so while on our glorious vacation. For when Carol Queen makes a request, you know I’ll find a way to fulfill it.

To my beloved Brushwoodians who may be reading this, Rainbow Brite of the Gate will have all these glorious goodies at Elysium. Please feel free to drop by our camp to chat & check out the glory.

I am a Mighty Happy Crista.

Rainbow Brite of the Gate

Rainbow Brite of the Gate

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.

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

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) 

Thoughts on today’s adventure regarding Buzzfeed, #OrgasmQuest, & xoJane

I’m off the trending list on Buzzfeed, so I now can relax.

Introverted Crista is Introverted

I wave hello to you all.

Remember when I said that I was swearing off media for the week because I was burned out and needed to focus on parenting? Apparently my pants are on fire. When my buddy Andy at Good Vibes mentioned the possibility of doing an interview with Carol Fucking Queen, that went right out the fucking window, because Carol Queen. No disrespect to any of the amazing journalists that I have talked to or will in the future, but nothing can top being interviewed by your foremost idol. If you haven’t read that interview yet, please do, because it’s a physical realization of my Ultimate Dream come true.

Around this time I was contacted by  from Buzzfeed UK. She said she’d been following #OrgasmQuest, related to my story and wanted to cover it. We bounced emails back and forth, I felt really comfortable with her, and the no interviews this week rule flew out the window. When I do read buzzfeed, I tend to look over there because I find their stories less sensational and snarky. The interview was fantastic, Maggy is an excellent interviewer, and the final piece is something that I really enjoy. If it wasn’t about me, I’d have been sharing it everywhere.

I woke up this morning with the article already approaching 100k views, top of the trending list, and with more new twitter followers than I knew what to do with. You don’t even want to know what my email and IM’s looked like. At the same time I had to prepare a small child for a trip to the dentist, so it’s safe to say that chaos reigned.

Once I was able to engage with social media, I had the amazing experience of positive interactions with most of my heroes, idols, and revolutionaries. Going through my twitter mentions, it now seems that almost every really fucking awesome person there is now follows me. (Yes, I know, I only have 2200ish followers. My criteria for really fucking awesome is quite high.) Most of today was really, really fun.

Then it hit me that out of everyone I idolize, the only two people that I haven’t had a conversation with that involved mutual respect are Rachel Maddow and Ani Difranco. Heck, maybe I’ll change that tomorrow. Who knows!

I have not looked at the comments section on buzzfeed nor the FB page. I choose to only engage with the people who found me on twitter. Maybe I’ll do that later, Val tells me that it’s mostly positive with flashes of absurdity. I do need to go back to the comment section of my xoJane article, because it’s part of the agreement I signed as a freelancer. Hopefully that isn’t horrible.

Regarding xoJane, I’ve been in contact with their head of social media. Again – everyone within the xoJane staff has been a pleasure to collaborate with. It’s their comment section that are just horrific. I’ve expressed this to them so I’ll repeat it here. Warning their writers about how vitriolic or at best snarky the commenting community is before they publish would go a long way. When I wrote a Sex Diary for NYMag, one of the first things I was told was that people loved to rip the diaries to shreds. With that knowledge going in? I prepared myself for the worst, turned out to be fine.

I’m not “whining” about people being mean to me. Nor am I going to produce the threats to “prove” they existed. I’m not playing that game. Why? Cause there is no winning. So either believe me or not. Really don’t have any fucks to give there. I do loathe our internet culture of snark first, be reasonable later. That’s not an xoJane problem, it’s pervasive. It’s also far more intense when you are a femme presenting person. Still, not gonna shut me up. I’ve been writing for as long as some of these people have possibly been alive.

A lot of comments across all articles have been “oh look, a new person trying to be internet famous for nothing”. Nothing I say will change those people’s minds, but I can tell you that I do feel relief at not being trending anymore. I’m an introvert. Sure, I like attention, but I also like down time. Now that I’m not trending, I feel like there is down time. If you look at my archives for this site, you’ll notice a six month gap in posting. That is because pre-#OrgasmQuest, this site was entirely me writing for me.

This site is going to stay me writing for me.

I’ve invited a few other people to write as well, XVO/Val – My partner has posted and will post more in the future. He is my Partner-in-Everything, so I want his voice to be expressed here as well. Some people have asked to share their #OrgasmQuest stories, I’m thrilled to add them. #OrgasmQuest isn’t going to end when the media attention ends, it will continue for as long as it needs to. It may evolve. I’m open to whatever comes next.

So, now I am off to respond to comments at xoJane and then? Then I reward myself. Remember that big box of love from Tantus? Life has been so intense that I haven’t opened it fully yet. So that’s my reward after this long day, I’m going to gleefully discover what is inside and then spam twitter with my glee.

That’s my self care, and it will be delightful.

I Swing into Life on the Swingset podcast with #OrgasmQuest

#OrgasmQuest takes over Life on the Swingset!!

swingsetthumb“The Swingset welcomes back Crista Anne to discuss her recent commitment to herself; to find a path back to self-orgasm through once a day masturbation. Through her very personal and public #OrgasmQuest Crista is documenting her navigation through life-long depression, antidepressants, self-care, living and loving life and parenting and today she shares it all with us, and we share our stories with her.”

On a personal note, over the last few months the Swingset Crew (as I like to think of them) have become some of my dearest friends. While I have been a fan of the podcast for a long time, only recently have we connected personally & professionally to make some really fantastic content & conversations. This is by far my favorite podcast that I’ve done. Let me give you a peek behind the scenes.. Continue reading

This is Important – Help Self Serve Sexuality Resource Center

Perhaps last night you were able to read my very long post, A Combination of #OrgasmQuest & Blogging as Therapy. It covers how I got to where I am now, from a mute shell of a person to fierce I AM MIGHTY! Most of that change was due to discovering my passions in life, the biggest being working in sex-positive spaces selling sex toys. Eventually I will have my store so I can go back to that love, and when I do it will be modeled off the members of the Progressive Pleasure Club shops.

One of my favorite of those shops, Self Serve Sexuality Resource Center, is facing a crisis that I know all too well. When I was working in stores, they were vandalized often. Sometimes by drunks just being drunken bags of toxic dildos, other times by folks who wanted to scare us out of operation. Something similar just happened to Self Serve, and they’ve started a Go Fund Me to try to recover the costs of the vandalization as well as install security cameras to hopefully stop this from happening again.

From the Go Fund Me Page:

Self Serve is a sex-positive alternative to the old-school adult store. We believe sex is healthy and pleasure is good for you. Since 2007 we have created safe space for people to explore their desires and discover endless possibilities for pleasure and healing.
AND we’re having a hard time keeping our space safe from vandalism.

In August of 2014, someone kicked in our front door and broke another one of our windows. A few days later, they shoved a hose through our mailbox and flooded the store. Thankfully because it was August in New Mexico it dried quickly, but our floor is now warped and damaged. In December of 2014 somebody broke the glass door again and while we were waiting for replacement glass to arrive they kicked it in again and caused more damage. On Monday January 19th a rock was shot through our front window. A few days later on Thursday January 22nd (while store owner Matie was in the store), another rock was shot through the window. It came through the window like a bullet and was honestly terrifying. We believe it was shot from a high powered sling shot or other trajectory device because the rock broke on impact and a small rock caused big damage. We feel like our store is not safe at night when we leave.
We feel we need to protect the store so that we can provide safe space for our community and staff.
Each instance of vandalism costs about $1000 to fix. Some are more, some are less, but typically this is an unexpected huge bill. Our insurance deductible is $1000, and because it is challenging to access insurance in a sex related field, it doesn’t make sense to file claims for the $200-$300 we could collect per claim. We feel like we are treading water, and the carrying costs of this harm are almost overwhelming our small business. This is a pivotal time of year for Self Serve because of the upcoming Valentine’s season. Every dollar we put into repairs is one dollar less we can invest into inventory for our busiest time of the year.
Replacing our glass windows with Plexiglass will make it harder to vandalize our small business. Adding surveillance cameras to our exterior could make it possible to catch the individual causing us harm in the act. The cost of both of these projects is not something we can afford to do without help.

Can you help us?

We plan on getting quotes from local companies in the next few weeks to replace the windows with plexiglass, replace our vinyl window coverings, and outfit the outside of our business with cameras. If you have ideas about best practices in this situation please email matie@selfservetoys.com

If you can – Please help

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.

Crista Anne is Mighty

#OrgasmQuest Interview in Cosmo – It’s so Good I Proposed to the Author

So, I’m going to be honest here, I’ve not been a fan of Cosmopolitan, for all the reasons you can probably guess. I felt they were feeding the monster of our culturally unrealistic expectations for women across the board. Have been so vocally anti-cosmo that someone sent me a subscription as a joke and I spent a year mocking the articles on my facebook. From then on, I paid no attention to the magazine or the website.

So when a little birdie in the from of Rachel Kramer Bussel said that Cosmo would be reaching out to me about an interview, I seriously considered not doing it. Didn’t think they were a good venue for my story, I was concerned they would twist my words for sensationalism, that #OrgasmQuest would be clickbait and nothing more. However, Rachel told me that she was friends with Lane Moore, their online Sex & Relationships editor who would be doing the interview, I opted to trust her and do it.

The minute Lane and I started talking, I was thrilled I listened to Rachel. Lane is wonderful. Fucking wonderful. The interview was glorious, and by the end of our chat I had some serious journalist crush going on. This week has been just a little busy for me  – *manic laughter here* – so I had not even looked at Cosmopolitan.com. After my interviews for the day, I checked them out and was astounded. This was not the Cosmo I remembered. Articles on consent culture, queerness, life outside the gender binary.

I spent most of my day in an awesome photoshoot where the best pictures of me I’ve ever seen were taken, as soon as it wrapped I opened my laptop at the exact moment Lane emailed me to let me know the interview was live. After reading it, I may have proposed marriage. Lane accepted, we’re now planning a Rainbow Glitter Queer as Fuck wedding. Maybe we’ll meet in person first, maybe not. Yunno, I roll with whatever.

Here is a snippet from the interview, then click the read more to get all the wonderful. Click share to spread the glorious. Then keep reading and be as amazed as I am because y’all? Cosmopolitan.com is 1000% different.

Is your partner helping in your orgasm quest or is it just you by yourself?
My partner Val, he’s everything. He’s involved with virtually everything I do. As far as my masturbation is concerned, my masturbation is a solo thing. That’s just me.

How often do sex toys come into play? Are you mostly using them?
I mostly use sex toys. I actually have a Hitachi Magic Wand in my hand at this moment in time.

[Laughs] Are you masturbating right now?
I am not masturbating right now, because trust me, you would hear this thing. It’s not even plugged in. I do use sex toys every time. One of the many benefits about the deep vibration that come from a Magic Wand is that it’s a vibration that not only stimulates the clitoral head and the clitoral lobe, but all of the clitoral nerves that are spreading through the vulva, and use of a few strong vibration repeatedly over time can, and I want to emphasize the “can” there, can help turn back on those nerves. And so what I am experiencing, I’ve been using the Magic Wand for about 15 minutes every day, and I went from not having orgasms to two and a half, three weeks later, to starting to have the vaginal-contracting orgasms. Like, I’m not feeling the orgasm in my brain or through my body, but I am having the vaginal contractions. And then the last time I used it, my legs wobbled. So I’m getting there. It’s going to be a process.

Meet the Mom Who’s Fighting Her Depression With an Orgasm a Day

I also really loved that the article closes with this from me: “I didn’t stop being a sexual person when I had babies, and the stigma around moms having sex lives is bullshit. They have a happy mom who loves herself.

#OrgasmQuest Update: @Tantus Is Now An OrgasmQuest Sponsor!

 

Tantus Joins the Good Clean Fun going on here as an #OrgasmQuest Sponsor!

Metis Black has been my mentor and fairy-dildo mother since I was but a wee outlaw dildo peddler, so it only makes sense that Tantus has joined the #OrgasmQuest Sponsor Team. This is absolutely thrilling news for me and for #OrgasmQuest.

Peyton, their absolutely delightful Affiliate Manager, tells me that a delightful box of body safe, premium silicone  surprises is on its way to my door. The moment they arrive, I’ll gleefully document each and every product in my own bright way.

On the off-chance that Tantus is new to you, I’d like to quote from their page about their founding so you understand why I have always supported this company:

Tantus was born from the hope and aspiration to make the lives of people throughout the world fun, worthwhile, and enjoyable. To make ordinary people smile, and challenge the ethos of an industry to bring what everyone truly desires – Sexual Happiness.

Metis Black began making sexual wellness products in late 1997; beautifully hand-poured creations, flaunting enticing colors, requiring hours of sculpting, prototyping and testing, in order to devise a unique and anatomically targeted product. At the time, all silicone products were made using a tin based silicone, common in mold making, but whose base material contained white filler. Black wanted something truly different. She helped develop a process using the highest grades of silicone, of a far superior quality than other industry rivals to create her own unique and pure formula. Not only to be found in small boutiques, but made available to a mass market.

“Here was silicone, the safest material for soft sex toys and you had to be an ‘in the know’ feminist in a big city to know about it. It was my mission to change that. After we got into those markets that were already selling silicone, the already evangelized, we started hitting companies that didn’t know about it.”

Quality and education were the vital and evolving roles of Tantus. Black immersed herself amongst an industry so institutionalized in their practices, (never considering the health consequences of using cheap materials), that evoking sexual health and education was no easy task to bear. She envisioned a product that could derive pleasure and satisfaction, but that was also healthy for the body that people could feel confident in using

It’s been seventeen years since that vision took hold, and Tantus is now thriving more than ever before.

But wait! There’s more!

Tantus is offering a 15% your entire purchase with the use of the discount code “#OrgasmQuest”!!

So clear your web browser cookies and then click one of this beautiful banner to take advantage of this generous offer! Of course, if you’re overwhelmed with your options, please reach out to me via my Contact Page. We can set up time to go over their products using my expertise earned from years of working in sex toy retail. 

Use discount code "#OrgasmQuest" to get 15% off your entire order!

Use discount code “#OrgasmQuest” to get 15% off your entire order!

 

#OrgasmQuest: Anorgasmic Partnered Sex

For a variety of reasons (time, pain levels, stress, kids, I’ve been attached to my laptop for days…) Val and I had gone a bit longer than usual without having sex. At one point yesterday afternoon I plopped myself down on his bed, excitedly rambled about the latest #OrgasmQuest coverage, paused, and then informed him that we were having sex that night. Overall, I have the higher libido in the relationship so we’ve worked out that he just needs to make the smallest of passes at me when he’s in the mood and I am on him before you can blink. This works out well, I don’t feel rejected and he doesn’t feel pressured.

The sex we had last night was amazing. Often we have rushed “parent sex”, which is where we’re mostly clothed, skimp on foreplay, get our needs met as quickly as possible to avoid the mood killer that is a small child at the door either knocking or going “Moooommmyyyyy”. Our youngest seems to have the ability to unlock doors with his mind or sheer force of his will, so having the door secured doesn’t always mean privacy.

Last night was amazing. Ah-may-zing. Extended mutual foreplay, very intimate and connected sex. I felt like a Sex Goddess the entire time. Everything, absolutely everything felt incredible. After we finished, I laid there in a blissful bubble of interconnection for what felt like a very long time before I realized that I had not actually had an orgasm.

From start to finish, I was at “Oh, that feels so good”, never getting “higher” or “lower” than that point. Since the anorgasmia began, I had been able to have orgasms during partnered sex that felt like gentle waves. My personal feeling on those were that I was riding my partner(s) orgasms more than having my own. (Forgive me if that’s a little too “woo-ish” for you) This time that didn’t happen, but I didn’t notice.

What I did notice as I ran the encounter back through my brain was that anorgasmic sex was an entirely different experience, but one that was just as fantastic. One of my most popular tweets recently is one where I said “My oral sex skills are 95% enthusiasm.” Which is true for my sexual prowess period. Having sex without the orgasms meant that I stayed in this glorious highly pleasure charged place without losing concentration on what I was doing because I was suddenly creating universes with the power of my orgasm. I actually had more fun exploring ways to build the pleasure for both of us.

A critique of #OrgasmQuest is that it promotes goal oriented sex. That’s a valid one as I didn’t make my motives as clear as I could have at the start. (I also had no idea that the Quest would take off like it has) #OrgasmQuest is about getting my masturbatory orgasms back. As last night showed clearly, my partnered sex life without orgasms is different from it was before, but just as amazing.

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.

#OrgasmQuest Hits the @citypaper!

My dear friend Rachel Kramer Bussel interviewed me about #OrgasmQuest for the Philadelphia City Paper. I could not be more thrilled with how her column turned out or how wonderful the reception has been in the short time since posting. Happily overwhelmed is the best way to put it, as my inbox and mentions are now overflowing with love and support.

Cannot begin to express my gratitude, honestly this blurb made me tear up before I had even made it out of bed. Please read the full column, and if you’re so inclined – share widely. Beyond my adoration of Shameless Self Promotion, Rachel’s skills are unmatched. The more clicks the column receives – the more sex-positive, mental health stigma busting writing gets out into the collective consciousness.

Now! Behold what made me cry happy tears..

With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimating that one in 10 American adults report having depression, the effect of medication on our sex lives isn’t an isolated concern. Moreover, the way Crista values masturbation is a model more of us could stand to follow. By privileging her solo sex life, she’s showing up powerfully in the rest of her life. For her, it’s about regaining her lost orgasm to be the best person she can be…

Read the full article

#OrgasmQuest Update: Important Clarification

After a few private conversations with peers about #OrgasmQuest, I’ve realized there are a few things that I need to clarify about my quest. To begin:

This is not about goal oriented sex.

Yes I know, the vibe is more effective a few feet lower.

Yes I know, the vibe is more effective a few feet lower.

I’ve never chased goal oriented sex. That was easy to say because my orgasm was always so plentiful, such a given, that I never had to chase orgasm. Partnered sex was always for the experience, for the pleasure, fun, intimacy, or hell – because there was nothing good on tv. Sometimes it was to get off without having to put forth much effort, but that was sheer laziness. Nothing wrong with that.

Once I had the IUD installed, started taking a tricyclic antidepressant and started Neurontin for my fibro, I began suffering from anorgasmia, like so many other people. Universe creating orgasms suddenly gone. Thus, #OrgasmQuest!

My partnered sex life is still absolutely fucking amazing. There have been a few times that I’ve had orgasms. Soft ones that felt like gentle waves. Nice, don’t get me wrong, but I miss those Universe Creating ones. Miss them because they are some of the best sensations in the world, not because my partnered sex life is suddenly lacking without them. That part of my sexuality is every bit as grand as it was before. Sex is still about the experience, intimacy, fun, pleasure, or because there isn’t anything interesting in the netflix queue.

What I am in absolutely relentless pursuit of is my masturbatory orgasm back. I *need* that venue of orgasm back because it is a tool for me much more than something sexual. Masturbation orgasms are a life hack.

I’m trying to get a quote from my Mom about this to back me up – for now you’ll just have to trust me. Not only did I come out of the womb depressed – one little hand was on my clitoris. When I was a toddler it was known as my “feeling good stuff” and I was taught that my feeling good stuff was awesome, but needed to be done in my room for privacy. (My Mom was/is a fucking bad-ass parent.) I’ve always been masturbating.

Masturbation orgasms are a tool for me in stopping a panic attack. I’m able to focus on pleasure, get off, and ride that through instead of descending into that dark place. When I get a migraine aura? Slam coffee, turn on my wevibe Tango, get off and *usually* I just have to deal with a bad headache instead of losing a day or more to the migraine. Too stressed to parent? Tag in another adult, lock myself in a room, get off and then suddenly I can handle the endless stream of demands. Scared to do a thing? Touch my clit and do it. Feeling a flare coming on? Same as above. Might push it off a few hours, at least long enough to take care of a few things so when I do crash, the house doesn’t go down without me.

#OrgasmQuest is not about goal oriented sex.

I strongly push back against the idea that orgasm is the end all, be all, most important part of a sexual encounter. I believe it is a great part of a sexual encounter, but if you’re also anorgasmic, your sex life can still be fucking fantastic. Mine is still fucking fantastic. Sex without orgasm is not a waste of time. It is not a failure.

#OrgasmQuest is all about getting my lifehack back, the part of my identity that is tied to being highly orgasmic though masturbation, and trying to support others who are facing similar struggles. I’ve received so many wonderful messages about the Quest, people bravely sharing their trials and so much loving support. We’re all in this together folks.