Dame Products' Eva II: Weird Look, BIG Impact

I’m not a product reviewer. If anything, I kind of avoid reviewing toys because it’s pretty easy to be pigeonholed into just doing reviews instead of talking about sex/sexuality more broadly, which is my main interest. But sometimes opportunities present themselves. Enter Dame Products and my new obsession: the Eva II (use code “SEXOLOGYBAE” at checkout for 10% off any order!)

In the box itself, you get the Eva II (made from body-safe silicone!), its charging pod and cord, as well as instructions, a carrying pouch, and a sticker.

The first thing that stood out to me about the Eva II is its look. At first glance it looks like a futuristic bug or a home decoration accessory, but that’s part of its magic. The Eva II’s aesthetic reflects its primary goal as a vibrator for vulva-havers who want something to use with a partner. I think this makes it unique in the realm of “couple’s toys”, since those tend to be handheld and the Eva II is intended to be completely hands free.

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I tried it in a few different positions under different conditions to test its ability to stay in place, which is one of its bigger selling points. I’m part of the majority of vagina-havers who cannot orgasm from penetration alone (CW: gendered discussions of genitals), so I was excited to use something that would give me clitoral stimulation during penetrative sex when I used it with my partner without too much effort on my part. I was skeptical, but the Eva II delivered.

The small button on the top is used to turn it on and cycle through the 3 strength settings, and a fourth push turns it off. There’s only one vibration pattern. The speeds have quite massive power jumps, but the middle setting worked best for me as someone who prefers a more concentrated buzz without the overwhelming stimulation of something truly pinpoint.

The small wings are what make this a hands-free product, as they’re meant to tuck underneath the labia majora (you can move the labia minora around the other side of the wings for a more snug fit, if your anatomy allows). The actual vibrator is meant to sit on the outside of the vulva, wherever feels best to the user. You can also position it upside down for a different sensation (it wouldn’t stay for me in this position but bodies are different).

Eva II, resting snugly in its charging case.

Eva II, resting snugly in its charging case.

I kept my expectations low for its ability to stay in place during use, but I was pleasantly surprised. That being said, this product isn’t magic, so the more slippery things get the more likely it is to slide around. It also won’t stay in place well in positions that place your legs far apart, since it has nothing to hold on to.

For me, it shines best when used solo and in partnered positions that keep bodies closer together, which helps keep the vibrations concentrated where I need them. Even in the situations that required it to be manually held in place, it still worked perfectly.

Overall, the Eva II is a great product for anyone, coupled or otherwise, who’s interested in trying out something hands-free that still has a lot of power. The uses are endless, since it uses your own body to stay put, which adds a bit of creativity to both solo sessions and good times with someone else.

Sexology Bae Says: What Does it Really Mean to "Explore Your Sexuality"?

Welcome to the first post of the “Sexology Bae Says” Series! Here, I answer questions readers ask me through the “Ask Sexology Bae!” link. All questions are as anonymous as you make them, and a great way to give me content suggestions or ask me things if you want my perspective. My Instagram and Twitter are also a great way to connect with me.

The following was sent to me by a reader: “[The phrase] ‘Explore your sexuality’ is so overused that I don't even know what it means. I know the process is different for all, but what questions do you even ask yourself to begin?”

I love this question for a few different reasons and I completely agree with the sentiment. Access to the internet has allowed us to form community, meet people with different identities, and help us discover and validate our own.

This is absolutely gorgeous, but queer identity is not the end all, be all of sexual exploration.  Source: theqmmunity.tumblr.com

This is absolutely gorgeous, but queer identity is not the end all, be all of sexual exploration.

Source: theqmmunity.tumblr.com

At the same time, an unfortunate byproduct of this kind of discourse is that it unintentionally conflates sexual exploration with queerness, kink and/or promiscuity—as in you have to have queer sexual experiences, a “hoe phase” of some sort , or develop an affinity for bondage gear in order to truly know who you are as a sexual being. This isn’t true, of course, but it is messaging that I know I saw pretty frequently growing up. This also contributes to asexual erasure because there’s an implication that you have to be interested in sex in the first place to understand your sexuality!

The internet, for all its benefits, has a tendency to take a perfectly fine concept and run in into the ground and grind it into dust. I feel like sexuality discourse falls victim to this at times, too. A lot of the times, I feel like the idea of exploration is left intentionally vague by sex educators to avoid coming off prescriptive—that is, instructing people on what they should or should not do.

Most sex educators try to present information for folks to absorb so they can do with it what they see fit. But like the question states, what if you have no clue where to start?

My first piece of advice is to take a sexual self-inventory. What are you definitely interested in, kind of interested in, and not really interested in sexually? Thinking about the multitudes of ways that humans can experience sexual pleasure that isn’t just from “sex” is also super important when trying to understand your sexuality. Think about what you think would feel good to experience in the context of a sexual situation and go from there, because there aren’t really wrong answers.

You shouldn’t feel like you have to do a particular activity to make your sexuality valid either. When there’s something you’re not interested in, you don’t have to do it because it seems like everyone is doing it and you feel left out because you’re not into it. For example, there’s a social renaissance about ass-eating (or analingus) right now. Personally, I can take it or leave it. I wasn’t into it before it became popular and I’m still not now that it is. I’m not going to pressure myself into doing something I have no desire to try just because it’s cool now.

On the flip side, you should feel secure in the sexual interests you do have, as long as they’re ethical, all parties are able to consent, and expectations are clear ahead of time (especially when other people are involved).

Like I mentioned above, you also don’t need to engage in sex at all to better understand your sexuality. Exploring, for you, can be learning the methods of masturbation that are most pleasurable, or what kind of porn you like, or if you’re into kink. You don’t need to overthink it.

New Year, Real Me: 2019 + Big Honesty Energy

I woke up on New Year’s Day with a burning desire to shake the metaphorical table. I spent last year trying to get my blog off the ground, put my name out there, and find my way into the sex writer in-crowd. I’ve enjoyed being part of this community and the opportunities I’ve had because of it, but I also feel stuck. I fell off creating content in the last months of 2018 due to my personal life crumbling in front of my eyes, but that really wasn’t the root of my problem. My voice was stifled, and I was the person stifling it.

I made a tweet a few days ago about building my own lane in 2019 and I genuinely feel ready to do just that.

I wasn’t being honest in my writing because I was too busy trying to toe the line between being woke enough to avoid a call-out and palatable enough to find acceptance in the (overwhelmingly white) sex blogging community. Nobody likes an angry (confrontational, antagonistic, or contrarian) Black woman, right?

But that’s not why I’m here. This May will mark 2 years since I bought the Sexology Bae domain and started developing this brand. I set out to create a space for me to educate others about topics across the sex & sexuality spectrum from my perspective as a millennial Black woman from the US South, because it was a voice I desperately needed to hear and I got tired of waiting for it. I’ve been speaking to issues that are important to me, but there’s a clear lack of authenticity in my voice because I’m afraid of saying the wrong thing and falling out of favor with the powers that be.

I found myself trying to fit in a box that was already overstuffed and wondering why I felt like my limbs were hanging out. I felt so much discomfort as a writer but considered it part of growing pains and not the result of trying over and over again to make myself something I’m not. I won’t go into specifics yet, but I used my time away to interrogate what I really want to say with this blog, and I’ll be sharing pieces of those realizations as time goes on.

It’s hard creating a brand that is separate from yourself but is also rooted in your personality, ideas, and beliefs. I’m working my way towards making Sexology Bae less of an alter ego and more of an extension of myself. But in order to do that, I have to be honest with myself and my audience about what’s important to me.

Being silent about the things that bother me won’t get me or this blog anywhere. If I allow opportunities to educate others to pass me by, my role as an educator is moot. Bringing up problems within this industry might make me less popular, but that’s a risk I have to be willing to take. Thankfully, this blog is still primarily a hobby and not a necessary income stream for me, so I have the privilege to take risks that other folks with similar identities may not.

One of the things I love most about this blog/brand is its constant evolution and capacity for change. I stepped into 2019 challenging myself to confront those awkward or problematic moments that exemplify the disparity between words & actions within the sex education/writing arena. It’s cute when you get tagged in a Twitter thread for folks looking to follow sex writers of color and your site gets boosted and you get a few hundred new followers, but what about when you create a call to action for marginalized white folks to examine how they’re complicit in racism and there’s silence?

I don’t believe in perfect politics, so this whole honesty and challenging the status quo thing is probably something I’ll slip up on or otherwise fail to hold myself and others accountable to as time goes on. I’m writing this as a form of accountability and an attempt to build community to open the doors for radical honesty. And just like I plan on putting myself out there to hold folks accountable, I’m also ready to own up to any mistakes I make along the way while figuring this out. No one is above critique, regardless of their identities or position in a community.

My hope is that by pushing myself to be honest and use my voice the way I’ve always intended, I can get that much closer to making this space, this brand, this identity what I first imagined it to be all those years ago.

Sometimes Sorry Isn't Enough

I low-key wish I had a better, more legitimate, reason as to why I’ve been gone for so long, but the truth is that the past few months have really put me through the wringer emotionally and I couldn’t focus on repairing myself and my relationships and function as “Sexology Bae”. It felt disingenuous.

Instead of spending 18 paragraphs going into detail about everything that has gone wrong in my life recently, I found it better to welcome myself back into the blogosphere with a reflection and unpacking of the lessons I’ve learned over the past few months. My general goal as a writer is to write things I’d want to read, and this is something I really need to hear right now.

In relationships, romantic, platonic, or whatever, we’re bound to do things that hurt people we care about. Sometimes it’s by accident. Other times it’s an intentional lashing out because of our own pain. And occasionally it’s that fucked up I-know-what-I’m-doing-is-wrong-but-I-don’t-want-to-consider-consequences-right-now-because-I-think-the-short-term-benefit-is-worth-it. It might even be a combination of the three, but the point of it is that the result is the same—someone you care about is hurt and it’s almost completely up to you to fix it.

Image of the author, 2018.

Image of the author, 2018.

I don’t believe in taking complete ownership over anyone’s healing but my own for a myriad of reasons, but we have some measure of accountability to people we’ve hurt. It’s hard to process when you’re as apologetic as can be but that isn’t enough. Vowing to change your actions—and actually changing them—might not be enough. I’ve had to sit with this feeling for a while now, and let me tell you, it’s not fun.

What do you do when you’ve done all the “right” things and still get hit with “i’m good luv, enjoy” or the more timely “thank u, next”? If you’re me, you wallow in self-pity, completely isolate yourself, and pray that the other person (or people) comes around and doesn’t leave you hanging. And then you eventually face reality and start to move on with your life knowing that you’re the friend/ex/lover/whoever that someone thinks about when they have a flash of emotional pain.

Not owing anyone forgiveness is a very powerful sentiment and one that I agree(d) with, until I was on the receiving end of it. Don’t get me wrong, I still agree with it now, but it SUCKS to move on and take your L knowing that there’s a very good chance someone you once had an extremely strong connection with wants absolutely nothing to do with you ever again, and it’s your fault. We want to believe that we’re fundamentally good people and because we’re good people, our mistakes can and should be forgiven regardless of their actual impacts on another person.

This may come across as me trying to position people who hurt people as the true victims. Let me clearly state, I am not trying to do that at all. If you’re an abuser or otherwise intentionally cause people harm you can go straight to hell. What I am saying though, is that we are all people, capable of very genuine and very horrible sometimes-unintentional mistakes.

No one should feel obligated to hold grace for someone who caused them harm, though, and that’s a very painful lesson I think we all learn at some point or another in our lives when we’re the offending party. Right now is that time for me.

As someone who’s caring to a fault and more often than not puts the needs of others ahead of my own, I’ve mostly been the injured party in my dealings with others, not the one who caused hurt. But I’m on the other side of the fence now and working to heal the pieces of myself that were broken enough to allow me to hurt others and find comfort in these lessons. It’s easy to go on an apology tour with the people you’ve hurt and run down the list of ways you can (and have) change(d) in order to convince them you’re worthy of being part of their life again. It’s harder to do that and live with knowing that, at least for right now, it’s not good enough. And very well may not ever be.

Yes, time heals wounds and changes our perspectives, but I’m not banking on that. There’s always a chance it might not and I’ll end up in a worse situation than before trying to make amends with someone when I spent months or years refusing to confront myself and my actions because I thought it would all turn around for me.

I’m coming to terms with being okay with not being okay with what I’ve done and the resulting fallout. It’s something I have to carry with myself, and much like accepting any other flaw undoing the shame and stigma of being a kind of shitty person is sticky because it’s new territory for me. But I’m back, as much as I can be, with new perspectives and a lot of growth I’m ready to share with you all.

Conference Bae Part Two: Sex Down South ATL 2018!

Many thanks to my sponsor Spectrum Boutique for their assistance with my travel for the event, as well as to the Sex Down South team!

This conference season has been a whirlwind for me, and it’s only my first! I went from not going to any sexuality conferences to attending two within the span of a month, thanks to scholarships, sponsorships, and friends who helped me.

For the uninitiated, Sex Down South is a Black-founded, Queer and POC centered sexuality conference that takes place in Atlanta, Georgia. 2018 marked their third year. I’ve wanted to go to this conference for two years now, but the stars finally aligned just so and I was able to make it. i’ve had quite a few people ask me to compare and contrast Sex Down South with the Sexual Freedom Summit (check out my reflection here), but I’ve decided I won’t do that because highlighting differences between the two may make it seem like I’m positioning one as better than the other, when in reality they serve completely different audiences and I had an amazing time at both.

There’s something to be said about a space that aims to center Southern Blackness. I’m proud to be from the south, and I don’t see myself settling down anywhere else. Regionalism plays as big a role in how we approach sex education work as any of our other identities but frequently gets left out of the conversation, or only becomes the center of conversation when people feel the need to drag the South for being backwards or out of touch.

The world operates differently in the South, that’s a fact. There’s a myriad of reasons why, directly tied to slavery and religious patriarchy, but the major movements for justice in this country have started here too. The way that folks in the north, even so-called progressives, reduce us to stereotypes of ignorance and enemies of progress, erases the organizing and educating that people have done to make the south more equitable. There’s so much power in holding a conference that is open about sexuality in one of the biggest cities in the highly-religious South and I don’t think people who aren’t from here truly understand why that’s so important.

For me, Sex Down South started with a too-early plane ride Thursday morning which meant that by the time I got to the hotel, after I caught up with all my friends I was running on fumes and had to sit out most of the day’s sessions to sleep and recharge. I ended up only making it to the keynote by Ericka Hart, about the role that pleasure takes in liberation movements.

I had trouble connecting with it, but I’m chalking that up to exhaustion and the realization that I don’t think about my work being directly connected to Black liberation. I guess it is, but I haven’t given it much thought or intention for that matter. This ties into my broader thoughts about “who am I writing for”, and “why do I write”, which requires more unpacking outside of this post.

Thursday night, I went to Magic City, the world-famous strip club. I had never been to a strip club before so i really didn’t know what to expect, because I didn’t want to go off just what I’ve seen on TV and in movies. IT WAS AWESOME. I’m afraid to go to any other strip clubs now because I’m afraid they won’t live up to Magic City.

Friday, the first session I attended was “You Let Her Do What?” Examinations on Polyamory and Masculinity with Bex Caputo and Kevin Patterson. I live-tweeted it, and you can find the thread here. This workshop was one of my personal “must-sees” of the conference. While I’ve known that monogamy wasn’t ideal for me for years, my relationship hasn’t been polyamorous for very long.

I’m often at a loss for helping my partner through his feelings when trying to combat the issues that toxic masculinity presents within our polyamory, so I was excited to hear people with different relationships to masculinity talk about their experiences. The workshop evolved into a conversation about undoing the damage that toxic masculinity causes, which was cathartic and healing, but ultimately kind of disappointing to me because we never got back around to the connection with polyamory.

Scaled replica of a human clitoris, courtesy of  Aria !

Scaled replica of a human clitoris, courtesy of Aria!

The great people from The Pleasure Chest hosted Lunch & Learn Mini-Workshops all weekend, and Friday afternoon I was able to make it to the session hosted by my pal Carly: Using the 5 Senses to Create an Erotic Scene, threaded here. It is abbreviated, as my UberEATS came in the middle of the session and I had to leave early.

My second full session of the day was Fuckstrology: Sex Languages According to the Stars with Gigi Robinson. I know plenty of people think astrology is hokey, but I don’t. I consider it as useful a spiritual guidance system as anything else. Learning about my chart more in-depth was beneficial because astrology can easily get overwhelming when you’re trying to learn on your own. The workshop focused on Mars and Venus placements, as Venus controls how we like to receive love and affection and Mars controls how we like to give it.

Each sign has different ways they like to give and receive affection, which when taken with your chart as a whole, can explain parts of your personality. For example, my Venus is in Pisces. On its own, that means that I’m very sensitive and want constant affection from my partners. But when taken with my materialistic Taurus sun, it manifests as a desire for gifts or food when a partner wants to show me they care, the more luxurious the better. If you’re interested in doing your (or a partner’s) birth chart, you can find the one I use here.

From left to right, my conference baes:  Victoria  of Pink Lotus Bud,  Ari  of Who Do You Kink You Are? Podcast,  Aria  of Your Heavenly Body. and yours truly.

From left to right, my conference baes: Victoria of Pink Lotus Bud, Ari of Who Do You Kink You Are? Podcast, Aria of Your Heavenly Body. and yours truly.

The last session I attended on Friday was my favorite of the whole conference: Race and Desire Roundtable with Robyn Henderson-Espinoza, Aida Manduley, M’kali-Hashiki, and Kevin Patterson, moderated by Tristan Taormino. I live tweeted it here, but as a disclaimer my tweets are mostly paraphrases of what the speakers were saying.

As a Black woman in a relationship with a white man, I’m constantly thinking about race, white supremacy, and the roles they play in how my partner and I interact and express our love. I spent the first few years of my relationship feeling like I needed to apologize for or otherwise justify dating him, because it was implied and sometimes outright said to me that I can’t really be about Black liberation if i’m dating a white person. This made me insecure in my relationship and hurt us in a lot of ways. I didn’t feel like I could look to my partner to make me feel better, because, to me, he was the cause of this conflict. I would sometimes take my insecurity out on him which he didn’t deserve. We’re in a much better place now, mostly because my feelings about what it takes to do “the work” now go beyond judgments based on identity politics.

The session took so many different routes and left me with a lot to think about in my own relationship as well as how I think and talk about sexuality. It requires more than just seeing and naming explicit instances of white supremacy in the sexuality/sex ed community. It necessitates understanding the insidiousness of whiteness and how white supremacy’s main goal is to protect itself. This can manifest in actionable goals like being honest about how some of us have different labor demands placed on us for less pay and interrogating how we support white supremacy in our sexual lives. Sure, you may not have an explicit “whites only” policy for your genitals, but do you only have partners of certain classes, formal education levels, or other social markers that perpetuate white supremacist ideals of “the perfect partner”?

For people of color, it requires undoing the messaging that leads us to police the behavior of ourselves and others. When we engage in the woke olympics, we’re ultimately left exhausted from the inter-community conflict, which leaves us no more mental or emotional capacity to process and undo the damage white supremacy has caused. Even when we’re not explicitly desiring whiteness, we still have to grapple with how its benefits are dangled in front of our communities as a goal to aspire to.

Saturday brought my most introspective workshop of the conference, Uses of the Erotic in Times of Resistance by M’kali-Hashiki. I’m familiar with Audre Lorde’s essay, Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power, but this workshop allowed me the opportunity to take it out of the theoretical academic context in which I knew it and make it tangible, practical, and livable. I’ve been feeling very disconnected from myself for a while now, and I had so much going on right before the conference that I almost didn’t go.

Holding space with the other workshop attendees and connecting back with myself helped me remember why I started writing in the first place, as a form of release in a world I felt didn’t hear me otherwise. We went through different breath work techniques, and it was grounding to feel and release some of the energy blockages in my body. I’m still struggling to maintain that balance now that I’m back at home but the workshop was a reprieve.

It almost goes without saying, but I look for any opportunity to take my pants off. Shout out to Lil Kim for the pose inspo.

It almost goes without saying, but I look for any opportunity to take my pants off. Shout out to Lil Kim for the pose inspo.

Saturday night culminated in the Big Bang, a huge party with performers and giveaways. My favorite moment of the night, hands down, was when the contestants of a lap dance competition had to dance to “Stomp” by Kirk Franklin. This is what I was getting at earlier when I talked about the intersections of Southerness and Blackness and why that’s so important to see in a sexuality conference. Watching people twerk to a gospel song I grew up hearing was so beautiful I almost cried.

I just felt seen and recognized in that moment, in a way I don’t feel often. And that’s what this conference was for me. An opportunity to share space with people who weren’t asking anything of me other than for me to show up. I didn’t feel invisible, I didn’t feel exoticized, but I felt validated. I didn’t even get to all the personal connections I made, but suffice it to say that I found my people. Sex Down South 2019 is already on my calendar for next year, but I’ll remember to take Vitamin C ahead of time (con flu sucks).