Ask Slutever: Lesbian Porn, and Myths about Female Intimacy

By Karley Sciortino //

I’m a straight, 35-year-old mother of two, and I’ve been plagued with a question that I find rather confusing. So, lesbians use dildoes, toys, etc. It’s erotic, toys makes you come faster, and you get orgasms one after the other—great, right? But where is the intimacy? The sex is erotic, and more orgasms, I get it, but in terms of actually making love, where is the passion? Don’t you need a balance? How do lesbians make love with meaningful intensity? I’m an avid porn watcher and recently my husband wanted to watch lesbian porn. I watched too, and it was interesting, however I wondered about the intimacy level. I suppose gays can hold each other and kiss whilst making love, and straight people can use a dildo, which kind of makes this questionable. I am not being offensive, I am just really curious. Annabel

As someone who’s had serious relationships with both men and women, I feel very adept at answering this question. (Like sometimes I’m realistically just taking a stab in the dark, ya know? But this one I got.) First of all, I need to stress that lesbian porn has nothing to do with how two women actually have sex! Like at all. 99% of the time, lesbian porn is a fantasy scenario created for straight men, where feminine, mostly-heterosexual women are touching and licking each other in a way that displays their bodies for a male audience. Believe me, in the “real world” it’s not normal for two college roommates to spend their afternoons in full makeup and thigh-highs, using a double-ended dildo on the kitchen floor and then fucking each other with their high heels… or whatever. Lesbian sex can be equally as loving, intense and transcendent—and equally as disappointing and detached—as straight sex.

I’m kind of amazed, sort of in a good way, that you asked this question, because I feel like the stereotype of lesbian sex tends to be the exact opposite of this. When people think of two girls banging, they tend to think of something really romantic, slow, sensual—basically, “feelings-ey”—because, unlike men, women are reductively thought to be “super emotional” and to need a deep connection with someone in order to enjoy sex with them. Whereas straight sex is known to range from incredibly loving, to kinky, to boring, to blacked-out Tinder hook-ups. Since I’ve been with my girlfriend, I often feel I have to fight to be like, “Hey, we can be disgusting and dirty too!” Maybe you should watch Blue is the Warmest Color, because there’s a few very intense lesbian sex scenes in that movie that are very passionate, loving and hot, and don’t involve toys at all (or, there’s no toys as far as I can remember). Also, the Chilean movie Young and Wild, about a bisexual sex blogger, has some very realistic lesbian sex in it.

Also, not all lesbians use toys. My girlfriend and I hardly ever use them. Maybe 40% of the time I use a vibrator, but that ratio is about the same as when I’m having sex with men. We’ve used a strap-on like 4 times ever in almost 3 years, and every time we use it I’m just loling to myself about the fact that we’re using a giant plastic purple fake dick.

But all of this is kind of beside the point, because the use of sex toys doesn’t determine whether a sexual experience is intimate or not. Intimacy is certainly not about toys, and it’s about a lot more than just sex— it’s about connecting with another person on an emotional level. Sure, a vibrator can help you cum, but the cumming is really secondary to the closeness you feel for your partner anyway. And yes, as you put it: “gays can hold each other and kiss whilst making love.” Lol, duh! Gay people are just people—shock, horror!—and gay sex is just sex.

Tenga Sex Toy Giveaway

Tenga Toys Slutever

As some of you know, I’ve been hosting the new season of the VICE web series, People Who Just Had Sex. The show is sponsored by Tenga, the Japanese sex toy brand. I’m a big fan of Tenga because they make discrete vibrators that aren’t so fucking loud that they ruin the whole experience of sex (as many vibrators do). I also like the aesthetic of Tenga’s toys–for example, they did a line of mens toys that came in Keith Haring-print cases, and a separate line with art by Jiraiya, a famous homoerotic manga artist. Also, the vibrators for girls are really cute, pink, and feel like marshmallows.

Anywayz, the lovely people at Tenga were kind of enough to give me some sex toys to give away to you guys, my readers, as an early Christmas present–yay! The three toys above are what I have to give away. (Note the festive still-life I created in order to display them for you.) All you have to do to be eligible for the giveaway is to sign up for the Slutever newsletter by typing your name and email address where it says “newsletter” on the righthand sidebar of this page. I just recently created the newsletter, and I promise I won’t bombard you with crap, but rather will brighten your email with some sexy sunshine every other week or so.

Here’s what I’m giving away:

1. The large cylindrical toy is the Double Hole Cup. It’s for boys, and it’s basically a fake vagina/butthole that you can fuck from both ends, and each end feels different. It’s also good for gay couples because you can fuck it simultaneously. Watch an instructional video HERE.

2. The egg shaped one is the Egg Cloud. It’s for boys, and it’s basically a super stretchy egg-shaped masturbator that feels like dipping your penis into a cloud, apparently. It looks tiny, but you’d be surprised how much it stretches (I’ve seen it used). Watch an instructional video HERE.

3. The Iroha is a tiny vibrator that’s quiet, which makes it great for use during sex, and it’s also tiny, meaning it’s perfect for tossing in your purse if you’re the type of woman who likes to masturbate on the go. Watch an instructional video HERE.

On Wednesday Dec 5th I will choose the winners at random, and then email the winners for info on where to mail your lovely Christmas gift :)

Sex Toys Are The New Couples Therapy

Is a knife a sex toy? Pic by Michel Comte for Purple :)

Sci-fi masturbation machines, lesbian tool kits, boyfriends who are scared of your vibrator, the appropriate time to introduce your horsetail butt-plug to your new crush, and other stories… Read my latest Breathless column for Vogue HERE :)

Do Gurls like Toys More than Boyz?

This was originally written for

On the most recent episode of VICE’s People Who Just Had Sex, I interviewed a dominatrix named Samantha and her longterm boyfriend about bondage, love-making and masturbation. What didn’t make it into the edit was our conversation about how, judging from our own sexual experiences, women tend to be more comfortable using sex toys than men, both during sex and masturbation.

But why is that? I literally have a giant bag full of fake vaginas in my apartment right now (thus is the life of a sex writer), and I can’t even give them away. My girl friends all casually have vibrators on their nightstands, and swap sex-toy recommendations, but many of the guys I’ve dated have seemed embarrassed by the idea of sexual paraphernalia. Also, some have felt threatened by my wanting to use a vibrator during sex. I decided to consult my favorite sex therapist, June Tomaso-Wood, to ask her if it’s true that girls like toys more than boys.

So, is it true?
June Tomaso-Wood: Well, it’s true that some men find it emasculating to admit that they want or need a device in their sexual pay—even if it’s a girlfriend’s vibrator, which could potentially be stimulating to him as well—because young men want to be viewed as virile, sexually self-confident, and capable of satisfying a woman. There’s a lot of shame around sex for men in this culture, so even though masturbation is not necessarily taboo, because of course everybody masturbates, a lot of men choose to keep their mouth shut about it.

But are some of your male patients interested in toys?
Some are, yeah. I just sold an 82-year-old man a vibrator. He has a 92-year-old girlfriend, and he called me up and said, “The previous vibrator you sent me broke. Can you send me something better that’s going to last longer?” I kid you not. His girlfriend loves sex, but he can’t get as hard as he once could anymore, so to enable intercourse they use a product which decreases performance anxiety in the male, then he uses a bullet to get as hard an erection as possible, and he uses cock rings to keep the blood in his penis. During this she stimulates all her nerve endings down there with a dual stimulation vibrator, and then they have intercourse.

Wow, that’s amazing, but also seems really laborious. But I guess that’s OK because they’re old, and probably don’t have many other plans. Anyway, what about masturbation? The vibe I’ve gotten from some guys is, “I don’t need to jerk-off because I get laid all the time.”
What that signifies to me is cultural problem. Masturbation and sex are separate desires. Some men feel like it’s a feather in their cap to have many sexual conquests, and feel they need to be presenting themselves asa Don Juan and therefore don’t need to be masturbating.

When I’m having a lot of sex, I actually think I masturbate more. I always say: sex is like carbs, if you cut it from your diet, eventually you stop craving it. But as soon as I eat a bagel, all I can thinking about is eating another bagel.
Right, so often if you’re in the courting stage of a relationship, or really just in any exciting relationship, your dopamine receptors are very acute, so you’re sexually responsive, which means you’re thinking about sex all the time. And when you’re having a lot of sex you can remain engorged in the vaginal area, so you want to climax again and again.

As a girl, what are you supposed to do if your boyfriend gets weird about you wanting to use a vibrator during sex?
Well, that’s just an ego thing. He’s thinking, “What, I’m not enough?” They feel that their penis should be the be-all-end-all of your sexual life. But in reality, a vibrator can stimulate all of your 8,000 nerve endings very quickly, which gets you very wet and engorged with blood, and your muscles down there tighten, and a penis just can’t do it all—it can’t stimulate the woman on the outside. So you just have to explain to your partners that the toy isn’t a threat or a replacement, it’s just an added bonus. Of course, nothing can ever replace the penis, or the closeness of being with a partner.

Do you ever suggest to your make patients that they should use sex toys?
I’ve had men come to me addicted to porn, who are having trouble getting excited about intercourse, or who can’t reach orgasm during sex. See, when we watch porn, the dopamine receptors in our brains become very stimulated, so it’s exhilarating. Men know exactly how quickly and tightly to stimulate themselves while watching porn, and can reach orgasm quickly. But the problem is, when they then have actual sex, a real woman’s vagina doesn’t feel as good as their own hand, and they’re so depleted of dopamine that sex doesn’t feel as exhilarating. They’re used to holding their penises so tightly that it becomes less attractive to have intercourse than to masturbate watching airbrushed pornstars. So that’s when I transition men to male masturbator sleeves, because the sleeve is not gripped so tightly.

Yeah, Dan savage is always telling guys not to hold it so tight when jerking-off, because no vaj or butthole or throat will ever going to be as tight as your death grip.

Good Vibes all Around @ Opening Ceremony

 Me posing with my toyz. Pics by Matthew Kelly

I reviewed the new Tenga Iroha sex toys for Opening Ceremony. Now re-posted below:

Being a sex writer, erotic brands often send me things like vibrators and other sex paraphernalia, hoping I’ll give their product a shout-out somewhere on this grand ol’ internet. More often than not I only try the toy once before deciding that it sucks, and then throw it behind my bed where it stays forever in what I now refer to as the Vibrator Graveyard. My general thought about sex toys is: Why have sex with a loud, scary machine when I could just use my own elegant hand instead?

However, more recently sex toy manufacturers seem to be catching onto the fact that not all women want to masturbate with jackhammers (especially when we have roommates)! The best pleasure playthings I’ve come across in a very long while, hands down, come from the Japanese brand Tenga. As you may already know, for the past year Opening Ceremony have stocked a line of Tenga’s sex toys for men, which come in extremely cool, Keith Haring-print cases. And now, finally, Tenga has released a line of pleasure toys for women, so us girls can have fun too.

Called Iroha, the brand is designed for women, by women. (This seems ideal to me, given the lack of knowledge most men seem to have regarding what it takes to making a girl cum. Jeez…) The whole vibe of Iroha is very Japanese, from the product design to the general cuteness. The toys even look and feel like Japanese moshi, and I mean that in the best possible way. Like they’re sooo soft. I mean next-level, marshmallow soft. Holding one, you feel confused about whether you want to have sex with it or eat it, it’s just so tempting. The toys are also extremely quiet, to the point where they’re barely even audible, which is something I haven’t seen accomplished by any other vibrator before. They’re also very simple to use, and each toy only has two, non-intimidating buttons. (We want our sex toys to give us orgasms, not make us feel confused and helpless, thanks!) Plus, they’re a convenient size, easily fitting in the palm of your hand, or a small handbag, or even in your pocket (for lesbians, duh). And in order to recharge the toys you just lie them down onto the little recharge pad that comes in the box. See, easy as pie!

There are three toys currently available from Iroha, all with slight variations on the same design. One is partially insertable, (it doesn’t go in very far, but realistically how much stuff do you actually need up there, ya know?), one has a little indent that sits nicely around your clit (that’s my personal fave), and one is shaped like a light bulb and just feel good I guess (it’s the mysterious one). And all three are equally good with a partner as they are alone, because again, the quietness allows you to focus on the sex, rather than being distracted by the scary jackhammer sound. Good vibes for everyone!