Every year the UPenn V–Day Campaign hosts a representative from the popular New York City sex shop, Babeland (word has it Beyoncé and Jay–Z shop there). The Babeland ambassador dishes out sex–positive, female–friendly advice for getting it on. This year, we at Street sent three reporters to learn about G–spots, frenulums and everything in between, because fuck binaries.
My night started minutes before the event when I realized that I had not a drop of alcohol in my apartment. Luckily, I managed to find a flask in a box in the corner of my room, unopened since last summer. Good thing whiskey doesn’t go bad. I took a swig and stuck it in my pocket. The night was off to a good start.
I walked into the event, where a lively woman was telling us to use ‘I’ statements when voicing our preferences. She advised us to make a list of sex acts that we would say yes, no and maybe to. She included a story about a girl that pulled up a Google Doc of her list in bed. I wondered how a guy would react if I brought that up. “Hold on a sec, this is great, I just want you to look at this one thing.”
I can’t say that my intoxication level really affected my perception of the event. Given my tendency to go on drunken feminist rants, it honestly felt all too natural. The woman was blithely straightforward and clearly adept at talking about topics that would otherwise have been awkward. She didn’t say anything that I didn’t already know, but it was probably helpful for those who aren’t quite as avid a Googler as I am. Although to be fair, I did not know that you could reach the G–spot through the butt. You won that one, Babeland.
That being said, I think the most important takeaway was not any specific information, but getting people more using the dialogue necessary for sexual communication. Hearing a woman assert, “What guy doesn’t want to know how to fuck you better?” helps break the culture of sexual passivity among women.
Where I saw the most room for improvement was in the attendance. I noticed a total of three men in the room, and my experience as a hetero–woman has led me to conclude that straight men are the ones that most needed to hear this talk. Is it too much to ask for a Key and Peele–style cunnilingus intervention? Why do I doubt that most guys have ever spent an afternoon scouring Cosmopolitan magazine for tips on how to give head? It was a great event, and I think empowering women to recognize their own needs is the first step. But for the love of pussy, straight men, get your asses to a Moregasm event. Drunk rant over.
There’s nothing like an hour of sex–positive conversation to remind me of how terrible all of my formal, public school sex–education has been. Throughout the entire event, I keep entering a strange meditative state filled with disgruntled thoughts about ~society~ only focusing on cis–male pleasure when it comes to sex. I’m realizing that even when intoxicated, I take no off–days when it comes to thinking angry thoughts about the heteropatriarchy. Just as well.
The event itself is fun and engaging. The Babeland sales rep is an upbeat, pleasant woman who is utterly comfortable with rattling off synonyms for genitals while explaining the function of a particular sex toy or act. Even though I know it’s part of her job, I’m still impressed. I privately wonder if there’ll ever be a day I’ll be cool with saying “cock” without feeling like I’m in a cheesy porno.
The rep touches on a wide range of maneuvers to get the biggest bang for your buck. One suggestion: If you’re in cowgirl (or “cow–person,” the term she said we should be using so it's not so gendered) position, arch your hips forward. Good things will come. I try to focus on her other recommendations but accidentally zone in and out during inopportune moments. There are three separate points where I tune back in, confused to to see her holding a giant model of a vagina. I’m not really following what’s going on, but I think I support it.
Overall, Moregasm wasn’t full of mind–blowing sex revelations, but it also wasn’t meant to be. It was an hour of fun and funny dialogue which empowered everyone to take greater control of what they want for themselves in the bedroom.
At the end of the day, Moregasm is there to remind everyone of this: everyone who wants good sex should be having good sex.
Wake up America.
Today, I learned, that, holy shit, people get creative when it comes to sex. Also, sex toys have really creative names (Succulent Blossom). Seriously. I didn't even understand how some of these sex toys were supposed to work. That is, until Leah, our friendly next–door Babeland representative explained them to us.
Anyway, I came to the event because of a conversation I had with my mother (of course, besides loving the V–Day Movement). She told me that she didn't understand why VagMons would throw an event at which a sex shop brand ambassador would sell sex toys. Though I didn't admit it, I knew the reason deep down why; it was the reason why I couldn’t admit it in the first place. Women’s sexuality is crazy repressed. I couldn’t tell my mom: "Hey, vibrators are empowering for women in a society where we are supposed to be prudes on the streets and freaks in the sheets."
It’s important to have these conversations because women aren’t always in charge of their own pleasure—whether with themselves, or with a partner. Props to the V–day Movement for making it such a front and center dialogue. Having vibrators, dildos and miscellanea (if they are for you and you feel comfortable with them) is important, because, well, you learn what you want and what you don’t want. You become the captain of your boat, and you learn how to rock the shit out of it. You don’t depend on anyone else to do it. You shouldn't depend on anyone else! Though sex, of course, is a two way street. But it's also important for you to know how to have sex with yourself so that you know exactly what you want, as well as what you feel comfortable with giving.
Thus, besides talking about female masturbation, Leah drove home a really important point throughout her conference: Conversations about pleasure with your sexual partners are also important. No matter what sex toy you’re using with them (or aren’t), your partners need to be on the same page as you. Be open about your pleasure and your preferences.
I also learned the following fun fact: sexual acts can be linked to higher levels of the antibody immunoglobulin A, which protects us from the common cold. So like, win–win? You get (maybe) an orgasm AND you spare yourself from a seasonal cold and a runny nose during a freezing week in January! So why not boost your immune system while having some R&R with yourself—or with someone else?
At the end of the conference, there were toys available for sale. It was amazing to see women talk so openly amongst each other about what they were thinking about buying, what did and didn’t work for them. I loved seeing women taking charge of their own sexuality and pleasure and not being ashamed of it.