Imagining An End to Sexual Shame (and an Invite to a Twitter Party)

Remember when your daydreams involved unicorns, exotic vacations and working as a pop DJ in the mountains of India? (Er, maybe that was just me.) Nowadays I fantasize about more important things, like seeing an end to sexual shame.

Imagine what puberty alone would be like if we actually liked and respected our bodies and sexuality beforehand? Can you even visualize it? I’m no psychic, but I can almost guarantee that it would be less of a dizzying world-flip. It might even be empowering.

Sexual shame

Considering the demeaning societal messages and long-held myths surrounding female sexuality, I don’t think it’s any coincidence that girls are at such high risk for depression, anxiety, heightened stress and eating disorders from adolescence on. If only they all saw the glory in their bodies, in their capacity for pleasure, in their innate sexuality—no matter what its specifics. #WhatAWonderfulWorldItWouldBe

Here’s what I think (and lots of research suggests) an end to sexual shame would bring:

♥ Less depression, anxiety and stress

♥ Fewer battles with disordered eating

♥ Happier, healthy intimate relationships

♥ Fewer sexual health problems

♥ Women having more gratifying, orgasmic sex

♥ Less beating oneself up for being “too” or “not enough” anything

♥ A heck of a lot more joyful, authentic living

So how do we get there? It starts in our own lives—making the decision to move forward, then taking the necessary steps to do so. Every effort to more fully embrace our sexuality is a worthy one.

To gab with me, Dr. Megan Fleming and the Artemis Films crew about this subject, play trivia hosted by the super groovy Jess Witkins and potentially win an awesome prize from Good Clean Love, hop onto Twitter between 7 & 8pm PST this Thursday, October 29. Search for the hashtag #WomenKickAss. Learn more more on the Facebook event page. I hope to see you there!

twitter party fb post r1

What steps have you taken to minimize shame around your sexuality? Will you be joining us on Thursday? I love hearing from you!

Eating Disorders and Sexuality: My Interview on Real, Raw and Related

You know what I love? Besides Girl Boners, Oprah and dogs?

How did I know you’d guess those…? 😉

Spectacular people who are passionate about making a positive difference in the world—even those I semi-terrify at first encounter. Kidding (mostly!) about that last bit.


Before asking me to get a bit vulnerable for her viewers, Kendra, the host of Real, Raw and Related, had to allow the same for herself. (You’ll see what I mean when you watch the video below.) Her willingness to do so is just one of her attributes. Since overcoming bulimia, Kendra left a promising corporate career, setting out on a journey to discover, she says, what really turns her on. She now coaches other women on living more authentically.

Awesomeness, all over the place.

In our chat, she asked insightful questions about my food and body image battles, how sexual embracement helped me heal and how we can all better embrace our bodies, sexuality and selves. I shared parts of my story I’ve never shared publicly before, including the time I was nearly arrested (whoops…), and factors other than control that contribute to disordered eating. As daunting as these issues can be, we managed to have a lot of fun.

I hope you enjoy the episode as much as we did gabbing!

What did you think of our chat? How has sexual embracement, or a lack thereof, affected your body image or vice versa? I love hearing from you. 

**After prepping this, I learned that Lynn Greffe, the long-time president and CEO of the National Eating Disorders Association, died of cancer. This post is dedicated to her legacy, which is too beautiful for words. May she rest in peace!

Hope, Surrender and Answering the Call: My Journey To Meeting Oprah

“Create the highest, grandest vision for your life. Then let every step move you in that direction.” – Oprah Winfrey

For years as kid I wrote letters to Oprah—lots of letters. Daily letters. Most revealed brilliant ideas for show topics, all coincidentally featuring me. How about a show about a 9-year-old girl who moved to the suburbs, loves green and avoids foods with the word chunk in the title? I have no idea why Harpo folks didn’t leap at that one… Other times, I encouraged her to follow her dreams, because well, she obviously needed that. 😉

Oprah letter

One of my letters, which missed the mail 

Years later, when I began speaking publicly about the eating disorder I’d been diagnosed with while modeling in Paris, I sent her team a press kit. Finally, the pitch wasn’t centered on me; I sincerely wanted to share my story, with hopes of helping others. Not long after, one of her producers called to see if I’d like to appear with three other women in a special on eating disorders.

Then the Columbine High School shooting massacre happened. The eating disorder episode was postponed, understandably. As the possibility of appearing on Oprah’s show diminished, I was disappointed, but—to my surprise—not crushed, figuring it must not have been the right time. I wouldn’t recognize the accuracy of that thought until a year later, when I relapsed. Set again on needlessly shedding pounds, I grew hooked on dangerous diet pills, married someone I barely knew and made plans to move to Miami. There, my life would fall apart in order for me to be made whole again—fully this time.

A decade later, healthy and happy in Los Angeles, my admiration for Oprah remains. When I learned that she would be visiting California on her Live Your Best Life Tour, I knew I had to attend and, if possible, meet her. Sadly, the VIP tickets, which included in-person time, seemed to vanish immediately. Grateful for the chance to attend on a very good, if not the best, ticket, I surrendered the rest: what will be, will be.

Then my beloved bulldog, Zoe, who’d been fighting a rare form of cancer, began nearing her final days. I couldn’t seem to write at my usual velocity, but felt I owed it to Zoe and myself to dream big, doing short bursts of dream-work between rest and her care.

Savoring time with my precious Z

Savoring time with my precious Z

In one of those bursts, I thought, “I want to speak for crowds of awesome women.” Google led me to such an opportunity at the National Women’s Studies Association Conference in Puerto Rico, the largest feminist scholar conference in the world. When I saw check boxes on the application for PhDs, MAs and other academic accolades, the inner-naysayer Self Doubt echoed, “I’m not enough.” Then I spotted a category labeled independent scholar. I may as well try…

I quickly wrote and submitted a proposal and weeks later, learned it had been accepted. My doctorate in the School of Hard Knocks had been enough! I am enough.

Shortly after Zoe’s passing, I realized that the NWSA event and Oprah’s were scheduled for the same weekend. Heartbroken, I emailed The Life You Want coordinators, explaining my schedule conflict and what Oprah has long meant to me. Given the opportunity, I wrote, I would fly anywhere, even to sit in the furthest-away seat if I could transfer my non-transferable ticket to another weekend. I’d begun to lose hope when they called, asking if I’d like to attend the weekend in Houston as a VIP—which would include meeting Oprah.

At first, I’d blamed my foggy, grieving mind for the earlier schedule confusion. Now I don’t see it as erroneous at all. I probably wouldn’t have applied to speak, had I kept the dates straight. If Zoe hadn’t needed extra care, I would’ve been writing articles that day, rather than scoping out speaking gigs. If I hadn’t applied, I wouldn’t have had the chance to meet Oprah. See how things work out when we “do the work and then surrender?”

I hadn’t thought of it that way until Oprah described the approach as such in Houston this past weekend—an experience I consider one of the most beautiful gifts of my life.

After spending a day mingling with other attendees and entrepreneurs at O-Town, a pop-up, Oprah-themed village, I lined up with other VIPs at the Toyota Center entrance, retrieved my gracious gift bag then found my seat in the fourth row.

When Oprah appeared on stage in an elegant yellow gown, I cried. She may be as human as the rest of us, but to me and countless others, she represents so much more.



The theme of the event was honoring our calling—our one true purpose in life. As I explained on the air yesterday, I’d sensed mine, to use my voice to help others, by age five, sketching an image of a yellow-haired girl clutching a microphone for a class project.

Later that year, the Oprah Winfrey Show premiered. Throughout my youth, Oprah taught me never to see my dreams as odd or unspeakable. No matter how unusual I felt (which was very and often), I could watch her show and feel somehow validated. Whether featuring makeovers, celebrity interviews, stories of triumph through tragedy or hard-hitting controversy, she brought compassion and light to people and stories in ways that made the world seem smaller, more loving and chock-full of possibilities.

And as she struggled with dieting and body dislike, I battled my own food and body image demons—which, in reality, had little to do with food or weight; I was afraid of living large, and desperate to disappear. Early in my recovery from anorexia, when even my dreams were controlled by the self-loathing-monster ED, her mere existence made my life more livable. For the single hour of the day her show aired, I felt less alone, able to pay attention to something other than my crippling self-talk and fears. During sleepless nights, I’d sit in her virtual chat rooms for obese people and overeaters; we spoke the same language.

Once I learned that I would be meeting Oprah in Houston, I planned to write her a letter, explaining all she’s meant to me—but letters weren’t allowed. How could I possibly, in a matter of minutes, tell her all I wished to say? When I shared my concern with my husband, he said, “Maybe you’re not supposed to be there to give her anything, but to receive.”

Can we say ah-ha moment?

So that’s precisely what I planned to do: receive—a practice I’ve been working to sharpen in other life areas. Baring my soul might have uplifted Oprah; who knows? It would also have taken more of her time and energy at the end of a long night in which she’d already shared hers for thousands and delayed others’ time with her. Spilling my heart would have been more about me than Oprah. Do I want her to know what she and her work have meant to me? Unquestionably. But the greatest gift I can give her, I realized, is making the most of my life, honoring the call.

At the VIP reception, Oprah told us that we were all there because we’d been called to be, and she was right. It felt as though we were all on a sort of pilgrimage, which varied in particulars, but bound us together. When my turn came to meet her, I shook her hand, thanked her for who she is and said, “You are so beautiful.” Thanking me, she offered a warm hug, then we turned to smile for the camera. I felt present, joyful and immeasurably grateful.

With Oprah, a dream come true

With Oprah, a dream come true

By attending the weekend, I felt I was doing my younger self good. The phenomenal speakers, attendees, meditations and soul-searching exercises only amplified that good. The experience illustrated to me that while I still have much work to do and never plan to stop dreaming, this life, the one I’m learning and growing through day by day, truly is the one I want.

Me, at age 5

To hear some of my favorite takeaways from The Life You Want tour and an excerpt from a story I wrote about my eating disorder recovery, listen to the latest Girl Boner Radio episode: Meeting Oprah & Overcoming ED.

Much love always,


Sexual Trauma & Dating Abuse: Two Thrivers Bringing Hope and Healing

“Survivors of abuse show us the strength of their personal spirit every time they smile.”  ― Jeanne McElvaney, Healing Insights: Effects of Abuse for Adults Abused as Children

Nearly 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men report being raped, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and 1 in 20 adults reportedly experience other types of sexual trauma at some point. What we seldom hear is that an estimated 1 in 6 boys is molested, along with up to 1 in 4 girls. And all too often, abuse of all kinds derives from a trusted loved one.

This week on Girl Boner Radio, I had the honor of interviewing Andrew Ross Long, a writer, speaker and counselor specializing in sexual trauma, and Elle the Author, a novelist set on bringing awareness to dating abuse. While their means of reaching others vary, their mutual message is one of hope.

I started the episode with clips from the Oprah Winfrey Show I’ve never forgotten—Tyler Perry sharing his own struggles with being sexually abused before 200 men in the audience with similar paths. Here is another powerful clip from that show:

Shame is a tremendous and devastating consequence of abuse, yet as Andrew and Elle will attest, there is only strength in doing whatever it takes to heal and move forward. To hear their wonderful insight, visit this link on iTunes:

Girl Boner Radio: Overcoming Sexual Trauma and Dating Abuse

girlboner-101314Andrew Ross Long
Twitter @FierceGentleman

Elle the Author
Twitter: @elletheauthor

How have you found healing from abuse? What struck you most about Andrew and Elle’s insight? I love hearing from you! 

On Taking Chances — and a Sexual Health Writing Contest!

Do you remember the last time you took a chance? I’m not talking about trying a new hair color or cuisine. I mean a CHANCE—something out of your comfort zone or unconventional that makes your heart flutter.

I sure do.

A couple of years ago, I decided to listen to the scream nudge in my gut, telling me to “just do something!” with a topic I’d grown increasingly passionate about. I wrote a blog post and boom: Girl Boner was born. Little did I know where it would lead, but the road since has proved my gut right. While much work remains, the brand has helped my journalism career flourish in a desired direction, introduced me to remarkable people, kickstarted my radio show and invited a variety of additional opportunities I hadn’t even dreamed of at the start, including the latest.

Everywhere I roamed, I sensed something was missing...

On September 4th, I’ll be hosting World Sexual Health Day, North America’s annual event in New York City, sharing the stage with Dr. Sara Nasserzadeh, Reverend Jes Kast-Keat and other phenomenal voices in the sexual wellness industry. I couldn’t be more honored! If you’ll be in the New York area, I hope you’ll join us! Regardless, you can participate. All it requires is taking a chance.

World Sexual Health Day, North America is running a WRITING CONTEST, open to anyone 21 or older in North America who has “an active interest in sexuality and sexual health and further seeks to promote and support their efforts for greater global awareness and community outreach” — in other words, most of you! (Yes, you with butterflies flapping in your belly right now included. ;))

WSHD 2014

Some of the perks of entering:

♦ You’ll contribute to the World Association for Sexual Health’s mission of heightening social awareness of sexual health across the globe. (Every step counts!)

♦ Unlike many other writing contests, there’s no entry fee.

♦ You could win publishing and exposure on the WSHD website, a congratulatory certificate and a nifty notch for your resume.

♦ Sharing of ourselves through story is fulfilling, growth-inducing and fun.

Here’s what they’re looking for:

♦ Personal memoir-style essays and poetry related to sexual health, in document or blog post form.

♦ Writing with a strong, clear voice by authors who are daring, original and unafraid to take risks.

♦ There’s no minimum length requirement, but your entry shouldn’t surpass 10 double-spaced pages.

Deadline: August 20th (extended from July 4th)

Prize announcements: The three winners will be announced on World Sexual Health Day in NYC, perhaps by yours truly! In addition to receiving a certificate, winners’ submissions will appear on the WSHD website with a bio and photo.

**If you’re not ready to publicly share what sexual health means to you, I imagine pseudonyms are welcome. As for those of you with no shame whatsoever (*clears throat* Kitt!), keep being you! 🙂

**If you enter as a blogger, send me your link and I’ll share it in my follow-up post!

Maybe you’re all about going out on a limb, or the thought of openly reflecting on sexual wellness only excites you—if so, kudos! Considering how often folks tell me they wish they could be more expressive regarding sexuality, I figured a little encouragement was in store.

You never know where the experience will lead. Perhaps the contest will prompt you to write more, think more or share more. You may touch more hearts and minds than you’ll know. For whatever reason, I hope you’ll consider joining! Regardless, I hope you’re continually finding ways to spread your wings.

For full details and to access the application form, visit the WSHD Writing Contest.

What do you say, will you join? What writing experience has had a significant influence in your life? I love hearing from you! ♥

Is “Pretty” A Privilege? Thoughts From #BlogHer14

“A consequence of female self-love is that the woman grows convinced of social worth.” — Naomi Wolf, The Beauty Myth

This isn’t an easy post to write, and certainly not one I imagined writing after BlogHer—but when you’re surrounded by inspiring women sharing their hearts and vulnerabilities, sharing what yours says only makes sense.

The conference was one of the most phenomenal events I’ve attended. Thousands of bloggers gathered to learn, laugh and mingle with likeminded others and have an overall uplifting time. On the second day, I read My Big Brindle Heart: A Love Story, the post I wrote about my bulldog Zoe, along with other Voices of the Year recipients.

As soon as I met fellow winner Ashley, aka The Baddest Mother, I was smitten. Her wit, contagious laugh, glowing smile and warmth put me instantly at ease. When they lined us up beside each other, I thought, “I’m so lucky to sit next to her!”

Voices of the Year crew

VOTY: Warming up for the show!

Little did I know until afterward that Ashley had a far different initial reaction to me. She hadn’t wanted to appear by me because I’m “so pretty,” she explained, then promptly added that the thought derived from personal insecurity. She was one of the first to hug and congratulate me after my reading, and I adore her even more for her openness and willingness to shift stances.

What “Pretty” Means

Being “pretty,” which I define as fitting society’s definition of physical attractiveness, is an odd thing. Writing about it feels even odder, particularly since I don’t feel more attractive than others. For many years, I felt ugly and awkward. I still occasionally feel that way.

Throughout my youth and into my twenties, I judged everyone’s appearance, especially my own. Because I struggled with body dysmorphia and poor body image, I often misinterpreted other girls’ and women’s discomfort regarding my appearance for dislike. I wanted people to like me, and felt few did—so much so that when I was nominated for Ice Age Queen during high school (so Minnesotan!), I thought it was a cruel joke.

Overcoming an eating disorder and empowering myself helped me reach a point of self and body acceptance I feel too few women, sadly, do. I no longer judge others or myself by aesthetics. I don’t look in the mirror and think, “Wow! You’re gorgeous!” (Does any woman?), but I do see beauty—real beauty, the kind that radiates from within and shines in the uniqueness we all have. I have “good hair days” and bad like anyone else, but I’ve learned to keep it all in perspective; in the grand scheme of things, our looks don’t matter—at least, they shouldn’t.

Here are some of the remarks I’ve heard women make about me, some frequently and from well-intended friends, in recent years:

“I want to hate you, but I can’t, because you’re too nice.”  OR simply, “I hate you.”

“I’d never let a woman who looks like her live near me.”

“Must be nice to be beautiful. You could write anything and people would buy it – it doesn’t even have to be good.”  (Said in response to a successful promotional event I ran for my novel.)

“You’re too pretty to be a writer.” 

“I’m so glad I’m not as pretty as you. It’ll be easier for me to get wrinkles, because I’ve never cared about my looks.”

“No one wants to hear ‘positive body image talk’ from someone who looks like you.”

“You look so much better now!” (Said to me after anti-depressants and binge-eating added 25 pounds to my naturally thin frame, mostly around my middle.)

Why It Matters

Trust me, I don’t mean to complain. I know that these comments have little to do with me, that many women face harsher criticism and that “prettiness” has advantages. “Pretty” women often have an easier time getting dates, make greater salary and receive better job performance evaluations, for example—largely because of the way we, as a society, perceive them, in my opinion. We’re not bullied for our appearances the way many females are. Without my looks, I never would have traveled the world as a model. As my first theatrical agent told me, “Pretty won’t get you jobs, but it will get you through the door.”

But “prettiness” also brings discrimination that goes beyond snap judgments. A study published in the Journal of Social Psychology in 2010 showed that when photos are included with resumes, “pretty” women are significantly less likely to secure interviews from female HR representatives than less conventionally attractive women. We’re also less likely to be taken seriously for jobs considered masculine and less expected to be intelligent, good lovers or nurturers of the self.

I’ve held back from openly addressing these issues due to my own insecurities—not wanting others to deem me vain, feel somehow shunned or that all of this seems trivial. “Attractiveness” has more perks than downsides, you may think, and you could well be right. Thanks to Ashley and other bold women who spoke at BlogHer, however, I’ve realized that they matter. If women can’t support fellow women, how can we move forward? Or expect negative stereotypes that affect all of us to change?

After speaking and serving on panels at BlogHer, I was blown away by people’s warmth. Many women rushed to me with open arms and shared stories of their own pets. A few cried on my shoulder. I reacted similarly to others’ posts and stories, including Ashley’s gorgeous piece, It’s All One Life. Connecting with other women in such personal ways strengthens all of us, and I feel so blessed.

Although this was my first BlogHer experience, I’m convinced it will be far from my last. Bloggers are a special group of folks, many of whom feel compelled to share their unique voices and stories. What a powerful way to change the world.


Fabulous related posts:

Baddest Mother Ever: The Woman Inside the Mirrror  (Ashley’s take on our shared experience. I’m sure you’ll fall in love with her, as I did!)

It’s a Dome Life: I’m Prejudice Against Beautiful Women

Jess Witkins’ Happiness Project: Top 5 Reasons to Go to BlogHer

Good Day, Regular People: BlogHer Timeline: Five Years of Gratitude (recap. 2014)

He Can’t Get It Up: Could Porn Be the Problem? A #GirlBoner Radio Follow-Up Chat

“Growing up watching porn and expecting to be good at sex is like growing up playing Madden on Xbox and expecting to be good at actual football.” – Gabe Deem

There’s little I love more than chatting with people who’ve not only overcome trying circumstances but transformed them into something hugely positive, even lifesaving, for others. This week’s Girl Boner Radio guest has done precisely that! Gabe Deem is a counselor for teens in Irving, Texas who has shared his personal struggle with porn addiction and his pathway to recovery with countless others in hopes that they might find similar healing. I was so thrilled when he agreed to an interview, in which he shared what spurred his fixation with porn, how it affected his life and relationships, myths about porn addiction and the wonders recovery can bring.

If you find yourself relating to his story, I hope you’ll also realize that there’s no shame in your circumstances, you’re far from alone and support is available. The same holds true if your partner is struggling with addiction. Gabe runs an entire community dedicated to porn addiction recovery and ways to “reboot” your system, ridding your life of porn’s complications, and is one of the most accessible and congenial folks I’ve encountered in the sex-positive world.

Listen to our chat using the below link then check out our after-chat. That’s right! He was kind enough to answer a few additional questions for us via email. (Thanks again, Gabe!) I hope you’ll chime in afterwards with your thoughts. 🙂

Gabe Deem on Boner Radio — He Can’t Get It Up: Could Porn Be the Problem? 

Gabe Deem GB Radio

Girl Boner Radio After-Chat with Gabe Deem

August: How do you feel parents and schools and teachers could make a positive difference regarding porn addiction? 

Gabe: I think parents and teachers could make a positive impact on children by doing three things: Having an open and honest conversation with the child about what real sex is and isn’t, teaching them about the possible impact that watching porn can have on their brain and future sexuality, and protecting them by installing porn filters on all internet accessible devices to prevent accidental exposure.

1) For the conversation, it’s important to teach kids that porn is fake, and in real life sex should never be violent or forceful or harmful to someone emotionally or physically.

2) For teaching them about the brain, it is important they know that porn can rewire the brain to where they no longer can connect with real people both emotionally and physically, and “numb” their brain so it is more difficult to “feel” pleasurable things. For parents to get educated on this I suggest reading the material on

3) Protecting children by installing filtering software on all devices to prevent accidental exposure. The reason I say for the “accidental” exposure, is because if I have learned anything as a boy with a computer, it’s that if I want to watch porn I could easily get around blocks and do so. This is where points 1 and 2 come in!

August: Do you feel porn itself is problematic? Or that it should change?

Gabe: I think it’s potentially be problematic, and here’s why. Porn comes in so many forms now days it’s tough to say that all of it can be problematic, especially when you have everything from rape porn to loving couples uploading their most intimate moments followed by cuddling. However, to our brains’ content isn’t the only thing that matters; it simply soaks up what you teach it.

So no matter what type of porn it is, if you are a young child watching porn you are teaching your brain that sexual arousal happens with pixels on a screen and not people in person. I look at porn in regards to sex the same way I look at junk-food in regards to organic food. It is an unhealthy version of the real deal, and can potentially have a negative impact on you.

Growing up watching porn and expecting to be good at sex is like growing up playing Madden on Xbox and expecting to be good at actual football. I recently watched the new movie The Fault in Our Stars and one of my favorite lines was “a picture of something is not the thing itself.” A picture might say a thousand words, but it can never love you back.

August: Have you seen Don Jon? If so, what did you think?

Gabe: Yes, I have. I thought it was a really good movie besides the unnecessary porn clips as if people do not know what porn looks like. There were a few things that stood out to me in that movie.

Don Jon had a beautiful girlfriend who would have sex with him, yet even after having sex with her, he said porn was better. This is important to realize because a lot of women think it has to do with how attractive their partner finds them when in reality it is more the guys desire to get his dopamine fix via the novelty, shock and stimulation internet porn provides.

But the most interesting thing to me that not many people caught was WHY he decided to finally give up porn. It wasn’t because he felt guilty. It wasn’t because he found the perfect woman who was more desirable than porn. It was because he tried to masturbate without porn and couldn’t! Yup, he realized that porn was physically screwing him up to the point where he was dependent on it to masturbate. That was the original thing that made him realize there’s a problem. If Don Jon was a real guy he would have been real close to developing porn-induced ED or delayed ejaculation.

August: What do you find most rewarding about your work and activism? 

Gabe: Knowing that people are finally getting the answers they have been desperately looking for. I get messages from guys who are suicidal and have been to many doctors and specialists that have told them that their problem is all in their head. While they are technically right, because it appears to be in the brain, they are telling these guys it is anxiety and they just need to relax, take some Viagra and get out of their office.

But when the Viagra doesn’t work and months go by with no improvement, they feel hopeless. Seeing these guys finally give up porn and regain their sexual function back, as well as the joy in their life, has been the most rewarding thing to me. I know what it feels like to feel broken, and I know how important it is to have a light shining at the end of the tunnel. When guys tell me that my story gave them light, it makes any pain, embarrassment or discomfort from sharing my story all worth it.


To learn more about porn addiction and recovery, check out Gabe’s articles on the Huffington Post:

Porn: Many Teens Watch It, and Two Reasons That’s a Problem

Internet Porn Addition: Exposing Misconceptions

We’d love to hear from you! Any thoughts to share with Gabe? What did you think of his story? How has your or your partner’s addiction to porn impacted your life? All respectful thoughts are welcome! ♥

Adult Star Alexa Aimes and Myths About Female Ejaculation

“Just because we work in the sex industry, doesn’t mean that that’s all that we’re capable of.” — Alexa Aimes

Last week on Girl Boner Radio, I had the pleasure of interviewing Alexa Aimes, an adult star who considers herself “the strangest girl you’ll ever meet.” If you define strange as unique and groundbreaking, I’d say heck yes! The stunning starlet is a brilliant intellectual and hilarious to boot. (Seriously, it was all I could do to keep my loudest hyena laugh from hurting listeners’ ears.) She’s also passionate about using her voice and celebrity to make a positive difference in the adult industry.

Alexa Aimes 1We discussed her unusual background, shifting gears from a nursing career to starring in porn, her comedy aspirations, the charities she supports and myths she strives to debunk regarding female adult entertainers. Drawing on her medical background, she explained the physiology of female ejaculation and how it varies in porn versus our beds. Here are some of the tidbits she shared.

“You watch porn and you see this huge gush of squirt—that’s a fantasy. It looks hot.” — Alexa Aimes

3 Myths About Female Ejaculation

1. It’s pee. Nope! At least not in real life. Alexa explained that while female ejaculate may contain traces of urine, as men’s can, it’s an entirely different fluid, rich in prostatic acid phosphatase, the same chemical semen contains. What you see in porn may very well consist primarily of pee, however. Listen to our interview using the link below to hear Alexa’s awesome explanation.

2. It’s the same thing as “squirting” or “gushing.” I love that this has been studied! Research published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine in 2011 found that squirting or gushing, commonly seen in porn, and female ejaculation are entirely different phenomena. While female ejaculation causes the release of whitish fluid from the Skene’s gland, gushing involves the expulsion of diluted fluid from the bladder.

3. It’s caused by G-spot stimulation. Not exactly. Stimulating the G-spot (actually either of our TWO G-spots, said Alexa) may cause ejaculate to flow because it’s often near the Skene’s gland, it’s the actual gland that needs stimulating. Since G-spots aren’t all in the exact same place, finding yours and your Skene’s gland may take some exploration. (Talk about fun homework. ;))

To listen to our full interview, visit this link on iTunes: Can All Women Squirt? An Interview with Adult Star Alexa Aimes.

Alexa Aimes_August McLaughlin

For a signed 8×10 of Alexa, email her proof of a charitable donation you’ve made to You can also connect with Alexa on Twitter: @AlexaAimes.

What did you think of our chat? Any thoughts or questions about female ejaculation? I love hearing from you! ♥ 

In Honor of Alyssa Funke: Ways to End “Slut-Shaming”

I try really hard to stay positive here in Girl Boner-land, but sometimes sexual empowerment requires looking into dark issues—particularly when lives are being needlessly ruined or lost.

Judging others sexuality

Last month Alyssa Funke, a straight-A college freshman from Minnesota who had dreams of becoming an anesthesiologist, committed suicide after cyber-bullying over her decision to appear in pornography pushed her past her emotional limits. A friend shared the news with me recently, rightfully stating that had Alyssa been a man, the tragedy wouldn’t have unfolded. The double-standards regarding female versus male sexuality are immense, heartbreaking and run deeper than many folks realize. Regardless, no one should be ridiculed or judged for choosing to engage in sexual activity, on or off camera.

Conversations about Alyssa throughout social media and the news have used the term “slut shaming,” an increasingly prevalent term Wikipedia defines as “a concept in human sexuality used to describe the act of making a person, typically a woman, feel guilty or inferior for certain sexual behaviors that deviate from traditional or orthodox gender expectations, or that which may be considered contrary to natural or religious law.” Examples include dressing provocatively, requesting access to birth control, having premarital or casual sex or being raped or otherwise sexually violated.

If I could choose one term to do away with in our culture, slut-shaming may well be it. While I’m grateful that these issues are beginning to gain necessary attention (but not for the tragic reasons), woman-shaming seems far more appropriate. Sex is just as much a part of being female as it is male. If our world embraced this fact rather than making much of female sexuality taboo, Alyssa might still be with her loved ones today.

It doesn’t take a genius or much heart to recognize that any shame should fall on the person shunning a woman for dressing as she wishes, engaging sexually as she wishes, responsibly requesting birth control or (GOOD LORD) being attacked—not the woman herself. Bullying, criticizing or ostracizing someone for embracing sex as she sees fit, something as equally natural and health-promoting as digesting food, sleeping and breathing, simply because they’re female makes no sense. It’s cruel not only to the woman being shamed but all females, and the derivative damage affects us all. In some cases, the consequences are profoundly tragic.

So what can we do? We can start by analyzing our own beliefs and language, then making positive changes. Providing positive role models our culture lacks and not buying into sex-negativity will help ensure that Alyssa Funke and others like her won’t have died in vain.

women sexual empowerment

Here are some simple ways we can set more positive examples for girls and women regarding sexuality. While many of them apply to all genders, they most often affect women:

  • Don’t describe anything sexual as “dirty” or “naughty.”
  • Cut “slut” and “slutty” from your vocabulary unless you’re discussing their harm.
  • Don’t inwardly or outwardly judge girls or women for wearing tight, short or low-cut clothes.
  • Don’t make negative remarks about your or others’ shape, appearance or size.
  • Avoid telling and laughing at sexist jokes.
  • Respectfully call people out when they shame or demean others for their sexual choices or behaviors.
  • When necessary and possible, report sexual shaming.
  • Support sex-positive publications, activists and events.
  • Communicate more about sexuality with loved ones, particularly your partner(s) and, if you’re a parent, your kids.
  • Cultivate positive body image and a happy healthy sex life, however you define it.

As we honor those who’ve given their lives for our country this Memorial Day, I hope you’ll also keep Alyssa Funke and her loved ones in her thoughts. Thanks so much for the ongoing support. Even when darkness prevails, I believe we can change the world. ♥

The Adult Film Job I Turned Down and Ones I’d Consider #RealWorldSex

“Passion in life…is life. It’s contagious. Get naked and roll around in it.” — Lorii Meyers

When I was 18 and working as a model in Manhattan, money was not my priority. I wanted to build my career, gain industry respect and work with esteemed photographers, designers and stylists. I was fortunate enough to do just that. One arguable downside was that I didn’t make as much money as a commercial model would, doing shoots for brands like Target versus editorial spreads. (Because editorial jobs provide tear sheets and invaluable exposure that invite more work, they pay far less than less glamorous gigs models only benefit from monetarily.) I made enough money to support myself in NYC, however, which sufficed for me.

Polaroid from one of my editorial shoots in NYC

Polaroid from one of my editorial shoots in NYC

Even so, when one of my bookers called me with a booking offer unaffiliated with the agency (“under the table,” one might call it) that paid $17,000 (!!!)  for one day’s work, I was giddy. The pay appealed to me, simply because a heftier cushion in the bank would’ve been nice. It’s not as though models have unions or 401k options. As soon I heard the job’s details, however, I was quite happy to continue on my thrift store-shopping ways.

The job, he said, was a hardcore porn shoot. After “porn,” the rest of the description smudged together. This was well before I gained sexual empowerment or began exploring issues like pornography, and the notion terrified me. I’d only had sex with one person, the on-and-off boyfriend I semi-expected to marry one day, and was shy about physical intimacy of all kinds. Even the casual “MWAH! MWAH!” cheek-turn-cheek kisses common in the industry freaked me out. (Where I’m from in Minnesota, we give one another space!) And to many I knew, premarital sex was a sin. If they were right, I was already pointed toward Hell; there had to be even worse fates for porn stars. I turned it down and that booker, who was years later fired from the agency, never treated me quite the same. That job would’ve allowed him a hefty commission, with the potential of future similar paychecks had the client taken me in as a regular.

I have no problem whatsoever with people’s decision to work in the adult industry, even in the context of hardcore porn. I also appreciate visual sexual expression as an enticing, important art form. While many of my views about sexuality have shifted since my late teens (thank goodness), I remain disinterested in performing in hardcore porn. Similar to a major reason I quit modeling, I take issue with the way bodies, sexuality and “beauty” are portrayed by mainstream porn and the proven ways they can damage our body image, relationships and sexuality. I would, on the other hand, consider performing in choice feminist porn or erotica—both of which support healthier, broader ideals. As someone who’s always loved performance art and creative expression, the notion totally intrigues me. (I did, after all, have sex with an imaginary man in one of my last acting jobs.)

As Cindy Gallop, the advertising exec turned groundbreaking activist and creator/CEO of Make Love Not Porn, a website that teaches the differences between porn and real sex, explained on my show last week, lumping all porn together is like suggesting that all books are similar. While most hardcore, mainstream porn promotes fairly limited, male-centric, unrealistic ideals, broader sub-genres have been cropping up. Appropriately used, there’s something valuable out there for everyone; we simply need to dig a bit deeper if we’re not into mainstream hardcore depictions.

Thanks to Cindy Gallop and her team, we don’t have to search hard at all for a related sex-positive alternative. One of her latest Make Love Not Porn ventures features real-world sex–REAL individuals, couples, threesomes and more having sex on camera for whoever so chooses to see. I don’t know about you, but I find that incredibly exciting. When you become a member of MakeLoveNotPorn.TV, you can view, post and share others’  real sex videos! You can even make money doing it—but that’s only one perk.

Cindy Gallop (left) and her Make Love Not Porn TV team

Cindy Gallop (left) and her Make Love Not Porn TV team

To learn more about Cindy Gallop and the benefits of watching and making your own real-sex videos, visit Make Love Not Porn and listen to our interview on Girl Boner Radio. You can also connect with Cindy throughout social media. A self-proclaimed Facebook and Twitter addict (yet another of her attributes!), I’m sure she’d love to hear from you.

Would you perform in hardcore porn, given the chance? What about feminist porn or real-world sex? What did you think of  our radio interview? I can’t wait to hear your thoughts! ♥