#OrgasmQuest, Depression and Sex in the Digital Age

As soon as I saw the Huffington Post’s headline, This Woman Is Live-Tweeting Her Quest To Have An Orgasm While On AntidepressantsI knew I had to learn more. The more I learned, the more stoked I became about the story’s leading lady, Crista Anne. I couldn’t have been more thrilled when she agreed to an interview.

The sex educator, blogger and mother of four has struggled with depression since birth. When a new medication began improving her wellbeing significantly, all would’ve been fabulous—if it didn’t interfere with her ability to orgasm. Sex-positive to the core, she set her sights on restoring climax capabilities, sharing her mission on Twitter and her blog and quickly attracting media attention.

Crista Anne had wonderful thoughts to share on mental illness, our bodies and the damaging taboos surrounding both. Listen to our chat using the link below, then pop back to read our after-chat.

The episode also features my interview with Chad Kultgen, a controversial author whose novel Men, Women & Children brilliantly illustrates ways internet technology affects many people’s lives and relationships. Oh, and he also shared one of the most incredible animal stories I’ve ever heard. Seriously, you don’t want to miss it! I may never look at squirrels the same way again…

Girl Boner Radio with August McLaughlin:

#OrgasmQuest and Sex in the Digital Age


Crista Anne, in all her rainbow wonder! #OrgasmQuest

An After-Chat with Crista Anne of #OrgasmQuest

August: What’s one thing you wish would change in how we deal with or view mental illness in the U.S.?

Crista Anne: Narrowing it down to one thing froze my brain for a moment there. I suppose most of all I wish that mental illness was viewed like any other serious health condition, because it is. Cancer kills, so does depression. That would be a glorious start.

August: What’s one of the most common myths about depression?

Crista Anne: That depression can just be willed away. That people can just decide not to be depressed, or that we’re lazy. Depression is an illness. The brain can get sick, just like any other part of your body.

August: I love that sex toys, along with masturbation, have helped you manage your illness. Any personal favorites?

Crista Anne: My personal favorites as of this moment are the Njoy Pure Wand, Original Magic Wand and the Tantus Tsunami dildo. The combo of the magic wand and tsunami is was helped get me that first masturbatory orgasm!

August: What type of toy would you recommend to someone who’s new to, er, toyland?

Crista Anne: A lot of people suggest weak, “non-threatening” vibes to folks who are new to toys, which actually annoys me a great deal. A weak vibe isn’t going to show people the glorious things that sex toys have to offer! A We-Vibe Tango is a “lipstick” style (the shape of the vibe resembles new lipstick with a flat area at the head, which is where they get the name) bullet vibe that has a great deal of power, is decently quiet, waterproof and rechargeable.

August: Many parents aren’t sure how to talk to their kids about sexuality. Any suggestions for newbies?

Crista Anne: Start early with simple things like modeling consent (they don’t have to give hugs if they don’t want to, stop tickling when they say stop) and using anatomically correct terms for body parts. When they are young, we started telling the kids that we needed Mommy & Daddy time to spend together without kids around so we can have special grownup time. When kids naturally start exploring their bodies, we teach them that we only touch our bits (since we have kids with penises and vulvas it’s our catchall term) with clean hands and when they have privacy. Visit the Scarleteen website, which is geared for teens but has a great deal of information and ideas on how to start these conversations. Kids are going to pick up on how uncomfortable their parents are when having these conversations, so try and get an idea of what you want to before hand. Practice if needed so you can come off as approachable instead of uncomfortable and unapproachable.

August: May I send you some Girl Boner goodies as a thanks for being awesome?

Crista Anne: Always! I am shameless when it comes to swag. I’ll return the favor when I restock my Crista Anne goodies.


How exciting! You know what else is exciting? Crista Anne will be joining us for #BOAW2015. If you haven’t yet registered and would like to, visit this post. For tips and reminders along the way, RSVP on the Facebook event page.

What did you think of the interviews? How about #OrgasmQuest? Has mental illness affected your ability to maintain a healthy, happy sex life? I always love hearing from you! ♥

#GirlBoner Quickie: Solo Sex and Body Image

“Good sex is like good bridge. If you don’t have a good partner, you’d better have a good hand.” ― unknown

Young woman playing with her self on bed

One thing I’ve learned about body image is that self-nurturing goes out the window along with it. When we perceive ourselves as not attractive or worthy of love, we treat ourselves as though we don’t deserve either. Our healthy eating habits tank. We work out excessively or not at all, sleep too much or struggle for any, and let everything from annual physicals and dental checkups to well-deserved rest time slide. If sex enters our brain, it’s likely to seem like a chore, a waste of time or even something horrifying. (“I can’t let him/her see this!”) Luckily, we can turn all of these factors around. From a Girl Boner standpoint, I believe that doing so starts with masturbation.

There’s SO MUCH I’d like to say on this topic, and probably will (though some is top secret for publishing reasons—shhh!). *secures blurt guard* Since we explored self-perception last week, I couldn’t resist at least dipping in today. (I ♥ GB puns!)

“Women who masturbate are usually more comfortable with their bodies and with sex in general,” says Ian Kerner, PhD, a sex therapist and the author of Sex Detox

Multiple large-scale studies have shown that women who masturbate routinely also have more positive self-esteem, positive views on sexuality and happier interpersonal relationships. Sadly, many women feel uncomfortable masturbating or discussing self-stimulation. (I certainly was, early on.) The more we learn about our bodies, and the beautiful things we’re capable of sexually and otherwise, the more comfortable and fulfilled we’re likely to be in our bedrooms, relationships and big, wondrous lives. Don’t you think?

5 Fab Facts About Female Masturbation 

1. Masturbation boosts our moods, instantly. Our levels of feel-good hormones, epinephrine and dopamine, skyrocket during self-arousal. Orgasm furthers these effects, making way for relaxation and a sense of euphoria.

2. Masturbation is a form of self-nurturing. Taking time for ourselves and prioritizing self-pleasure, in my opinion, is a lot like treating ourselves to healthy, gourmet meals rather than scarfing processed food from packages. All self-care habits lend themselves to others; we essentially tell ourselves we’re worthy, which goes a long way.

3. Masturbation staves off infections and disease. Masturbation stretches the mucous in the cervix, according to Sex: A Natural History, by Joann Ellison Rodgers, which acid levels and stimulates “friendly” bacteria production. This allows more fluid to move from the cervix to the vagina, washing away bacteria that cause urinary tract and yeast infections. Sexy self-play also helps relieve pain when infections set in. Masturbation and orgasm are associated with a reduced risk for type 2 diabetes and improved cardiovascular health.

4. Masturbation promotes restful sleep. Many women masturbate to “wind down after a hectic day or to fall asleep at night,” says Carrie Levine, a certified nurse and midwife. In addition to simply feeling good and distracting us from the day’s stress, the happy-hormones released during arousal and climax provide a “warm afterglow” that can help us sleep with peaceful ease.

5. Masturbation improves sex and intimacy with our partners. We can learn so much about our bodies, what feels great and what doesn’t, through self-exploration. “[Masturbation] helps build sexual confidence,”  explains Kathleen Segraves, PhD, a sex therapist and associate professor of psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University. “It helps you guide the partner when you have a partner.” It also helps women who have difficulty reaching orgasm climax with ease, making sex more satisfying for both partners.

All of these solo sexy play perks are associated with positive body image. Stress, illness, a lack of self-care and sleep deficiencies make us feel worse about ourselves. (If you don’t believe me, try looking in the mirror after after a spree of sleepless nights, or when your whole body is pressed with worry.) Next time you’re feeling challenged in any of these ways, I hope you’ll consider a little naked TLC. When you do, try looking in the mirror afterward. I’m telling you—instant improvements. 😉 If you’re new to masturbation, check out Dr. Laura Berman’s article, A Woman’s Guide to Masturbation, for some stellar tips.

Have you noticed a link between your body image and sexuality? Are you comfortable talking to girlfriends or your partner about masturbation? Any related questions or topics you’d like Girl Boner to address? All respectful thoughts are welcome. You can also join me on Twitter and the Girl Boner Facebook page for between-post fun.