Non-Monogamy encompasses a whole host of various situations: Swingers, couples in open relationships, people who identify as polyamorous or even just those who are not in committed relationships and are dating numerous people. Most of these non-monogamous people are (hopefully) well aware of safe sex practices and use them every time.
While I doubt that the majority of people bring their vibes to sex parties & clubs and pass em around like a drinking game, there are other situations outside of the realm of monogamy where sharing may come into play. Even 1-on-1 or threesomes should be treated with care if you aren’t fluid-bonded.
More than half of you out there still probably own sex toys made from materials that would cause me premature grey hair, try as I might to dissuade you. But many people, even if they’ve switched to silicone vibrators and glass dildos, pull out a cock ring from their arsenal now and then and I’m betting it’s not silicone. Or at least, not 100% pure silicone because they’re not the norm. Most cock rings are inexpensive and made from various soft and stretchy materials: Jelly/Rubber, Elastomer/TPR or silicone blends (which are not the same as pure silicone and are not non-porous). You’ll see silicone blends show up in sneaky ways; they’ll be labeled “SEBS” which stands for silicone-elastomer blend, or they’ll just merely be labeled a quiet, solitary “silicone”. As I’ve mentioned in the past, the government only says that a sex toy needs to contain a mere 10% silicone to be labeled as nothing other than “silicone”. So it can be 90% TPR and they’re not going to tell you that. Of course, you can whip out your trusty sex-geek-detective lighter and perform a flame test. Remember those Bedroom Kandi kegel balls? Yeah, they were labeled as “silicone” and I was told that they were silicone, but they went up in sticky, destructive flames. Ahem.
So, what’s the big deal, you ask? Unless you’re buying the truly disposable one-and-done vibrating cock rings1, then your little gummy, (possibly) buzzy ring of fun is quite porous – and can’t be sanitized nor therefore shared. Yes, this also means the ones that you purchase in the condom aisle. Unlike most vibrators and dildos, a vibrating cock ring can’t be covered by a condom for barrier protection so the cock ring could be exposed to vaginal and/or seminal fluids. If you are using a simple non-vibrating cock ring, one that goes around just the base of the cock, you may be able to get away with covering it with a condom, but keep an eye on it. Since I’ve never tried to do that I can’t say if the condom would keep it covered or not. There are also some silicone cock rings but again the norm seems to be jelly or TPR.
Also, don’t let a luxury price tag on the vibrating versions fool you into submission.The Lelo Bo, Tor 1, and the Bedroom Kandi Rise and Shine are all higher-end cock rings that are rechargeable but they are made from Elastomer or TPR. Soft, stretchy and free from phthalates and latex, they’re certainly better for your body than the cheap jelly versions but they’re still porous and should never be shared beyond fluid-bonded partners. The Lelo Tor II, the Tantus C-Ring, Je Joue Mio, some BMS brand rings and various Jopen branded rings are all made from true silicone. However, even though many of these are waterproof they’re still vibrators and should never be boiled or tossed in the dishwasher. You’ll be able to get a safe clean by a simple handwash.
Penis Extenders and Sleeves
The vast majority of these are not silicone. Vixen makes a few, like the Ride On, but the price is so high that it will deter most buyers. I see a lot that have “silicone” in the name, but these are all going to be a silicone blend – therefore, porous. Many extenders/sleeves and cuffs are designed to be really stretchy and soft – that’s not a common attribute in pure silicone items. The closest I’ve seen would be the dual density outer layer of something like the Tantus 02 Cush but I don’t know if creating an item entirely from that type of silicone is even possible. I suppose that if you’re fucking more than one person in a sitting and they both really dig the artificially extended / textured penis sleeve you’re sporting, you could put a condom *over* it but that just doesn’t seem very practical to me given that there will still be a portion of the extender that isn’t covered by a condom. From what I’ve seen, a company called Oxballs makes a couple extenders that seem to be pure silicone but most are TPR blends. So please keep these porous models limited to a single partner, and keep in mind the fact that these are all porous – this means it will never get truly clean and sanitized, the softer ones could mildew if stored while still wet from cleaning, and they may retain stains and/or odors after an extended time of use.
Harnesses and Dildos
Moving on from cock-centric toys, I want to talk about dildos. Especially harness-compatible dildos. The guidelines are pretty damn simple: Cover it with a condom or stick to silicone and don’t share between non-fluid-bonded partners without a wash in between. However, even if you’re using a high grade silicone cock like Tantus, you should still keep anal-play dildos to themselves. While they can be sanitized in boiling water or the dishwasher, sometimes they can retain a bit of an odor over time if it’s used a lot for anal play. That’s not going to be a fun discovery for your partner if they decide to perform a blowjob on your silicone cock! It takes quite a bit of use to get to that point, though and sometimes it’ll never happen.
Most harnesses are made from leather or a fabric (even just strap webbing is fabric). These are porous, and should be considered a one-partner item unless they are washable, in which case please wash in between partners.
Metal, Wood and Glass Toys
Provided that the toys are free from defects2, these should be safe to share between partners and anal-to-vaginal if they are washed thoroughly in between partners and uses. Take careful note if the toy is highly textured – really make sure to scrub all around the nubs, ridges, etc to be sure you’ve removed any traces of fluids. A non-textured seamless item made from any of these materials though will be super easy to clean in between partners; you could even just keep a pack of Afterglow Wipes on hand if you’re in situations (like at a swinger’s club) where departing to a sink in the middle of multi-person fun would kill your mood. They do have anti-bacterial properties and are body safe to all but the extremely sensitive folks – I don’t know though if I’d recommend using them on a toy, using the toy on a woman, and then after that move to oral sex, I can’t imagine that Bergomot oil tastes very good with all the other chemicals but I’m ultra sensitive to that sort of thing, your mileage may vary.
Again, stick to only silicone (or condom-covered TPR) and make sure to thoroughly wash it in between partners. Be sure to get down in the cracks and crevices if the toy has, say, a hard plastic handle (Like Lelo vibes). For more immediate use, if you’re able, cover with a condom. If the only sex toys you own are made from porous materials, then you should always cover with a condom even if you’re the only user. For vibrators that are entirely made of hard ABS plastic, these can just be wiped down with a little soap and water, rinsed or again cover with a condom if there’s no immediate availability to get to a sink in between partners. ABS plastic is non-porous, but you do have to watch out for nubs and crevices. Pocket rockets are the worst offenders at keeping clean. The Hitachi Magic Wand (or a similar wand vibrator) has porous material on the head; not all wand vibrators are like this, but certainly the ones originally marketed for actual back massaging. Newer wand vibrators that are made by sex toy companies are sometimes made with a silicone head like the Mystic Wand or the Lelo Smart Wand, but also keep in mind that many wand makers like to add texture and ridges to the head – those spots are harder to clean on the fly so covering it with a condom if immediate sharing is likely is a safe bet. If you’re not 100% certain though, cover the head with a condom. It’s also a good idea to continue the condom down past the exposed metal portion and onto the plastic handle if you’re going to be in a group situation with people who are copious squirters.
Kink and Leather
I’m not talking about kink to those that frequently visit BDSM clubs; they are all pretty aware of safety precautions but those that just play casually in the bedroom won’t be aware about certain things. Any item that breaks/scratches the skin or causes welts that can bleed (if you get that rough) should be kept only to one person.
Gags that have leather straps would also need to be kept to one person. Cock rings can be leather. Paddles can be leather. The shiny side is water resistant but the rough parts aren’t, and none of it is non-porous.
Rope. If you tie anybody up and the rope comes into contact with saliva or other bodily fluids, wash the rope before using it on another person.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
At the end of the day, sex toys can and should be used to enhance any sexual encounter if it’s something that you and/or your partner(s) enjoys. But when you step outside the relative safety3 of a fluid-bonded monogamous couple, things can muddy up in ways that many people don’t think of. Why yes, actually, I have witnessed amateur porn where the sex toys were shared copiously with little regard to safety. It happens. The sex-positive bubble is small in comparison to the rest of the world; that much is obvious since jelly/rubber/icky toys are still such a hot commodity. The most conscientious person will always bring their own sex toy if they already own some great ones, that way there’s no worry about sharing if everyone has their own. The perfect kit would likely contain a few different types of lube (be sure to have an all-natural one like Sliquid for those who have sensitive skin issues), a few different types of condoms for both sex and sex toys, nitrile gloves, and toy cleansing wipes. If you only ever purchase your sex toys online, like me, finding affordable sample sizes of lube can be pretty damn difficult. I only have some because of my attendance over the years at places like the NYC Sex Bloggers Calendar parties, Momentum, etc. but they are perfect little things to have when you don’t want to worry about the lube bottle spilling out in your purse or you don’t have the room for a few bottles. The sex toy retailers used to all have lube samplers; I really liked the one GoodVibes used to offer, but for some reason nobody carries these anymore. You can find them on places like Amazon or at condom-centric online places, but many will not include the better brands like Sliquid or any all-natural lubes. They will, however, give you a full buffet of flavored samples if that happens to be your thing (it shouldn’t be though, the ingredients list on those is not palatable). You can also buy up a cube of Sliquid “pillows” of lube directly from the company, but they’re not exactly affordable for frequent use, it looks like they run around $1 each plus shipping.
But think about it: if you always had easy access to a little case containing an awesome little vibe (ahem: Salsa/Tango), 2 gloves, half a dozen condoms and lube samples plus a few single packets of Afterglow wipes4? Not only would you be the most awesome person at the sex party, but your individual random encounters would be safer and fun, always.
A note on choosing condoms for use as toy covers:
Don’t use old, expired condoms – while a broken condom on a sex toy won’t lead to pregnancy, it will negate the whole safety-from-funky-materials and sharing thing. Get an affordable pack of condoms and pay attention to the lubricant used (or get unlubed) – I’ve been told that most are silicone based and they don’t tell you this – they’ll only mention the lube if it’s water-based. While I’ve found that the higher quality silicone lubes are fairly compatible with higher quality silicone sex toys, you don’t know the quality of lube inside a condom. CalExotics makes a “toy cover” (as well they should, with all the jelly they sling) but it seems to be nothing more than a “feminine” colored non-lubricated latex condom. I’ve not tried this out with success because the nitrile gloves in my pantry are small (and the fingers are short!), but if you buy a box of large size nitrile gloves they could act as cheap toy covers on the fly – bonus is no latex, no worries about mystery lubes. Just snip off the middle finger. Smaller rabbit vibes could also be covered by using the thumb and index portion of a glove if you’re in need.
Thanks to Elspeth Demina for her help!
- And actually using it once, with one person, and then pitching it ↩
- And if they have defects, nobody should be using them – get them replaced!! ↩
- I say relative because there are no guarantees that someone won’t cheat; there’s also the chance that if you haven’t been together for years, an STD may have been dormant and didn’t show up on your pre-marriage STD panel ↩
- Also, why the hell don’t any online retailers offer such a thing? Lube samples are like the drug company logo pens of the sex toy industry. I’d certainly pay $19.99 for kit containing a dozen or so lube samples, 12 various condoms, a couple dental dams and half a dozen Afterglow wipes. Maybe I should make a company that sells those. That would be genius ↩
All text and images on this site require permission before they can be used anywhere. To obtain permission click here to contact me
I thought that this recent question deserved to be highlighted more:
I want to buy my girlfriend an anal plug/toy. She’s new to anal; she tried the finger and now I believe she wants to pass to another level… I just want to give her a toy and let her experiment a little bit. Now, I am new also in the toy buying and I need your advice. Can you recommend something for beginners? I am aware about the materials but I still don’t know what to choose. I believe she needs something soft, something with a “natural feel”. Any advice will be appreciated.
A plug is something you wear around for hours or you can also just use it for the occasion, while just a simple toy is used as-is. The most comfortable plugs have a definitive difference between the neck and the body, with a decent base. The neck is what sits at the sphincter level; the sphincter prefers to be closed so a plug that will feel the most natural and least like she’s about to poop will have a thin neck.
I would also caution against looking for something super-soft and cushy/squishy simply because you need something with a bit of “backbone” to be able to penetrate the ass. That first sphincter muscle, especially, can be quite stubborn for beginners on letting anything inside the ass. Biologically speaking, it’s not natural. Your rectum and sphincter are built for exit-only; when the sphincter is open, it wants to close. And when things come out it is much easier than putting something in. That’s not to say that anal play is bad or dangerous; not at all if done right. I’m just pointing out that it’s not the biological function de facto which is why things may seem a little tricky at first.
If she’s taken nothing other than a single finger, I would highly suggest that no matter what else you get, you get her a warm-up dildo or two. Preferably two. The Tantus ones are the absolute best. I have them both and in my opinion you cannot just jump to the medium if you’re brand new to anal. I was steered towards the Silk Small as a warm-up and introductory toy to my Crystal Delights plug; despite the fact that I chose their smaller plug, it was still a little too big for me to just jump right to. The Silk Small was amazing. Only after sufficient play with the Silk Small would I graduate up to the Silk Medium. Even after numerous play sessions, to get used to the “weird feeling”, I would still start off each time with the Silk Small as a warm-up before moving on to the Silk Medium. These are smooth, plain and great for getting the anus and sphincter used to having something there.
Plugs that receive rave reviews from everyone are the Njoy Pure Plugs. I know that stainless steel can seem intimidating to a first-timer, which is why warm-up toys are imperative. The Pure Plug Medium though has a max diameter of 1.25″ and a nice, long thin neck. It’s built for comfort and to wear around for hours and hours. The steel might be cold at first, but you can warm it up in a bowl of *semi-warm* (not hot) tap water if you want.
Make sure you use plenty of lube! Thicker gel-like lubes work best for anal play. While many companies will tell you that you should avoid silicone-based lubes with silicone toys, the higher quality silicone of Tantus can tolerate certain higher-quality silicone-based lubes. I’ve used Wet Synergy (a silicone and water blend) with success, and they have recommended brands like Sliquid as having high compatibility.
Random Important Anal Play Information:
- Please AVOID anal numbing / desensitizing creams, gels and sprays. I can understand that newbies will be nervous about it feeling weird or hurting, but the anus is very special – if you do not use enough lube and you use a toy that is too big, too soon, you can create tiny tears in the skin called fissures. This is bad because then you are at a high risk for getting fecal matter into the open skin; you’re also at a higher risk for transmitting diseases of all types through broken skin.
- When you’re using fingers, it’s really best to put on a nitrile glove. This is a safety trick for both the receiver (fingernails!!) and the giver (broken skin? fecal matter under the fingernail?)
- Never, ever ever ever share anything between the ass and the mouth or the ass and the vagina. Never. Ever. Have I made my point clear? Ignore what they do in porn. Those butts have been cleaned out better than your average endoscopy requires, and there is no fecal matter that might transfer. You or your partner could become very sick if you don’t heed this warning. This also applies to sex toys. The only toys that should ever be used in both holes are non-porous ones that can be properly sanitized – silicone, glass, metal. And you absolutely must sanitize in between orifices.
- There will sometimes be a little poop. It’s a fact of life, it’s going to happen. Just have warm, wet washclothes or baby wipes right near by. If your partner cannot handle this, then you need to rethink anal play with them.
- Anal play, when done right, can be very pleasurable – for women and men. Men have the added bonus of a prostate to enjoy, but that’s for another guide. Many women have experienced g-spot stimulation via anal play (the wall inside between the vagina and rectum is very thin).
- My response is directed to the asker, who has a female partner. However, my information is the same for all genders – I just am focusing on the butt, not the prostate this time ↩
All text and images on this site require permission before they can be used anywhere. To obtain permission click here to contact me
The number of articles written about the insipid and unfortunate trilogy, 50 Shades, is staggering. But at least most of them are better written than the actual books. Just look at the 1/2 star reviews on Amazon to see what I mean if you’ve managed to miss out on that aspect. This article I stumbled across today points out that while the actual sex is indeed a ridiculous fairy tale, the relationship is a tale of caution.
Much of the media attention thus far has focused on the BDSM relationship between the two main characters. What’s missing, though — in the media, probably in our book clubs and certainly in our conversations with our teenage daughters — is a discussion of a serious and dangerous aspect of their relationship.
Let’s be clear: We’re not talking about BDSM. Our concern is that the interaction between the characters outside the bedroom has been ignored.
From the beginning of the series, Christian Grey’s need to control Ana Steele is unmistakable. He gives her a laptop and BlackBerry so she can be instantly available and shows up at her house when she doesn’t respond quickly enough. He flies thousands of miles to her mother’s house, unexpected and uninvited. The examples go on and on. These events are explained away as romantic, as products of Christian’s intensity, his wealth, his need to control, his childhood abuse. But they are not romantic, nor are they justifiable. They are hallmarks of intimate partner violence (IPV).
And it touches on the stalker aspects of Mr. Grey:
Intimate partner stalking includes repeated and unwanted contact or attention that causes the victim to fear her own safety or the safety of others. Over 16 percent of women have experienced stalking during their lifetimes, and two-thirds of those have been stalked by an intimate partner, such as a boyfriend, spouse or girlfriend. Although alarming, these rates likely underestimate the actual prevalence, as most instances of IPV are not reported to the police. The most common form of stalking is repeated and unwanted phone calls or text messages; Christian’s first gifts of a laptop and BlackBerry may not be coincidental.
Millions of women are romanticizing the entire book series, skimming over the IPV and focusing on the unrealistic sex and the “romance”. Women who are in the position of Ana Steele likely do not recognize it at first. Even when they do recognize it, they feel that there is nothing that can be done. After all, what will the cops do about phone and email stalking and harassing? Not much until the perpetrator threatens harm or shows up in person. Yet to live with that kind of stalking is terrifying, sickening and is a life filled with despair.
What’s worse though is reading the comments on this article. There are a few people who are still unable to see Christian’s actions as “stalkerish” and still see it as “romantic”. Too many people are going to think that because “oh he had good reason”. There is never good reason to behave this way.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~ ~ ~ ~
This great post, written well before the 50 Shades bullshit, is very useful for not just kinksters but anyone who is dating. Remove the BDSM aspects and you still have a creepy, unhealthy person: A Field Guide to Creepy Dom.
The Creepy Dom isn’t just a character in a Dungeon or sex club, he (or she) can be the predator next door, the sweet person you develop an online relationship with, or the guy you meet through the vanilla dating site. Sadly, the ability to recognize and run away isn’t something gained with age. The writer of the post linked does talk about the propensity for young girls in the kink scene to be fooled by “Doms” older than their father but I assure you the ability to be conned and believe the con is not bound by age. It can happen to anyone, be they 18, 34 or 52. I wish I had seen this post years ago and memorized it like a doctrine.
The anatomy of a Creepy Dom, according to Asher (explanations available in the post, so read it):
1. He comes on too strong, too fast
2. He’s consensually challenged
3. He has “connections” and is “experienced”
4. He “essentializes” dominance and submissions
5. He manipulates your desire to be a good bottom
6. He’s usually doing something wrong
I’d like to add in one of my own:
7. He seeks out submissives who have little to no real life experience, for they are easier to manipulate
Read it. Memorize it. Live it. And be careful out there.
Do you have any to add to the list, after reading Asher’s post?Read More
All text and images on this site require permission before they can be used anywhere. To obtain permission click here to contact me
As I trawl through my Tumblr dashboard, I tend to see a lot of cases of ignorance-via-innocence and household objects being repurposed as dildos. Today the object to catch my eye and trigger this post was nothing more than a simple carrot being used by a 19 year old woman as an anal dildo.
I’m sure that many people reading this are not seeing the downside. “An all-natural dildo!” you might say. “A cheap dildo!” could be an argument. “A dildo that anybody can acquire easily!” you also may say. Nay nay, my friends. These reasons are full of false security. The easiest thing I can say to invalidate all of this: Go grab a carrot. Any carrot. Try to snap it in half. You can do that fairly easily, yes? The muscles in the rectum are shockingly powerful during orgasm and could easily break off part of that carrot. It would be stuck up your butt.
And lest you think that a portion of a carrot is no big thing, or that snapped-off portions of vegetables are your only worry….let us also remember the incredible “vacuum” powers of the rectum. Have you ever seen this informative video from Tantus and Ducky Doolittle, where she lists off all the things that medical professionals have had to remove from people’s butts? Lots of mind-boggling choices are included, like an onion or a bottle of Mrs. Butterworth’s, but let’s focus on this carrot.
That’s an 11 inch carrot that was used as a dildo. And it required the help of a medical professional to remove it. Whole. So no, this one didn’t break off…..it just got sucked up inside the rectum.
Think about that. Really hard. Imagine having to go to your regular doctor for this sort of removal. Or the Emergency Room, where you’ll pay a lot more and have to wait an uncomfortably long time in plastic chairs first and be in an area where you’re bound to be overheard as you explain why you’re there. Think about that.
Now, I know. You’re a poor college student; you’re 17 and living in a sheltered town with strict parents; you’re a guy experimenting with anal play; or you’re just the sort of person who can’t find a way to justify the quality of materials vs cost of things you insert in your orifices. Ultimately, it’s your choice. But the Silk Small or Silk Medium from Tantus will replicate the size of your average carrot / zucchini / cucumber; is a one-time relatively affordable cost; and is made from materials that are 100% safe to insert in to sensitive holes. I can’t say the same for that cucumber you forgot to wash the pesticides off of. Or chose from any other Tantus dildo, really, because they’re all silicone and they all have a flared base – this prevents the whole vacuum-ass thing. Same as the vibrator enhancers from Evolved, which you can add on to any existing vibe…..or if you’re just that stubborn, whatever household object you’re fond of using. I can’t say I will ever understand the fascination with shoving highlighters and sharpies and whatnot up your holes, but whatever. Just be safer about it, ok?Read More
All of my readers know, or should know, that I think vibrators are awesome. Spectacular. A boon to sexual health. Not everybody will agree with me, though. So today when I ran across a post that sounded very anti-vibrator, I’ll admit…my hackles were raised in right quick order.
N of My Dissolute Life allows readers to ask questions for him to advise on. Today’s question was “I can’t orgasm without a vibrator. What should I do?”. My answer is obvious: Embrace it. Bring it in to your partnered sex life. Be happy that you can achieve orgasm whatever way that works for you. As I commented on N’s post, I spent 10 years not having orgasms because I didn’t know any better. It’s not that sex didn’t feel good….no, it felt great. But I couldn’t push over that edge and I was ashamed of it. I didn’t tell my partners. I hid it. That was a disservice to myself AND my partners. But I didn’t really know about sex toys and I had no idea that a vibrator could help me. Today, a vibrator is present in damn near every sexual encounter I have, unless to do so would simply be cumbersome. My husband has no problems with it. He’s very much a part of and responsible for my orgasms during sex. My husband, and any partner I choose to have sex with, is evolved, sensitive, realistic, secure and respectful about my sexuality and my sexual needs.
But N’s “non-kinky” answer was : “The generic one is this: you just need to break your addiction. Plain and simple. STOP masturbating with a vibrator. Sure, you’ll have some period of time when you’re dying to cum, dying to take out your trusty old friend. But you need to use that desperation in service of your elusive manual orgasm. I promise: if you go a month without an orgasm by the vibrator, you’ll be able to have one by hand.” (read his whole post here)
I got so upset at this that I immediately put on my commenting hat and my hands were actually shaking. Yes, I did jump on the “mansplaining” cart perhaps a little too quickly but maybe not. I’m not about to tell any man that the method he uses for orgasm is bad and he should stop it, if he should come to me feeling insecure about it. I will suggest to him ways to incorporate it into partnered sex. But since I lack a penis and prostate, I don’t have any actual experienced knowledge on how the male orgasm works.
I cannot say this enough: Vibrators are not a problem. They are not bad, they are not habit-forming, they are not dangerous, you are not weak and broken if you need one. Personally, I’ve found that my use of vibrators has increased my sensitivity. When I first started, I needed things that were super strong. As I’ve tried more toys I’ve discovered that it’s about more than just the strength, it’s the depth of the vibrations. I need more than just the external head my clit stimulated. It’s that simple. Since I’ve been using vibrators I have indeed been able to orgasm with just fingers or tongues and yes, I was delighted about this. I’m happy to try again because it leads to a different-feeling orgasms than the vibrators and it’s a novelty to me. It’s the same thing for me as if I tried to bake a loaf of bread and it turned out well. Yay! But I suck at baking so 90% of the time I’m going to purchase pre-made bread and that’s ok. There’s nothing wrong with having someone or something else make my bread.
This isn’t the first time a man will proclaim vibrators to be bad for us, and I’m quite sure it won’t be the last. In fact I’m sure that there are women who are anti-vibrator. (I don’t understand why, though. Why the fuck are so many people so fucking judgmental when it comes to how someone else does something? What do you care if I need a vibrator? It’s not hurting you. Don’t shame me into thinking I’m broken. Live your life and be happy, let me do the same. You don’t personally like or need vibrators? Great! More power (or not) to you! I’m starting to think the hippie compounds of the 1960s had it right. )
Embrace your sexuality. Embrace your kinks, explore whatever avenues you want. But rest assured you are not alone in whatever it is you need and like for your orgasms or arousal.
BE SEX POSITIVE.
The bane of a bloggers existence some days is the evolution of the Scraper. The Scraper is someone who has set up a website solely to garner advertisers. They have numerous sites like this and they obviously don’t have time to write their own content, so they “scrape” illegally from others. It’s only scraping, though, if they are stealing your entire post1. Many times these scrapers have automated the process and will scrape directly from your RSS feed. I’ve added on anti-scraping plugins to WordPress which put in things such as unique keys (so that I can search for that key and find who else is using it) and copyright / anti-scrap notices in the post – they alert the reader that if they’re reading the post anywhere other than Dangerouslilly.com, it has been illegally scraped and please contact me.
Even worse, however, is when a fellow community blogger or sex toy manufacturer/retailer uses your content in entirety without permission. Some are just completely uneducated as to the rights and wrongs of blogging, but really….we all started out in the same clueless space and most of us have gotten where we are just fine without violating copyright, stealing content or plagiarizing, ever.
What is Copyright?
According to Wikipedia, copyright ‘is “the right to copy”, but also gives the copyright holder the right to be credited for the work, to determine who may adapt the work to other forms, who may perform the work, who may financially benefit from it, and other related rights.’
A few years ago when I was dealing with a site that took harassing me to a new level, which included posting my photos without my permission, claimed that all was well and fair in the copyright world simply because they had attributed the photos to me. Nope, sorry, that is not the only condition that must be met. Especially not since I have this copyright notice at the end of every post and at the bottom of my main page: “All text and images on this site require permission before they can be used anywhere. To obtain permission click here to contact me”. Notice how I’ve stated that all text and images on this site require permission before they can be used anywhere? Yeah. That’s kinda the whole key.
eh. fine line.
There’s an article on Sexis about bloggers and copyright – not necessarily our own copyright but talking about how we steal things. Namely, photos. Some are more guilty than others of course but the fact is, copyright violation in terms of using a photo in your post is pretty rampant. Not just sex bloggers, but any blogger. So while attribution doesn’t equal permission when you’re talking about using someone’s entire post, attribution can equal permission when you’re dealing with photos. It will simply depend on what the copyright holder allows. But if you found the image on Google because hundreds of others have used it without attribution, what can be done? The best we can do is protect ourselves with watermark copyrights on our own photos, and when we use a photo that we know actually belongs to a fellow blogger, retail store or manufacturer…..attribute it. Ask for permission if it is a blogger.
Microblogging vs Blogging
Now, here’s the rub: With the over-saturation of social media sites where you “share” stuff with your followers, you “reblog” on Tumblr, you “retweet” on Twitter…you have a blurry line of kosher sharing when it comes to blogging. When you reblog and retweet on Tumblr and Twitter respectively, you are copying what someone said and providing attribution. The line is blurred even further with Twitter, where “copyright” doesn’t really seem to exist. I mean, how can you possibly lay copyright to a Tweet? On Tumblr it’s a little different I suppose, but many people treat Tumblr as blogging. So if I posted a photo on Tumblr and nowhere else, I still retain my copyright. That photo is my intellectual property and if you post it on your own Tumblr without an attribution link, then you’ve effectively stolen content.
The fine line lays in the type of sharing. Tumblr, Twitter, Pinterest, even Facebook are all considered forms of “microblogging“; places where the “reblog” is common practice and accepted. Standard Blogging is vast and varied; we’re accustomed to WordPress-based sites, Blogger, LiveJournal, etc but there are many other places as well. Somehow, the concept of “reblogging” seems to have bled over (incorrectly) to regular blogging with the prevalence of microblogging.
Product Reviewing and Ethics
In the past I went toe-to-toe with Lelo when I noticed that suddenly they went from quoting excerpts of reviews to pilfering entire (but slightly modified to remove retailers links and in some cases, had no links to the review itself) review posts. They’d never told anyone reviewing products (given to the reviewer by Lelo) that this would be done; they never asked for permission; and in fact they did this on reviews where the product came from retailers! After raising a fuss like I am wont to do, they apologized and removed it all and now only have excerpts (with links).
I’ve noticed that niche sex toy maker Duncan Charles has been lifting entire reviews2, as well, and what’s worse is that they have ignored emails. Back when I posted about Lelo, Shanna Katz commented that it had happened to her a lot over the years as well. I was offered the chance to do reviews for Nexus and at the time I viewed their site, I noticed that they had full text of reviews with no hyperlink. They had a text-only site address, though. But I wasn’t cool with having my entire review posted so I turned them down.
Ethical Blogging Practices
~Reblogging is NOT copying someone else’s entire blog post without their permission, throwing up an attribution link and calling it well and good. I see this as copyright violation and content theft. Also, just Bad Blogging Manners. You can quote something from my post, with an attribution and link, and that is a horse of a different color. You can share a photo I’ve posted here via Tumblr, with an attribution and link, and that’s just fine.
~Posting someone’s photo without an attribution is content theft and copyright violation. I don’t care if the click-through link goes to their blog, the attribution line (and link) is absolutely necessary.
~Creative Commons licenses on someone’s blog does not mean you get to skirt copyright basics or do away with attribution. Creative Commons exists to allow someone the flexibility of letting people know that sharing and even revamping is fine (with attribution) but it doesn’t dissolve copyright.
~And please…don’t EVER think you’re doing someone a favor by putting their content on your site. It’s insulting, it’s copyright violation, and it will earn you a very bad reputation.
- I’ve oddly run across scrapers who are more like news feed, where they take an excerpt – presumably for search engine content?- but not the whole post. This is usually done after they’ve been caught for full post content scraping. ↩
- Of course since all the reviews lifted seem to obviously be reviews originally published on EdenFantasys, the only people that DC has to listen to is EF ↩