Netflix’s comedy Sex Education, now in its third season, is centred around a group of students and teachers at a British high school. The show aims to teach its viewers about sex, and sexuality and, often does a greater job than most schools sex ed classes.
The premise of the show is that students at Moordale High are not receiving satisfactory sex education programs, so Otis (Asa Butterfield) and his classmate Maeve (Emma Mackey) set up a sex therapy service for their peers. The young teenagers seek out material on how to improve one’s love life and overcome sexual problems. The two find often correct and honest information, that they give to those asking for advice.
In the first episode of season three, we see Dr Jean Milburn (Gillian Anderson) do an interview on her new book, Uneducated Nation: A Sex Education Manifesto for Our Youth. When the host asks her to speak about the book, she replies by saying she was, “shocked at the ineptitude” of school sex ed classes. So, she wrote a book that is an “easy-to-read manual to help empower our teenagers, and their parents, as they become sexually active young adults.” The interviewer responds to her, “Sounds a bit racy.” Dr Milburn replies, “Well, if, by racy, you mean highly researched and completely essential to the health and well-being of our children, then, yes, I suppose it is.”
Milburn’s response could be used to describe the series itself, racy but essential. Sex Education could also be a mirror to how school-based sexual education curricula could advance the communication of pertinent material to curious and impulsive teenagers.
Sexually provocative, but educational, Sex Education is one show that exemplifies how narratives in popular culture can represent teenage sexuality positively. Often the positive aspect of sex is left outside of the classroom. Teenagers are sexual beings too who desire and deserve sex-positive information.
For instance, in the first episode of season three, the opening scene is lively, teasing, and sexy. The scene moves between various moments of sexual pleasure. From heterosexual sex to masturbating while watching porn, gay sex between young men, gay role-playing sex between young women, online sex, virtual reality sex and, the pleasure of reading a book while indulging in cheese puffs. This series of sexual arrangements not only shows a range of desires across ages but sexualities and body sizes.
One of the things to note about the show is how it does not have any messages or hints about abstinence, fear that is related to representations of teen sex, or timidness around what sex is. Instead, it portrays a very open, bold, and authentic truth about what relationship teenagers have (or should) with sex.
Sex Education also debunks misinformation about sex, such as the idea that pornography is only harmful to teens. Watching porn can be “a bit of fun,” to quote one of the characters. In addition, Sex Education debunks another assumption where one of the characters falsely believes that a large penis guarantees one sexual satisfaction and, another thought that her labia should be tucked in.
The quality of sex education differs from one education system to another. However, it is clear that the need for more conversations centred around pleasure must be prioritized instead of focusing only on reproduction. Sex Education contests a commonly held perception about teenagers that they should be sheltered from the ills of sex and sexual material. A narrative portrayed by teens and about teens can bring about crucial tools to invite conversations between children and adults about sex.
The discussion brought by television shows like Sex Education emphasizes and highlights the need for more comprehensive sexual education not only in schools but in cultures and in family homes themselves.
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I haven’t really masturbated before and I am a little bit nervous!
How do you masturbate for beginners and what apps would you suggest to help?
Being nervous is completely normal, it’s a new experience!
More so, because we’re taught that our intimate areas are off-limits and that only adds to the stress involved.
But let me tell you, there’s nothing to be nervous about! The first thing I would suggest is: explore, explore, explore. See what you like and what you don’t. There isn’t a set way to masturbate, some people prefer to use toys whilst others can get off using their hands alone.
The only way to know the best way for you is to try out a bunch of different things. You might find that you are a bit dry or, if you have a penis, lube might help.
You can buy this from any sex shop and it makes it all the more enjoyable and definitely easier.
For apps, there’s a range of exciting ones, it depends on what you are looking for!
I’ve added a few below to start you off (and get you off):
Dipsea: This app is a lot like guided meditation but it helps to get you off. It’s a collection of short audio stories and is for people of all genders.
Happy time: This app is primarily for people with a vagina. The aim is to get people educated about masturbation and be comfortable with pleasuring yourself! This app is free.
Sex positive: This is about counteracting the fears and misinformation about sexuality. It gives information about what happens when a part of the body touches another and so you can always be informed!
I’ve linked an article written by one of our writers about apps to help you further. You can find it here.
More Dear Madame Lestrange
I’m planning on having sex with my boyfriend soon. It’ll be my first time but not his and while I’m very excited, I’m also very nervous. I want to make this a pleasurable experience for us both and I have no idea what I’m doing. I gave him my first handjob too and while he did cum, I feel like I could’ve done better. Do you have any tips?
I’m not going to lie to you. Everything you do in school is not going to follow you for the rest of your life. Your grades won’t define your future, those certificates will stay piled up in your cupboard, your friend group might not stay together, and you’ll never use calculus to figure out your finances.
When I graduated high school, I wondered, should I have put so much effort into extracurriculars? Maybe I shouldn’t have spent so many years in the Student Council, putting hours of effort into drafting minutes of meetings, writing emails, organizing my team, and being a bridge between students and teachers. When all this hard work couldn’t get me into the university that I dreamt of, what was the point of the hustle?
The answer came to me in little revelations. Putting effort into activities and extracurriculars does pay off. Whether it be a painting competition you participated in, organizing a sports event, or running a literature club, it makes a difference. I cannot guarantee that extracurriculars will help you get into university. But in a few years, you’ll realize how much it transformed you as a person.
A few months after I started university, I found it very easy to put myself in new environments that would otherwise seem daunting. I could easily market my skills and manage my time productively. Furthermore, I was open to opportunities that came my way.
Working with a team at school events is an opportunity to figure out what you want in your future career. Almost all activities in school are unpaid, but they help you grasp the idea of intrinsic motivation or satisfaction. You learn what motivates you apart from money and this can be the key to success in your life. It’s a chance to invest time and effort in the things that interest you.
In fact, some aspects of our personality stay hidden until we challenge them. We’re meant to get out of our comfort zone and take chances. Putting yourself in tough situations doesn’t make you a bad decision-maker. It means you’re willing to see yourself grow and have faith in yourself. Confidence doesn’t come on its own. Having faith in yourself and your skills can tap into your true potential.
While clubs and organizations do so much to help you learn about yourself, they also help you learn how to interact with others. Extracurricular activities and student leadership keep you constantly in touch with your peers and teachers, whether you like it or not. Even text messaging or email help you develop a style of communication that sets you apart. You learn the dos and don’ts of interacting with people who work with you and the people you work for.
Furthermore, if you become a leader in an organization or group, you learn additional skills. Leadership is NOT about being the best in your team. A good leader can recognize their teammates’ abilities and push them to do their best. Extracurriculars can help you learn these skills and even notice them in others. Being a good leader also teaches you to be responsible and accountable for your actions and decisions. Managing an event or participating in a competition with a team is a completely different experience than a group project. You will notice that the people you form teams with are motivated to perform better since they’re doing it out of their free will. You will also find certain people you cannot stand, but trust me on this: It helps you figure out ways to deal with people you don’t like.
With all that communication, you also learn to manage conflicting interests and priorities. High school does this thing where you’re packed with everything: exam preparation, the biggest competition of the year, and a charity drive all at once. It can also give you a taste of multi-tasking: Learning to manage your academics and perform activities outside of that sphere is a very underrated skill.
Assume that you’re part of a school club. That experience can answer so many questions you wouldn’t otherwise know. What kind of people get along with each other? What leadership style is necessary when your club isn’t doing well? What is the best way to assign duties? How do you deal with freeloaders? Do you need to stay back at school to finish decorating the auditorium or is there someone you can assign it to? How will you finish your artwork due Saturday when you have a big test the day after? Simply being a part of a larger organization can give you so many insights into how people work.
School may be a nightmare for some, but we need to realize good things don’t come on a silver platter. The subjects you study in school today may not even be relevant by the time you graduate and start working. Instead, look for creativity in yourself and around you. Learn from the people you admire and stay open-minded. Invest time in yourself and your abilities. I assure you, it will make a difference.
Follow our Zodiac series for everything astrology related. We’re Spillin’ the Zodiac T! Stay tuned for the juice.
Self-care. At this point, we’ve all heard the phrase, but how many of us actually practice it? No matter how busy our days are, self-care should always be a priority, especially because it’s a surefire way of mentally, physically, and emotionally de-stressing. Taking time for ourselves may seem selfish, but it’s necessary in order to maintain our mental wellness and wellbeing.
Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start with self-care. Tonight, let your sun sign be your guide and start with these self-care suggestions.
Aries (March 21 – April 19)
Aries, do you hear that? It’s the sound of music that makes you want to get up and dance. That’s right, it’s dance night! Put on your comfiest, most breathable clothes and bust a move. Individual sports might be your typical jam, but tonight is all about freeing yourself from the limitations of competition and just enjoying the moment. Should the need for choreography arise, go with it—but, for the most part, don’t think, just dance!
Whether you skip the dancing portion of tonight’s self-care schedule or you take advantage of every second, be sure to stretch. In addition to relieving stress, stretching regularly increases the blood flow to your muscles, improves your posture, and expands your range of motion. Stay motivated by setting stretching goals!
Taurus (April 20 – May 20)
Taurus, I believe your favorite scented candle is calling your name. Tonight, we’re focusing on what pleasures we can derive from each of our senses—starting with smell. If candles aren’t your thing anymore, try aromatherapy. Take stock of what your body would benefit from, and then choose an essential oil that fits the bill. Try peppermint if you need an energy boost, rose to reduce anxiety, chamomile to relax, or ylang-ylang to soothe a headache.
Another aromatherapy option is a luxurious bubble bath. Select a bath salt or bath bomb with a scent that will treat your senses right and then enjoy for as long as it takes for the stress to leave your shoulders—or for the heat to leave the water. Maybe even bring along a delectable book as you take the time to focus on what you’ve been putting off: you!
Gemini (May 21 – June 20)
Geminis, I challenge you to tap into your well of curiosity and take a walk around your neighborhood. Rather than tread your usual trail, embark on a route you’ve never taken before. As you walk, keep your phone in your pocket and your eyes open for a couple of strangers to greet. Don’t be shy, say hello, and follow the paths of conversation. Interacting with new people can introduce us to pieces of the world we’ve yet to experience.
If quarantine is still in effect in your neighborhood, try out Window Swap! Click through until you find a view that brings you contentment. Then find a journal and write a short story about whose window you’re peering through. Let your imagination wander, and your creativity take you to places you’ve never been before.
Cancer (June 21 – July 22)
Cancers, it could be time for another visit with your family—whether in-person or digitally. Check in with your loved ones and share how you’ve been doing. Even if you just called them yesterday, call them again today and tell them about something that brought you joy or peace. Or open up about something that made you sad or anxious. Cancers care deeply for others and thrive when helping their loved ones, so take the time to do that.
If you’re not feeling chatty today, listen to a podcast instead. There are so many to choose from, and it could be time to finally start one you’ve been meaning to listen to for a while now. As you listen, go for a drive, a bike ride, or a walk and savor the vastness of the sky.
Leo (July 23 – August 24)
Leos, I challenge you to find the hardest puzzle you can. Then spend time every day for the next couple of weeks putting it together. It can be overwhelming to approach a task thinking we need to solve every problem or tick off every to-do in one sitting. By giving yourself time and space to piece together this puzzle, you’ll be able to live in the moment and find contentment with the progress you’re making.
Another way for Leos to check their progress is to re-watch a nostalgic movie or show (or read a book) from your childhood. Going down memory lane can be a fun way to reflect on who you were, where you’ve been, and how far you’ve come as a person. Write down a few of your thoughts as you watch/read. In a couple of years, return to those thoughts to track how you continue to grow and evolve.
Virgo (August 23 – September 22)
My fellow Virgos, sometimes we just need to find a way to turn off our overly critical brains. I challenge us to volunteer at our local animal shelter—if quarantine guidelines allow for it in our communities. My local shelter is always looking for people to walk dogs, socialize cats, clean, fundraise, and even foster a pet. Find where your skillset will shine and apply to volunteer. While self-care is about ourselves, focusing on others can help get us out of our heads.
Animals aren’t really your thing? Then let’s get organized! Rather than tidy up what we both know is probably already alphabetized and colorized, sort through your belongings and start making a pile of items you no longer want or need. There’s a reason why spring cleaning is a tradition that continues year after year.
Libra (September 23 – October 22)
Libras, it’s time for a game night! Send a quick text to the group chat to let your pals know you’re hosting. When picking out the games, choose ones like 20 Questions, This or That, Two Truths and A Lie, and other conversational games that will lead to insurmountable discussions amongst you and your friends. Go deep or keep it light—either way, fun will be had. The best part about game night is it’s quarantine-friendly if you need to go digital.
If you’re friend group just recently had a game night, try a book club. Pick a book you think everyone will love—or hate, if you want to spice the conversation up—then be sure to chat about it every few chapters or so.
Scorpio (October 23 – November 21)
Tonight, Scorpios, I challenge you to first cancel all of your plans. Say no to what people are asking of you as a way of practicing boundaries. You are natural leaders and great friends, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put yourself first from time to time. Once you’ve opened up your night, stay in and cook up that recipe you’ve been meaning to make. Focus on the directions the recipe gives and let the mindless tasks of chopping, dicing, and other prep work help quiet your mind. If you’ve been looking for a release of some sort, be sure onions are in your recipe to give yourself an excuse to cry.
Or, take a break from the kitchen and order takeout from a restaurant you’ve never tried before. Get out of your comfort zone and ask for menu recommendations from the maître d’ before placing your order. And who knows, this new restaurant could become your new go-to spot!
Sagittarius (November 22 – December 21)
Sagittarius, we both know you’ve been clamoring to get out of the house and back into nature. This isn’t much of a challenge for you but schedule a hike for this weekend. Pick a trail you’ve been wanting to trek but haven’t had the chance to. If you’re feeling social, invite a few friends to join you and let the conversation flow between deep chats about the meaning of life to observations about what you see as you enjoy the great outdoors.
If trails are still closed near you, watch a nature or travel documentary that’s been hanging out unwatched on your streaming watchlists. Afterward, write down a couple of things you learned or what is inspiring you to plan your next trip abroad.
Capricorn (December 22 – January 19)
Capricorns, you are very responsible and disciplined individuals, which makes me think you’re ready for a new houseplant! Studies have shown that active interaction with indoor plants can reduce stress by suppressing autonomic nervous system activity and providing a soothing sense of natural calm. Build a watering routine for your new plant friend—and consider singing to them as part of that routine.
If you’re not ready to add another plant to your collection, then a good old-fashioned deep cleaning session is another way to put your mind at ease. Cleaning is one of those tasks that are always on the to-do list while doubling as a destresser. Just don’t forget to make a new playlist before you start!
Aquarius (January 20 – February 18)
Aquarius, it’s time for a detox night! I challenge you to stock up on some face masks—or, better yet, find an easy-to-make face mask recipe online and concoct it with a few of your closest confidants. As you assemble, chat about what’s been happening in your lives lately. The combination of being with your friends and getting to show off your listening skills will help calm any nerves from earlier that day. I know you’re not always fond of expressing your emotions, Aquarius, but practice being open and vulnerable, too.
Since you thrive when you get to help others, brainstorm a couple of action items you and your friends can implement to help resolve any problems you vent about during detox night. Sometimes getting something off your chest is resolution enough, but just in case, make sure everyone leaves feeling like they can tackle what life throws at them next.
Pisces (February 19 – March 20)
Pisces, it’s time to treat yourself to that arts and crafts project you’ve been eyeing on Etsy. Buy it or try to do your own version with the supplies you have at home. Put on your favorite music album and let your brain go quiet as you complete your project from start to finish.
Not sure what your project should be? Try embroidery, paint by numbers, or making your own clay earrings. If you’re an experienced crafter, teach yourself a more advanced skillset: look up a new knitting pattern, try a more complex candle mold, or dabble in more detailed printmaking. The world is your oyster, Pisces, so take advantage of all the projects there are still to do.
Self-care isn’t just important. It’s crucial for our health. Start building self-care into your daily routine so that you can be a better, stronger, and more present you for yourself and your loved ones.
Before finding out about the #HireBlack Initiative, my mental health was deteriorating with every passing day. I started to equate my self-worth to my inability to land a job. I cried many nights over being ghosted by jobs, not knowing what I did wrong. At that point, I was begging to get a simple rejection email as proof of being noticed. I spent so much time in college landing opportunities and internships, strengthening my professional relationships, and getting high grades, only to be reduced to not even being a second thought.
I kept getting flashbacks from a horrible phone call I had with a job recruiter about a promising job offer. After telling me about the opportunity, the conversation did a 180. He told me that because I didn’t immediately get a job or internship the summer after I graduated college, I lost my chance at landing an entry-level job.No matter how great I did in college, it will mean nothing. Despite me working twice as hard to get more experience to make me more hireable in my already competitive field.
The recruiter thought being “real” with me was the best way to go but, instead, he was outright cold. I was holding back tears from the sound of my dreams being crushed. He then thought adding me as a LinkedIn connection would be seen as extending an olive branch after ripping me apart. Seeing that the person I was talking to was a white man made me feel not only personally attacked but had microaggressions thrown at me for no reason. It was like dealing with a racist guidance counselor from hell.
This upsetting situation all came to a head one fateful day over the summer. I have noticed #HireBlack LinkedIn posts from a friend of mine. I’ve been seeing them for the last couple of days and thought nothing of it, but soon decided to put myself out there in an attempt to try something new. At this point, I was willing to try anything for a new result.
The goal was simple; get 19 Black women signed up to get resume feedback on Juneteenth. Creator, Niani Tolbert, wanted to help other Black women in the same position as her – furloughed, jobless, and looking for a fresh start. Tolbert is a job recruiter herself, so she understands how companies select their candidates. At this point last year, not only was the number of people receiving unemployment getting higher but so was racial tensions worsening in the United States. June was a rough month to go through as a Black person. #HireBlack ultimately blew up.
Job opportunities are always hard to come by, but it’s even worse when systemic racism fights you at every turn.
Along with thousands of other women, I joined the #HireBlack Initiative with hopes of bettering ourselves professionally using resources that are typically hard to come by. Black women who wish to start their careers get their resumes looked over without paying a fee. They can also seek advice about pivoting to a new industry, negotiation tips for higher pay, promoting their Black-owned business, and so much more. The management platform Slack played an essential role in opening communication channels within the initiatives. It hosted conversations about hair politics, discrimination, and everyday events that have long-lasting effects. There was finally a place for Black women to be Black women without sacrificing their identity.
Initially, #HireBlack was only for those who identified as Black women. Tolbert understood how much harder it is for Black women to get hired compared to other demographics. In a Forbes interview, Tolbert states, “To my core, I believe in giving people resources, and I also believe in helping people pass their limiting beliefs … On another hand, trying to make sure that I am helping to challenge people to think bigger. Whether that’s helping people through coaching or helping through recruiting, I’ve always been trying to do those two because I think that when you have empowered people and you give them resources, they can be the best that they can be. They can do anything.”
Job opportunities are always hard to come by, but it’s even worse when systemic racism fights you at every turn.
Tolbert also said the idea of professionalism is inherently “Eurocentric.” The pressure to straighten naturally curly hair to appease jobs, ‘fix’ the way you talk, or be ashamed of your name because of racist unconscious bias. Through this process of whitewashing, Black women become the hardest hit in the job market and lead them to higher unemployment, few work benefits, and less job stability. Society forces Black women to change themselves to conform to their norms and yet still don’t provide them with the proper access to a sustainable lifestyle. This clear discrepancy is why the #HireBlack Initiative’s most significant objective is to get 10,000 Black women hired. This goal will help offset the established systematic racism and sexism which Black women are constantly fighting against.
While a tool for positive change, it is unfortunate that the #HireBlack initiative came from the turbulent job market mixed with the lack of intersectionality in American society. This plays a huge role in how Black women are oppressed and often discriminated against due to the cross-section of negative effects on gender, race, and class. Even though #HireBlack doesn’t solve everything, it contributes to the fight against gross mistreatment black women face due to systematic racism.
For as long as I’ve been in this community, I was fortunate enough to get a coach to critique my resume and help improve my LinkedIn page. I’ve made friends with other women, heard their personal stories, and listened to their advice. I even donated money because I believe in the message of #HireBlack. I was also able to land my first industry job because of my experience!
From the humble beginnings of June 2020 to now, #HireBlack has created a safe space for Black women. It has now become a place where non-Black allies can join the initiative to tackle their internalized bias. There are more professional services to improve your online professionalism. Weekly coffee hours are live-streamed on LinkedIn to talk about upcoming events. Job recruiters are available to increase network opportunities. The initiative held a virtual conference to address workplace issues and finding solutions. By no means has #HireBlack finished with its mission. It’s only getting started.
In the words of Tolbert, let’s get to werk.
If you’re still looking for a job, need help, or know someone who would like this, reach out to the #HireBlack website. To join the #HireBlack Initiative,submit your invitation to join the Slack channel. Be a part of a community that only wants to see you succeed and flourish as the proud Black woman you are.
Mother’s Day is a celebration of all the cherished forms of motherhood. This one is for the strong mothers, the nurturing ones, for the mothers who have lost children, for the children who have lost mothers, for those who are aching to be mothers, for those who choose not to be mothers. Read more here.
Looking back at my early childhood photos, my sister said, “one thing about our mother is that she made sure her daughter looked good!” I couldn’t help but agree when I saw how she dressed me in stylish color-coordinated outfits with matching hair ribbons. It made me realize how integral our mothers were in informing our earliest identity and style. As the first people who dressed us, it’s fascinating to see how they have had a subtle or overt influence on our personal style.
As a child, I was an easy dresser. I usually just wore whatever my mother put me in and thankfully it was cute. My sister on the other hand was far more rebellious. From a young age, she was determined to dress herself. Although our styles have changed over the years, mine incorporating more black and hers becoming more casual and conservative, we can appreciate the style tips our mother taught us. She taught us that you don’t need to spend lots of money to look good and a good fitting is everything!
In celebration of Mother’s Day, I was curious to find out from The Tempest team and some friends about what they learned about fashion from their mother and how and if it influenced their current style.
Honestly, my mother shaped my entire identity and style choices from clothes down to accessories. It’s kind of weird actually because she doesn’t like fashion that much, but she has opinions about everything. When I was younger, I felt like I would live or die based on her opinions of my style choices. That isn’t to say that she was picky, it’s just that my entire existence felt like it was oriented around her and she was the only person whose opinions mattered to me. As I grew up, I found I was more comfortable making some of my own style choices without obsessively running it by her, but I had also emulated her style anyways. Makeup is one area where I truly feel my opinions are totally independent of hers, mostly because she loves neutral makeup and I want everything bold.
My entire thrifting culture was inspired by my mom. I wore my cousin’s clothes and some of my neighbor’s kids’ old clothes at some point! Tailoring was also a big part of that, which inspires repurposing and longevity for your clothes. However, the greatest treasure from my mother is color coordination. She truly believes in brown and beige and boy, do I believe in that combo!
My mom and grandmother both have exquisite taste. Even though their fashion leaned towards the practical, they somehow still look effortlessly stylish. Their hijab always matches their outfit. I guess that’s where I picked up my approach to fashion: practical, yet still maintaining an overall chic look.
I didn’t particularly learn any styling tips from my mom but she taught me how to sew. In our family, it’s kind of like passing on things to the next generation. Just the basic things like how to thread a needle, simple stitches, how to sew a button, alter any price of clothing if it’s too big.
– Sameen Fatima, Community Fellow
My mom has such good taste it’s crazy! I literally base all my style on her opinion; she definitely taught me how to dress! She introduced me to the kind of style/fashion that I like and I wouldn’t know about all the fashion things that I love today if it wasn’t for her influence. I still take her shopping with me because she really knows the deal.
So whether your mother is your shopping buddy and style twin or you are way more daring in your fashion choices. I think it’s safe to say that our personal style wouldn’t be what it is today without its first moldings from our mothers. Happy Mother’s Day!
Vulvasations is a Tempest Love and Health exclusive series dedicated to spreading awareness about the female reproductive system, debunking myths about periods and dissecting everything vajayjay related. Let’s talk about vaginas!
TikTok is a lawless place. For the most part, I love this about the platform because it has helped so many people who are not often included in mainstream media share their voices, experiences, and stories to millions of people. But because TikTok has infamously lacked the rules and regulations of many other social media platforms, just about anyone can amass thousands upon thousands of views and likes for things that probably shouldn’t be viewed nor liked—nor even said aloud.
While the internet has made racists, transphobes, and xenophobes comfortable with spreading hate either anonymously or with little consequence, TikTok has exacerbated the problem by allowing people to assert their opinion without any credible basis. We could namedrop a variety of issues that have suffered from the spreading of misinformation across social media, but there’s one that I thought we had all laid to rest years ago.
I’m talking about vaginas and their odors and flavors.
Since downloading TikTok, I’ve seen immature men and misguided women make claims about what vaginas are supposed to smell and taste like. These videos boil my blood because they often shame people with vaginas for having vaginas that exude any sort of odor or flavor that isn’t palatable.
Why do people want their vagina to smell (and taste) like cupcakes
I just saw people on TikTok hyping suppositories that are peach, coconut, etc flavored and scented
Why do you want an infection to “please” a (most likely) man who doesn’t deserve to be around vagina anyways??
I wouldn’t want any of these TikTokers near my vagina to begin with. And the part of me that has learned how to identify garbage that hasn’t been taken out yet does not care one single iota what these people think is palatable. Spoiler alert: it’s probably exclusively dinosaur chicken nuggets and fruit snacks (there’s nothing wrong with either unless this is all you eat).
However, I am most concerned for these women who are regurgitating misogyny. Thus, this is a situation that calls for education.
So, what should a healthy vagina smell and taste like?
For starters, it should smell. Normal odors include fragrances that are metallic, bittersweet, bleachy, tangy, fermented, or sour. Menstrual cycles, bacterial flora, fluctuating pH balances, or discharge can all be attributed to these smells—and all are perfectly normal. In fact, you want your vagina to produce any of these odors because that means your vagina is doing its job.
Similarly, your vagina might taste metallic, salty, or sour, and again, that’s perfectly normal. Our vaginas spend most of their time experiencing all the activities we go about during our day. This can give them hints of sweat, musk, and body odor, which is nothing to be ashamed about.
What your vagina should not smell or taste like is flowers or fruit. It also shouldn’t smell or taste fishy or rotten because that means you could have bacterial vaginosis, trichomoniasis, or even a case of forgotten tampon.
The takeaway is that your vagina should smell and taste like a vagina. If someone has a problem with that, then you can point them to the nearest bodega or grocery store because they’re probably craving something from the produce aisle and not whatever fun was to be had in the bedroom.
Like most products designed to target women, these TikToks are just trying to make those of us with vaginas feel bad about ourselves. But they’ll have to get in line behind all the other people, brands, and governments working on this nefarious plotline.
The next time you run into one of these TikTokers, just know they are simply airing their dirty laundry on the Internet. Maybe we should thank them for waving their red flags publicly and warning all of us with vaginas that they hate us and our bodies.
But don’t worry, vagina-shaming TikTokers. I hate you, too.
Not to toot my own horn, but I think I give excellent dating advice. However, if you were to ask me for my dating credentials, I would hand you a blank piece of paper.
For some, being serially single is not a choice. But for me, it’s a lifestyle.
I have been single for all of my adult life, and I thoroughly enjoy the independence and solitude—which I know freaks people out. While some single people date, I do not.
So how does this make me—and other serially single people—expert at giving dating advice?
Let me let you in on a few secrets of the trade.
The first secret is not actually a secret but a well-known fact: Almost all forms of content are about love.
Even content that exists outside of traditional romance genres usually includes love and sex. For example, that action movie you just watched, was there a romantic arc in it?
Most movies, television shows, and books have provided blueprints for all kinds of relationships. A lot of these blueprints have helped me understand what healthy and unhealthy relationships look like.
I’ve also read more than a fair share of fanfiction. Honestly, when you asked for my dating credentials, I could have sent you the link to AO3 and, if you’ve ever read any fanfiction, you’d have immediately understood why this gives me so much credible dating insight.
Even being someone who grew up alongside the Internet has made many of us mini experts on random topics. Most of us didn’t necessarily seek this information out; it just appeared on our Tumblr, Twitter, or Instagram feeds.
Here’s the real secret: All relationships are the same.
Whether platonic or romantic, open or closed, monogamous or polyamorous, all relationships are made of the same ingredients. The dictionary definition of relationship describes the connection between people. And we all have experience with that. I may not date, but I do have lots of friends.
Some of my friendships have failed while others have thrived. This has helped me gain insight on communication, boundaries, and respect—insight that applies to both platonic and romantic relationships.
I’ve also watched most of my loved ones experience all kinds of different relationships. As you can imagine, being single gives those of us who are serially single plenty of free time to observe other people’s relationships—and, if you’re a Virgo like me, judge these relationships in order to perfect the advice we give to those who may (or may not) ask.
Just because your single friends haven’t dated anyone—casually, seriously, or at all—doesn’t mean we’re not familiar with the territory. All of our observations add to our dating advice credentials.
In fact, we’re kind of like therapists.
Because we’re removed from romantic situations, we have clarity uncolored by personal bias and experiences.
Most importantly, your serially single friends arguably have the most experience with prioritizing themselves and their needs. This makes us adept at keeping your best interests top of mind if you come to us for romantic advice.
We want you to be yourself and to love who you are. We will encourage you to take the time to learn more about your wants, needs, and goals before diving further into romance.
The best advice I can give as a serially single person is to try out being single. Being single has a lot of perks, the top of which is that it can give you the time, space, and energy to explore you who are.
I’m not saying everyone should be single. I’m just saying don’t knock it till you try it.
And, don’t worry. I promise I won’t say “I told you so” when you realize being single helped you become a better romantic partner.
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Like many people in 2020, I found myself back on the job market. This meant scrolling endlessly—and swiping left often—through job listing after job listing. It was a tedious process and one that I found myself regaling to my therapist during many of our sessions.
While I was deterred by the countless lack of responses and emails starting with, “we regret to inform you…,” my therapist had a more positive outlook on the situation. They noted that job hunting is pretty similar to dating.
I was shocked—and a little disgusted. How could they equate something that should be fun with something that is the opposite of fun? However, the more I reflected, the more I realized my therapist was on to something.
Both dating and job searching have ups and downs, good experiences and terrible experiences. Both offer opportunities to learn about ourselves, our goals, and our wants and needs.
The point of dating and job hunting is to find the best match for us, often by presenting a more polished version of ourselves. Just like in job interviews, we probably shouldn’t go into detail on the woes of bacne or the injustice of fans’ treatment of Zayn post-1D. This isn’t first, second, or even third date material—although it could be for the right person.
Dating is about finding someone whose weird meshes with your weirdness, and the same can be said for job searching. Managers are looking to hire people who are not only qualified but who will be a good fit for the company.
During my job hunt process, I took a fashion risk and wore a leather skirt to an interview. My interviewers were not enthused, and I did not get the job. While it stung at the time, I’m grateful that I wasn’t hired; I would not be a good fit with a company so adamantly anti leather skirts. Jokes aside, this company cared more about what I was wearing than what I was bringing to the table. Their weird did not mesh with my weird and, looking back, that’s totally okay.
This isn’t always the mindset we have when dating. Sometimes it’s easier to hold on to past hurts and rejections. But if someone doesn’t want me for me, then thank goodness they were honest about it! Who wants to end up with a long-term partner that doesn’t even like them?
In a peculiar way, job hunting helped me realize that I don’t have to take dating—or any relationship, whether platonic or romantic—so personally. As the saying goes, you win some and you lose some. But, as a different saying goes, it’s better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.
I think my therapist compared job hunting to dating to encourage me to find the value in the experience I was living through. Being too doom and gloom while job searching prevented me from taking in the sights along the journey. By comparing finding a job with dating, my therapist reminded me that dating can be fun. And even when it’s not fun, at least bad dates give us a story to tell our friends.
While I don’t think we should approach dating in the same way we do job hunting, I do think there are lessons to be learned from both. Admittedly, I wish the lesson was to write your cover letter like you would a dating profile. If it was as easy as that, all of my cover letters would start with: DTW (down to write)/ freaky grammar fetish (oxford commas and em-dashes excite me).
I like to believe the right match(es) for each of us is out there. Even if we have to apply to the partner role multiple times, and even if we discover that role is purely platonic. Just like life, dating is about the journey. Although, unlike life, dating is also about the destination. But that’s a different article.
My hesitance with being creative started with a set of simple words on my screen: “Nowis the perfect time to write your book!” I encountered variations of these words on Twitter, against the scenic backdrop of a forest in an inspiration post on Instagram. They seemed to follow me everywhere I clicked. These words became a trickling of an inner voice in my head that demanded one thing: write a book. Write the book.
At the time, we were all in our first few weeks of the world-wide lockdown. There was a wave of posts that encouraged people to look at the bright side of staying home. After all, we had the many privileges that came with being able to have our own spaces during this time. We didn’t have to share a common eating space with colleagues and we could work in our pajamas. It wasn’t all bad, right?
Not to mention, while we self-isolated and stayed inside, our schedules had significantly cleared up. These reminders and gentle pushes served as an incentive for us to sit down and do the things we said we’d do if we had more time. My current circumstance, if I would have let it, could have been inspirational. This was the time I had been waiting for, so why wasn’t I typing away?
I imagined myself as an artist who was finally in their own element with nothing but time and energy to create. Cocooned away in blankets, frantically typing away at her next screenplay, she uses the time she would have spent commuting to work to instead perfect her craft. Or perhaps I’d relate more to a woman whose hands dance in the warm light streaming through the window. There are paint streaks on her cheeks and the coffee in her mug has gone cold.
Then, there is also the image of a struggling artist who perseveres against all odds. Their hand is shaking, but resolute, as they photograph minute details of their surrounding, working with what they have. This artist scrapes the barrel for their inspiration, regardless of the clamor outside. Fair. But we need to remind ourselves these are heavily romanticized ways of approaching creativity.
Reading the pandemic was the perfect time to ‘write my book‘ made me feel discouraged. I felt bogged down. I was in mourning for the perfect end to my senior year that now would never be. Trapped in my room, I felt the need to escape. Writing allows me to delve deep into myself – something I could not have been bothered with before the pandemic hit. However, as any writer can tell you, it is an incredible feeling to share your work, but writing can be a terribly lonely and internal process.
I wasn’t partaking in much leisure creativity in those early days. Even writing my college senior project, a creative fictional piece, felt like a chore. All my energy went into listening to the voices that streamed out of my laptop during the last of my online courses.
All I wanted to do was scoop out my mind and leave it in a warm tub to rest. I watched movies, listened to music, and chatted with my roommates, using up the energy I had left on reserve. I didn’t feel inspired to produce some great masterpiece. But I had all the time in the world to do it. Since I wasn’t going anywhere, why wasn’t I writing my book?
Weren’t the arts meant to be those places where we could escape from capitalist expectations of labor and product?
Over time, I felt myself spiraling. I didn’t have an idea of what I would write. I just felt like I had to make something productive out of my time. I genuinely felt I was going to disappoint myself either way, whether I chose to pick up my pen or not.
This is all sounding gloomy, but actually, there were times when I wanted to be creative. When I felt that sudden urge to set off and start working on a new piece of writing or pick up painting as a hobby. I knew when I started working I would feel good about it, but the benchmark had been set so high that I felt discouraged.
When I was packing up to move back home, I stumbled upon a product of my literary past. I had written up a small outline of a short story sometime in January. Immediately, I wanted to drop everything, move aside the boxes from my desk, and bring the story to life.
I had an epiphany- this mindset of creating perfect art was (and is) toxic. Creativity doesn’t have to be productive. Weren’t the arts meant to be an escape from capitalist expectations of labor and product?
I am not wasting my time even if nothing comes of the writing– I am perfecting a craft.
Art didn’t need to be performative either. It didn’t have to wear the fancy label of a ‘novel’ or perform for an audience. I didn’t need to parade around and place a glossy cover over the pages. Instead, I needed to give myself permission to not even have to finish whatever project was in my drafts. Ultimately, I must accept no creative pursuit is ever wasted. I am not wasting my time if nothing comes of the writing. Rather, I am perfecting a craft. As for talent, there is no wasting that unless I don’t use it.
The sooner I realized I could follow my creative instincts without oppressive expectations, the sooner I felt creatively liberated. Whether it bethrough sporadically writing a scene of a story or picking up (and putting down) a paintbrush when I feel inclined, I shouldn’t have felt pressured to fully pursue my creative urges if I didn’t want to. I should be allowed to surrender to that flurry of excitement and passion to simply express myself. Then, when the passion was over, to let it go. Truly, I didn’t even have to show my creative work to anyone or look at it ever again.
I am teaching myself creativity isn’t meant to always be translated into something productive. The funny thing is I often did return to those pieces and paintings and continued to work on them. But that was only possible when I didn’t feel the heavy benchmark of producing a bestseller or a museum-worthy mural on my shoulders.
For many ordinary people, dating a relationship writer might seem like a pretty bad idea. If not bad, then probably a costly mistake. Everyone usually thinks that love/relationship writers have a scandalous occupation and spend their day reading erotica or writing articles about sex positions or vibrators and other ‘taboo’ topics. The truth is, dating a relationship writer is actually one of the best things you can do to involve yourself in a healthy, fulfilling, and trustworthy relationship.
When dating a writer who specializes in the love and health sector, you get 24/7 access to an encyclopedia of advice and knowledge followed by an enhanced understanding of human psychology, interpersonal relationships, and effective communication.
With that in mind, here are seven reasons why you should date a relationship writer:
1. Relationship writers are incredibly romantic
We not only spend our day writing about love and health, but we’re also constantly immersed in a vast culture of romance, lust, desire, and passion. We breathe and exhale love as a language and directly implement what we learn into our real-life relationships.
2.Relationship writers are (usually) smart when it comes to finding love
We’re constantly reading advice columns, love articles, researching new slang terms, and modern dating phenomenons. Not to mention, we have first-hand experience of being played by fuckboys and a surplus of entertaining dating app horror stories.
3. Relationship writers are reliable
Most of the articles we write are geared towards providing advice to readers and curating dynamic content that improves other people’s dating experiences and relationships. We’re technically the “mom friend” who you always turn to when you need some solid, uncensored, and unbiased advice. We’re brutally honest but in a good way.
4.Relationship writers have a unique way with words
We can be incredibly confident and outspoken. So, a first date with us is guaranteed to be eventful, full of great conversation, and constant laughter. We have a great sense of humor because most of the articles we write are pretty witty and catchy!
5.Relationship writers are always full of creative ideas
We’re bursting with ideas since it’s part of our job to strategically think of topics and content on the spot and to tackle assignments on a tight deadline. Whether you need a supportive partner to help you found your dream multi-million company or would like ideas on how to improve your college thesis, we’re here to help you out!!
6.Relationship writers can see the positivity in everything
It’s part of our job to take a prevalent dating issue/problem (that is catfishing or ghosting) and try to twist it around to shed a brighter, more positive light on it. We’re trained to use this tactic in our own relationship lives and trying to see the beauty in every little thing.
7.Relationship writers craft the best-handwritten letters
Our writing is known to be heartwarming, eloquent, and beautiful, so it’s only natural that we’ll be able to write a killer happy birthday card or a thank you letter. And—wedding vows?? Oh, don’t even get us started. We’ll be having you bawling like crazy!
And there you have it, seven reasons why you should date a relationship writer! Relationship writers in all their pride and glory. If you were skeptical about what dating a relationship writer might entail, these points can break those barriers and encourage you to take a chance!
One final rule of thumb, however. Don’t get on our bad side, or else you might end up being featured in a future article we write about!!
Recently in one of my philosophy of logic classes, we explored the idea of interpersonal relationships and the reason why we tend to feel nostalgic towards past romantic relationships. It’s a topic of interest that I’ve become pretty knowledgeable about.
So welcome to my Ted Talk.
We’ve all been there. Following a bad breakup with your significant other, you’re stuck with this extreme feeling of nostalgia and emotional distress, which makes you want to take them back.
But here’s the thing: most of the time, we actually don’t want them back. We don’t call them to beg for a second chance. We seriously hate their guts, but yet we find this unexplainable need to run back to them.
Then, is it nostalgia? Our personal instinct to cling onto some of our treasured memories with the people who hold a special part in our hearts? Or is it our psychologicalincapability to forget about the past?
Why do we continue to experience these types of feelings when it comes to our past romantic relationships?
We just want to feel loved. And when I say loved—I mean we desire these types of heartwarming feelings, especially during our most emotionally stricken moments.
But when we can’t fulfill this feeling, we begin to search through everything in our current relationships (past relationships included) to find that. And most of the time, that can only be fulfilled when we look back into a previous relationship with a toxic ex and block out everything that went wrong just so we can enjoy the good feelings again.
But while it’s good for you to reminisce on all the great feelings you had, keep in mind why the relationship ended and how the heartbreak affected you. When you’re deep into that moment, it’s hard to shift your focus back onto why your ex is your ex and all the things that caused you two to part ways.
Maybe they will be a part of your future, maybe not. But don’t expect things to be perfect.
My advice to you is to take the time to focus on yourself and to try not to think about them in a way that everything around you reminds you of them.
Then, when you’re emotionally stable, try to gain some type of closure with them to figure out why the relationship ended and why it’s best for both of you to go your separate ways.
Finally, delete them from your memories!
Easier said than done, but this is the most crucial step into trying to avoid this dilemma of running back to your ex for heartbreak round two based on that feeling of nostalgia.
Best of luck, and keep your head up high and strong!