Thursday, June 27, 2013

When Texas Outlaws Sex Toys, Only Outlaws Will Have Vibrators: Summer Sex Toy Guide!

Happy June, Y'all! In honor of the brief triumph of democracy in the Texas Legislature and the fall of DOMA, I am thrilled to present the Summer Sex Toy Guide, Get 'em Before Texas Outlaws 'em Again Edition! Whether you participated in the Citizens Filibuster or just watched the live feed until 2am on Tuesday, I think we can all agree that, after the melee of the last week, some self-care is in order. So treat yourself to a massage, enjoy a closet-cruise at Midtowne Spa, get your nails did, buy a new pair of sandals--whatever you need to help you feel your best before we go back into the trenches for next week's Extra Special Session. But if you prefer self-care that is, well, done by yourself, why not treat yourself to a new sex toy? It'll keep you happy long after you've watched your rights stripped away in the halls of the Texas Capitol.

During this nonstop assault on Traditional Texas Values, picking out the right toy can be hard but with my years of experience, I can help you find something that will meet the unique needs of your down-there grassroots.
Iroha Sukura

You Are: A Slutty Teen Mom Who Didn't Learn Her Lesson. 
You Should Try: Sukura

Have you, in spite of your life circumstances, failed to absorb the importance of choosing life? Do you have the audacity to defend women's right to have sex without being forced by the state to bear unwanted children? Then The Iroha Sukura Vibe is for you. It takes a new approach to stimulation--designed to cup the entire vulva but with pinpointable-areas for spot-on vibration, this toy offers an alternative to the ubiquitous clit-only styles and is perfect for single moms who just can't even. Rechargeable and made from silicone. $99. Use a water-based lube like Sliquid H20.


You Are: An ALEC-funded Stepford Legislator.
You Should Try: Lelo Yva

America is about rewarding those who have worked hard. You've worked hard. You deserve the best. At least, you think you do. Lelo Yva is the best clitoral vibrator in the history of traditional family values and your (mistress's) 1% twat merits the royal treatment. Gold plated, the Yva is rechargeable, and since it's metal it warms to skin temperature for the luxurious masturbation experience God intended when he wrote the plan for your life. It's an investment in yourself! Rechargeable. $3900. Water-, Silicone- and Oil-based lubes are all fine.

You Are: The Secretly Feminist Wife of a Republican Texas Lawmaker.
You Should Try: Silk Dildo and Sasha Harness.

Sasha Harness
Pegging--i.e., a female wearing a strap on and penetrating her male partner--is becoming more widely known and also increasingly reflective of how Texas women would like to show our Republican lawmakers what it feels like to get fucked. If you're married to a republican legislator and anal-curious, the Silk dildos are excellent for butt play--the silicone is very smooth for easy entry, and it's totally washable for quick cleaning. If you want a harness that makes you feel feminine while you're giving that anti-choice douchebag what for, the Sasha from Spare Parts is the one you want. It's made of durable stretchy satin and your husband will love that it looks like a pair of sexy panties straight out of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Try wearing it with boots! Silk ranges from $26 for the small, $36 for medium and $46 for large. Sasha is $150. Use with Sassy Lube, a thick, non-drippy water-based lube from Sliquid especially designed for anal play. I also recommend Violet Blue's The Adventurous Couple's Guide to Strap-On Sex ($14.95).

You Are: Waiting Until Marriage. But...
Big Boss
You Should Try: Big Boss Vibe.

Sure, you support a woman's right to be born (good one!), but who says chastity has to be boring? Fun Factory's Big Boss vibe is designed for G-Spot stimulation with its gently curved shape and it's big enough to keep any size queen--no matter how virginal--totally satisfied. This vibrator is rechargeable, waterproof, and silicone, so it is body-safe, you can use it in the shower, and you never have to buy batteries. That means your future husband will never examine your grocery receipts and realize that you spend your days at home with your homeschooled brood flicking your bean. Trust me--if you guiltily fantasize about laying with your youth pastor, you'll love this vibrator. $129 but so worth it. Use with water-based lubes only.

You Are: Gluten-Intolerant and Butthurt. 
You Should Try: Sliquid Organics Sensation.

Many lubes contain gluten, and can cause allergic reactions for those with sensitivities. Some also contain animal-derived ingredients or chemicals that can irritate the delicate skin of the butthurt regions. Sliquid's lubes are all gluten free and vegan but Sensation, which contains plant extracts that cause cooling on the skin, is totally perfect for the fucking you'll take during the punishing Second Special Legislative Session. Sliquid is also a Texas-based company so, no matter your position on making women second class citizens, your purchase stimulates our economy! $15. Water-based, Sensation can be used with any sex toy.

You Are: A Stinky Feminist Who Can't Afford to Buy a Bra. 
You Should Try: The Silver Bullet Vibe

Look, we aren't all old-money cattle barons, Dallas Thirty Thousand Dollar Millionaires, wealthy televangelists, or Houston oil executives. Some of us have to work hard for the money and in these challenging economic times, we all need to stretch our dollars and get the biggest bang for the buck. If you're budget minded and don't know why we're wasting time with legislation that has no effect on our economy, the Silver Bullet, at just $15, is exactly what you need. It takes AA batteries and has a powerful vibration that will get you from zero to filibuster in no time. Not waterproof.

As Guvnah Good Hair says, Texas is Open For Bidnis! Support one of your fine local sex toy retailers before the War on Straight's Rights comes for them too. If you're in Austin I suggest checking out my friends at Q Toys. If not, I highly recommend Babeland!

Friday, June 21, 2013

I'm Too Damn Young to Say That I'm Too Damn Old to be Protesting This Shit

I've had this button since 1992. What the fuck?
Below is my testimony from last night's HB60 hearing, delivered around 11:45 pm after I'd been waiting ten hours in the Reagan building. I want to thank all of the legislators who stayed late in to the night and the state troopers and other staff in the Reagan building who I'm sure thought they'd be going home at 5 pm as usual. To those who organized this event, congratufuckinglations! What a huge success. I'm thrilled to have been a part of it. Thank you to those who ordered pizza for us, thanks to Buzzmill coffee for donating fuel at midnight to keep the party going, and thanks to all the HB60 supporters who helped us run out the clock. There will be another hearing on Sunday at 1pm for the Senate version of the bill, so if you are in Texas and couldn't make it yesterday, dust off yer boots and come on down!

My mother is 63 years old and she went to Puerto Rico in 1969 to have an illegal abortion, an abortion that cost $700 at the time, an amount comparable to more than $7000 today. She took me to the March for Women's Lives in Washington on April 4, 1992, when the Supreme Court was preparing to hear the Planned Parenthood vs. Casey case. I attended the second March for Women's Lives in 2005, the same year I testified in the Virginia legislature against a bill just like this put forward by Ken Cuccinelli.

This mom spoke  about being pregnant and living in her car when she needed an abortion.
I am a board member for the Lilith Fund, which provides financial support to women who are most affected by the laws you pass--poor women who cannot afford to pay for their abortion. Many of them have children already, some are homeless, 7% report to us that they are rape victims, 9% report abusive relationships and this abortion is what they need to escape the man who beats her.

But no matter their circumstances, all of these Texans have the same rights as those who can afford to travel farther or take off work to comply with the laws requiring medically unnecessary treatments like forced ultrasounds. Laws like HB60 will close clinics but they will not stop abortion--merely make it harder to get and unsafe.

TWATSS, the Texas Women's Access Transportation Safety Service Proposed by Lilith Fund board member to evacuate women whose rights are abridged by HB60
My mother still has buttons from the 1970s with coat hangers on them and, I'll be honest, I always thought they were kind of over the top. Though her illegal abortion was performed by a doctor who practiced safely, she knew of women who died from having back alley illegal abortions and many others who were forced to have sex with the "doctors" as insurance that they wouldn't turn them in. I never really felt the threat of illegal abortion until I came to Texas, when it became abundantly clear that our legislature's dramatic biennial performances of "protecting life" and women's health totally outweighed the constantly grinding real need to support women and families.

Research published in 2010 in the journal Reproductive Health Matters found that women in Texas already go to Mexico to get misoprostol directly from pharmacists to induce abortion, and attempts at self-abortion using misoprostol and other, more dangerous methods are more common among women who have difficulty accessing care. These numbers will increase if this bill is passed, and dangerous clinics like those operated by Kermit Gosnell in Philadelphia will flourish because women, if you force them to, will risk everything--including their lives--to get abortions.

Susan B. Anthony, a Quaker feminist routinely valorized by pro life activists, said this in reference to abortion* in 1875: “The work of woman is not to lessen the severity or the certainty of the penalty for violation of the moral law, but to prevent this violation by the removal of the causes which lead to it”

Putting aside the myth propagated by pro life activists that Ms. Anthony was antiabortion, which she was not, I am also a Quaker woman and I challenge those who want to restrict abortion to think about the ways these laws increase to the need for this procedure and how that hurts women. Thanks to our governor, more than one fourth of women in Texas lack health insurance--were number two in basketball in the nation but number one in failing our women.

If we want to reduce abortions, especially those that happen in the late term, we can work together to increase women's access to healthcare in Texas. HB60 doesn't do that. What this bill does do is continue the Texas republicans' apparent effort to keep poor people poor and women in their place. I've seen a lot of those types of laws get passed a lot in Texas. Too bad that, tonight, it looks like that dog just won't hunt. I want to thank the legislators who worked so hard to make this night possible because with this bill you pushed Texas women to the limit and we are pissed. The Spurs lost the Finals and this is the top story out of Texas tonight.

I got the button that I'm wearing today at the March for Womens Lives when I was just 11 years old and I am too damn young to say that I am too damn old to be protesting this shit. [DROPS MIC]

If you're not in Texas and want to make a difference, why not donate $10 to the Lilith Fund?

*Anthony was also talking about infanticide, which, in the 19th century when abortion was even harder to get, was common.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

I'm Too Young to Say That I'm Too Old For This Shit

So here I am sitting in the Reagan building in Austin waiting with about 100 other people to filibuster the dumbshit HB60, the mega antiabortion bill being considered by the Texas legislature in a special session. But that's not what I want to talk about. You can read more about the bill here.

I was one of the first people here today, because I'm on a long vacation from work and was able to respond to NARAL Pro-Choice Texas's call for people to show up on little notice. One of my former students was here, along with several young Planned Parenthood Greater Texas staffers, and a fellow Lilith Fund board member.

I just did an interview for YNN news with my pal John Salazar, and when I came to sit down again--at 4:00, after I'd been here for more than two hours--two women my mother's age said how glad they were to see so many people of different ages here. "Because, you know, sometimes younger women..."

Many many other writers have talked about the weirdly persistent myth that there are no young women in the movement and have debunked this myth again and again. And yet...

I am wearing one of NOW's iconic "Keep Abortion Legal" buttons, which is just like the round sign I dragged home with me after the 1992 March for Women's Lives and hung up in my bedroom for a decade. I was 11 years old in 1992, and I hung that poster up in at least 8 dorm rooms at three different schools and always, always refused to take it down.

I also attended the March for Women's Lives in 2005 and I am far too young to say that I am too old to be protesting this shit still. But here I am,  not the youngest, and not the earliest, but here more than two decades after I first wrote an admissions essay for high school about how the attack on abortion rights was the most important issue facing the world. In 1993. So just stop with the you know, young women...stuff.