Mourning a Loss of Community… and How That Relates to Sex Toys

My mind has a tendency to wander when I masturbate. If I’m not taking notes for a toy I’m reviewing, I try to solely concentrate on my pleasure and on the sensations I’m feeling, but let’s be honest: sometimes the urge to review tomorrow’s work schedule, overanalyze a random event from the day that I felt could have been handled better, or come up with a list of reasons why the person I’m currently attracted to hasn’t texted me back yet is just too strong.

I recently experienced an intensely sad, but revelatory, mind-wandering episode. After a couple of orgasms with my favorite wand, I grabbed my go-to dildo, the VixSkin Mustang, when the following thought process ensued:

“YES, this feels so good, as usual. I know I can always count on you, Mustang!”
“Wow, I wish someone was here to use this on me. Where’s a cutie with a strap-on when you need them?”
“Hmm… no cute humans here. That sucks, and I’m feeling a little sad and lonely.”
“Yikes. I really do feel lonely. I wish there was a cutie, yeah, but what I’m really craving is community. Where are my people?”

Odd train of thought? Maybe. But connecting with my body and my pleasure has always brought my deepest, most intimate thoughts and feelings to the surface, whether good or bad.

To provide some context: I graduated from college last May, and the past year has been the most difficult time of my life. In the past twelve months, I’ve lived in three apartments, moved twice, and worked three jobs, which is a drastic change from the stability I was used to after living in my hometown for seventeen years and in my college town for four. My big plan to move to Washington D.C. and start my career fell flat on its face. While I did move to the city for my dream job right after graduation, I was miserable. My mental health was the worst it had been in years. I was working 80 hours a week and couldn’t take any time off to see friends or family. Both my social life and my precious and necessary alone time evaporated. I didn’t blog for months and felt like a failure. I knew something had to change, so in September I took a new job and moved to a new state by myself, not knowing anyone in the city I was about to call home.

The hardest thing about graduating, especially moving to a new state, has been a loss of community. In college, I was on the executive board of my schools’ student-led LGBTQ+ group for three years, sang in choir and opera for four years, and helped lead feminist activism on my campus. My college roommates were (and are) my best friends, and we had a caring, generous, and wonderful circle of queer friends we spent most of our time with. Within the walls of my university, there was no shortage of community to be found.

Post-grad life is different. There are no institutional structures designed to help you make you friends when you graduate, unlike the always-together-all-the-time college set-up of dorms, classes, off-campus apartments, and extracurricular activities. I’ve had to work hard to create my own community from scratch in my new state, and while I do have a handful of marvelous new friends here, I’m missing a true feeling of community, of solidarity, a shared understanding of queerness and feminism and being Southern and working together to fight against oppression… which is where sex toys come in.

Sex blogging came to me right when I needed it. I started my blog after discovering the sex toy reviewing community while doing research for my undergraduate senior thesis on how to craft a revolutionary model of sex education, just a couple of weeks before I graduated. So today, as I reflect on the last day of my one year blogiversary month, I am thankful for the companies I work with, the toys I’ve tested, and the ability to have a space to share my voice on everything from sex toys, to gender, to dating, to mental illness, to being an abuse survivor, but most of all I am thankful for the community I have found. When I started my blog, I never could have imagined that one year later I would be friends with the people I most admired when I was just beginning to research the world of sex blogging.

This blog and the community I’ve found through it have been the only constants in my life in the past twelve months. While I wish all my blogging pals lived near me (Woodhull’s Sexual Freedom Summit can’t come soon enough!), I know I can jump on Twitter anytime and talk about any topic – from moving states, to dating, to outrage over misogynist assholes, to Tinder weirdos – and receive instant support from my fellow bloggers and Twitter friends. This community lifts me up in the good times, comforts me in the bad times, and encourages me to be my authentic self all the time. Whether I’m playing Scrabble with Girly Juice on Facebook, live-tweeting Scandal and How To Get Away With Murder with Lilith, talking about the political climate in our state with Sugarcunt, gushing about femme feels with Artemisia, over Snapchat, or chatting with the plethora of other thoughtful, brilliant bloggers I’m lucky to be acquainted with, I know this community has my back. And it’s a beautiful feeling.

So, while I may still crave a community in my new home, I know I have one among my fellow sex bloggers, too. When I feel lonely while masturbating again (which will inevitably happen, I’m sure), I know I can tweet my feelings out or private message my wonderful sex geek friends and receive instant support and feedback. What a wonderful world.