Esquire Castrates Big & Tall Men

4 Sep

SANDRA-3742_FotorI’m speechless. I’m offended. I’m pacing around my home grasping at my hair muttering, “I can’t even. I can’t even!” Esquire Magazine just blew my mind. In an age where the women’s fashion industry is beginning to embrace plus size models and queen size fashion choice is skyrocketing, Esquire Magazine just shined a big ol’ spotlight on how the men’s fashion industry disrespects, marginalizes and dehumanizes men because of their body size.

Let’s rewind. I’ve had a plus size boyfriend several times in my life. Soon into the relationship, I would discover that my partner had given up on fashion beyond generic basics. In my role, I would desperately search the racks and internets for interesting ways to help clothe my beau, finding only the dated polos of big & tall behemoths, the scratchy, boxy button downs of department stores and the preppy cashmere of Ralph Lauren. Major turn offs, all of them. I have found the plus sized men’s fashion industry to be a bleak landscape with a pauper’s helping of fashion advice to boot.

Enter Esquire Magazine’s article this month, titled “The Portly Man’s Guide to Style.” The piece tricks unsuspecting men earnestly searching for help with a reassurance that “all bodies are beautiful” before kicking them right where they’re prettiest, using language like “bloated”  “sagging” “repulsive” “dank” and “obese” to describe them. 

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 3.22.56 AM

I searched out the author, Josh Ozersky. On twitter, he responded to a tweet asking him about his cruel article with, “Um, yes. It is a joke.” Okaaaaaay. 

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 3.25.02 AM

Three short paragraphs in, Ozersky offers us a GIF of Homer Simpson sporting a MuuMuu as the solution to ill-fitting dress shirts. In a more enlightened era, that might be funny. I wouldn’t know. I don’t time travel. For now, if you find yourself in a body the world laughs at, finding an article like this in your Google search can be downright castrating. As a woman who has had to manage the fallout, I must admit I feel no tickle. 

I dug further. The author defended himself on twitter, saying that “I actually addressed this for real in an Esquire video I shot in Hong Kong.” So I looked up the video. “Addressing this” is a stretch as it follows his trip to a custom suit tailor and offers nothing in the way of paying off what his article promised. 


In the extensive fitting process, the self-described portly Ozersky reveals himself to be a man much like the victims of his farce-of-an-article. He struggles to look attractive:

“It’s a furtive hope, even possibly a long shot that I will look elegant after this. I have my fingers crossed.”

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 4.30.41 AM

He struggles to feel normal:

“This is actually very fun. I feel like a regular man.”

He struggles against the joke society dictates he must be:

“Here I am, transformed to an Esquire man from a mere gluttonous shlub. It’s an inspiration to men like us anywhere.”

Yes, an inspiration to men like him everywhere, until he tossed a MuuMuu right in their faces. Ozarsky looks dashing in his suit, just as most men do with a good tailor. But not all men have access to the bespoke, and in the search for hope, he took the frozen tundra of men’s plus size fashion and made it even icier. 

So let’s examine the broader problem by taking its temperature. Searching “Big & Tall Fashion” at Esquire.com brings up a first page of results about abortion, fast food, the Big Bang Theory, bitcoin and the Emmy’s. Nothing on Big & Tall tips or fashion. Esquire and most men’s fashion blogs do zip zero zilch for this corner of the market, with little more than a single article spouting off the same, uninspired advice found on every other site.

chubstr_logo_300x300_400x400Thankfully, help is on the horizon. Just look at fashion blog Chubstr.com, tagline, “Life in Your Size,” though some blokes flinch at the sound of their name choice. I’m also curious to see the stylings of the new Marc Ecko Cut & Sew line, as their size chart is mightily inclusive. (I heard about Cut & Sew on some obscure discussion forum of big & tall men at their wits end.) 

So, back to my flailing. I am still raging with a fire burning in a place that does not have words. I understand now where Ozarsky might be coming from. It’s familiar to me. I have loved men convinced of their own sexlessness, having never felt free to exist outside of a punchline. It’s a sad thing to see an industry strip so much dignity from someone I love so dear, and it’s a bullying thing to see one man thrust his suffering onto his brethren. 

Oh Esquire, it’s not that I don’t have a sense of humor. It’s just that I have a heart as well, and right now it’s broken. 

Butt Stuff Haiku

13 May

Some folks say it’s weird

Or gay or dirty or hurts

Nope. It’s just butt stuff.

“Don’t Touch Like You Text”

5 May

I’ve been thinking about fingertips a lot lately. Specifically how we use them in our day and how that translates to our night. I tweeted yesterday, “Don’t touch like  you text” and I received several responses musing about what that might mean. 

It all started a few years ago as a baby sex educator when I was hired by a woman who wanted to give a great blow job. I had been teaching public classes for a while, so why not? From what she told me, her boyfriend’s lack of enthusiasm was getting to her and I was happy to figure things out. 

Dildos in place on the table, I drilled her about her man’s preferences. Her mouth technique was in order. She seemed to be doing plenty of things right. What could it be?

Next, I Nancy Drew’d her Kung Fu grip, watching as she stroked the lubricated shaft, noticing a stuttering drag. 

“Grip my forearm.”

“What?” she asked, startled.

“Grip my forearm. I want to feel how you are squeezing the shaft.”

Everything crystallized. The woman had been squeezing his erect member like she was popping bubble wrap with the pads of her fingers. 

Once I worked with her to compress from her palm instead, everything fell into place. Mouth to hand, hand to other hand, her movements flowing together I was proud of her and my mind on fire. I thought this was only a female-pleasuring offense!

After investigating this observation over the years, I’ve found that folks tend to grip from the fingertip down. Everyday texting, typing and button-pushing activities do not prepare us for the nuanced needs of our nerve endings.

Recently, I decided it was time to find easy ways to turn these habits around, so I’ve been developing new exercises for better lovership. Just imagine all the ways we can use our hands for pleasure beyond our fingertips! It’s almost too much for my brain to take.

So that’s where I’m at and what’s on my mind. 

 

 

Thank YOU for 100!

12 Jul
People were sitting on the ground it was so packed in there!

People were sitting on the ground it was so packed in there!

Sometimes I have no idea what drives me to be the nerd that I am about humans and their bloody relationships. Originally, I thought I just wanted to help change the world. Then I noticed the alien inside me who struggles to understand the human race. Always, there has been a little scientist inside there, too, trying to figure myself out.

I’ve realized underneath all that it’s pretty simple. I am more fascinated by our similarities than by our differences. Each of us is a wonderfully unique little snowflake, and if you come together and share something, you get to see the snow.

Thank you for all your love, enthusiasm and support through this first 100. Sex Nerds are awesome. Go Team Fun!

***

The 100th episode of Sex Nerd Sandra was recorded live as a Bawdy Storytelling show (click to listen!). Thank you to Ted, Jaiya Ma, Ned Mayhem, Reid Mihalko, Sara Benincasa, musical guest Windows to Sky and the Mistress of Bawdy Stories, Dixie De La Tour!

100 EPISODE CELEBRATION!

12 Jun

wow. Wow. WOW! 100 episodes! It’s time to celebrate! Do you like laughing really hard? Good, because that’s what we’ll be doing June 27th at my 100th Episode live with Dixie de la Tour’s Bawdy storytelling!

Things to know:

  1. Don’t be shy inviting your LA friends. Even if they seem a bit “vanilla” they will have MORE fun because of this.
  2. Sex geeks are beeing shipped down from San Francisco just for YOU so they can tell us their crazy stories!
  3. You will kick yourself for not going once you listen to the episode. SEEING IT LIVE TAKES IT TO A WHOLE NEW LEVEL!

BUY TICKETS! They’re $12 and very tasty. LA needs more action like this is its life. Get to it!

Hilarious Hate Mail

30 Apr

It’s been an interesting few months. It’s the first time I’ve slowed down enough to calmly take solid inventory of my life, my work and my direction. Since Dave Ross, my former co-host, left the show in March, I’ve experienced a marvelous uptick in how many people hate me, my work and my show. It nearly matches how many hate emails I received over bringing on a co-host in the first place. 

I’ve learned something deep in my butterfly place from this and it has toughened me. Forever and ever I will know that I cannot please everyone. And when I evolve, as we humans tend to do within our lifetime, some people’s expectations about what I provide them as a humongous sex nerd will not be met. Apologies ahead of time.

To my delight, I received a miserable email yesterday from a listener named “J R.” Take a gander:

“Hey, I’m a straight male who recently heard about your podcast and was excited to try it out. Sadly, it was incredibly useless. Like almost every other supposed ‘sex-positive’ resource, it has nothing to help me express and enjoy my sexuality.

Not only that, but you were stunningly oblivious to the double standards you were stating: I seriously doubt you would have spent the same amount of time discussing the merits of various fake vaginas, advocating for public male masturbation during the daily commute, and having an extended conversation attempting to help men get laid off of Craigslist. 
 
As usual, you’re a sex-positive feminist who is vastly interested in all types of sexuality except those of the average het cis male. Your guest in the first episode complained about the lack of male attendance at the cunnilingus classes – perhaps if you and her could take a fraction of the time you spend discussing vibrators and apply it to figuring out male sexuality, you’d know why they aren’t coming and how to get them to attend.”

I find this email hilarious, though I am not laughing. For all the mental effort I’ve put into using inclusive language and varying podcast topics, this gentleman presents proof of my shortcomings by citing my very first episode. The episode I was terrified of. The one where I was naive enough to record it in front of a live audience. HILARIOUS. 

This email brings to light how much time I’ve spent on cis-hetero-male sexuality. Episodes like “Prostate Play: Take it Like a Man,” “The Penis Power Hour,” “The Man Box” aside, I acknowledge male bodies and pleasure almost every episode, possibly to the detriment to other orientations and genders! I even shot a video celebrating the Tenga Masturbation Sleeve at a time when I was unbearably shy about shooting videos at all. 

So, this letter is welcome. It let me take a moment to survey my work this last while and feel like, yeah, I may beat myself up at times for not being perfect or the best or the most anything other than me, but damn it, I’ve been true to us. All of us. I try. And I keep trying.

Thanks J R and thanks to everyone who has supported me along the way. 

******
SAME DAY CLARIFICATION: Since this post is receiving an interesting variety of comments, let me say this:
  1. Dave is great and I appreciate the body of work we’ve created together.
  2. To the haters: I am utterly happy with where I’ve arrived with my most recent 2 episodes. Either catch up or shut up. 
  3. To the Listeners: Thank you for your lovely comments! Keep being kick ass. I learn from you all the time and am humbled by our engagement. Much love.

FEBRUARY SEX NERD EVENTS! LA, NYC, VASSAR & SF!

23 Jan

Here’s your portal to sex nerd events for the coming month!

LOS ANGELES 

FEB 1ST: @NerdMeltLA in West Hollywood

Feb 6th: BLOWJOBS & BEYOND @PleasureChestLA 8pm Free

NEW YORK CITY

SAN FRANCISCO – Good Vibes 6:30-8:30 each night

My Sexy, Serious Year in Summary

31 Dec
Escaping the Sumo Suit at Dave's Birthday Party

Escaping the Sumo Suit at Dave’s Birthday Party

Scrolling through my cell phone pictures this evening, I saw a year that was possibly the most wonderful and most difficult I’ve ever had. Every once in a while I get a comment on something I’ve posted saying “Your life is so much more fun than mine!” Humored, I want to yell back, “Don’t compare your raw footage to my highlight reel!” 

With all the drama life can bring, there are also ENDLESS opportunities for friendship, adventure and sexy fun. So with all social network-y smoke & mirrors aside, here is a raw, honest retrospective of my year: 

    • Sumo Wrestled
    • Had a really awkward one night stand
    • Met new relatives in Japan
    • Came to understand the guitar
    • Taught a lot
    • Loved a lot
    • Listened a ton
    • Played trampoline dodge ball
    • Spoke at my first conferences
    • Befriended dozens of wonderful humans
    • Found the famed panty vending machines of Tokyo
    • Initiated a lot of difficult conversations
    • Hosted many live shows
    • Got really into Draw Something for a second
    • Met one of my heroes
    • Went zip lining
    • Fell in love once
    • Felt my heart break twice.
    • Went to my first music festival.
    • Got clinically depressed and then got better again.
    • Met Bill Nye the Science Guy
    • Felt plenty of fear, jealousy and rage
    • Also felt a heaping dose of joy, gratitude and delight
    • Learned how to take a compliment
    • Hiked up to an abandoned California Nazi compound
    • Experienced a neck orgasm
    • Learned to sing again
    • Volunteered my time
    • Nursed a friend in the hospital
    • Almost lost a parent
    • Had countless epiphanies
    • Freaked out about writing a book
    • Discovered a hammock garden in Austin, TX.
    • Saw my sister graduate high school
    • Kissed a woman on the evening news
    • Let many people down and surprised others
    • Finally brought out the accordion I inherited
    • Coordinated, planned and released a podcast every week
    • Sexted a super naughty picture.
    • Learned how to throw a punch
    • Had my first swing dance in 10 years
    • Went to Disneyland
    • Made friends with a sex machine
    • Saw Barack Obama in person
    • Got space shuttle Endeavor to fly right over my head
    • Won a costume contest
    • Braved a singles event
    • Applied to grad school
    • … And asked for many fantastic hugs

Wow, sex really is part of a healthy, balanced life diet. Cheers to a frackin’ fantastic 2013!!!

3 Mantras for Terrible Lovemaking

7 Dec

When things first get sexy, mental chatter can drown out our partner’s heavy breathing. Sometimes, we’re not even aware of how our inner monologues effect our pleasuring behavior. I think you’re swell, dandy and darn good looking. Because I like you so much, I want you to have the best there is in the bedroom. Here are three common mediocre mantras that will not help our mission: 

MANTRA #1: “I’m Going to Make You Cum”

VARIATION: “I’m really good at fellatio/cunnilingus/[insert sex act here]“

Orgasm is not the goal. That would be pleasure. Orgasm is what happens when you’re busy having fun. A demanding sexual ego = Not Fun. Send that buzz kill of an expectation packing and enjoy everyone’s genitals unclenching. 

MANTRA #2: “Am I doing this right!?”

VARIATION: “Oh please like this. Please, oh please?”

Where the first mantra is the pinnacle of egoism, this one is the height of insecurity. In the land of pleasure, there is no “right,” nor are there “should’s” or “must’s.” It is a land of wonderful possibility and infinite opportunity. Listen for ragged breathing, look for flushed skin and feel for tensing muscles. If their bodily arousal isn’t apparent, keep playing with sexual variables.

MANTRA #3: “This is How All My Other Partners Liked it”

VARIATION: “Why aren’t you working right!?”

Stop. Right. Now. Put down your habits. Do it quickly. Every new fun-time partner means expanding your hands-on skill set. FANTABULOUS! Just remember, with each new terrain comes new curves in the road. The first few times, you might wanna slow down around the bend. 

And so, dear friend, if you hear any of the above rattling around, tell it to go “shush” itself and enjoy the panting. Go Team Fun!

Pre-Date Pondering

3 Nov

I’m about to go on a date tonight. We only briefly met and I know nothing about him. This is not my usual. All I know is he is a nice person with one small online footprint (read: no online stalking available).

Just now in the kitchen I was experiencing the feelings of “Oh my god, what if it’s horrible? What if we hit it off? What if it gets weird!?” I have this feeling in my gut that a date is a very important thing. It is a gateway to so much. You never know what’s going to happen. And that, perhaps, is my problem. Continue reading

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