I read about sex, constantly. At least five days a week, I do a Google News search for "sex." It's one of the first things I do each morning. Sometimes, before I'm even out of bed, I'm scrolling past story after story about sex crimes -- because that's sadly so much of what shows up. It can be a rude awakening, to say the least. But it's worth it for the very rare gems -- searing personal essays, fascinating reporting and hilarious trend pieces. As I look back at the year in sex writing, these are the pieces that stand out, the pieces that most validated that daily sex-news slog. (I'm excluding myself and Salon in general from the list, because to do otherwise would be lame, wouldn't it?) Share the pieces I missed in the comments section and I might actually make a once-a-year except and read the comments.
"Blood Hounds: They’re Obsessed With Period Sex" by Maureen O'Connor
The synopsis: Exactly what it sounds like from the headline: A reported piece on folks who not only don't mind period sex but fetishize it.
Choice excerpt: "He made me stay at his place for, like, the next three days to capitalize on all the period sex. Like a newly caged feral animal. He ate me out A LOT. No tampon. I was like, 'Why can’t I just keep a small tampon in?’ And he goes, get this, 'The string grosses me out.'"
"My Boyfriend And I Came Out To Each Other" by Ashley C. Ford
Synopsis: A beautiful personal essay about sexuality, insecurity and being seen.
Choice quote: "The first time I had sex, I kept my shirt on. I was 15 years old, two weeks shy of 16, and my boyfriend and I weren’t altogether prepared for the mechanics of putting our bodies together."
"The Power of No" by Anna Pulley
The synopsis: The latest "sex" party trend in the San Francisco Bay Area is all about first-base.
Choice quote: "In the sex-saturated bubble of the Bay Area, where at times it feels as if you can't throw a dildo out of a window without it landing on a sex party, it's interesting to see that what many of us actually crave is connection, to be truly in our bodies, and to know how to ask for what we want."
"Doxy" by Erika Moen
The synopsis: "Oh Joy Sex Toy" is a comic strip that reviews sex toys -- and it is as delightful as the idea is odd. This one tells the story of a beloved sex toy's dethroning.
Choice quote: “Magic Wand, you’ll always have a place in my heart, but the cunt loves what the cunt loves.”
"The Uber for Gentleman Companions" by Julieanne Smolinski
The synopsis: A lady-journo gives the rent-a-gent startup, Manservants, a try -- and the results are hilariously awful.
Choice excerpt: "So if I have this straight (and I don’t know that I do), the idea is to provide a group of classy high-femme straight girls with a fully clothed, light-submissive Chippendale. A stripper who doesn’t strip."
"How We Fuck Now" by Saeed Jones
Synopsis: A frank and super smart conversation about "sex, gay men, and what we are (and aren’t) doing."
Choice quote: "The only thing that turns Americans on more than sex itself is shaming people who enjoy sex."
"Should the Duggar Girls #FuckFirst?" by Dan Savage
Synopsis: The self-described "dirty sodomite" gives some sound sex advice to the famed fundamentalist-Christian Duggar family.
Choice quote: "Don’t wait until your wedding night to fuck your fiancé for the first time. Sexual incompatibility leads to divorce, so it’s a good idea to establish the shit out of sexual compatibility before marriage."
"The Japanese Firm Selling Videogames to Women, Using Sex" by Daniel Feit
Synopsis: A journalist reports on a Tokyo gaming convention, where women line up for the chance to interact with actors modeled after characters in hugely popular dating simulators.
Choice quote: "'We’re basically hitting on them, without being too forward,' said Kyle Card, an actor and model who lives in Tokyo. 'A lot of the reactions are hands over the face, unable to speak, laughing to themselves. Lots of silence.'"
"For Women In Porn, The Personal Is Political And Profitable" by Susannah Breslin
Synopsis: A look at how women are faring in the new porn industry landscape.
Choice quote: "'Women control the industry,' she opines. 'They just don’t realize the power they have.'"
"The Great 2014 Celebrity Nude Photos Leak is only the beginning" by Roxane Gay
Synopsis: An elegant rant about women's bodies and the privilege of privacy.
Choice quote: "Women cannot be sexual in certain ways without consequence. Women cannot pose nude or provocatively, whether for a lover or themselves, without consequence. We are never allowed to forget how the rules are different girls. I suppose we should be grateful for this latest reminder."