Wednesday, May 24, 2023

7 Reasons Why Breakups Suck So Damn Bad

Hey there, gorgeous. This ran in Salon a million years ago, but I thought you might like it delivered here to your virtual doorstep. I learned a ton of interesting stuff on this one, mainly that I have the emotional maturity/coping skills of a traumatized baby lab monkey.

There are plenty of good reasons why the death of a relationship is so unbearable. There's shame, failure, guilt, anger/incredulousness at the other person's inability to see how incredible you are and sadness over that very same thing, plus the personal rejection of your Very Being.

The Czechs have a lovely word for it: litost. "Litost is a state of torment created by the sudden sight of one's own misery," writes Milan Kundera in The Book of Laughter and Forgetting.

But this torment is more than just the nature of breakups, the need to experience darkness to appreciate the light, blah blah blah. Breakups also activate all kinds of neurochemical, physical and psychological fuckery that makes the whole business even more painful. Stupid biology.
To wit:
--Breakups turn you into a jonesing addict.
If the beginning of a love affair is a kind of chemical-fueled madness, so is the ending, but in reverse. In one of the crueler aspects of neurochemistry, just when you're hitting the personal low of a breakup is also when dopamine—the reward chemical that made you feel so damn good in the beginning-- decides to flee the scene, making you desperate for another hit. Dopamine acts in the same way as any drug of abuse, according to Helen Fisher in Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love: “If the beloved breaks off the relationship, the lover shows all the common signs of withdrawal, including depression, crying spells, anxiety,insomnia, loss of appetite (or binge eating), irritability, and chronic loneliness. Like all addicts, the lover then goes to unhealthy, humiliating, even physically dangerous lengths to procure their narcotic.” (Note: Having tried the “unhealthy, humiliating” Plan of Action, I can advise with some authority that it's not gonna go well for you.)

--Breakups actually hurt, physically.
In one study researchers had subjects “who recently experienced an unwanted breakup view a photograph of their ex-partner as they think about being rejected.” This was pretty cruel and probably not worth the 50 bucks or whatever the subjects got, but we learned that psychic trauma activates the same parts of the brain that process physical pain. Meaning, your brain experiences emotional pain as it would if you spilled hot coffee on yourself. Or, more accurately, kept spilling coffee on yourself every time you heard that one song on the radio, went on Instagram, etc...

--Breakups are depressing, officially.
In a study of poor sods who'd been rejected by a partner within the past 8 weeks, 40% experienced clinically measurable depression, with 12% of those having moderate to severe depression. All breakups involve an amount of grief (and indeed, in another of those “think about how much your break up sucked while we look at your brain with an MRI” studies, the parts of the brain associated with grief lit up.) but sometimes the grief becomes “complicated grief.” Complicated grief is an unwieldy beast of grief lasting 6 months or more (or, way too much virtual hot coffee spilling), featuring unpleasantries like over-rumination and mooning, bad dreams, and the excessive playing of Elliot Smith songs.

--Your stupid brain can actually start to get off on your suffering.
Anyone who has looked in the mirror to examine their tragic selves mid-cry knows there is a certain joy in one's own deep suffering. But sometimes that sort of self-schadenfreude can become addictive in itself. In some people, enduring grief triggers the reward center in their brains, making them seek the dark feelings so they can get a little happy chemical hit.

--You lose your sense of self.
Without the identity created within the relationship (i.e.“We like paddleboarding”), some emerge bleary-eyed from a breakup with a hazy sense of who they are. The sort of psychic rootlessness is compounded by the loss of the sense of having a secure base within the relationship and with that partner. “Wherever that person is, that's your emotional home,” writes Emily Nagoski, Ph.D. in Come As You Are. Without that, you're kind of homeless, emotionally.

--It's even worse for people with “anxious attachment styles.”
Only half of people in U.S. have a “secure attachment style,” that is, they have relationships easily and trust others like normal healthy people, while the rest of us flounder about, either clinging too much (attachment anxious) or preemptively cutting and running (attachment avoidant). Those with attachment anxious styles show “greater preoccupation with the lost partner, greater perseveration over the loss, more extreme physical and emotional distress, exaggerated attempts to reestablish the relationship, partner-related sexual motivation, angry and vengeful behavior, interference with exploratory activities, dysfunctional coping strategies, and disordered resolution.” Meanwhile, for the attachment avoidant—you know who you are—there was little such emotional fallout. Bastards.

--Breakups kick in our survival biology.
Attachment is a survival mechanism. A baby needs secure attachment or it will die. “When (our relationships) are threatened, we do whatever it takes to hold on to them, because there are no higher stakes than our connection with our attachment objects,” writes Nagoski, citing Harry Harlow's “monster mother” studies. Harlow bonded infant monkeys with mechanical “mothers,” then rigged the mothers to shake the babies, spike them or jet cold air on them to force them away. The babies responded to this rather shabby treatment by running right back into the arms of those unpredictably cruel, rejecting mothers. Not only that, they became desperate to fix the relationship and tried to win back the mother by flirting with her, grooming and stroking her. That is, behavior some among us may recognize quite well.

So yeah, it's bad. With the combination of biological, chemical and emotional havoc a breakup causes, it's a wonder any of us ever get over it. But we do. If you can just accept you're going to be fucked for a while--and not in the way you'd like—the appeal of spending car rides furtively weeping to Joni Mitchell's “All I Want” will eventually fade and you will indeed get over it. At some point. You might have to listen to a whole lot of “All I Want.”

In the meantime, take solace in the words of Nietzche, a dude not exactly known for being consoling. “Ultimately, it is the desire, not the desired, that we love,” wrote Nietzche. That is, that passion is still in you regardless of who its recipient is. And hell, the next person might be even better at appreciating it.

In other words, you're probably better off without 'em. Sorta. 


Thursday, March 23, 2023

Sex Toy Socialism

Not the actual Bernie Sanders
I recently saw Bernie Sanders speak in Glendale, California, and damn, that man is sharp as a tack. Not only could he spout off all manner of really quite disturbing Actual Facts about income inequality, but could answer long-ass two-part questions without going back and asking what second part of the question was.  

I realized, among other things that, as the top 1% holds nearly as much wealth as the bottom 90% (for realz), I am hording way more than my share of sex toys. So in the spirit of righting the wrongs of sex toy capitalism, I am quite happy to send you some (or a whole boxful) of brand spanking new sex toys for the price of postage and a decentish tip to pay for gas, my time and a secret black budget that I will use for nefarious purposes. 

Here's what you could be fucking in approximately 3-5 business days.

Penis toys for the gents (or however be-penised)!
Plus One Personal Stroker, a high-quality masturbator with two openings 
Manta, a vibrator that can be used solo or with a partner
Toys for the vulva-ed!
Muah Mini Vibrator, a vibrator shaped like lips 
Shegasm Silicone Clit Stimulator, clit stim in apple form
Romp Switch, a suction kind of toy 
Magic Wand Mini, not actually that mini 
Rechargeable Dual Entry Vibe, for two holes at once

A surprisingly high number of clitoral suctiony/vibey toys with a floral theme!
Bloomgasm Royalty Rose, 3 levels, 7 patterns of air stimulation
Ravishing Rose Clit Pleaser, another slutty slutty rose 
Toys that are green!
Eve's Petite Private Pleasure Wand it's like a mini Magic Wand
Heat Me Up Warming Rabbit Thruster, description pretty much sums it up
Real Rock Chrystal Clear Dildo, 8 inch, like what's linked but green.  
BFit Classic Love Balls, 2 ben-wa balls/kegel trainers
Small butt plug, with a shamrock on it because why not

Remote control toys!
Blue Motion, Nex 3, super fancy penis ring/couples' toy 
Esca 2, remote control g-spotish massager
Butt stuff!
Vibrating Anal Bead Stick, looks fancy plus it's waterproof
Mood Pride Anal Trainer Set, three sizes of butt plugs 
A small silicone plug with ridges that I can't find online
Rear Rocker Vibrating Glass Anal Plug, "endless anal fun," it says. (Tricky Genie:  You get anal fun. You: Yay! Genie: But it's ENDLESS. You: Aw, man!)
Bondage Tape
Seven Nights of Temptation Gift set (plus sized!), an advent calendar of lingerie and other stuff

Purple Rose (again with florals!) Nubby Glass Dildo (like this but 9 inches)
Balldo, you might not actually want to know
A bunch of condoms
Adam's 3" Extension, goes over a dick or dick substitute for 3 extra inches. I have SO MANY of these! Get one or get many! A new look for spring? Everything Everywhere All At Once cosplay? You decide!
And/or any of these various and sundry lubes, elixirs and random things that haunt my drawer! 

Rules:  Email your address and what items or items you want to Shipping alone for a USPS priority medium box is $17.10, large is $22.80. Tip is what the Universe says is right. My PayPal is and my Venmo is @jill-hamilton-123. First come, first served. I will cross out stuff as it's claimed. And if you want to skip me entirely and just buy something via the links, the blog gets a little cut which I will use to refill the office coffee machine.

P.S. Don't be greedy and grab all the really expensive toys (and leave a crap tip--these traits seem to go together). If you do, in the next life karma will give you no sex toys and you'll have to use your hand like a goddamed monkey.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

My Blackmailer Knows...My Secret!

Scree scree scree!
A while back, I received an email.

"Greetings," it started, friendly enough.

"I want to inform you about an important event that concerns your personal life! I know your secret!" This did sound important--lots of exclamation points! And yes, unlike you and everyone else on the planet, I DO have secrets!* How did they know???

"The fact is that I have been able to monitor your device and peripherals for some time and have figured out your email address." Meh, all of y'all know my email address too. It's There it is, plain as day. Still, I had to admire his commitment to monitoring my online activities which include both doom scrolling and crosswords.

"It has to do with the adult sites you visit." Oh. Yeeeeeah. I do that too. It's kind of my job, but still!

Mr. Greetings, not so GD friendly now, put a virus on my device, he says. He didn't mention which device but I was hoping it was something like the toaster, which doesn't know much. 

"Now your device is completely under my control. I can turn the microphone and camera on and off at any time." If he was gonna manically laugh, this would be the appropriate point.

"I have all copies of your data, including photos, social networks, correspondence and contacts of friends, family and colleagues," he warned. (And yeah I know it's sexist to say he's a he, but c'mon, no women would do this shit.)

"After thinking about it for a while, I decided to make an original video. The main character is you masturbating to a hard fuck." is not untrue that I have done such a thing.

"The screen in the video is divided into two parts: one side is you, the other side is the video you're watching. It's very entertaining." Entertaining? Very? Well, thanks I guess. 

"I assume you don't want your acquaintances, friends and relatives to see this masterpiece? Think of your honor and dignity!" My dignity? Okay, clearly this dude does not know me at all. 

But then he gives up the game.

"I see you like Negroes? Well, soon everyone you know will know about your hobbies."  Okay.  A. I'm sorry--did he just say Negroes? Really, guy? In 2022? B. Porn-wise, I search for men having sex with each other. As you know. C. I like lots of Black people plenty (not you, Candice Owens), but it's not really a factor in my porn habits. D. Still, even if I had a hardcore racial preference (which is fine? or maybe not? not sure...) who the fuck searches for "Negroes" besides a 97 year old man in Kentucky yelling at the Google???

Anyhow, the dude offered to delete the video for $650, for some reason giving me an unasked for discount off his usual price of $1000. Perhaps it was because my video was "very entertaining"? I'm decently vain but I doubted that my acquaintances, friends and relatives would be very entertained by a split screen video of highly specific porn and a wanking middle-aged chick filmed from the universally unflattering below-the-chin angle.

He gave me 24 hours before releasing the Kracken or whatever and then abruptly offered me even more savings (50 bucks off!) if I paid within an hour. 

He offered a few more threats--don't delete, don't complain, blah blah blah. "If find out right away that you somehow shared this email** - the video will be distributed immediately - you will become a porn star on all video platforms," he wrote, again resorting to flattery. A porn star? Really???

Then he ended it oddly with. "Don't be offended and good luck to you." F-ing weirdo.

Anyway, even though I knew for sure I wasn't looking at what he said, I was a little skeeved out. It may be relevant here to mention that when I get calls about "being sued over an important matter," I always make my husband reassure me that it's fake. "They would serve you via mail," he always says patiently, with the tiniest bit of "jeez, lady" in there. I am kind of a mark is what I'm saying.

Despite all this, I did not end up paying him--though I have watched plenty of porn and it would indeed give me his promised "peace of mind" if you all did not observe me doing it.

However I got that email in 2021 and then...nothing. NOT A ONE of you have told me what a very entertaining porn star I am. I'm a little disappointed, but my dignity remains intact (lol) and I saved $1000, $650 or $600, depending.



*Sometimes*** I pretend to be asleep when the dog barks so someone else has to let her out. 



Tuesday, August 23, 2022

The Crush, Explained by Science

Careful, don't get burned.
"What is this volatile, often uncontrollable feeling that hijacks the mind, bringing bliss one moment, despair the next?"
--Helen Fisher, Why We Love

The other day, a reader contacted me to tell me she had something I had to write about. She reported that since attending her high school reunion a month back, her old flame had been poking her on Facebook. "Every day," she said meaningfully. It was clear from her words that this virtual poking was getting her all hot and bothered. "It's knowing that, at least for some moment in the day, I am on his mind," she reported.

At first I reacted like I usually do when someone tells me something I Simply Must Write About, which is to pretend that I am interested, then never actually write about it.

But the more I thought about it, I realized the story was the crush itself. Or how this very practical woman was now obsessively checking Facebook to see if any new pokes had come in from Mr. Reunion Dude. She had actually eroticized the little cartoon poking hand icon from Facebook which, to refresh your memory, looked like this:
Is this making you hot?
Still, her Pavlovian response to Facebook pokey hand is perfectly normal. Anyone in the midst of a crush has all sorts of neurochemical crap going on.

The last time I had a crush, I could tell exactly the moment it hit me. We were talking in my driveway, he said something vaguely risque, and I felt it come down upon me, like an actual thing. Like an affliction. "Oh fuck," I thought.

Because, although a crush is delightful and exciting and makes the world shine brighter, it is an affliction. A brain affliction. An affliction as in "pain, suffering and distress."

In her (quite excellent) book, "Why We Love," anthropologist Helen Fisher identified certain characteristics of people "in love." And I mean "in love" in the sense of "God, I want to lick their neck" instead of the "We've been together 35 years and he's an excellent father" kind of love. Like crazy stupid love where you do fucked up things and act psychotic. That one governor who snuck off to Brazil to meet his lover while claiming to be hiking? His kind of love. The astronaut chick who drove across the country to confront her romantic rival while wearing astronaut diapers to hasten her trip? Her kind of love.

According to Fisher, lovestruck people exhibit certain characteristics, including:
--"Special Meaning": This is giving the loved one an elevated status above others. "Your beloved becomes novel, unique and all-important," writes Fisher.
--Focused Attention: "The love-possessed person focuses almost all of his or her attention on the beloved, often to the detriment of everything and everyone else," writes Fisher. (see above: governor ditching his job.) "Infatuated men and women also concentrate on all of the events, songs, letters, and other little things they have come to associate with the beloved." (That would be you, Facebook pokey finger.)
--Aggrandizing the Beloved:  This means that although you can see the beloved's faults, you somehow reframe them as charming quirks. This what was probably happening to me when the (thankfully unconsumated) Crush above was later telling me about some penis test he got for flippin' gonorrhea. It involved a tube and his urethra, but I was all, "Oh really? That's fascinating!"
--"Intrusive Thinking": This is when you can't stop thinking about your loved one. In a 1988 survey, in love respondents reported thinking about their "'love object' over 85 percent of their waking hours." 85 percent! This happened to me with Gonorrhea boy. I would lie awake in bed thinking of him, so much so that it actually became tiresome. At a certain point, I didn't even want to be thinking of him, but my mind kept returning to him, as though he were a plague upon my brain.
--Looking for clues: This is the source of all "What do you think he really meant when he said I was 'interesting?'" conversations.
--Emotional fire: That's when you're so damn happy that eating or sleeping seems so...pedestrian.
--Intense energy: This includes exhilaration as well as the overwhelming awkwardness in the beloved's presence. Noted Andres the Chaplain in the 1180s: "Every lover regularly turns pale in the presence of the beloved." This would be the feeling of "How do I act normal around this delightful, insanely sexy person to disguise the fact that I am obsessively thinking about putting my mouth upon their upper thigh (the left one)?"

Fisher identified several others symptoms like jealousy, hope, adversity strengthening ardor, and such but I, sadly crush-less and thus unfueled by its exhilaration, grow weary upon listing them all.

Even Richard Burton was not immune to the overwhelmingly potent forces of attraction and noted upon meeting the 19 year old Elizabeth Taylor:
She was so extraordinarily beautiful that I nearly laughed out loud...Her breasts were apocalyptic, they would topple empires before they withered...her body was a miracle of construction...She was unquestionably gorgeous. She was lavish. She was, in short, too bloody much....those huge violet eyes had an odd glint...Aeons passed, civilizations came and went while these cosmic headlights examined my flawed personality. Every pockmark on my face became a crater of the moon.
So why do we act like such insecure ass-wipes when we when love someone? Fisher asked herself the same question, though I don't believe she used the term "ass-wipes." She promptly stuck some lovestruck folks into an fMRI machine to see what the hell was going on in their poor, love-addled brains.

What she found was a neurochemical stew driving the ass-wipeian behavior. The ancient reptilian brain, with its dumb quest for good feelings was going crazy. One part--the caudate nucleus, if you must know--is associated with the reward system of the brain and affects "general arousal, sensations of pleasure and the motivation to acquire rewards." Also active was the ventral tegmenal area (VTA), spewing dopamine about the brain, willy-nilly, giving lovers "focused attention...fierce energy, concentrated motivation to attain a reward, and feelings of elation--even mania." 

As a result, few drives are more basic and strong than the quest to bind with a lover. Fisher calls it, "a primordial brain network that drives the lover to focus his or her attention on life's grandest prize--a mate who may pass their DNA toward eternity."

I'll leave you today with these questions:
--Does any of this sound familiar?
--What undesirable characteristics have you overlooked while hepped up on love?
--And finally, do you not completely love the sentence, "She was, in short, too bloody much"?
UPDATE:  8/23/22.  If you hadn't guessed by all the passe cultural references (though, oddly, once a reference gets super passe, it becomes okay, ie 1180's Andres the Chaplain.), this is a rerun. Please do not alert your local authorities.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

My Real Life Leo Grande Situation

This guy was not actually present
Hey friends, I'm the "middle aged woman" in this HuffPo article "I'm a middle-aged woman. This is what happened when I got a happy ending massage." Yay?

If you're feeling it, give it some clicks and some shares/love/whatever you've got. I need a little antidote to the anonymous trolls who use moments from the One Precious Life to comment stuff like, "This is an angry old woman."  Hey man, I'm an angry MIDDLE-AGED woman.

I'm extra grateful to my delightful editor Emily McCombs (previously of xojane!) who let me keep the chess joke in when I said I was kinda married to it. (Because OBVIOUSLY sex stories need more chess jokes.) "I understand," she said. "We've all been swept away by a good chess joke. 



PS if you want to tell me what you thought about "Good Luck to You, Leo Grande," I'd hear that too.

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Notes From My Covid Sick Room

I'm at the part of COVID where I feel completely fine, but am still testing positive. So I've been banished to my bedchambers like a mad woman who lives in the attic in an 1847 gothic novel.

In my isolation, I do such fun activities like:

--Try to figure out if I'm going to get unemployment. (Side fretting: Am I employable? Do I actually want to be employable? Hint: no and also no.)  

And a full-on digression. According to the sci-fi I read growing up, we were supposed to be well on our way to a post-work utopian society where people could devote themselves to pursuing their interests and enjoying the village-run shared childcare while wearing loose, flowy clothes. Instead here were are, arguing about whether the minor inconvenience of wearing a mask to save someone's life is actually some sort of nefarious oppression, whether trying to take over the government by force is, like, bad, and all kinds of other ridiculous shit that we should have figured out decades ago.

--Worry about new spot on leg. Death imminent? far that's it. Fuck! It's only been a couple of hours and I've already done all my activities!

However, below me in my sick bed is a big-ass drawer containing yet more sex toys that need to find their way in/on/near a hole/protrusion/whatever you've got. I'll sent them to you! Another activity! (Next up: Silent weeping? Disturbingly thorough cleaning? The Jumble?)

Tell me what you want and I'll sent it/them to you for the price of postage and a decent tip (see also: unemployed.) Complete lowdown there at the end.

What I gots:

--Glas 4-pc Handblown Glass Dildo set, with glass Kegel balls, a butt plug and nice glass dildo with decorative/useful swirls on it. (Digression:  Do take a moment to think of the artisan who goes into their studio to hand blow you lovely glass butt plugs.)

--Gildo handmade glass dildo

--Clit Loving Thumper Vibe with "licking tongue for added pleasure" (or backup envelope licking if needed)

--Shegasm Forbidden Apple Silicone Clit Stimulator, suction plus vibrations plus a chance for rare apple sex

--Rabbit vibrator, heated and waterproof. (Can't link bc the manufacturer might get pissed)

--Pride Anal Trainer set, because anything can be branded for #PrideMonth

Plus these are still left:

 --Two Adam's Penis Extenders with ball strap, in both "realistic" and "fantasy." I don't think these models are available any more, but they look like this. Plus one plain ol' Adam's Extension.

--Vibrating Anal Bead Stick, looks fancy plus it's waterproof

--Adam's 3" Extension, goes over a dick or dick substitute for 3 extra inches.

--The Spank Me Vibe, a vibe and a spank strap all in one for your multi-tasking sex needs.

--Rear Rocker Vibrating Glass Anal Plug, "endless anal fun," it says.

 --Tingle all the Way Christmasy bullet vibe, if you don't care what holiday your vibe celebrates

 --Coochy Shave Cream and after shave protection spray, lip gloss (for...couples--dunno what that means), massage oil w/ CBD, massage oil in "sugar" scent

--Wicked Ultra Heat silicone lube, Wicked Sensitive, Wicked Simply Aqua, Wicked Hybrid, flavored lubes (birthday cake, cotton candy, cherry, strawberry)

--*Rechargeable Dual Entry Vibe/ w remote, double penetration without the social awkwardness

--*Adam's Glass Prostate Massager, pretty much what it says in the name there

--Adam's Deluxe Penis Ring Sampler, I grow too weary to explain this. Just look at it yourself. 

Live, and direct from my bed,



If you are also bedridden, please enjoy Cab Calloway, giving it his goddamn all in "Saint James Infirmary," even though he's a weird clown man in a creepy Betty Boop cartoon. 


The fine print:  

Tell me what you want at You can pick an item or two, or fill a whole box with 'em. Postage for a large size priority box is $21.50, medium is $16.10. Smaller things that fit in a padded envelop are generally less than 10 buck to ship. My PayPal is and my Venmo is @jill-hamilton-123.  

PS I do not generally think the whole "sexy whatever" Halloween costume thing is funny but there is, for real, a "sexy plague doctor" costume. Sigh.