Often questions about sex can leave us at a loss for an answer — we draw a blank or grin with reddening faces because we simply don’t know. And in this space of uncertainty is the potential to explore new, fun, nerve-wracking and informative perspectives, allowing us to better understand ourselves on the path to honest answers. Thankfully, resources abound to help with sexual exploration, from toy shops to websites to masturbation guides.
Porn can lead to unhealthy addictions to unrealistic bodies and an expectation for sex based in performance rather than integrity. But addictions are a risk with all media, and there is a more optimistic side to the coin — with some forethought, you can choose to subscribe to less troubling sources of entertainment to help explore your sexual preferences.
A collection of subreddits — including r/trollxporn, r/chickflixxx, r/passionx and r/PassionYZ — are devoted to porn directed at highlighting the pleasure of all parties involved, amateur/realistic scenes and safe practices. Most posts are female-friendly, unlike much of mainstream porn, and link to free images, gifs or videos. The latter three subreddits have stricter guidelines for their users; at r/chickflixxx, for example, anyone can post content, but only women and genderqueer people are allowed to comment or vote. Subreddit r/passionx caters to hetero scenes with two people, while r/PassionYZ is for gay, lesbian, transgender, solo or group sex.
Sexy subreddits and tumblrs for every desire, kink and fetish also exist, as exemplified by r/NSFW411/wiki/index, a list of all NSFW subreddits. The range is stunning — kink communities on reddit include those for legs, toes, sound only and cosplay to name a few — but keep in mind that their quality and safety rides on moderators and the community of users.
Paid resources like indiepornrevolution.com and kink.com have more of an obligation to consistently providing a safe space for users. At crashpadseries.com, performers are “‘real life’ couples who identify as dykes and lesbians, femme, masculine of center (boi, stud, tomboy, AG, and butch) and can be cis or trans women, trans men, people of color, people of size, older queers, and people with disabilities (including neurodivergent).” Kinkier sex, done properly within the guidelines of their respective communities, can be found on those websites.
Red alert — literature, although it comes with stuffy connotations, is not limited to wholesome content. The vastest free online English collection can be found at literotica.com, where any writer can submit their steamy stories. Finding your way around the site and figuring out how to use the appropriate filters can be a little tricky at first, but once you find a category and then a tag that interests you, such as the ‘oral’ tag within the category of ‘erotic couplings,’ the clicking around is well worth it.
For those who get an erotic kick out of certain characters (or even celebrities), fans all over the world have content to offer on archiveofourown.org and fanfiction.net. Users can find smut on both sites by using the ‘mature’ filter.
Almost all of the stories on the previous sites are fictional depictions of sex. In contrast, sexstoriesarena.com and the subreddit r/gonewildstories claim to have writers who post their real sex encounters.
Sex toys can help you gain confidence when you’re going at it solo, or can spice things up when used with your partner(s).
The Wellness Centre in the basement of IKB sells at-cost toys ranging from $5.50 to $40.00, from rings and anal toys to vibrators to sleeves. Remember: they’re cash only. Off campus, Womyns’ Ware on Commercial Drive offers a sex positive environment and high quality products.
Online, adameve.com (use the promo code ORGASM for 50% off) is the Amazon of sex toys, with a no-frills approach and a fair amount of user reviews to help you make decisions. For a more curated shopping experience, spectrumboutique.com offers aesthetically pleasing products and a sex positive staff.
Finding a partner (or a few) in order to find yourself is a valid desire. Sometimes a partner or community, one with whom you can be open and honest with, is the best way to enter new territory. Popular dating apps — like Tinder, Bumble, and Grindr — give many a sense of sexual freedom.
For those looking to explore the kink scene, Fetlife is designed for just that purpose. The site has many of the same issues as other social networks — female identifying folks receive an inundation of messages, for example — but users still find the platform useful for meeting and maintaining contact with fellow kinksters. Low key social gatherings called ‘munches’ are coordinated on Fetlife, so reaching out to the leader of a munch group can be the first step for a newcomer.
Our favourite miscellaneous online sources for sexy stories, convos, advice and everything else between here and the sun include: omgyes.com, where women teach women how to masturbate on video (there is a fee to join, however); podcasts Sex Gets Real and Risk!; Savage Love, an all-inclusive sex advice column published online and in the Georgia Straight; and Vice’s Slutever, a video series with the tagline ‘the sex ed. you never got in high school.’
Don’t expect yourself to magically fall into the confines of society; for some, none of the resources listed above will be helpful or fun. Sex therapists exist, and seeking help is not shameful. They can help in relationships in which the participants aren’t seeing eye-to-eye or offer counsel to individuals who are struggling to make a change in their sex lives but don’t know where to start.
Drop by the Wellness Centre at IKB or reach out to a counselor at UBC Counselling Services; these professionals can then put you in touch with local professionals specializing in sex.
If you are engaging in sexual exploration, you are responsible for your sexual health. Get tested for sexually transmitted infections and diseases via Student Health Services, or find a clinic near you by using the BC Centre for Disease Control’s Clinic-Finder online.
Nivretta Thatra is The Ubyssey's Science editor and a master's student in Bioinformatics. She enjoys s/texting about: sonic moments of purity, consciousness, unwarranted rage-filled critiques of TED talks and the perils of scientific exceptionalism.