Alisa Ueno On Porn And Dating In Tokyo

Photo of Alisa by Shimpei Mito. 


From modeling to music to fashion design, there’s literally nothing Alisa Ueno can’t do.

The Japanese DJ and resident cool girl has amassed a massive online following, and a quick scroll through her Instagram is all you need to be convinced she deserves the hype. When she’s not keeping us dancing, Alisa serves as creative director of clothing label Fig & Viper. I had the pleasure of meeting the 28-year-old influencer last summer, where gave me a local’s tour of Tokyo.

I chatted with the trans-Pacific “It Girl” about the differences in American and Japanese cultural attitudes towards sex and dating, the highlights are below.


For those who don’t know you, how do you describe what you do?

Alisa: I’m a fashion designer, and also a DJ, and also a producer. I’m doing Instagram, as well.


A woman of many trades. Where are you from?

I’m from Tokyo, Japan.


What influence do you think growing up in Tokyo has had on you as a person?

We are so different. I think it’s because [Japan is] an island. We respect each other and other countries as well. If you grew up in Japan you’re going to be really humble, without reason, because it’s a noble thing to respect people and be humble. So I think it’s a good thing to be raised in Japan.


Can you talk a little bit more about that difference? I’m sure if you took the subway in New York, you’d be like ‘Ew, this is disgusting.’ 

Tokyo is so clean and everything is so organized. If you’re going to take a train, and it’s like two minutes late, they will apologize to us. Also there are no trash cans on the street, so if you have some trash, then you’re going to put in your bag and bring it home [to throw away].


Where do you think that aspect of respect starts? 

I never wondered that. I think from family, also TV—everyone does it, so I do it. Japanese people don’t like [being] original, they want to hide with everyone. It’s our culture, they don’t want to stand out. I think American people love standing out, so it’s really opposite.


Can you talk a little bit about maybe the influence of anime? The obsession with looking cute or young?

Yes. So we don’t have sexy culture.


Why do you think that is?

Girls on TV [ are more] cute than beautiful. More like, they don’t want them to look older, they want to be young forever. Also we have idol culture with anime. Idol means like, boy band. Girls version of is boy band. So, those idols are really like teenagers and look really young, like younger than American teenagers of course. They have to be pure. We have the idol band, called AKB48. Do you know them? They are 48 girls, and the rule is they cannot be in relationships.


That’s crazy. Do you think they’re ever in relationships but they hide it?

I think so. One girl did that, then she apologized in public, and then she shaved her head.


Her hair? Stop it. They made her shave her head?

I think she decided to, like “I’m sorry”, to show [it].


Why can’t she have a boyfriend, like what’s their reasoning? 

So, [in] our culture, for boys in junior high school—it’s like a baseball club [thing] or something—if you messed up, you have to shave your hair. It’s kind of boy culture.


Is it like a shaming thing?

Yes, it’s like a “I’m sorry.” So the girl [in AKB58] did that, and she was really famous.


Are you currently in a relationship?



And how long have you been dating?

Three and a half years.



Have you find it harder to meet people in the digital age? 

It’s easier.


Do you feel like you’ve been able to build out substantial relationships from meeting people online?

I think so. In Japan, we’ve had Tinder [for the past] one or two years. So these [past] one or two years, there’s really [been an] open mind for that, but before that, they were so like, ‘No online.’ We are changing.


Are the Kardashians big in Japan?



Why do you think that is?

So, they are sexy right? They are like a sex symbol. Japanese people like Miranda Kerr or Taylor Hue more like the—not conservative, but kind of conservative and cuter looks. Japanese girls like the skinny girl, and also Kawaii type of faces. That’s why the Kardashians are not that big in Japan. One of my best friends doesn’t even know who Kim Kardashian is, so.


Do you think that sometimes the Kawaii look gets sexualized in Japan?

Yeah. We have so many kinds of Kawaii styles, so it’s really divided in many ways. Japanese girls, it’s not [that] they don’t want to be sexual—that’s not true. They want to be, but they’re kind of shy to show off. They’re thinking, what should I wear to look Kawaii or sexy? So if you see the girl who is thinking she is sexy and Kawaii, you [as an American] don’t think it’s sexy. But in Japan, Japanese boys think it’s sexy.


So is Hentai [porn that is animated in anime style] really big in Japan?

So Hentai means, not anime porn in Japan. World wide, they use Hentai for anime porn, but Hentai means ‘pervert.’


Really? I did not know that.

Yes. So if the boys say something like, ‘Your boobs are big’ or something, then [we say] ‘Hentai!’ That’s the way we use that.


I’m screaming. But is that [style of porn] really big in Japan, do people watch it?

I think so. Only for nerdy people, like my brother. We use the mosaic, the blur stuff, for porn in general. So we cannot show [it].


So things are blurred it out? 

Boobs are fine.


Even in Hentai they blur parts out?

Maybe not for Hentai cause it’s not real.


Wait so I can go buy a porn DVD and [certain body parts are] always going to be blurred out?

Yes. So without Mosaic it would be illegal. But they can buy online [without the blurring]. I don’t know [if that’s] technically legal or not, but in general they use Mosaic for porn videos. Because Japanese people want to use imagination, as well. They think it’s more sexy. They can use imagination underneath the Mosaic.


I noticed when I was in Japan and you and I went to the sex shop together that men would be looking at a porn magazine and then they would see me walking by and turn away and be embarrassed. But it’s funny, because it’s like, ‘I know why you’re in this shop.’ Do you think there’s a lot of shame associated with sex still in Japan?

I think so, yes.


And why do you think that is?

Because our culture, we don’t say anything directly. So, it’s our culture. We don’t say ‘no’ whenever. We say ‘yes, but’… we don’t say anything directly. That culture is kind of related to sex life, as well.


So because people, like your saying, culturally don’t tend to say no, and instead ‘yes, but’— are there any issues of consent? 

A lot. That’s why [photographer Nobuyoshi] Araki, one his biggest muse did the #Metoo stuff. So it’s a huge movement for us. But still, they don’t speak out.


Do the women get shamed if they speak out?

I think so, that’s why that muse [is a] really strong woman, everyone complimented her [because] she did that. We have that kind of issue as well but I think they don’t even say [it] to their friends.


So what do you hope will change in Japan? And also, what do you think your culture does really well?

People would be more open, I hope. But [a] good thing of Japanese culture is that in the daylight, the girl doesn’t look sexy at all—more like Kawaii culture or anime culture. But if you have sex with her, she’s amazing. So I think it’s a fun thing for the Asian people and Japanese girls. That’s why I like to hear about stories from my friends, the boys. I don’t say, ‘How was she?’ But like, I’m kind of curious… because in front of us, she is really quiet and conservative, but she’s different at night. This is our culture actually.


I read that the red light district in Tokyo is the largest red light district in the world. I wanted to know if there are a lot of underground sex establishments? 

Yeah, so we have so much funny stuff. Have you ever heard of a boobs bar?


No, what is a boobs bar?

It’s this place where a girl comes next to you, then you can allow to grab the boobs. They pay to chat with girls [and to get a] blowjob. Soap, we call it soap.


So you can just go in and pay to get a blowjob? 

Yes. And sex as well—delivery health. We say ‘health.’ Delivery health is when she comes [to your house.] It’s ‘delivery health’ like Uber Eats.


Interesting.  Who is your biggest inspiration?

It sounds fake, but people around me.


I don’t think that sounds fake. Do you have any words of advice for how you got to where you are today?

Meet people. Just meet as many people as you can. And you should open your heart, open your mind—first, before they do. Then you show yourself to them. Then, I believe they will accept you.


I love that, that’s great advice. Lastly, you do a lot! You DJ, you have a brand, you produce… how do you relax?

Netflix. I love staying at home with my boyfriend.


You can follow Alisa on Instagram here. 



Measuring Masculinity


“Line up by body count! Men in the front, pussies in the back!” yelled an older fraternity member looking down at us from a balcony. I stood nervously, exchanging brief glances with the other new members. We shuffled into a new line, attempting to decipher our new rankings by exchanging body count numbers with those around us. Those who had slept around sufficiently puffed their chests out proudly and stood beaming at the front of the line, while those less experienced simply stared at the ground and wistfully took their places in the back.

I stood near the end. Ironically, my longtime girlfriend ensured that I had more sexual experience than the majority of my fraternity brothers combined. According to them, however, this experience was essentially worthless. Awaiting further orders in silence I noticed the pained expression on my friend’s face as he stood at the end of the line. This is bullshit, I thought.

I came to college with a girlfriend, a decision I had been dissuaded from making by both family and friends alike. “You’re going to want to have fun and enjoy new experiences! There’s no time for a girlfriend,” advised one of my relatives; as though having a girlfriend and having fun in college were mutually exclusive. Even my closest friends had something negative to say. “College relationships never work,” my friend counseled, warning me that I would not be able to have the “full college experience” while in a partnership. Ignoring this discouragement, I left for college with my relationship intact, convinced that I wouldn’t want to pursue anyone new and that my new friends would be entirely understanding of my monogamous commitment. 

Arriving at college I realized that I was in for a rude awakening. Everyone around me seemed sex obsessed, never ceasing to share stories of their endless conquests. When it became my turn to share, I stated matter-of-factly that I had a girlfriend—someone shouted,”Whipped! This guy is so pussy whipped!”

After realizing that my relationship was something to be ashamed of, I tried my best to avoid these kinds of conversations altogether, and instead find solace in the fact that I loved my girlfriend, telling myself that our love was worth all the torment and shame I faced from others. Eventually, I was worn down by the constant diminishing of my relationship, feeling as though I was missing out on an essential part of the college experience. After hearing my fraternity brother exclaim, “Being single is fucking amazing! I can’t be tamed!” I found myself yearning to be free of the relationship I had once cherished. Soon enough, pressure from new friends and experiences contributed to the collapse of my relationship and I found myself waking up the single man I thought I wanted to be.

Upon hearing word of my newly single status, my friends and brothers alike all had the same mission in mind: get me laid. At first I was apprehensive about sleeping with someone new so soon after the breakup, but in the end I decided it was a good way for me to get over my heartbreak. My first few random hookups were less than ideal. Most were clumsy drunken decisions made nearing the end of a frat party, and each lacked any real emotional or physical connection. I felt uncomfortable getting naked in front of a complete stranger, and the sense of fulfillment I was so used to feeling after a sexual experience never came. It was then that I decided that I wasn’t cut out for hookup culture. In that moment I promised myself that I wouldn’t have sex with another person unless we shared a true emotional and physical bond.

Despite being happy with this decision, I knew that the majority of my friends would not understand the reasoning behind it, nevermind feel the same way. I heard how they talked about guys who hooked up with little to no girls. Insults ranged from trivial: “that guy doesn’t fuck,” to seriously questioning someone’s sexuality or claiming that their dick was small. Ultimately, I was left with a deep sense of inadequacy. It was as though my desire for true intimacy rendered me less masculine or “full-blooded” than my fraternity brothers. However, as I continued my education and began to mature as an individual, I began to question this particular facet of college and fraternity culture. I wondered whether the emphasis on hookup culture in college, and its subsequent association with masculinity, contributes to an environment which fosters sexual assault.

From a young age, we as men are taught that our sex drives and sexual conquests play a defining role in forming our masculinity. This myth could not be more enforced during our college years. We are thrust into a social hierarchy based solely upon our sexual success with women, and as fraternity brothers, we constantly encourage younger members to talk to girls and build relations with sororities. This tactic is a beneficial way of bringing shy members out of their shells, and developing their individual identities. Evidently though, it also places a premium on hookup culture. This emphasis on hookups fosters a highly problematic attitude which makes men feel entitled to sex with women. Partying no longer serves as a means of having fun, but rather as another pressure cooker to get laid. Let me be clear, any individual’s actions are his or her own responsibility. I am not attempting to remove the blame of an assaulter onto their environment. However, the idea that every guy needs to hookup with a girl at a party creates a certain degree of pressure which causes men like myself, to question the status and bounds of their masculinity.

While my experience may paint a distressing picture of college culture, there are many students currently attempting to remove the presence of toxic masculinity on campus, and create a safe environment free from sexual assault. Organizations like Fraternity Men Against Negative Environments and Rape Situations (Frat Manners) aim to educate fraternity men on how to avoid problematic attitudes towards masculinity and deflect the sexual pressure of their peers. With organizations like Frat Manners and a new generation of woke fathers, I’m optimistic that we can change the culture on campuses everywhere. Sex can return to being a fun part of the college experience that can be enjoyed by everyone at their own pace. No pressure.

Herpes 101

Herpes is a disease that can be caused by one of two kinds of the Herpes virus. Either virus can cause sores and blisters in the genital area, anus, mouth, and throat. Herpes simplex virus type one (HSV-1) is most commonly responsible for oral herpes. Herpes simplex virus type two (HSV-2) is typically what causes genital herpes. Although each virus has its infectious preference, both can infect either area.

Herpes is a fairly common virus. According to the CDC, oral herpes in some form is found in over half of Americans, and genital herpes is found in roughly one out of every six people between the ages of 14 and 49 in the United States. It is estimated that 776,000 people acquire new herpes infections every year in the United States alone. 



Most people that have herpes do not have any symptoms, and if they do, they are often so mild that they are mistaken for pimples or ingrown hairs. Because of this, herpes often goes unnoticed, undiagnosed, and untreated. If symptoms are present, they can vary slightly depending on the area affected as well as the strain of virus causing them.

Oral herpes tends to be the milder version of the two, causing…

  •  Sores on the lips, around the mouth, and/or even inside the mouth. These sores, sometimes referred to as cold sores or fever blisters, usually go away on their own, but can return at any time thereafter.

Genital herpes can cause…

  • A cluster of blisters on any of the areas near the genitals, including the vagina, vulva, cervix, penis, butt, anus, and inner thighs. When these blisters break they become sores, and can be itchy and painful.
  • If HSV-2 infects the genitals, it can also come with flu-like symptoms such as swollen glands, fever, chills, headache, and fatigue.
  • The first genital herpes outbreak is most commonly the worst, and starts anywhere between 2-20 days after contracting the virus.
  • This first outbreak can last anywhere from two to four weeks.
  • After the initial outbreak, any subsequent flare-ups tend to decrease in severity over time. With that being said, there have been cases where the initial outbreak doesn’t happen for years, so a lack of outbreaks is not a reliable indicator that one is herpes-free.



The herpes virus is spread through physical contact with someone who has the virus. Someone with the oral herpes infection can spread the virus through their sores, saliva, and skin around the mouth. Many people who have oral herpes contracted it from non-sexual contact with saliva at some point during their childhood.

If someone has genital herpes, their sores, skin around their genitals, and genital secretions can spread the virus. The virus is most commonly spread through sexual acts such as vaginal sex, oral sex, anal sex, and kissing—but it can also be spread through non-sexual acts. Mothers with the virus can pass it on to their child during childbirth, and someone can pass it on after touching an open blister and then coming into contact with someone else’s mouth, eyes, or genital area. Additionally, if someone touches an open herpes sore, the liquid from the sore can carry the virus to another area of the body, such as the eyes. One way to avoid that is to refrain from touching any sores and thoroughly washing your hands if you do.

A lack of sores does not mean that one is temporarily not “contagious.”

There are some common myths about how herpes is transmitted. It cannot be transmitted through…

  • hugging
  • holding hands
  • sneezing or coughing
  • sitting on a toilet seat—the virus dies too quickly when it is outside of the body to make these types of transmissions possible.



The tricky thing about this virus is that it often goes undetected. Because people can be asymptomatic, many are unaware that they are infected and can unknowingly spread the virus to others. The only way to completely protect yourself from herpes is to abstain from sex, but if you choose to be sexually active, there are a few ways to have safer sex that can help you protect yourself and lessen the chances of contracting the virus.

  • Using protection such as condoms or dental dams lowers the risk of transmission, but does not eliminate it completely. Even with perfect use, condoms leave areas where herpes can live unprotected (scrotum, butt cheeks, upper thighs, labia). Check out the CDC’s guidelines for putting on condoms to make sure you’re using them correctly.
  • If you or your partner are having an outbreak, try to avoid having sex until it’s over. The virus is most easily spread when sores are present.



Herpes is often asymptomatic or its symptoms are mistaken for other skin conditions, which leads many people who have the disease to be completely unaware of it. Any sores or blisters near the mouth, genitals, or anus, should be brought to the attention of a medical provider who can determine whether they are caused by herpes.

If you have no visible symptoms, they can administer a blood test to see if there are any herpes antibodies present in your blood. STD tests are usually left out of routine check-ups, but you can bring it up the subject of sexual health with your doctor so they can assess your risks and administer the tests most suited for you.

If you feel uncomfortable talking to your doctor or nurse about your sexual activity, you always have the option to find a different provider you feel more comfortable with. Remember that sexual health is an integral part of your overall health, and medical professionals are there to ensure that you are living your best and healthiest life.



The bottom line is that herpes cannot be cured, but there are many different treatments available that can help suppress and control outbreaks and reduce the chances of transmitting the disease to someone else.

  • Antiviral medications can be used both topically and orally to help minimize the symptoms of herpes. Creams and ointments can reduce any burning, itching, or unpleasant sensations that come with an outbreak, and pills or shots are available that can shorten the duration of future outbreaks.
  • When taken on a daily basis, antiviral medications such as Acyclovir, Famciclovir, and Valacyclovir reduce the frequency of outbreaks, and in turn reduce the risk of transmission. These medications all require a prescription from a doctor.
  • Some natural ways to reduce any pain caused by sores include warm baths, wearing soft, loose, and breathable clothes, applying an ice pack to the sores, and keeping the area around the sores dry can all reduce any irritation and speed up the healing process.
  • There are no known triggers for herpes outbreaks, but maintaining a healthy lifestyle with exercise, a balanced diet, sleep, and stress management can help your body fight off outbreaks.


Herpes is common. Once you have it, you have it forever, but it doesn’t have to stop you from having a healthy sex life. By taking certain precautions and having open communication with a physician and any partner(s), people with herpes can lead perfectly happy and healthy lives.



Who Is Brett Kavanaugh?


In June of 2018, Justice Anthony Kennedy retired after having served 30 years on the Supreme Court. With his retirement, he left one of nine spots on the Supreme Court open. The court is the highest federal court in the United States, and its primary function is to interpret the constitutionality of laws, acts, etc. Their rulings have a major effect on the upholding or suppressing of civil and human liberties. Supreme Court Justices serve for life and are nominated to the position by the sitting President. To be confirmed, the nominee must approved by the Senate. Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh; here’s what you should know.


So, who is Brett Kavanaugh?

Brett Kavanaugh is currently a justice for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He has served on that court for over 12 years and has heard many major cases. Historically, he has ruled in a significantly conservative manner. 


What’s an example of a major case he’s taken part in?

Last year, Kavanaugh was part of the three-justice panel that heard the case Garza v. Hargan, which had already been appealed by the government and had gained significant media attention. The case regarded an undocumented 17-year-old’s right to seek an abortion while being held in federal custody. Kavanaugh voted in favor to keep the minor in custody until she could be assigned a sponsor—which he did not see as placing an undue burden on her right to abortion. Effectively delaying the minor’s termination by over a month. Ultimately this decision was overturned by a larger court, which Kavanaugh again disagreed with. The minor was eventually able to attain her abortion with no further delay. Kavanaugh is believed to be pro-life (anti-abortion).


He’s been accused of sexual assault. 

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a professor at Palo Alto University, wrote a letter to Congress members accusing the Supreme Court nominee of pinning her down on a bed, attempting to remove her clothing, covering her mouth when she tried to scream, and sexually assaulting her at a party when they were both teenagers in the early 1980s. She initially requested that her identity remain anonymous, but then went public with her story.

Kavanaugh has denied these allegations. Ford has agreed to testify before a Senate committee regarding the assault.



What are the chances that he is confirmed?

It was previously believed that the confirmation vote would be close. The Senate is currently made up of 51 Republicans and 49 Democrats, and it was suspected that the vote would be split between the parties (Kavanaugh has a more conservative ruling record, making him an unattractive candidate for liberals), although there are still many Senators who have not taken a clear stance. 

However, the recent sexual assault allegation has received extensive media and its affect of public and Senate opinion of Kavanuagh remains to be seen. It is worth noting that Justice Clarence Thomas was accused of sexual harassment by his former employee, Anita Hill in 1991 during his confirmation process. He sits on the Supreme Court today.


If confirmed, what impact would this possibly have?

Although Kavanaugh’s leanings in the past do not necessarily dictate his possible future on the Supreme Court, we can look to them as a guide. Whereas recently retired Justice Kennedy took a moderate stance regarding social issues, Kavanaugh has shown significantly more conservative leanings. If he’s confirmed, the Supreme Court would be compromised of a 5-4 Republican majority. There is large concern that—given that a case regarding the right to abortion is making its way up to the Supreme Court— Kavanaugh could be the key vote in overturning Roe v. Wade (the landmark case in which the Supreme Court ruling made abortion a constitutional right in the U.S.). It’s also highly possible that, if Roe v. Wade is not completely overturned, there could still be partial changes made that would make seeking an abortion much more difficult.

Additionally, if confirmed and assuming he is guilty of sexual assault, a message will be sent to survivors that their attackers will not be held accountable.


Would abortion become illegal if Roe v. Wade was overturned?

It depends on the state. According to an analysis done by the Center for Reproductive Rights, 22 states are at high risk of abortion being completely banned if Roe v. Wade is overturned. Another 8 states are at moderate risk, while 21 states seem to have additional laws in place that will protect the right to abortion regardless of the Roe v. Wade ruling.


Does the public have any say in Kavanaugh’s confirmation?

Ultimately, the Senate will be voting to confirm/deny Kavanaugh’s place on the Supreme Court Justice. A specific date for this vote is yet to be set, but it’s rumored to be taking place this fall. If you want to weigh in, call your state Senators and let them know why you think Kavanaugh is fit/unfit to serve on the most powerful court in the country. 


*Roni Bowen is an editorial intern for Killer And A Sweet Thang. 


Stop Pretending That Bi+ Women Exist For You


Bisexual people, and bi+ (anyone who is attracted to more than one gender identity) women in particular, are met with a skepticism that gay, lesbian, and heterosexual identities do not face. While “born this way” has become somewhat of a rallying cry within the LGBTQ+ community, this mentality isn’t always put into practice when bi+ women are involved.

It is often suggested that bi+ women are able to choose heterosexuality and thereby opt out of oppression. This not only erases the fact that we can never actually be heterosexual—even if we exist in relationships with men—but it also suggests that we are only queer when we’re with a same-sex partner. Bi+ women can lean in either direction (or have no preference at all) and those are all valid manifestations of a bisexual identity.

A recent study explored what’s known as the androcentric desire hypothesis, the widely held perception that bisexual people tend to sexually prefer men. In this mindset, bisexual men are often classified as “actually gay” while bisexual women’s desires for other women are seen as temporary, fleeting, or just for fun. As a bisexual woman who prefers other women, I notice that my desirability amongst lesbians is lower because they don’t anticipate me considering them as serious romantic partners. Another study likewise suggested that, overall, bi+ women are viewed as less desirable friends and romantic partners by the lesbian community. 

Several communities perceive us to be less marginalized, attention-seeking, and immoral. We are treated as though our identities are merely a performance, rather than a valid aspect of who we are. And while we are still desired by heterosexual men, it often comes hand-in-hand with an objectification of our identities and experiences. Cisgender men learn to sensationalize our same-sex behaviors and believe that we are indiscriminately available for threesomes, group sex, and their voyeurism. At the very least, they sexualize us before they actually have sex with us—sometimes, before even knowing us.

When people are perceived as sexual objects, they’re viewed as something that can be used and discarded, something that is acted upon, something that is commodified. Our sexuality becomes something that exists solely to fulfill male desires. All of this informs harmful media narratives, and considering that studies link the media objectification of women to negative physical and mental health, the further objectification of bi+ women is likely to cause similar effects in people who identify as such. Not surprisingly, studies indicate that bi+ individuals are more prone to anxiety, depression, self-harm, and suicide than gay, lesbian, and heterosexual people.

When it is assumed that we unilaterally cater to the male gaze, it becomes easier for men to justify sexual violence against us. And when our hypersexualization results in our portrayal as being sexually indiscriminate, greedy, and disloyal—we become people “deserving” of domestic violence. The CDC reported that we are more likely to experience rape, sexual assault, and intimate partner violence than lesbian and heterosexual women. Trans women and gender non-conforming individuals who identify as bisexual are even more vulnerable. And according to the United Nations, bisexual women around the world are “especially at risk of acts of sexual or intrafamily and domestic violence.” Bisexual women who reported experiencing domestic violence acknowledged that their identities were used to justify that violence. And when they chose to report said aggression, research found they were less likely to be believed and more susceptible to police violence.

When other members of the queer community mention our ability to “choose” heterosexuality, they fail to mention our heightened proximity to violence.

They pretend that bisexuality is a switch that can be flipped and act as if we are not still navigating relationships from a queer perspective. They conflate objectification—wherein our sexuality is being used for someone’s gratification—with a celebration of our identity. And they ultimately make it difficult for us to be integrated within our own community by suggesting that we don’t exist or that we need to pick a side. When you consider that bisexual people make up more than half of the queer community, our erasure feels particularly damaging.

It is important to affirm narratives in which bisexual women are people who not only exist, but exist for themselves. The purpose of our identity is not to live in service of male desires. And while it is a struggle for all queer persons to figure themselves out, we have to consider the particular struggles that come with an identity facing stigma comes from both sides. More importantly, we cannot keep ignoring the actual harm that biphobia creates.

Bi+ women, just like all members of the queer community, deserve to be safe.

Anal 101

It’s 2018 and if anal isn’t on the menu yet — it definitely should be.

There are a lot of archaic stigmas and misinformed concerns surrounding ass play. While it’s true that anal takes a bit more preparation than other forms of sex, the results are well worth the work: intensified orgasms, unexplored nerve endings, etc. The butt is not just the pounding-ground of gay cisgender men, it’s an erogenous zone that contains pleasures for all individuals, regardless of identity (read: pegging). And if social stigma is leading you to deprive yourself of potential sexual satisfaction? Well, you have a lot re-evaluating to do.

Below are some tips for anal virgins; take a deep breath, this will be fun!


Voice your curiosity.

If you’ve never tried anal with your partner talk about it beforehand. Asking for some back action in the moment can overwhelm an unsuspecting bedmate and will likely result in your request being denied. Physical hints (the classic butt-wiggle, guide to the taint, etc.) may intimidate or downright confuse a less experienced partner.

Discussing the idea prior to the deed also gives you both space to voice concerns about cleanliness, comfort level, etc.



The ass is multi-purpose and while not all of its responsibilities are sexy, they are all natural. Ensuring you and/or your partner’s anal passage is up to code is crucial for both of your comfort. A quick rinse of your hole with soapy water should do the trick, but if you’re not sufficiently convinced, rectal douches are very popular (and available at your local pharmacies) and easy to use. However, be sure not to douche repeatedly, as that will upset your intestines and cause the opposite of the desired effect. 



It doesn’t sound sexy but doing your homework is super important for anal virgins. For example, the default for heterosexual couples is that the man assumes the penetrate role, however, ass play can be equally as pleasurable for men. The prostate is known as the male “G” spot and, if stimulated properly, can intensify their orgasm.

Researching how to responsibly and effectively engage in anal sex with your partner can be fun and quickly turn into foreplay, after all, the internet is full of titillating diagrams and videos…


Foreplay is key.

Like other forms of sex, foreplay before anal is vital. The asshole is especially sensitive and is often very tight. The more turned on your partner is the easier entry will be, so take extra care to ensure they’re as primed as possible before and during the act. Kissing, licking, and teasing the taint are great ways to begin knocking at your partner’s door.



Unless you have a magic sphincter, losing your anal virginity will hurt a little at first. But don’t let this deter you! Once you get past the initial discomfort, a whole new set of sensations await. Excessive pain throughout is a sign you’re doing it wrong. 


Take your time and breathe.

Anal penetration can be very intense the first time. Ease and expand your partner’s anal capacity by using your fingers (start with one then count up) or toys (note: silicone-based lube can damage certain sex accessories). Take it slow, maintain eye contact, and take deep breaths with your partner. Give their body time to catch up before you pound away.

Use lube and then when you think you’ve used enough — use more.

The ass, unlike some other holes, doesn’t self-lubricate. Which is why you need some (a lot) of backup. Silicone-based lubes are best for anal sex as they take longer to dry out and are less sticky. KAAST suggests Pjur’s Backdoor anal lubricant for more aggressive anal play and for a softer experience try Analyze Me.


If you’re still uncomfortable, try different positions. 

Everyone’s body is different and if you’re struggling to relax in a certain position try switching it up! Doggy-style is a go-to anal position, and adding a pillow underneath your body to elevate your ass may help, too. Anal is all about finding that sweet spot so don’t hesitate to speak up if you’re not feeling it.


Use a condom.

Beyond STI protection, we suggest condom use for anal first-timers for two reasons. First, there’s bacteria in the rectum so it’s important one doesn’t switch between anal and vaginal sex without a new condom or washing the penetrative member. Secondly, on the off-chance things do get a little messy, a condom provides a thin layer of protection and peace of mind.

Be open-minded.

Judgments have no place in the bedroom. Do not shame your partner for their bodily functions, and if you’re not willing to take things at your partner’s pace — you probably shouldn’t be having sex at all.



Soreness and a little bleeding after the first time you’ve tried anal is not unusual. If you continue to bleed for more than an hour (or it’s excessive), call a doctor. Don’t let this scare you: many people bleed during their first time having vaginal sex, as well. It’s natural.


It’s OK to not like anal. 

The reality is anal sex isn’t for everyone. If you’ve tried it several times with someone you trust and you still aren’t enjoying yourself — that’s valid. Sex comes in many different forms and cannot be narrowly defined. The golden rule in the bedroom is do what makes you feel good and comfortable.


Have fun and play safe!


*Cover photo by Van De Aarde.



Self Love?

One of the greatest ailments of millennials and Gen-Z’ers today is image: body image, perceptions of our intelligence, and overall social reputation. An extremely self-conscious generation of tenacious dreamers, we often question ourselves during even our smallest movements of the day. For example, I utilize the window reflections on streets to check my appearance. 

I walk out of my house, dorm, or workspace and I ask myself if I’m okay. I don’t ask myself if I’m feeling okay mentally or emotionally, but rather if I’m acceptable. Am I okay to be seen in the presence of others? How am I perceived by the people around me? Do I fit these standards or am I an anomaly? 

It seems like today’s society is progressing towards a culture that embraces self love and a wide variety of shapes and sizes—so why is it that I focus so much energy on fitting a set of model-like aesthetics that are only going to go out of style anyway? The answer is simple: I have not learned to accept myself on my own terms. There’s a lot of pressure in naming myself the sole proprietor of my happiness, and these days, ever-changing standards of societal validation are not helping.

It seems obvious, but self love has to come from yourself.

Sure, it is extremely empowering to see such a revolutionary movement of acceptance sweeping the nation. Companies like Aerie, with their new lingerie line Aerie Real and even Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty, with its Beauty For All makeup campaign—remind me of the progress that society is making in expanding beauty standards and teaching young women to embrace themselves the way they naturally are. However, I can’t shake the feeling that I am still relying on celebrities, models, and social media influencers to teach me how to accept myself. Societal norms are starting to reform but, reformed or not, why are we still basing our self worth on fulfilling norms?  That’s hardly self love, is it?

I’m beginning to learn that I am my only reliable source of self validation and acceptance. So while it absolutely is a positive thing to rejoice in the body positivity movement and applaud companies like Aerie and Fenty Beauty for taking those essential steps forward, we also have to find the things about ourselves that we can appreciate without relying solely on that outside influence. For example, when was the last time that I listened to my Spotify playlist and complimented myself for having awesome music taste? Or the last time I ate an amazing meal and thanked myself for fueling my body plentifully? Positive self talk is key in determining how we feel about ourselves.

I have realized that current body image reform has also had other effects on my self esteem. While different body shapes are being celebrated, society is still setting limits and conditions on what’s a “normal” or “womanly” body type. Now, instead of frail wrists and toned legs defining womanhood, it is accepted and encouraged to embrace curves. Rather than being another option for how a woman’s body can appear, however, “curves” are just an addition to an already complicated body equation. Keep the slim waist, add a thicker ass, subtract the stomach rolls… what’s left is the continuation of an already exclusionary body culture.

This culture quickly becomes dangerous when eating disorders will affect 10% of college-aged women and 10-15% of all Americans. They manifest when there is a constant need to assert control over one’s self and find things that need to be “fixed” or “perfected.” I have personally struggled with this vicious cycle. Within an eating disorder lies the cruel reality that there will never be a finish line or point of satisfaction. I would look for validation where it wasn’t applicable—such as in Instagram models who serve as physical representations of the current unachievable body ideals—and then would further strive for numerical goals that would reset themselves whenever I “reached” them. Like today’s ever-shifting expectations, I was constantly finding new standards for what my ideal body should look like. It was a never-ending acceleration that did not slow down until I learned to rely not on what my body type or weight should be, but on loving myself based on the body I have. I had to find ways to be happy that were not dependent on what jeans size I wore.

The smiling faces behind the iPhone screens also have a story. Contrary to popular belief, celebrity body icons and other public messiahs have real lives, real emotions, and living, breathing bodies different from ours. People are people, not just images on a screen, and when we buy into socially endorsed ideals for inspiration and validation, we strive towards physical goals that have nothing to do with us as individuals. We lose the human aspect of it all.

An example of this screen-to-reality dissonance comes with Alexis Ren, a 20-year-old model and social figure who has amassed a significant social media presence. With 11.7 million Instagram followers, Alexis’s public platform is a hub for “fitspiration” and public admiration. Because of the reputation of her platform, it came as a shock to many of her followers—me included—when, in an interview with Cosmopolitan in May of 2017, Alexis revealed that she had actually been struggling with a severe eating disorder for years. The smiling L.A. model girl who effortlessly posed on beaches and showed off her washboard abs while eating pancakes was not, in fact, happy with her “perfect” body.

Similarly, the relationship with her model boyfriend portrayed on both of their Instagrams was a mask for her personal struggles. In the Cosmopolitan interview, Alexis noted her influence in the media and how “… I felt like my body was the only reason why people liked me.” The model found herself in an endless cycle of under-eating, eating a little bit, and then feeling guilty and over-exercising to compensate. It was astounding to me that someone so beautiful and “perfect” could be feeling the same way I did. For me, Alexis was physical proof that the motivations for eating disorders and other dysmorphic insecurities were cripplingly irrational, and therefore could not be lived with.

When I scroll through my Instagram feed and longingly examine these celebrities’ lives and bodies, it is easy to turn around and compare their supposed happiness to my own. What I miss is what’s going on behind the scenes. I misinterpret the lives I look up to. No matter how far I go to perfect myself, it will never be enough because I’m not loving myself on my own terms. Self love cannot realistically be on terms with societal ideals or my eating disorder.

At the end of the day, seeing other people love themselves—or present an image of happiness—will not help you love yourself. Happiness and self love require positive self talk, appreciation, and acceptance. The world is a hard enough place externally without internal criticisms. I have realized that I am virtually in charge of how I feel about myself. If I can take mere seconds out of my day to thank my body and realize what an incredible feat it is to make it through the day and thrive in this modern chaos, there is no reason why self love shouldn’t be achievable.


Pop Music Was My Sex Ed


I’m a 22-year-old who’s trying to be a writer and comedian living in Brooklyn, so obviously I have to do something else for money—I get to be a punching bag for two 7-year-olds for $22 an hour. In other words, I babysit.

The kids I watch are learning things on the hard streets of their public arts school faster than the average suburban child. While we were on the swings one day, we’d just finished discussing whether or not Beyoncé  plays Minecraft when one of them asked me what the word “sexy” means. A kid at school told them it was inappropriate and they wanted to know why. So I tried to give a G-rated definition of “sexy” and explained that it’s an adult word that they should be careful saying at age seven. Which made me think, how old was I when I found out what sexy was?

I searched my brain for the answer and I realized that no one had told me what sexy is—I learned it from a song. I was in fourth grade when I listened to “Buttons” by The Pussycat Dolls featuring Snoop Dogg. Nicole Scherzinger leads the girl band and seductively sings, “I’m a sexy mama / Who knows just how to get what I wanna,” which shook me to my core.

I remember this song so well because it was the first song I ever asked my dad to buy for me on iTunes. I sat there mortified next to him on our family computer, listening to six girls sing about taking their clothes off, and told him it was okay if he bought the clean version. From that day on I listened to the song on repeat, eagerly printing out the lyrics and studying the words with my friends, pretending to be sexy and unlocking the secrets of adulthood. I started thinking of other songs about sexuality and the lessons I learned from them.

“Magic Stick” by Lil’ Kim was the first time I heard the word “clit” and then I didn’t hear the word again until I was 18: “I got the magic clit / I know if I get licked once, I get licked twice.” 50 Cent’s “Candy Shop” was about licking the “lollipop,” an idea later revisited by Lil Wayne in 2008 with his song “Lolipop.” “I Kissed A Girl” by Katy Perry opened my mind to the existence of lesbianism. Actually, my friend played it for me before she told me that she kissed a girl named Leah on her softball team. As the list of songs grew, I realized that pop music was my sex ed.

Sex education was nonexistent at my public middle school, so what I knew about sex I mostly learned from song lyrics, innuendos in TV shows and movies, and my peers. Because most of my friends and I learned about sex this way, a lot of topics were left half explained—for instance, blow jobs were a difficult concept for me to wrap my mind around for awhile. The music that was popular on the radio at the time that hormones were flooding my adolescent body was extremely sexual—”Me & U” by Cassie, “Goodies” by Ciara, “Promiscuous” by Nelly Furtado (featuring Timbaland). And because no adults were teaching us this stuff and it was everywhere, people like Pitbull had to.

“My Humps” by The Black Eyed Peas was one of the most important songs of my sexual education, so naturally critics hated it—one said it “mistakes real humor for sophomoric jr. high level sexual titillation.” Nonetheless, the song deeply affected me as a fourth grader. In the third verse Fergie sings, “They say I’m really sexy / The boys they wanna sex me” and that may have been how I learned about sex itself. Regardless, it made me draw the correlation between sex and sexy—if you think someone is sexy, it means you want to have sex with them. Interesting.

Also, the chorus of the song really simplifies it all—the “lumps” Fergie refers to are my impending breasts and ass, and once I have them, I’ll drive these brothers crazy: “My hump / My hump, my hump, my hump / My hump, my hump, my hump / My hump, my hump, my hump / My lovely lady lumps (love) / My lovely lady lumps (love) / My lovely lady lumps (love) / In the back and in the front (love).”

Fast forward ever so slightly to 2010, “BedRock” by Young Money featuring Lloyd was another influential song to me. In the hook, Lloyd sings, “My room is the G-spot / Call me Mr. Flinstone, I can make your bed rock.” This spawned a lot of conversations about what a G-spot was and where it’s located, which middle school boys loved to discuss. What they didn’t know is that they would soon find that they also have G-spots and maybe one day would also learn where theirs were located. In Nicki Minaj’s verse, she raps, “Maybe it’s time to put this pussy on your sideburns,” which is some visual songwriting about oral sex. 

Not all of the learning was fun. “Runaway Love” by Ludacris in 2006 walked me through unprotected sex with a sad but beautiful chorus by Mary J. Blige. The song has separate narratives that follow three girls who are suffering. I always found the last verse most interesting; it’s about an 11-year-old girl who’s having sex with a 16-year-old boy. Ludacris raps, “Emotions run deep as she thinks she’s in love / So there’s no protection, he’s using no glove,” and when she becomes pregnant, Ludacris says, “Knowing her mama will blow it all outta proportion / Plus she lives poor so no money for abortion.” This not only taught me that abortions existed, but also that they’re expensive. Also, shout out to Ludacris for teaching me what contraception was.

The Hot 100 was responsible for my sexual education. I’m not saying that 50 Cent guided me through the steps of giving a blow job, but he created the dialogue about healthy things to do sexually. At the very least, these songs started many “Do you know what this song is really about?” conversations that weren’t being had otherwise. For many kids, pop music and the media are big parts of sexual education. What we’re exposed to as adolescents has influence on our sexuality, sexual identity, and how we perceive sex, and though I took an all-encompassing class on sexuality in high school, by that time I had already been sexually active for two years. I know that the legal age of consent varies from 16 to 18 in the United States, but we shouldn’t wait until then to educate teens about sex.

Hopefully today’s pop music is a healthy outlet for teens to educate themselves about sex because for some teens… no one else will.


Freshman Flux


By the end of my freshman year of college, I was exhausted. Brimming with memories, I was anxious to return to a bed bigger than a twin, my dog, and my mom’s home cooking. When I arrived home after a four-day road trip from my university in Los Angeles, the first thing I did was cry. Something not drastically out of character for me—my body tends to expel emotions through leaking water—but this time, the tears came from a different place.

I could tell upon entering the back storage room that was now my summer residence, that home wasn’t quite home anymore. There were ways in which I no longer fit, and bittersweet nostalgia permeated my space. The saltwater leaking from my eyes reminded me of the weight, permanence, and timing of it all. A chapter in my life was over—there was no going back. I had to grapple with the realization that life at home went on in my absence.

Some of my friends made the decision to stay in Los Angeles for the summer, others jetted off to travel, but many of us went home to work or spend time with family and friends. We went home because it was supposed to be the easiest and most convenient, a break from the adult-ish responsibilities at school. I told myself it was likely the last summer I would spend in Seattle, so I wanted to soak in the bits of youth I could still hold close; camping with friends, living at home (not paying rent), working under twenty hours a week, etc. I was excited to be home but wasn’t wholly prepared for the new emotional space I’d be returning to. 

Everything was in flux.

When I’m at college, I’m there until I go home. When I’m home, I’m there until I go to college. Both feel like home, and yet both also feel like an elongated sleep away camp separating me from reality. Because of this, I’m never fully settled in either space. Once I accepted the nomadic vibe of it all, I felt empowered by existing in two spaces. It gave me a sense of independence and pride that I recall craving in high school.

But there are ways in which tip toeing in between two worlds can get lonely. High school friends can’t quite grasp your new college self, no matter how many stories you tell or Instagram profiles you show them. College friends can guess the person you were before they met you, but they’re in your life now and don’t have too much time to play catch up. The ever-present truth—which will become more evident the more you switch between living, working, life spaces—is that you’re the only person who knows your total and complete journey. And that’s pretty fucking cool, if you ask me! Learn to trust your intuition in this unexplored territory, and don’t be afraid to take steps forward. 

For my last semester of college and all throughout finals week, I dutifully romanticized my return home to Seattle. I fantasized about evergreens and freshwater lakes, reconnecting with high school friends, spending time with family, and wafting in my lack of schoolwork. I needed those fantasies to get me through the hard homestretch of college, but simultaneously set the bar too high for what things would be like at home. Although I am happy to see my family and friends and be refreshed by the green and blue environment, I also miss Los Angeles and my life there more than I planned. By romanticizing what my life would look like here and over-simplifying my expectations, I set myself up for failure.

I changed in college, probably in a lot of small ways that I can’t fully articulate, and home is a vivid reminder of my life prior to this shift. So, it feels funky… and if you feel this way, too, know it’s completely valid.

I’ve changed and maybe home hasn’t (or at least as much), so why did I expect to fit perfectly back into an out-of-date mold of myself? That’s way too limiting and unrealistic. Lesson learned: you’re no longer obligated to do the same things at home or see the people you no longer feel connected to. Latch on to that empowerment and shape home to fit who you are now— even if it feels unnatural at first. Change is uncomfortable, sure, but it’s also powerful. Don’t restrict yourself by limiting your expectations of home; adapt, adjust, and find solace in the small moments of security you’ll find cuddling with your dog or sleeping in until noon.


DoubleTap: Pink Bits

DoubleTap is an interview series highlighting creatives whose work explores sex, body, and identity.


The world of Australian artist Christine Yahya is a colorful cornucopia of different body types. With 62K Instagram followers, there’s something deeply endearing and approachable about her page, @pink_bits, which features a mix of hand-drawn portraits, doodles of things she loves, and a number of commissions. In a time where conversations about body positivity are rising and the movement is being increasingly co-opted by corporate entities, Yahya’s accounts acts as an authentic celebration of “the bits and shapes we’re told to hide,” honoring the bodies of people who have inspired her in addition to nameless characters she has created in her mind. What results are beautiful humans of all shapes, genders and sizes who embrace their differences, such as varicose veins, underarm hair, and keloid scars. Her work is almost like a visual record of our collective humanity, in which we can see ourselves shining back at us.

In this interview, we speak with Yahya about this body of work and her process for creating these illustrations.


What inspired you to launch this project?

Christine Yahya: I created the initial illustrations one night whilst drawing for leisure and took the pressure off myself to create something so serious. I’m often drawn to viewing and creating art that explores the human experience and human form. So, I took out some bootleg Copic markers I got from Armenia, and tried to find a reference photo to base my illustration and curved lines on. I ended up just wanting to see my own curves represented on paper, and actually drew from my own naked reference photos.

I quite liked what I had drawn—which for someone with a long and complicated history with their body was a wonderful feeling. So I wanted to share the illustrations, and created an Instagram page that night on a whim and continued to upload more illustrations in the [same] style. I continued sharing in the hopes other people would enjoy them, maybe see themselves in the pieces, or feel that same sense of representation I did.


How long have you been developing this body of work? How do you hope to grow this series in the future?

Pink Bits started around October of 2016, so close to 2 years now! It has gone by so fast. In future I’m hoping to quite simply create more and represent more people through my work! I’d love to develop and create more things for people to have and hold, that let them feel represented and understood by. I’m currently in the midst of setting up a new website and store, which will hopefully be up and running soon. I hope to collab with wonderful creatives, and work with people or companies who I admire and the respect the work that they do.


What is your process for creating these illustrations? Do you draw from real life? Do you make these digitally or by hand?

When approaching my sketchpad I come with a trusty pencil and eraser, and lay down the basic line work, and then apply color using Copic markers. I then scan these and add any details that need a digital touch, and prep the piece to share online—so a mix of by-hand and digital. I draw most from reference images, my own photos or experiences.


What has surprised you most about doing illustrations around body image and identity?

I’m surprised at just how much my perception, sense of self and self-love has shifted and grown whilst creating these illustrations. By creating illustrations to represent and celebrate as many people as I can, I’ve learned to celebrate myself too, and see things I once saw negatively on myself more lovingly. The way I view and approach my body and mind is completely different to the damaging place it was in just a few years ago. I also have a much stronger sense of self, self-understanding and appreciation that was definitely not there before.


How do you use your artwork to champion inclusion, diversity, body and sex positivity?

My illustrations at their core aim to champion each of these things. I do a little self-assessment of my feed regularly and try to consider who or what I haven’t represented yet, or haven’t represented in a while; I then approach my paper and get sketching, making sure I’m representing as many people and communities as I can. 

I approached my followers at the beginning of 2018, and asked them who or what they’d like to see represented this year—I often refer to this list too. I also keep an eye out for wonderful people who I’d love to draw or are doing great work in various communities.


What do you hope viewers will take away from seeing your illustrations?

Representation and self-love are the key things I’d hope viewers would feel when seeing my illustrations. I hope they feel understood, seen and celebrated.


You can follow Christine Yahya on Instagram here.