Welcome back to What’s In Your Nightstand? Our monthly interview with our favorite sex-positive folks where we ask them all their *dirty* little not-so-secrets! This month we interviewed writer Lux Alptraum about masturbation, shame, and her new book, Faking It: The Lies Women Tell About Sex and The Truths They Reveal.

On being ashamed of what’s in your nightstand

“I don’t think there’s any reason to be ashamed. I am somebody who just hangs out with my friends and like, “Do you want my used sex toys?” (Only when they’re sterilizable). I think if something makes you feel good, why put a block between yourself and your pleasure?

On embracing pleasure

“I think that we should embrace our pleasure, and we should embrace whatever fucking weird, creepy shit makes us feel good, and I think it’s so sad when we try to police or shame people about ‘gross stuff’. Gross, as in like if this were outside of the realm of sexual fantasy I’d be like, “Uh, maybe think about that.”

On having “good” sex

“Nobody can tell you how to have good sex. If you need guidance, I would say go read a bunch of stuff, and take it with a grain of salt, and then try out things for yourself. But it’s not necessarily ‘read this book’ or ‘read that,’ it’s ‘approach your own body with generosity and an open mind.’ And explore different things that make you feel good, and know that the goal is not to do something correctly, it’s to do something that gives you pleasure.”

“Approach your own body with generosity and an open mind. And explore different things that make you feel good.”

On porn

“I think racism and sexism in porn comes up a lot, I care about how people are treated on the set, and I think it’s a problem that porn performers of color, only have racist roles available to them. That’s a problem. I think it’s fucked up when they’re paid less or when they’re treated badly, but I think if they’re consensually participating in a racially problematic fantasy, and it gets them off, and they’re into it, then that movie existing is not the problem. The problem is the broader landscape.”

On masturbation

“I started masturbating when I was three, which I think is way more common than people think. There’s the whole pillow-humping or stuffed animal helping, and I was definitely a pillow-humper. I was masturbating all of my young life. I did not have my first orgasm until I was like 17, and then I don’t mind saying I’ve had a complicated relationship with orgasms, because of medications, because of all this stuff, and I am firmly like, “It’s nice but not super important.”

On orgasms

“It’s interesting that I was masturbating for over a decade and not getting to orgasm, and I think part of it was because even though my family told me: “That’s fine, just do it in private.”

I think I still had some amount of shame around it. I would do it and feel really good, and then I think I would always just end up feeling weird and stopping. [I] never really got to the point of orgasm, and so for me, that’s kind of just a very literal illustration of how orgasm is not mandatory. If you do want one, shame can create this blockade between your pleasure and yourself, and I think that that’s really sad.”

“You could be the only person with a body like your own body, and that doesn’t mean that what you like is wrong.”

On being “normal”

“Intentionally or not, a lot of people end up reinforcing this idea that there’s one specific way to have sex, or that there’s a right way to have sex. Or that these methods are correct or incorrect.

And that is the most damaging thing of all, because even the word normal is about the norm, which implies the majority. It doesn’t matter if you are normal. Especially when you look at intersex people or people with atypical genitalia. You could be the only person with a body like your own body, and that doesn’t mean that what you like is wrong. It doesn’t mean that what feels good for you is wrong. And you could be the only person with your fetish, and as long as it’s consensual … I mean, consensual as in consensually participated in, because I think consensual, non-consent fantasies are fine. All that.

As long as everybody’s agreeing to participate in it, it doesn’t matter if it’s ‘normal’. It matters if it’s giving you and anyone that you are involving, pleasure. And so, yeah. So, it’s almost I feel like pleasure-focused sex ed books are great if you take them as suggestions, and not as gospel.”

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