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In the News: #OrgasmQuest and the Dreaded Question

January 27th, 2015

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tl;dr: The awesome Crista Anne is fighting depression with an #OrgasmQuest, and even Dr. Drew is intrigued.

That up there is an amazing lady named Crista Anne. She’s a mom of four. She wrestles with depression and social anxiety. She does battle with fibromyalgia and migraines. And though she has always been a very sexual creature, she finds herself on an orgasm quest to end anorgasmia.

Crista Anne was once described by sex educator Ashley Manta thusly:

“She was a vision in rainbow. Like Lisa Frank and Rainbow Brite had hot sex and Crista was the result.”

I can’t think of a better description.

Every day, I find myself stalking Crista’s Twitter feed for more rainbow-y goodness–a term I use to describe all of her, not just her wardrobe. Her rainbows make her mighty, and her might makes me deliriously happy. There are very few places in the world that I can go and know that even if sadness is shared there, I will still be smiling when I leave, and Crista’s blog is one of them. She makes it so easy to accept the good with the bad. Not just in her writing, but in my own life. Because dude, if she’s doing it (“it” being accepting the good with the bad), I can, too.

If you’re involved in the sex positive community, you already know who Crista Anne is. She goes by @pinkness on Twitter, and she’s recently shed a giant, blinding spotlight on female anorgasmia and the effects illness (mental or otherwise) and medications can have on a person’s sex life.

In case you didn’t figure it out, that’s Crista Anne on Dr. Drew.

She’s also been in CityPaper, and Cosmo, and Jezebel, and Bustle, and a number of other places. Her hashtag #orgasmquest has taken hold with a vengeance. And most of it is wholly positive.

Since December, Crista’s been on a hunt for her old sex life; namely, her solo orgasm. She says, “I’ve always been highly orgasmic. My orgasms are powerful, universe creating/touching the divine while my entire body rocks with pleasure. Usually when a medication says ‘some sexual side effects’ that always means that I become hyper sexual and even more orgasmic.

Until now.

After an IUD installation and starting medications for fibromyalgia and an antidepressant, my orgasm disappeared briefly.”

Crista calls her orgasm her “life hack.” It’s how she staves off migraines, bouts of depression, fibromyalgia flairs. And it makes perfect sense. Orgasms are known to increase the “feel good” chemicals produced by your brain, such as oxytocin, and serotonin. I know that for me personally, the easiest way to ward off a panic attack is sex. It just shuts my brain down, and allows me to focus wholly and completely on me and my partner without having to dodge the voices in my head.

But #orgasmquest is just a tiny little part of Crista’s story, some of which you can find on her blog, CristaAnne.com (Crista’s blog is on indefinite hiatus), and in particular, in a recent post entitled A Combination of #OrgasmQuest & Blogging as Therapy.

Of course, everyone wants to know the rest. So it wasn’t a huge surprise when Dr. Drew started asking about childhood trauma, and doctor’s orders, and self-diagnoses. When a person talks about being a sexual child, the first thing everyone wants to know is, “Who hurt you?” If someone suggests a treatment that isn’t suggested by their doctors, many people–and especially doctors–immediately want to know if they’ve tried contemporary methods.

Overall, it seemed like both times Crista spoke with Dr. Drew were really positive. Dr. Drew didn’t seem to be as intent on undermining Crista as he is with so many of his guests. In fact, he seemed truly interested in what she had to say, almost as if he actually thinks it has merit, and promised to make more time for her in the near future.

But then, it happened. Leeann Tweeden called out seven little words that make me see red every single time I hear them said. She asked:

“Do you ever think about your children?”

And my immediate reaction was, “Lady, if you took even a second to research your guests, you’d know that there are times when Crista’s children are all she thinks about.”

I wanted to send a barrage of tweets to Leeann criticizing her for her question, and if Crista hadn’t immediately stood up for herself on Twitter and on Dr. Drew, I would have.

Regardless of how Leeann meant it, that question has so much to say that a person in Leeann’s position should never say about a complete stranger. There are a thousand ways she could have asked her question that would have been far less offensive.

5 Reasons Tweeden’s Question Sucks

1. It suggests that Crista is a “bad mother,” or that Crista employs “bad” parenting techniques, and that’s totally not okay. Just because Crista chooses to parent her children in a way that doesn’t fit Leeann’s parenting ideal doesn’t mean Crista’s way is wrong, and certainly doesn’t make her a bad mother. If Crista was doing anything untoward, or hurting her children in any way, I might feel differently, but literally all Crista is doing is pursuing her own sexual satisfaction, without her children’s involvement (as you do), and writing about it. That’s it.

2. It pushes the “good girl” agenda. To be a “good girl,” a woman must build her entire life–from the moment she emerges screaming from her mother’s womb until the day she passes quietly in the night next to her lover–around the possible effects her actions may have on her potential children. She’s not allowed to be wild. She’s not allowed to talk about being wild. She must always be a proper lady, and never leave any trail of a time when she was not a proper lady, because “what about the children?”

3. Slut-shaming. Hello? The way Leeann asked her question suggests that Crista should be ashamed of her orgasm quest, not excited and empowered by it. It also suggests that Crista’s children should be humiliated and disgusted by their mother being open about her sexuality and her quest for a better sex life. This is ridiculous. Crista is going about her quest in the most natural way possible for her, and she’s hurting no one by doing it. There’s nothing to be ashamed of or disgusted by.

4. It suggests that once women have children, they are neither sexual creatures, nor do they have the right to be. Which, as a Twitter friend said the other day, would sort of put the kibosh on anymore children, don’t you think? Sex is an important part of intimate relationships. Without it, most relationships don’t survive. Whether this is because of the emphasis our society puts on sex, or because using sex for intimacy building and pleasure rather than reproduction is human nature, I don’t know. Bottom line is while a woman’s sex drive may lessen for a while directly after child birth (it doesn’t always), it never shuts off completely. If it does, it’s usually an indication that something else is wrong. And we should be talking about that, not shaking our heads and tut-tuting over how our children will react to finding out ~gasp!~ Mommy and Daddy have sex…and they like it!

5. It tries to silence the discussion of female sexuality. All of those things aside, people like Betty Dodson, Carol Queen, Annie Sprinkle, Metis Black, Ducky Doolittle, and Crista Anne have been working damn hard to put the discussion of female sexuality on the table and keep it there. And here’s this lady on national television saying, “Oh, that’s too racy. You better hide that away so your children don’t see, aren’t affected, don’t have to deal with the rest of the world knowing their mother has sex.” And I call bullshit. Our children should know that their parents are intimately attracted to each other and still have sex (no, I’m not suggesting kids watch their parents have sex…duh?), if only so people like me don’t grow up thinking that even sex between married people is taboo and something to be ashamed of. (Don’t worry. I got over that thanks to people like Crista and the amazing sex blogosphere.)

The Answer

Leeann’s actual question was “What if your kids find your website and are squicked or embarrassed by your orgasm quest being all over the world?”

It’s a valid question. Us sex bloggers share a whole lot of stuff with the general public that most children have no interest in knowing about their parents. It’s one of the reasons many of us use pen names, and buy whois protection, and don’t show our faces.

Here’s the thing:

Crista is raising her children in a sex positive environment. That means conversations about sex and masturbation and everything those things involve is not now and never will be taboo. I know quite a few adults who were raised in sex positive environments. Crista is one of them. In my experience, children raised in such an environment are less affected by the “ew, my parents have sex” thing because they understand sexuality and accept sex as a factor in everyone’s life.

That doesn’t necessarily mean they want to know all the details of their parents’ sex life, but it does mean they’re going to be less likely to be humiliated when the world finds out their parents have a sex life; or, in the case of Crista’s children, when they find out the world knows their parents have sex.

But even if this weren’t the case, who cares? Seriously.

Sex and masturbation are facts of life. In American culture, they’re facts of life that we’ve somehow managed to make into this huge deal that they never needed to be. Because of this, they’re facts of life that come with a lot of shame and embarrassment. And that’s just f’ing asinine. Show me one lion that is ashamed of how it has sex. Point out a monkey that doesn’t masturbate because it’s afraid of what its tribe might think.

Oh, right. Those things don’t exist because lions and monkeys accept sex and masturbation as facts of life instead of attaching weird ideals and taboos to them.

If Crista’s children find her orgasm quest, they’ll talk about it in a way that is age appropriate. The kids may or may not be embarrassed. The kids’ reaction will have no bearing on Crista’s experience because they’re kids. Though their life experiences are inextricably connected, Crista’s sexuality being public will have no bearing on her kids’ lives because it has nothing to do with them.

Except maybe it’ll get her a little extra income (it’s not, yet), which will translate into the kids having a little more (even if “more” is just a little less stress for Mom and Dad). That’s what I’m hoping for, anyway. Everybody can use a little more income, ya know? If you want to help support her quest and her family, she’s got a donate button in her sidebar. Give it a click. I know I will be when I can afford it.

And that’s all I’ve got to say about that.

  1. Andi
    January 28th, 2015 at 20:23 | #1

    My daughter was raised in a sex-positive environment by an openly bisexual mom . . . and she’s now a level-headed young woman in her twenties, who never felt uncomfortable with her own sexuality and how she chose to express it (in her case, by not rushing into sexual exploration with other people at a young age, and with having a longterm monogamous relationship.)

    She’s very smart and articulate, she understands that her mother is queer and poly and that I have a happy sex life with *my* longterm partners . . . and it has helped us stay close and loving as a family, because she knows that she won’t be shamed or shunned about anything related to her sexuality (or anything else.)

    I think Crista is an amazing, loving, devoted mom (she’s a friend, so I see a lot of the backstage stuff), and Leeann’s question was TOTALLY inappropriate — as you said, it pushed the idea that motherhood ends an adult’s life as a sexual being, and that Crista should feel ashamed about openly discussing her experiences with orgasm, sexuality, anorgasmia, and mental illness.

    I’m really proud of her for speaking up, and I’m glad that her words are finding a generally receptive audience, aside from the occasional commentator or internet troll.

  2. RynJ21
    February 8th, 2015 at 21:48 | #2

    I think Crista’s orgasm quest is amazing. I lurk on her blog from time to time and she’s clearly put a lot of thought into her life choices; who the heck are we to say otherwise?!
    Love that you’re cheering her on too ^-^ Yay for solidarity!

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