Thank you, everyone, for this year in sex and for reading about this year in sex. There were many great, silly, fun, serious, and compelling stories in this community, and it was a pleasure to share them with you. Of course, let’s also remember the stories Bobbie Morgan shared. As we move into a new year, I look forward to bringing you more Sex Stories We Love—because I know you’re going to give me a lot to write about. Happy New Year!

The Realities of BDSM Porn

The ongoing concern about rough sex, fantasy, porn, consent, and James Deen remains troubling. Yet, at the same time, something good is coming of it. People are talking about all of those issues, and, hopefully, people are listening—particularly when it comes to porn. After the many accusations against Deen came out, the porn industry acted with considerable speed and merit with both philosophical stances and actual business practices changes. These moves have been lauded. It is also encouraging that people within the industry, respected folks who can really drill down on the topic of porn and rough sex and consent, are using their platforms to educate and speak out. Lord Morpheus, a legend in the kink community, makes clear the distinctions between BDSM porn sex and BDSM real-life sex in this compelling post. Everyone who is interested in exploring and understanding either and both should read.

Candid Jessica Drake

Wrapping up a busy time in porn is this absolutely compelling feature on one of the most respected porn performers and educators, Jessica Drake. I am fully aware there is terribly cheesy wordplay here, but this piece really lays bare both Jessica and the current issues facing the adult entertainment industry. Understandably, given the potential for backlash, people in her position aren’t necessarily open to the sharing their thoughts on the industry. However, this is a very important read because of Jessica’s status and because of the current turmoil. I’m not saying people are necessarily going to agree with everything she says here, but it is definitely an impact piece.

First Time to Forget

How do you remember the first time you have sex with someone new? Good experience, bad time, or something that just happened and maybe you should have just actually stuck with the Netflix portion of the evening? According to this esteemed panel of awesome sex folks, almost no one thinks of the first sexual encounter with a new partner as the best. Yet, they remain fairly divided as to when the sexy stuff does actually get good. It makes sense that you’re both a fumbling mess the first time, but how long before you call a relationship a day because you’re just incompatible? Is that even a consideration over the potential of all-encompassing love? I fear that too many people fall into a heat of the moment situation in new relationships that leads to thinking both that any sex is good and good enough and that love conquers all. Then, sadly, you end up in a long-term relationship without the zest it used to have. I’m not sure we need specific time markers, as that might cause anxiety, but a mindfulness of what is and isn’t working viewed after the heart-shaped glasses come off.

Who Says Blue Is Just for Boys?

I have to admit that I was in the same boat as Alexia LaFata on the topic of blue balls. I thought the concept was just a stupid excuse for men to moan and groan about women leaving them in the lurch and again enforcing the idea of dudes being owed orgasm. However, then I learned that there is an actual physical potential for this condition and that, in fact, the testicles can take on a slightly different color. However, it wasn’t until this piece from LaFata that I learned blue clit is something that can happen to women. Of course, as noted, we don’t hear about it because men’s orgasm still has the greater social currency, but hopefully this changes as we discuss and understand women’s sexual lives and experiences on a more regular basis.

So, You Want to Go to a Sex Party?

At this time of year, many people make resolutions, set goals, and try to think of new and exciting ways to spice up their lives—particularly their sex lives. This is a great thing because there are so many different awesome sex things to get out there and try. Over the years, one exciting venture that has come and gone in and out of fashion is the sex party. Sounds simple enough, right? Get together with a bunch of folks, maybe have sex with others, or maybe just with the person or people you came with. Everybody experiencing a lot of pleasure. Sounds pretty ideal and a great way to explore your exhibitionist and voyeuristic sides, right? Sure, it can be, but sex parties can also be a tricky thing and can be disappointing.

This first-hand account of the recent launch of Killing Kittens—parties for the sexual elite—sounds mostly like a lot of window dressing for a pretty dull party. Of course, this is one person’s experience, but it really puts one thought in perspective: when it comes to sex, be enthusiastic, ambitious, and excited, but maintain some realistic expectations.

The Future of Sex

As 2015 comes to a close, it will be remembered for many different things. However, after reading this, and more importantly, watching the linked videos, I will leave the year with an indelible image in my mind:people are fucking on hoverboards. Once the stuff of sci-fi dreams, “hoverboards” (I know, I know they don’t hover, but that are pretty fantastic) are popping up on sidewalks all over the place. So, it was only a matter of time before they emerged as a potential sexual aid. Are they an aid or a potential disaster waiting to happen? That remains to be seen.