Friends, I think we’re all aware that things are pretty hard right now. Not a day goes by without a new sex-related issue or scandal. This is hard emotional labor for all of us. Necessary? Yes. But challenging nonetheless. So let’s take a little time to enjoy some wins, victories and good news. This week’s Sex Stories We Love really is about celebrating the good news. Enjoy!

A Major Victory for Trans People

With each individual accomplishment, another victory is made for trans people. All too often, transfolks are denied and refused. Everything. I can’t even specify because so much shit has been thrown their way. However, last week, in Virginia, Danica Roem became the first openly transgender person elected and seated to state legislature in the United States. Not only did the former journalist win the seat in convincing fashion, but she also beat an avowed bigot who repeatedly misgendered her, called himself the “chief homophobe” and has consistently refused LGBT rights issues. He won 13 times! Instead, the people of Northern Virginia are getting a getting a breath of fresh air in Roem, who ran a brilliant campaign that not only focused on important local issues but also introduced her to her constituents. Well done!

Better Life Through Sex Work

Everybody needs to find their place. What makes them feel good, makes them comfortable and fulfills them. Regardless of the path you choose in life, actually getting to and finding that path can be tricky. There aren’t always street signs and lights. The key is getting there. Unfortunately, if you say your path is one that involves sex work, the fingers will come out, the tongues will wag ... and not in good ways. You’re likely more to get condemnation and castigation than praise. For someone like Hayley Jade, however, sex work has been a positive experience that allows her to work and earn money - all while living with a disability. Sex work gives Hayley the opportunity to work with people, not rely solely on her disability benefits and explore her interests in sexuality. Hers is a great story of sex work being work that works as a positive force in a person's life.

Solidifying the Meaning of BFF

There have been so many awful stories about sending sexy or naked images that I am fairly surprised that anyone wants to do it at all anymore. Whether it is men sending unsolicited dick pics or women being shunned and shamed when their sexy images are shared or uploaded to revenge sites, sharing sexy pictures has definitely gotten a bad rap. Fortunately, there’s another option: send those fun and sexy pictures to to your best buds instead! It really is a great idea, as long as you and your buddies are close enough to not be jerks and do evil things. If the idea of sharing something fun, naked, sexy, whatever, strikes you, send it to a friend! You know they love you and they’ll probably really appreciate a little mood lifter. (Get their consent first, of course.)

Open House for LGBTQ in Utah

Sometimes it can be really hard to reconcile what you’ve been raised to believe and what you feel you need to do for your community. Stephenie Larsen, a Mormon woman from Provo, Utah, recognized that LGBTQ youth in her community needed more. While the Mormon faith does not explicitly condemn homosexuality like other religions do, it does not support same-sex marriage and does not want people to pursue their feelings or attractions. After seeing many families torn apart while dealing with these concerns, Larsen founded Encircle, a safe space for LGBTQ people to find connection, counseling and more. This is inspiring work.

Now THAT'S Hard

Ever wonder what the penises of some of history’s biggest rock stars look like? Well, wonder no more. From the humblest of humble beginnings as an art school project, Cynthia Albritton became known by a much more famous moniker: Cynthia Plaster Caster. Why? Well, she approached famous musicians and asked them if she could take immortalize their penises in plaster. And her first? None other than Jimi Hendrix. Over the years she collected almost 50 casts, sometimes being turned down and often intriguing the rock gods enough to stick their dicks in dental-mold gel for posterity. She later got into doing casts of women’s breasts as well. It all sounds like a fun art form built on relationships of trust, sex and humor - we could all use a little more of that!

It Takes You to the Upside Down

Finally, the second season of "Stranger Things" took the world by storm, as expected. I can’t imagine anyone was really expecting a Demogorgon dildo, though!