Every month, we feature a new Sex Blogger of the Month. For us, it's a way to do a little educational reading - and share some really cool voices and perspectives with ya'll as well. This month, we're inviting you to read about a topic that just doesn't get enough press: sex and disability. Kirsten over at Chronic Sex writes about the topic openly, honestly and in a way that should help all of us expand our understanding of how disability, illness and chronic pain can impact - but not necessarily limit - our sex lives.
Sounds pretty cool, right? Here are Kirsten's answers to Kinkly's 10 questions!
Kinkly: Give us three words that describe your blog.
Kirsten: Oh god, this is so hard! Validating, needed, and sassy.
Kinkly: What inspired you to start the blog?
Kirsten: In 2012, I first wrote about how living with multiple chronic illnesses affected my sex life. That post, and consequent ones on relationships and sex, were very well received. By 2015, I started a (kinda) weekly Twitter chat on Thursday nights that uses the hashtag #chronicsex. The site quickly followed as a way to talk more about sexuality. I never started out thinking about trying out sex toys for accessibility or traveling around talking to people about this, but it's awesome and I wouldn't change a thing.
Kinkly: What's behind the name?
Kirsten: I wanted something that was attention catching and shared my focus on chronic illness issues. I checked a few hashtags and Chronic Sex worked. So, I ran with it.
Kinkly: Who's your target reader?
Kirsten: Really, it's for anyone who feels like what I write helps them. I mostly started writing for people like myself who were struggling with illness-related sexual issues and couldn't find good resources on them. I tend to get more readers in the 20-35 age range from a variety of genders and backgrounds. Most are dealing with health issues, but some are actually partners of people with health issues looking to learn more and that's really cool.
Kinkly: What's unique about your blog?
Kirsten: I'm a troublemaker. I speak my mind and call it as I see it. Sometimes that means I wind up starting some shit. I grew up in an abusive home; between that and negative energy, I have to speak my mind. When I don't, it literally causes pain. After holding so much in for the first 20+ years of my life, it's self-care for me to be honest. I think the mix of social justice, podcasting, disability rights, relationships with illnesses, and sex toy reviews is pretty unique, too.
Kinkly: What is the topic you find yourself covering most often and why?
Kirsten: A talk a lot about social justice. I think almost every post includes some aspect of that, even in my sex toy reviews! I have a lot of privilege and I want to use that privilege for good. Showing people that we can have privileges in one area at the same time that we deal with marginalization in other areas can help eliminate stigma around identities. I owe a lot of what I've learned, who I am, and what I'm able to do to people who came before me - disabled, queer, and trans people. I owe it to them to help increase awareness of these issues. Mostly, I write what I would want to read.
Kinkly: What was your most popular post ever? Why do you think it drew so many readers?
Kirsten: My post about how flogging helped kill my fibromyalgia flare. It's an amazing thing! Fibro is a tough condition to treat. So, it's nice to see methods that work for people - especially when they can open the door to a deeper exploration of their own sexualities. I know my rheumatologist's theory is that being flogged helped my nerves remember how to correctly handle pain. That fits with the theory that fibro comes from overactive nerves, which especially fits for people with PTSD like myself.
Kinkly: What's the best thing about writing a sex blog?
Kirsten: EVERYTHING! I love talking to people about taboo topics. I also really love that I can be myself, whether that's in reviewing a toy that wasn't accessible for me, about my gender and sexual orientation, or even the ability to dye my hair fun colors. I have some really cool projects coming up, including chapters in medical textbooks. I don't think I could've imagined that in my wildest dreams. It's so amazing. I scream inside every time someone sees me and asks if I'm the 'Chronic Sex" Kirsten or thanks me for being vulnerable.
Kinkly: What's the worst thing about it?
Kirsten: My father-in-law tried to follow Chronic Sex on Twitter a few weeks ago. I don't think I've ever hit the block button so fast in my life! I find the balance between what I share with those closest to me and what I share with others to be a tricky one. People know this is what I do, but don't really know all the content - or all the work it takes.
The second worst is companies who sell dangerous or gendered sex toys who try ot get me on board. I literally have a whole page on my site about who I won't work with and why as well as one outlining things I'm not down with.
Kinkly: OK, now for the good stuff. Give us your best tip for great sex.
Kirsten: Communicate! I grew up in a rough situation and still struggle with communicating well, especially in the bedroom. I know we all love reading tips that are way sexier. The bottom line, though, is that, without a solid foundation of effective communication, relationships and sexual encounters can both really suck. The best way to have a fun time is to share what you like, speak up if you want something specific, and maintain open communication. And laugh. Laughter during sex is awesome. Plus, when you think about it, sex can be hilarious! I mean, squelchy noises? My sex faces? Definitely worthy of non-judgmental laughter.