Month: April 2015

Wicked Notes- on Exploration

Written by Lilith for Wicked Wanda’s Adult Emporium

“Sexuality is one of the ways that we become enlightened, actually, because it leads us to self-knowledge.” –Alice Walker

Just as children learn to walk and adults learn to function within our capitalist world, we as a species learn sexuality and how it relates to our selves and to those around us. Whether it be within the categories of gay, straight, queer or otherwise, sexuality is a huge part of today’s North American culture. We are obsessed with sexuality and sex because we have constructed it as fundamental to not only how we operation in our daily lives but who we are on a personal level. Essentially, sexuality has become a cornerstone of our identity. Yet while we enter into a spring that is as unpredictable as we can hope for in Ottawa, we reevaluate our lives and how we plan to live them during the warm summer months, including our sex lives. For some, the self-exploration and introspection of our sex lives is of regret and guilt at enjoying sexual interactions with those that make us question our judgement. Yet for others, it is about regret for not grasping onto the opportunities, figuratively and perhaps literally- taking the bull by the horns. Our sex lives are constantly under scrutiny and policing by society, our peers and by ourselves. Just as one refuses to wear that winter coat anymore- regardless that it is still a little cold for the spring jacket- one should refuse to not have a sex live truly fulfilling.

For Wicked Wanda’s, May is characterized by exploration, fantasies and experimentation in hopes of finding new, guilt-free ways of enjoying one’s sexuality and re-connecting with one’s body, and mind on a deeply personal and sensual level. Whether your exploration includes a co-captain, a crew or simply just yourself, reclaim your sexuality as a positive force in your life and in your identity. Many people see a distinction between being Vanilla and being Kinky, and furthermore juxtapose those sexual categories on the personality. If those categories speak to you or they don’t- being either or both or neither, it doesn’t matter. Whatever way you can enjoy your sexuality in a positive and supportive environment is what matters. So go ahead and try some toys in the bedroom, maybe some bondage or watch porn! Role play with a single outfit item or get together an entire scene. Explore different kinds of orgasms or focus on sexuality through sensual play. The month of May is all about you and how you want to enjoy your sexuality, and maybe if you let it, your fantasies will come true.

Come by Wicked Wanda’s Adult Emporium to check out all the ways to explore and experiment and with every purchase of $75 or more, you will receive 50 Shades of Great Sex DVD free.

May your Fantasies come True

See Wicked Wanda’s Here

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Time Machines, Refrigerators, Supers and Sex An Analysis of Comic-book Troupes Through Barbara Gordon

Femme Fatale

Original Essay written for a university course on Disability and Sexuality-

Using popular culture to analyze a moment in time from the dominant societal perspective can be a powerful tool of cultural analysis and comic-books are arguably one of the most lush bodies of this kind of evidence. Comic-books have been criticized for the sexist and racist imagery over the course of their existence and yet there is very little scholarly critical analysis of the medium. Yet when exploring the cultural analysis surrounding comic-books, bloggers and online reviewers are diving into the deep intersectional problems and triumphs of their beloved literature. When considering sexuality and disability within comic-books, one character is commonly regarded as the treasured disabled heroine: Oracle. Irwin and Moeller identify the top ten stereotypes used commonly in the media to depict disabilities including the object of violence, the “super crip”, the nonsexual and the invalid (3). By…

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Time Machines, Refrigerators, Supers and Sex An Analysis of Comic-book Troupes Through Barbara Gordon

Original Essay written for a university course on Disability and Sexuality-

Using popular culture to analyze a moment in time from the dominant societal perspective can be a powerful tool of cultural analysis and comic-books are arguably one of the most lush bodies of this kind of evidence. Comic-books have been criticized for the sexist and racist imagery over the course of their existence and yet there is very little scholarly critical analysis of the medium. Yet when exploring the cultural analysis surrounding comic-books, bloggers and online reviewers are diving into the deep intersectional problems and triumphs of their beloved literature. When considering sexuality and disability within comic-books, one character is commonly regarded as the treasured disabled heroine: Oracle. Irwin and Moeller identify the top ten stereotypes used commonly in the media to depict disabilities including the object of violence, the “super crip”, the nonsexual and the invalid (3). By exploring Oracle’s complex history we see various troupes which weaken disability stereotypes and perpetuate them, including sexy heroines, women in refrigerators, the “super crip” and the magical time machine.

Sexism within comics-books has been a large issue since their inception, however it is only with feminist critical analysis that we see the complex role that women play within comics and furthermore, how disabled women are used. Heroines often become sex objects throughmalegaze-comics the heteronormative male gaze of comic-books and while female readership is increasing, the depiction of women in comics is still reliant on male readers wanting sexy heroines. Whether it be the provocative costumes, poses and interactions with other characters in the story, women are often melted down into super sex symbols. These female heroes are meant to be sexually accessible by not only male characters but also by the male reader. At times, the only reason why a female hero is introduced into a story is to add sex appeal and a motivating factor; you can see this often times with the various women moving through playboy super hero Bruce Wayne/ Batman’s life. While these women are often powerful, they serve a purpose which lies within a patriarchal system of objectification and disempowerment. Barbara Gordon is one such character that was created to diversify audiences and add sex appeal to the Batman crime fighting team. Starting out as a teenager, Gordon became Batgirl and the love interest of co-sidekick, Robin. While extraordinary for her physical prowess and intelligence, Batgirl was not a well liked character because of her one dimensional construction. It was only when she was shot and paralysed in 1988 by the Joker in The Killing Joke does her character get a dramatic restyling and growing fandom. Her role as a heroine and sex symbol was extremely complicated by the violence she endured. Furthermore, her role as a sex symbol was forever changed because it was implied that she was also raped repeatedly after the attack, which effectively destroys her “super” status as a sex symbol, an innocent girl and a superhero. Her various statuses were effectively melted down to victim and her character dismissed by The Killing Joke writer Alan Moore. Yet, it is fascinating to look at how disability is factored into the sex symbols that heroines are often portrayed as.AR6mvUi

A popular and damaging stereotype of those with disabilities is that they are asexual due to their disability, and characters like Oracle complicate this stereotype significantly. Often those with disabilities are burdened by an asexual stereotype which “relies on impressions of disabled people as undesirable; disqualified for marriage or any sexual partnership and reproduction,” essentially a dehumanizing construct (Kim, 482). In Kattari’s article, she notes that “sexuality… love and [expression of] various desires is not usually recognized as a valid expression for people with disabilities” (501). Furthermore, Kim argues that the process of desexualization effectively “separates sexuality from disabled bodies, making it irrelevant to and incompatible with them” (483). While we can see evidence of desexualizating the disabled body in various other popular culture, comic-books and specifically Gordon’s transformation from Batgirl to Oracle, on and off the page is especially complicated. After The Killing Joke, writer Alan Moore had dismissed Gordon’s character, simply using her as motivation. However, writers Kim Yale and John Ostrander chose to takeover Gordon’s character in an attempt the correct the injustice they felt Moore had done to her character. Yale and Ostrander created Oracle, a disabled heroine who became extremely influential due to her technical abilities and strategic intelligence, arguably Oracle became a more powerful heroine then Batgirl ever could. In the hands of writers like Alan Moore, Gordon would have remained a footnote and arguably would have embodied the desexualized stereotype as her status as a sex symbol was forever compromised by her disability. Yet with Yale and Ostrander, they chose to complicate Oracle’s character as she suffered from PTSD, and continued to be a sex symbol for readers. Her relationship with Robin grew as they both took on new names and roles, further
complicating the asexual troupe as she was constructed as sexual, date-able and capable. As a character, Oracle became a triumphal representation of the disabled community with a complex storyline, character development and sex appeal, yet in some senses the win for disability is a win for sexism as well in this case. Further complicating the Oracle character is the objectification and male gaze still used when she is depicted and how the women in refrigerator troupe is a problem for disability and sexuality.

The women in refrigerators troupe in Gordon’s story combines objectification and the use of disability to create more complicated storylines for male characters like Batman, Robin and later Nightwing. Gail Simone describes this disturbing troupe as “super-heroines who have been either depowered, raped, cut up or stuck in the refrigerator,” to motivate or 152make more complex story arches for male characters. Simone published an online list in 1999 of all of the female characters in comic-books who were used for this purpose and recorded almost two hundred at the time. Feminist critics like Anita Sarkeesian with her YouTube channel Feminist Frequency popularize the critique of the women in refrigerators troupe for today’s readers. Barbara Gordon is a classic example of this troupe as she was used to motivate Batman to seek revenge after the Joker shot Gordon, and because Gordon’s original use was to motivate without gaining any of her own complex storylines. Yet Gordon’s character is even more complicated because of the direction that writers Yale and Ostrander chose to take. Their choice to make Gordon’s character into Oracle falls more actually into what many would expect male superheroes images (5)to experience: dead man defrosting troupe. John Bartol describes this troupe as “cases where male heroes have been altered or appear to die, they usually come back even better than before, either power-wise or in terms of character development/ relevancy to the reader”. Yet this greatly depends on whether one takes the dominant perspective on disability which is usually abliest or whether one chooses to view disability as not a kind of death sentence. Essentially, by seeing Barbara’s attack as a women in refrigerators troupe, one acknowledges dominant abliest ideology which constructs disability as the end of someone’s life or the end of their usefulness. Much like how Moore perceived Gordon’s character, disability becomes a tool to end a woman’s life or usefulness in favour of a man’s storyline. Yet, if one chooses to see Gordon’s fate as the dead man defrosting troupe then disability is no longer a personal disaster but is instead how Gordon becomes the more powerful and complex character Oracle. From this perspective, Oracle exemplifies how disability is not a death sentence in the literal and symbolic sense but can actually be a doorway to empowerment.

Yet even viewing Oracle as an empowered heroine embodying the dead man defrosting troupe is filled with tension as arguably this triumph can turn into another negative stereotype of disability: the “super crip”. The “super crip” “stems from the belief that life with a disability must necessarily be horrific and unsatisfying, and as such, we must admire persons with disabilities for being able to live “the way they do”” (www.trinimex.ca). In the case of Gordon, her ability to overcome her disability and excel despite her body makes her a figure to be admired and arguably her greatest super-ability is her tenacity to be able to live with her disability. In a sense, taking the dead man defrosting troupe too far and creating a superpower through admiration of being able to live with a disability, turns a possible positive to a negative. Her extraordinary “super crip” status allows her to remain sexually accessible to readers because admiration for heroes and admiration for heroism because of disability can be a fine line. Irwin and Moeller suggest that “those characters with physical disabilities that possessed special abilities were portrayed in such a way as to explain how a person needed to be exceptional to overcome the perceived barriers of physical disability” (4).Exploring the tension which rests between seeing empowerment due to disability or empowerment despite disability is especially complicated by the Oracle character because her original purpose was never to inspire any kind of admiration but merely to act as a plot device. Furthermore, exploring how the return of Batgirl and Gordon’s ability to walk adds another layer of disability and sexuality.

Batgirl_by_Nowlan

Batgirl’s return in all of her able-bodied glory marked a dramatic twist for fans and comic-book characters alike as the presumed permanency of Gordon’s disability was erased and her former sexually immature self comes back into the foreground. Despite the large fandom that the Oracle character had gathered over the twenty years she was in action, DC Comics choose to erase Gordon’s disability and bring back the iconic Batgirl in 2011. They originally choose Gail Simone who noted the women in refrigerator troupe to write the comic, later fired and then rehired her after fan outrage. This relaunch of the Batgirl character comes after the New 52′ initiative was started across the DC universe. A rather sudden, and slightly muddled turn of events saw Barbara Gordon “restored” to her former able-bodied self. While many fans were stunned by DC’s decision to “cure” Gordon’s disability according the multitude of blog posts and online forums, some were excited to see how the more mature and influential Oracle character would be channelled into the side-kick Batgirl. While opinions seem to be mixed according to my online research, it appears that Gordon lost her influence when giving up the wheelchair and donning the cape. The choice to change Gordon back into Batgirl and to remove some of her technological prowess is questionable at best. Arguably, becoming Batgirl is, in a sense, a way of “going back” to the “good old days” of able-bodiedness, a time machine if you will. As Gordon was shot at the age of eighteen, her sexual and personal maturity was greatly different then what fan have grown to love of Oracle. Essentially, the rebirth of Batgirl marks a negative turn back towards the medical model of disability where the focus is on curing and personal disability rather than societal based inaccessibility. While Oracle was arguably an empowered heroine, becoming Batgirl once again is perpetuating the idea that wanting to be “normal” and able-bodied is the ultimate goal. Yet, by going back to Batgirl, Gordon exhibits the kind of lack expected of those with a disability because she is no longer as influential nor can she erase the years living with her disability. While blogger fans have noted that Simone’s focus on Gordon’s PTSD and the repercussions of regaining her able-bodiedness is positive, the loss of Oracle as an active and powerful disabled heroine is mourned by many.

Barbara Gordon’s character transformation from Batgirl, to Oracle and to Batgirl again marks the tension which rests between many disability stereotypes and troupes, while also negotiating objectification and sexism within comic-book storylines. The story both on the pages and off of them of the development of Gordon’s character allowed for empowerment of a disabled superhero while arguably those wins where undermined by the women in refrigerator and the “super crip” troupes. While the scholarship on comic-books is dismal, the importance of analyzing today’s dominant perceptions of those most marginalized is extremely important and comic-books are the gateway to that kind of analysis. How the new change to Gordon’s character and the “miracle” of able-bodiness will effect the interaction between sexuality, gender and disability is yet to be fully realized.

Bibliography

Sarkeesian, Anita. #2 Women in Refrigerators (Tropes vs. Women). Video. Feminist Frequency. Uploaded Apr 6, 2011. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DInYaHVSLr8

Kim, Eunjung. “Asexuality in disability narratives” Sexualities 14(4), (2011) p. 479-493.

Kattari, Shanna. “Sexual Experiences of Adults with Physical Disabilities: Negotiating with Sexual Partners.” Sexuality and Disability 32.4 (2014): 499-513. Web. 12 Feb. 2015

Irwin, M., & Moeller, R. “Seeing different: Portrayals of disability in young adult graphic novels”. School Library Media Research Volume 13. Chicago: American Association of School Librarians (2010). Web. 8 Mar. 2015. Retrieved from: http://www.ala.org/aasl/sites/ala.org.aasl/files/content/aaslpubsandjournals/slr/vol13/SLR_SeeingDifferent.pdf.

See short Cultural Artefact analysis here

 See a related story here

Glass Dildos LoveStyle Reviewed

My first encounter with glass dildos was strangely violent and fascinating at the same time. My inaugural Sexapalooza, I was walking towards theLoveStyle booth chatting with my friends about my fascination with glass dildos but how ultimately my fear of horrific glass shards lacerating my bits stopped me from ever full exploring the option. The lady behind the table must have heard our discussion as we approached because without a word, she grabbed the nearest glass beauty and smashed it as hard as possible against the table in front of her. It was terrifying. Yet she proved her point with flare- there is no chance a vagina is going to break the dildo is the table or floor can’t.

Today I am reviewing the LoveStyle product-line of glass dildos and specifically the Lotus. This dildo is beautiful and efficient as the artistic form of the LoveStyle products and the utility makes my adult sexual vixen happily jumping in her panties. The very appearance of the dildos is what first caught my eye years ago at Sexapoolza, as they reminded me of the elegant water-pipes that one can find in certain herbal-friendly shops. An artisan touch which makes one think that maybe it could be displayed as an elegant paperweight on your desk without visitors screaming in fright or glee at the very sight of it. What can I say, I love pretty sex toys. Many of the different dildos have interesting artistic flares, such as coloured glass and designs featured within the glass itself. A sophisticated toy for the city-chick or trendy couple as the designs and shapes are graceful and engaging.

While looks are most definitely a selling point while shopping for your next favourite toy, the practicality of it is even more important to consider. What are the benefits of glass, you might ask? Firstly, it is easy to clean and maintain. You can simply use soap and water or toy-cleaner to keep your glass friend happy and healthy. Maintenance is practically non-existent as you do not have to worry about it hanging out with LoveStyle Glass Dildos and Dilettossilicone friends to often (silicone toys should be kept separate from each other because they can melt into each other- cute in metaphor but bad for your toys and budget). You also do not have to worry about battery decay or surface degradation because the glass will not wear-down, nor does it come with batteries. Lastly, you can use any lube you want with it – silicone or water-based play nicely with the glass. I love that it is so incredibly easy to clean and it is fully water-proof as well. Playing in the bath with them makes bath-time loads of fun for solo play or with a partner.

My absolute favourite part of owning a glass dildo is that you can heat them up or cool them down. Imagine if you will, the warm blanket feeling after pulling one right out of the dryer: now imagine that amazing feeling on your bits! Warming them up got me riled up so quickly that I wondered where those animal noises had come from. Don’t put your toy in the microwave or in a bowl of boiling water because you will have to wait to use it- no fun. I put my dildo in the washroom sink and turned the hot water on over it. I then brushed my teeth and my the time I was done, so was my friend- ready for sensual fun. Or you can cool it down in a bowl of ice or under cold water for a few minutes. While I wouldn’t recommend starting with a chilly dildo, after lots sensual fun where one is sweaty and over-sensitive- the cold can feel wonderful, just like playing with ice cubes. The great part about glass, is that it retains the heat or cold very well, so you have more time for temperature play then say an ice cube or warm towel. Alternatives for getting the hot and cold feeling is condoms or lubricant but I would give a word of caution with those products. Some work but always read the ingredients and see what chemical makes that sensation happen- some are alright for the body and some, like alcohol, are not good. Being able to get the hot/cold sensation free from chemicals is a huge bonus for me and I think a lot of women and partners out there will appreciate that too.

Lastly, there are negatives to this product, but I would more describe them as “six in one, half dozen in the other” points. The glass is very hard, there is no soft texture like the silicone which can simulate skin for the glass dildos. This can make the adjustment for penetration difficult at times or it takes longer foreplay to insert the toy. This also means that you feel everything, the dildo does not absorb any of your vibrations but instead one feels all of the curves and pulses that your own body and the toy provides. Another positive/negative is that the toys are fairly heavy. This means that using the toy can be tiresome after a long while of use both with partners or solo play. I appreciate the weight of it because you can use the weight to your advantage to gain greater depth of penetration and I’ve always enjoyed how weight can often be an indicator of quality- like stone pendants and other artistic items. My third point is the price. These toys are expensive with prices ranging from $110 to $200 and considering you can get rubber dildos for $10, it seems like a lot of money. Likewise, you can find glass dildos online for $40. Often times however when it comes to sextons – you get what you pay for. I would not trust $40 glass dildos near my partner’s or my genitalia and when you go to those company’s websites, you’ll see the sketchy nature of cheap products. With theLoveStyle products, you get quality no matter what. A toy which lasts you lifetimes and you know without a doubt of the authenticity of the product is worth the extra money.

The Lotus which I personally use is $114.99 in the store and you can find other great glass dildos which can be used for vaginal, anal and sensation play. The Lotus, like all of the dildos, can be used on both ends for all kinds of play and I would strongly recommend that you come into the shop today to check out these great products.

Wicked Wanda’s Adult Emporium

Dare to be Bare Shaving Cream- Reviewe

Ottawa has many socially conscious, and animal friendly people craving products which reflect their ideals yet actually work and are affordable. Recently, I tried Earthly Body’s Dare to be Bare shaving creams and I was astounded by the value found in such a small bottle. A cruelty-free, vegan natural shaving cream, Dare to Be Bare is a wonderfully scented product that tickles my ethical fancy. The two products one can find at the Wicked Wanda’s Adult Emporium are the Dare to Be Bare: Original and their other scent: Dare to Be Bare: Skinny Dip. This shaving cream is specially engineered to take care of those intimate places which often suffer from harsh irritation after the razor cleans her up. Enriched with hemp and argan oils, this product stimulates the hair for better shaving, softens and moisturizes the hair and skin while helping to reduce rashes and skin bumps which makes our lady bits unhappy.

dare to be bare product shotThe Original is perfumed wonderfully with a strong scent of gardenias which entices and excites while the Skinny Dip fills the nose with a kind of spiced shea butter aroma. Counter to many of the other shaving creams on the market today, Dare to be Bare is actually cream-based and no foam, meaning that the proclamation of moisture protection is actually true. Furthermore, being petroleum and paraben free, your skin will like it just as much as your senses do. You also do not need use a lot of the product because it spreads so easily.

If I were to critique this product, I would note that the cream comes off in small lumps in the tub which eventually dissolves, but it is not great for erotic bath times. I would also note that the Original is very perfumed which may bother individuals if they are sensitive. For myself, I gravitated towards the Skinny Dipproduct because it was not as highly scented but I smelt more earth tones which are exactly what I look for in a real natural product. Lastly, this product advertises that it is unisex and can be used anywhere on the body. Due to the scents of both products, I don’t believe men would be interested in most cases, but to each their own. I do believe however, that it can be used anywhere on the body: legs, armpits, arms, and general fun bits are very happy to receive like extra pampering during their regular grooming rituals.

LILITH Out!

A Note on Female Ejaculation

A note on Female Ejaculation

The month of April marks warmer times spent shedding our winter coats and donning our rubber boots in preparation for the coming torrential downpour, signifying it is spring. Spring itself is known as a time of rebirth, new beginnings and playfulness. Even as an adult we cherish times where our inner-child is welcome to enjoy our surroundings by splashing in that gigantic puddle or dancing in the rain. Spring for Wicked Wanda’s is a time to try new things, and to reconnect with oneself and learn new ways to pleasure yourself and partner/s. Our theme this month is April Showers – a focus on female ejaculation and the wonders of the truly fulfilling pleasure one can find in the bedroom.

Female ejaculation however is riddled with complex societal perceptions and reservations. Whether this is from a long history of Catholicism or the neoliberal capitalist society that doesn’t leave time for orgasms in our daily lives, our sexual culture is strangely distant from even the possibility of female ejaculation. There is arguably an intense stigma against female ejaculation, partially because it can encompass a wide variety of meanings. From squirting or gushing to very little fluid, every woman is different.

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Squirting for instance is regarded by some as an extremely unique phenomenon that most women cannot achieve. Others believe that only the most sexually promiscuous of women can achieve ejaculation to that level. Individuals like our Sexpert™ Julia ‘Muse’ Winston believes that with “proper instruction, attention, circumstance, and mental safety,” most women can squirt. Furthermore, Winston is the artistic mind behindThe Squirt Project which argues that female ejaculation and squirting specifically is incredibly healthy physically, mentally and spiritually and that the stigma against squirting needs to stop. Even in the sex world, squirting is fetishized as “different” and for different tastes. Squirting can be achieved by many in many different ways – solo or with a partner, from vaginal to anal, from clitoral to G-spot, the possibilities are endless.

On the other hand however, there is perhaps an even more intense stigma against those women who are not usually incredibly wet. A culture of criticism around the functions and expectations of the vagina lead women to be ever conscious of their possible “problems”. As oftentimes wetness is socially constructed as an indicator of desire; women can become incredibly self-conscious, leading to a vicious cycle of confidence breakers feeding into more confidence breakers. As I’ve heard many times: The biggest sex organ is the brain. There is a terrible epidemic of stigma against women who do not fit into the pornographic perceptions of female sexuality and that includes how women orgasm and female ejaculation.

Women’s bodies are incredibly capable in finding pleasure in many places, by many means and our culture’s judgey-face against squirting or for that matter, not ejaculating enough, is damaging to our sex lives. Confidence is the sexiest thing anyone can have and by supporting the consensual exploration of women’s bodies, we build confidence and thus we build better orgasms. Go out there ladies, find a way to make your naughty bits happy and perhaps our partners can help in the process.

To check out all the toys to help in your exploration, see our product selection online or come into the store to speak with our knowledgeable staff.

Wicked Wanda’s Adult Emporium

Lilith Out!