SEX ED | sex is not a contest


i guess it wasn’t always like this, but it is quite obvious that sex has become yet another premise where we’re supposed to compete against each other and gain hypothetical prizes and medals. we compare sizes of dicks and boobs and labia and i-don’t-know-what, not our own but of those we’ve slept with (as if the people could influence that somehow when they were born); discuss whether circumcized/uncircumcized is better, or shaved/unshaved or whatever; we share our partners’ skills with others without a blink of an eye, not stopping to think about the fact that it is actually not ok to share such intimate details without someone’s knowledge (oh how i wish i could say i was completely guilt-free of all these things). we’re constantly showered with articles giving us tips on how to “please your man right”, how to perform the perfect blowjob, how to look hot, how to be the sexiest in bed, how to do this and that (let me just say that i have nothing against educational articles on how to perform certain techniques in a safe and enjoyable way, these are a much-needed sex ed all of us can benefit from). having a small or no number of sex partners raises an eyebrow, because, um, “you don’t have enough experience to be good” (LOL).

all this pressure has a great influence on all of us. sex has thus become yet another contest we are supposed to perpetually participate in. instead of focusing on whether the sexual activity feels good, we focus on whether we are good at it, which takes out all of the fun off of it, doesn’t it? instead of taking in the excitement of seeing and touching and caressing someone else’s naked body, we try to put all the previously studied tips in use and sometimes even get entangled in the ridiculous fear of not being “good enough” (aka why i, for example, didn’t want to perform blowjobs for a very long time). it almost seems like we think of sex as a showcase, ready to impress the imaginary judges with our A+ skills.

contrary to what the majority of “lifestyle” magazines are trying to tell you, i don’t think someone’s skills determine whether the sexual act will or will not be good. first of all, it is impossible to identify a foolproof method that gets everyone off as each body works differently (e.g. so many articles are all about the importance of deepthroat but it definitely doesn’t hit the spot for every penis-owner, nor is it possible to perform for many). while i might be on the edge of losing my mind while someone does a certain thing to me (not gonna go into details, sorry), another person might hate it with their whole heart. this idea of a universal, always-successful method is just really stupid because it assumes all bodies are the same and react identically, which is just not how it works in real life.

secondly, i believe that whether your experience of a sexual encounter with someone is pleasant or not has much more to do with the vibe and general good fit between those participating, no matter what techniques or high-end skills are used. maybe i’m old-fashioned, but i really do think that what makes good sex good is the shared energy and compassion and not whether someone has the skills of a famous porn star and can make you cum in under 2 minutes.

from my personal experience, sex is always more pleasant when all participants are equally into it, communicate, and are not afraid to make mistakes. it’s important to listen and pay attention to your partner(s), to express what you personally like and dislike, what your limits and boundaries are. sex is not a fucking contest, it is a game everyone should enjoy playing. trying to be the best at sex might as well ruin the chance to have the best sex of your life.

sex shouldn’t make you nervous or feel like you’re not good enough, sex should be fun. if it doesn’t make you feel good, don’t do it. and if someone belittles you for your sex skills, screw them – not literally, of course.


MENTAL HEALTH | what i’ve learnt from my mental illness

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or, in other words, the upsides of my mental illness. before you start showering me with insults and claims that i’m trying to glamorize mental illnesses, please read the whole article. while i usually focus on the negative sides of living with a mental illness, and i’d certainly do anything to be able to rid myself of that thirsty beast that sucks all the joy out my life, today i want to focus on the things those years of dealing with depression and anxiety taught me and how they influenced who i am and what my priorities are.

quite paradoxically, my nerve-wrecking, nausea-inducing mental illness has taught me to chill. it has taught me to ease up and let of go of stressing about things that i used to think were super important (however, it made it even worse for me to let go of people, but let’s not ruin this nice article with that topic now). but before i dig into that more, allow to me start off with a classic complaint about our society, without which no article of mine would be complete, am i right?

we’re constantly told we have to be on 100% of time; always busy, always social, always smiling. well, i call bullshit. i’m a bit too tired to go into a super angry rant about how capitalism is stealing away all of our time, so let me put it in a much simpler way: there is a constant pressure on all of us to be active, productive, and charming all the time, which, according to me, detaches us from what our minds and bodies really need and want. while trying to live up to the incredibly high and pretty much unattainable standard, we lose touch with ourselves and do things not because we really want to do them, but because we are "supposed to" be doing them.

i used to be like that too. it is no exaggeration when i say i used to be obsessed with being busy 24/7, getting myself into new and new projects, combining work and studies, going out here and there. i remember when i first moved to Berlin in 2014 and discovered how many diverse events were happening in the city almost every day – i felt like i couldn’t give up on anything, so i’d sometimes go to even four different exhibit openings and a concert/party a day. moving to Berlin for the second time in 2016 really startled my anxiety, and i kind of cracked. i had no energy, i had no appetite, all i could do was sleep. i felt bad for being in this vibrant city and not really doing anything, not going out, not participating in anything, but after some time, that guilt started to wear off.

it took me a long time and a lots of breakdowns while standing in front of my wardrobe, unable to get dressed for that event i was supposed to be at an hour ago, to realize that perhaps forcing myself to go somewhere or do something even i have promised so might not be the best idea. i had to start seeing a psychiatrist and finally get my own struggle with mental health validated to accept that now, and for some time still, i just do not have enough energy to be as active as i would like to be or other people expect me to. i had to come to terms with the fact that i have quite a limited capacity of, erm, social fuel, which fluctuates a lot depending on my general mood and mental and physical health, and i need to adjust my plans according to it, even if it means changing them last minute.

that finding was quite ground-breaking to me, to be perfectly honest. suddenly, i realized i no longer should put the needs of others over mine and rather should carefully listen to myself. i also had to accept that the mental illness has changed me a lot over the past few years and that, for example, some “higher culture” artsy activities (like going to concerts or exhibition openings) don’t really interest me anymore, while some “lower culture” things (like binge-watching The Office or taking quizzes on Buzzfeed) do now, and that it does not make me any more uncultured or lazy. i had to acknowledge that i’ve become much more introverted and that i indeed needed a lot of my time to be able to cope with everything. i learnt that i needed to be able to say no without feeling sorry.

having identified these new needs and limits, i’ve embarked on a journey of deciding what i was doing with my days/life in general based on how i really felt, and not what other wanted me to do or the society perceived as more noble or interesting. i’ve started listening to myself and have given up on going to trendy events or postponed/cancelled many plans ever since, which, ironically, made me completely rid off the FOMO i used to have, because i realized that even if you miss an event or two or more, the world just keeps spinning and nothing really happens. and that the friends that really care about you will understand.

look, i’m not saying you should cancel every single plan you have whenever you feel too lazy to bother and never go out, but i want to stress that those struggling with chronic mental illness don’t need to feel bad for having to take some time off to be on their own. it’s been a long and tough journey, but i can see how much progress i’ve done as well as the positive results it has brought – i am much better at identifying when i need to step back in order to prevent a calamity with a capital C.

it is quite crazy that i learnt to be gentle and kind to myself only through my experience with mental illness, but hey, it’s a fucked up world we live in. now, to round off my article, let me just give you a lil advice: screw whatever you are “supposed to” do. do what you need to do.


MENTAL HEALTH | self-care


i’m really not into the commercial “self-care” trend which so many brands use to sell you overpriced stuff when you feel a bit down, which is something i’ve already talked about once. i hate that self-care has become synonymous with splurging your savings on expensive creams, bath bombs, “superfoods” and i-don’t-know-what, which is a lifestyle only few can afford.

no, today, i want to talk about self-care in its purest form, its essential meaning – taking a step back and doing something that makes you feel good. when i talk about mental health here, i usually focus on the downsides of dealing with a mental illness, but not this time! this article is all about ways that help me feel (at least a bit) better when i hit the rock bottom, just to perhaps inspire others. and simply to show that self-care really doesn’t have to be about putting on face masks or going to get your mani done aka living a higher class lush life, but it’s entirely about figuring out what makes you feel safe and calm.

at the same time, i also don’t see self-care as a set of tools, a medicine of sorts, that you whip out only when you feel super bad. it can be little things you do every day to make you feel like your job or homework or whatever else isn’t that horrible. little treats to keep you going. maybe it should be called “self-love” or “self-appreciation” tools, i don’t know. but let’s stick to self-care now, huh?

anyway, here are a few things that really help me when i need a little push in life:

i love naps, really. when things just get a bit too much, sometimes it’s the best to just sleep it off for a bit instead of dreading over it all the time, you know, to give yourself a little break. the anxiety doesn’t always go away when you wake up, but at least you have more energy to deal with it now.

staying in my nicely decorated room
in fact, self-care to me is mostly about making myself and my surroundings feel safe and cozy and all warm and nice. during a recent therapy session, i discovered that one source of my anxiety is instability i’ve experienced so much in the past few years hence to the constant moving and never really being settled, so when i feel especially vulnerable i really focus on making myself feel grounded in my own room. i light candles, put on my aroma lamp, prepare a cup of tea and a snack on my cute vintage dinnerware, and just try to relax in my room full of fresh and dried roses, pink details and all of my other favorite stuff. i know this is my own place, it reflects me, and i can do whatever i want there.

surrounding myself with nice things
on a similar note, i just love being surrounded by things i like no matter what. some people make fun of me specifically buying pink/black/silver/rose-patterned/etc stuff (like books, drinks, food etc etc) just to have it fit to my Instagram grid, but the fact is – pink makes me happy. roses too. cute patterns, witchy designs, minimalist fits, whatever; i like to look at them. and that can instantly make a dreadful task, like writing an essay for uni or cleaning, way more enjoyable. so go on, buy everything in your favorite color or pattern, be picky and incredibly specific. anything that could brighten your day up!

being spiritual
recently i also discovered that embracing my inner witch also helps me a lot to calm down. burning sage is my main thing. i love the little ritual of setting it on fire and letting it engulf you with its delicate scent, cleansing you in and out. apart from that, i also got into crystals, tarots, moon rituals and such, and though some might say it’s a bunch of bullshit, it can be a very nice way to make yourself feel more protected and at peace.

face masks, the it thing of commercial self-care, has never been that much of my specialty, but i do love a good long bath. i even make my own bath salt – i literally just add a few drops of lavender oil, dried rose petals and sage.

Harry Potter
when i was experiencing those extreme side effects of my first antidepressants and was confined to my bed for a week straight, i decided to rewatch the whole Harry Potter series again. and then re-read the books. and even i had never been a huge HP fan before, i suddenly became literally obsessed with it, and ever since, Harry Potter is somewhat of a safe place to me. can’t sleep? watch Harry Potter. feeling anxious/numb/scared? watch Harry Potter. just came back from CZ and feeling a bit odd in Berlin again? watch Harry Potter. having a cold? watch Harry Potter. hate everyone on the public transport? read Harry Potter. and so on. by now, i cannot even count the times i’ve seen it. it’s also become my number one thing to take naps to, somehow. there are so many flaws in the whole story/universe, but i guess i find a refuge in the fact that it’s a whole unreal world where my problems don’t really exist.

the process of going through your belongings, sorting and (re)organizing them, ahhh. so relaxing. so therapeutical. getting rid of stuff is a great thing to do when you feel overwhelmed and have the urge to change something, at least for me. plus, i find it way harder to concentrate/keep my mind clear and fresh in cluttered spaces, so i’m really incredibly into having everything clean and in order. i even organize my computer files several times a day, lol.

last but not least, a long, long walk outside is always a great head-cleaning practice. i particularly love going to Tiergarten here in Berlin, especially because it’s usually pretty empty and my beloved Siegessäule is there.

daily treats
simply, little acts of kindness to myself. like thinking screw it and having my favorite pasta for dinner even though i’ve already had pasta for lunch and i “should” eat something different. like putting on my favorite clothes even though i had a different outfit planned. like buying a chocolate or candy bar or something small and sweet. like watching an episode (or many) of a TV show after working on something for the whole day. you know, just telling yourself: you’re doing amazing, sweetie!