Hello and welcome back!
We’ve Caused A Situation Already. It involves a Crush reader who ordered the new sex toy from Dame Products that I wrote about in The Crush Letter No. 1,* a Covid winter escape, and a home address filled with kids and grandkids. LET THIS BE YOUR WARNING ABOUT USING THE ADDRESS AUTOFILL for sex toy orders, Crush Readers.
In other news from Crush Readers. You've ordered Steven Kane's guide for the divorce curious F*** It, Get A Divorce, Adam Grant's Think Again (covered in last week's issue) (no delivery incidents with those) and loved being introduced to Silk Sonic's (Bruno Mars, Anderson Pak) Leave the Door Open video before their fabulous Grammy's performance. (And if you haven't seen it yet, James Corden's spoof of Leave the Door Open is fun.) Thanks so much for letting me know how much The Crush Letter means to you.
*Note that due to "exceptionally high demand" the Aer is currently out of stock. "Aer isn't a vibrator, it's a whole nother adventure . . . [it uses] pressure wave technology to create rhythmic pulses of air."
"You're my medicine, open up and let me in."**
Sexual Healing. Molly Kochan is a 44 year old heteronormative married woman living in LA who leaves a controlling husband, begins having wide-ranging sexual escapades and starts a podcast with her best friend Nikki Boyer to share the stories. Molly is funny, introspective, empathetic, creative, unguarded, curious, unnervingly honest, enchanting. And always "looking" (as they'd say on Grindr). She is eager for all of the experiences, including just about anyone else's kinks. Molly and Nikki's podcast gives us an intimate introduction to Molly's sexcapades, revealing a lot about this whole being human thing. There is a surprise happy ending that ignites Molly's journey, some fetish play, some BDSM, and a lot of frank and humorous talk about it all. One thing that makes the sexual carnival relatable and poignant is where the encounters take place. Not in the sex clubs, dungeons and designated play rooms of erotic fantasy, but in the ordinary spots in Molly's life: a bath tub, the back seat of a Toyota Corolla, a bed in an ICU.
Why an ICU? Because Molly has Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. When we meet Molly she has anywhere from a day to five years to live. We learn that at the point when she receives the terminal diagnosis, her marriage hadn't been working on any front for a while. With the diagnosis came the news that she could never bear children, so the cancer, according to Molly, changed her as a woman. "It makes you feel sexually irrelevant." But "sex is about life, and it's about creation. So it counters death in so many ways". After the diagnosis she tells her husband, "I really really need to be feminized and sexualized." It is when they realize that he isn't able to do that that Molly's journey begins.
Sex for Molly is more than an antidote to death, though. It is only toward the end of the six episodes that we start to figure out that Molly's sex trek is how she becomes whole, and why she needs to. Her lively sexual encounters, we realize, are the stage on which Molly has chosen to express her abundant creativity, the stage where she finally receives the attention she needs and has sought for a lifetime, where she finally finds true intimacy with men, discovers and communicates her boundaries, and ultimately transcends from mere actor to playwright in the story of her life. Molly is open to sharing in so many other's kinks and stories, and I often wondered about hers or how much of herself she was revealing to her many sexual partners (like her condition). I was glad that these areas got addressed in the end, but I wanted more here.
The friendship between Molly and Nikki (and its complicated beginning) is a love story as animating as any romance. Molly and Nikki's podcast, Dying for Sex, is so many things - it is about how you face off with death, the primacy of longstanding friendships, the beauty and significance of even passing intimate connections. More than anything else though, it is about the power and healing of a woman through her sexual awakening.
Sound pretty dramatic? It is. I binged it like a can of Pringles. Listening to Molly's story gives a titillating glimpse into a very real but foreign world (to me). While that alone is worth the listen, more powerful was the reminder to remain open and check my judgment of others, to focus with earnestness on my own path to wellness and wholeness, and mostly for its urgent call to become the author of my own life story. Today.
Listen here. Dying for Sex. Share a link to this piece here.
*Sexual Healing, Marvin Gaye
OMGyes. It was heartbreaking to learn that Molly's cancer story began with her finding a lump, going to her doctor to have it checked out and him blowing her off. He didn't even suggest a mammogram. Six years later - undiagnosed - it had invaded her lymphnodes. Not that we needed a reminder that the medical establishment hasn't taken women's health issues seriously. Thank god we are beginning to see a lot of positive developments across all areas of women's health and across all phases of our lives.
OMGyes.com is one. It's a site for "women, men and couples" about women's sexual health and pleasure. It provides detailed science-based advice on sexual health and pleasure by using up-close and personal videos (some with haptic technology). In addition to its wealth of content on technique, signing up for OMGyes funds further research, such as studies in important areas like sex and menopause and healing from sexual trauma. I signed up to support the research, but stayed for the videos. Here's a thoughtful and detailed review of OMGyes written by Cathy Reisenwitz, a self-described feminist libertarian who advocates for decriminalizing and destigmatizing everything sex. Reisenwitz writes Sex and the State, a "newsletter about power".
The Three Things You and Your Partner Are Really Fighting About, according to Esther Perel. It's not about you leaving dirty socks on the floor or how loud he chews or why you need to play Lake Street Dive's new album Obviously for the fifth time today. It's not even about sex or money, really. Every fight is about one of three things says Perel: i) power and control, ii) care and closeness and iii) respect and recognition. I've sent some Perel snippets over to a few friends who called distraught over the claustrophobia-fueled battles they are having with their partners, and they found the mindset shift eye-opening. I am working on a larger piece on Esther Perel's body of work for The Crush Letter, but in case this keeps the peace for you, Perel's Insta Video on the three things you're fighting over is here and her blog post is here. Her video on Putting Escalating Fights on Ice is here and her blog post on Avoiding Common Argument Patterns is here.
For Years I Didn't Get It. "For years, I would not let my daughter wear girl clothes. I did not let her play with girl toys. I forced my daughter to wear boy clothes and get short haircuts . . ." I was so moved by the testimony that this father made to the Missouri state legislature on behalf of his transgender daughter urging them to vote against a bill that would require student-athletes to play sports based on sex assigned at birth. You can just feel the torment that his daughter - and he - went through from the succinct personal history that he lays out in this video, and it is no wonder that Brandon Boulware's testimony went viral. Whatever the outcome of the bill in the Missouri legislature I hope that his testimony itself offers his daughter powerful support, and encourages other families with transgender children to recognize the gender identity their children insist on.
Sending heaps of self-love out to everyone. Let's put on some Marvin Gaye and get to the week end, shall we?
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The Crush Letter
The Crush Letter is a weekly newsletter curating intelligence & stories on all things love & connection - friendship, romance, self-love, sex. If you’d like to take a look at some of our best stories go to Read Us.