Upon entering a sex shop, I usually head right to the glass and metal dildo displays. After running a fingertip along the length, I like to pick one up to feel the weight in my hand, imagining how it would feel inside me.
Drawn to sleekness and heft, I bought Betty Dodson's Vaginal Barbell. This particular instrument has played a significant role in my ever-widening sexual universe.
The ways I experience sex have grown from a specifically-administered regimen that guaranteed orgasm to an array of options. After homo and hetero encounters expanded my solosex reality, I added varied sensations, powerplay and pain, anal stim, group sex, shared and witnessed masturbation.
But the most symbolic development to date is the latest: learning to orgasm with my legs open.
Sure, I've faked plenty of orgasms with my legs open, especially with heterosex partners. No need to linger over the whens and whys on that issue. It's possible that I experienced a small handful of genuine orgasms open-legged, but they were fleeting anomalies, bizarre rather than revelatory.
My tried-and-true method, as I outlined in Being Responsible for My Own Pleasure, is the thighs-together pressure orgasm. For most of my life, any and all clit stimulation had to be indirect. Fairly recently, I purposefully opened up my sexual repertoire, as described in Operation Touch My Clit. Acquiring direct clit stim took time. A left-side fetal pose was the way I comforted myself to orgasm. Patient practice was helpful in changing that habit.
When I added Betty's barbell, it was like a key slipped into a lock. Oh, yes. This.
It is stainless steel and weighted at one end. The weight is a feature I particularly appreciated because when inserted vaginally, it stays put. I feel rooted, grounded, full.
Contracting and relaxing my pubococcygeus (PC) muscle, squeezing and releasing against the smooth metal, I found these so-called Kegel exercises easy and pleasurable. The weight caused the toy to rest against my pelvic floor, and with a hand mirror I could see the barbell lift and drop as I contracted and released. Having something to work against kept me engaged, contracting again and again. Studying the enclosed booklet, I practiced the movements described, like rocking my hips forward and back, coordinating my breathing, adding clitoral stimulation.
That first time I purposefully brought myself to orgasm with open legs, my eyes welled with tears. It was almost as though I had come for the first time.
Before, my orgasms felt completely private and enclosed. Even when a lover was involved, penetrating me, my legs would find a way to clamp together, the pleasure ricocheting between my swollen lips, contained within me as I curled around myself.
Taking an open posture was exhilarating and overwhelming. It felt like a beam of light exploded from my vulva, over my belly, between my ribs, up my midline, over my throat, and out the top of my head. My pulse drummed in my ears and arms flailed to my sides, limp.
Besides the physical sensations, learning to come this way created a spaciousness, of being available on levels beyond the body or brain. It opened up realms of possibility, for self-prompted orgasms, for sharing orgasms with others, and for taking a posture of vulnerability and openness that reverberates through other aspects of my life.
I still fight the urge to automatically revert to what I've always known. All orgasms are pleasurable, and I find the postures I take reflect how I'm feeling. When sad or hurting, I do tend toward the fetal curl. When excited or nervous, my knees gape open. The variations in my garden of postures are growing.
Though I don't use it every time, I regularly come back to Betty's barbell. I slide the cool, heavy end inside me, a lubricated key in a slippery lock. In a matter of minutes my heat transfers to the metal, and when I take it out, sated, it is hot in my hand.