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OMGYes and LoveHoney reflections

Over the first semester of 2020 as a part of our Lets talk about sex baby women’s department held a give-away contest. Where we gave away OMGYes and LoveHoney subscriptions and now some of our lovely winners have given us reflections on their experience. Hope you all enjoy it!!

ANONYMOUS 1

This is going to be pretty TMI, so enter at your own risk.

I’m not very good at masturbating. I feel awkward about my own body, so usually make do with a bit of classic pillow-rutting. I feel awkward about the idea of having a conversation about it, which results in my furtive Google searches for advice. I went out on a limb entering my name in a Women’s Department draw for an OMGYes subscription, and when I got it, I felt less “omg, yes” and more “omg what do I do now?”

But this site is such a gift for the awkward types. It is full of women being frank about their bodies and what they like. It isn’t a ~*~sexy~*~, dimly lit, suggestive strip tease. It’s far more the vibe of the sex ed teacher who told us every year that she’d “had her embarrassment glands removed” and so we could ask her anything. Except, within the next moment, she was naked and touching herself.

It will take patience, self-acceptance, and a lot more time for me to get to a place where I can say confidently OMGYes has improved my sex life. But it has released me of the expectation that there’s a quick fix and given me the hope that one day I too could confidently tell someone how I like to be touched. And that’s a big step.

Thanks Women’s Department ❤

ANONYMOUS 2

I had been waiting for an opportunity to use OMGYes for a while after hearing about it in an Emma Watson interview, and was so excited to get the chance when I won this giveaway! As someone who enjoys engaging in self-pleasure, as well as someone who (particularly at the time of the giveaway) was relatively new to being sexually active with others, this is such a fantastic resource. There are so many different things discussed that I have never tried, thought about, or even considered before, and the variety not only brings a lot of excitement, but is really helpful for allowing me to experiment with what really works well for me. Going through the modules in the season to try different techniques (alone, or with my boyfriend) has been really informative as well as fun, to the point that we went and bought the other season! I absolutely recommend this to absolutely anyone 🙂

ANONYMOUS 3

Oh my gosh, OMGYes is OMGamazing! For a number of reasons that I feel I can do better justice by putting on different hats. 

#Conservative Hat: As someone brought up in a conservative household with friends that are now married but have only recently started openly discussing sex I have found this such a good resource. I personally have limited sexual experience and the format of the site felt like speaking to a friend with diverse women sharing what worked for them and allowing me to have the opportunity to safely explore what might work for me and to also have the confidence to try something completely different that feels good for me.

#Single Hat: I don’t date much or at all but I don’t want that to mean I will leave the control of my pleasure to my partner if/when I find him. BONUS beyond exploring what feels amazing for me I loved that there were also options that would involve my partner when they enter the picture giving me confidence to share what works for me and potentially making it better for him!

#’Me’ Hat: Personally I also loved the interface. With so much content to go through, the layout allowed me to immerse in different techniques and clearly follow the content. I loved the little touches like using icons to highlight videos that might have sensitive content. It is a respectful non-judgemental platform that made me feel more comfortable experimenting and learning. And the diversity of the women sharing and their honesty added to this comfort.

#Pleasure Hat: I don’t have any experience with sex yet but definitely support self-pleasure! I thought I had done all there was to it but OMG there is so much more to explore which is really exciting. 

I also loved that it’s not a one size fits all and there’s room to tweak a method to what feels good for me and just becoming more comfortable and familiar with my body and my sexuality 🙂 

Some Ultimate Comfort Foods During Self-iso

Growing up, my parents have infused our childhood with the power of a good home cooked meal. It was always received as a token of their love, the way that my dad carefully added a drop egg to a pot of soup or how my mum made beef balls from scratch to put in our pho instead of getting store bought ones.

 As I grew up, and was introduced to the joys of sharing food with my nearest and dearest, I fell in love with how many different ways you could express love for someone through food. From my parents, I learnt that making someone a meal was the purest form of love, and enjoying it together is an expression of gratitude for their presence. From my friends, how simple yet fulfilling it was, to go out and split a plate of dumplings – cheap and filling enough to satisfy both our empty wallets and hungry stomachs!

 And then magically, I learnt how to cook! How amazing it was to be able to prepare a meal for myself, to take the time away from the constant revolving door of uni, work and advocacy to nourish my body and fill my senses with the smell of herbs and soups, driving out those tentacles of stress.

Through this newfound appreciation for food, I learnt a new love language: how to express love for others and importantly, how to show love for myself.

So during this hectic time, my family and I are still finding comfort and love in the food we cook. My dad made a giant pot of pho (I can smell that amazing beef flavour as I’m writing) and my sister made us breakfast (smashed avo without that hefty price tag). I make myself lunch every day, taking the time to garnish (garnish!) my meals and carve time out to enjoy it.

In a bid to share this love, I will be sharing some of my fave home cooked meals, cooks, Instagram pages and so on… The ultimate comfort foods that we have in my fam and would love if you guys would do the same!

Hope that you guys enjoy these! Feel free to leave any comments on your favourite recipes, test kitchen trials or general feedback.

Lots of love (from the confines of my home),

Queenie – Deputy Women’s Officer 2020

THE BEST CARROT CAKE

Sometimes Donna Hay just hits gold and this is one of the recipes that is a winner each time. Sometimes if I want to be a bit healthier, I’ll substitute the sugar with dates (1 cup of dates microwaved with a bit of water and then mashed up) and put 1/3 cup of oil instead of 1/2 – it still turns out beautifully!

https://www.donnahay.com.au/recipes/desserts-and-baking/food-processor-carrot-cake

THE ULTIMATE BROWNIE RECIPE

This brownie recipe is literally the ultimate. It will ALWAYS always always deliver. When I’m feeling fancy I’ll add walnuts or pecans to it, or layer different chocolates – white, milk and dark (it is boogie but team that combo with a cup of English Breakfast tea and you are GOLDEN).

https://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/chocolate-recipes/bloomin-brilliant-brownies/

THE CHEAT’S SOUP

Soups are my comfort food. I feel like I can never go wrong with a bowl of soup and there are so many ways to get a good soup base going!

Okay, so sometimes I crave nong shim two minute noodles like nothing else. My mum warns me how it’s carcinogenic but it’s SO DAMN good that I don’t care. So, to stretch that flavour a bit more, I’ll add the soup flavouring to a big pot of boiling water, add some more salt and chilli flakes to keep that flavour. Then, I’ll use it as a soup base, so I’ll add chopped carrots, any meat and veggies that I have (literally you can add anything to this and it will taste good). To finish it off, I’ll quickly beat up an egg in a bowl and swirl it through the soup on low heat. Done. Delicious. Amazing.

THE HUMBLE EGG AND RICE

Okay, when uni gets intense, I don’t always have the best appetite. When this happens, I have one dish that I know will be so quick and easy, but will fulfil my belly every time. All you need is rice, egg cooked your way (I like to do a quick scramble) and any green veggies on hand (I normally use frozen peas!). I take all these and mix them together, add some Maggi soy sauce (best one in my opinion) and some chilli oil. Get’s me EVERYTIME. So damn good.

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Masturbation and Mental Health: A review of OMGYes in conjunction with the ANU Women’s Department

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OMGYes Reflective Statement 1, Anonymous

I’ve always had an odd relationship with masturbation. It was definitely something I’ve experimented with since about age 14, however, this was always in the cover of darkness in my bedroom at home, making sure to be quick and quiet, as opposed to actually experimenting with and exploring my body and pleasure. Moving out to come to uni, and moving into my own room on campus, lead to the opportunity to properly explore myself on my own time (although still remaining relatively quiet for the sake of my neighbours!).

However, this was still a limited and tentative exploration, bolstered by a reliance of my two favourite vibrators.

My relationship with masturbation prior to OMGYes was one of procrastination and a manner in which to destress (via distraction). I’ve suffered from anxiety and depression for over 10 years, and, particularly when I can’t sleep, masturbation has always been a tool I return to. Thus, this relationship has never been one which truly focuses on pleasure and myself, rather abstract distraction, and therefore, has always been one-dimensional.

Having finished Season 1 of OMGYes, I’d say my relationship with masturbation and my pleasure has certainly been given a new perspective. Firstly, the 12 “episodes” all require you to dedicate time to yourself and your pleasure, so setting aside time to in order to properly explore the website and its lessons was a new experience, and ultimately quite rewarding. It was almost like a meditation session, a dedicated time for myself, and I emerged from these “sessions” calm and blissfully happy. Associating masturbation with this journey of discovery, outside of merely being something to do when bored or mentally heightened, I think will prove fruitful in the long term; certainly, the relationship between my mental health and masturbation is more positive and much more meditative than prior to encountering OMGYes.

The only hang up I had regarding the series was that it was all focused around orgasms driven by your own touch. I personally prefer to use vibrators and toys, as they offer sensations my own hands can’t. Although the series did suggest some manners in which to mimic these sensations, I still found myself reaching for my vibe as my hands purely weren’t enough, even which the techniques the series taught. I can’t comment on Season 2, but it would certainly be interesting to see if future episodes of OMGYes did include techniques to enhance your pleasure whilst using toys. Regardless, this focus was helpful in the sense that it did aid in uncovering and developing techniques that can be employed when one doesn’t want to use, or doesn’t have access to, their preferred toys. If you do primarily prefer your own touch in order to orgasm, or for partners wishing to enhance their partner’s pleasure, I would definitely recommend trying OMGYes out. However, if you do prefer toys over your own hands, the subscription may not be worth it.

Despite this, I really enjoyed my encounter with OMGYes. Outside of getting better orgasms, it was incredibly refreshing and rewarding to watch real women discussing masturbation and pleasure openly and candidly. The interviews with the women were honest, and felt like I was talking to a friend or a mentor almost. In this regard, OMGYes added a crucial element to the societal discourse surrounding female masturbation and pleasure, with the discussion and reflection it prompted something I feel needs to be much more publicised and discussed. Candid conversation about masturbation and orgasms, with the added benefit of improving one’s mental health? Yes please!

OMGYES.com

OMGYes Reflective Statement 2, Anonymous

I thought I knew what was what when it came to masturbation. I’d gone through that ‘rite of passage’ summer of self-lovin’ as a teenager and believed that I had already found my groove. Boy, was I wrong.

OMGYes, a paid subscription platform providing ‘masturbation education’, was unexpectedly enlightening. With content on more than just ‘the mechanics’, as well as ways the insights could be transferred to a partnered scenario, it was certainly a game-changer. The advice was collated from women of various ages and ethnocultural backgrounds. The site features written, video and interactive content, grouped into 12 ‘episodes’, or themes. Backed by university research and a survey of over 10,000 women, the content definitely came across as being well thought out and resulting from thorough investigation.

Sounds bizarre, but one thing I realised through the experience of engaging with the website, was just how little many of us see vaginas in such a nondescript context. This is especially in the context of having them connected to living and speaking people, rather than disconnected in artwork or feminist iconography, dehumanised in typical sex education or perfected in the mainstream pornosphere. Sure, these particular encounters were situated within a ‘sexual’ scenario, but to have examples of women just casually talking about pleasure was refreshing. Nudity was treated as ‘matter of fact’ and coincidental to the purpose of demonstration rather than shrouded in bashfulness. There was also a variety of vaginas with and without pubic hair, but most were trimmed back, which makes sense for practical reasons in the context of what was being shown

In terms of the content, episodes ranged from manual techniques to advice regarding getting in the right headspace and partnered communication. It was easy enough to dip in and out of content, with videos scattered throughout the written sections. There was also the option to expand sections of interest and engage in touch-focussed ‘practice activities’. This wasn’t solely a resource for the ‘person-with-a-vagina-self’, it was also a resource for anyone who engages in sexual interactive play with vaginas. It is important to acknowledge, however, that this was framed as being “for women”, which can be somewhat exclusionary.

In the words of the website promo, this was about “making a great thing even better”. It is a resource that would be great to revisit ‘just because’, or to share excerpts of with a partner where appropriate. At the end of the day, any resource that aims to demystify the cone of silence around self-pleasure for people with vaginas is a good thing, and OMGYes has contributed an important voice in the discussion.

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NOWSA 2018

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This July, the ANU Women’s Department attended the 2018 NOWSA conference, with help from funding from SEEF.

We travelled all the way to Newcastle on the Sunday to arrive in time for an exciting week of panels, workshops and keynote speeches.

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Some highlights were a key note speech from Tilly Lawless, a panel about women in unions, a panel about decolonising tourism and rethinking refugees, a panel of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women, a speech from Lee Rhiannon, as well a dinner with all of our new friends from other universities.

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ANU Women’s Department member Eleanor said, “It was an important opportunity to reflect on the intersectionality of my own feminism: to examine where and how I can be a better ally (but not to speak for minority groups).”

ANUSA Women’s Officer Laura Perkov, “It was an amazing opportunity to get to travel to Newcastle and spend time with Women’s Collective members who I hadn’t gotten to know previously. It was exciting to share my passions with women students from across the country in the workshops I ran.”

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ANU Deputy Women’s Officer Juliette Baxter, “I really enjoyed getting to know students from other universities and learn about the advocacy taking place in other universities across the country. Participating in different workshops empowered me to want to get more involved at ANU.”

ANU Women’s Department member Issy, “For me, NOWSA was not just about formally learning and engaging with all the various intersections of feminism through the workshops and seminars, though they were brilliantly run and often really enlightening and empowering. Another incredibly important part of the conference was meeting passionate students from all around the country, as well as getting closer to other ANU Women’s Department members!”