As a social media manager, I spent most of 2016 plugged in and over-informed. Trump tweeted something stupid? I read it within 30 seconds.A one-night-stand from my sophomore year shared a Bernie meme? Ugh, that too. A celebrity passed away? I was the first to know, and I’m still not sure what the etiquette is if you’re in a meeting and no one else is aware yet that their beloved childhood celebrity has died. Continue reading
In April 2015, I wrote an essay for Women’s Health called “Why I Love Telling People I Have Herpes.” I’ll never know how many pages view that article received… and still continues to rack up over a year later. I do know that afterward, stories were written about me on websites from The Washington Post to The Independent to the right wing aggregation mill MRCTV, all linking back to that essay. There were hundreds of emails and Facebook messages from strangers who read the essay and felt moved and inspired by my words. There were even invitations to go on daytime television shows to discuss the essay. Continue reading
All while Ella was busy this year going public and getting famous, I’ve had the immense pleasure of sitting tight behind the scenes and watching. As the now-official editor of her blog, I get to read everything she writes for this site—usually before it publishes, sometimes right after, depending on how big it’s going to be—and everywhere else.
When this blog turned the corner from being mostly erotic short fiction and Bachelorella reviews (pun, courtesy me) to being primarily about herpes, it also leapt from a small-scale project to a hugely public one with an outsized impact. 2015 was a giant year for this little website. I went through Ella’s blog posts from the past year and picked out my favorite 10, the ones I thought were not only her best written but also her most important.
— Gabe Rosenberg, bae-in-chief
10. “Ella’s Guide to Texting Your Potential Bae”
Okay so this one is pure fun. But honestly, this post is so practical and thorough that it’s also the most universally applicable. Luckily I haven’t had to ask questions about texting potential baes for quite a while, but all of this lines up with what I’ve had to tell other people who’ve asked me advice. And this gets to the point a lot quicker: don’t play games, and pay attention to gender dynamics. Oh, and dynamite GIFs. Continue reading
I’ve been thinking about San Francisco.
My friend and I have a pact to get tattoos next May and the only symbol I can imagine marking myself with permanently is the Golden Gate Bridge, a doodle I’ve been sketching for years. The City by the Bay was the first city I ever fell in love with, liberal and artsy and historically progressive. I tagged along with my dad on a business trip as a teenager and decided it was where I was meant to be. I could just picture it, listening to podcasts as I dangled from the back of a cable car, the sun setting on the water behind me. And why not? Why couldn’t I, a New Englander, transplant out West? There was no snow in San Francisco, and I understood the public transit system, and I always got the cutest haircut in the Mission when I visited the city once a year. If I wanted to be a sex writer, there was no better place in the world to put down roots. Continue reading
This blog post is a little personal and a little petty, but sometimes that happens.
I interned with Cleis Press the summer after I graduated from college (June through August 2014, for those of you following along at home). Working for the biggest and baddest (but also indiest and scrappiest) erotica publishing house in the States had been a dream of mine since I picked up my first copy of their blockbuster Best Women’s Erotica series. Cleis books formed the backbone of my thesis on the feminist potential of erotica, and I wrote reviews of many of their titles in exchange for a free copy. Walking into Cleis on my first day was like walking into a candy store, the walls lined floor-to-ceiling with books on kink, sexual health, fantasy and activism. In between hours building Cleis’s Tumblr and drafting tweets to promote upcoming author events, I flipped through the pages of erotica collections and fantasized about seeing my name on the Table of Contents someday soon. I made incredible friends, discovered my love for social media, and connected with authors who I now consider mentors. It was an invaluable experience, which is great, considering the internship was unpaid and I blew through a ton of my savings to do it. Continue reading
I’ve been offline. Or as offline as someone who works in social media can be. Somewhere around my site hitting 14k hits in a single day, somewhere around seeing my face appear over and over again on my Twitter feed, somewhere around co-worker #8 coming up to me in the kitchen and saying, “I SAW YOU ON BUZZFEED,” I needed a break. I needed a Xanax, and then I needed a break. Continue reading
The producers of The Bachelorette made an interesting choice during tonight’s “Men Tell All” episode. Between the awkward reunions and desperate attempts to rebuild reputations, Kaitlyn Bristowe and Chris Harrison had an honest conversation about the tidal waves of harassment this season’s Bachelorette has received online. In a controversial move, Harrison read out several real tweets and emails sent to Kaitlyn over the last few months in all of their violent, slut-shaming, expletive-laden glory. The studio audiences’ jaws dropped, Kaitlyn struggled not to cry, and her men winced and grimaced in sympathy and horror. Twitter lit up like a switchboard. Was The Bachelorette actually addressing the harassment women receive online?
Yes. Yes it was. Continue reading
So I have writer’s block. That’s a lie, I’ve been writing a lot. My journal is hella packed with lyrical meditations on my feels. But in terms of polished essays and pop culture reviews, or wacky interviews about my vagina with ex-boyfriends, I am fried, dudes. Ella got nothin’.
But that’s okay! Because the rest of the world has plenty to say, and holy shit have I read a lot of amazing pieces in the past few weeks. In the interest of signal-boosting the work of other badasses doing cool shit, I’m keeping a running tab of posts worth promoting. Below are some of my recent favorites on sexuality, health and activism. ENJOY.
1. The Color Change Condoms Aren’t Real, But the STI Concern Trolling Is — I thought about writing something in response to the color change condoms, but then I got tired and cranky. Thankfully, Rebecca Hiles crushes it. She just crushes it, guys.
More than once, I saw someone praising these kids for creating something that would allow people to know if they were infected (after the fact). They talked about how it was so great that people who were irresponsible would be held accountable for their ways. In reality, it is more likely that people would be less likely to use condoms if they haven’t been tested and are concerned about their status. The “we’re so concerned that people are passing on STIs knowingly” bullshit is just that. Bullshit.”
Nowhere is going to feel like home in the same way campus did, but it took college a long time to feel like home in the first place. You relocate to the strange city you always felt drawn to and discover it is muggy, dangerous and just sort of wrong. Loneliness festers but it doesn’t have to scar—give yourself room to be a self-pitying mess because no one warned you how steep the drop would be. This transition will hurt. I’m sorry. So you’ll try another city and dip your toes in slow, find the bars you like most, become a local at the grocery store. Time drags at the beginning and eventually, suddenly, it is March and you will realize you live here now.
The things that used to define you are about to become meaningless and thank god for that—no one cares what magazine you edited in college. As a result you are going to feel like a fraud most if not all of the time, at least for a while. The real world yanks the crutches of your identity away and now is the time to figure out who you are without the cheat sheet. But you get to keep the best parts of yourself, the parts that obsess over pop culture’s influence on society, the parts that put into words the confessions others wince when they consider articulating. You’ll be surprised by how rarely anyone asks what you studied. Your coworkers talk about their younger college selves like odd, cute kids they once babysat. Don’t feel like you have to condescend to yourself. You’re allowed to be who you were only a few months ago, just a little more respectably dressed. Continue reading
I’m delighted to be included in this badass (and gorgeous) collection published by For Books’ Sake, Tongue In Cheek: The Best New Erotica Written by Women. With a foreword by Girl on the Net, you know this book means business. It’s only in digital for now, but you can download your copy from Smashwords in whatever format you wish here.
My contribution is a short but sweet story titled “Laundry.” It was the answer to a question that had been puzzling me for months: how do you write erotica about stable, loving couples that is still hot and surprising? On a Saturday afternoon, I gave myself a prompt to write something challenging. Something with dialogue. Something sensory. Something… kind of gross. Continue reading