Red (Taylor’s Version) Serves as A Guide to Growing Up and Getting Over

By Hanna Ellington

I was 13 years old when Taylor Swift released Red, a 16-track album in which Swift navigates the complicated dynamics of love and loss. Through her experiences of questioning self-worth, the joys of young adorations, and the aftermath of ill-fated relationships, Swift’s second re-recorded album delivers universal themes and necessary advice to those growing up alongside the songwriter. Now, at 22 years old, I am once again immersed in Swift’s universe, masterfully updated with Red (Taylor’s Version).

The album feels like a visit from a forgotten friend. It delivers ever-poignant advice with a matured perspective, evoking universal themes of heartbreak and change. Concentrated on the intensity and grandeur of love affairs, Swift masterfully encapsulates the emotional intensity paired with growing pains, taking a beyond-her-years and poetic approach to the age-old search for one’s place in the world.

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Catcall-Approved Sex Toys

By Nicole Mitchell, Kelcie McKenney, Sophie Oswald, and Emily Park

Let’s talk about sex, baby. More specifically, what we use to get off. Let’s be honest with ourselves, sometimes our fingers (or our partner’s fingers) aren’t enough to get off, and that’s okay. That’s when these rockstar toys come to play. Whether you’re an experienced viber or new to the scene, we’ve picked out a selection of sex toys made to please everyone. There’s sure to be one you’ll love. Plus we made sure to include some of our favorite LGBT+ and women-owned stores in the mix, so you can get off knowing that you’re supporting an ethical business too. Need a guide? This list goes from hot to SUPER HOT.

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How The Kink Educator began her path to sex education

Bad Ass Babe Emerson Karsh

By Nicole Mitchell

Emerson Karsh (she/her) is a sex and kink educator and creator of the Instagram account @thekinkeducator. She often shares information on the world of kink on her Instagram account, such as aftercare conversations that need to be had or discussing sexual stereotypes. She’s also written a few articles for Rachel Wright, an online sexual health blog, including Your Guide to Ghosting: Why it Happens & How to Recover and 12 Important Facts About Orgasms That Are All Based In Science. Sex is all about feeling comfortable and connected, as well as having fun. Today, Karsh talks about how she got started in sex education and where she’s planning on going next.

Tell me about your background. What did you do before you taught sex education? 

Before I became a sex and kink educator I was actually in sexual assault prevention and education actually! I would present to fraternities, sororities, and other college organizations on topics surrounding sexual assault prevention like consent 101, bystander intervention, alcohol and consent, and healthy relationships. I loved this work but as a survivor myself, it was draining. At this time I also realized I wanted to put my personal love for kink and my sexual assault prevention education background together as one of my assaults occurred within a D/s dynamic I was in when I was young and didn’t have the right tools to understand the importance of vetting, safewords, negotiation, and aftercare. I have also worked as a personal assistant in a few different fields to make money.

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I am a coward.

By Lauren Conaway

I am a coward.

When the doctor told me I was pregnant, I was dumbfounded. The room was cold. I was vulnerable in my little robe, and his words echoed for what seemed like hours.

How could this be? I was on the pill. Every month, I called Planned Parenthood. I made sure to pick up that prescription, and I took that tiny, politicized pill religiously. 4:00 p.m. on the dot, every day. I later came to find out that I’m what’s called a “fast metabolizer,” a concept I didn’t even know existed until it was too late.

I was almost two months along. I was almost 20 years old.

My periods had always been a bit irregular so the first tip-off was the constant vomiting. I was so, so sick. From the moment I woke up to the moment I put my exhausted head on the pillow, I felt like an absolute trainwreck. Unable to keep food or even water down, I lost almost 20 pounds over the course of a month. Later, as I watched Kate Middleton grapple with hyperemesis gravidarum during her first pregnancy, I felt a pang of recognition. Is that what I was experiencing so many years ago? I’ll probably never know.

At the time, I was 3 months past a PTSD-fueled nervous breakdown and the subsequent ending of my brief and dramatic college career.

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Trauma Bonded: How writing a show about my assault helped me heal.

By Chloe Burns

“You need to address this now,” my therapist told me at a regular appointment in December of 2019, her tone more stern than I’d heard her before. “The longer you wait, the harder it will be to correct.” 

She was referring to my laundry list of trauma symptoms—a collection of hyper-vigilance, chronic insomnia, disorganization, nightmares, panic attacks, and dissociation—I had been dismissing for years until I experienced an assault at work in October of 2019  and those symptoms came crashing back. I was then unemployed, living off of my dwindling savings, and spending my days alternating between crying and watching TV with my eyes unfocused. I hadn’t been in Los Angeles for a full year, and already, I was at an impasse.

In June of 2019, I moved to LA to pursue acting and filmmaking, and the business of my life had helped me manage my existing trauma symptoms so far. Running between background acting jobs on television sets and acting classes to my various jobs left me happily exhausted at the end of the day, my mind distracted from the anxieties and hyper-vigilance that tormented me in the quiet. 

But when I was violated at work that fall, my systems shut down completely, and I could no longer lean on my lifestyle for distraction. My ability to sleep was destroyed. My body felt so numb that I frequently mistook my own heartbeat for the earthquake tremors I had experienced since moving to the coast. Anxiety flooded my veins so ferociously that I was exhausted before my day even began. Yet, rest was out of the question. Unexpected noises caused me to lurch out of my seat,  but my limbs felt so heavy I doubted my ability to defend myself against even the slightest threat. I was somehow moving one hundred miles an hour while stuck completely still. Every day that passed meant more of my savings vanished, and by the time COVID sent the nation into their homes, I knew something needed to give.

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