Sunflower Seeds: New York, New York

New York, New York, I love you! I know that last time I was ranting about how I left Chicago to start a new life in San Diego, but I would move to the East Coast in a New York Minute.

I have never been to such a fast-paced city with so much passion and excitement. Now, before I go off tangent on how much I loved the New York, NY, the Big Apple, Times Square and all those other goodies, I would like to talk about my trip from the beginning.

Approximately 16 of us arrived at the JFK airport after an exhausting morning flight. Some of the fellow travelers had been to the city before, but I would be losing my New York virginity. By the time we got our luggage, we were eager to finally head to our hotel. Unsurprisingly, I somehow managed to lose all 15 other travelers and ended up wandering the subway for an hour. Mind you, I had never been there before, I had no cell phone service, and I wasn’t wearing my glasses/contacts so I was off to a teriffic start. After a few deep breaths, I figured out where I was going and fortunately met up with the rest of the group at our hotel.

I lived in an atrocious, filthy, and cockroach infested apartment this past summer (that is another seed to tell), but this seedy New York hotel was just as bad.

As soon as my three other roommates and I stepped onto our floor, we knew this was going to be awful. The outside of the room doors looked like coffins, so we knew we were entering death. There was mold covering the heater, and the bathroom looked like it was straight out of a horror movie.

One morning I showered so I could refresh after a long night out. I was relaxing and laying down on the bed when I saw something move out of the corner of my eye. I looked up, and what do I see, a RAT!!! This wasn’t a cute Ratatouille situation (even though the rat might have been looking for one); this was a very big problem in my eyes. Frantically, I called the front desk and they let us move up two floors to another room that wasn’t too spectacular either. The appliances didn’t seem to work in this one, but at least it was rat free to my knowledge. Out of my entire time of being in the city and on the subway, the only rat I saw just so happened to be in my room! Needless to say, not a lot of time was spent in that ratty hotel.

Later I ventured out to Central Park with one of my roommates to escape the the rat drama.

We were so shocked as to how elegant and captivating a piece of land in the middle of a major city could be. It had snowed the night before, so it looked like it would be in a Hallmark Movie scene. It was pretty cold, but I kind of missed the brisk air in a nostalgic way. Oddly enough, it was refreshing to be bundled up in three puffy jackets. In the park there is a John Lennon memorial. As an overall big Beatles fan, I was overjoyed to be there (I might have shed a tear or two).

I did a ton of exploring in the city and began to feel a bit like Carrie Bradshaw, but only now can I see why she would love the men there. They all seem driven, and honestly their were some of the most attractive men I’ve ever seen (I really dig a man in an Italian suit). The only thing I didn’t care for was the cost of everything. I might have spent a remarkable amount of money on drinks, and my bank account surely suffered, but I had the time of my life so who can really complain.

There are not enough words to explain how marvelous New York was. I loved it because of the liveliness and motivation the city seemed to breathe; overall, the atmosphere was very energetic and the people seemed to be incredibly hard working. Here, I don’t think anyone could ever be bored, for there is always something to see or somewhere to go. It was bright, it was loud, it was New York City. Like Frank Sinatra, I want to wake up in a city that never sleeps.

Written by: Nina Capuani

Sexcapades: You Should Have Shameless Sex!

An Introduction to Sexcapades:

Let me start my sex blog by saying this: I love to talk about sex. I don’t mind talking about sex, sex education, sex positions, sex toys, sex kinks; if it’s a good story I’ll listen. Even among my friends, I’m always the first to bring up my latest sexcapades. I have a few iconic stories that really solidified me as being sexually open; we’ll get to some of those later. I just have one request for my readers: be open-minded.  Please, don’t shame people for whatever type of sex they do or don’t have.

Speaking of shame, I was re-watching Big Mouth (If you haven’t watched it by now, what are you doing?) recently. In the episode titled “The Shame Wizard,” Andrew confides in his Rabbi about his shame in masturbation. The Rabbi tells Andrew to talk to the Catholics about shame. That line really stopped me in my tracks. If you know me, you know I am not religious and that I wasn’t raised that way. However, my parents and grandparents were raised Catholic.

My Shame:

In my teen years, I can recall a few sexual encounters where I felt shameful. There was the time sophomore year of high school where I vigorously made out with a senior at a party. Another time where I made out with that senior’s cousin in my friend’s boyfriend’s basement. And, the time I gave my first blowjob.

Sophomore year was a real sexual awakening time for me. It was a very fundamental time for me, my sex life and figuring our who I was. I felt like every coming of age girl should: powerful, sexy, strong, sometimes insecure and, of course, shame. I don’t understand why sex needs to have a blanket of shame that weighs over it. Yet, we’ve all felt it. Is sex shameful because of religion, is it the way we were raised, the society we live in or the media depictions that we are bombarded with?

I think the reason why I feel shame toward sex is from an ancestral pattern I inherited from my maternal lineage. My grandparents grew up in a time where sex was a taboo discussion. During that time, people only had sex to reproduce. Today, we have this hook up culture where we crave a no strings attached engagement.

Additionally on that side of the family is history of sexual trauma, or in other words, abuse. Not to mention, one of my great-aunts was forced into the convent because her parents thought she was promiscuous. Therefore, one could suggest that shame runs in the family.

My Triumph Over Shame:

Patterns like this influenced the way my siblings and I were taught about sex. Don’t get me wrong, I was taught proper sex education. Yet, I felt like I was bad for having these unspoken urges, like, I was deviant. As I matured, became self-aware and sexually awakened I tried different ways to break my ancestral pattern. This is one of those ways, writing about sex for the world to read. Similar to a modern day Carrie Bradshaw, but minus the city (though I miss it, dearly) and less fashionable outfits.

Another way I continue to break my shameful sex pattern, is being open and unapologetic for the way I am. Why should I be sorry for the way I present myself. Bobby Brown said it right, “I see nothing wrong, spreading myself around.” It is me being my authentic self. I am not trying to gloat that I have so much sex—I definitely don’t—but I don’t mind talking about it. It is a part of who I am. If talking about sex or your sex life is not for you, rock on, my dude.

Biology says its normal:

Say this to yourself: “My reason for shame does not define me!” Now scream it! You should not feel gross or guilty immediately after engaging a sexual activity. It should not make you feel that way — it should be consensual, and a time where you feel the most in your body. Your sexuality and sexual-ness makes you human.

We’ve all learned in biology that sex is natural, or at least seen some Planet Earth episodes where the animals have sex. The male bird makes a specific sound to attract mates, the Baboon presents its butt, female dogs go into heat; whatever it is, animals “do it” too. Bonobo chimpanzees and dolphins have sex for pleasure, just like humans. If the animal kingdom is having their cake and eating it too, why should humans forbid others from doing it?

Parting words:

I know it seems like I am asking more questions than answering them, but I want you to think about it for yourself. How do you feel about your sex life? Do you enjoy it? Do you feel shame? Do you feel powerful? I like to reflect every so often about my recent sexual experiences. I don’t think all sex has to be a casual, one-night-stand. Nor do I think that all sex has must between two people in a committed relationship. It is totally up to you about how you go about your sex life. Make sure it’s safe, consensual, mind-blowing and—of course— shameless.