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Real Neat Blog

Back in May DangerousLilly nominated me in her “Real Neat blog post“, but with various home renos, preparing for the release of Jamie’s second book ‘Husk’, personal issues that left me feeling emotionally battered and broken, and a family members health situation that required helping with the family business full-time, I just didn’t have time to devote to this little site I call ‘home’.

Hoping to produce the bare minimum, I tried to keep up with reviews… but at the end of the day I just couldn’t get my head clear enough to focus on writing anything concise, let alone find the time, energy, or will to masturbate. Basically, I burnt myself out and was in need of a break. It wasn’t intentional, just one of those things that happens when you forget that #selfcare is important.

Now that things have calmed a little I’ll be getting back into reviewing, creating more  Sex Ed 102 videos, adding more content to the site (especially new ‘sex guides‘ and opinion pieces), searching out the bizarre and amazing for #WTFWednesday/#FunFindFriday, and doing posts like this.

So without further ado, here are my answers…

1. What was the reason you decided to start blogging? Has that reason changed over time?

rainbowdildosUnlike many within the community, I never set out to start a blog; back in 2007 my focus was on creating  Sex Ed 102 videos and at the time YouTube didn’t allow anything longer than 10 minutes. Being someone that liked to offer as munch info as possible, blogging allowed a way to say everything I couldn’t in the time allotted. It also provided a central location to house all of my content in one place, I thought it would make life easier for those that wrote asking for links to past videos (nobody likes spending hours scrolling or searching).

Having a blog also meant I could expand my content with in depth Q&A’s, covering topics too taboo for YouTube (at the time), and how-to guides.  There was also the possibility I could make money off advertising, a practice YouTube didn’t allow back in the day. As a struggling 26 year old that really wanted to keep doing something she loved, who also didn’t want to be censored, and hoped to make a living at it, having a blog to compliment my videos was the perfect option.

Over the years my blog has changed in huge ways from its original form, but I think the core reasons I created it haven’t shifted that much. Regarding my videos, that’s a whole other story. Originally I just wanted to pump out new content and focus on subjects I thought might get views, but as I began to work with respected manufacturers, University programs, production companies, and big brands within the industry, I felt like I had to create content that was highly “professional” and stopped doing things off the cuff. By the 6th year of making videos I was burnt out, felt like I had lost myself, and wasn’t having fun with it anymore… that’s something I’m hoping to change with future content.

101vaginabook2. If your site had a goal, what would it be? How do you feel you’re doing with that goal, right now? How do you feel you’ve done with that goal over all?

My main goal has always been to help viewers/readers better their sex lives, build confidence via sex positive education, and make some money doing something I love.

Currently my feelings on this goal are torn; on the one hand I’m doing quite a bit behind the scenes to update content and make the site far more user friendly, on the other hand there’s a lot on my plate limiting the time I have to create new content. Ideally, I’d like to have 2-3 posts per week, however right now that’s just not possible. This lack makes me feel like I’m failing, but I also know life ebbs and flows… soon enough I’ll be back on schedule, the site will be everything I envision, and my readers/viewers will be getting the content they deserve.

Whether it’s answering questions that often go ignored, clearing up common myths and misinformation, reviewing sex toys, and/or providing a safe space for people to learn and explore their sexuality without judgement or guilt, I think I’ve done a fairly good job overall.

3. How has blogging influenced your life?

That should be an easy question to answer, but it isn’t.

bin of sex toy failsWhen I sit down and think about it, blogging has been such a big part of my life that it’s hard to dissect where one thing begins and they other ends, and what impact one has had over the other…

From learning code to discovering my love of photography, participating in a wonderful sex-positive community to understanding the inner workings of the media, discovering who I am and what makes me tick to owning bins and bins of sex toys, learning how to use my voice for positive change to traveling to conventions I never thought I’d attend (even if the trip did turn into a shit show, I still got to travel!), becoming comfortable in my own skin and learning to love my body to helping others in a way I didn’t think was possible.

I really don’t know what my life would look like or who I be if I hadn’t been blogging for the last 7 years.

4. What is your favorite part of blogging?

Educating, offering insight, changing/challenging perspectives, creating something that’s mine, and helping people have a better sex life makes me feel like I’m doing something good for the world; that I’m making a real difference. Earning a living off of it is just icing on the cake.

More than any of that, the friends I’ve made and the brands/companies I’ve been able to work with… I’m still flattered, amazed, and so very thankful.

5. What website on the entire web, besides your own, do you spend the most time on?

That’s probably a mix between Vice, Instructables, TED, reddit, and twitter.

trex6.  Gotta ask one toy question. Name your absolute favorite sex toy. (More than one is fine.)

Seriously? Ugh. I’ll give my top five go-to toys ’cause I truthfully can’t pick just one. Not in any order: Hitachi Magic Wand (amazing clitoral stimulation), We-Vibe Tango (it’s small, discreet, and rechargeable, powerful, and travels well), Tantus Curve (I love that curve!), Njoy Pure Wand (legit g-spot stimulation, also one of the only toys that consistently leads to squirting), and the L’amourose Rosa (vibrating g-spot action. Yes, please).

7. What is the most important thing about you that you want everyone to know?

I have a really hard time calling myself a “blogger”.  There’s no real reason for it, I just see blogging as something that’s so expansive that the word and perceptions of what a ‘blogger’ is seem limiting or minimized in some way. Blogging is work. Legitimate work. Yet far too many people think it’s simply sitting at a computer, typing some shit out, and hitting ‘publish’. In reality there’s so much more involved, be it coding pages so they look right, designing elements of the site so they’re appealing, writing posts that are interesting and flow well, linking to external sites, targeting content for SEO, editing until the writing looks like it was easy, and otherwise. Blogging isn’t easy, but it’s hella rewarding.

Also, if you’ve ever wanted to know me: this.

Tag You’re It!

Apparently I’m supposed to tag other people, but it’s been so long since this whole “real neat blog” thing started that I don’t know who’s done it and who hasn’t. So, for those reading this… if you have a blog and haven’t played along yet, here’s your turn. Feel free to change the questions as necessary, just make sure to let me know that you’ve participated either in the comments below or on social media. I’d love to read your answers.

I’m also going to go an unorthodox route and tag 2 companies I love; Tantus and SheVibe. Rather than having the questions be about ‘blogging’, I’d like them to answer in terms of making and/or selling sex toys.

Sit back, relax, let me come to you. Sign up through the form below and have my posts sent straight to your inbox. Don’t worry, I promise not to spam you!

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Become A Reviewer – Part 5: Vlogging vs Blogging 2

A month or so ago Pantophile Panic DM’d me via twitter, asking for advice on getting into sex toy reviewing. More specifically, vlogging and blogging, which lead to a 3 part series on the topic.

If you’d like to read the first part, composed of 9 Q&A’s, you can find it here.

Otherwise, read on.

YouTube Image Logo1.) For vlogging, since YouTube is still borderline sex negative, have you vlogged anywhere else?

Before answering I need to explain a few things about YouTube and the way it worked back in the day…

When I joined YouTube in 2007 the ‘Partner Program’ was just getting started, and because they were testing the waters, they were very picky with who got accepted. For the first few years only those with exceptionally high view counts, living in the USA, creating content that was either relatively ‘family friendly’ or “highly marketable” were allowed into the program. Yes, there were some spread around other countries, but they were few and far between, operating more like guinea pig channels than anything else. It was a great way to make a living if you could get it. Back then chances were you couldn’t.

To make matters even more challenging, YouTube/Google spent a lot of their attention on what I call ‘crafting views’; rather than allowing videos to go viral on their own, the company pushed certain channels (ones that were ‘Partnered’) to gain higher views by adding them to every home page, having the videos pop up in the ‘related videos’ section (even if they weren’t related), suggesting those channels for subscription TO EVERYONE, holding view counts so only a select few rose to the top, and granting certain permissions (swearing, questionable content etc) others weren’t afforded. If that wasn’t enough, the company actively worked toward building Multi-channel Networks of ‘YouTubers’ that created content together with funding and support from YouTube/Google, (i.e. Maker Studios and Machinma). Basically put, if you were anyone but the few ‘chosen ones’, and/or didn’t have a network to back you, the deck wasn’t stacked in your favor.

Unfortunately, in the list of checked boxes YouTube required back in the day, the only thing I had going was high video counts (in 2007, 100,000 views a viral video made). Even though the content I created veered on the side of professional (no swearing, nudity, graphic images etc), by YouTube’s standards it didn’t. Slowly one by one, my videos started  being removed from the site with no explanation, notification, or response to my emails.  It was a slap in the face considering some of the other content they allowed. Wanting a home for my removed videos I began hunting for a site that was more accepting, both in regard to ‘partnering’ and the content I was creating (as per my account).  Finally, sometime during October of 2011, YouTube killed my account in its entirety, forcing me to take ALL of my content elsewhere.

So to answer the question, yes I’ve vlogged on other sites… mostly because I had no other choice. To name a few Vimeo, Girls Teach Guys (which is now defunct), a few others I can’t even remember since it was so long ago, and finally – which is BY FAR my favorite (*update shut down in 2015 not long after it was bought out by one of the original Multi-channel Networks, Maker Studios – I mentioned them above).

Thankfully joining the YouTube Partner Program is now open to pretty much anyone making videos (at least as far as I can see), so if you’re thinking of applying you shouldn’t have any problems. However if you do, don’t give up; of the 31 times I applied, I was rejected 30, and acceptance only came when I got my original channel back this year. Fucked up, but a step in the right direction.

2.) Did you ever worry about anonymity or people finding out about your blog?

Not really. I made videos long before I started blogging, so any chance of maintaining my anonymity went out the window. Also, most of the people that found my blog did so through my videos, so it didn’t make any difference. Add to that the fact that I placed videos (reviews and sex ed) on my website/blog to accompany written content, my face was pretty much everywhere. Having said that, I have in the past refrained from telling some friends or family what I do online. To be honest, for as accepting and open minded as they are, I don’t know how comfortable they’d be reading about me stuffing a Baby Jesus Buttplug in my ass, among other things. If they were to find me on their own, which many have, so be it. But I haven’t been readily handing out info to everyone that crosses my path.

3.) Did you ever have any bad encounters with subscribers or people commenting?

The trolls. Oh, the trolls. Let’s just say that I’ve been called every name in the book whether it be in relation to my body, gender, sexual orientation, the way I speak, how I dress, or what I choose to talk about. No one on the internet is safe from ridicule and judgement, so if you have a thin skin you might want to think about putting on some extra layers. It’s cold out there.

Your best defense: become very good friends with the Block and Delete buttons.

4.) Do you think sex bloggers should remain anonymous for safety reasons? What about sex vloggers?

That’s a tough question. As someone who’s been stalked online, received more than her share of hate mail, trolling comments, and threats – my favorite being the following…

I’m going to find where you live, cut your head off, nail it to a cross, and parade you around town like the blasphemous sinning whore that you are.

… I can understand how ones safety can be a big issue, no matter if you’re blogging or vlogging.

Whether you remain anonymous or not, if someone wants to be a total dick or threaten your safety, they’re going to. Not knowing specifics about you won’t stop them. It never has and it never will. Though I’ll admit, having a face to go with the name/vlog/blog gives them a bit more ammo since your looks or mannerisms will likely become targets for ridicule or judgment.

Even having experienced all the negative backlash, I still wouldn’t worry too much. But that’s me. If your safety is something you feel you need to protect, do so. It’s like the old adage goes ‘better safe than sorry’.

*For the record I actually found where said troll lived and reported him. Hacker friends tend to come in handy from time to time.

5.) Have you ever had an issue in real life with someone recognizing you from a video/picture?

Yes, and every time I’m left baffled but amused.

The most recent was 2 months ago at my best friends wedding, someone was at the bar and said I looked familiar but that he couldn’t place it. Soon after he found me and blurted out ‘this is going to sound really weird, and I don’t want to freak you out if I’m wrong, but are you that girl that made sex videos online?” I looked at him a little confused, puppy sideways head kinda deal, and asked “sex videos?”, to which he replied frantically ‘SEX ED! I MEANT SEX ED! NOT PORN, I DIDN’T MEAN PORN! ON YOUTUBE, THE VIDEOS ARE ON YOUTUBE!“. I live for moments like that. A week before I was recognized in a mall by a girl who thanked me for helping her learn how to express herself in the bedroom. A month or so before that I was recognized while waiting in line for overpriced beers at a concert. And just before that one of my co-workers asked if I made a video on dental dams, which she found while searching for some online. Even though all the experiences I’ve had have been amazing it’s still really weird to be ‘known’ by someone you’ve never met before.

6.) Have you ever had a video flagged/removed just for the sex toys?

YUP! In fact, MANY of the videos that were removed had sex toys in them. Even if the video was about kegels and showing products that could help strengthen them, or rounding up items that would be great for g-spot stimulation, or highlighting the importance of Eco-Friendly sex toys, it didn’t make much of a difference. They got flagged and/or removed. Not all of course, but many did.

*Update: after fighting YouTube for 2 years, eventually leading to threatening legal action, I managed to get the videos reinstated (which is how they’re on the site today!)

7.) Is there a way to avoid that by putting an 18+ only filter on each video?

Personally I suggest doing anything you can to avoid video’s being flagged or removed, be it adding an 18+ filter, limiting viewership to only those that have the link, placing an audio warning before the video, or uploading videos and embedding them on your site (without making them searchable in YouTubes filter). Sadly you likely won’t get the same viewership (in numbers) as you would if you left it open for the world to find, but if it means you get to keep your content I think it’s a good enough trade.

8.) What IS YouTubes policy about sex toys or things of a sexual nature?

Though you’ll likely find MANY videos of people reviewing sex toys, there is apparently an ‘unspoken rule’ that sex toys, even in review form, are a big no-no. Sex ed is fine. Sex positive content is fine. Even graphic depictions of genitals are fine (as per the number of gynecologist exams you’ll see on the site). However, finding evidence of this in writing is difficult, but can be found so long as you know where to look…

From the YouTube Community Guidelines;

We Review Videos Flagged As Inappropriate

Okay, this one is more about us than you. When a video gets flagged as inappropriate, we review the video to determine whether it violates our Terms of Use—flagged videos are not automatically taken down by the system. If we remove your video after reviewing it, you can assume that we removed it purposefully, and you should take our warning notification seriously. Take a deep breath, read our Terms of Use and try to see it from our perspective. If you find other videos on YouTube with the same violations, please flag them so we can review them as well!”

This, taken from their YouTube blog back in 2008:

Stricter standard for mature content – While videos featuring pornographic images or sex acts are always removed from the site when they’re flagged, we’re tightening the standard for what is considered “sexually suggestive.” Videos with sexually suggestive (but not prohibited) content will be age-restricted, which means they’ll be available only to viewers who are 18 or older. To learn more about what constitutes “sexually suggestive” content, click here.

Demotion of sexually suggestive content and profanity – Videos that are considered sexually suggestive, or that contain profanity, will be algorithmically demoted on our ‘Most Viewed,’ ‘Top Favourited,’ and other browse pages. The classification of these types of videos is based on a number of factors, including video content and descriptions. In testing, we’ve found that out of the thousands of videos on these pages, only several each day are automatically demoted for being too graphic or explicit. However, those videos are often the ones which end up being repeatedly flagged by the community as being inappropriate.

And finally this, which was added sometime in the last month or so from their Help – Policy Center:

Nudity and sexual content

If a video is intended to be sexually provocative, it is less likely to be acceptable for YouTube.

What is and isn’t allowed

Sexually explicit content like pornography is not allowed. Videos containing fetish content will be removed or age-restricted depending on the severity of the act in question. In most cases, violent, graphic, or humiliating fetishes are not allowed to be shown on YouTube.

A video that contains nudity or other sexual content may be allowed if the primary purpose is educational, documentary, scientific, or artistic, and it isn’t gratuitously graphic. For example, a documentary on breast cancer would be appropriate, but posting clips out of context from the same documentary might not be. Remember that providing context in the title and description will help us and your viewers determine the primary purpose of the video.

– read the rest here.

Why some people get shut down over others is anyone’s guess; maybe the person in the review panel was in a shitty mood and decided to take it out on you. Maybe you got trolled hard by some group, or person, with too much free time and decided it would be best spent flagging your content. Maybe your videos had a large number of hits in a short span of time giving you the opportunity to go viral and someone at the company didn’t think it was ‘appropriate’. Maybe there was a glitch in the system and your video got removed instead of just ‘limited’ (I had this happen a few times, sending a letter to inquire is always a good idea). Maybe someone put a copyright claim against the music in your video (be it by your own doing or because it was audible in the background). Maybe you’ve just got shitty luck. Or maybe your content really does go against their Guidelines and Terms of Service. Everything considered, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of videos removed or flagged on the site everyday. Do your best not to take it personally, because most likely it’s not. Easier said than done, I know.

I think it’s also worth mentioning that YouTube is run buy a bunch of marketing geniuses and loose cannons, both of which have too much control. If the content you created doesn’t offer them anything to advertise against or proves questionable, by anyone, for any reason, they’ll nix it without batting an eyelash. At the end of the day YouTube/Google, the Multi-channel networks it supports, advertisers, and everyone else involved, is it in it make a buck, and so long as their efforts are proving prosperous, your success or demise doesn’t really matter to them.

Like I said before, it’s always a good idea to have backups just in case their sights get set on you.

end rant.

So that’s it for the second part of the Vlogging vs Blogging Q&A! Thanks to Pantophile Panic for getting in touch and asking such thought provoking questions, you can find her website here. If you still haven’t read it, I suggest you hit up her post on the dangers of toxic jelly sex toys. It’ll likely make you think twice about that questionable toy hiding in one of your drawers.

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Interview w/ XBiz Premiere Magazine


Kara Sutra Interview XBiz 2012, JuneFollowing in the footsteps of one of my all-time fave sex toy reviewers, I was interviewed by Xbiz Premiere for the June issue of their magazine. I know that for most of you this wont seem like that big of a deal, but as far as adult industry publications go, this is HUGE!

The portion I’m in is the “Blogger Spotlight”, something they started a few months back featuring those that blog within the realm of sexuality, sex and intimate accessories.

To read the interview you can check their digital version (just click “view current issue online”) or download the PDF, though I’ll admit the file is huge, really huge, so reading it online (or here) might be your best options.  For those with computers that take a long time to load, or others that are simply too lazy to view things if it requires clicking about (joking! well, kinda), I’ve posted a full copy below with links to the products/things I talked about. If you choose to hit up the online edition, I’m on page 101, though being on 102 might have been just that little bit cooler, what with Sex Ed 102 and all.

Regardless of the page, I’m super excited about this and so very thankful to the lovely Ariana Rodriguez for including me.

Adorably Accessible – Interview w/ XBiz Premiere Magazine

Kara_Sutra Delivers Sex Ed, Toy Advice With Signature Approachability

By Ariana Rodriguez

Kara_Sutra became known for hosting “Sex Ed 102: all the things you didn’t learn … but should have,” a popular web series in which she shed light on the topic of healthy sexuality with information and advice directed at inquiring adults. Inspired by the lack of sex-related knowledge she encountered while working at an adult shop, Kara_Sutra’s blog and video series is fueled by viewer/reader questions about sex and consumer interest in the booming sex toy marketplace. “Her sweet and friendly demeanor dotted with sly humor, the occasional trucker’s mouth, and fantastic natural cleavage has won her a large and supportive fan base,” Kara_Sutra’s bio says, and she maintains her relationship with fans by keeping an open stream of communication via social media.

When did Kara_Sutra Reviews & Sex Ed 102 launch, and what inspired their creation?

Sex Ed 102 started back in March of 2007, with the reviews following shortly after. During a shift at the adult novelty store where I was employed a gentleman asked if I could help, he stated that he had “poked” his girlfriends vagina and “it didn’t do anything,” leaving him to wonder what he was doing wrong. I asked him what he meant by “poked,” to which he replied (while motioning with his hands) that he had poked it, like literally poked it.  At that moment two things came to me: why would someone tell him to do that (?!), followed by that poor girl laying there being poked at — what a horrible experience that must have been.  It was that night that I went home and made what became the first video in the series “Things Boys Need To Know About Sex”.  Within the first 24 hours of being on YouTube it gained just over 100,000 hits, and although that isn’t very much by today’s standards, back then it was considered a viral video. Almost instantly my inbox was flooded with questions regarding sex or sex toys, making it apparent to me that there was an obvious need for this type of information, and prompting me to continue making videos.

*The video link I included isn’t the original, and therefore doesn’t show the true view count the video received (which was close to 2 million before YouTube killed my account), it’s just a mirrored copy someone posted a few years back. Looking at the video now I shudder with wtf was I thinking moments! Ugh, #failvideo

How have your blogs and videos evolved since they launched?

When I first started I didn’t really know what I was doing, the attention and growth happened almost overnight, leaving me to create videos as I saw fit. Initially my videos were only around three minutes in length and although the information I offered was well researched, I wasn’t quite sure of how to present it, finding myself talking to the camera as if I was talking to a friend. At the time it worked, but with changes to the policies within YouTube’s structuring I had to make necessary adjustments to allow the videos to stay on the site. Fortunately that worked in my favor as it forced my videos to become much more professional, respectful, gender-inclusive and structured. Now my videos are free of distracting background music, longer in length to present all the information I want to offer, cover a much larger range of topics as well as much more luxurious products. Looking back at the first few videos I cringe, especially when comparing them to the level of quality I’m creating now.  I’ve since left YouTube and now place my videos on, they allow the content I provide without any issues and have much better customer service.

How would you describe your relationship with your readers?

My relationship with my readers and viewers is pretty amazing, most of the videos and blog posts were inspired by questions they sent in, with their feedback being my guide for future topics. I’m a social media butterfly so communication flows from Twitter to Facebook, Pinterest to Tumblr, and includes everything from answering questions about sex to guiding them to products best suited for their needs, helping them through personal issues to general bantering. In turn they’ve showed me the utmost loyalty a girl could ask for, honestly, if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be where I am today. They are awesome and I’m exceptionally grateful!

Please provide an “anatomy of Kara_Sutra product review.” What factors of a product’s design and functionality do you cover?

In regard to product reviews, my main focus has always been providing an honest, reliable and open-minded review, while also offering the “best of the best” to my viewers with an emphasis on affordability, quality, safety and ease of use. Having said that, if a product doesn’t work for me (personally) I’ll do my best to cover it in way that’s honest but respectful, for instance the T-Rex made by Tantus is a BEAST and just didn’t work with my body, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t others who would absolutely love it, especially with the level of quality it has to offer. Judging by the number of people who regularly ask for shopping advice I think I’ve done a pretty good job so far.

Current industry trend in product design that you’d like to see more of?

The level of quality being offered now is exceptional, especially when compared to when I first started. I’d personally love to see more body safe products being made, with attention being given to discreet designs and luxurious materials (Crystal Delights, Jollies, Njoy and the Leaf collection being prime examples).

Top 5 favorite sex toys?

For a girl that likes to hoard sex toys that’s an exceptionally hard question to answer. If I absolutely had to choose I’d pick the LELO Ina, WeVibe Touch, G-Ki by Je Joue, Tantus Ryder (or Small Ripple), and the last would be a toss up between the Fun Factory Amor dildo, Vixen Creations Tex, LELO Ella and the Hitachi Magic Wand.

Again, BIG THANKS to Ariana Rodriguez, having me be a part of this has definitely made my Month!

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