Well, here we are, it’s time once again for my annual “Best of” list and, as has become the tradition with said list, my annual look at what I did through the year and what it says about my frame of mind. This one is especially interesting as I have talked a lot about the debilitating depressive episode of 2017 and by and large considered myself to be doing “better” this year. Then I realized I was actually just doing “different”. After years of thinking of myself as a depressive person, this year I had to accept that I am (and have been for at least five years) actually being plagued by super-intense anxiety. Those things are not mutually exclusive but this year I realized how much I’d been writing off the impact of the anxiety while it just kept making things hard for me. It was kind of like driving around on flat tires because you think your car has a problematic transmission and if the transmission’s not acting up everything must be FINE! The good news is that figuring it out has positioned me to do something about it. I’m working on it as we speak.
Additionally, as a writer, I kind of hit a wall this year in reference to the kind of work I was doing vs. the kind of work I want to be doing. I keep saying that I feel like I’m on the cusp of something, a turning point of sorts and I think that applies professionally as well. This year taught me that playing it safe and letting people seek me out isn’t leading to the career I want and, at times, is leading me to do work I don’t feel good about. Like with the anxiety realization, this one has positioned me to improve my situation and I’m excited to change it moving forward. I feel like I’ve let readers down a bit this year and can’t wait to change that.
As for this list, I really felt like I didn’t have much work I was proud of this year but when I sat down to make the list I noticed an interesting thing many of the items on it have in common; they were “bucket list” pieces for me. This year’s list contains an awful lot of pieces that had been kicking around my head for ages and I guess finally getting them out into the world is something to be excited about.
So here it is, this list contains my 13 (well, actually 14– there’s two-parter in there) favorite posts, podcasts, appearances, and more listed chronologically (because I don’t like ranking things). I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making it- thank you all so much for continuing to give me an audience for this work.
2018 Best of Bedhead
SHUT IT DOWN: Why I (Legit) HATE Valentine’s Day
I’ve always had a complicated relationship with Valentine’s Day. In 2018 I decided to write about it and ended up actually understanding it, possibly for the first time. Also, so many Liz Lemon gifs!
Good Sex Shops: The “How” Is As Important As The “What”
So, clearly, I have pretty long-standing strong feelings about what makes a “good” sex shop. Also, my work puts me in contact with a lot of people who are pretty sure they are killing it when they… well, aren’t. Thus this piece about how a sex shop’s quality is dictated by the “how” as much as the “what”.
Loving Without Boundaries Episodes 73 & 74- JoEllen Notte, Educator and Mental Health Advocate Specializing in Sex and Depression
I had a great time talking about mental health, nonmonogamy and a whole lot more with Kitty Chambliss. This was one of those interviews that felt amazing in the moment. That feeling was reinforced when I arrived at February’s Playground Conference and people who heard the podcast kept coming up to me excited about it.
And We’re Back! The Playground Conference Returns (and So Do I!)
Speaking of the Playground Conference….Playground 2018 marked my return to conference world for the first time since the epic depressive episode of 2017. The conference was also coming back after a hiatus. From having a great time at the conference itself to executing the most successful sponsorship of my career, it was a fantastic comeback.
Will Work For Sponsorship Online Class, Tools, & Coaching
Speaking of sponsorship… Ever since I found sponsors for my 2013 Superhero Sex Shop Tour, folks have been asking my advice about sponsorship. I’ve taught my class twice in the past but in 2018 I made a whole new video class complete with supplemental materials and one-on-one coaching. I’m so excited about it.
Products For Coping With Sexual Side Effects
For years now I’ve wanted a resource like this on my site (I’ve certainly created enough versions of it for other sites!) and this year, with the help of my friends at SheVibe I got to make it happen!
The Science Behind Sex, Antidepressants And Orgasms
Oh, you know, just an article about sex and depression (specifically antidepressant sexual side effects) for one of the world’s most popular publications where there sources were a bunch of doctors and ME. NBD.
Unscrewed- A Really Small Awkward Surprise Party
Getting to appear on Jaclyn Friedman’s podcast was a HUGE highlight of 2018 and it’s even better that our conversation was a surprisingly fun deep-dive on the complicated relationship between sex and depression!
5 Tips For Writing When Your Brain Doesn’t Want To
Another member of the “I’ve wanted to write this one forever!” club, this one had been bopping around my head for years. I know so many of us struggle with health (both mental and physical) issues and this piece gave me a chance to share some of my favorite strategies for writing when my brain decides it’s not so into it.
There is No Reason to Gender Sex Toys Parts 1 & 2
When multiple clients approached me for sponsored posts with gendered anchor text (words that contain links like this: “Find out why JoEllen is awesome!”) I seized the opportunity to knock another idea off my sex blogging bucket list and the result was my two-part series on the ridiculousness of gendering sex toys!
Nonmonogamy, Sex Writing, and My Family: Reflecting on Love, Luck, & Acceptance
Most of my year was spent preparing for a wedding that saw my whole family together for the first time in years. It inspired this piece about my great luck in having a family who supports me as I am and never required that I hide my sex writing or nonmonogamy.
Killing The Mood: My Favorite Not-At-All-Sexy Uses For Sex Products
I’ve joked about the possibility of this piece for legitimately YEARS. I tend to employ a ton of sex products for not-at-all sexy purposes in my house. It was fun to finally share them en masse.
16 Sex Toys to Gift the Naughty Person on Your Nice List
Last but certainly not least, this piece for Glamour that literally just went live this past Saturday. Glamour has always been one of my goal outlets and I always love talking about my favorite products so, of course, I’m super excited about this one!
Want to see the Best of Bedhead from years gone by? Check it out! 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, Master List