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Untitled Update

April 24th, 2015 by

I am far too fond of alliteration for my own good.

I really appreciate everyone’s comments on my last post. They mean so much to me. I’m sorry I haven’t been able to reply. I don’t have the mental capacity to do so just yet.

It’s been a month since I was released from the hospital, and I’m only doing marginally better, physically. I still can’t tolerate much by mouth. Moderate to large quantities of clear liquids make me very sick and I can only handle a little “full” liquids at a time. My doctor tells me not to push it, to take it easy on my gut. But my stomach frequently complains how hungry it is, and that’s hard to ignore. Plus, I miss food.

I miss all the things I used to be able to do. Not just eating. I miss the things I used to do for stress or pain relief–baking, weight-lifting, taking baths.

Consequently, I’m doing much worse mentally. “For now” has, in my mind, stretched into “forever” and that’s hard to ignore. I’m still grieving. Others have projected an image of “toughness” onto me, and I’ve adopted it for myself, stubbornly trying to hold onto some vestige of emotional, if not physical, strength. So I project an air of “I’m doing fine” when I’m shattered inside. I’m still not able to work properly, and my supervisor is frustrated with me, which only makes me more angry with myself.

I’m falling into a lot of the same unhealthy patterns as the last time I was on TPN. This includes distraction from my grief–when I can’t work, I constantly occupy my mind with puzzles and music, audiobooks, or TV. This is not a thing I like to do. It feels empty, so I punish myself later.

And I’m also falling into the same relationship patterns I was as last time. And it kills me. Peroxide is a doll. He wants, desperately, to make things better. I recognize that he can only make things easier. I feel bad that this has come down not only on my shoulders, but his. And so, whether to punish myself or through a misguided attempt to “protect” him from the same pain that I’m experiencing, I push him away.

I did this with Shadow, before. And Peroxide’s feelings for me are much stronger than Shadow’s (and so are mine), so he’s willing to put up with more crap from me, and he won’t allow me to push. But he can’t keep me from withdrawing, so I do. Even though I don’t want to, I do. Even though it hurts me, quite possibly as much as it hurts him, I do. Because I don’t know how to do anything else.

Yes, I am in therapy. Yes, I’m trying to process. But trying is all I can do. The wheels are just spinning.

The Unsolicited Dick Pic and Why it Sucks for Everyone

April 6th, 2014 by

Once upon a time I was engaged in a correspondence on a certain dating site with a man who I’ll call…well, let’s call him Richard, shall we?

He sent me a one-line message. I don’t remember what it was, but in it, he essentially asked me to dominate him. I was bored and I was lonely, and he was submissive, so I replied. (I don’t meet submissive men on vanilla dating sites very often, so sometimes I’m willing to give a bit of leeway.) His profile was nothing but wank fodder, and his picture was a close-up of his nipple. My reply was prickly. In it, I told him that if he was interested, he would actually have to get to know me as a person, not as a fantasy. He responded with an enormous amount of enthusiasm and with a well thought-out, grammatically correct reply, bare of wank fodder. I was pleasantly surprised. He told me about himself and inquired about my life, my interests. I asked for a real picture. He offered clothed pictures or naked. I told him that, having only just made his acquaintance (and only online at that) I would prefer clothed. He sent me a number of pictures of himself, clothed, but then once again offered naked pictures. I declined again, but offered to meet him for coffee.

And so we met, and we drank coffee, and we talked about a number of things, for awhile. We talked about our jobs, our hobbies. We talked about kink. It was a fairly mundane first meeting. Richard was polite. He was not at all pushy about wanting to play or date. I told him it was nice to meet him, and it was. Later, I received another message from Richard:

Would you like some naked pictures of me now?

No thank you, I said.

We messaged back and forth a bit, and talked about tentative plans to meet up again, but never planned anything concrete. And then, once again, he asked it.

Are you sure I can’t send you any naked pictures of me?

There were a number of things which struck me about this. One was that he either didn’t listen well or had very poor short-term memory since I had explicitly told him I didn’t want naked pictures of him. Another was that he was awfully intent on sending them to me.

Why are you so set on sending me naked pictures of yourself? I asked.

Because I want you to like me, he said.

I know, I know. I keep coming back to Dug. It's just so apt sometimes.

I know, I know. I keep coming back to Dug. It just seems so apt sometimes.

Richard was not my first experience with unsolicited dick pics. As a female-identified user of social media, I have been bombarded with them, from men I don’t know on dating sites, to friends who get drunk, to guys who are trying to flirt with me.

What I think most men who send unwanted, unasked for dick pics don’t understand, is that to the receiver, it feels like assault. And it IS assault. If the act of sending unsolicited dick pics was translated to “meatspace”, it would look like this: the man in question and I would be having a pleasant conversation, and then suddenly, he whips out his dick, with no warning.

The cowardly anonymous quality of technology allows us to hide behind it, and consequently, do things we wouldn’t normally do otherwise, without fear of “IRL” consequences. It allows for the senders of these pictures to essentially, non-confrontationally flash others. And this is part of rape culture. As women, we are told that our desires don’t matter, that any desires we do have must revolve around men and their desires. Our whole lives, women are inundated with fear, and expectation of sexual assault. To us, the receiver of the non-consensual dick pic, it is just a confirmation that what we want should be subjugated to the wants of others.

And that sucks.

The sad thing about all of this is that I genuinely love a good dick pic. I like dicks. I like the way they feel inside me, I like the way they feel in my hands, I like the way they look. They’re pretty. They are nice to look at! But I have rarely had the occasion to be happy about a dick pic, because it has almost always been thrust upon me non-consensually.

But now, back to Richard. There was another thing he told me that struck me. His profile told me he was bisexual, but he told me otherwise. “This is kind of awful,” he said. “But I’m not attracted to men. I don’t really like it when they touch me…it’s just nice to be wanted.”

Fetlife, the great normalizer, the place where everyone’s kink is respected and everyone is equally represented </sarcasm> has no room for dick pics. All over Fetlife, people say “Don’t put a dick pic as your profile picture.” Some go even further and say not to have any dick pics in your profile at all. “Nobody wants to see that,” people say. Men say it. Women say it. Genderqueer folks say it. Nobody wants to see a penis. Nobody wants men. (I am going to leave off the fact that men are not the only ones who have cocks and that gender is more complicated than penis-havers and penis-not-havers. That is another post.) Men are not allowed to be objects of desire. And you know what?  That sucks too.

I just wanted you to like me, he said.

I just wanted. you. to like me.

I never saw Richard again. Besides the fact that I wasn’t sure that we had any chemistry, it was clear that it wouldn’t work out between us–he clearly couldn’t listen to my wants and needs. I told him that sending me things I specifically told him I didn’t want wouldn’t be a good way to get him to like me, and yet he persisted. I haven’t heard from him in well over a year now. But my thoughts keep coming back to him. His eagerness to send me dick pics was just a symptom of an overall need he had that wasn’t fulfilled: he just wanted to be wanted.

Richard’s desire to be wanted overpowered his ability to respect me when I said “No.” This is not something that should ever happen. But it doesn’t invalidate the fact that the desire to be desired is a real, legitimate desire, and something that, as a whole, men aren’t allowed to experience in our society. The prevalence of unsolicited dick pics are not only assaultive to people, but they make dick pics something that people don’t solicit. This just contributes to the overall problem of how, societally, we brand men as unwantable. We frame men as the pursuers and women as the pursued, and we don’t allow it any other way. We don’t allow men to be wanted. We don’t allow women to want. This post is not about which one of those is worse–it’s not a contest. This post is about the fact that they both suck. These things are not unrelated. We need to get to a place where everyone is allowed to be wanted, and everyone is allowed to want, and just as importantly, everyone is allowed to not want.

Until then, it’s just going to suck for everyone.

Love, Terror, and Open Hearts

March 11th, 2014 by

Falling in love can be fucking terrifying.

He is, as he puts it, uncorked. I’ve just beat him to the point of tears.

The dam is unstopped
and we are riding
the wave of endorphins
together.
It crests and crashes, leaving us shipwrecked in a sea of emotions.

He is trembling in my arms, vulnerable.
The intimacy of it all takes my breath away.
It’s okay, I tell him. It’s okay.

The last two people who confessed their love to me were friends, people I loved dearly, platonically, whose feelings I could not return. Consequently, I felt like perhaps there was something wrong with me, that perhaps I was incapable of love.

I love you too, I tell him.

And I do.

And it is scary. We have not been seeing each other for very long–two and a half months. It seems fast to me. I worry that fast means reckless, that we will spin out of control and crash. I have pulled the tears from him, have I pulled love from him as well?

The last person I confessed my own love to was Shadow, who did not, for various reasons known not even to him, feel the same. He cared for me very much, but it was, ultimately, not sustainable and we parted. At the time, I already felt undesirable, unwanted, perhaps a contributing factor. His lack of feeling just confirmed the whispers my demons told me.

I have spent a long time keeping people at arm’s length and not letting them in, for various reasons. To protect myself, to protect them, because they weren’t submissive, because of my illness. It felt like there was a piece of me missing. The hole in my arm led to a hole in my heart, unfillable, leaking out my sense of self-worth. I was unlovable.

I do not question the veracity of his feelings, or of my own.

I don’t have doubts, but I do have fears.

First of all, I fear for his heart. Not only am I the one who holds more of the cards, but I am older and more experienced than him, and I want to treat him gently.

He is afraid of it ending. I don’t blame him for this, as it is scary, and the pain of his recent break-up is still fresh in his mind. However, I can recognize the value in relationships that do not last forever. Unlike his last, our relationship does not have an expiration date. But all relationships end one way or another. This is not my fear.

My chief concern is his heart.

I have broken hearts before, and to do so breaks me. I want to care for him and protect him and love him, in the fierce, savage, tender way I’ve come to know.

I know he fears that he is not worthy of me, but I think he is.

I fear that he is not fully formed. That once he is, he will no longer want me. What if he is secretly a top and just doesn’t know it yet? What if he only thinks I am what he wants?

And, yes, I worry about my own heart. It has been broken too, so many times. By submissive men, by vanilla men, by women, by my own self. Can it handle any more?

And though I am afraid, though I am terrified, I know I must have courage. I would never forgive myself if I lost him through my own cowardice.

And so I resolve to keep my heart open, and I pull him to me, and feel his heart beat against mine.

How to Seduce Me

September 18th, 2012 by

Don’t come to me on your knees
(If I want you there, rest assured, that’s where you’ll end up)
Come to me with your back straight, your head held high
As I find the thrill of victory so sweet

Don’t be afraid–
I won’t bite you (unless you like it)
I won’t hurt you (unless you like it)
I won’t mock you (unless you like it)
And unless we’ve talked about it first.

Don’t tell me how worthless you are
How pitiable you are
And then ask me to own you.
I only own things of value.

Don’t expect anything
Don’t presume anything
Don’t demand anything–
Remember that if this is going to work, then I am going to be the demanding one

Don’t treat me like a fantasy,
Don’t try to make me into your fantasy.
Maybe, if you are lucky, I will make you into mine.

Don’t tell me that you think I’d be good for you,
Show me why you would be good for me.

I may be a pervert, but I am also a romantic:
Court me.
Take the time to learn who I am,
Then show me you are actually interested in me
Not just some image you have of me in your head

Be respectful.
Be courteous.
Be friendly.
Come to me with a smile on your lips and your hand outstretched in friendship.
Remember that I’m a lady, but I’m also just a person,
I’m not inherently better than you, and that I want this as much as you do–
Perhaps even more.

Allow me the space to be who I am,
give me what I need, and I will take what I want–
every last
delicious
flesh-igniting,
dropping-to-your-knees,
I-can’t-take-it-anymore-I’m-going-to-explode-ma’am,
hot,
passionate
drop.

CCSS #3: Asking for What You Want

June 30th, 2012 by

This is part of a series of Consent Culture Sex Stories: explicit posts describing real sex, including the communication around what happened, how we got what we wanted, things that didn’t go right and how we adapted. Their purpose is to make clear and enthusiastic consent more than an abstract idea discussed by sex nerds–to show how this actually works in real life, and that it’s hot. The first CCSS post is here, and the second is here.

 

Robin and I were hanging out with our friend Alex. We’d been friendly and flirty all evening, and eventually wound up at my place cuddling and talking. Robin made the obligatory shy innuendo, and Alex asked lightheartedly if he was suggesting a threesome.

“If he’s not, I am,” I clarified.

“I’d be down with that …” Alex said cautiously, and Robin made an enthusiastic noise.

Knowing that we were all interested, we didn’t have to immediately switch gears into sex. We continued cuddling, and when my face wound up next to Robin’s I nuzzled and kissed him with familiar freedom.

“Want one too?” I offered, turning to Alex.

“Sure,” he smiled, and I leaned over and kissed him. Then Robin did the same, and we snuggled a little closer and got a bit more hands-on. When we started to reach under clothes, I checked in with Alex about whether there were any places he was less comfortable being touched. (I was thinking at the time that for some trans* folk certain sexual touch is dysphoric, and I’d rather be kind of awkward upfront than step on buttons later. In retrospect, the question’s just as useful for a cis partner.) He was startled, and said no, it was all good.

It was all great, actually. Alex was squirmy, responsive, and vocal, all things that I love to play with. We didn’t get particularly kinky–some enthusiastic spanking, and I can never resist biting (after checking in about leaving marks), but other than that it was just friendly exploratory sex.

My favorite part was at a lull in the action, after I’d come back from getting some water.

“So, there’s a thing I’ve always wanted to try with two other people,” Alex confessed, “But I’m kind of embarrassed about it.”

I grinned. “I have one too–tell me yours and I’ll tell you mine? Maybe it’s the same one.”

“Well …” he hesitated. “I’ve always wanted to go down on someone while they were getting fucked.”

I blinked. “Okay, no, mine’s not the same one … it’s the complement of that.”

“Wait, what?”

“I’ve always wanted someone to go down on me while I’m getting fucked.”

We stared at each other and then laughed. “All right. So … how do we do this?”

“Uh, sixty-nine plus doggie-style maybe?”

Robin was agreeable, so I settled into place on top of Alex and made a happy noise when Robin slid into me. It was a little bit of a balancing act–not so much that we couldn’t do it, but enough keep me from focusing completely on how nice it was to have a mouth on my clit and a cock in my pussy at the same time. I took advantage of the position to lean down and run my tongue along Alex’s vulva, but honestly I think we were both paying more attention to what he was doing with mine. (I was sheepish later about my inexperience, and he reassured me I’d done fine.)

We adjusted positions a few times, and eventually my hips got tired from straddling Alex’s face. He slipped out from underneath me, I brought my legs together, and Robin and I shifted into a pattern that we’d already learned hit some good angles for both of us. Alex watched as Robin fucked me faster, and I arched back into him and groaned when I felt him come.

“You guys are so hot,” Alex said appreciatively. I blushed. We cleaned up, snuggled up together, and eventually slept in a satisfied pile.

Galen

February 5th, 2012 by

Chaos and I were arguing with a friend a few months ago about whether it’s possible to submit to someone without their consent. The (vanilla) friend didn’t see it; it seemed to him that if you act submissive to someone who’s not dominating, you are at worst a bad lay. I disagree with him on both counts. Submitting without consent to dominate doesn’t necessarily make you a bad lay, but being a bad lay isn’t necessarily the worst thing that happens, either. Here’s a story, for the second round of Kitty Stryker’s second Safe/Ward Blog Carnival. Decide for yourself.

(TW: There is no nonconsensual touch nor specific trauma in this story, but there are references to self-harm.)

 

I say that Galen was my first kiss. It’s not precisely true, but his was the first one that meant something, the one that came at the end of the sort of intimate cuddly evening where you’d expect to find a good first kiss. Immediately exposing the depth of my self-doubt, I asked him bluntly why he was doing this. I don’t blame him, in retrospect, for not having a good answer; who asks that?

He was certainly a lot of other firsts, over the next year and change. First time I slipped my hands down someone else’s pants; first person I went down on. First time I penetrated someone else or made them come. Several firsts I wouldn’t recognize as BDSM until much later: tying him up with a belt or a ribbon, using knives as sensation toys, and leaving bite marks on him that could last for weeks (savoring the pride and the intimacy).

I still had about eight years to go before someone would teach me the term “D/s,” but in hindsight the signs of it were delicious. He was beautifully responsive, arching his back and parting his lips when I traced my fingertips over just the right spots. When I sat behind him he sank back into my arms, and would sigh if I leaned down to kiss his neck before unbuttoning his shirt. He was beautiful and sweet–still is–and probably one of the defining influences on my taste in submissives.

When we finished, more often than not, I would pull away from him, curl up in a ball, and cry.

Nobody since has made me feel quite as undesirable as Galen did. With him I was awkward and shy and hesitant, nothing resembling the powerful dominant I found in myself years later. When he didn’t reach out to touch me, never looked for the places he could slide his fingertips and make me moan like I had looked for his, I didn’t know any conclusion to draw except that he didn’t want me. That he tolerated my attention because he was getting off on it, but felt no desire to reciprocate. And why would he? I already had a lifetime of social conditioning telling me my body could not be sexy; this was just more evidence. But he was so sweet, so caring and giving in other ways, that every new time he left me untouched, fully dressed and aching with desire, I didn’t know what to do or to think and instead I just cried.

We never talked about why I was hurting. We almost did, once, but then he had to be out of town again for a while and one thing led to another and he ended up breaking it off (for unrelated reasons) before the conversation ever happened. We never talked about sex. I never said “Will you finger me while I do this?” or even “Touch me. Here,” which I suspect would have gone over famously. But I couldn’t presume then that anyone would want to touch me, and couldn’t bear to hear that rejection or see it in his face.

We didn’t talk about boundaries. He never said “I enjoy being penetrated, but don’t really want to penetrate you.” I never said “It scares me to use a knife on you, when not that long ago I was using one on myself.” Yeah, that was happening around that time too. (The picture you’re getting of how happy and stable I was those days is pretty accurate.) He’d seen the marks on my wrists, though, and when we tried playing with the knife I trembled, then crumpled, and he held me reassuringly. I think he understood, but the most I remember exchanging by way of words about it was “You trust me with this; I don’t.” I had no confidence in myself, and without confidence had no foundation for dominance.

And that’s the point: we never talked about D/s. He never said “I want to submit to you” and if he had I wouldn’t have known what that meant. I never chose to step into the complementary role; I just fell into the vacuum left behind by his passiveness. Accepting exchanged power, without ever feeling in control, is not dominating. I couldn’t give informed consent to D/s because I wasn’t informed, either about what he intended and wanted or about its alternatives. Remember that this wasn’t just my introduction to kinky sex; this was my introduction to sex. For all I knew, touching someone who never touched back was all I could get.

This is why I have a special hatred for the “ice queen” stereotype–the dominant who gets all the satisfaction she needs from touching others. I’m not that dom, never was and never will be, but I have played the part unwillingly for someone I wanted to please because neither of us knew how to articulate what we’d rather have. To this day I don’t know if that’s what he genuinely wanted from me, or if he wasn’t comfortable asking for something else, or if he’d been looking at femdom porn and thought that what it showed was just how this was supposed to go.

Some of the effects of that relationship are still with me. It got easier, later, when I started having egalitarian sex with someone else, and then again much later than that when I started learning and talking about BDSM. But I’m still afraid, always, that no matter how much a lover likes me as a person they’re only putting up with my body. That no assertive touch means no desire. That asking for what I want is imposing. It makes it hard to find confidence when I want to dominate, and after a scene in which I don’t get physical attention it makes me feel used and angry.

My experience with Galen is why it means so much to me to hear and see clearly that my partner finds me sexy. It’s also probably one of the reasons I’ve really enjoyed playing with someone who is, on the whole, more dominant than I am. When I’m bottoming to Leon, his desire is unambiguous. It might not be for sex–he might want to tie me up, flog me, or frankly just get me to comply for its own sake–but whatever he wants, he wants me, this whole physical human in front of him, and when his attention is focused on getting what he wants from me, I can’t forget that.

 

It was a long time before I started to see what Galen’s perspective on our history might be. He was more experienced than I was but not by much; I honestly don’t know how much he knew about what we were doing either. He wasn’t an adult preying on an innocent teenager, he was a slightly older teenager who had a hard time talking about sex, and who, like me, had never been taught that those conversations are necessary or how to have them. I don’t regret my relationship with him, even if parts of it were flawed and hurtful, and I no longer blame him for the fact that they were.

We’re still in touch, and have been close on and off. A few years ago, after a lot of maturing but still before I knew much about BDSM, we wound up fooling around a bit at his place. The day after, he told me he was still feeling sore from something new I’d tried, and described how it had felt as “about a four.” When pressed, he clarified that it hurt enough that he didn’t enjoy it, but he would do it for his dom. (A five would have been what I’d now call a hard limit.) I was incensed. I couldn’t believe he wouldn’t tell me at the time if it was that bad, and then expect me to intuit the scale he was using as if there were a standard I should already know. It hit all the same buttons that our silence had in the past, and I threw up my hands and gave up on the idea of trying to connect with him honestly.

About a year later, I told that story to a mutual friend, venting some frustration that the memory brought back. “I just wish he would tell me these things, instead of expecting me to read his mind!”

“It sounds like he was trying to,” she said.

That stopped me cold. She was right, of course. When we’d talked the next day, he was giving me exactly the kind of feedback I wanted–just later and in a different format than I expected. And I’d yelled at him for it. No wonder it was so hard for him to talk to me about sex!

The next time I saw Galen, I brought it up. “I don’t know if you even remember that,” I said, “but I’m sorry for getting mad about it. I know you were trying.”

“I don’t,” he admitted, “but thank you.” I knew from his smile that he meant it. Words may be hard, but at least there are some ways I know that I can read him.

 

We’re getting better at the talking part, too. I woke up recently from a hot dream, enjoying the memory of it as it faded. I grabbed my phone and sent Galen a text:

“So I definitely just had a dream in which I asked if you wanted to make out some time. And the dream was pretty sexy, so what the hell. *Do* you want to?”

The reply came the next day: “Sure :)”

Such a simple thing, but that’s all that needs to happen: ask and answer. Maybe we’re finally figuring out how to do this thing right.

It’s important to tell the stories of when communication and consent are difficult and complicated–we need something to replace the pattern in people’s minds which says that the only two sides of the consent line are “both partners magically get what they want” and “a stranger leaps out of the bushes.” By the same token, it’s important to tell the stories of when clear communication results in great consensual sex, to replace the patterns which say that talking about it is a turnoff, or that everyone’s supposed to have sex the same way.

On that note, consider this the prologue to a upcoming series of short posts about communication gone right. They will be true, explicit stories of sex and BDSM scenes, including the parts where we talk about what we want and don’t want and the parts where everything isn’t magically easy but we make it work. I’m calling them Consent Culture Sex Stories (or “consent porn” for short), and the first one should be up within a couple of weeks.