March 28th, 2013
Thoughts swirling around in my head. Humiliation play class this week. Still a lot of things I want to think about along those lines. The class did a good job of highlighting some of the directions I need to go. Figure out more specifics about my brain, my wants and needs. Not even necessarily to Do anything with it, maybe just so that I know myself better. Because that is never a bad thing. And finally, I’m doing it with eyes forward. Not, what happened then, but where am I now? What do I feel right now? Is there anything I still want to try? And why am I still curious? And what about that aftercare? Have I figured out what I really need there?
Aftercare’s an odd one for me. Growing up on crew, aftercare wasn’t a thing we worried about, just hand them off to the waiting partner. With ex-lover, there was certainly aftercare, but it was never discussed as ‘what I needed,’ it was just whatever was the natural progression. Sex, cuddles, sleep, more bondage, wherever we landed at the end of the scene. With him, often it ends with curling up with the girls, or kneeling with myself. More private scenes tend to end with cuddles. Aftercare, also became about reflection in writing most often, and then verbally. But aside from creating the ritual that didn’t end up working, I’ve not really sat down and thought it out, just gone with whatever happens in the moment.
This becomes rather pointedly obvious to me when I see other bottoms with their blankets and teddies, or their chocolate and water stashes. I’m cold, almost all the time, so it doesn’t really occur to me that after a scene, I should have a blanket to wrap up in. That’s not to say he’s never wrapped me up in one, it just doesn’t enter my mind that I should make an effort to have one. Chocolate or water? One or both of those things tends to be nearby when we’re scening, but it rarely occurs to me to have it ready before we start. I tend to go with an attitude of – I’ll find what I need afterward. I’m not sure this is the best plan to keep going forward with. ‘Be prepared,’ is all well and good to say, but part of taking care of myself is feeling that I am worth the time and effort to actually do it.
It is only March, but COPE is on my mind. Chance and the finiteness of time has him heading east that weekend, and so far as I know, my going with isn’t going to be an option. COPE, however, is still within my financial means. But it would mean going alone, without a partner, and that stirs up all kinds of debris in my head. Why bother? Being the topmost thought. To which smart-ass answers that going would be better than sitting home alone. The classes are usually fun, so part of me wants to go, if only for those. But that’s an awful lot of money to only go to the classes. And what about playing with friends? I dunno, I don’t do much of that. But surely, I could line up a scene or two, just to make it worth it. Or, gasp, actually be social, and chat and hang out with people, and not worry so much about the playing. Stepping out in the line of being independent, going to an event alone would not be the end of the world, especially an event with so many friends present. Time yet to decide.
August 30th, 2012
While sitting in the theater, waiting for Avenue Q to start, hubby turned and asked me about expectations. Hubby felt that my boyfriend and I had a good handle on setting expectations and asked how we did it. Or more specifically, how He had done it with me. I jokingly said that when you tell a girl for a year and a half that you are a sexually satisfied man, and then start dating her, expectations start out pretty low. In all seriousness, though, he and I usually played three times a week during most of the year prior to dating, and had already started conversations on expectations and happiness.
One of those conversations began with him asking me if I could be happy without him suspending me for a whole year. I had passed through most of my newbie sub-frenzy by that point, so I could actually consider the question. It took a little back and forth before I understood the intent of the question. It wasn’t about him denying me what I wanted, it was about expectation crashing with reality. What if he got hurt (which happened)? What if we lost our suspension point (which has happened repeatedly)? What if I got hurt? The real question was did my happiness depend on suspension, or could I be happy without it? This started the thought process in my brain that expectations have to mesh with the reality of the situation.
Another set of conversations we had was him asking me if I Deserved to be suspended. At the time it felt like a trick question, given the dynamics we were involved in. But it was really about suspension not being a think I could deserve or earn. It was a gift, given because he wanted to. Not because I deserve it or expect it. Giving affection only because it is expected or only when someone has “earned” it can lead to abusive situations. For me, affection must be given because both parties want to give it. But beware putting expectations on what defines affection.
Back to the question that I started with. When he asked if I could be happy without suspension, he wasn’t asking if I would be happy not seeing him for a year, simply without one form of play. In our relationship, I expect to see him fairly regularly and I expect affection. Sometimes that means a hug, sometimes a text message, sometimes a flogging and sometimes it means dinner and a movie. When it’s been a long day, it can simply means his arm around me while he falls asleep. He shows me affection in whatever way he is able, mentally, physically and emotionally. As I do him.
Another way we have set expectations in our relationship was to write them down. In our contract with toy, we wrote out what all the expectations were. What we all did before play, what types of play there would be, and what could preempt or prevent play. It was very clear what we could all expect, and even then there were surprises.
So, what do we do then? What happens when expectations are not met? No matter how clear you think you have been, or how mutual you think your expectations are, you will still face disappointment occasionally. The important thing to do, of course, is to talk about it. What were my expectations? Were they the same as his expectations? What happened that caused them not to be met? Was it reasonable? Were the expectations reasonable to begin with? Was it just a special case that won’t happen again? How can we prevent this situation from repeating itself? Do the expectations need revised, or does one party need to be more conscious of meeting the expectation?
For me, another good conversation to stay on top of is wants and needs. My needs tend to be where I set my expectations, so I have to communicate that those things are needs. And I have to set reasonable expectations of where I’m going to get those needs filled. Being poly, they don’t all have to be filled by one person. Wants are things I would like to have, and I have to communicate them, too, else they won’t have a chance to be fulfilled. But the important thing to remember is that I cannot expect all my wants to be fulfilled all the time. Life isn’t that simple. But I can work on getting them filled through expressing them and making plans. And sometimes my needs aren’t met either, at which point we return to the previous paragraph of questions to have another look.
As always, the most important part of setting expectations has been clear communication. Second to that is acceptance that we are human and life isn’t perfect. Talk about your expectations. Unspoken expectations Cannot be met. Understand that life gets in the way, even of needs sometimes. Be flexible, accepting, and keep talking. And while you are talking, offer solutions. Once the problem has been stated, clarified and understood, move forward and find ways to avoid future disappointment from that source. During your conversations, if the other person has expectations that you cannot meet, have a conversation about why and about what can be done instead, or how to change that expectation. Expectations are a two-way street, both parties must be actively involved in setting, meeting and revising them. Everything changes, keep talking.
July 21st, 2012
I am a woman of many desires. I have a lot of interests, a lot of curiosity, and never enough time and energy to do it all. I enjoy the outdoors: hiking, camping, stargazing, swimming, canoeing, kayaking. I enjoy computers: programming, web design, internet browsing, WoW. I enjoy writing: blogs, stories, journals, articles, novels. I enjoy reading: fantasy, erotica, motivational, entrepreneurship, health, fiction. I enjoy movies and television: crime, drama, scifi, fantasy, action, cartoons, some anime. I enjoy kink: bondage, corporal, electricity, fire, wax, suspension, body manipulation, power exchange, service, and more. I enjoy sex: intercourse, masturbation, oral, vibrators, dildos, hugging, kissing, licking, biting, massage. I enjoy learning about everything.
But there is only so much time in the days, days in the weeks, weeks in the year. So I don’t get to do everything I enjoy. I have to work, I have responsibilities, and I have to eat, and sleep and take care of myself. The same goes for my partners.
That’s what is great about Poly. I have many wants and needs, but I can’t do everything I enjoy myself, so I know that one person cannot fulfill all my wants and needs either. I live in a wonderful kink community, within my community, I have a poly family. Within this poly family there are many individuals, each of whom adds to my life in the way he or she is able. I do not expect any one of them to fulfill my every want or need. And if a member leaves my poly family, I don’t expect the others to fulfill the wants and needs that one was carrying. Sometimes someone can and does, but to expect them to take on more than they were already doing is unfair. Each person gives me what they are able, and in return, I give them what I am able.
And this changes sometimes. On both sides of the equation. People and relationships grow and change all the time. What one is able to give and receive can change, as well. Time, affection, attention. And as we can see from the divorce rate, even love changes. It is unrealistic to expect relationships to be constant, or even consistent. The only way to manage this is through communication. Keep talking. Keep being honest with yourself and your partners. If you notice a change that has not been communicated, ask. Maybe they didn’t realize it was happening. Find out if it was intentional, or caused by exterior forces. Do not assume the worst. Ask first.
Just because one person cannot fulfill all your wants and needs, doesn’t mean you can’t ask for what you want or need. It means accepting no as an answer. When you love someone, you want to give them everything. But that is not always possible. Being able to accept no, being able to be happy with the yes’s they can give, is very important to maintaining a healthy relationship. If you constantly focus on what you’re not getting, you will never be satisfied with what you have.
December 1st, 2011
A journal entry from earlier this week:
The longer you’ve been around, the more you have to lose. As wife, before girlfriends exist, you have everything. All the love, time, attention, interest. Then comes girlfriend, and love multiplies, but time and attention are divided, and if you’re lucky, interest gets multiplied by the extra energy. Sometimes, though, NRE can make it feel like she gets more and you get less. It can take time to rebalance.
The cycle continues for girlfriend. You get all you can until second girlfriend arrives. Then, by the needs of reality, time and attention are further divided, love is multiplied, and interest fluctuates, hopefully ending up in the positive direction. As more partners are added, balance gets harder to maintain, and needs and wants are weighed more carefully.
One ripple causes waves throughout, and if it starts as a wave, storms can appear. Tidal pools of spiraling emotions, pulling everyone down until someone catches a life-preserver and pulls the rest back up.
So, how do you survive the divisions? By enjoying that which is multiplied. By believing the benefits outweigh the cost. By being heard, even when you don’t get everything you want. By being gracious, compassionate, compersive and by compromising. Life is a state of constant change, you have to keep up and ask for the love and support you need to do so.
This is relevant in two, completely opposite directions in my life right now. One, hubby is down to just me. This makes the time he has to spend with me greater, though my availability has not truly changed. It may, if needed, or as schedules naturally morph over time and situation. But he and I must find a new balance, as he will be home for time I’ve previously spent alone, and he may find a desire for more of my time than he currently has.
Two, he is up to a wife and four girlfriends, and his wife is changing to day shifts next week. For a while now, most of the time divided by him, has been time she is usually at work. Now, though, it won’t be, and I imagine she is feeling the sting sharper for the amount of time she now has available and the huge chunks of it already scheduled with us. So, we look for balance, not only of time between the five of us, but of place, to give her space in her home.
We don’t have answers for any of this, yet. But we are all committed to making it work. For the love we all share, and the community we are creating together, makes us all stronger and better, and fills our lives with incredible joy.
November 3rd, 2011
I don’t know what to post about this week. One of my best friends suggested monkeys. I’m not all that into animals, and monkeys tend to be into scat play, as well. So, I’m just gonna ramble a bit. Whirligig, whirligig, spin spin spin. OpenOffice tells me that’s how it’s spelled. Wants and needs, where’s the line? Emotion is to reactions as logic is to solutions.
Needs. There are physical needs: food, water, clothing, shelter, air. There are emotional needs: love, self-worth, respect, and happiness. Then things get a little muddy. Or perhaps they already were, as meeting those emotional needs can mean a lot of different things. And I tend to get a little muddier around happiness, though I put it on the list. Happiness is nonnegotiable, in the long term, but is unrealistic to expect every moment of every day. Things go wrong, arguments happen, mistakes get made, people get hurt, tragedies occur. But when all these needs are being met, including happiness, it’s hard to feel like life is all that rough.
Then there are the six basic human needs that they talk about in the kool-aid circles, let’s see if I can remember them: Certainty, Variety, Significance, Connection, Growth, and Contribution. I only forgot significance. And, according to Mr. Robbins, everyone puts very different value on these six things. Personally, certainty is the top of my list, followed by connection(love). The rest jockey for position regularly, with significance generally(but not always) coming in last in the broad scheme of things. They say opposites attract, so you know, with certainty at the top of my list, I’m attracted to people for whom variety tops the list. I couldn’t say for certain it is the Very top for all of them, but it certainly seems to rate high.
The ones I rate lower, I tend to feel cross over the line from need to want for me. But it’s that line that gets a bit fuzzy for me. I want to learn new things and grow, but do I need to? They say if you stop learning, you’re dead, but active growth often gets put on the back burner for me. I want to contribute to the world through my writing, but I don’t need to. I appreciate every private message saying how people enjoy my blog or got something out of it, and every comment that gets posted, but if it was really a need, wouldn’t I put more work into it? Significance is trickier. As long as I am important to the people who love me, do I really need to be important to anyone else? Given what I enjoy doing, and what my family do for a living, I’d say staying off the national or world stage is probably best for everyone. Variety. It’s true that I enjoy new things, that I like a lot of different kinks, that I’ve often had two or three partners. So, I certainly enjoy variety, to an extent. But I’m not someone who goes to a big event with a dance card, or is looking for many partners. I don’t want a stable, I just want all my needs and most of my wants met.
So, what about certainty and connection. Well, connection basically means love, and I’ve already listed that at the top. An absolute need. Certainty is what drives me crazy. Look no further for emotional break down than for me to not know what is going on or what to expect. Now, I don’t mind a bit of spontaneity, I enjoy unplanned scenes. But if I don’t know where I’m sleeping on a night, I get a little antsy. If I don’t know how bills are getting paid, I freak out. If a new shiny appears and I don’t know her intentions, or his, I get all wibbly-wobbly. (OpenOffice doesn’t know how to spell that one.) If I’m told something might happen, maybe, but I don’t know what, I get all nervous and jumpy. I like plans. I like lists. I like schedules. And yes, sometimes it’s really hot to be grabbed and dragged off at a moment’s notice for some unplanned, but much needed stress relief.
So what about that line? Needs – Wants. If I have all the physical needs, and emotional needs, and certainty met – is everything else just cream on the top? How do I judge happiness being met? Play makes me happy, not playing doesn’t necessarily make me unhappy. But not playing for a long time can. Or not playing when I really, really want to can. But then, I control my reactions (usually), so if all else is good, not playing shouldn’t make me unhappy. There’s always tomorrow, tends to be my rational to achieve that. Private time with him and hubby makes me happy. Not having that private time on a particular day is disappointing, but it’s not the end of the world. Spending time is always happy, but that doesn’t make not spending time a necessary sad. I think I’ve lost my point in here somewhere. I’m trying to sort out whether play, time and private time fall under needs or wants. Given their relationship to happiness. Which isn’t only direct, they also affect the health of the relationship, which is a source of happiness. They are all ways in which affection and love are expressed, but a lack of one does not equate to a lack of love. Most often it is a lack of time, or opportunity. So, they are not necessarily needs in and of themselves, but are wants which fulfill both the needs of connection/love and happiness.
Then we get down into specifics. Specific types of play, or time, or private time. Specific types of affection and attention. Those are certainly wants. None of them is specifically a need. They are, again, ways to get needs filled, and we often say “I needed that,” but I’d say they are strictly on the want side of the equation. We are referring to the emotional need that got filled by the action when we say we needed it. So, it seems, by my rambling, that for me, the more general a thing, the more of a need it is, and the more specific, the more it lands in want territory.
Toy commented to me she’d been advised to feel her emotions before solving problems. I agreed with this statement. Often, I react emotionally to things, and on the surface, I think the problem is one thing, but as I’m reacting and talking about how I’m feeling, I dig deeper and find the real problem. If I try to solve the problem at first reaction, often I end up trying to solve the wrong problem, or even one that doesn’t really exist. So, I’m learning to ride through the emotions, often getting him to help me dig into them, so I can find out what’s really bothering me and deal with it. A brown leaf, when cut off, doesn’t fix a poisoned root.
The other half of that, is if I ride through the emotions, feel them all and let them rise and fall. After it is done, then I can be logical and find solutions. Nothing drives me more crazy than when I’m reacting and being emotional, and he throws logic at me. I’m often not ready to be logical, yet. Though, sometimes, it’s enough to snap me past the emotions to the point of logic. Other times, I just need to cry, let it out, get all the emotional baggage out from behind my eyes and between my shoulders, or I’m just going to be useless and run in circles. Emotions are good for finding problems, logic is good for solving them.
October 29th, 2011
It has been a week. And once again, Thursday was too busy for me to get a post written. Two jobs is good for the checkbook, not so good for my writing pursuits. Life is full of changes. Growing, expanding, renegotiating, learning, adding, subtracting, multiplying. Relationships are the same.
He and toy are “officially dating” now. A new young woman has entered all our lives. Schedule changes are heading our way. So things are in a little bit of flux as we try to see where it is all lands. This has led to a lot of conversations. A lot of communication. And a lot of thinking and processing. Also, a lot of reacting, but hey, that’s where it all starts. Reactions let us know what’s important, and then we figure out what to do about it.
I seem to have, for the moment, gotten over my usual reaction of replacement fears to change, and have settled into a more tetchy fear of losing time and attention. More tetchy, because those things are limited. There is only so much time in a week, and so much attention to give. I started talking about it like a pie. Fearing my slice was going to get smaller, that someone else was going to get a slice, or a bigger slice, or already had, or whatever. The trouble is, that’s life, things are always changing and adjusting. I need to focus, not on, how do I get a bigger piece, or keep my exact piece, or any of that, but how to enjoy my slice to the fullest. To do that, I have to stop worrying about other people’s slices. I only have control over how I spend my own.
To that end, I tripped over an even older mental block. Asking for what I want. In order to facilitate him making decisions about those slices, he has to know what I want and need, so he can give me whatever he is able to. And in order for me to be happy, I have to take care of my own wants and needs. This means several things. First, I have to know what I want and need. Second, I have to tell him what I want and need. Third, I have to be patient about getting those met. I have several stumbling blocks in this series. Knowing what I need seems to have gotten easier, though I sometimes have trouble with the want/need line, falling on the side of, well, I don’t really Need that, I can Survive without it. I’m still working on that.
The blocks really come with telling him. A couple problems here. I grew up in a household where wants were generally not considered important. At birthdays or Christmas, you could ask for things, but other than that, only if offered. And at those times two times a year, we made wish lists and didn’t demand particular things. To say, you must get me this one thing or I will be miserable, was just not done. We made a list and we’d usually get a few things off that list, but not everything, and often things that weren’t on the list. You got what they wanted to give you. So, how does this translate now? Well, if I have everything I need, I feel selfish asking for things I want. At birthdays and Christmas, I tend to posts lists to my blog, but I don’t really ask for things directly. If I’m asked what I want (to do), I tend to come off shy or coy because I’m not used to being that direct.
The next block comes in with the third step. I’m a fairly patient person, but sometimes to a fault. I won’t ask for things if I feel like the answer will be not right now. For a couple reasons. One, it feels like a no to me, and I don’t like hearing no, so I just won’t ask. Two, because I figure I might as well wait until the answer is likely to be yes. But, as he reminds me, if he doesn’t know what I want, I am taking away his chance to decide if there’s time/opportunity for it, nor can he plan for it in the future if there isn’t time in that moment. So I have to ask, and then be patient about receiving.
To make the most of our slice of poly pie, we have to be fully informed of each other’s wants and needs. I have to grow and overcome some roadblocks, and let myself hear not now, without it meaning no. Sharing wants should be fun, describing things I like or want should be entertaining and arousing. Fantasies and daydreams come to life is what makes our lives amazing. Why would I deny either of us that?
October 13th, 2011
Last night’s class was on Humiliation Play. After, toy asked me about it. Said she was alright with teasing, but not the harder stuff, and was that what I liked? I fumbled around a bit, talking about last year, what went right and what went wrong in my head. And I think I only vaguely answered her question as my mind ran through a lot of things. So, I thought I’d try to pull it all together here, and form a more coherent opinion of my relationship with Humiliation Play.
Humiliation is on my Hard Limits list. It is not something I will even consider with most people. It can be emotional, harsh and potentially damaging. At its lightest, it can simply cause an anger response that is not generally conducive to that type of scene. At its harshest, it can leave you in a puddle for days or weeks. During the class last night, some of the examples were simple, but a lot of them were harsh enough to make some of the attendees wonder what they had signed up for.
We talked about several different types of play last night. Mental humiliation. Physical humiliation. Positive, arousing experiences. Negative, tearing down experiences. It all depends on your interests, turn-ons, and goals. Personally, my interests run the gamut, but weigh more heavily to the physical and positive side. Mental, and negative humiliation interest me as well, but only in certain frames of mind, and can be very tetchy to even attempt.
I volunteered an example last night of physical humiliation. I offered up a memory of holding his flashlight in my mouth and drooling all down it, and being forced to do so and let the drool form a puddle on the floor. I have a thing about messy bodily fluids, especially my own. And not only was I being dehumanized into a lamp to serve a purpose he wanted, I was also forced to drool all over the place because the noise of me trying to prevent such was “more annoying to him than the drool.” I like being used for useful purposes. I am turned on by serving him, whether actively and mentally, or physically as a tool. My faced burned with embarrassment at being told to quick sucking in the drool, and then being teased about the pool on the floor, but I had been doing what he told me to do, following instructions, and being useful, so I was happy.
I’ve had other scenes of being used, in various different ways. Being told I’m only good for that thing, or being made to say it myself. Being degraded for my “only use” being that single purpose, or for liking what was being done. Called names that related to the activity, being forced to call myself those names. In other times, in other spaces, those things would and have bothered me, but deep in that type of headspace, it just turns me on more and more.
The other side of humiliation play, I don’t get into so much. It’s harder, harsher, and more dangerous. It gets more personal, more deeply mental, more emotional. It digs deep into your brain and your self and can leave lasting marks if not done very carefully. Even the above stuff, can do that, but, for me, this is so much touchier. There are two reasons I will go to the dark side. One, I need to work on a personal issue. I want it shoved in my face and for him to make me stare unblinkingly at it until I can really see it. Two, I want to be crushed. I want a release so deep and satisfying, that nothing else will do. I’m not entirely sure the first reason is an entirely healthy reason to do humiliation play, but it makes sense to me.
The trick with both of these, is planning. Both parties knowing what is wanted or needed, and being prepared for it, mentally, physically, and time wise. By that last I mean, neither of these are quick scenes, and both are going to require a decent amount of aftercare, most likely on both sides. As for mentally, triggers are especially important to identify, and discuss before (possibly during) and after. In the first, going after something specific, is likely to have its own triggers, you have to be prepared for them to be pulled. In the second, there might be triggers you want to avoid, or triggers that are okay to hit to get the desired result. Communication is very important, but even with the best, be aware that you might stumble across hidden triggers, and know how you are both going to handle them.
I mentioned aftercare just above, but it is important in any kind of humiliation scene, even one that was completely arousing and enjoyable. We talked last night about the importance of knowing what you need for aftercare, both top and bottom. Last year, we created a ritual that was supposed to be our aftercare. The intention was to get rid of any negativity from the scene and transition back to reality. It had all the elements we thought were needed, and we worked to remember to do it every time. But somewhere in the mix, it wasn’t always enough. There were other things going on, I’m not trying to simplify what happened, but part of it was that I was not always successfully making the transition. It wasn’t enough aftercare to get me out of that headspace and into normal. I needed more. Point here being, figure that out. If you aren’t coming fully out of the scene (the presenters pointed out last night that a warning sign of this can be hyper-focus on a negative detail of the scene), figure out why. Figure out what else you need. Make sure you get it. Don’t feel like you’re overly needy or being a burden. If you are going to play this way, you have to take care of yourself, and your partner. Broken toys are not fun to play with.
August 3rd, 2011
I was going to do the posts close together, but things keep getting busy. So, here’s the second post on The Ethical Slut, part II. This one focuses on Jealousy and Fear.
“No one can own another person.” (117) An important thing to remember, whether or not you are poly. You do not own your partner. (We aren’t talking about Master/slave ownership agreements here, that’s another discussion.) You are not responsible for their actions, and your every moment is not about each other. It would be a rather boring life for most of us to spend every waking moment with only one other person. There are jobs, and friends, and family and hobbies and a myriad of other things that are part of life. You share your life, poly or not, with many people, things and activities.
“Jealousy may be an expression of insecurity, of fear of rejection, fear of abandonment, feeling left out, feeling not good enough, or feeling inadequate.” (134) “[Jealousy] is a part of you, a way that you express fear and hurt.” (137) Jealousy is a normal human emotion. Everyone has jealousy at some point in their lives over something. It’s natural. And it can tell you when something is important to you. If it wasn’t important, you wouldn’t react to it.
“We imagine we know his thoughts, when in fact we are thinking about our fears.” (121) Our imaginations are great creators of fear. Sometimes, our imagination just leads us to silence or inaction. I can’t be that, he’ll say this. I can’t do that, she’ll think this. I can’t ask that, he’ll say no. How do we know? We don’t, we’re just projecting our fears onto our partner.
“You actually don’t know what your partner is doing. The images you see in your mind are the perfect reflection of your own fears.” (149) Our imagination gives us false impressions of what our partner is doing with others, or while out of our sight. We are afraid of what they are doing, afraid we’ll be hurt by it. “It helps to ask, “What am I afraid might happen?”” (131) We might imagine that the other person is better at it than we are. That they’ll enjoy it more with that other person. That we will pale in comparison. We might be afraid that he won’t want us anymore, or won’t want to do a certain thing with us anymore. We can really let our imaginations run away with us. That’s why communication is so important, before and after. So that we can stay in touch with the reality of a situation.
“What are the specific images that disturb me the most?” (148) It is important to figure out what triggers your fears, insecurities and jealousy the most. To identify major issues, so they can be named(often this, is enough to take the power away), discussed and perhaps disarmed. Or, if not disarmed, perhaps agreements can be made around them, to the benefit of all involved. No one wants to make their partners unhappy.
“Jealous might actually be envy.” (134) “When I’m not taking care of getting what I want, it’s easy to get jealous and think that someone else is getting what I am not.” (137) Are there things that you want that others appear to be getting? Are you asking for those things? Can you work out a way to have the experience you are missing so that you aren’t envious of the other person? It is important to take care of yourself, and your wants and needs. Don’t give jealousy any more footholds than it already has.
“Sometimes jealousy has at its root feelings of grief or loss.” (134) This goes back to economics of starvation, for me. Feeling like I’m losing something if someone else gets the same. Jealousy over fear of loss. I have to remind myself that someone else getting something does not take away from what I already have. And, it can even strengthen it.
“If you try to pretend that you are not jealous when you are, others will perceive you as dishonest, or worse yet, they may believe you, and see no need to support and protect you.” (138) “Denying your jealousy can lead you to act out harsh feelings in ways you will regret later.” (138) Expressing jealousy can be painful, but denying it can be damaging. It isn’t easy to admit you are feeling negatively about your partner, but letting negativity fester only makes things worse. If you can admit to it, you can then talk about it, and get through it. Together. A shared burden is easier to carry.
“The way to unlearn jealousy is to be willing to experience it.” (139) “You can feel jealousy without acting on it.” (140) Like any other emotion, jealousy does not have to take over. You can feel it and see it and deal with it, without letting it control you. This can take practice though, and time. And you have to want to. You are in control of you, even when you feel out of control. Ask for help when you need it, and jealousy is nothing to be afraid of.
“You and your partners need to practice talking about jealousy.” (151) I’m not sure how to practice, but talking about jealousy is the best way I know to get through it. Getting your feelings out, having them acknowledged and supported, if not agreed with, and then having help getting through them, is a great feeling. But that’s the next blog post, Emotions and Validation.
July 21st, 2011
So, this extra post is inspired by a several things. One, it’s my birthday on Sunday. Two, toy was giving me a hard time about not asking for things I want (for my birthday). And three, he made a comment the other day that a lot of our play has been about things that he likes(it’s awesome and fortunate, that our kinks match up so well), and due to various things over the last week, he’s curious to try some of the stuff that I like. Thus the straitjacket on Monday. So, without further ado, here’s a short list of scene ideas that came to mind when I thought about my upcoming birthday… while at work… and bored… in the order they came to me.
- Obviously, over the knee, barehanded birthday spankings. This one’s just a given. It’s tradition in all parts of life, to give birthday spankings. So, I want bare hand on bare ass and dear gods, please over the knee, but hey. Girl’s gotta have something special.
- Clothes cut off. I have had this in my head for a while now, but I never really thought too much on it. But when I was writing this list it was second to come to mind. I realized that Every kidnap fantasy I have, they cut off my clothes. This is one I’ve never indulged (it requires pre-planning or the sacrifice of cute clothes), but apparently is a huge turn-on for me.
- Suspension. It’s just all kinds of wonderful and always on my mind. He suspended me last week, quick and dirty, but oh so nice, and spacy. Lovely. So, I think this wish has been nicely fulfilled.
- Sex. Oral. Masturbation. Well, duh, it’s fun. (I’ll get a little more creative further down the page.)
- Intense rope scene. You know the kind. Tied up tight, rope after rope, losing freedom bit by bit. Digging in, dropping down, nothing but you, him and the rope. Eeling optional. The kind of eeling that when you get something free, he just ties it down tighter. And you’re both exhausted by the time the last rope is removed.
- Electric oral. I’ve been curious about this for ages. Since the first time he mentioned it. In that kind of terrified, but oh so curious kind of way.
- TENS masturbation. I want to find the right places. I’ve played with TENS units on various occasions in various ways, but I’ve never found The Spots. Yeah, we’ve turned me all tingly and what not, but I hear stories of more and better. Of getting it to cross the clit. Of getting it to cause orgasms. So very curious.
- Vibrator orgasms until collapse. Writing this made me laugh, then blush. There’s nothing like a Hitachi going on and on until you’ve had so many orgasms that you’re begging for it to stop. And then being forced to have more.
- Clothespin challenge. I wrote this at work with ?’s around it because most of my thoughts were not around painful scenes. The idea popped into my head, inspired by Monday, and spurred on by memories of a game show. How many clothes pins would it take? How many is too many? I think lying down I could take more than standing up. I have this problem with breathing. And then what about taking them off? One by one? Or a big long zipper?
- Sensual flogging or drumming. The rhythmic kind, meant for spacing out and massage. Not the pain of catharsis, not looking for tears or challenge. Just music and thumping and letting go.
- Full body massage. This goes on the same line. Just soft sensation, of touching and caring and love.
June 10th, 2011
My academic pursuit this month, otherwise known as “I’m tired of packing project,” (unfortunately, yesterday, when I got tired, of packing I fell asleep instead of posting) is The Ethical Slut, by Dossie Easton and Catherine A. Liszt, which I posted about the first time I read it. This week, I read Part 1: Within Ourselves, and took down quotes I found pertinent or important to me. So, I thought I’d make this week’s post a discussion of those quotes. I divided them into five categories: Sex, Poly, Social Programming, Communication and Internal Struggles.
Let’s start with Social Programming. This group is about overcoming our social programming so we can live the life we want to live and be true to oneself. “Our programming is changeable.” “You are already whole.” “ Great sluts are made, not born.” “People… free of shame, would trust their own sense of right and wrong.” (pp. 6, 34, 59, 71) So, what do all these quotes mean to me?
I grew up in a religiously based household, taught ‘how things ought to be’ from a young age. One husband, one wife, kids, and pets. Sex inside marriage only. And no kinky stuff. So, the first quote, of programming being changeable. I don’t have to live with the programming my parents gave me. It worked for them, but it does not have to be mine as well. If it doesn’t work for me, then I can change it to fit myself. The third quote goes along with that. It takes work to overcome social programming, to make myself into what I want to be. I cannot just assume I have all the skills and understanding to live the way I want to live. I have to learn and grow and create my life.
The second quote. Being whole. Society likes to push marriage and kids onto us. You aren’t a grown up, until you’re married. You aren’t fulfilling your purpose until you have kids. And on and on. Not everyone wants to be married, not everyone wants to have kids. There is nothing wrong with either of these things. You are a whole person, in and of yourself, without the need for a relationship or offspring to validate your existence.
The final quote, came from Wilhelm Reich’s speeches to young Communists in Germany in 1936. He was speaking against free expression and sexuality, because this would prevent an authoritarian government. I think it is a good point, though. Without social programming telling us that what we feel is wrong and dirty, we would be free to trust our own judgment, our own selves, about what was good and right for us, and what was wrong. That would certainly reduce our unnecessary guilt and self-recriminations.
So, on that note, let’s move on to Internal Struggles, a lot of which come from Social Programming. “Each person owns her own feelings. No one ‘makes’ me feel jealous, or insecure – the person who makes me feel that way is me.” “Knowing, loving and respecting yourself is an absolute prerequisite to knowing, loving and respecting someone else.” “You must speak truth, first to yourself, then to those around you.” “Shame, and beliefs we were taught that our bodies, desires and sex are dirty and wrong, make it very hard to develop a healthy self-esteem.” “Do remember: your sexiness is about how you feel, not how you look.” (pp. 65, 67, 67, 93, 94)
To live this life, I have had to look inside me, to consider myself and my truth a lot more than I ever did before. I have to take responsibility for myself, my feelings, and my actions, something that in today’s society it seems to be more popular to blame others for. Yes, things people say or do upset me, but it is me choosing to react that way. Me choosing to let it bother me. Me choosing whether to talk to them about it, or brood silently. My choice to let negativity fester or toss it out into the light to die. To be in control of my emotions and my reactions, I have to know myself, love myself and respect myself enough to look for the truth in myself. I have to figure out what’s really going on inside me, so I can share it with those that matter.
A wonderful side effect of this lifestyle I have chosen, has been a much better body image and self-esteem. I grew up hiding my body, wearing baggy shirts and jeans year round. Boys hardly every looked at me before college, and I never gave them a reason to. One day in high school, my mother must have been having a bad day, because she told me I was fat. I took this to mean she thought I was ugly and unattractive. Just one stray comment and I held onto it for years. I didn’t believe that I weighed too much, but unattractive, absolutely.
Then I started dating, but I was still hiding in my clothes. Boys were interested in me, some told me I was attractive. But I didn’t believe them. I started having sex and doing kinky things. Boys didn’t run screaming from my body. That seemed like a good thing. My dad once told me I should get sexy underwear so I’d feel better about myself. That was strange. Dated some more, here and there and around the world. Still hiding. Got married, continued to hide, though I got cuter clothes from hubby and his mom. Other men were still attracted to me. That was strange to me. Why would they look at me? Talk to me sure, I’m bright and fun, but look at me?
We swung a bit and then became poly. We joined a few groups, and started going to events. I got more and more compliments, and people appreciating my body, my energy, my sexiness. I was encouraged to wear cuter (and shorter) outfits. I gained confidence in not just my body, but myself. The community is full of so many people of different body types, and people are attracted to them all. People are attracted to skin, to body parts, to men, to women, to everything and everyone. I learned that you don’t have to be perfect, or a certain size, shape, or height. You just have to comfortable and happy in your own skin. If you feel sexy(and sometimes even when you don’t), you are sexy.
Next, let’s explore Poly. “We tend to like our lives complicated, with lots of stuff going on to keep us interested and engaged.” “Is there some virtue in being difficult?” “The human capacity for sex and love and intimacy is far greater than most people think.” “What rewards can you foresee that will compensate you for doing the hard work of learning to be secure in a world of shifting relationships?” “I don’t have to fulfill every single thing my partner needs or wants.” “Faithfulness is about honoring your commitments and respecting your friends and lovers.” “You don’t have to force anyone into a mold that doesn’t fit: all you have to do is enjoy how you do fit together, and let go of the rest.” (pp. 7, 29, 36, 59, 59, 63, 73)
I’ll start at the top. Complicated lives. I’ve always kept busy. Band, theater, gaming, volunteering, writing, working, studying. My love life was often complicated, even before I came out as poly. I spent time with multiple guys, or with guys who had girlfriends elsewhere, or with different guys in different countries. I flirted online a lot, with men, women and couples. The first time hubby proposed to me, he was already engaged to someone else. I love order and organizing, but my life has always been fairly complicated. It’s not that I’m easy, I have standards, but I agree with Dossie and Catherine, why be intentionally difficult?
Our capacity for love and intimacy is huge. We love family, friends, lovers, pets, people we see on TV, even characters in books or shows. All in different ways, perhaps, but that’s a lot of love, and we always have more for new people coming into our lives. Why should romantic love be different? If everyone is honest and respectful, then, to me, everyone is being faithful. I always did like the song from Kiss Me, Kate with the chorus “Always true to you baby, in my fashion. I’m always true to you baby, in my way.”
Then we get to the rewards for all this learning and growing into the people we want to be. And the remaining two quotes answer that one. In poly, thanks to poly, I don’t have to try and be everything, and do everything, and fit into a mold of the “perfect partner.” I can be me, and they can be themselves, and we find out what needs we can fulfill for each other, and enjoy those things together.
This leads right into Communication, the most important thing, for me, in poly. “Consent – an active collaboration for the benefit, well-being and pleasure of all persons concerned.” “They may be shy in the seductive stages, and bolder once welcome has been secured. Women tend to want explicit permission, and for each specific act.” “Talk clearly and listen effectively.” “Being able to ask for and receive reassurance and support is extremely important.” “It’s vital to be able to give reassurance and support.” “Lots of hugging, touching, verbal affection, sincere flattery.” “You need to know how and when to say no.” “The historical censorship of discussion about sex has left us with another disability: the act of talking about sex… has become difficult and embarrassing.” “What you can’t talk about, you can hardly think about.” “Most of us have been struck dumb by the scariest communication task of all – asking for what we want.” “If you are not free to say ‘no,’ you can’t really say ‘yes.’” “You have a right to your limits and it is totally okay to say no to [anything] you don’t like or are not comfortable with.” (pp. 21-2, 49, 61, 61, 62, 62, 63, 95, 95, 101, 103, 106)
Several different subcategories here. Staring with general communication – being able to speak clearly as well as listen. I have learned, over the last few years, that what one person says and the other person hears, are not always the same thing. I have learned the importance of restating what I think the other person is trying to communicate, so he can agree, or try another way of explaining.
Being able to communicate needs and wants (as well as knowing the difference), and being able to hear the same from my partners has been vital to our relationships. I still have trouble taking about sex out loud, and am sometimes embarrassed to write about it. But we work together, and talk together, and we open with each other and I am more and more able to talk about it. It’s still not perfect, nothing ever is. But I am learning and growing, and overcoming the embarrassment and shame of my social programming.
Being able to ask for and receive reassurance and support, in any number of ways, can be hard. Why should I have doubts and need reassurance after all this time? Well, because I’m human, and imperfect and the little devil on my shoulder, or the little voice in my head gets too loud sometimes, and I need help shouting him down. And it has been very important to me, that my partners have been there to give me that. Even if all I need is a hug, or the words I love you, to calm me down, and even more so, when I’ve wanted a flogging or tight rope bondage.
Then there is consent. I like their definition: “an active collaboration for the benefit, well-being and pleasure of all persons concerned.” We want to have fun, be safe and healthy and work together for these things. Consent is for everyone, tops, bottoms, masters, slaves, doms, subs, husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends. It is not just one person consenting to the other, it is both(or more) people consenting to each other. And being able to say no, is just as important as being able to say yes. You have to be able to say no, or yes doesn’t mean anything. There’s consensual non-consent, and there are no-limit slaves, but in the end, if you cannot ultimately turn and walk away, then you are not really consenting to be there.
On to happier topics – Sex. “Sex is nice and pleasure is good for you.” “We have never met anyone who has low self-esteem at the moment of orgasm.” “The existence of her clitoris was proof positive that God loved her.” “Sex is whatever the people engaging in it think it is… if you… feel sexual… that’s sex, for you.” “Sex is a healthy force in our lives.” “We like to think that all sensual stimulation is sexual, from a shared emotion to a shared orgasm.” “When sex becomes goal-oriented, we may focus on what gets us to orgasm to the exclusion of enjoying all the nifty sensations that come before (and, for that matter, after).” “Sexually successful people masturbate.” (pp. 4, 19, 27, 39. 40, 92, 96, 98)
We live in a culture of double standards. Sex sells – well, everything. But we are taught to avoid it, that it’s dangerous, that it’s only for marriage, that touching ourselves is disgusting. We are taught to be embarrassed by sexuality. But sex is wonderful, and it’s not just about intercourse, or orgasms. Being a kinky person, there are so many different ways that I find sensual and sexual pleasure. Being poly, hubby and I have a very strict definition of what sex is, in regards to our rules about who we can “have” it with. But that is about intercourse and sexual//reproductive health. We give and receive sensual and sexual stimulation with a lot of different people, in a lot of different ways, including our own selves. Intercourse is great, orgasms are great, but they are not the end all and be all of our sexual lives. We like things complicated, remember? I really enjoy the sex-positive nature of this book and the confidence it reminds me to have about myself and my desires in a culture that tells me I am wrong and disgusting in so many ways. I love my life, and I am happy with who I am.