“We’re all mad here.” *

The perceived conflict between feminism and submission (of BDSM) can be an exhausting one to wrestle with. Sometimes, it’s quite maddening.

Last night I had a wonderful reminder that, yes actually, we’re all a little bit mad. After attending a beautiful performance about relationships, kink and the strangeness and freedom of being a submissive woman, I left the theatre feeling as though my way of life had been affirmed. I didn’t leave with my chest pushed out and the almighty feeling of women’s power pumping through generations and into my veins. I felt acknowledged. I felt part of something very fundamental and primal in many of us. I also felt like it was OK to feel pretty messed up sometimes. Or at least, OK to feel the panic of working it all out. Particularly when the fear of how Others will view you can be so damaging and pervasive. I turned to a friend afterwards and said: “Oh, so we all feel like this then?” She smiled knowingly.

It’s hard to describe what it is like to be in any relationship. The unique feelings you have with anyone you have ever spent time with will, I believe, always be ultimately ineffable. It’s difficult enough to explain why an open relationship is important to me and why I feel it works well for my partner and I. To then describe the sheer clit-throbbing rush I get from kneeling before him naked with only a cup of tea in my hands and a collar around my neck…. well…You’re probably starting to understand why I think it’s difficult to sum it all up.

Relationships are beautifully complicated. Being queer and kinky certainly doesn’t change any of that. Yet, in its essence, there is a simplicity. After long conversations, mistakes and, yes, a few minor injuries, I can honestly say that in my personal life kink suits me very well. It encourages me to use my imagination, push my limits and lets worries just utterly wash away for a time. Am I mad? Of course I am. But I live my life. I contribute. I function. I celebrate and share myself and my knowledge with others. Am I still feminist, even though I kneel at the feet of a man? Of course I fucking am. I chose to be there and we have chosen to take care of each other, in whatever quirky and consensual ways we think we’ll both enjoy. There’s nothing wrong with reveling in a little madness.

 

Chesire Cat in Alice in Wonderland (Just in case that wasn’t clear).

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Things I love Thursday

Following some advice on finding the comforts in my life, this week’s ‘Things I love Thursday’ is all about the self care stuff. This week, I’m loving:

  • The heating in my new house. Seriously, it’s so good to be warm.
  • My growing sex toy collection, including my latest vibrator with double penetrator*
  • Stumbling upon gorgeous artwork 
  • Dancing out the bad moods, in any talentless flaying, fumbling fiasco that you fancy*

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*Disclaimer: This is just the vibrator I have recently bought. I’m not paid to suggest or review Love Honey products. 

 

The black dog

When you have a mental illness, you’re always carrying it IMG_5933around with you. For me, depression is constantly sitting inside of me. It’s a sleepy dog in the pit of my solar plexus. The problem is that, sometimes, it’s not me who stirs it awake. Sometimes, it’s the people who want to be close to me. The people who will reach out and touch my darkness. Last week my partner copped this pretty severely. I’m not sure if he reached out and touched the depression in me, or if my ‘black dog’ chased him away in the night.

 

Sometimes it consumes me so completely that it’s in the driving seat. Instead of seeking comfort from loved ones or even seeking comfort from self, this ‘black dog’ snaps and bites at anyone. Loved or not. Since recently being introduced to the term ‘black dog,’ I imagine my depression like an abused creature. Sometimes it will accept the love it finds, and other times it lashes out at anyone who comes near it (with loving intent or not).

IMG_5934What makes this even more difficult is when the people or person you love also has their own creatures of depression driving their bodies around. For me, I’m frantic when my black dog needs comfort. I’m running wild trying to find anything to ease the pain. If I can’t find it, I collapse until I fall asleep. My partner is different. He goes quiet. Shuts down. It’s as though he backs way up into a corner and refuses to surface, for fear that any light may sting.

So, how do we deal with this? Honestly, I haven’t figured that out yet. Nonetheless, I refuse to accept that depression makes us broken people.

When we are ourselves again, we can begin to see the triggers and pull at the thoughts that so often trip us up. Each time, I remember I am a whole being. Once upon a time I would have given in quickly. I’d declare that this part of me makes me incomplete and ultimately undeserving of love. But little by little I’m letting people see more of me. Little by little, I’m understanding that it’s worth the effort to begin to accept the kinder things, the comforts, the praise, the thank yous, the loving gestures and words. Little by little.

“Wow, have you lost weight?”

One of the biggest battles I have faced as a sexual being has been trying to accept myself for the way I look. And accept that the way I look will change.

At some point in my life I finally realised it wasn’t about looking a particular way. It was, as cliché builds onto cliché, about just loving and accepting my body. My weight has often fluctuated throughout my life. When people tell me I’ve lost weight or that I look good, I used to feel pride or confusion. I have grown to truly hate the phrase “Wow, you look great. Have you lost weight?” As though looking attractive is dependent upon my losing a little around the tummy or the hips! Why can’t we simply tell someone they look nice or healthy, or happy! And I don’t mean healthy as a euphemism for putting on weight either. The pressure of looking a particular way is so embedded into our culture that it’s almost impossible to live up to the standard.

So, where do I think we should start? With our words, of course. Instead of “I look fat in this,” try “this doesn’t suit my body.” Instead of “You’ve lost weight,” try “hey, love the look.” With our words we put the emphasis on the supposed ideal of weight and we put the blame on things that we, fundamentally, might not be able to change. At least not without drastic and expensive body augmentations.

You aren’t wrong – the clothes are.

Other people (friends, family, media) who comment on your size and shape aren’t always right – their perception is often skewed.

We weren’t all made from the same mould. So why do we treat each other like we were, or should have been?

 

Things I love Thursday

Nothing like a Thursday to make you stop and find something to feel good about. Here’s my little list for this week:

  • Quiet. This week I’m trying to accept the value of quiet moments. (I’m quite the talker, so this is a little bit of a tricky one).
  • Renewed strength. After several weeks of feeling ill, I’m finally feeling a little more on top of my health. Walking for an hour may not have been an accomplishment a year ago, but it’s felt pretty good this week.
  • Drawings. My desk is currently littered with little squiggles of cheerful things.

 

How about you? What’s floating your boat this week?

How to say “yes” and mean it.

How to say “yes” and mean it.

Just saying “no” to sexual advances can actually be very difficult at times. Body language, tone of voice, history, relationship, context and the emotional intelligence of the person or persons can have a massive impact on how the rejection is received, or not received. But happiness in a hat box, is also a place to appreciate the great parts of sex.

That in mind, I thought I would begin a list of different ways to consent to sexual activities, both before and during. Please go ahead and add your own suggestions. If the way you say yes is simply a nod, that’s great. If you say yes by waving a turkey in the air, firing a gun and yelling “Show time!” I want to hear about that too. (Maybe with a little explanation of context).

Ways to say yes:

  1. Sounds good
  2. Uh huh  (Best delivered with wide eyes and an opened mouth, in my opinion)
  3. I’m up for it
  4. We’re on the same page
  5. Groan happily
  6. Whimper happily
  7. Screaming happily

This may require checking in, to make sure the person knows it’s a scream of joy. Again, context, relationship etc. etc. will all come into it.  

  1. Keep going
  2. Thankyou!

A personal favourite of mine and it always makes my partner grin from ear to ear.

  1. Can you be more specific?

This can lead to a yes or a no, but I think we too often assume what someone means when we’re too scared to ask for clarification. However you want to phrase it, making sure you know what you’re in for makes a difference. One person’s “anal play” might mean gentle stroke of the nearby area, another person’s “anal play” may be the largest ball on the beads.  

  1. I’d like that (If you’re stuck in a romantic drama, of course).
  2. That sounds good, but I will pump the breaks if I need to, and I expect you to stop.

This one seems oddly specific, but in the early days of my partnered sexual activity, I realised that sometimes people need to hear that this is about going at your own pace, not about anyone rushing each other to some desired point. I found it was also a good one to hear myself say out loud. If you know that you might not want to fuck someone to the nth degree, affirming out loud for yourself is important. I also found that it scared off the jerks and helped others to feel comfortable checking in more often, or just slowing things down themselves.

  1. More!
  2. Safe words.

Most people know about safe words as a way to say no or stop, without actually having to use those words. Yet, mutually agreed upon safe words don’t just have to be for slowing down. They can be a quick and easy way to affirm consent of something that’s happening. My partner and I often engage in pretty heavy BDSM play and given then nature of our own expectations, something that was a wet dream in our own minds, can fast become a pretty scary nightmare in reality. Noting the worry on a partner’s face and having a quick and easy way to reassure them that everything is OK, saves a lot of unnecessary conversation. It also keeps things flowing nicely.

  1. Beginning to undress yourself.
  2. Fuck yes!

 

These are just a few ideas. Don’t forget to comment and help someone else find the words, or actions, they may need.

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Not so sinful masturbation

 

Masturbation used to be a source of guilt for me. I still remember being so anxious about someone catching me in the act that I only enjoyed myself for a few seconds.

A friend in school once told me a joke about this. It went along the lines of:

Q: What’s the most sensitive part of your body when you masturbate?

A: Your ears, because you’re listening to see if someone is coming.  

I found it hilarious, because I completely understood. (Although I pretended not to). Back then I never told anyone that I masturbate and I lied when asked. Why? Because I was a girl. Where I grew up it was assumed that all boys masturbated. I even overheard them make jokes about it. But for a girl to masturbate? Well, that was just yucky (Pfft!)

I went years thinking masturbation was wrong. I even confessed to my psychologist (at the age of 20) that is was my “deep, dark secret.” I only told her because it seemed impossible to keep it to myself any longer.

20 years thinking that touching my own body in a particular way was wrong! Up to that point I had squeezed pimples, scooped out belly button fluff, stared at my tongue in the mirror and probably glanced at snotty tissues a few times too. But touching my vulva?! Surely that was more disgusting?! Again, PFFT!

I think many women my age and older have been implicitly taught: you shouldn’t enjoy your own body.  This way of thinking leads to a lot of other problems. The two that often stand out to me:

  • We assume sex is all about the penis. Once the man gets off, that’s it – we have completed sex*
  • We can’t talk about our body and teach sexual partners how it works, because we don’t know ourselves.

Think about that for a minute. There are so many other problems that can then arise from years of these two ways of thinking. One of the huge difficulties I see is that this can lead to losing ownership of our bodies! How can we celebrate and enjoy our own body, if we don’t first explore it and understand it? With that in mind, I’d like to encourage you to try and find out something new about your body, as a means of giving sexual pleasure.  Whether it’s using a new toy to masturbate with, finding a new position, scheduling in some time to masturbate when you know no one else is home, rubbing yourself down with something luscious, or even just doing a google search on the anatomy of all your lovely bits! Enjoy your body.

*I’ve talked a lot about women and basically referred to man/woman pairings in this post. I’ve used my own life as a starting point, where there was a lot of pressure to have ‘heterosexual’ sex, when I was younger. There is a lot more I intend to write about on masturbation and how we need to “own our bodies.”  If there’s anything in particular you would like me to cover next, please scroll to the top and leave a comment. If it fits in, I will do my best to cover your topic or address your comment.