It’s not the first time I’ve been presented these two words like they’re complete opposites of a coin, only one happening at a time.  Which is so very odd to me.  Do people wake up one day six months, three years, or even a decade into a relationship not understanding what is acceptable interaction between yourself and your partner?  Of course you don’t.  As you grow and build a relationship (which we could also call a history of interaction) with someone, you come to anticipate how they will react to things.  You’ll learn that they hate having their feet touched, but a smack on the ass as you walk by is peachy.  You’ll learn that they’re really into being woken up with sex – but only if you made a coffee and put it on the bedside table first.  You’ll learn that they love being grabbed around the neck, thrown on the couch and having their face ridden like a thoroughbred on Tuesdays after they’ve had 10 minutes to settle into home after their day, Friday nights as long as you start by 6pm because at 7pm their show is on, or Sunday afternoons – and never more than twice in the same week.

Sound complicated?  If you don’t know someone, it definitely is.  But that’s why relationships are built over time and build that history of interaction and include little conversations over breakfast like, “Hey, I keep thinking about jumping you one day… Just grabbing you and throwing you down, restraining you with my belt, and destroying whatever you’re wearing so I can fuck you.  What do you think about that?”  If you can’t have those conversations, you have no business trying that move out.  I’d say a good rule of thumb for attempting anything you haven’t discussed is to be 95% – or higher – sure that whatever you’re about to do will land the way you want it to.  If you’re verging on 50%?  You’re engaging in high-risk behaviour.  It’s not a matter of if you fuck up; it’s when, and how severe.

Also, please remember that being “okay” with something that happened, or allowing it to happen, is not the same thing as consenting to it.  People choose, for a multitude of reasons, to keeping going with sexual or BDSM encounters even when they aren’t 100% cool with everything that’s happening, and any choice that gets made around that is completely up to the individual that makes it.  The really sad thing is many people are measuring the uncool thing that is happening against shutting down the encounter – the worst possible scenario – or some other unknown thing.  If you’ve never once thought, “Well, I don’t like that x is happening… but I think they’ll stop if I just y, so let’s try that.” then I’m going to gently suggest your experiences are not that of the average person and perhaps you should spend some time considering that.

If someone comes to speak to you after one of these encounters they are doing you a favour.  They’re offering you a chance to build trust, keep things on the right track and as Guy New York notes, stop the formation of bad habits.  It might bring up a lot of feelings for you, but whoever you put off is already dealing with their own feelings.  Take your feelings to a trusted friend who will help you check your behaviour.

Not knowing something is going to happen is not the only way to be spontaneous; so I want to really encourage you to think about ways you can combine consent and spontaneity in your sex and kink.  Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section so we can all benefit, and so we can all do better.


I woke up to our local Police Chief discussing gun violence in the wake of 2 shooting deaths yesterday.  He spoke about the importance of community being willing to come forward to help justice be served,  and how both the police force and legal system must then serve that justice to build a relationship of trust.  He called it a co-production of safety.

Putting aside the eye rolling notion that legalities = justice, I thought the term co-production of safety was interesting and started thinking about how it applied to both the kink community at large and individual interactions.  I think it builds the notion that we’re all in this together, which is really important because no one person can keep themselves safe when their interacting with other humans…..that’s just not how things work.

I’m still turning over how to put that language into use while staying on the right side of personal responsibility (that is, you have a personal responsibility not to infringe on the rights of other people) and ensuring we focus on systems being in place, and working correctly, so that we can *do* something with information that is provided….. but I think the term has benefit.

Definitely a term that I’ll be including in my Conversations on Consent classes from now on.


I wanna be perfectly honest with you.  I’m sick – sick – of the majority of consent conversations out there.  I don’t have it in me to tell you you ought to care about the well being of people you engage with, or at a bare minimum offer them the same bodily autonomy you expect for yourself.  I’m not interested in hearing if you’ve fallen on the right side of the law or not – laws are what make you not criminal; they say very little about your ethics levels.

We can do better.

We need to do better.

Here’s what I”m still interested in talking about:

How can I be my brother’s keeper?

Being part of a community means being responsible for each other and to each other.  So how do we effectively do that?  How can we call each other in, ask each other to do better without the isolation and shaming?  How can we empower and encourage people to be vocal about their limits at all times?  What information to do we need to share with newcomers from both sides of the slash?

 

Beyond the physical violations, where do emotional and mental violations/incidents fit in?

In the grand scheme of consent, the physical stuff is often the easiest.  It’s the easiest to check in on, and the easiest to know when you’ve gone off script.  But feeling violated, experiencing scene regret, lies betrayal, broken trust – these require nuanced language that we haven’t even given birth to yet – nevermind gained eloquence in the way the clunky words fall off our tongues.

Whether the feelings of violation come from a physical, emotional and mental source the net result is the same – people are hurting – this is what I care about.  How do we talk about this?

 

How do we create a culture that minimizes harm?

Key word there?  Minimize.  I’m not some Pollyanna.  I don’t think there is every going to be a solution that keeps everyone from experiencing many negative things while exploring Kink and BDSM.  But right now?  There is a lot we can do, and the most effective thing I think we can do is work towards a cultural shift.

 

How do we promote healing for all parties?

As individuals and as a community.  As topsiders and bottom dwellers.  How do we start to forgive ourselves for the times we should have spoken up but didn’t?  How do we find the compassion and openness to listen when we can and respectfully state our boundaries when we can’t?  How can we promote agency and resilience?

So if you see me out and about and you wanna chat consent with me, I’m still 100% willing.  Let’s just raise the bar a bit, okay?

 

[Side note!  I am thrilled that Rochester Kink Society is bringing me down to have this kind of juicy consent conversion.  If you’re in the Rochester area on September 13 2014, come join!


Last week saw me squired away with 60-odd sex geeks in the mountainous wilds of West Virginia, and while I knew I was going to get great advice for my Sexuality Coaching Practice, I didn’t realize I’d also be getting a reminder in why D/s matters so much in my life.

As camp drew to a close and we shared how we decompress back into the mundane world talk turned to partners and connection which turned quickly to sex.  Connection via physical intimacy.

What luck thought I, I’m on my way to my Lord and Love.  We shall have All The Sex.  Forgetting completely that “The Sex” is no where near as comforting or as connecting as The D/s is.  Cue a round of underwhelming sex that ended in tears (with little voices in my head yelling noooo – this is how you connect, stop it I mean don’t stop it – fuck harder damn it!) all of which could have been avoided if we’d stuck to our connecting ritual of foot worship, leg cuddling and head petting.  The care and feeding of this pet is actually pretty simple:  don’t let her over complicate things, provide more head pets.

Time and time again life brings me back to the knowledge that power based relationships work best for me.  And that power isn’t based in humiliation, punishment, or even in 1000 orgasms.  It’s built in the simple ask that I be open and vulnerable with my partner, and that I trust them when they say they choose me, and we got this.

I think I forget so often that this is how power exchange looks in my world because it flows so easily.  Protect me an I will adore you.  Accept me and I will bend to your will.  Help me flourish an I will devote my being to you.  No contracts, little protocol….  but yes ritual.

Ritual that needs to be respected and adhered to, because it’s because the physical manifestation of our power exchange.  When we let that slide in the hustle and bustle of life, faulty GPS directions and tiredness, we do a disservice to ourselves and our relationship because we’re dampening our connection.    I don’t want to do that.

One more place to practice mindfulness.

 

 

 

 


I remember when I first heard this term.  It was from feminist frequency’s original Women vs Tropes YouTube run.  I remember how it connected with me, not only because I shared some many qualities of the magical girl, but also because it had become a little bit of a saviour trope.  People see my fun and want a part of it, so they assume that being with me means my fun will transfer onto them.

And I get it – I’m fun.  I’m the kinda intrinsic fun that radiates joy from the core of my being.  I’m so in love with life that ridiculously simple things bring a beaming smile to my face:  floating on a pool noodle at the local sex club, a car driving by playing a song I like.  When I’m driving in the car and I crest a hill and it is so fucking beautiful I’ll actually leak a few happy tears.   That’s the level of joy I’m talking.  And living with joy is a beautiful, spectacular, amazing thing.

But having to live with joy is something very different.

I don’t know if you’ve been someone’s life line before, but it’s exhausting.  It thwarts your ability to express your full emotional range; to experience the complexity of being multiple emotions at the same time (yes friends, you can be overall happy while still being deeply upset in a moment), and it’s incredibly draining to have someone else rely on you for energy and entertainment.  I don’t want to be that.  do it again.  I don’t want to be responsible for anyone else’s experience – that’s an unfair ask.

I went so far as to add recovering Manic Pixie Dream Girl to my OKCupid profile.   It was my line in the sand.  And this was years ago….. to be honest I hadn’t really thought of it since.

Then, last week, while radio channel surfing that phrase caught my ear once again.  The originator of the term was on Q expanding on his recent essay I’m sorry for coining the phrase “Manic Pixie Dream Girl”.  To sum it up, he believes this useful phrased has gone from describing a very specific type of character, who is created by someone else, to describing all women who are a little quirky – even when that quirkiness comes from a completely autonomous place.   The interview and guests were interest, so I listened and I was reminded of my Manic Pixie Dream Girl; my magical child, and how much I miss her. 

My life, much like yours, I imagine, has a fair amount of stress in it.  The pace is fast, the resources are not infinite and even when the destination is clear(ish) the path isn’t.  My coping mechanism has been to do what I’ve been taught.  Buckle down, focus hard, play less, work more – it will pay off in the long run.

But can I tell you something?

I miss being fully connected to that part of myself, the eternal child part of myself that finds joy and magic in so many places (not to mention is a super connected to my power exchange).  I miss the parts that so easily open to creativity and possibility – things that are much harder to access when in rational adult mode.  Being a fulltime manic pixie dream girl might not be the wisest decision for me, but cleaving that part of myself off didn’t serve me either.

I notice the joy slipping out of my life. 

We live in a world that’s already too happy to grind us down.  Why am I giving that world any assistance?

I’m not sure how many others this sharing will resonate for.  I’m not sure if it’s a submissive thing; a Libra thing, or simply a human thing, but I struggle with keeping myself for me.  Finding the balance between partner focused (or service focused?) and still not existing for them can be a challenge.  Of course the stronger my emotional boundaries are, the more successful I am engaging in my own agency, owning what is mine while side stepping what other can be too quick to make anyone-but-themselves responsible for.  But, as with so many things in life it’s an ongoing practice, not a one time goal.  Being my own manic pixie instead of my partner’s manic pixie (or community’s manic pixie) becomes one more part of the practice.

I also struggle with remembering that out there doesn’t make me happy.  That the sacrifice now, play someday method that was handed to be doesn’t work for me.  It zaps my joy, lessons my ability to refresh and renew my spirit.  Remembering that I have learned much about me, and I need to be me becomes yet another part of the practice.

Chop wood, carry water.  Learn you, be you.  So life goes.


I like creativity – in just about every form it comes in.  Artists fill me will wonder; I hang on the words spun by storytellers; chefs make me squeal with delight.  Designers, architects – I’m sure you get the picture by now.  Creativity delights me.  So unsurprisingly, creative play partners are among my favourite partners to play with.  Those who can take me on a thrilling ride of emotions and sensations, uncertain of what comes next without being too overwhelmed so we can keep playing.  I think that’s the kind of play creates a little bit of magic – or maybe the word I’m looking for here is ecstasy.

And the most wonderful bit is that I am more than a blank canvas for my partner.  I’m the paint too.  I actively help to create these moments by opening myself wide to my partners, giving them bits and pieces of myself so, where my partner a chef, they had access to the biggest range of ingredients I could offer them.  That means I can’t just provide someone all the nice stuff and expect a dynamic scene that is truly satisfying to me.  Providing the biggest range of ingredients means that I need to let my partners know  what will make me moan with pleasure as well as pain, what while bring shrieks of delight and shrieks of anger.  Things that often lead to tears and the fastest method to turn them back off.  How to zone me out and how to bring my focus.

Body Paint by Lucia by Beatrice Murch

If I want art with depth and height, I need to provide shadows as well as light.

The trust factor comes with how these elements are put into use.  Trusting that my artist will use the right combinations and patterns to make a masterpiece instead of…. well, less than.  I’m not talking anything non-consensual, no risk of danger or bodily harm, just when creation doesn’t fully connect.  Or when you give someone the power to make you nothing but unhappy and they choose to go that route.  That’s why, even when you’re art, it’s important to remember your agency.  You can call the scene and walk away at any point.  You can remember who used the tools you gave them in a way that you liked and who didn’t.  It’s not a waste of a scene, it’s information that will help you refine your partner selection and negotiation process.

Great players aren’t born; they’re made, and failure is part of what goes into making a great player too.  Sometimes you have taste a dish before you realize it needs way less chilli and more nutmeg.  Sometimes it takes days of staring at a painting before you realize it wouldn’t be *finished* until you had a stripe of green to the lower left corner.  Learning your partner’s body, their reactions which breath means what, how far is too far and how far is just enough?  All of this knowing what to do differently next time takes the kind of skill that can only come with practice.

I'll paint our love with wild flowers by Diamond FarahUntil our partners, our artists, chefs, and co-creators are masters at our unique canvass we can help them along by communicating where we’re at often, providing specific feedback about why we called a colour or used a safeword, and we can directly ask for the cherry that’s going to top our sundae just right.  And in that process we will learn the art of walking the line between contribution and control – something we will fuck up until practice develops that skill.

The art will come.  Sometimes it just takes a while to get there.


Happy International Masturbation Month!  I said I’d be keeping content on topic this month, so BAM:  fun ways to mix power exchange with masturbation – beyond no.

Actually…. before we get to the juicy part of this post, let’s bust some myths, shall we?  Masturbation doesn’t have to be a solo act, it doesn’t have to be a vanilla act, and it certainly doesn’t have to be a stop gap substitute for any other type of sex.  If it has become that start using your imagination and spice things up!  Lemme start by offering some help with that.  Here are three ways you can add a flavour of power exchange to your masturbation play:

 

Be the Director:

Blind fold your partner and make them comfortable before you.  Direct their actions and activities.  Tell them what to take off, where to touch themselves and how to prefer for you.

Ties that Bind:

Using the restraint of your choice, immobilize your partner.  The curl up with them and masturbate; never letting them participate.  Looking to go the sensual root?  Play small spoon and nestle up into your lover.  Looking for something with more heat?  Face them and maintain eye contact.

You can’t touch me!

If you’ve been looking for a way to get into consensual non-consent play with a partner, this can be a fun and lighthearted first step.  The rules of this game are simple; you put on a masturbation show for your lover.  They can’t touch you – that is until they feel so moved with lust they have to try; and you’re job is to “fight” them off.   Quick note for the super competitive; remove breakables for your immediate area.  Back in the day, I broke 2 lamps and my desk chair playing this in my dorm.

 

I’m sure there’s more than that too –  feel free to leave some of your favourites in the comments below.


A workshop on workshops?  Say wha?!?

Well “to workshop” an idea means to expand, explore and examine that idea; see what makes it tick, see what really resonates for us, and what doesn’t.  Trust me, it’s awesome and useful.  And not just for people new to kink, but anyone who wants a more clear understanding of how kink plays out in their own lives.

We’re going to spend a few hours together getting clear(er) on our desires so we can:

  • Get more of what we actually want out of kink
  • Recognize what’s important to communicate when negotiating play/relationships/one night stands
  • Have language around our most hard to describe desires

And more. Expect a night of rich discussion and thought provoking questions.  Also, feel free to pack markers, crayons, pencil crayons, stickers, ect ;)

 

Details:

April 17, 7:30 – 9:30pm
425 Vaughan Rd (The Hermit’s Lamp)
Cost: $20 per person
Spaces are limited  – so register to make sure you get a space by shooting me an e-mail: heather@authenticsexualyou.com


ca·noo·dle

kəˈno͞odl/

verb  informal
kiss and cuddle amorously
They were canoodling in the corner
Sometimes figuring out who’s okay to hit on and who’s not in spaces that include both mono, non-mono and poly people can be difficult.  No one enjoys missing the opportunity to share something fun with another person they find attractive; and when you get used to the ask for what you want method, it can start to seem like the best plan is to just ask everyone, all the time.
This can lead to a lot of unnecessarily hurt feelings due to bad timing.  For instance, when my partner and I are headed into the designated sex area of the con hand in hand, taking that moment to introduce him to the gorgeous brunette who you’ve been telling about his skilled hands and trying to set up a date for them is actually  interrupting my date.   And while I”m sure no one is trying to be a jerk in this scenario, the interrupter had no idea how I would respond to this, and took a big risk (in that it could have blown up our date) with very little information.    [I’m happy to report that was one of my handling challenges well moments, and I excused myself to set up our date – chux, condoms, gloves, lube, etc; and then stretch until he was finished.  Also happy to report that my lover had the good sense to realize I was waiting and dealt with our interruption as quickly as possible.]
So, when you’re unsure of someone’s mono/non mono standing,  how do you know if  it’s cool to hit on someone?  And further to that, how do you know when it’s a good time to work your mojo?  How do you KNOW?!?  
Well, you can’t just know – at least not fully, and not until you have a wealth of experience under your belt.  Even if once someone was okay with being interrupted, you’ll likely find a different response if you make a habit of it.  Or you might catch them on a bad day, or they may have recently closed their relationship, or, or, or.  BUT there are a number of ways you can get better information so you make less fuax pas.  The easiest (and most obvious) way to know?  Ask the people involved.
Find out from them their relationship status, if it’s cool to make introductions to new potentials interests and when a good time for those introductions are.  And while you’re at it, figure out how introductions can be made in a way that’s kosher with everyone involved.  Do this informally, maybe over drinks at a poly meet up or munch – don’t do it when they’re already engaged with each other.
Not a fan of that direct style of communication?  Or maybe you just didn’t get the time to yet?  Well, this is where our Poly Pro Tip comes in.

Respect the Canoodole

If you see people actively engaged with each other (kisses, cuddles, hand held leading, deep eye gazing, limbs wrapped around bodies etc) now is not the time to interrupt them.  Their focus is on each other (and to be clear, each other might mean more than 2 people) and that’s likely to best place for it to stay at the moment.
Save your introductions/hook ups/declarations of lust  for another time.
I get that while love is infinite, time is not – but trust me when I say, believing that you will have more opportunities to connect with someone and let them know you like them will start any explorations with this person off on such a better foot  – not to mention show their partners that you respect all the relationships at play, not just the one you want to have.   And if they really don’t?  Consider that your crystal ball and ask yourself Do I want to be fighting for this person’s time? before you get involved with them.

e[lust] #55

20Feb14

Welcome to e[lust] - The only place where the smartest and hottest sex bloggers are featured under one roof every month. Whether you’re looking for sex journalism, erotic writing, relationship advice or kinky discussions it’ll be here at e[lust]. Want to be included in e[lust] #56? Start with the rules, come back March 1st to submit something and subscribe to the RSS feed for updates!

~ This Month’s Top Three Posts ~

Why I Post Nude Photos (and blog about sex)

Discovering Myself Through My Strap-On

Sex Toy Shaming and Bigoted Wise Cracks, FTW!

 

~ Featured Post (Molly’s Picks) ~

Aftercare and BDSM Play

Two worlds

 

~ Readers Choice from Sexbytes ~

Regulating Our Fantasies

Wanna know what other goodies are packed into this issue?

Continue reading ‘e[lust] #55’




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