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The online diary of an ethical pervert.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

The lie of the land

Every time I think that the dust has settled, I go and boot it all up in the air again. For a woman who dislikes uncertainty I seem to manage to create an awful lot of it. People talk about bad break ups - I'm wondering if another, possibly facetious, definition might be splitting with someone and then spending a weekend in bed with them.

I'd like to say that I couldn't help it, which in part is true. We have a lot of chemistry. Oodles. When we met up last Friday, it was the most natural thing in the world to reach out to touch him, then kiss him. One thing led to another, as these things do - then it was Monday morning and I was, sadly, with regret, leaving him in my bed and heading off for work, wondering (hoping) when the next time we might see each other would be.

I'm not even going to try and pin the tail on where we are right now, for a start, I have no idea. Secondly, that line of thinking was what wound me up in the first place. I think that, for once and unusually for me, I've done enough analysis, enough sifting through the grains and it might do me good to just take a bit of time and not try to put things into boxes. Certain things are still true. We want different things out of life, in the long term. Some of our goals are the same - kinky sex and exploration, friendship and love. The practicalities are the killer. And so I'm not going to go out and hunt for them. I'd like for the weekend to not be merely a one-off, but again, I'm trying not to count my chickens. Taking it a day at a time. Pick your cliche. Still sad though - sad for the happy ever after that I wanted, that could-have-been scenario. I don't know if that will ever go away, whether we do keep seeing each other or never see each other again.

My head has certainly not settled or wrapped itself around what happened, never mind what is happening.
My own sexual head space is rather strange. For example, I have a lot of kinky thoughts, but they are rather abstract, either they involve me and nameless, faceless entities or they are just bits of bodies - fists wrapped tightly in black PVC so the fingers can't move, red marks on pale skin. I know that for the moment, private, intense play with anyone else is certainly out - the thought makes a bit of me curl up inside. A part of me wants to go out clubbing and shake it off, but I'm not sure what my reaction would be without my long-time wingman. Which again, is a little sad, but for the moment I think the best thing is further confinement to barracks - and see what happens when the world turns.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

It's different for girls

I have recently been holed up in the house with a cold and was therefore subject to daytime television. I only caught a few moments, but what I did see worried me. It was a programme featuring some young teenage girls and they were talking about sex, specifically masturbation. They thought it was "embarrassing", "dirty", "wrong" and, worst of all "not natural for girls, for boys, yeah, but not girls."

Right. Now my new life challenge is clearly to find whoever has been telling these poor lasses these lies and beat them to death with a glass dildo, but before I go and get arrested for doing that, a little discussion on the subject might be in order as to where these ideas might be coming from in our society.

To me, these beliefs have their roots in an old fashioned focus on the preservation of the (male) genetic line. Bear with me. Women have been traditionally encouraged to remain virgins until their wedding day to ensure that they only bore children for their husband. This created an association of "purity" and "goodness" with "not having sex" directed at women. Because of the power and prevalence of this belief, as well as the weight of history behind it, it stopped being an outside thought imposed upon women and became the way things always have, the way they should be, the natural and correct order of things. I'm leaving aside for the moment any religious arguments because they have been discussed to death and this isn't the forum for it. The point is that due to this belief sex and sexual bodies became problematised for women. That was then. This is supposed to be now. But we don't appear to be able to shake it off, this idea of sex being somehow disconnected from women, that it's something women do for men, rather than for themselves.

Let's be blunt. Everyone has desires. They are normal and natural. However, if you are told that your standard issue hormonal drives are "dirty" or perhaps even worse "evil" then life becomes very complicated. If liking sex is "wrong" or "unfeminine" then masturbation is an especially sore point because unlike intercourse masturbation only has one function - personal pleasure. And for the girls in question, that was unacceptable. Which means that there is a long way to go in terms of sexual and social education - I'm far away from blaming schools and teachers on this front, firstly because there's not a lot of good in a few lessons, no matter how well they are taught, if the entire weight of society is telling you different. There needs to be an attitude adjustment, because this is one guilty little secret that isn't doing anyone any good.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Anatomy of a poly break up

I'm afraid that it's a rocky road ahead, so apologies in advance for sporadic posting and a complete lack of sexual exploits. I had hoped that after all the ups and downs with The Photographer, we might have come to a better, stronger place, but sadly that isn't the situation.

I also feel it worthy of comment that this is the first of my posts that has ever been sent over to someone else before going live. Because it is probably the most personal thing I've ever written about us, especially about him, so I wanted him to see what I was going to put. There have been a couple of changes from the original, but only in terms of "what actually happened" - nothing about what I thought or felt. That was hard in and of itself. After me, he is the person most exposed by what I write here and despite having reservations has been generally ok with the project, and perhaps I am not as sensitive as I could be to this fact. I was tempted to not put it up at all, because I didn't want to upset him. But I wasn't sure what the point of the blog would be then, if I didn't talk about this experience - if I only talked about the light and frothy side of BDSM rather than when things fuck up. And I couldn't write without saying what had happened. Warts and all. So here it is.

I've recently been congratulated on being variously "strong", "brave" and of "doing the right thing". These are all wonderful accolades, and come from folk who have been very loving and supportive of what has happened between myself and The Photographer. Which is why writing this feels so strange. Because I don't feel strong, or brave and I'm not especially convinced that I've done the right thing. Unconvinced because the whole thing is so painful and seems also so foolish - there was no argument, no terrible fight, yet here we both are, on other sides of an internet connection. Apart.

For me it's a very difficult time, I've never left anyone whilst still being in love with them, I've never really had my heart broken before and I am surprised to find that all those things I had scoffed at in films are turning out to be true. It is painful. Physically painful. And that pain is located in my heart: under my ribcage is a very sore place, it's almost like a panic attack - sometimes strong, sometimes abating for a while but always there. I'm scared and I keep on bursting into tears. In a way I'm really glad that I've managed this far without having to go through any of this and on another hand the cold, calculating bit of me is trying to get to grips with it, to understand it like any other experience I've written about here.

And I'm hoping, amongst other things, but more on that later, that by understanding what is happening it might feel better. I always reach for knowledge when I need solace, it was always a difference that was evident in our relationship - I found security in knowing the options, in having a plan or a list.
I usually pride myself on knowing what I'm doing - on being secure in my own mind and my own decisions. At the moment, I don't have any of that security. Which is ironic, because ongoing anxieties were the main reason why I couldn't continue in the relationship.

Let me take a step back. I've often refrained from discussing poly and the poly set up in the blog, partly because I wanted to keep a kink focus and partly because when touching on it I feel as if I'm interfering with someone who I don't want to make the subject of conversation - The Photographer's other partner. After all, she and I don't have a connection outside of him and she certainly hasn't agreed to be the subject of any internet related dissection. But also because I didn't want this to be a blog about poly relationships - I wanted it to be about interesting kinky adventures and my responses to them. Like a lot of things, time changes what they were initially meant to be and they become something else. So here it is: Poly, me and what came after.

I'm not a poly person. I thought though, that I might be able to be in a relationship with someone who was poly. And whilst the person is probably the most amazing partner I've ever had, who came along at a perfect time in my life, the poly lifestyle that he has makes it impossible for me to stay with him. I know that now, and I also know that I am unlikely to enter into any similar sort of set up again. I don't have the mindset, the desire or the emotional toolkit. I'm not going to apologise (although I do feel sorry, but that's not the same thing) because it's part of who I am.

The poly made me anxious, and that anxiety ate away at me. Little seeds of doubt, once planted, are very hard to get rid of. Questions that I wouldn't normally have to ask in a monogamous relationship cropped up. We agreed that we wanted to live together, however there was no clarity on what that life might look like - what sort of time commitments, what kind of space sharing? I felt sometimes pressured by requests to form a dialoge with his partner, because previous relationships had worked well when this had happened. I wasn't expected to become friends with her overnight, but to be able to talk, to be in the same space. And I couldn't do it. Didn't want to do it. I wasn't in a relationship with her, and we didn't move in the same circles. I only saw her when she was doing something with him. I didn't want to manufacture a relationship, but there was something else. I was forced to admit that in fact I was happiest when I could pretend that she didn't exist. When I could pretend, for all intents and purposes that it was a monogamous relationship and he had a very good friend who he visited and sometimes slept with. But that wasn't true, certainly wasn't healthy for any of us. And sometimes I remembered who she really was to him, inasmuch as I will ever understand it. I remembered that she was someone who he loved deeply, who he had been together with for a long, long time and who must know him so much better than I ever could. I felt dwarfed by that relationship - rendered insignificant.

I wanted to know what it was that I wasn't, what it was that I was up against. I viewed it as a competition, which to me it was, but not to anyone else. I thought of the two relationships as separate. Him and me. Him and her. I kept forgetting that for him, we were a three. And perhaps he also forgot that for me, we were two. There was a difference in how we viewed the relationship and I became on guard - looking to protect what I had against the unknown threat that she represented in my eyes: whatever he was getting from her must be something that I was unable to provide. If I could provide it, he wouldn't need her. So I tried hard. Really hard. To be everything in a partner that a person might want - I'm not saying that I did anything I didn't want to do, after all, the relationship with him was something deeply satisfying that I desperately wanted to continue. It wasn't the trying that was the problem. It was the fact that it didn't make any difference, because the only person in the competition was me. It wasn't something I could ever win at - I was never going to make him leave her no matter what I did. I could not make him fall out of love with her, or want to suddenly become monogamous with me any more than I could make myself be polyamorous, or comfortable with someone who was. But I did try.

When that didn't work, I tried to work alongside the setup, to try and boil down my anxieties into clear goals, reasons why I was worried about our relationship. I wrote a list. It started off as a short list, a simple checklist of what I wanted in a partner:

1) One main partner
2) Shared living space with that partner
3) A shared life with that partner - not just weekends here and there
4) Long term, permanent, till death do us part, looking after each through thick and thin type commitment
5) Publicly recognised, formally, by family and friends
6) With a big party to celebrate it
7) Kinky sex (lots of)

I sent it over to him. To my mind, if he could say yes to all of those things, then everything in the garden would be rosy. I waited. I had my ups and downs whilst I waited, but I also knew that these things couldn't be rushed, that thinking time was hard and people needed space to do it. After a couple of months I asked for a response and it was not what I had wanted. There was a lot of uncertainty - he didn't know. I felt let down, I was fairly angry with him, even after he explained how a lot of this was new to him and he was finding it difficult. He also explained that he'd been scared by what I'd written and felt unable to engage with it. I didn't understand what he meant at the time, part of me still doesn't. We have very different outlooks on life. The questions remained.

It all came to a head last week. A series of tensions drove him out of the house, despite me asking him not to leave and indeed, being terrified of him leaving. After a week we scheduled a time to talk. This time I wasn't going to walk away with anything less than the answers I wanted. I'd sent an extended version of the list, going through each point, then adding things I'd like him to talk to his partner about, so that I would know for definite, who they were to each other and what impact that would have on me. What X deducted from the 1 of him and me.

I got some answers that made me happy: that he wanted to live with me and share a life and a house with me. I got some that made me nervous, but that I thought could be worked through: that he was scared of a marriage or any sort similar public commitment, which to me made it appear as if he was embarrassed of me or didn't believe that there was any future worth shouting about. Then I got the answers that I didn't want:
that he would not leave his other partner for me, that I would never be his and his alone and he would never be mine entirely. That he could not explain or define the life that they led, how it might work or what room there would be for me. That he would never not be polyamorous, in effect. And for his part, no matter how much he wanted it (and I wanted it to) I would never be happy with someone who was.

And in the end that is the sad, entire truth of the matter. I am who I am, he is who he is. Neither of us love each other any less because of it (we probably love each other in part because of our stubborn, self-confident stance about what we want and what we don't want)

Being with someone who was in a poly relationship gave me all the drawbacks of such a situation (jealousy, limited time, concern over who was the "better" partner) without any of the benefits. I tried. I have done a lot of soul searching and can honestly say that I tried as hard as I could. However it wasn't good enough. Or rather, there was nothing else to try. It would have meant changing who I am. A mean part of me wonders whether he would have tried monogamy for me, yet that sort of thinking is unlikely to end up in a place that will be good for any of us. And again, that would have meant changing who he was.

Breaking up with a poly person is as unusual and curious as being together with one. Part of my hurt right now is being driven by the knowledge that whilst I'm alone and feeling lonely, and have lost a great strength in my life, as well as someone I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, he is with his other partner. I'd like to be happy for him, that he has that support - but I'm not that charitable, unfortunately. The fact that he is with someone who is not me, someone who he loves and who loves him in return is contributing to my unhappiness. Exactly the same as it did when we were together.

Yet there is a nagging doubt. I know how happy he made me. How much I want to be with him. I know that life is about compromise and that nothing is perfect. I know how right he is for me, and wonder if perhaps there was a little bit more clarity, a bit more understanding of what the situation is, might I be able to pick up the phone and say, as I so want to do "come back, please?" I worry if I haven't just substituted one sort of anxiety for another.

Everyone I've spoken to keeps telling me that it gets easier with time. That the unhappiness and the pain fades. I'm hoping that it does - that the clouds will clear and I will be confident in the choice that I have made. I just need to get through it. So I'm currently a little bit of a robot, putting one foot in front of the other. Trying not to think about much of anything at all. Until it becomes possible to think properly. There is sense in that, even the act of writing this has helped slough off some of the nerves and worries, to make it all as black and white as perhaps I foolishly would like my life to be.

Friday, 18 September 2009

One minus X

I've tried to write this a few times now. Trying to put things in order, to explain clearly without being numb to my emotions; to express my feelings without being dramatic. There are lots of important things I want to keep, to preserve and work through by writing them down. But I can't. Nothing fits. I don't know what to do.

Everything I write, or think, or do seems stupid and lifted from a pathetic scene in a film, and the one person I want to be with most in the entire world, who could make all of this better, is the one person I can't call.


Thursday, 17 September 2009


I'm meeting up with The Photographer for the first time in about ten days, since he left. We're going to have one of those proper relationship talks. About us, about whether we can work it out, about what sort of kinky life together we can have, if any at all. It feels strange to have come all this way with him and have had all of those fantastic experiences but still be prepared to stop if practicalities get in the way. However, whilst I do love him and I love the sex we have and just being around him I also need to be realistic. Alongside a roller coaster BDSM adventure, I want and need security in a long term partner and that means ironing out some of the ifs and buts of polyamory - what sort of life can we have, and can I live that life?

I have butterflies. I actually quite like butterflies, in the same way that I like pins and needles, driving rain and really bitter tasting drinks. They are a not-quite-pleasant shudder through the system, sensations that remind me of being alive. The combination of excited / nervous is one I hope I never stop having. I never want to be so dull or innured to the world or to my feelings that I can drift through life blase and unaffected. I know I've been really up and down lately, but that's part of it, part of being me, now. I'd rather be buffeted about a bit with high highs and low lows than have everything on an even (boring) keel.

What I'm trying to say is that no matter what happens tonight I have no regrets. None at all.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Take me out

Self-inflicted levels of sexual solitude have given me lots of thinking time, part of which has been reviewing the ever-present List of Things I Want to do and attempting to match it up to people to do it with. I had a strange moment a day or so ago when The Photographer announced he might be going off to visit Reining-In - I'd say that I felt a pang in my heart but it was more like my cunt. I am in no position to be able to suggest any sort of constraint on his behaviour, I don't want to stop him having fun just because I'm in exile - it was more that I wanted to go along with him, partly to be with him but also because I am getting in the mood for a "serious" play session.

Best to unpick those inverted commas, I suppose. I don't mean that everyone sits (or kneels) about the place being terribly po-faced and that the submissives are blasted into coy subservience by the mighty power of a fully operational Dominator. I mean effort. I mean a good long time devoted to building something up, stretching it out and then bringing it down gently. I mean kit, buckles, rope, leather, gags, hoods, things that plug in (both to bodies and to the mains). I mean extended periods of time not knowing whether it's raining or Tuesday because I'm so spaced out.

There's a couple of riders on that, which I've only just realised. I want play rather than sex. I also want to submit, which is interesting given that recently I've taken solace in topping and the sensation of power and control that gives. Partly I'm looking to fall back into safe hands - into something where I don't need to have much input, and partly I'm looking to be taken places, especially into a deep headspace where I can relax.

I don't especially have anyone or any activity on the radar, as I've been relatively head-down. However, one way or the other I'm going to have to start to get back onto the horse, or into the bridle. It's nice to have my libido back, I have to say, although I get the strong feeling that soon this shoulder tapping is going to turn into some heavy thumping for me to get on with it.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Investigating the fetish

What's a fetish? Simple enough question but enough to keep my brain reasonably occupied this morning. Actually, it's a concept that fascinates me - the sexual within the (conventionally) non-sexual. What fascinates me more is the social contextualising that goes on to make a fetish a fetish. Every fetish is different. Some can be very general, others extremely precise. This colour of PVC, that angle of the leg, but to me the addition of the social context leads to a problem of definition.

For a fetish to be a fetish it must be a required ingredient in sexuality, and something that is generally (and this is where the social context comes in) not considered to be sexual. An interesting point is large breasts. It's generally accepted in our society that large breasts are sexy. However, over a certain size and inflated to beyond "natural" capacity they start to become strange. Faked, plastic and curiously smooth - the plastic padded bosom of a sex doll is surely a fetish, yet it's hard to see where, precisely, the line is drawn. If fetish applies to those things which are "generally" not considered sexual then do we need to do a straw poll to decide whether enough people are turned on for it to be a social sexual norm and hence not a fetish? If PVC and leather are already enshrined as sexual clothing materials in our society can they technically be a fetish?

Let's try another way of thinking about it. A fetish is normally an object, but there are also fetishised ways of behaviour and one can adopt a fetished manner.
Whether talking about magical idols or BDSM sexuality a fetish is something that invest an object with an attribute it is not normally accepted as having. In the case of religion, particularly voodoo, it's about investing a man-made object with power which is then used in ritual. You make a fetish, often with blood or other symbolically important components, and you need to have it in a certain place or used in a certain way in order to make the magic happen.

I believe that there are parallels to be drawn with the sexual counterpart. Fetishised items - shoes, certain types of fabric, outfits and pieces of equipment - have a sexual power invested in them by the fetishist. Although we can (and do, especially if you are female) talk about shoes being sexy what we tend to mean is that we would look and feel sexy in them, or that they are nice shoes that give off an aura of sexiness. Not that we actually want to fuck the shoe, or that the shoe is a necessary part of our sexual desire. This is different for someone who actually fetishises the shoe - the shoe is sexy in and of itself, it is sexually desirable. It has sexual power bestowed upon it by the beholder. In all cases, however, the shoe is just a shoe is just a shoe. Power and desire live in the mind - the shoe has no inherent power, it is only sexy when someone who looks on it thinks it is. There's a sort of power exchange going on here, where the fetishist gives up some of their own desire and invests it into the object. In this way, when the shoe is with the fetishist, it is desire. Fetish is, in part, about requiring the object to be in place before the desire can occur.

For me, the most interesting fetishes are those that involve de-humanised humans (objectification), or those that do not involve actual people at all (objects by themselves). I certainly have the former and am incredibly curious about the latter. My sexual desire still revolves around people, in some form or other, and if not necessarily sexual contact then certainly sexual context (being mummified is extremely sexy as a process and as a state of being for example). If there are objects that turn me on it's usually because I can link them to sexual practice - dildos being the obvious example, but rope, clothespegs and the smell of leather all makes me thrill a little. However, for me those items don't expressly need to be there, so I don't consider myself a fetishist. They make the world a little rosier, but I don't have to have them in order to orgasm.

I've recently been contacted by a self-defining fetishist and am hoping to meet for a coffee to explore all of this in more detail, in theory and in practice.

Friday, 11 September 2009

An unexpected break

On Tuesday night, whilst I was out, The Photographer left. He didn't "leave me", but he did leave me physically, without warning and under something of a cloud. I have not been dealing with it very well, to say the least. I'm bad with surprises, even nice ones, I don't like being unprepared.

He'd been staying with me over the summer and it has been wonderful to go to sleep (and sometimes even sleep...) with him, wake up with him, come home to him and generally have him as an ongoing part of my life rather than a sometime visitor. We've managed to become partners, more so than before, and whilst the 24/7 kink adventure I had been daydreaming about didn't entirely materialise, although we did get there once or twice and maybe more, I've loved it, and for it all to end like that was a terrible shock.

I'm trying to work out whether the BDSM has made it more difficult. Has him leaving in this fashion had an effect
except in the fact that he is my main source of kinky activity? Certainly I don't feel particularly motivated to do anything kinky or sexual, because I'm unhappy. But there is another element. Of late the relationship has suffered because of stress, part of which was me worrying about him moving out (which he was supposed to do at some point around now, there was just no fixed date) and where that would leave us. That had led to a decrease in the amount of kink we'd been doing, also a change in the type - we had become more S&M and less D/s because connecting physical activities to a relationship type had become challenging. In a way, this is not a bad thing, "my partner let me down" is less difficult to deal with perhaps than "Sir let me down" We had been drifting, quietly, for a while - coasting is a good word for it. Neither of us encouraging or pushing the other to greater acts of depravity, and I've missed that greatly. There was (and still is) an uncertainty in how the relationship can develop, partly driven by the poly aspect, partly driven by various intangibles regarding what he wants in the future. That also gave me concerns. All ina ll, I came to the sad point where I no longer felt him to be "Sir" anymore - I didn't want to give myself up into such an uncertain situation and with that came another sense of loss.

We've spoken a lot since and I do understand why he did what he did, but that doesn't make it especially easier. It's one thing to be able to be reasonable and rational in the face of someone else's problems, when they impact on you badly it's harder. I am not really sure what the next step is, on the face of it, I suppose, when measured against the real disasters of this world, it is not a big thing. But my reaction was a real reaction, and my unhappiness is real also. Currently I'm stuck in the event - I can't quite move passed the shock of feeling abandonned so suddenly, and before we can move forward on anything, I need to deal with that. Then I can see whether we can build up to something else.

A Tale of Two Clinics

I am currently a sexual health avatar and also on my way to becoming a connoisseur of public sexual health provision. This morning I went to get a smear test at my local GP; last night I went to the Dean St clinic to get the second of my Hepatitis B jabs. The differences between the two were striking and worth discussing.

Similarities first, however. Both were very busy (has anyone ever been to an empty NHS clinic?) and the staff members were generally lovely, if a little frazzled. I was in and out in around ten minutes and barely had to wait. Other than those things I may have been on different planets.

The experience at Dean St was much the same as before, except I had a lovely chap instead of a lovely lady, and his injection style was a little different (a stabbing dart-throwing motion which I complemented him on, and he was duly unflustered but instead gave a big grin).

My local GP is in a converted house, which was probably once a very nice house but is now a GP surgery. The furniture is cheap, institutional office seating and chipped tables covered in copies of Take A Break from three years ago. The receptionists sit behind (probably) bullet proof glass with a tiny sliver through which you might be able to talk to them if they weren't radiating a general hatred of humanity or on the phone. They have an ability to instantly make you feel as if you have done something wrong, like being told off by the school secretaries when you were running in the corridor, age thirteen. You don't talk to them. You sign in using a touch screen machine which has a bottle of antibacterial spray hanging next to it on a grimy bit of string in a futile gesture that might hope for irony were it not for the circumstances. Everywhere are large, slightly panic-inducing notices about Swine Flu and other diseases you can get if you have the temerity to be around other people.

I went in to see the nurse, who was rather jolly and had "women's health" written all over her. Not necessarily a bad thing - I want someone who is an expert, frankly. She asked me whether I was happy with the pill and I nodded, given that the other option is having no control over whether I have babies or not, it seemed a fair response. She then chatted about how they'd (the nurses, one assumes) have been told to tell people about other options: "the coil, you know, blah, blah - but if you are happy then there's no need for us to do that!" Right. Now perhaps asking me some questions on my lifestyle, a leaflet or some direction as to where to go and research these things might have been helpful, rather than just brushing it aside? There is still a general assumption in the profession that the pill is the best thing since sliced bread, frankly I'd rather not take it but a better option has not materialised (my campaign to sterilise all men at birth to keep control of their unruly sperm is strangely unpopular) and I would be rather keen to go through different choices. However, I was whisked on to the bench for the procedure. For reasons that are unclear, after stripping to the waist I had to put some paper towel material over my stomach and the top of my cunt so I couldn't see what was going on. I'm not sure whether this was meant to be a gesture towards my supposed sensibilities or potential embarrassment at having my cunt held open by a metal speculum - both of which seem rather moot points. And to be honest, outside of the context of a play environment, if someone is doing something to my body, I want to see what is happening.

The usual fiddling about occurred as she put the speculum in place - it always amazes me that something which in a BDSM situation would be exciting and hot, manages to be uncomfortable and irritating. Surely this woman is more practiced at doing this than almost anyone else on the scene, yet she manages to make me feel as if it is a grotesque and unpleasant activity that "we women" have to suffer because that is the fate of our sex. Because of this narrative and perhaps because of the horrible curtains that are pulled around the bed it does manage to be both grotesque and unpleasant - especially as she reminds me how I might get "spotting". I want to say "do you mean a small amount of blood?" but that would be rude and she doesn't know how much the infantilising and sanitising of the female body pisses me off. No-one else in the entire animal kingdom "spots" - it's only human women. Men don't "spot" (and if they did, medical science would have fixed it by now). If we're discussing blood, let's say blood. We're all grown-ups here, we all live with our bodies and we don't need to be protected from the perfectly natural and normal things that they do.

I digress. The main point is that here are two clinics, both run by the NHS, both in London, yet the atmosphere could not be more different. The more I think about the provenance of Dean St (championed by gay men, who were very demanding and active in getting the services they needed) the more I think that a similar clinic, but for women, would be very attractive. A place where smear tests could be done in a comfortable environment, where sensible conversations could take place over contraception which would not viewed as merely "family planning", and where the focus would not be just on women as baby-making machines as is sadly currently the case - The London Women's Clinic is not about women, as you'd imagine, but instead about fertility for women, the only aspect of female health that ever seems to be talked about. As long as we can churn out the next generation (god help us if we don't want to) then it's all alright. Thank goodness for Marie Stopes - more of that please.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Concilatory consolations

Sometimes I start an entry with a title in mind, I'll admit that. This one is about how kink can operate as a panacea for particularly difficult emotional states. I've often considered D/s practice to be a pretty poor substitute for actual therapy, so that's not what I'm talking about, it's more about how the body (and mind) can be soothed or made more comfortable by certain types of play. Think of the catharsis after crying, really crying, sobbing your heart out over something, the pleasant tired-emptiness of relief, as if pain has been expunged. The feeling of being held tight when you are scared, how the wrapping around of arms appears to cushion the sensation of fear, pressing it down. Comforting you.

There are times when only a particular activity will do, when that is what must happen. If I'm wound up, tense and on edge then there needs to be pain, something to give a red hot physical anger to match all those feelings coiling inside. If it makes me cry, so much the better, as if with each tear than pours down my cheek those tensions lessen, like air escaping from a valve. If I'm under pressure, if there's too much going on, then it must be bondage, tight and enveloping, mummification for preference. Nothing can get to me inside my plastic cocoon, I'm away from the world and floating into space. I can't be touched: there's no skin to skin contact, nothing to tie me to having to think or move or speak. I can just relax. There are no demands that can be put upon me, because there is very little I can actually do.

Other times it is less about the physical, more about the way my mood needs to be channelled into a stronger, harder, mental sensation. There are two ways of tackling this, one is about crushing the mood entirely by opposition, the other is by stoking the fires and letting it burn out. Take anxiety as an example, I can get panicky sometimes and there are ways in which a D/s relationship can seriously assist with these sensations. Looking at the first process, opposing the anxiety, it's easy to see how power exchange, in either direction, can help with this. In a submissive position the sense of obligation, of having to do something is removed, the anxiety is taken away because it no longer belongs to me, I've got nothing to be anxious about except pleasing my partner and they will tell me exactly how to do that and support me in doing it. In a Dominant position (performance anxiety aside, which is a different crate of kit entirely) you have someone at your feet desperate to please you, to make you feel better, however you want, they are there entirely for you and all your attentions can focus down onto them, to hell with the rest of the world. The second process can be more difficult, but it's one that I can often find very rewarding - a little like roleplay, the anxiety can be inserted into a power-play and used as a catalyst, allowing "real" emotions to be ridden to their illogical extremes in a safe environment. There's obviously potential for danger here, which is why this is about D/s and day-to-day feelings not genuine psychological conditions, but with the right person and with thought, it can be an amazing release, for both parties.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Changing sides

"It's hard not to reach out and touch you." I can tell. I can feel the tension in his skin, his muscles, the very obvious sensation that he is holding himself back. It's nice. It's more than nice. He is having to work at it and the effort of denial is part of his submission, what he is offering up to me. It's difficult. Lying still is difficult. Holding himself back (I've left him unbound for the moment) whilst I clamp clothes pegs onto his chest and nipples is difficult. I feel a strange mix of emotions - proud that he is able to do this, a huge wave of ego boosting endorphins at the realisation that he is doing it for me, to make me happy, sexual gratification in this offering up of himself to me. It means a lot. That he is doing it despite how difficult it is. That he wants to do it anyway. That he wants to serve me, even though he finds it hard.

Knight of Wands
and I have gone through something of a gear change. I'm finding that taking charge is coming a lot more naturally to me these days - to be able to reach out and take what I want is much better, much more fulfilling and much easier than to let go. I can make my own timetable- deciding what I want and then doing it. It seems obvious to say that there is joy in simply satisfying my own desires, more joy when I know that doing exactly what I want is precisely what he enjoys. But it is still a new feeling to me. Especially with him - we've previously only worked with him on top. We started light. Very light. Essentially it was aggressive fucking with me giving directions. I've a current favourite activity of masturbating whilst getting him to fuck me slowly and to order - which I can recommend as a morning activity to anyone with the resources to hand.

I found it all very relaxing and somewhat luxurious, despite, or perhaps because of the simplicity. No chains, no cuffs. Just me and him. Previous forays into domination have usually been accompanied by tension - concerns that I was not giving my partners what they wanted or needed. The more I did it, the less I felt these anxieties. Now they are absent. Partly it's confidence in my abilities, another part is trust and knowledge: I know what they like and don't like, they trust me to keep within their limits, but additionally I know what I like, both in terms of practical things to do and also my own style of domination. Finally, it's about being able to relax. To know and be comfortable with the situation, accepting that they are there to please me, rather than for me to be there to entertain them with a variety of pleasure / pain scenarios. All of these things have made me better at doing it, made me enjoy doing it and, most importantly, desire to do it. Before it was an interest. Now it is a definite requirement.

I could feel it when we were alone in the room together, he reached out for me and that was the wrong thing. I should be reaching for him instead, holding his head this way and that. I would decide when and how and if we fucked, use his cock inside me until I came, directing his mouth and tongue to my own pleasure. We talked a lot, needless to say. He's one of my most talkative partners, and I always appreciate the thoughts he raises - like me, he probably thinks a little too much. We spoke about pain and how it might work, I'm (obviously) interested in inflicting pain because I know I like it, but I also am keen to work with punishment. He clearly gets something very different from it - there was a moment where he altered the pace and pressure of his fingertips on my clit to be more akin to spanking and, without thinking much, I slapped him lightly on the cheek to stop him. In my mind he had done something wrong and needed correction. The look in his eyes (hurt, confused) showed different: he was trying something that in the past, when he'd topped me, I'd enjoyed. But it wasn't the right sensation for that moment.

I'm not sure how far we are going to take this - but there is certainly a lot to explore. And next time, we're going to try something a little heavier. Which makes me grin as I type it.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Clinically sound

I push open the satisfyingly heavy glass doors and I'm standing in a small, bright polished stone lobby. There is a young man in a suit behind the front desk who smiles at me and points me up to the first floor. It's very similar to a boutique hotel entrance, right up to the central London location I half expect someone to hand me a key and show me to my room.

This is not an hotel. This is 56 Dean St and against all available evidence (barring a discrete sign by the doors) it is an STD clinic. I walk up to the first floor and into a waiting room. The difference between here and any other similar institution is almost shocking. For a start, it doesn't feel institutionalised. It's airy and well designed. There are comfy chairs, little glass coffee tables with interesting and varied magazines that are neither dog eared nor dating from the mid-70s. I go to the reception and a well-turned out chap with some cute little facial piercings signs me in and gives me a one page form to fill in. I settle down to wait and discretely peruse the other clientele. Everyone is very well turned out, aged somewhere between 20 and 50 I'd guess, professional and a little trendy around the edges. Well, it is Soho. There are more men than women, which doesn't surprise me given the location and the history of the place.

Casually dressed doctors and nurses come in and out calling first names only. I am taken upstairs where a nurse apologises profusely for the wait. She takes me into a very tidy office and sits me down then asks a list of questions. Her manner is friendly but ultimately indifferent to the responses I make in the style of a waiter asking whether I would like milk or lemon with my tea. The answers are important and relevant, but there is no moral judgement. Far from it, throughout the entire process I feel as if I am being responsible and considerate of my own sexual health. Which of course I am, but I've never been in a surgery where I've felt it before. Certainly not in one where I could list numbers of partners and sexual activity and have it be met in this way. She takes some blood and starts me on the first of three injections to immunise me against Hepatitis B "just to be on the safe side".

The whole thing takes about twenty minutes, including opportunities for me to ask questions. The process feels more like a trip to the beauticians that to the clinic - repeated checks to make sure I was comfortable, talking me through what was going on so I understood the process. I left with a couple of business cards detailing my next appointments for follow up jabs and my results will be sent to me via text in a few days.

And let's not forget that this is an NHS clinic, so the service was entirely free. #welovethenhs anyone?

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Write lightly, yours truly

Like any girl I used to keep a diary and there is still something very cathartic in expunging thoughts through text. Here, the secrecy is still the same, however the privacy is not. You are reading. But I don't know you. Not all of you. I'm not even sure how many of you are reading. I like that you are, there's that exhibitionist streak in me again, I also like that some of you are strangers. It's a peep show of sorts, then. Where I reveal, bit by bit, a little piece of me, a fluttering eyelash of confession. Strip tease.

I am - and this is important - not a performer. This is me. These are things that happened to me and my feelings about them. It's not entirely a honest activity though. I do use the medium selectively, there's a lot that I don't write about and there is a certain style in which I convey the information, pseudonyms, focusing in on particular details rather than others. My sequins and feathers. You'll have to excuse them. I'm not going to write everything about everything.

All in all, though, this is how it is. From behind my eyes at any rate, I can't comment on how anyone else feels beyond reporting what they said or did at the time. But that's the important point, it's a real experience - so if it has any value, beyond being of use to me (and certain kind people tell me that it does and it has been helpful and interesting to them also) then I need to cover the rough with the smooth. The things that are exciting and enjoyable with the things that are not.

Consider it by way of a disclaimer.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Nothing happened

Sexuality is a complicated thing, whilst my desires have never been simple, they have always, at least, been reliable. Not so much these days. I spent a night this weekend with the Knight of Wands being cosseted and reassured that I don't always have to have sex when I invite someone over and that not feeling up to it is fine. Equally, he was quick to add, should I feel the need then I should certainly pick up the phone. So that helped my general state as well as my ego. The trouble is that I have a couple of hang-ups over the sort of words we encounter in our early teens that are used to make us feel as if we should have sex when we might not want to. Prick tease. Leading someone on. Aside from the fact that I like to be honest and open from the outset, these words have been little black clouds in the back of my mind.

I don't want to start something I can't finish. I don't want anyone to feel as if they have been misled. I don't want to lie. Which cuts both ways of course - I'm not going to lie and say I feel like having sex when I don't want to. I'm not going to have sex if I don't want to. Which means that there are going to be evenings of comfortable awkwardness.

I say comfortable because we are both friends, we know each other and each other's bodies well enough to be able to lie naked side by side without the twitches and tremors of the new and unknown. Equally we are confident enough in each other and what we want to trust that we mean what we say. And yet there was awkwardness too. I found it hard to reach out for him or touch him, even just on the shoulder or to loop my arm around his waist in the morning to say "hello". Because the little black cloud in my mind reminded me not to. In case I was "teasing". It didn't matter that I knew, logically, that he was fine, that he understood where I was at the moment and more than prepared to just be around, to be two adults sharing the same space.

It feels odd to have such a response to nothing happening. Which is essentially what did occur. But I'm cagey on a number of levels. The Photographer and I are in a strange (difficult) space at the moment, something I'm still trying to work though, and this is having a knock-on effect both on my general desire for sex and play and for my feelings about myself and my confidence. He is my main partner, so when things are tricky with him I'm naturally cautious about anything I do with anyone else - again, I don't want to give anyone the wrong impression, or say things from a position of emotional (or otherwise) uncertainty. It's a lot to hold in one head, which is probably why I'm see-sawing a lot at the moment. Maybe it's my own uncanny ability to read a lot into nothing, but certainly Knight of Wands noticed it too and is being very supportive. It was probably a bit much, a bit too soon, but I don't regret it - I learnt a few valuable things about my sex drive and my state of mind. More connected than I had previously thought, so all the more reason to put time and effort into looking after them both.