Tag Archive: getting physical

So, hey there! So I’ve spent the past… five? months under the impression that I’d already done “O is for [something that starts with O]”, but it turns out I didn’t! So this one’s an easy prompt to jump on. Here we go!
Maybe you remember this post, where I talked about orgasms being a thing that involves some active work on my part when I’m… “aiming for them”(?) with a partner.
I still feel slightly odd describing this as both “practicing” and “aiming for” Having Orgasms, in significant part because I’m trying not to think of sex – or sharing sexual experiences, if we want to be more explicitly broad about what I mean when I say “sex” – as a goal-oriented thing, because I don’t want to end up back in the headspace of “I’m going to Let Someone Down if I don’t achieve/perform/display XYZ Experience”, I am trying to think of it… I guess kind of the way I approach new knitting projects? I know. Not the sexiest thing in the known universe (even for me, and I mean…) But, when I start a new knitting project, I tend to approach it with this kind of a mindset:

We’re going to try X Thing and, if I get it right the first time? Great! But if I have to start over a few times, that’s still fine. I still get to have the fun of knitting a thing and experimenting and trying to challenge myself just a little bit while doing something I enjoy.

…And, when I approach sexual receptivity with this same kind of mindset, it helps me to avoid sort of… over-focusing on “I must obtain/provide X Result” and makes it much easier to enjoy my experiences. It seems to be working, at least so far, and some related good news is that I feel a lot less embarrassed about doing that physical work now!
Go me!
Other good news is, basically, that dental dams are the Gods’ gift to people, such as myself, who get over-stimulated really fast and benefit from having some kind of protective ozone layer between their bits and the vacuum of space a lover’s mouth. We like dental dams. Dental dams are GREAT. (PSA: If you’re in Ottawa, and have a mailing address, you can get 10 of them FOR FREE here).
I feel like this project is working. Like, I may or may not ever actually squirt. I think that would be really cool, I’d like to do it and, while I’m still definitely doing that “in-jaculation” thing that I (briefly) discuss here, I do think it’s a possibility. My voracious, unapologetic desire still manifests via my teeth, my guzzling, Moray of a mouth, my jaws more than my cunt, but a year into this project, and a little past the “half way point” on the alphabet prompts, I do feel like I’m making the kind of progress that I want to be making. I’m seeing encouraging results, and I’m having more fun (and more sex, which is key).
Definitely something to celebrate.
Notice Pleasure: The slide of sweaty bodies. My breath in her lungs. The swell of blood drops when the needles come out. Her cunt gripping my fingers. The muscular shift from hard work to be automatic when I get the movement of my hips just right. Hungry kisses. Her clit in my mouth. Her thighs under my feet. Her heartbeat under my tongue.

So I feel like I’m making some progress in terms of sorting out what’s working and, when things aren’t working, the things that I could do to get them to work better.
Stuff like:
Oh, hey, getting vigorously fucked while lying on my back can feel amazing, but sometimes it means that my hands start to go numb and/or something WEIRD starts happening with my face. Still. (This has been a thing for a looooong time, and relates to the disc problems in my lower back. I have a rough idea of how to fix that situation in the moment, but (a) it’s a pretty rough idea, and (b) it means that there are positions that make things easier for my hips that I still, unfortunately, have to avoid if I don’t want to have, like, muscle spasms in my face or difficulties controlling my jaw).
Oh, hey, orgasming is a fairly active thing that I can just “lie back” and wait to have wash over me.Oh, hey, I feel embarrassed – for some reason? – doing the visible, physical work it takes to get myself off with a partner, but it still needs doing and X position makes it much easier for me to do those things than Y position… AND ALSO: Oh, hey, there’s also a bit of a balancing act (mental? physical? emotional?) going on in order for me to both be relaxed/open/receptive enough to get turned on and to a place where orgasming is an option – as in I’m not being so, uh, “goal oriented” that I start to spin and fret about “Am I Taking Too Long” (and similar) and end up kind of jack-knifing into hypo-arousal/numbness/”I’m Just Not (sometimes literally) Feeling It” – while also being active/goal-oriented enough to recognize and do the things my body needs to do – move which muscles how? shift in which direction, when? – in order to… be able to do something with all the energy building up in my body, basically, so that I can do something voluntary and enjoyable rather than just get overwhelmed by it.
Oh, hey, mentally treating Sex With a Long-Time Partner as though it were pick-up play at a party – with explicit suggestions of activities and negotiations about how a thing is going to go – actually helps me get around some of my mental/emotional blocks when it comes to sexually engaging with someone after the NRE Hormones have quieted down and it starts getting harder (for me, in some instances) to move from fond affection (that could just as easily turn into snuggling and falling asleep) to specifically erotic affection and related Sex Things.
So it feels pretty good to be figuring things out.
Which… I guess might make you wonder why the heck I would have titled this blog post with “What Even Is ‘Normal’ Anyway”, right?
Well, part of it was just “I wanted to stick with the alphabet prompt”. For real.
The other part was, when I first started chewing on what to write for this post, I was thinking about a conversation I’ve been having – in various ways – with one of my partners and a couple of my friends, about “What does a (my?) ‘normal’ sex life look like, once the NRE calms down?” and “How much is ‘enough’ sex, both to be satiated with and to want?” but also “am I – like, me, specifically – going to stay (sexually/socially) Interesting if I’m not sluttier than I am?” and “I seem to be very interested in this stuff, and enjoy talking about it and exploring it – I mean, obviously, I’ve got a blog dedicated to it, so – but I’m worried about getting embarrassed about how much I think about this, or what I want to talk about, and find myself not-so-able to have these conversations thirty years from now…”
Basically… Look. I am probably over-thinking this, but I feel a bit like the two women my personal “sexual Normal” bounces off of are kind of at opposite extremes so, while I’m pretty sure that my Middle Aged Queer Lady sexuality is somewhere in the middle of the Average Allosexual Spectrum (whatever that actually is), I sometimes feel like I’m either “too slutty” OR “not slutty enough” (which, itself, is not an unusual thing for a middle-aged lady, queer or otherwise, to be feeling[1]) or, more than frequently, both at the same time.
So it’s nice to figure out some (more) ways to engage with, and experiment with, my partners while also kind of figuring out how to be and do the level of slutty I want, even when I’m not entirely sure what that level actually is, or if it’s going to stay more-or-less constant for the next little while.
Like, yes, I know stuff fluctuates. I know that Perimenopause, which is probably going to show up in the next 5-10 years, ye gods, is going to Make Some Changes (though who knows what direction those changes will go in). I know that NRE can sometimes be contagious, that engaging in professional exhibitionism leaves me generally feeling powerful and glamourous, and that these various reminders that I’m desirable make it easier for me to express desirousness, regardless of who I’m expressing it to.
These are good things to know.
A few weeks ago, I got to visit my girlfriend. Which was wonderful in many ways and, on top of all that, she sent me home with some shiny new books to read. One of them was about Sigil Magic. One of the first questions the author asks the readers is “What do you want?”
And I found myself afraid to take a really good look at myself and see what the answer was.
What if I want the “wrong” thing??
Between the above couple of handy discoveries and my questions about “What’s My Normal?” I find I’m having similar fears about, I don’t know… About presuming to have any idea about What I Want in any kind of long-term sense.
Which, itself, is maybe kind of weird?
Like, on the one hand, Why am I expecting myself to be able to foretell my own future like that? and, on the other hand, Why do I think that I need to?
Like, I’m aware that I want to get my personal “perpetual motion sexuality back up and running. I like being a person who likes, wants, and engages in sex with a moderate degree of frequency, wherein “moderate degree” is, like, 1-3 times per week… I think? With some wiggle room in there for busy/tired/sick on one end, and “going to the kink convention this weekend” at the other, without falling into entropy during the day-to-day of my real life OR relying too heavily on those annual, multi-day parties to bring that average more in line with What I Want when it comes to things like frequency and intensity.
But I’m also aware that, were I given the opportunity to get my game on multiple times per week… that I might not actually want that?
I’m literally not sure whether “1-3 times per week” is an accurate guess based on what my body/stamina is likely to be able to handle PLUS what my libido is likely to spark over, or if it’s a guess based on a certain degree of scarcity-thinking, kind of like the opening number in the Oliver! musical, or like those Early Kink Fantasies where what you imagine wanting is probably a lot more intense than what you’d want In Real Life, if Real Life was an option.
So while I do think I’d enjoy having a more active partnered-sex-life, I’m hesitant to be like “This is my goal!” partly because said goal, by nature, involves more than just me, but also because… what if I’m wrong?
I keep thinking about that article I read, going on 25 years ago now (the things you remember…), one night while babysitting somebody’s kids. It had a title like “We had sex every day for a year!” and how much of what stuck with me about that was just… how tedious, tiring, and annoying it became, much of the time, for the author and her monogamous partner to keep up with that commitment.
I think about how sex is no place for “should” or “must”[2] and how there’s absolutely room for – ironically, must be room for – “I don’t feel like it” or “Not right now”.
But I also think about how easily I fall into “I’m tired” as a stand-in for “I’m afraid of failure” or “I’m afraid of rejection”; about how A is for Action, how I need to relearn things again and again, and how I need to make myself keep moving, keep taking those tiny baby-steps towards who and what I want to be, and be doing, lest I stall out, get scared, get embarrassed, and run away from my hopes, dreams, and goals. (It’s one of the reasons I blog about stuff and do Projects with writing-prompts that are also action-prompts. Because it’s a way to keep myself accountable to finishing a thing, however long it takes me).
So I ask myself: What do I want right now?
Like the tarot cards I pulled for the recent full moon, I need to frame this as “awakening through playfulness”.
My “Normal” isn’t something I am necessarily going to be able to predict in advance. Maybe it’s something I have to track, moment to moment, and sort out after the fact.
Notice Pleasure: Kissing her collar bones. Making out in the museum stairwell. Morning snuggles. Feeding each other. Coffee on the back steps. Story Time on the front porch. Having my hair washed. Pre-planned spankings. Flirting by text. The way she shudders when I fill her lungs with my breath. The way she groans when I suck on her tits.
Ms Syren.
[1] Which… I’ve read plenty of the “get your groove back” variety of sex-self-help books. They are primarily aimed at hetero, vanilla, monogamous people and, as such, they tend to treat “my normal” (kinky, polyamourous, bisexual), the stuff that I’m fretting about not wanting/doing/being enough of, as their target audience’s “Beyond the pale levels of Too Much” which… is alienating, to say the least.
[2] Outside of power play, at least. 😉

So… it’s been a few days, and maybe you’re picking up on this whole Alphabetical Prompts Series that I’ve been doing.
It’s a series of my own devising, so the “alphabet” part, while handy, is meant more as a jumping off point than a requirement. Not every single thing is going to have a sequentially alphabetical subject line (which should help me avoid awkward titles where I try to shoe-horn an “X” in there, or similar).
As it happens, the main goal of these posts is the “notice pleasure” portion at the bottom of them, and the rest is more of an excuse to make this a regular/semi-scheduled kind of thing.
See. I know (this is more Brené Brown) that one way to develop shame-resilience[1] is to practice gratitude around the areas where you feel that shame. So I thought, “Oh, hey. I have a huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge vat of shame around sex stuff”. Just massive heaps of “I’m not worthy” and “I’m so bad at this” and “Stop pestering people” and “I’m a bad lover” and all the rest of that crap. And it gets in the damn way when I’m trying to do things.
Things like flirting, or getting fisted, or getting off with a partner, or initiating sex, or whatever. It gets in the way, and I get kind of tangled up in it, and trying to get out again is this whole separate mess from the actual difficulties that I have around things like navigating my over-active trauma responses (for example) and kind of just make everything worse and harder to deal with.
Because the trauma stuff happened quite a while ago now. And, yeah, I know that Healing Isn’t Linear and stuff is going to keep on resurfacing whether I like it or not and sometimes it’s going to surprise me or catch me off guard, and other times it’s going to leave me the heck alone, and still other times it’s just going to be, like, “Oh. Hey trauma. You’re coming along on this ride, are you?” and it’s just going to be a thing…
But it would still be nice if it was just navigating the hiccoughs of “Oh, my limbic system is having a moment” rather than it being, like, “Oh. My limbic system is having a moment, and now I have all these FEEEEELINGS about that, and I have to stop everything and PROCESS”.
I’m allowed to stop everything and process?
But also I would like to not have to.
So I thought that maybe I could develop some resilience around pleasure-and-sex-related shame specifically by starting a gratitude practice where I notice pleasure – both broadly physical/emotional and more specifically sexual – in my day-to-day life. Maybe being more explicit about things that feel pleasurable, particularly (but not exclusively) sexually pleasurable, in this really public (but also protected, because it’s in writing and you-all are on the other side of the internet) way will also help me to get comfortable with both recognizing and naming what I enjoy.
And I thought: Oh hey, maybe I can also use those posts to write about stuff that relates directly, or less-directly, to my relationship with my own sexuality. Because it’s not like this blog doesn’t need some attention and, hey, maybe if I’m thinking about it – especially if I’m making a point of thinking about it in a pro-active, positive kind of way – maybe that will help things along, too.
So. Here I am.
I’m going kind of hard right now, partly because it’s Explore More Week – so I’ve got lots of stuff to chew on – and partly because I’ve got a lot of time at home to devote to it right now. Plus, I’m on Week Twelve of my Empress Project and, you know, I’d like to have something to report. >.>
But, after the impending new moon, this will most-likely switch to being an “every two weeks” kind of longer-term deal.
We shall seen.
Regardless, here’s hoping it helps.
Notice Pleasure: Home-made cookies. Rubbing my wife’s calves (and my hands) with birch & black pepper Muscle Rub ointment – the way it makes my hands warm and how the smell (which is very minty) makes me aware of my deep breaths. Casually nattering about plants and seeds and creative projects with friends I haven’t seen in a while. Hot, greasy pizza with extra cheese and really good bacon. Waking up slowly and being affectionate with a partner. Feeling the promise of spring in (relatively) warm air & humid air and longer hours of daylight.
Ms Syren.
[1] It’s not that you stop feeling shame, or even that you stop feeling shame about specific things (although… sometimes?), it’s that you get better at navigating shame and at not getting stuck in it, and you recover more quickly when you do. That’s shame-resilience.

Fucking Into Femme

So, about six months ago (maybe a little more) I got a book in the mail. Becoming Dangerous: Witchy Femmes, Queer Conjurers, and Magical Rebels on Summoning the Power to Resist. It’s a book of essays that touch on glamour magic, space claiming, and all sorts of good stuff.
The first essay in the book is by Cara Ellison, and it’s called “Unfuckable”.
It’s an essay about independence. It’s an essay about being so ferociously autonomous that you are utterly free and no-one can hurt you.
It’s… Okay, from my perspective as an insecure anxious-preoccupied attacher? The sheer glee of the author when she chants “I don’t. Fucking. Need you” is… deeply fucked up. It’s the chant of someone who is at the other extreme of insecure attachment. For whom relying on people, that vulnerability, is nothing but a trap.
It’s flip-side of my own trap, the one that says “If they need you, if you make yourself indispensable, they won’t abandon you”.
I was talking to my wife about this essay earlier today, and about how, thirteen or so years ago, I was very, very stuck in a sexual paradigm where EITHER (a) I could be touched, and could have moments of feeling worthy and loveable, but only within a context where I knew I was fundamentally worthless and disposable, OR (b) I could have something like intrinsic value, but only by being untouchable, only by allowing my own loneliness and skin-hunger to gnaw and gnaw and hollow me out on the inside.
In “Unfuckable”, the author visits the ruins of an old castle, the rumoured home of an ancient warrior queen who trained heroes and had no fucks to give about anything.
Her autonomy is legendary and, to the author’s delight, she finds a well – still brimming with clean, potable water, at the center of the former Great Hall. She could have outlasted a siege in there.
Thirteen years ago, I felt like I was under siege. I wasn’t safe in my own home. And I wasn’t safe outside of it. Thirteen years ago I was in my mid-twenties. I must have had “easy target” written on my forehead because the sexual harassment never let up, and the assaults – at home, at work, on the damn bus, you name it – were happening too frequently to just ignore and brush off.
When I separated from my then-husband, sold the marital home, and moved into a not-great-but-available one bedroom apartment, something changed.
I had a door of my own that I could lock.
Inside of a year later, someone told me that I had a “don’t fuck with me” bubble surrounding me at all times.
So I’m not knocking that independence, the “I don’t fucking need you” of being able to make rent without room-mates or live-in partners who had, up to that point, only ever been a bad idea. Sometimes that’s what we need to keep ourselves safe.
But, for me, it’s not sustainable, and it can feel desperately lonely. It can be desperately lonely.
A long time ago, I read a collection of essays called Fem(me): Feminists, Lesbians, and Bad Girls. One of my favourite authors has a piece in there called “On Being a Bisexual Femme”. That book was the first time I’d seen “femme” as a concept at all but it was almost entirely in the sense of “feminine monosexual lesbians who are attracted, specifically and exclusively, to masculine women”. So finding an essay that explicitly said that one could be femme and also be involved with dudes – which I was doing at the time – was such a relief.
I wanted femme.
I wanted it because it meant I could be a Real Queer™ without having to be something that I wasn’t – that being butch or masculine. And I wanted it because it meant I could have physical and sexual autonomy, could be the actual owner of my own damn body, without having to be masculine, too.
So. Femme.
Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, the author of the above-mentioned essay, has written a zillion things on being a multiple-gender-attracted femme survivor of sexual abuse. I get a lot out of those essays and poems, believe me.
And one thing that comes up over and over is the idea of being able to be sexually receptive is a way that is authentic (rather than performative) and… “successful” in the sense of “When I do receptive sex like this, I can and do experience it as fun, pleasurable, intimate, enjoyable, hot” and all those other good things.
This is something I want.
This is something I want, and I am part of the way there.
But I get in my own way a lot.
There was a time when I tried on the word “stone”, like Amber Dawn did. A femme top who didn’t let her lovers touch her sexually.
But that isn’t actually me.
I’m touch-hungry. I want to top my lovers with my whole body, not just the outsides of it.
I want to be fuckable.
Not in the sense of gross dudes rating someone’s “fuckability”, or of Hollywood actresses having the choice of being either Hellen Mirin / Judy Dench / Meryl Streep or of being unemployable after they’ve aged out of the narrow margins of “young, hot, fresh” sexual desirability.
But in the sense of being able to unhinge my jaw and swallow the world, of being able to open, and open, and open. I wrote a poem, ten years ago, called “Swallow” about eating out my girlfriend while she fucked me with her hands, and how “I do not feel invaded. I feel enormous”.
If you’ve ever read Neil Gaiman’s American Gods? I felt like Bilquis in her temple.
I mean “fuckable” in the sense of Ann Cvetkovitch saying, in An Archive of Feeling, “Femme sexuality is about voracious desire for-which no apologies are necessary”.
Like, I’d like to be the kind of woman who can, and does, have gushing, squirting, g-spot orgasms. Partly because I know I’ve got the capacity to do that[1]. Partly because I think it would just be kind of cool and fun? And partly because I keep hearing (from writers like Poplar Rose and Sophie Saint Thomas) that squirting is remarkably effective at unlocking trauma-based/trauma-related tensions and blockages in one’s hips and lower back where, oh hey, I’ve been having problems since right around that time, 13 years ago, when my body was under siege. (Look at that, why don’t you…)
And that means I need to find that internal sense of safety so that I can access it when I want to, rather than it being just sort of… a matter of luck and chance as to whether or not I can do a thing that I would really, really, really like to do.
I tried something a day or two ago.
I’m on my period, so I did this with a diva cup firmly in place, which is maybe relevant (or not). But I slid one of my fingers into my vagina. And, yeah, things felt… kind of out of place, but… see above re: diva cup.
What was… relevant, I guess, is that I realized I was holding my breath while I did it.
Like “holding my breath”, not in the sense of “doing stuff with my pelvic floor to build tension” or “intentionally doing low-risk solo breath play”, but in the sense of “Oh, shit. I forgot to breath. Again.”
I was holding my breath because I was “freezing” myself, just a little bit.
Like, I was making a decision to do something to my own body with my own body – like two parts of myself that are both connected to the same central nervous system, and the same damn brain. And my limbic system still said “Hey… Now might be a good time to maybe start shutting down, since horrible, painful death is probably immanent and there’s a slim chance you can avoid it – or at least avoid feeling it while it’s happening – if you shut down all systems and play dead”.
A rabbit trying not to be noticed by a predator that is part of itself.
Which… Just… Really???
Thanks. That’s just great.
It’s not that I was dissociating. Exactly. But something was definitely going on.
And I would like to figure out how to… how to get out of my own way. And how to do it, well… quickly.
Which is maybe not the best goal to have, I do realize.
But… I get that, very probably, this thing where “staying with the feeling” in sexually-receptive situations is probably going to be a thing that I have to make conscious decisions about for the rest of my life. Like, it’s probably not going to be automatic/reflexive. (This is more Leah stuff, tbh. About how “healing” doesn’t mean “you become like someone who was never hurt” it means “you learn how to navigate your own unique circumstances with radical love and self-compassion and as big a bag of workable tricks and tools and you can create and continue to add to”. Which: okay. I’m into it. Even if it’s frustrating sometimes).
So I’d like to know how to… get myself out of Anxiety Brain – and the kind of cascade of other crap around danger but also around unworthiness and around what I “should” be doing or be capable of receiving or what have you – quickly, but in ways that don’t dissipate any sexual excitement that I had, there-to-fore, managed to build up[2]. Or at least in ways that let me view that drop in excitement as an opportunity for Edging[3] rather than some horrible failure or, like, “Oh, great. How am I ever going to get back to where I was when I’m right back at the beginning again?”
I want to be able to invite my partners into my body. To enjoy my own strength and to be fed – like nourishing and delicious! – by those experiences. Because I know I can be. I want to laugh that deep, satisfied laugh again. I want to hit my high notes again. I want to roar again.
I want it back.
To that end, I’m re-reading Ecstasy Is Necessary and listening to the Afrosexology duo talk about “orgasmic living” and how to stop self-sabotaging when it comes to everything from creative self-care to one’s sexual needs and wants. Here’s hoping I pick some stuff up.
Notice Pleasure: Feeling graceful while doing back bends and other pole-dancing floor tricks. Fizzy bath bombs that stain the water rose-red and smell like fruity candy. A clean sink. Watching my partner being in her own pleasure. Deep conversations that make my brain fizz. Laughing freely from deep in my body. The semi-weightless cradling of resting in warm water. Moments of silence and the peace that comes with them.
Ms Syren.
[1] Ha… because it happened once, embarrassingly, while I was working in art class. See also: Reasons why I knew I had to at least give this age play business a try. >.>
[2] Right now, I have a wonderful technique for stopping an anxiety spiral while it’s still small. And it’s great! The ratio breathing of “in-for-four, out-for-eight” (a) means I’m never holding my breath, but also (b) calms my fear-stuff right the heck down. It’s fantastic. BUT it calms everything down. Curious-and-excited happens in the same part of your brain (big surprise – Hi, Limbic System!) as Fearful-and-avoidant. And my brain is… funny… and doesn’t necessarily separate the two very well. (Sort of like when I realized that, when I’m experiencing an agitated motion – like when I’m stirring up the soap bubbles before doing the dishes – my Very Smart Brain decides that this means I should also be experiencing agitated emotions. I’m a genius, I swear).
[3] Where you build up to a very sexually excited, eager state, and then let things drop back to a more calm state, and then build things up a little farther, and let them drop back (but not quite as far), and then build yourself up again… and you get the idea.

So, I’m re-reading Come as You Are by Dr. Emily Nagoski. It’s a fun, chatty read with lots of easy-to-digest brain science in there about your amygdala and attachment theory and so-on. My kind of thing. But also I’m re-reading it because I’m… kind of tired of getting in my own way?
The first time I read this – three and a bit years ago, shortly after it came out, iirc – I was mostly paying attention to the survivor story.
(This is one of those books where there are “case studies” – herein, presented as “When chatting with one of my Nerd Friends” type anecdotes, probably because the book is basically written as though the reader is, likewise, one of said (Nerd?) Friends – illustrating the various ways that the “dual control model” of human sexuality can show up in a given person).
This time around, while that “how to manage your triggers” stuff is still relevant, I’m reading it again with an eye towards a different case study, where the “breaks” are being applied to the character’s sexual appetites in a different way. Not trauma, but day-to-day living stress and performance anxieties.
Not exactly an unusual situation, I know.
So. One of the things the author suggests is to look at the stuff that stresses you out, and figure out which bits you actually have some control over.
Like, if you have a crap boss, you can’t control how they treat you or what kind of last-minute tasks they pile on your desk. So that’s not a stressor you have much/any control over. But maybe you can decide that you will 100% NOT be available by email after business hours are over. Maybe. I don’t know your situation.
In my case, one of the things that stresses me out is – unexpectedly(?) not-so-unexpectedly(?) – my messy house.
And I do have some control over that, as long as I don’t get my knickers in a twist about whether or not “I’m doing ALL the cleaning around here”.
One of the exercises in the book is to write down some specifics about a bunch of great sexual experiences and then a bunch of specifics about pretty-crappy sexual experiences, and then see if there are any patterns. A lot of my Great Sexual Experiences have taken place outside of my house. In hotel rooms or while otherwise staying somewhere where The Mess is both (a) Not My Problem, and (b) not actually there, to begin with. Visits to distant sweethearts who have used my impending arrival to motivate them to Clean All The Things, or to put up their art work, or to finally finish unpacking. Hotel-stays where my wife and I were able to get away from work stress, and get adequate sleep, but were incidentally also sleeping in a bed with fresh sheets, in a room that got vacuumed regularly and didn’t have enough Life Stuff in it for it to ever get cluttered, because it was so temporary.
So, for the moment, one of the things I’m doing is trying to improve the sort of background “ambience” of the house.
I mean, we’ll see how long it lasts since, at the moment, I have two weeks of almost entirely from-home work and, thus, an extra 2 hours per day, since I don’t have to walk or bus anywhere to make us some money. BUT I figure, if I can make things a tiny bit nicer every day, the baseline will slowly (sloooooooooowly) improve until some part of me isn’t constantly thinking “Ick. Everything is disgusting, and I feel gross just being here”.
So I swept the main floor yesterday, and I swept upstairs today. Tomorrow I’ll clean the bathroom, or I’ll do a fast mop-up of the kitchen floor or I’ll vacuum the rugs. It feels like Horrible Entropy is 100% threatening, but as long as I keep on top of One Small Thing (like, seriously, 20 minutes of Thing will usually about do it), I think it might (might) be achievable.
Notice Pleasure: Early morning kisses. Catching up on the couch. Exchanging selfies. Impromptu dates. Unexpected shivers. Needle scenes. Lingering eye-contact. Knowing that both of my sweethearts miss me back.

So, below, is a fairly large excerpt from this other post I wrote for Urban Meliad as part of the New Year New You Experiment in Radical Magical Transformation (if you’re a Woo Person, you may want to give it a go yourself). Given the subject matter, I thought it was appropriate to post it over here, as well.
As a heads up, I’m talking a little bit about dissociative things I do in (some) sexual situations but I’m not getting into discussions or depictions of sexual trauma. Also, I talk a bunch about tarot cards which might be a little out of left-field here, but is context-appropriate for the way I’m doing the Experiment over at Urban Meliad.
The first time I looked at the Osho Zen depiction of the Queen of Cups (Receptivity), what I saw in her double-helix-stemmed lotus blossom body was the Chalace (Brittish Traditional Wiccan style, in case you missed the metaphor). I keep thinking about the message to Slow Down from back in early April, and about not being as in my body as I thought I was and, maybe it’s because of the afore-mentioned sex-and-money rabbit hole, but I kind of feel like the Hard Thing I’ve been putting off is sex, specifically bottoming in sexual situations. (It’s something I can do, and something that I can enjoy a LOT… but I’m also really out of practice, and the last few times I’ve tried it, things have not ended well. I’ve wound up clinging to my various partners asking them over and over “Are you safe? Are you okay?” – a dissociative Thing where it’s pretty easy to spot what I’m really asking. FML.
I’m fucking tired of it!
So I did a Hard Thing the other night, and asked for something sexually specific from someone specific. And the someone specific said Yes.
Which you’d think would have been it for the hard part, but you would be wrong!
Turns out, there’s a whole other Hard Part that I didn’t even know was there!
So. Working this out:
Brené Brown writes (in The Gifts of Imperfection, iirc) that Joy is one of the most vulnerable feelings out there, and that because of this, people (i.e.: ME) are quick to numb out joy with things like Preemptive Tragedy or by setting up a permanent campsite in the Slaugh of Despond (perpetual, pre-emptive disappointment).
Slogging through the internal landscape of what I think I am, and am not, Supposed To feel:
I’m not supposed to want things
I AM supposed to “want things” but only in-so-far as I’m able to psychically predict what other people want to me to want, which I an then present to them like it was all my idea OR Wanting specific things is greedy, and makes you a burden/bother, and you should know better than to be like that
You can WANT things all you like, but actually ASKING for them is heaping social pressure on someone else to do what you want, whether they want to or not, so you might as well just tattoo “rapist” on your forehead and get it over with, you horrible, horrible, self-centred, demanding jerk
…Slogging through that stuff is hard. Getting the words out of my mouth is hard. But, for me at least (and in a situation where there was at least a 50% chance of getting a Yes in the first place), it was even harder to get through what came after.
The Hard Thing, it turns out, is stopping myself from slamming my own fist down on hope and joy by telling myself All The Stories – stories like:
They’re just saying yes to be ‘nice’ to you, they don’t really want to do this and you should just let them off the hook before you screw this up even worse;
Okay, you’ve asked, and they’ve said yes. Now what happens if you freeze up and reneg on the deal? What happens then, huh? You’ll have Led Them On and then Let Them Down, that’s what! Maybe you should just call the whole thing off before you screw this up even worse.
The hard part is staying open, and it took recognizing the feeling as one I’d had before (over a year ago actually, back when C first said they were interested in me and I spent a train-ride home from Toronto wanting to sob my eyes out because I was so full of hope that was trying so hard to turn into despair) for me to figure out what was happening.
Maybe if (when?) I feel that feeling again, I’ll be able to recognize it and tell myself: “Wait! This isn’t something that you have to squash! Stay hopeful! Stay open! This is already going somewhere good!”
Staying open felt like being filled up to overflowing (with something really positive), feeling a little overwhelmed and like I needed to dial things back or else Something Would Go Wrong… But it didn’t, in and of itself, feel bad. And staying emotionally open had some er… pleasant side-effects on the physical front? Yay? 🙂
I think that feeling – brim-full and possibly overflowing, but able to accept that more is coming – is the Queen of Cups Feeling.
I read something in Healing Sex (which I’d forgotten I’d bought years ago and in-which I’d already made a bunch of notes) the other day, about how as you push through barriers, you are going to feel all the uncomfortable, crappy feelings all over again, and you’re going to have to figure out which of those uncomfortable (emotional and/or phsyical) sensations are crappy-and-triggering because you don’t like them, versus which ones are uncomfortable but actually okay (like: If you try to stop yourself from getting turned on because of bad experiences or feelings around getting turned on during a Bad Situation, it’s okay to continue with a Good Situation, even if you are trying not to get turned on, and you might be able to let yourself get turned on in those Good Situations eventually). This reminds me a little of that.
Learning (or remembering?) how to discern which Intense Feelings mean “stop” versus which ones mean “keep going”, rather than treating all of them as “This is Too Intense! ACK!” is… kind of a big deal? I feel kind of like I’ve had a penny-drop moment, albeit probably one that’s going to involve a lot of practicing before it becomes something I can do without having to talk myself thorugh it on a concious level. (Although talking myself through “stay hopeful, stay open” in the emotional sense is actually a mega-tonne easier than talking myself through “stay in your body, don’t over-think everything” in the physical sense has ever, ever been, possibly for obivous reasons).
I have a chunk of rose quartz tucked into my bra, near my heart. I have Plans for this, but one of them is a little bit of self-glamoury to keep some love-for-me close at hand when I need it.
Touching on the Two of Cups again [EDIT: this is the tarot card I chose to represent this prompt over at UM for a bunch of reasons which you can read all about in the original. /EDIT], the Mary-El version, as Beth Maiden puts it, depicts the “[…J]oy of emotional connection, the sublimity of blending energies[…]”. Of offering and accepting and receiving and offering back; of feeding each other.
I want to do this with my partner(s).
I want to build on this and keep opening.
Ms Syren.

In My Body… Or Not

I started taking singing lessons when I was seven. When your body is your instrument, you need to be in it all the way. Now I work as a model, and being aware of my body as it exists in space, is a big part of the job. I have (relatively minor) back and joint pain that, for the most part, just doesn’t go away.
You would think that this would mean that it’s easy – maybe not always pleasant, but easy – for me to be In my body all the way.
I’ve actually prided myself on the assumption that I am In my body all the way, and that it’s easy for me to do, that it’s normal or second nature.
… And I realized about a month ago that this is not the case. Not really.
I realized that the part of my body that I occupy, that I think of as “me”, that I can be In without having to think about it or work at it is… not very much. It’s the part from my arm-pits up. Sometimes I go a little lower than that – although that might also just be an awareness of where my bra sits all the time? – but the part of me that I think of as “me” is… my arms and hands, my neck, my shoulderblades and traps (at least the tops of them), my shoulders, my neck, my face, my scalp, my head.
It explains a lot.
Like why I tend to Notice other people from about the same point up and don’t pay a tonne of attention to the rest until after I’ve decided “Oh, I think that person is pretty”.
Like why I like going down on my lovers to the degree that I do, and (okay, there’s more than one reason for this) it’s so much easier to have someone’s junk in my mouth than in my cunt.
Like why my lovers feel “so far away” when their hands/mouths/attention are focused below my waist.
Like why kissing is SO Amazing and is my favourite part of sex.
Like why wrapping my arms around someone feels so intimate.
So here I am, going “Ohhh…” and wondering how to change that. How to be a whole-body experience all the time.
Suggestions welcome.
Ms Syren.

Just… Call Me Becky?

So, I popped over to Kink of the Week today, and what should the topic turn out to be?
So I decided to talk about bums.
Because, to my continual (for some reason) surprise, I am a bit of an Ass Lady.
I say “surprise” because (a) I’m deeply ambivalent about my own butt, and also (b) I’m not butt-oriented in general… and yet… Honestly? Three girlfriends in? I’m noticing a pattern. ‘Cause every one of them has (a) had a great ass, but also (b) had said great ass totally captivate me on many an occasion.
Just amazing.
You know “callipygian”? “Having a shapely behind”? It’s that. All of my lady-loves have had these gorgeous, curvy, meaty rear-ends that I just want to get my hands on and my face into.
Who knew?
Not me, apparently.
I mean, gods know I have A Type, even if I don’t always date to it.
And yet: bodacious asses.
Can’t complain.

Hey there.
So one of my partners and I were fooling around the other day, and she wanted to check in to see if I was up for something a little more hot and heavy than making out for the sake of making out. The way she asked was… a little awkward, to say the least, but it gave me some Useful Information about my own sexuality and what my pacing is like. So, in true Challenger Generation[1] fashion, I’ve decided to talk about it on the internet.
See, one of my Nearest and Dearest identifies as Grey-A, and we’ve talked about it using the metaphore of “mainland” and “island”. It goes like this:
Non-sexual interactions take place on the mainland. Sexual interactions take place on the island. (This is where the metaphor starts getting a little bit clunky, but bear with me). Most people live on the mainland, most of the time (some people live on the island, most of the time, but that’s another story) and, if they want to have a sexual interaction with somebody, they need to take the bridge across to the island.
With me so far?
My Grey-A Interlocutor says that, for her, there is no bridge. She either has wings that day (and can fly across the water, which is also tiring) or she doesn’t, in-which-case the island might as well not exist no matter how much she wants to get over there.
For non-ace-spectrum folks, it’s more like “how does a given person cross this bridge?”
Which is what I wanted to talk about.
I figure that, for some people, there’s the mental/emotional/cellular-leve equivalent of a shuttle bus that goes by every 10 minutes if you happen to want to hop on and go to Sex Island for a quick stop-over or an afternoon of fun. For others, there might not be a shuttle bus, but maybe they can phone a private car that will, at a moment’s notice, turn up to collect them and deliver them to their destination in style and comfort. For still others, there might be a swaying, rickity footbridge of rope and half-rotted planks, and getting to Sex Island means edging along above turbulent waters, one very-carefully-placed step at a time, with a lot of safety precautions in play… and they might still have to abort the mission unexpectedly.
In my case, my footbridge is no-longer the swaying death-trap it once was (Woohoo!!!), but it’s still a long-ass bridge and it takes a fucking while to cross it. Like, yes, sure, sometimes – as with OC Transpo, funily enough! – I can catch a bus when I’m part-way across and the stars have properly alligned, and yes, sure, like all good bridges, it has a bit of an arc to it, so things move a little faster and more easily once I’m past the halfway point, but generally speaking I’m getting to Sex Island on foot, at walking pace[2].
Which is good to know.
As in: It’s information I can give a partner.
For Example:
“I’m totally down for beating the fuck out of you, but I need you to be gentle and receptive about how gradually I do the build-up, because this is also the warm-up for me, and I’m a better, more solid and less literally-shakey, top when I don’t rush myself by trying to get to your desired intensity-level faster than I’m actually comfortable with”.
“I’m definitely up for switching sexually, but are you cool with taking the Bottom spot first? That way, I can warm myself up while I’m doing Wonderful Things to you, and I’ll be ready for you by the time we trade places.”
“I’d love to [receive intense-for-me genetal play] but, before that can happen, I’m going to need a solid hour[3], give or take, of slow, full-body carresses, deep kissing, and breathing each other’s pheremones.”
I like the footbridge metaphor. It helps explain (to myself, if to nobody else) why so many of my “reliable go-to” sexual activities are the kind of “still a virgin” things that geeky-nerdy kids (and probably other kids?) do when they’re not quite emotionally/mentally ready for Actual Fucking, but definitely have all the hormones and neurons and what-not to be physically into it. Things like making out and sensual massage and fooling around with our clothes still on and cuddling & whispering together and, okay, also hanging out together in the miniature hot tub and nuru-gel wrestling in the inflate-a-pool. But you get the idea. I may not know how to turn wrestling into sex, the way S. Bear Bergman describes it in his essay, “Brother Dog”, but – if someone wants to get there with me – I definitely know how to turn cuddling and gentle closeness into sex. It’s the road I know best. I may walk it at a heartbeat pace, but it gets me there every time.
Ms Syren.
[1] you can blame/thank Catherynne M. Valente for that term – though I can’t find the post where she first used it. (There’s a handy definition here, though).
[2] I’ve tried to get there at a run on so many occasions, and it mostly just means that I get tired half-way across and need to straight-up stop, or else I get to Sex Island only to realize that I’ve got a stitch in my side and everything hurts and I need to catch my breath and just… enjoying myself now that I’m here isn’t going to be easy.
[3] Maybe more, depending on the day and/or how long it’s been since I’ve seen you.

Taking a bit of a different tack today. So far, this year, I’ve managed to talk about Poly or D/s during my GGBP posts. Today, howver, I’m looking at safer sex.
Specifically, and having just done this myself, I’m reminding folks to check the expiry dates on your safer sex supplies. I had a whole bunch roll past their use-by dates recently. My hook-up kit (which, admitedly, doesn’t get a tonne of use) is re-stocked with stuff that’s not going to expire until 2016 or later. I feel a whole lot better.
As a side note: You don’t actually have to throw away expired condoms. You can use them on personal-use-only toys – you might want to do this if your toys are porous or otherwise tricky to clean, or to protect your silicone toys if you prefer silicone lube. Just… don’t get them mixed up with the stuff that’s still within its use period.
Look. It’s not the end of the world to use expired latex (and non-latex) barriers during sex – way better to use them than to use nothing. But the risk of having your barrier fail – tear, break, lose flexibility, lose potency (if we’re talking about spermicidally-lubed stuff) etc – gets higher the further past the expiration date something gets. So, if you’ve got the option of using, er, fresher materials… do so.
On a related note: Yeah, you can generally pick up free roll-on condoms in any CHC bathroom or Q/T community info fair. But if you’re wondering where to find affordable insertable condoms and oral dams – both of which can be a tad on the prohibitavely expensive side, expecially when you’re broke – turn to agencies like Planned Parenthood Ottawa and the ACO who give them away for free as part of their respective mandates.
NOTE: If you’re looking for fisting kits – which tend to contain nitril gloves rather than latex ones – I know that the AIDS Committee of Toronto supplies them, but I don’t know if anyone in Ottawa does. (Commenters? Want to throw some information out here?)
Anyway. That’s your PSA for the day.
Ms Syren.