Posts Tagged ‘lesbian bed death’
I’ve been reading Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence by Esther Perel this past week, and it was an interesting enough read to mention it here. I have written quite a lot about my own path to pursuing and finding a fulfilling sexual relationship, as this site was started primarily because I found myself in a lesbian bed death relationship with my ex and was trying to write my way out of it, and to a new sexuality.
Though the cover looks all mainstream self-help-y, it isn’t. Perel is a seasoned therapist and it is mostly full of psychological examples of her clients’ complications in keeping their long-term relationship strong while still having their sexual needs met.
Here’s the publisher’s description:
One of the world’s most respected voices on erotic intelligence, Esther Perel offers a bold, provocative new take on intimacy and sex. Mating in Captivity invites us to explore the paradoxical union of domesticity and sexual desire, and explains what it takes to bring lust home. Drawing on more than twenty years of experience as a couples therapist, Perel examines the complexities of sustaining desire. Through case studies and lively discussion, Perel demonstrates how more exciting, playful, and even poetic sex is possible in long-term relationships. Wise, witty, and as revelatory as it is straightforward, Mating in Captivity is a sensational book that will transform the way you live and love.
Perel quotes many authors I’ve read (and liked), has a very open minded view about kink and fantasy, and grew up largely outside of the US, which gives her a perspective on our achievement-oriented culture that I appreciate. She does include some gay and lesbian couples in her examples, and her examples and suggestions aren’t heteronormative.
The Amazon description reads: “Some of the proposals Perel recommends for rekindling eroticism involve cultivating separateness (e.g., autonomy) in a relationship rather than closeness (entrapment); exploring dynamics of power and control (i.e., submission, spanking); and learning to surrender to a “sexual ruthlessness” that liberates us from shame and guilt.” YES. Isn’t that precisely what I advocate here on Sugarbutch, in fact? Especially within lesbian cultures, the codependency that comes with the “merging” is so normal it’s practically expected, and I feel like we constantly have to fight against it to avoid it. Somewhere Perel has a line about keeping the spark going, how in order to have the spark you have to have friction, and in order to have friction you have to have a gap between you. That is autonomy, right there, and if one or both of the folks in the relationship don’t have enough of it, the spark won’t be cultivated. Obviously I explore a lot of the dynamics of power and control, and I write about why that stuff can be fun and liberating instead of reproducing some sort of dangerous power dynamic. And shame and guilt? I wish it was possible to just wave a magic wand and take away the shame and guilt about sex from this culture—wanting sex, wanting kinky sex, wanting more sex, our carnal desires in general.
To quote Tara Hardy: “This is the sweet glory reason for a body in the first place.”
I really believe that. Now, if only I can find a way to help teach the undoing of that shame and guilt. (I know, I know, that’s lofty. But hey, why not aim high?)
Perel has some great concepts around the conflicts between the dichotomy of love vs lust, stability vs passion, security vs adventures, occasionally misunderstood as a mutually exclusive binary, but, she argues, is really a “paradox to be managed” instead of a “problem to solve.”
It is a puzzle. Can you hold the awareness of each polarity? You need each at different times, but you can’t have both at the same time. Can you accept that? It’s not an either-or situation, but one where you get the benefits of each and also recognize the limits o each. It’s an ebb and flow. Love and desire are two rhythmic yet clashing forces that are always in a state of flux and always looking for the balance point. —p84
I’m not sure if “you can’t have both at the same time,” I think you can love someone and still feel passionate. But you can’t necessarily have security and adventure at the same time … though what if you’re on a backpacking trip with your sweetheart? You’re having an adventure, but you’re with your lover, so you feel the stability that that relationship can cultivate. And sometimes when I’m having kinky sex and talking all kinds of dirty with Kristen, what’s streaming through the back of my mind is I love you I love you I love you …
Still, I get the point. And I really appreciate Perel’s encouragement of treating sex like a hobby, like something you pursue, like grown-up play—that’s what it is.
I was kind of hoping I’d come away with a better sense of how to “unlock” my “erotic intelligence,” but I can’t say I feel like that skill was cultivated so well. (Or perhaps I’ve already done that, for the most part, and while there’s more to do, a book aimed at a general audience might not be teaching me what I’m trying to learn.) I wouldn’t say I had any grand revelations from Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence, but it’s very well-written, open minded, and articulate, and it feels very much in line with the work I’m trying to do. I will likely recommend it in the future.
August’s masthead is up. Late, I know. I’ve got some more elaborate ideas for photos that I really want to feature, which go with particular quotes, so I kept putting off updating the masthead thinking that I’ll actually take those photos, but now it’s been a week and I just dug through some old shots. This one was actually taken while I was in Mexico with Datedyke, and shows off the cufflinks Colleen gave me.
I’ve still go to finish “What happened in July,” too – that’s coming. This weekend, probably.
I was just this morning on my commute into the city thinking about my former relationship, the one I was in when I started Sugarbutch. We were together four years, and over the last two we had sex five times. Seriously, I started counting. And I, well, I have a little bit of a sex drive.
So one of the reasons I started writing erotica was to have a release for all the sexual energy and frustration I was feeling. And to continue my writing practice, in general. Go figure, there’s actually a lot of craft that goes in to writing erotica – character, dialogue, rise & fall of action.
I used to always get stuck at the part where the characters are having sex, going all hot & heavy, and then they’re just about ready to orgasm and have the whole scene end. I’d get so stuck there. Finally, Jesse James and I were talking one day, and she said, “well yeah, of course that’s the hard part, because you never really know how somebody comes until they do it, do ya?”
Reminds me of that scene in Amelie where she thinks “How many couples are having an orgasm right now?” And there’s a great montage of climaxes.
[Can anybody find that clip on Youtube?] Here’s the clip (thanks Sun! I couldn’t access youtube from work). Each one is different.
I’ve been working on finishing this Sugarbutch Star chapbook lately, I’m getting it ready to be handed out at the Femme Conference next weekend, and I’ve also been thinking about how this used to be a major goal of mine – writing smut to get people off. Specifically, to get lesbians off. Even more specifically, to get lesbians to go fuck their girlfriends and to talk to their girlfriends about sex and to get more of what they actually want out of their sex lives. Sometimes I think Lesbian Bed Death perpetuates the prudish idea that women can – or want to – transcend those silly sexual relations and have some sort of deep, meaningful emotional connection, that that’s all that “really” matters.
Well duh, deep connection is important, but sex is important too. I gues that’s one of the differences between male & female sexualities, though, is that for women it does actually seem to be a case of “use it or loose it,” where the more we have sex, the more we want to have sex – as opposed to men, who while many have fluxuations in their sex drive, still tend to have sex drives independently of however much sex they are or aren’t having. I’m sure this isn’t true for all men or all women, but it tends to be true in many cases. (Y’all know of any sources on this? I’ve looked for articles but haven’t located any yet.)
What I’m trying to say is:
1. Still, one of the highest compliments folks can pay me about my smut writing is that they had to go get off after reading it, but also, that it made them want to go play with their partner or girlfriend or random first date or stranger or whomever. I love getting those emails or comments, thank you for that. Let’s make lesbians in future generations ask, “what is this ‘lesbian bed death’? Lesbians didn’t like having sex? They weren’t the most highly sexual creatures on the planet? I don’t get it!”
and 2 … Got ideas for stories you’ve always wanted me to write? The Sugarbutch Star contest is launching again. More details to come.
Today celebrates the second anniversary of the beginning of Sugarbutch Chronicles. Two years ago, I was stuck in a Lesbian Bed Death relationship and felt like I was withering away – we were together four years, and we’d had sex five times during the last two.
That relationship is why I started writing smut. I had to do something with all the sexual energy built up, so I decided I’d either a) write it down or b) go to the gym, and while I did develop a nice workout habit, the smut started growing more and more.
This is how Sugarbutch Chronicles began -discussing Bed Death, Standard Variety:
What I’m trying to say is this: I’m not getting the sex that I want. No, scratch that: I’m not getting the sex that I need. My basic human needs, basic woman needs, basic self needs, include sex. If asked, I would say at least three times a week, though I can be a little flexible about that. I understand, having had some experience as a couple, that that can’t always happen. But I also know that it can, and does, when both people make the effort.
I’m not exactly sure how I let it get as far as it did - I can’t ever imagine letting it get to that place again.
It wasn’t until Callie came along that I was shocked out of my complacent unfeeling depressed stupor and back into a sensual, feeling reality. I’ll always be grateful to her for that. For the six months Callie & I were together, this writing project turned into two main things: writing about the sex Callie and I were having, and then processing through the difficult emotional “conflicts” that kept coming up. I didn’t have community in New York when we were together, so I had very few friends to go to and talk to about her. Sugarbutch became a major outlet for my psychological explorations of our relationship.
But after that ended, it became something else: exploration of my single sex life, mostly. And as that has developed into something more intentional and less, uh, free-for-all, I’ve been writing less about my own personal dating and sex than I am about gender and sexuality in general.
Going into Sugarbutch’s third year, that’s the general direction I’m going to continue to aim. I’ll still going to write about my own personal processes and developments, but I’d like to focus on more personal essay styles with distinctive reoccuring features (like eye candy) and, of course, smut.
Is there is anything specific you’d like to see more or less of? What’s most useful to you here? What’s least useful? What do you love, what do you skip over without reading? If you have ideas, if you have general praise or critique, I’d love to know.