How rife & I Created Our D/s Protocol. Plus: Invitation to the new Protocol ecourse

Take pictures of five different places you’ve had sex and send them to me with a short (2 sentence) description of each one.

Make a mobile.

Download the 100 Pushups app and go through the program, 3x a week for 4 weeks.

Record an audio mp3 of you masturbating to orgasm.

Write up five scene ideas (short, 2 sentences each) that you’d like to experience.

Before rife and I lived together, our relationship was long distance for almost a year and a half. We both had other partners that we lived with and we’d negotiated open relationships. We were experimenting with D/s and we both craved more intensity, more rules, more obedience, more opportunities to serve.

During this time, rife didn’t so much have “protocol” as he had “tasks”, and I’d send him one (like those above) either with a deadline, or tell him that as soon as it was done, I would give him another. Sometimes that meant he was done the next day. Sometimes it took a few weeks to complete the task.

I see protocol as something done routinely that is triggered by an action. Whenever x happens, do y. For example: Whenever I get home, offer to remove my boots. Whenever we wake up, make the bed. Whenever you need to pee, ask my permission first (if I am available). Before you go to bed, make sure the dishes are done. Whenever you address me, use my proper title.

Sure, there were a few protocols that we had set up while we were long distance—he was always to kneel and kiss my boots/shoes/feet first thing, before we even spoke to each other, whenever we had traveled apart from each other. He was to text me good morning and good night. He would reply to my emails or texts promptly, not keep me waiting. Those kinds of things. But mostly, we did tasks—one-off assignments that would thrill me to receive. I kept a long list of things he sent, the kind of love-gifts one creates in the beginnings of a relationship, and I would take note of the things I loved to receive and ask him to send more of them. It was thrilling for both of us to be giving and receiving orders, to have opportunities for obedience, to make requests and have them be met.

Then, we moved in together

When we moved in together, we wanted to up the protocol significantly. I wanted clear division of the household labor, and to set things up so it was clear who took care of what. I wanted clear schedules, clear date nights, clear ways that we organize our time together, doing work, playing, and apart.

We haven’t kept all of the protocol we set up. (Ask me about rife’s speaking protocol experiments sometime—and why we don’t have any restrictions on speech anymore.) There were times when I gave him too much to do, when I failed to monitor or enforce the protocol I told him to do, and when we both just completely dropped some of the protocol we agreed upon because things going on were just too much. And, eventually, we picked it back up again, I tightened the reigns, we check in, and we keep going.

The protocol part of our D/s was one of the most fun parts to play with, for me. I wanted to set up something really fun, and in-depth, and flexible; something that would keep the protocol as lively as it was when we were long distance and playing with all those tasks. So I started experimenting with forms, and this is what happened.

Making The Training Wheel

We were both a bit obsessed with it in the first year we lived together. We created a “training wheel,” areas of training for rife in his enslavement and submission, which we shorten to the acronym L-SHAFTS: Leather, Submission, Houseboy, Assistant, Fag, Trophy, Service. Each category has a short description of the intended ways that he’s “in training” for that subject, and each one has some ideas of what he’ll do to grow in that area.

rife's training wheel

Making The Protocol Game

After we had the training categories, I set up what we refer to as “the protocol game,” where I made little slips of paper with different protocols on them (roughly the same amount in each of the 7 categories, though some of them are easier for me to make protocol in than others).

It helped that we already had weekly check-ins about our D/s set up. At first, we would go over some specific questions: What was the most fun part of this week? What was the hardest? How did we do with protocol? How could we improve it? We would both reflect on the week past and plan the week ahead, gathering data from the experiments we were doing, and implement new protocol.

I set up a notebook, too, so that we could record the little strips of paper in the book and write a little about what each protocol was like. If there was one we really liked, we would implement it permanently.

protogolgame

Some of them, even though we really, really like them for a week, we don’t want to make into something permanent because they will likely lose their luster. For example, if rife had to wear a butt plug every single time he did house chores, it would get old and become ‘normal,’ but if he only does it occasionally, it’s still thrilling.

Making Protocol For Me

After we created 52 of these protocol slips and ‘played the game’ for a year, we reflected on the year and decided that yes, we did want to do it again, but with some changes. Namely: there were a whole bunch of protocol in rife’s set that were actually protocol that relied on me doing an action. For example, the protocol for rife to “wear jock straps every day for a week” he can do himself. But if the protocol is, “receive bruises every day,” that’s something I actually have to do. And we noticed, more often than not, that I wouldn’t actually do those things when he pulled that protocol.

It’s not that I don’t want to … but, well, between you and me? I’ve been struggling with my mental health balance a lot the past few years. I think it’s getting worse. I’m pursuing all kinds of avenues of support for this, but it’s making it very hard for me to do things I love, like write, work, teach, and be the badass dominant that I aspire to be.

(But that’s kind of a different post.)

So when we set up the second year of 52 protocol slips to pull, I also created a training wheel for myself and 52 of my own. Having my own protocol has been mostly challenging, but there have been some great things that have come out of that too.

Want to join me for an experiment in making your own protocol?

If this process of creating, implementing, and enforcing protocols through this Protocol Game method sounds interesting to you, you’re invited to come join the Protocol Game ecourse that starts this weekend. There will be two webinars, one this Saturday, March 5th, and one the following Saturday, and in between you’ll have a workbook to fill out. I’ll walk you through this entire process where you’ll create a training wheel and 52 corresponding protocol, and then make a way to check in about it and enforce.

Click here and reserve your spot!

If you are a submissive or a dominant or a switch, you’re invited—you just have to want to create 52 protocol. There’s even a price for couples to take it together, and create 104 protocol for both of you.

I could tell you a whole lot more about it, but mostly all the info is over on the Academy of D/s Confidence page for the course—so go check it out.

I’m really excited about it! I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.

A peek inside Submissive Playground! The syllabus and Subplay “tracks”

So how come I, as a dominant, am running a course for submissives?
What are the goals of the Submissive Playground course?
What is on the syllabus of the course?

Let’s explore some of these questions that are asked frequently.

As a Dominant, I believe my job is not to teach you how to submit—other submissives and your own inner wisdom holds techniques and tips for that. (That’s why the course has sixteen guest educators who are mostly switches and submissives.)

My job as a Dominant is:

  1. To create a space for your submission to walk into and feel held, safe, and able to deeply explore.
  2. To set you up with rules to follow, protocol to practice, and goals to meet that are reasonable, clear, and manageable. I want you to go away from encounters feeling awesome, strong, bad-ass, energized, well-used, respected, and maybe, if we’re lucky, we’ll both feel a little bit transformed.
  3. To keep checking in to the Big Picture of our mutual goals, and keep tweaking our rules and protocol so that we are doing the best we can to move closer to them.

In Submissive Playground specifically, my goals for the submissive “players” who participate in the course are:

  1. To have fun! To identify and suspend some of the judgment we’ve accidentally absorbed about what “real” submission is and what it means to submit well, and to instead dive into myriad ways to do it, and figure out what works best for us right now.
  2. To do experiments with our bodies (and hearts and minds), to “collect the data” from the experiments, and to keep moving forward.
  3. To connect with community and witness the many ways a D/s path is possible, and to support each other in the different ways that we pursue these arts.
  4. To support you in identifying your “growth edges,” the places you’d like to transform and learn and grow, and to offer resources on your journey. (And to identify some of my own growth edges, too!)

These goals, and this premise, is what the whole Submissive Playground ecourse is built on.

The content in Submissive Playground keeps growing. This is the fourth time rife & I will be doing the course and we fine-tune it every time.

So let’s go over the Submissive Playground syllabus, so you know just what is going on in the course.

Each unit has two weeks between it to consume as many of the materials as possible, do the experiment, and fill out the homework worksheet.

Unit 0: PRE-COURSE MATERIALS

  • Read the Protocol document
  • Fill out the Foreplay & Negotiations questionnaire
  • Introduce yourself in the Sandbox (the course message board)
  • Sign up for the webinar service
  • Determine your course folder
  • Determine your course object
  • Take the What Kind of S-Type Are You? Quiz

Unit 1: BONDAGE

gbondage

  • Attend the live webinar introducing the course and opening the Bondage unit
  • Read “Tart Cherry” erotica by Kathleen Delaney-Adams
  • Read “Self Bondage” by david stein
  • Watch Lee Harrington’s video, “10 Things I Wish I Knew as a Bondage Bottom”
  • Watch Madison Young’s tips for bondage and the fetish of rope
  • Watch the guest video from Axe, about being more attractive to your dominant
  • Watch the guest video from Maisha Najuma Aza on submissive stereotypes
  • Watch Mx. Sexsmith’s demo of a simple bondage tie
  • Do the experiment!

  • Do your submissive journal homework
  • BONUS: Fill out the BDSM Checklist
  • BONUS: video by rife about getting more kinky play

Unit 2: DISCIPLINE

gdiscipline

  • Attend the live webinar wrapping up Bondage and opening the Discipline unit
  • Watch the guest video from International Master 2011, Liza, on the types of punishments
  • Watch the guest video from International slave 2011, Jody, on what motivates us to submit
  • Watch the guest video from Princess Kali on punishment and “funishment”
  • Listen to an interview with Raven Kaldera about discipline and punishment
  • Watch a short video of SkinDiamond practicing the Kink.com slave positions
  • Watch an erotic video with Nina Hartley incorporating some discipline play and positions
  • Read a document describing all the 12 kink.com slave positions
  • Read the queer erotica story “Call Me Sir” by BB Rydell
  • Do your experiment!

  • Do your submissive journal homework
  • BONUS: A worksheet from the (out of print) book Discipline by Lily Lloyd about making new rules & protocol
  • BONUS: Integrated Life Matrix infographic

Unit 3: SERVICE

gservice

  • Attend the live webinar wrapping up Discipline and opening the Service unit
  • Watch the guest video from Sejay Chu, professional service sub and experienced switch
  • Watch the guest video from rife on cultivating a service mindset for more joy and less resentment
  • Watch the guest video from feminist queer master Andrea Zanin on receiving service
  • Watch the guest video from International Ms Bootblack 2009 kd diamond on bootblacking and other service skills
  • Read an excerpt from “Real Service” by Joshua Tenpenny on motivations
  • Do your experiment!

  • Do your submissive journal homework
  • BONUS: Take the Lust Languages quiz and ponder the ways you express and best receive lust
  • BONUS: A porn poker scene from Tristan Taormino’s Rough Sex 2

Unit 4: MASOCHISM

gmasochism

  • Attend the live webinar wrapping up Service and opening the Masochism unit
  • Watch the guest video from Tina Horn, queer porn star, about spanking
  • Watch the guest video from Tillie King, switch and BDSM educator, on pain processing
  • Watch the guest video from Midori, on masochism
  • Listen to the interview with shiris about masochism and pain processing
  • Watch the short video “Impact” by Mollena Williams for fun
  • Read an erotic story with a cathartic pain scene called “Lost River” by Jeff Mann
  • Do your experiment!

  • Do your submissive journal homework
  • BONUS: Theory article, “Pleasure Not Panic: The Art of Processing Pain” by Joseph W. Bean

Unit 5: POST-COURSE

  • Attend the live webinar wrapping up Masochism and closing the entire course
  • Fill out the Aftercare worksheet
  • Say thank you to a course guest contributor
  • Book any remaining sessions you’d like to have
  • Further reading & resources PDF
  • BONUS: Wrap up any threads in the Sandbox
  • BONUS: Download any course materials you’d like for further study
  • BONUS: Join our Fetlife group for graduates
  • Update your submissive resume with your new training and anything else you’ve learned
 And that is pretty much covers the course!  

Ready to join us? Click here and sign up for Submissive Playground!

Of course, it’s a little bit different when we’re doing it live … a LOT of things can come up when we dig around in your relationship to submission! And there’s the community aspects, too.

Sound like a lot of materials? It is. But hey—I don’t want to add to your endless to do list! You’re busy! And you should be out making money and getting laid and changing the world for the better, I don’t want to get in the way of that kind of important stuff.

Remember: All the materials are optional.

Plus, many subs are the A+ student type.
You don’t need to put that kind of pressure on yourself on my behalf. You can still get TONS out of this course even if you don’t do half of it. And, you can always download the materials after the course if you want to keep them and do them later!

Check out the various contents, decide which one or two or three you are going to prioritize, and leave the rest behind. Sure, you can dig in to them if you find yourself inspired, but you will know you are totally on top of your commitment to the course when you finish up the work for your Track, and you don’t have to feel guilty about not doing more.

Maybe your work or home schedule is such that you just can’t make the webinars, for example. That’s okay! You can watch them later, or you can skip them altogether and dive into the materials yourself. (Sometimes I give a context or some content in those video sessions that I am encouraging us to explore during that unit, but you can do it on your own.)

Does that all make sense? I want this experience to be exciting, fun, and energizing for you, not a drain or an extra obligation. And rather than dropping off mid-course because you aren’t caught up, what if you set lower expectations on yourself and then felt AWESOME when you completed them? This is recreational, for your growth and pleasure.

Because remember: as a dominant, I want to set you up to succeed, and to thrive.

So here’s the different Submissive Playground “tracks” you can focus on

1. The Materials

That would be the dirty stories, how-to articles, and porn that I’ve already mentioned. It’s all the things to read and watch and interact with, the graphics rife has made, a custom-made Lust Language quiz, plus some BONUS materials when rife and I had too many good materials not to include.

2. The Experiment

This is the “go do this activity” part. There’s one per module (and four modules total—Bondage, Discipline, Service, and Masochism) and it’s the thing that you go try out in your life—there are ways to do it with a partner or by yourself.

3. Submissive Journals Homework

The journals part of the homework is thoughtful written responses to #1, The Materials, and #2, The Experiment. It is kind of like discussion questions in a class, a series of questions to get you thinking about and interacting with the materials and your experiment in a deeper way. This has been a big hit for journallers, folks who are into self-reflection and self-examination, and who like writing.

Doing #3 kind of requires that you keep up with #1 and #2, at least in part.

4. Webinars for each unit

This is the “live” part of the course. All the participants, plus me and rife, meet up every other week throughout the course to talk about all the #1 Materials, #2 Experiment, and #3 Homework, and to share our stories of discovery with one another. This happens in Spreecast, so there’s a chat function and you can come on video (but only if you want to) and talk to me and everybody in the course. These have been so very fun! They have set dates & times:

  • BONDAGE: Thursday, September 24, 6-7:30pm PST / 9-10:30pm EST / 1-2:30am GMT
  • DISCIPLINE: Saturday, October 10, 10-11:30am PST / 1-2:30pm EST / 5-6:30pm GMT
  • SERVICE: Thursday, October 22, 6-7:30pm PST / 9-10:30pm EST / 1-2:30am GMT
  • MASOCHISM: Saturday, November 7, 10-11:30am PST / 1-2:30pm EST / 5-6:30pm GMT
  • WRAP-UP: Saturday, November 21, 10-11:30am PST / 1-2:30pm EST / 5-6:30pm GMT

And they are all recorded so you can go back to them and watch them later if you aren’t able to miss the live calls.

Oh wait! Let me tell you about The Star Chart!
Throughout the course, Star & Mentor Players have access to the Star Chart, which is a place to keep track of the different pieces of the course and what you’re consuming. It’s like having your own sticker chart on the wall where everybody can see how you are doing your chores.

5. Submissive Community

This is the part, more than any of the others, that participants have said was really life-changing. Making connections to folks on a similar submissive path from around the world has been amazing! Friendships have been born and connections have been made. I firmly believe that identity explorations are easier when there’s a community context, because you have not only support but also many representations of how this particular identity manifests. In the course, we have a chat during the live video sessions, there is a message board available for your perusal and in-depth conversations, and you’re hooked up with a “subby buddy” with whom you can dive in and converse more deeply about the course.

6. One on One Sessions

Last but not least, the individual sessions track of the Submissive Playground course is where you and I get to dive deeper into your particular journey with submission and offer some support around whatever your growth edge is. One session is included with the Star Package, and FOUR sessions are included with the Mentor Package (which is why it’s called the Mentor Package, cuz you get some significant mentorship for your D/s path over eight weeks). Anybody in the course can add on additional sessions for a reduced rate, though, so just contact me if you want one. (Note: I’m not really doing 1-1 work with clients this year, instead I’m focusing on teaching and ecourses. So this is a great way to have some 1-1 time with me!)

Oh yeah, and rife is also limitedly available for sessions. After watching his videos in the course and hearing him speak about submission, you might really want some support directly from him and his brilliant submissive theory.

And that covers the entire course!

Come on and join us! It’s been an incredible journey so far and I learn so much every time I run it. I love talking to submissives from around the WORLD about what their D/s relationships are like, where they could use some support, and what they’ve learned. It’s taught me so, so much about D/s and power dynamics and how I want to build my own D/s relationship.

Click here and sign up for Submissive Playground!

7 Tips For Flirting As A Submissive

One of the most common questions I get asked from submissives is, “How do I flirt with dominants!?” And while learning some basic flirting tips (like: be curious and ask questions, give compliments, be honest) can be helpful, when you add D/s into the equation sometimes the rules are a little bit different.

Part of the confusion is that we associate flirtation with assertion—someone comes along, declares interest, and asks for what they want. Those can be seen as dominant traits. But it is absolutely possible for a submissive to do them, and to still come across as submissive and respect the dominant’s authority as a dom.

So, assuming that you’ve already established that you are submissive and the person you’re flirting with is a dominant, here’s some tips. (These are some of the things that would work for me.)

1. Establish whether or not they want to be flirted with.

This might seem obvious, but it’s multi-faceted. You gotta figure out if they are available or not—if their relationship allow for flirtation with other people. It might be as simple as figuring out whether or not they are single, but being partnered doesn’t necessarily mean that they can’t flirt—it just depends on whether their relationship allows for flirtation or not. And you might also see whether their relationship only allows flirting, and not going any farther than that—which may change your opinion on whether or not you want to flirt, depending on what the goal of your flirting is.

Secondly, you have to figure out if they are available or not right now, meaning if the timing is right. If I’m about to teach a workshop, for example, I am way less likely to respond well to flirtation than if I’ve just ended a workshop. How do you know if the timing is okay? Well, you can always ask—”So, is this a good time to flirt with you?” “Got a minute to flirt with me?” “Hey, if this isn’t a good time, could we set aside some time later and flirt maybe?”

2. If they have a submissive already, befriend them.

While you’re asking around about whether they’re available, also ask whether or not they already have a submissive—then, make friends with the sub. Ask if there’s any service you can do, if there’s some interesting talent or skill you can offer, or what other expression of interest would be welcome. If you establish yourself as aware of the hierarchy in the relationship that already exists, you’ll be a lot less threatening to the submissive, and they are way more likely to hook you up with tips and tricks to get the dominant’s attention.

3. Offer to be of service.

“May I ____ for you?”
As a friend of mine put it, “May I ____ for you?” This is where your keen observational skills can give you big points: if you notice some of the things they always do and offer to do it for them, you put yourself in the position of being very helpful. If being observational isn’t your strong point, offer some of your own impressive skills or talents: May I black your boots, may I gift you some peanut butter cookies that I made.

4. Use their title.

Using words that remind you both of the hierarchies that you like to play with can be a big turn-on, which is always a bonus when you’re trying to be flirtatious. Do some observation, and ask around, and see what kind of titles this person likes to use.

But, don’t use their relational titles. Some people have titles that they only use with a particular person, and those can be way too personal and intimate to use with a new person. Then again, some folks have “Daddy” or “Mistress” right there on their name tag or in their Fetlife user name, and everybody refers to them as such.

There’s no hard and clear rule about which titles are relational and which are respectful, so you kind of have to feel it out for yourself. In general, I’d say “Sir” and “Ma’am” are the most widely acceptable, but those are not universally liked by everyone. You can always slip it into a sentence and then ask permission: “I’d love to get your drink, ma’am—may I call you ma’am?” Hopefully, they’ll respond with the thing they would like to be called, if you guess incorrectly.

5. Be willing to be wrong.

Be willing to hear no. Be willing to be corrected if you make assumptions or mistakes. You might call them by a title and they might correct you—that’s okay. Say, “Sorry about that; thank you for the permission to call you sir.” Being corrected means you are worthy of correction, and it’s a good sign.

Putting yourself out there means taking risks, and when you’re the person who is initiating the flirtatious interaction, it’s kind of up to you to put yourself in a vulnerable position first.

6. Ask for what you want.

And be honest! Don’t ask to black their boots if that’s not your thing, don’t ask for them to beat you if you’re not into receiving sensation. Ask for what you actually want.

It’s always okay to ask for something, but it’s important that you are willing to hear any possible answer to your ask.
The context of your ask is important. If you can do that thing right there and then and it’s appropriate, it’s appropriate to offer it or to ask for it. So if you’re at a kink retreat, it is probably appropriate to offer a blow job or request to receive a spanking, but it wouldn’t be appropriate to ask for those things if you’re out at a bar (unless, you know, being crass and direct is one of your tactics—in which case, it could work! But know that it’s higher risk.)

It’s always okay to ask for something, but it’s important that you are willing to hear any possible answer to your ask. Of course, we want the answer to be an emphatic “yes,” but it isn’t always. If you’re going to get a little crushed if they say no, perhaps pre-plan the ask to have a friend around after who is willing to comfort you or perk you up.

Use your keen powers of observation and assess what kind of person this dominant is: Do they have public scenes at parties, or are they mostly private? Do they flirt and socialize a lot, or do they tend to keep to themself and their close people? Tailoring your asks to what you notice about the dominant makes it more likely for them to say yes.

7. Offer your contact information.

Assuming you are flirting now with the intention of following up for even more later, offer your info: Your Fetlife account, your cell number, your email address—however you want them to get in touch with you. Giving them your contact information gives them the power to follow up or not. Plus, it puts your vulnerability into a sexy framework: the potential to continue the flirtation, and possibly even more.


january-subplay

Submissive Playground
registration is open!

There are only 4 Star Package spots left! Registration is open until September 18; course begins September 24.

Click here to reserve your spot now!

Featured image from Crash Pad Series Episode #188, Valentine & Ember.

Stone Grief (Kai & DJ #3)

By the time I ease two fingers into DJ’s ass, they already have tears streaming down their cheeks, crying in that silent release way that I’ve only seen a handful of times in the years we’ve been together, but that always means something big is going on. I breathe in, slow my fingers down, and wait. Present. Attuning to each of the smallest movements DJ’s body communicates.

“Don’t stop,” they whisper. “Just keep going.”

They make small sips of eye contact, but are mostly having their own experience. Their body shivers, sometimes from their head to their toes, sometimes left to right, rippling like a chill is going through them. I recognize that release, too. They have been so tight, so tense, their body all locked up for months now. I’m so grateful for the request to fuck them tonight. I’d do anything to help them through this.

Their back hole is tight but pliable, and they relax deeper into my hand as I slowly, slowly use my fingers to massage their insides. It feels like I’m unlocking something, that something has been clenched and is now letting go.

I’m completely unaware of the play party going on around us. There are people up on St. Andrew’s crosses, bent over spanking benches, on massage tables, tied to the wall with the eyebolts that are scattered all around this space. We are in the back corner. I snagged the sling as soon as we got here, after we checked in and made it through the socializing space where the cold pizza, nuts, and mixed veggie trays were laid out already for anyone needing a snack after or during their play. DJ is lying back in it comfortably, body completely supported, swaying slightly with the pressure of my hand against their hole. Their legs are up in the sling’s stirrups, permanently hung there for better access.

We could have done this scene at home, but DJ wanted to come here. Not necessarily to be witnessed, though the exhibitionism is something some folks at play parties seek. It is more that they wanted a place to have a big experience, a big release, that was safe and known and comfortable. Plus, they wanted to be in a sling. It’s the best place for them to receive.

DJ isn’t stone, exactly, but kind of stone-ish. I don’t fuck them very often, and almost never strapped on, though they do suck me off sometimes. They don’t have trauma about getting fucked exactly, they just don’t like it very much. It’s not the best way to get them off, I know—it doesn’t turn them on nearly as much as topping, or fucking with their own cock. But I do get to use my hands on them sometimes, especially after we’ve been going for a while and they have fucked everything out of me that they possibly can but are still hungry—that’s when I know it’s time for me to beg to suck them off, and to offer to use my hands if they want me to, which they almost always do. I think it took them a long time to receive while still being in charge.

Like tonight. They’ve been planning this all week—decided what toys we’d bring, packed the bag, made the arrangements, drove us here. They even told me what to wear (jeans and a crisp white tee shirt, often my uniform when we’re out in public anyway, but it was nice to know that they like it). DJ specifically requested a night for release and catharsis, but I probably won’t do any impact play or anything. I suppose we’ll see if they need that or not.

“Keep going,” they whisper again. I move my fingers a little faster and their asshole relaxes around them. They nod, eyes squeezed shut, tears still coming. Their hands grip the chain of the sling and they rock their pelvis a little, swaying the swing. I focus. I keep breathing. I nearly start crying myself with the emotion pouring off of them like heatwaves, I can practically see it. It’s been bottled tight inside of them ever since we got the call that DJ’s aunt, the one who had practically raised them, died suddenly of a stroke.

They are usually pretty good at handling their own emotions. I wouldn’t be with them for this long if they weren’t. But this kind of grief … only people who have gone through it really know what it’s like. My best friend was diagnosed with cancer and died when I was 20 and I lost my shit for a few years after that. It took me a while to even realize what was going on, it just felt like my life was suddenly falling down around me. DJ hasn’t lost anyone this close before, just relatives and occasional community acquaintances. I know it’s their own process and there’s only so much I can do, but I want to support and be helpful when I can. Especially when helping involves adoring their body, which I love to do anyway.

They arch their back in the sling, press their hips further into me. Their body is shuddering, shoulders shaking—maybe they are starting to really cry, those heaving sobs that are rarer still.

I don’t say anything. I don’t know what to say. It isn’t about words now, this is just about their body, the emotions stored in their thick muscles, the tenderness of their brown skin. I use my fingertips to caress them, then rest my palm on their chest, their heart. I can feel them crying through my hand. They press against me harder, and I move my two fingers a little more furiously. Their mouth opens, they cry out a little, sadness and grief and release and pleasure all mixing, still squeezing their eyes shut, face scrunching up in frustration and fury.

They find my hand with theirs and squeeze, press against me. I stand a little closer, off to the side, to get a better angle. DJ brings their other hand down to their clit-dick and starts jerking it, not quite sobbing but body heaving, beginning to moan. I can’t tell if it’s pleasure or grief or both. The music pounds and I’m starting to sweat, I can feel it dripping on my neck. It’s good that it’s warm in here, easier to be naked that way, and those of us working hard really get a workout. DJ is still pawing hard at their clit, and their hole grips my fingers and I can barely move, so tight, every muscle in them gets so tight, their hips lifting even further, pressing against me, body twisted and contorted, face all torqued like something is in their mouth that they have to swallow. They fist my hand so hard it hurts.

Until … slowly, slowly, the sobs start to come. Then a wail, long and low. Body heaving. I keel forward to offer my body next to theirs and they gladly accept, wrapping their arms around me, pulling me closer to them, crying into my shirt for a good long while.

I still don’t say anything. I can’t find my words. But really, what is there to say? It’s not about me. It’s what they need. It’s the only thing they need right now, to be able to cry for as long as they need to without someone fussing about them. I don’t need them to feel better, or to stop, it doesn’t make me uncomfortable. I just feel honored that they want me here, that they let me do this for them. I know sometimes they prefer to release their feelings by themself.

DJ slowly pulls their arms through our tight embrace and wipes their eyes and face and nose on my tee shirt. I laugh a little. “Is that why you wanted me to wear white?”

They smile. “No,” they say, eyes downcast. “I just like it.” They sound small, but when they open their eyes and look at me, finally, softly, they are shining and bright, alive.


Featured image from Crash Pad Series Episode #98, Micah Riot and Papi Coxxx.

The Last Night (Asher & Jesse #5)

The envelope from UT Houston stayed hidden in Jesse’s file cabinet for a week before she even had the nerve to tell Asher it had arrived. The other rejection letters from Seattle Pacific University and Seattle University and University of Washington were thinner, only containing one page and a quick ‘thank you for your application,’ a band-aid ripped off clean and swift—but this one from UT was thick. That had to mean something, right? That was a good sign. Jesse wasn’t really even sure she wanted an MFA when she applied, but then when there was more than no chance at all hiding in her very own drawer, she is pretty sure she wants nothing else in the world more.

Except …

“Asher, call me back when you get this. Love you baby.” Jesse leaves a voice mail. Asher is probably still with clients, 6pm on a Tuesday, but it was worth a try before Jesse goes in for her shift at the store.

Would Asher go with her? Would she want to? What if they got married? Is that crazy? What if they broke up? How would sex ever be this good with anyone ever again?

Jesse’s mind raced with stress and change and all the options in the history of options that ever there was. She finally stripped her jeans and boxer briefs off and dropped them next to her bed, pulling her vibrator out from the box on the bookshelf that held her harness, Shilo packing and playing cock, and the nipple clamps that she’d brought from Asher’s house, and she pulled back the covers and slid between the sheets. The bed had a chill underneath the fabric, something that turning up the heat never seems to help, as if the bed had a secret draft that is always letting out warmth. Maybe that’s why they always stay at Asher’s house.

Jesse put a pillow over her forehead and eyes to block the light, wanting to only feel and let her mind think and wander. She turned on the vibrator and touched it to her cunt, using the broad side of it to work the wet out of her and ease her into wanting.

She thought about Asher, whose dresses and layers of skirts and fluff of fabrics make her mouth water and palms sweat. And that one shirt of Asher’s, thin as the skin of dried grass, the one she always wears with extra bright colored bras under so everyone knows it’s on purpose. Jesse thought of that time she’d crawled under the table, dug through the layers of crinoline in Asher’s princess-cut dress, and worked her mouth up Asher’s stockings until she reached the wet between her legs and lapped and lapped until Asher banged on the table and squeezed Jesse’s head with her thighs so hard that Jesse couldn’t hear anything. Jesse was so dizzy with lust and permission, so intoxicated by Asher’s bold shamelessness, so in love. Just the memory made her almost spill over the edge of orgasm, so it only took another minute for Jesse to put the vibrator in exactly the right spot, and come.

After Jesse got off, she fell asleep, dreaming that she was swimming out to an expansive horizon on a perfectly calm sea. Her swimming was easeful, as simple and known to her body as walking, as calm as laying in the grass under dappled sunlight through bright green leaves. She woke refreshed and clear, and put the envelope and looming decision out of her mind, holding instead to the expanse of blue as she squeezed back into her tightest and stretchiest skinny jeans, and headed to work.

Jesse knows she’s not supposed to want Asher to beg her to stay, but she hopes she does. She’s not supposed to want Asher to drop her whole life here and come with her, but she wants that too. Maybe she’s supposed to want to stay, but she doesn’t. She’s been in Seattle her whole life. It’s comfortable, easy, simple. But since Asher, and since the kind of sex she’s been having with Asher, Jesse’s world has been split open—like it was thrown off of something really tall. So why not reassemble it in a new configuration? She hates the dreary rain, hates that she can never quite get warm and always ends up shivering in the dark under clouds splashed orange with city streetlight glow. She wants tropical fruit and thunderstorms and a thriving metropolis. She wants to discover who she’ll be when she’s states away from her narcissistic step-mom who has never quite allowed Jesse to separate, and who still expects “this gay thing” to be a phase. What would happen then? What if Jesse could remake herself from scratch? The idea feels like a betrayal somehow, a secret she shouldn’t reveal for fear of being so shamed she’ll never share herself, even to herself.

“Got your message. Meetings ran late. Still coming over after work?” Asher texts Jesse after her shift starts, so she doesn’t reply until she’s off the floor for her break.

“Sure. Be there around 10, I’m closing.” Jesse texts.

“Bring your dick, I really wanna get fucked hard tonight,” Asher replies right away. Jesse hesitates. She doesn’t have it, will have to go home to pick it up. She isn’t sure she can get it up to fuck, but then again, Asher always seems to be able to inspire her, even after almost a year together. But sometimes it feels like it doesn’t matter that Jesse is the one fucking her, that as long as Asher gets fucked, that is the real desire.

When Jesse goes back to her apartment, past where the neighbors doors are always leaking pot smoke, up the stairway with the lamp out and around the dark dark corner where Jesse always holds her breath, slides her key into the lock that always sticks, she grabs the strap-on and the harness, the nipple clamps, and the thick envelope from its hiding place in her file cabinet, and pulling the hood of her sweatshirt up, she heads back out into the grey Seattle night.

*

Two hours later, Asher is worn out and giddy with endorphins and Jesse is sleepy but still wet and swollen. Asher works her mouth on Jesse’s clit, sprawled naked between Jesse’s open thighs, sheets and blankets long tossed onto the floor, tangled around the bed. Asher bends her own knees to lift her feet in the air, parting Jesse’s cunt gently with her fingers, and expertly uses the smooth inner parts of her own mouth to suck.

Jesse is having trouble letting go and relaxing, but coaxes herself through it gently in her own head. It’s okay. You’re safe and you can do it. Just focus on how good it feels. It feels so good. Give her direction if you want more or less of something. She’ll listen. It’s okay.

She doesn’t need to change what Asher does, once she can relax. Asher has done this before, not tons, but probably a dozen times in the last year, and enough to get a feel for what Jesse’s body craves and how she likes to be touched and tongued and held. Asher works her mouth, gently sucking, flicking her tongue over Jesse’s clit, tugging and parting and opening. It feels to Jesse like it is taking her a very long time to get off, and she tries not to let her brain yell at her for being so slow, so unresponsive. It’s okay to take a while. This isn’t a race. Nobody’s in a hurry, Asher’s not in a hurry, she tells herself.

When Jesse finally comes, Asher’s arms are underneath Jesse’s thighs, Jesse is pushing her cunt hard into Asher’s mouth, her hands on Asher’s head and tangled in her hair. Asher is sucking and flicking with her tongue and pulling with her fingers. Jesse feels all that tension well up and up and up in her, until her pelvis feels so full of pressure from all sides, inside and outside and all around, until something gives way and it pours open, her whole body shuddering, crying out, gasping, moaning Asher’s name.

Asher softens her touches and rests her head on Jesse’s thigh for a minute, then wipes some of the wet from her mouth and slides up next to Jesse, tucking her head onto Jesse’s shoulder. Jesse kisses her, tasting her own musky sweetness and just some hints of Asher’s orange and cream lip gloss.

“Was that … okay?” Asher asks finally, in a small voice.

“So good,” Jesse moans out the words, limbs still liquidy and soft. “I love how you use your mouth. I love how you hold me so well. Thank you. That was … just right.”

Asher snuggles closer. “Good. I want to do it how you like it.”

“I know,” Jesse yawns, body spent, wrung out, tired from her retail shift and from staying up late last night finishing an essay. She wants to bring up the envelope, the future, what they’re going to do. She wants to ask Asher what she thinks, what she wants, what kind of life she could possibly envision them having together, what her next tattoo is going to be. She wants to hear Asher brainstorm about places they could live or adventures they could take, elaborate meals they would make together for brunch on the weekends, what kind of TV shows they would watch while they were winding down from their jobs and lives and stresses of being queer in the world. She wants to brainstorm herself about poems she’ll write, essays she’ll submit to online magazines that will go viral and say important things, teachers she’ll work with, kinky conferences they could attend together. She wants to do all these things. With Asher. Asher, the girl who lit a fire inside her pelvis and told her exactly where it belonged. Asher, who instigates and entices, with a flip of the hair or the way she turns her knee in or how she spreads her legs. Asher, who isn’t shy, and isn’t afraid of looking at the truth.

“Goodnight,” Asher whispers, and puts out the light, kissing Jesse on the cheek and settling back in. Asher’s thick blanket has magically been pulled up over them both.

Jesse can’t get her mouth to open and her eyes to wake enough to form words, let alone to say them aloud, but she is ready to talk to Asher in the morning. Jesse starts drifting to sleep even as she’s imagining what she’ll do: She’ll get the envelope out, she’ll tell Asher it arrived, they’ll open it. And they’ll figure out what will happen next. Together.


Featured image from Crash Pad Series Episode 89: Hilt & Rusty Nails.

Reduced to Expletives (Asher & Jesse #3)

Turns out, Jesse is a natural. Topping comes to her like all the skills are downloaded right into her brain, like she is in a kinky version of The Matrix.

“Hey, want to try tying me down to the bed and fucking me until I scream for mercy?” Asher texts.

“Why yes, yes I do,” comes the reply immediately.

“How about blindfolding me?”

“How about it?” It goes on like this.

The quarter is almost over, and they walk through the Quad on the way to Psych together nearly every day. Asher whispers into Jesse’s ear. “Maybe I could wear those stockings you like, and you could slice them off of me with a knife—or better yet, rip them with your bare hands.” They’d stayed in bed late, fucking, exploring each other’s skin and taste and touch and eagerness. Jesse could still feel Asher’s pulse and breath and blood pressure synced up to her own.

She tries not to stumble and fall over. Fuck, this girl, this gorgeous creature, and she wants me to do all these fantastic filthy things to her? She feels drunk on gratitude. I Must’ve Done Something Good keeps getting stuck in her head.

“I have a surprise for you later. You’re still coming over after dinner, right?” Asher kisses Jesse’s neck as they approach the building.

“Mmhm, after my shift at the store,” Jesse closes her eyes and tilts her head to expose more of her neck. “Can’t wait,” she whispers, kissing Asher back and sliding her hands around her, along her trench coat. Asher may not be able to wear the fancy femme shoes she wanted to on Seattle’s rainy campus, but goddamn if she wouldn’t have femme rain gear. She even had a white umbrella with ruffles for particularly wet days. Jesse swoons.

*

“Fuck,” Jesse mutters, low and under her breath as Asher emerges from the bedroom in a tight white leather corset, white thigh-high fishnet stockings—the industrial ones with no finished top edge—held up by a simple white garter belt. Her panties, a blush shade of pink, were on top of the garter, a style she’d told Jesse is more British than American, and easier to remove while still keeping the rest of the outfit … intact. Her tits are pushed up and together, making her full figure nearly spill out of the top.

Jesse wants to climb inside her cleavage and snuggle and nuzzle for hours.
“Fuck,” she says again, sliding her arms around Asher’s waist as soon as she is within arm’s reach. “You look … goddamn.”

Asher giggles. “I like reducing you to expletives.” She reaches her arms around Jesse’s neck and switches her thighs, rubbing the stockings together and against Jesse’s jeans. Jesse feels so … clothed. She likes the strength she feels held up against Asher’s vulnerability. Asher kisses her, soft, their mouths at almost the exact same height, but only because Jesse is still wearing her boots.

“You brought the strap-on, right?”

Jesse swallows. “Yes.”

*

Jesse can feel her body getting close. That swelling in her cunt, the way she tightens and tenses every muscle and tendon, legs getting sharp and straight, bending less and moving her body more as a unit, one strong, long piece.

She plunges her strap-on dick in and out. Asher writhes on her back underneath Jesse, legs splayed open, wrists still bound by the rope she’d run beneath the mattress, that cheap baby-blue blindfold with the JetBlue logo on it over her eyes. Her mouth is open, breathing hard, lips and tongue wet. Asher raises her hips to meet Jesse’s and with each thrust, some little gasps escape.

Jesse isn’t sure how long she can stand it. The wetness. The hole. Being inside Asher. The feeling of being enveloped and held, safe, contained. Jesse grips Asher’s hips and digs her knees into the mattress, mouth landing on Asher’s shoulder, sucking as she lets her hips follow that feeling there—just there—that one—that—

And with a few more thrusts, that’s it—she yells out, coming hard, shoving into Asher as she convulses and collapses on top of her.

Asher kisses the parts of Jesse that she can, her neck, her upper arm, letting Jesse move when she’s ready. Jesse reaches down to ease the strap-on slowly from inside Asher and only felt her own wetness. Fuck, what had happened? Her harness was loose and the dick sags … and probably hadn’t been actually inside of Asher for some time now.

“Was it—did this slip—aw, fuck.” Jesse blushes hard, fiddling with the dick, unsticking the leather harness from between her legs.

Asher can see out of one eye, the blindfold now askew. “It’s okay, Jesse—it was so hot to feel you come.”

Jesse starts undoing the rope bindings around Asher’s wrists. She’d pulled the knots tight and it took both hands to work them free. Her cheeks burned with embarrassment. “You could’ve told me!” Jesse whines a little.

“I guess. But I really didn’t want you to stop,” Asher’s voice was low and husky, playful.

“I’ve never … I think that was the first time I’ve been able to. Come, I mean. When strapped on.”

“Mmm, well I loved it. Let’s do it more, okay? I want to feel you filling me up next time.”

“Could you just … make sure to tell me? If it slips out. Maybe you could kind of, beg for it, like I’d slipped out on purpose to tease you?”

“Ooh yeah. Like, ‘No please wait, I want it back, come back inside me, don’t go yet.’?”

Jesse grins. “Yeah, like that.”

“Deal.” Asher nuzzles into Jesse and yawns. “You’re going to wear me out,” she sighs, clearly very pleased with this new idea. Jesse laughs a little, thinking, she’s the one who’s going to wear me out, hoping she can keep up with Asher’s lust and drive.


Featured image from Crash Pad Series Episode 89: Hilt & Rusty Nails.

Where I Come From

1.
mother of northern lights
magic beacons that dance across
the sky. me, four years old,
eight years old, nine ten eleven,
fourteen and bleary and in
the middle of some intense
dream-panic about my grown
future how will I ever
what would it mean
I don’t understand how
sheets pulled back, boots
thrust into my hands
before I can even
understand that I am now
awake, she says look
up. look at the sky

2.
mother of tidepools
she was the one who taught me
to overturn the flattest, widest
rocks to see what was underneath.
always a world, a tube worm
that makes a home grain by
grain of sand, a limpet
like a little hat, a barnacle,
a blenny. there are as many names
for sand hoppers as there are
hoppers themselves. starfish
like the deeper waters—sun stars,
count the legs, brittle stars,
delicate as their name. and
katy chitons, elusive like
the popular girl who never comes
to my birthday party, but
every once in a while if you
look hard enough, she’s looking
back.

3.
mother of temperate rainforest
mother of goat’s beard
mother of sitka spruce
mother of western hemlock
mother of nurse logs, nurturing seedlings
mother of douglas fir
mother of where christmas trees come from
mother of sensible rain boots and mud
mother of old growth
mother of conifers
mother of a canopy
mother of black bears
mother of glacial erratics
mother of muskeg
mother of karst
mother of the roadless expanse
mother of the tongass

4.
mother of fields of wildflowers
chocolate lily and fireweed
wild iris and lupine
dogwood and buttercup
bleeding heart and tiger lily
fiddlehead and wild chive
columbine and beach pea
cow parsnip and cotton grass
dandelion and forget me not
foxglove and parnassus
queen ann’s lace
fern leaf gold thread
shooting star
yarrow

5.
mother of hiding
attention brought too many
coat hangers. too much rage-filled skin
downslope river was barely comfort
when attention stretched icy hands
to find where you had tucked yourself.

it was better to be invisible

6.
mother of owl pellets
baked for hours in the oven
until they are so dry they fall
open to reveal bones of shrews
who once ran away from their
mothers in the middle of
the night with only the full
moon guide through the forest

7.
mother of music
of harmonies and guitar
every morning, NPR
from the alarm still playing
for the snake or the dishes
when she leaves the house
hands too small for guitar,
so she picked up the mandolin
in another version where she
was not so terrified of the energy
that comes from attention
she would have been a back-up singer,
on tour with the big boys,
caretaking and harmonizing
until coming back home
listening to pacific ocean
waves for hours, lapping
away at mountains

8.
mother of the first day of school
lunches and lunches
and lunches and lunches
long past when I was left
to fend for myself for
all the other meals. always
meeting my teachers, always
saying, I don’t care about
the grades, as long as you’re
doing your best. “best”
is often way more than
what I wanted to do, but
was always what I wished
I was doing.

9.
mother of bats
two. stored in her freezer
and they tour annually
to the classrooms of the
elementary schools, look
this is a bat’s wing, this
is how big its skull is.
don’t dig too deep in there
for the orange juice, she warns.
you don’t want to unwrap something
by accident. a creature too
hard to bury when the ground is
frozen, waiting for the spring
for a proper grave. but the bats
are special, because if
reincarnation is real (and
she thinks it is just as
possible as it is not possible),
she wants to come back as a
fruit bat, the only
vegetarian mammal who flies.

10.
mother of snakes
on the new york city subway,
she pinches her fingertip
like she has a hangnail,
but it’s a snake tooth,
embedded. edwina the snake
bit me, she says, and
pulls back the sticky
plastic case of her ipod,
carefully places the tooth,
and pulls the cover back
over it.

11.
mother of the flume
long and flat and as babies,
one of us was always losing
something over the side.
ravines and mudslides
when the winter runoff
started to thaw. only
two boards wide
when I was a kid, when
gym class assigned a
round-trip run, too bad
if you don’t make it back
before the lunch bell,
you’ll just be late.
twenty years ago they
added two more, and
railings. she still
goes up there every day,
with her camera and
her baseball hat,
running up the mountain.

12.
mother of pebbles
we could sit for hours
listening to the waves
coming in, the occasional
boat or car speeding by,
not even shifting from
that one spot, and still
our hands never ran out
of rocks to sift through.
smoothest baby mountains,
worried away by the sea.
everything crumbles.
she likes the egg-shapes,
I like the flat ones
that fit in my palm
my pocket, the perfect place
for my thumb when I need some
ground. she says it’s because
there is no earth in my
astrological chart. I think
I like to have something
to do with my hands. she’s
always wanted the perfect
quartz all-white egg shape,
just less than palm size,
with one black stripe.
she’s still looking.

IMG_1393

How I make my boy do the dishes

We’ve been working on discipline and service over in the Submissive Playground course, so I’ve been thinking a lot about both.

Earlier this week, rife didn’t want to do the dishes. I wouldn’t go so far as to say he was being “naughty” (though he did apologize for being so later). It was getting late, and I gave him a direct order—”Go do the dishes”—and instead of heading into the kitchen, he hopped onto my lap, kissing me, flirting.

“What if you can’t resist my boyish charms?” He giggled, and I laughed and kissed him back, and he gave me that dimpled smile that I can never resist. But … I’d been thinking about discipline. About order. And, about what it’s like to be a Daddy to someone who grows up, and what it’s like to be a Dominant who is firmly In Charge.

His task this week is to get off every day, and as such I lifted all orgasm restrictions that are usually in place: he can touch himself, he can use any toys he wants, he can come anytime I touch him—he doesn’t have to ask. I did leave one restriction in place, and that’s that he cannot use any toys in his ass without my permission, that hole being my domain exclusively for almost two years now. Having all this permission lifted seems to have made him a bit more bold this week, a bit more playful.

I like it.

(It has also helped that we both are finally, finally recovered from the Holiday flu, which lasted almost a month.)

He rocked his hips on my lap a little, and immediately I felt myself getting hard. He wanted to play. I wanted to play.

I caught his wrists with my hand and said, “I gave you a direct order: “Go do the dishes.” You think you get to just play whenever you want? You think you don’t have to do what I say?”

He backed off a little, sweet and shy, and started to defend himself with a comment, but I pulled his body up and started shoving him toward the bedroom, with a plan. He tried to dig his feet in to the floor and resist, but I slid him easily just by pushing. (Halfway through the kitchen, he mumbled, “Stupid socks!” and we both burst out laughing.)

I know from experience that he can take me. He was a wrestler, he plays rugby. I am a poet who likes to hike. He pinned me five times in a row when we wrestled on an LA beach. I’m bigger than him, so sometimes my size can pin him, but he’s fast and strong and knows the tricks. But that’s part of what makes it fun—I know, on some level, that he doesn’t want to win. That he resists because he likes me to push him.

When I shove him face-first onto the bed, I pull his pants down to his knees, his shirt over his head. We’re both laughing and breathing hard. I gather a few things from the shelves and use them, one by one. First the gag. Then the hanky tie around his wrists. Neither of us are laughing now. Then the little tube of lube to fill up his ass, followed by my fingers—”You may as well relax, boy, it’s going in one way or the other”—and finally, the thick butt plug.

I leave him there for a minute, pressing against him. I whisper some things in his ear … things like, you’re not actually in trouble. I like it when you flirt with me. But I like it when you do what I tell you to do even more. I love the way you make me want you, make me pull in the reigns. I love you. Good boy.

He softens and lets out a couple little moans. I feel our bodies line up, then pull his briefs back up and say, “Leave your jeans. And go. Do. The. Dishes.”

He lifts his head and there’s a pool of drool on the bedspread. He gets up, still with the gag and the wrist tie and the plug, goes to the kitchen; I heard the water start to run and the clink of dishes in the sink. I sit on the small couch in our bedroom and write, thinking about power, thinking about what I am going to do to him when he was done. After a page or so I hear some clattering in the kitchen, and it doesn’t stop, and I know the tie on his wrists are in the way of his task, so I go to remove it, playing with the plug in his ass as cost for this convenience. He bends over the sink to give me his ass, moaning and drooling around the gag. I leave him, briefs now wet, to finish the few things left and go back to writing a little longer.

When he comes into the bedroom, I barely look up. “Down,” I point next to me, our signal for kneeling, and he does, leaning his head on my thigh. I finish my thoughts in my notebook and stand up, strip my pajama pants and briefs, spread my legs around him and pull his head to my cunt.

“Ohh, you still have that gag, isn’t that unfortunate,” I tease. He moans, trying to rub against me, feeling that I’m already hard … and dripping. I let him struggle for a minute, but want his open mouth too much so I undo the gag and toss it aside.

“Thank you, Sir,” he says, and lowers his mouth to my dick, tongue cupping and sucking. In the right mood, I can let him do this for a long time, but I’m a little too eager to relax tonight. I want his fist, I want a thrashing come, I want to shove in, I want to be shaken at my core.

I start working his head on my dick, then holding him steady while I move my hips so I thrust into his mouth. “It’s been a while since you came with my dick in your mouth,” I lean down so my mouth is close to his ear. “Do it for me.” I pull his head away and hold him by his collar, bring my hand down to jerk myself off. “Can you do it if I come all over your face and I make you watch?” He strains at his collar, stretches his tongue to lick me. I can feel his body taut and getting close. He’s straddling my leg and I can feel him rock the butt plug against me. The denial will tip him over the edge. Maybe I’ll just shoot down his open mouth, maybe I’ll not let him touch me. I feel … something … building in me and I want to use him to get myself there, to work it out of me. I jerk it and he gasps, shakes, thrusts forward. I feel his body tighten, and open, then relax, and he collapses against me.

I say some little reassurance things, telling him he’s a good boy and I like using him, and we sit for a minute, touching softly, that sweet pillow talk kind of mood, until I stand up. “Come on,” I say, lying on the bed; he follows me, and I shove him where I want him. “Inside.” I say. “Your fingers. Now.” He works in one, then two; I hand him the bottle of lube and he works in more. I float, working myself up, sliding my fingers around my clit and feeling my tissues swollen and hard, needing, eager. Sometimes it is hard for me to come, but I am determined to tonight. I barely notice when he slides his fist all the way in, just feel that full pressure of being stretched inside.

It is hard to describe my own orgasms. Maybe they have become increasingly internal and complex over the years I’ve done more bodywork, maybe because I’m shy. Sometimes I see kaleidoscope colored patterns, or have visions. Sometimes I feel like I’m scrunching up my face and trying so hard, never quite sure if I’m actually going to reach the kind of release my body is craving.

But sometimes, like last night, it all just comes together, and I have someone so perfectly willing to do precisely what I need, that I can have transcendent experiences in my own bed, with my boy, with just our bodies and our love and our power.

He pulled his fist out when it was too much, and teased just the right spot with his fingertips while I jerked my small dick. Every part of me tensed and gathered. The climax was a relief, a release I can never quite control, where I yell hard, my throat chafed and voice horse afterward, and I groan, and I squeeze out everything I can, until it’s just all flowing so smoothly that I burst open, and the yells turn into sobs, those full-body, chest heaving, I’m-not-sure-I’m-going-to-stop-crying kind of sobs. I breathe. I cry. I trust the sweet feeling of my boy’s body, resting gently on mine, know that he’s there if I need anything. Grateful that he’s there. Grateful that he can hold me the way he does, that he can serve me, that he can take my need for controlled behavior and instructions and tasks and turn it into a way to make us closer together. Lucky to have found him. Lucky that he chose me.

I pull him up to me and wipe my face, catch my breath, as my crying stops. We hold each other in the quiet for a little while. “Thank you for doing the dishes,” I say.

“Thank you for motivating me,” he says.

I fell asleep thinking, That, right there, is the kind of discipline and service that I like.

Featured image borrowed from The Crash Pad Series. More about the featured images is coming soon!

Dominance & Power with Responsibility

As I’ve been exploring deeper into power theory, like D/s and M/s, and as I’ve been trying to understand how my relationship with Kristen went wrong and in what ways power played into that, I’ve been thinking more and more about responsibility.

I’ve been meditating on the basics: What is it? How does it work? How does one “take responsibility”? What kind of responsibilities does one have—as a partner, as a lover, as a Daddy, as a dominant, as a friend? How does responsibility shift and changes when circumstances are not ideal, such as when someone is grieving (you know, hypothetically)?

Raven Kaldera and Joshua Tenpenny, whose books on M/s I have been recently devouring and whose theories I astutely agree with, mention in one of their books that a dominant’s hunger for responsibility must be equal to or greater than their hunger and lust for power. That resonated deeply with me, so I have been chewing on how to act from a responsible place, how to behave responsibly, how to hunger for responsibility, how to be responsible with my power.

We commonly use “responsibility” to mean our obligations—the things we have agreed to do, or the things other people have put on us to do that we may or may not have agreed to—and how we cope with those obligations. It is my responsibility as a cat owner to make sure my cat is fed, for example.

But when it comes to interpersonal relationships, what our responsibilities are vary greatly from person to person, and from culture to culture. My responsibilities to my parents might mean, to me, calling them on their birthdays and going to visit once a year, but to another person, their responsibilities to their parents might be visiting them every day, or might be sending one holiday card annually. Same with lovers and partners: I might think my responsibility is to respond to texts or emails from lovers is to respond when I can get to it, but my lover might think it rude and irresponsible of me not to reply right away (especially when now, with iMessage, you can see when your texts have been read). I suspect some of the expectations in relationships are built on our love languages (quality time, acts of service, gifts, physical touch, words of affirmation).

The expectations we place upon responsibilities of those around us are often unspoken and unconscious, and therefore difficult to make clear. Making those clear is a key piece of good communication, I believe.

But that’s just one piece. We also use the word “responsibility” to talk about one’s behavior in any given situation, such as, “They’re not being very responsible,” or, “they’re not acting very responsibly.”

I started breaking down the word responsibility into its two parts: response and ability. Response-ability. And that led me to my first conclusion about it: responsibility is your ability to respond to any given situation. But how does one “respond”?

Most of the time, I think we are reacting, not responding. Reacting is the knee-jerk impulse our combination of body, mind, experiences, emotions, and self tells us to have. We get an email from a boss with some critique, we feel insulted. Our lover asks something taxing of us, we feel put out. Not everybody has the same reaction, of course—depending on our unique histories, unique bodies, unique patternings, we react in different ways; many of us have different reactions to the same emotions, too. Some people feel insulted and fight back, some people feel insulted and become paralyzed, some people feel insulted and run away.

I think that responsibility is your ability to take the reaction you have, process it through your thoughtful higher self who wants the best for everyone involved and can see many perspectives, and choose your response and your next actions intentionally.

Let me put that another way. My ability to respond well to a situation, to be responsible in my role or job or relationship, depends upon my ability to notice my knee-jerk reaction and use that as one piece of the data that I gather before I decide what to do next. Other pieces of data you could use as you analyze the situation include:

  • What would the high wise imaginary counsel inside your head, made up of all of your mentors and favorite people, advise you to do?
  • What would your counsel of very favorite people advise you to do? (Perhaps you should call them to ask?)
  • What would the best possible outcome for all people be?
  • What would you say if you were really telling the truth about this situation?
  • How do your ethics ascribe you to behave?
  • What would yourself in ten years say about this situation?
  • How do your spiritual or religious beliefs guide you in this quandary?
  • Where are the places where your ego, pride, or stoicism are getting in the way?
  • Where can you use your great strength to be more vulnerable in this situation?
  • Where do you feel this pain, sorrow, longing, anger, or frustration in your body?
  • What does your bodywork or therapy point you toward?

I’ve been chewing on this difference, between reaction and response-ability, for at least a year now, trying to figure out how to be sure I am exploring what it means to be responsible with the privilege and power that I hold. Because, as the cliche saying goes, “with great power comes great responsibility,” and as I’ve been seeking more and more great power, I want to make sure I have the great responsibility part down as well. I don’t think “responsibility” dictates a code of behavior specifically so much as it dictates an intentional response, and that is a comfort to me, as I try to continue to sort our my own wounds, heal my own heartache, and continue to pursue my lust for power.

Open Relationship Mini Interview with Charlie Glickman: “Being poly doesn’t make you more evolved”

Charlie Glickman, www.charlieglickman.com, www.facebook.com/charlie.glickman, gplus.to/CharlieGlickman, @charlieglickman

1. What insight about polyamory/open relationships would you share with your younger self?

My partner and I have been together for over 20 years and we’ve been poly the entire time. There have been a few times that we stepped back from having other lovers because we needed some space to focus on each other. I’ve had lovers & playmates, as well a few ongoing secondary relationships. So one thing I’d tell my younger self is that things will change, and then they’ll change again. Don’t expect otherwise- there will come times when you struggle against changes that will happen anyway, and fighting them only made it harder.

Something else I’ve learned from being poly is that it requires the ability to talk about and process feelings quickly and efficiently. Of course, that skill will benefit any relationship, but when there are multiple people, each with their own needs and desires, as well as their feelings about each other, there are a lot of moving parts. If I could, I’d tell my younger self that the best way to learn how to process well would be to build social networks full of people who are dedicated to open-hearted, honest communication. Yes, therapy helped. Yes, workshops and books helped. But getting to see how other people do it and getting to practice it with lots of friends made it much easier to develop those skills in sexual/romantic relationships.

It’s also really easy to get smug about it. Being poly doesn’t make you more evolved or better than anyone else. If you think it does, you’re being a jerk. Don’t let it happen.

2. What has been the hardest thing about navigating multiple relationships, and how have you overcome that?

Well, scheduling used to be one of the hardest, though google calendar is a big help. :-)

Sometimes, the New Relationship Energy I feel with a new partner can make things tricky for my partner. Fortunately, I’ve gotten better at managing that initial crush phase, in part because I know that it doesn’t last more than a few months. Sometimes, it deepens into a new dynamic and other times, the connection ends when the NRE does. I’ve learned how to let it take its own shape and be present with it, without letting it spill out into my partner. Usually. And when it doesn’t, she knows that she can tell me to take a break from talking about it, which makes it easier to manage.

3. What has been the best thing about being open/poly?

At this point in my life, I rarely have sex with people I don’t have a heart connection with. Having said that, I have a lot of people in my life who I love. Some of those people are lovers and some aren’t. Each of those relationships is unique and each offers different gifts, pleasures, and delights. For me, whether we have sex or not is really less important than whether we can be open with each other about what we think, feel, and want. Being poly has been a lifelong practice in how to love each of these wonderful people in the way that works for that dynamic. It’s like I get to have all of these different flavors of love, some of which have been in my life for years and others are more fleeting. And the more I practice it, the more kinds of love come my way. It’s really quite delightful.

Being poly is also a really great way to make room for different desires and interests. I don’t expect to be able to give my partner everything she might want, so I like to create the space for her to get it elsewhere, and vice versa. That has given us much more freedom to enjoy the many things we do offer each other because there’s no resentment forming as the result of unmet needs.

4. Anything else you’d like to add?

There isn’t any one way to be poly. That can be challenging because you have to figure out what works for you, which means making mistakes along the way. You’ll feel hurt sometimes, and you’ll hurt others. Learning how to apologize and reconnect with people is essential. Don’t expect perfection- plan for bobbles.

Don’t keep secrets. That doesn’t mean you have to tell everyone everything, but if you’re withholding something that you know someone would want to know about or that they deserve to know about, lean into the fear and do tell them. Withholding leads to secrecy and resentment, both of which kill relationships. There’s plenty of room for privacy within a relationship, but not for secrets. So if you can’t be honest about what you want or what you’re doing, either stop doing it or learn how to be honest.

To Do While Grieving List

1. Shower ever day. Even if you have to cry through it.

2. Put on clean clothes, even if they aren’t your favorites. Or do laundry, and wear only your favorites.

3. Behave well toward Kristen. She loves you, you love her, even if you are numb and can’t remember.

4. Write. Because it heals you. Because you can’t do anything else. Because it makes the most sense. Because it is your deepest practice, your deepest craft.

4a. Take a class, make some art, take up time.

5. Run. When you want to get away from yourself and these emotions, get them out of your body. Go back to boxing class. Take out the anger on something else.

6. Grow the fuck up. Behave like an adult. Stop the self-pity. Stop the over-indulgence of your feelings. Stop taking yourself so seriously.

7. Read. Read poetry if you can’t get into long things. Read indulgently. Read grief memoirs and buddhist philosophy and ttantra and open up to healing. Ask yourself, what do I need to do to heal today. Read more.

8. Work. Set reminders in your phone for appointment times because you can’t keep track of time. Calendar everything. Make work a priority. Finish projects. Make art. Focus on this, if nothing else.

8a. Don’t publish over-indulgent blog posts that attempt to tell the “whole story” and draw some conclusion. Write poetry. Write about feelings. Write about love and sex and grief and loss and abandonment, how scary it is to watch Kristen bloom, and how much it matters to let her. Learn what over-indulgent blog posts look like, so that when you do write them, you don’t hit “publish.”

9. Go outside. Feel the earth. Drink water.

10. Pray. You are not alone, even though you feel you are. Faith is when you see no hope, and you do it anyway. Times like this are why we practice. Lean on your practices. Everything is temporary.

11. Behave well toward yourself. Take care of your body. Eat well. Nourish. Buy a fancy new soap so showers suck less. Make a list of your favorite foods, then eat them. Start watching a new TV series when you can’t be in your brain anymore. Be alone when you need to be. Practice impeccable self-care. Forgive everyone, and maybe yourself most of all.

Ask Me Anything: Non-Cheesy “Self-Help”

J-femme wrote:

Happy Anniversary! I think I’ve been reading almost that long!

You posted something that looked like a pie chart once. It dealt with something like life goals, or values, or time management as it relates to life goals or values–that I remember being really interested in and haven’t been able to find since on your site.

It was like a non-cheesy “self-help” book (sort of). So my question is– do you have any idea what I’m talking about and what the name of the book is? And barring that or with that what are some nonsmut, nonfiction books you use for personal betterment? thank you muchly!

Thanks!

I think I know the chart you mean—it is from the book How to Be, Do, or Have Anything: A Practical Guide to Creative Empowerment by Laurence G. Boldt, called the Integrated Life Matrix. I posted it in 2007.

It’s a lousy title for this book, it is actually better than the sensationalized “how to have anything!” style that the title suggests. It is a step-by-step guide for creating your life the way you want it to look, in many arenas, not just professionally, but also personally, which is where this matrix above comes in.

My favorite non-smut non-fiction book recommendations for personal betterment I have mostly compiled into a self-awareness section of my Amazon A-store, makes it easy to keep track of in a list that way.

I’m a big fan of these kinds of books, actually—I know it’s a huge industry and many of them (70%? 90%? A LOT) are complete crap and useless for me, but even if I just pull one tool out of reading a book like this, that can be helpful and I’m glad I read it. At their best, they can be fantastic personal guides combining spirituality, philosophy, and psychology, three of my favorite subjects. I think it’s kind of silly that we don’t value self-improvement or self-knowledge very much, to the point where these books are put into a very easily dismissible category of “self-help.”

I used to call it my embarrassing indulgence, reading these, or my guilty pleasure. But I’m not so embarrassed about it these days. I’m very picky, and there are terrible books out there in this genre, don’t get me wrong. But there are also some very amazing writers and teachers in this genre who have significantly changed my life and world view.

Cheri Huber’s The Depression Book was completely life-changing for me. I credit Sharon Salzberg with a lot of the sparks of my committing to the Buddhist path and learning to meditate, she is incredibly down to earth and easy to follow, and she is phenomenal at teaching beginning meditation. David Richo has excellent psychology books with a Buddhist bent about healing and relationships. Charlotte Kasl’s book If the Buddha Dated really helped me make good (well, better than I would have otherwise) decisions through the recent period of dating. Many of the books in my A-store are also about creating your own career, carving out your own career path, and figuring out what it is that you want.

All of these have brought me here, to the teaching, writing, studying, and performing that I do now.

On Running Away and Boundaries

Just one more thing, then I’ve got to get focused on some other work today.

Hugo Schwyzer has a post up today called Why Men Run When They Lack the Words to Stay, and it resonated with me with some of the recent complications in my relationship with Kristen and with my emotional landscape history in general.

Give it a quick read, then come back and read my comments on it, which I’ll try to keep to a few.

For the record, Schwyzer divides this into men and women, and generally I think what he’s saying is true, but it may not be true for individuals, and it may not be neatly applicable to a butch/femme relationship—meaning the butch might not have the same experience as the man, in this scenario. And there are parts that he describes that apply to me, parts that apply to Kristen, parts that apply to neither of us. Still, I think it’s relevant in examining some of the over-arching things we get taught that run along the gender divides, and interesting to think about these dynamics in any relationship, regardless of gender.

I have certainly “submarined” a lot in my past. I think that mostly comes from having a history of abuse, though, not a history of me not being able to articulate my emotions and being overwhelmed by my partner’s, though there is a piece of that too. And even though I am a poet, and highly emotional, I haven’t always been able to verbalize what was going on for me, especially not in the moment it was happening. I’ve been working on that a lot in recent years.

I also really like the breakdown of iron vs copper, of using those words to talk about certain styles of boundaries (or lack thereof). Though I’ve done a lot of work on this too recently, I do tend to get overwhelmed by my surroundings, and sometimes I cope with that by running away or shutting down. And Kristen has some aspects of being copper too, especially in taking things personally. It’s interesting to think about those tendencies as a boundary issue.

I do take issue with Schwyzer’s work on occasion, especially around men, masculinity, and pornography, but I find much of his work fantastic and I encourage you to subscribe to and read his blog if you don’t already. Lots of food for thought.

So, Hi. I’m Back.

January is over, so my official hiatus is through. I had a very particular writing schedule for myself in January (that if I was being really honest I’d tell you I rarely adhered to) and some specific goals, very few of which were met. But it was a start, and I do feel like I have a better idea of how to grow this manuscript that I’m working on and what I need to do. Which is, mostly, work my ass off.

So I wrote some, I went to the writer’s space that I rent out, I worked at home, I focused, I cut out all sorts of unnecessary distractions except for Sideshow and the sacred sex coordinating and the weekly column and the porn party. Which I know sound like a lot but were actually relatively easy to coordinate and still write. Amazing how many of the things I do that fill my days are actually superfluous, extraneous, unnecessary. It’s a good thing to remind myself.

For the last week of January I was on a DIY writing retreat up at a nearby retreat center, which was an interesting experience too. I’ve never done that before, never taken myself somewhere else to just focus on writing. The internet was out for two of the four days I was up there so it was really just me and my words. I would’ve liked to have gotten farther than I did, but I do like what I did do, so that’s good. It wasn’t completely successful but I think it’ll be easier to do next time, and it is something I’d like to do more regularly than I do.

January was not without challenges, though. I wrote about the snowstorm at the very beginning of this writing leave of absence, and the weather has been a factor, since feet (feet!) of snow, ice, and rain are often a good enough reason to stay at my lovely little home office and not trek to the writer’s space. But aside from the weather, Kristen and I have had some kind of awful fights. It seems like January hit and everything changed, though of course it’s not everything, it’s just a couple key things, things to which I’m still adjusting. That was part of the point, and part of the reason I started this month-of-writing leave-of-absence in the first place, that I was getting itchy and dissatisfied and she was going through her own stuff, so we both decided that separately and together we needed to shake things up, make some significant changes in what we do daily and, to a certain extent, our emotional landscapes too.

I don’t want to get too much into that. Partly because some of that belongs to Kristen and partly because I don’t have a good grasp of it in my head yet, so I’m not ready to write through it publicly. But we’ve been fighting. And it has at times completely thrown off my writing.

And then, on top of the weather and the fighting, I’ve been sick. It’s actually kind of rare for me to get sick, I generally take good care of my own health, but somehow this cold has gotten away from me. I’m still sick, actually, and this is the third wave of the sickness, I’ve gotten better twice before and then had some sort of relapse where it seems like it started all over again. I went to the doctor when it started up the second time, which I rarely do, and of course they just told me it was a cold, but I guess it’s good that it wasn’t bronchitis or something. But I thought I was getting better! I even went to the gym! And I went on that retreat! I was okay! But now: sore throat, congested sinuses, which is how it started the other times. This time I’m so congested that I can’t taste anything, or smell anything. Isn’t that weird? I don’t think I’ve ever eaten anything and had absolutely no taste of it before, it is kind of freaky. I’m sure it’s just temporary, and I really should remember that, both about the taste thing and about the sickness, since I can be a kind of lousy patient and just sit around moaning about how sick I am. That’s not very attractive or fun or Daddy-like. Not that I’m saying I should “take it like a man” or anything, just that I could probably have a bit more self-control and that would be fine. It’s just so annoying to be sick, it’s hard not to express that annoyance.

And it really is getting in the way of writing!

I guess this is something I need to learn: how to keep my writing steady even if other shit is going on. How to let writing be my refuge from all the other shit, instead of needing the other shit to be calm and fine and in place in order to do the writing. Problem is, my brain really has not worked for the last four weeks! So of course the writing I’m producing has been pretty, well, thoughtless. And extremely frustrating.

Even if these distractions weren’t going on, this writing project would still be hard. I’m kicking up some memories and trying to wade through them, organize them, and write about them eloquently. I’m not sure if this will end up where I think it’s going, but for now I’m just trying to generate content, and have something to edit and improve.

So, my point is that my hiatus may continue in February—I’m going to keep focusing on this manuscript. But I also hope that I’m going to write here, too, and use this place as my morning pages. And of course I still have some events I’m hosting, and I need to get the manuscript together for the lesbian BDSM erotica anthology, so there is much to work on. Oh yeah, and I have some events too, so I’ll be doing some traveling to Boston and Philadelphia and upstate New York to Syracuse. (More about those soon, I’ll post a full event schedule.) And you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been posting some reviews lately; I still have a few in my back-log but I’m not taking on nearly as many as I used to. It’s great to have access to new products, and I’m enjoying building up my porn collection, but I don’t have the time to review all that I used to, and I have a very specific wishlist of products I’m picking from these days.

It’s a new year, and things are changing. Time to pick up the pace and jump over the hurdles and accomplish some shit. Which for me, first and foremost, means writing a book.

The Ongoing Quest to be Sexually Fulfilled

That’s where that whole online writing project (aka blog) of mine started, really: in an attempt to write myself into a better sex life, and into personal relationships about my own sexuality, gender identity and expression, and sustaining relationships. For the first three years, I was attempting to write myself into a long term, stable, sane relationship, in part because I wanted to have a better sex life and in part for all the rest of the good stuff that comes with intimacy, cohabitation, and love.

And now, I’ve found the girl I’ve been with for a year and a half, Kristen. And the longer we’re together, the longer it seems we’ll last.

So, now what? Is my quest for a fulfilled sex life over?

To some degree, yes—many of the problems and questions that plagued me as a single butch top, such as, “When am I going to get laid next?” and “Who’s it going to be with?” and “How do I know if she’ll be into what I’m into?” are no longer a factor. I love that I am with someone as open and eager to explore sex as I am, if not more so. I love that our sex drives are pretty well matched. I love that I am with someone whom I can try out new toys with (it was much harder to be a toy reviewer when I was solo, that’s for sure).

But that is not necessarily a recipe for perfect sexual compatibility, or ongoing sexual fulfillment. Note the key word there: ongoing. A sex life is just that—a LIFE—which means it happens every day. And like any other aspect of life, it is interwoven tightly with all sorts of other aspects, and can be different, feel different, or present unique new obstacles at any time.

How does one navigate fulfillment with all sorts of other things—bills, work, health, family, projects, friends—are also vying for attention? How do you keep the spark going?

Perhaps this relates to my theories around general relationship intelligence and the lack of depiction of many stable, sane, healthy relationships in the various storytelling arts. Most romantic comedies or dramas, for example, focus on the part of a relationship story where the couple is overcoming obstacles in order to begin their life together. At the beginning of the film, the couple is not together; the dramatic action focuses around their miscommunications, struggles, possibly sex, expectations, who called (or didn’t call) who, and who can get over their issues in order to fully embark on a committed monogamous relationship; then the end of the movie shows the couple, triumphant, and we are happy, having been rooting for them all along.

But we see very little of what happens next in the relationship. How the couple communicates, negotiates, reaches consensus, struggles, forgives, fights, and maintains a balance between their individual separate selves and their collective togetherness. So rare is a film where the couple is together at the beginning and the end, where the dramatic action centers around the relationship trials or the couple coming together to solve outside problems.

Without such good models of problem solving in long term relationships, and with such high divorce rates, meaning that for folks my age it is rather rare for our parents to still be together, or even to have an older couple in our lives as mentors, how can we be expected to have the relationship skills to sustain our own long term relationships?

And isn’t it similar with sex: when we are single, we expect getting into a relationship will fulfill our sexual needs. The smarter folks among us know that getting into a relationship isn’t quite enough, but that we need to get into a relationship with a person with whom we are sexually compatible. A subtle but key difference!

Yet still—life happens. Even if you find that special someone, there is still ongoing navigation to keeping it up and getting off. And sharing a life with someone means distractions, miscommunications, unforeseen occasional tragedies, and our ever-changing bodies and lives.

This is what I have been puzzling through in my own relationship, as we are increasingly sharing space and continually sharing our lives.

My relationship with Kristen started as almost purely sexual. She lived a few hours away from me, and worked in another state, and would come visit on weekends. She’d lived in New York City before and planned to move back, which is how we met in the first place. We spent whole weekends in bed, rarely leaving my apartment, rarely leaving my room except to eat and shower and rest our bodies. After she left, I would spend the whole week playing over and over the last weekend, often writing about what we’d done, how we’d played, and planning some new ways to play when she came back.

I would pounce on her as soon as she walked in the door. Already hard packing and waiting anxiously to feel her again. Not even letting her put her things away before shoving her up against something, so eager and grateful to have someone who let me play with dominance, someone who was open to play.

It was erotic, connected, passionate, heated sex, full of longing and relief and release. Plus, we continued falling in love, discovering all the ways we enjoyed each other’s company outside of the bedroom.

It’s easy to look back and see the bliss, but equally present was the ache of longing, the fear of the fragility of a new relationship, those days when we would have given anything to come home to each other, all the fetishizing and idealizing of a shared domesticity. I brush over those feelings now because that wish was granted, I no longer have to long to share other parts of my life with her, as our lives are increasingly entwined.

Now we have the new obstacles of sustainment: Am I getting what I want in bed, in this relationship? Are we having sex often enough for me? Are we having the kind of sex I want, or am I longing for something else, something new? How do I ask for more, or different, sex? How do we keep the spark of eroticism, passion, longing, and eagerness when we are available to each other, in so many ways, constantly? How do we keep it fresh and new when we’re willing to do, and have done, so much experimenting already?

Maybe this sounds like a trite problem, especially to those who don’t have partners, don’t get laid, or don’t prioritize sex as a serious hobby the way Kristen and I do, but I suspect many people in reasonably satisfied relationships ask these questions at some point or another.

I’m sure all of our relationships have a unique set of circumstances behind these questions. For me, it seems to be that my girlfriend would like to have sex more often than we do, and in part because of our dynamic and the sexual roles we like to play with of Daddy/girl and domination/submission, she has a hard time asking for more. She feels greedy and unwarranted. I know I also have a hard time allowing myself to be seduced, so even when she does feel bold enough to make her desires clear, I don’t always respond with what she wants. I adore our dynamics and they are a key important part of this relationship, roles I have been eager to explore for years and I am grateful to do so. But precisely those dynamics erase my own desire for the chase, since she is constantly available to me, sometimes my desire runs a little low. I crave some denial, something to conquer, something to come up against in order to create friction.

We have discussed this; and of course I don’t want her denying me just for the sake of denying me, of turning me down when what she’s really interested in is playing, but we are still working out the details of dynamics we have chosen.

I’m pretty confident that we’ll figure this out, but I’m not exactly sure how. For now, we’re talking about it (though hopefully not too much), being open with each other, being honest about where we’re both at and what we want, and of course, working on our own shit in therapy. Every relationship is complicated. Every relationship has triumphs, low points, complications. I don’t know how things will get resolved, but things are improving, we are talking well to each other, still having great sex, and enjoying each other.

Really, does it get any better than that?

This post first appeared on the Good Vibrations Magazine.

Get a Dominant to Dominate

About a year ago, Axe & I had a conversation for his Masocast podcast and it sparked the question, How do you get a dominant to dominate?

I wrote about it, thought about it, and the question has been bugging me a little bit ever since.

About a month ago, Axe and I decided to meet up again and have another go at this question. He’s since in a long-term relationship with the lovely mistress/dom Sade, and I’m since another year into my relationship with Kristen, so I figured that he and I would have some different takes on the conversation and the question now that we’re not swinging single anymore, but involved in relationships. Still, the question still applies: as a submissive, how do you encourage your lover to be more dominant? How do you ask for sex? Is asking for sex outside of the “role” of the submissive? How do you make yourself available? And as a dominant, how do you allow yourself to be seduced? What works to get you to be more dominant in bed? What encourages you to allow a little more grrr to come out of your body during play?

All these questions & more are in this conversation with Sade, Kristen, Axe, & me. Got thoughts about this subject? I’m very curious to hear other people’s take on this.

On Processing & Analyzing

Here’s the thing.

People have told me—in comments, in emails, sometimes even my friends in person make little comments or raise their eyebrows incredulously—that if my relationship with Kristen needs this much processing, perhaps there is something fundamentally wrong with it, perhaps we just aren’t “meant to be.” This argument usually continues with something like, “My girlfriend and I have been together for x years and we never need as much analyzing as you do,” or, “Real couples don’t need to work this kind of thing out so constantly, I should know, I’m in a relationship and we don’t do that,” et cetera.

Well.

First of all, these comments have discouraged me from posting the analyzing, which I’ve been realizing lately I’ve been a bit nervous to do, precisely because of this occasional feedback. But not posting them publicly doesn’t actually solve this complaint, and isn’t actually a rebuttal to this argument.

And I just flat out don’t agree: I know that I am in a good, solid, beautiful relationship, and it is incredibly important to me. I’m not about to end it, certainly not because a stranger says my relationship is no good, and certainly not because we process (according to someone else’s standards) too much. But, yes, we do tend to talk (and talk and talk) about our inner psychological landscapes, about our feelings and histories, as a way to work things out, both individually and within our relationship.

So I got to thinking about that.

I think some people are just more or less analytical than others. I think perhaps we have some sort of “processing orientation,” that some people want to talk and process and analyze interactions and emotions constantly, and others despise doing so, and would even see that as a sign of an unhealthy relationship.

I don’t think one or the other is any more healthy—I think it’s just the way an individual works, or doesn’t work. I do think it’s important to be able to express our emotions, of course, especially to our partners, especially when there’s something bugging us, be it about our partner, about our relationship, or about our life in general, such that the relationship and our partner can be a bit of a sanctuary for us, but that looks differently for everyone.

Given that we all have a slightly different orientation toward processing and analyzing, then, what is important is not whether or not the analyzing and processing is happening, but to what degree, and whether the two people in the relationship are satisfied with that degree.

Despite our frequent verbal processing and analyzing, Kristen and I still have very different processing styles. She likes to talk quickly and immediately about what is going on, and I tend to let things sit, settle in, and to go over it all in my head or on paper before being able to express it to her. She figures things out as she talks, and I talk only after I’ve figured something out. It’s really hard for me to talk through something that I don’t feel I already know. Sometimes, that is really infuriating for Kristen, or so I’ve gathered, as she wants to talk now now now and I am still off in my own land of my head.

(I’m working on this—both by accepting that that’s the way I tend to work and by attempting to be more communicative when I’m off in my own head, even if it’s just to say, “please, can we talk about this a little bit later, I need a bit of time to think.” And by attempting to talk through things, even if it’s not entirely comfortable of my preference, when it is very important to her, and recognizing that it’s not pressure, it’s just part of how she works.)

It’s not as if it’s a perfect system, this human communication thing. We all bring so much to the table, and no matter how much we unlearn, no matter how much we practice being in a state of absolute Bodhicitta, there is so much in our minds, so many complicated moments folding over onto themselves in my muscles and tendons, in the grey matter of my brain.

And sure, it is possible, even (or perhaps especially) for those of us who are inclined toward emotional processing and psychological analysis to overdo it, to spend entirely too much time going around in circles micro-articulating every little thing. Sure, I’ve been guilty of this in the past, even in the past as recently as yesterday. I’m not trying to say that every aspect of processing and analyzing is necessary, just that perhaps we all have different levels of tendency toward these skills, that some of us see the world in a more analytical way and seek to understand our own emotions, psychology, and relationship in these ways. I’m certainly trying to find that balance, that place where I am understanding and expressing my emotions in clear, healthy ways, while not being indulgent or repressing how I feel. Where I am listening and being open, coming to new conclusions or altering my understanding of the situation as needed, and then, and perhaps this is the key part, moving on. (Sometimes it’s easy to just stay in the analysis part.)

So yeah, maybe I do have a tendency toward over-analyzing or over-processing. It is certainly possible that I process or analyze more than you do. Maybe you think it’s unimportant or that I am dwelling or making things harder than they have to be. But just know that we all have different levels of our tendencies to do this, and just because mine is not the same as yours doesn’t make mine or yours any better: it just makes it different.

How Do I Let Go of a Past Hurt?

After some strong realizations about what really is the strength and foundation of my relationship with Kristen, I’ve been thinking a lot about healing past wounds, especially in terms of former lovers and broken hearts.

I often notice some sort of snag or conflict come up between Kristen and I, and using those things I mentioned are the super strong foundations of our relationship, we can usually talk through it, understand where we’re both coming from, and explain how we got there.

My part of that often looks like this: “You did x, and x is very familiar to me because in my past relationship x had this kind of role and did this kind of damage to me, so it’s really hard for me when you do x, because I feel triggered and panicked.”

Another important part of this is: it’s pretty likely that she wasn’t intentionally doing x, or at least she certainly didn’t mean to hurt me; I do keep that in mind. Probably it was a by-product of her attempting to do something else. And usually she can express that explanation and I can hear her and I don’t get mad at her for doing it, generally I understand what she was trying to do.

But somehow I am still stuck in this past relationship, this past me, where that feeling was true and x meant something specific and my reaction is to PANIC. And I am starting to ask myself: is that happening in this relationship, right now? No, usually it isn’t. That is something else, that is in my past, that is an old wound that this new thing is pulling on, but it’s not the same wound. I am not becoming re-wounded there. I am not at danger of falling back into that wound.

So. Clearly, I need to “let go” of that old reaction. But how does one do that? How do you let something go when it feels like it’s so fucking hard-wired into the way my brain works? How do I not be scared and feel triggered and panicked when these things come back up?

This is what I’ve been contemplating lately, as things between Kristen and I are improving after another brief panic. One of the things about relationships that I deeply believe, indeed one of the POINTS of being in an intimate, loving, romantic, sexual relationship, is that they teach you things about yourself that you perhaps wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to learn, and if they are strong and founded and good, they also can be the space in which you have enough support to actually practice the growing, someone who is patient with you and who recognizes how hard you’re working to rewire yourself, who can gently remind you when you’re falling back into old patterns, and who can support you and encourage you as you try on new ones. Plus, they provide endless opportunities to use those new patterns, since conflict and difficulty and triggers from old broken hearts come up in relationship all the time. Isn’t that lucky!

I think what I’m talking about, in this question of “how do I let go,” is becoming more aware, becoming more mindful of what triggers what and what means what, especially in my relationship. I’m tired of all these old ghosts coming up. I have done a shit-ton of work to put these ghosts to rest, but the pathways in my brain are still carved out in many ways.

So I guess it kind of looks like this:

  1. I have a reaction to something that’s happening in my relationship (usually a negative, bad, “unreasonable” emotional reaction)
  2. I realize where my reaction is coming from (usually a past lover, wound, broken heart)
  3. Let go of the old reaction, be in the present (instead of gripping onto and explaining myself through the past). How to do that?
    1. Well first, I need to be able to release my grip on #2, to be able to ask myself, How did I come to this reaction? Where did it come from, and how did it serve me? What remains unacknowledged about this old wound that means I still think I need this protection? Can I heal that wound and know I no longer need that protection? What is asking me for acceptance?
    2. Then, I need to be in the present. I’ve noticed myself grasping at these old stories, justifying my high emotions, so much that I am not sitting with what is. So I must learn to ask myself: What is happening now? Is this old pattern that I fear actually present?
  4. After letting go of that old reaction, I can have a reaction to what’s happening now, with Kristen, with me, and aim, as always, to respond and react with lovingkindness and care and awareness and openness and love.

That seems fairly straightforward, actually. I think that is possible.

I spoke with a lovely friend and mentor recently about this exact problem, and she suggested a fairly simple rephrasing of relationship needs. I think that too will help in conquering this “how to let go” question. For example, if I notice this process happening, and get to step #2, realizing that I’m being triggered because it’s relating to a past hurt of mine, if I go on to say, “Okay, I need you to not be x like my ex,” that brings a lot of baggage into the conversation, a lot of layers and complicated past ghosts and old wounds and old ways of working and whoa suddenly it’s a whole lot more than just me and my beautiful girlfriend trying to talk through a little snag in communication or interaction.

Let me be a little more specific for this example, I think it’ll make more sense that way.

So one of the things that triggers me heavily is when someone in a relationship with me is withholding. It reminds me of my former lesbian bed death relationship, among others, and I get panicked that I’ll never again know what’s happening in her head and will spend years trying and it will eat me up. Ahem.

But this plays on other ways I work too, especially in that I am a very insightful, observant person who often knows what’s going on with another person’s emotional landscape even better than they do (especially if they aren’t too self-aware), and I have the tendency to constantly check in with them (silently, emotionally) to see where they’re at. If they aren’t telling me where they’re at, and in fact are deliberately putting up a wall and withholding that information, saying “I’m fine,” or “I don’t want to talk about it,” when I ask, I tend to assume something is brewing and will bubble up and explode later, which makes me way anxious.

I know, this is a totally unique situation that nobody else has ever been in, right? Nobody else has this problem, ever.

So, instead of having the reaction of “I need you to not be withholding like my ex!” I can rephrase it to something like, “it’s really important for me to know what’s going on with your mental/emotional landscape.” Not that we have to spend hours processing that, but I can briefly explain why I need that, and if she can just say, “oh, I’m feeling anxious about work, but I don’t want to talk about it,” that’s enough. Some broad-stroke explanation of what “that feeling” is that I am reading on her face but she’s not expressing.

Knowing what is going on with someone else’s emotional landscape one of my basic relationship needs, in fact! And in some ways it has nothing to do with my ex, it has to do with ME. It just reminds me of a time when this basic relationship need wasn’t met (and was probably taken advantage of), and what’s important is that the need be acknowledged and get met, not that there was a time in my past when it wasn’t met. (I mean, that’s important too, but I have done enough healing to hopefully not stick a rock in that wound to keep it open.)

Whew. That feels like a lot, but it feels like a relief, and like I’ve hit on something important.

One of the things about the ways that I work, and the ways I grow and change and get over capitol-i Issues that plague me, is that generally, as soon as I can articulate what’s going on for me and write—that’s the key here, WRITE—out a possible solution, or at least a path to try, I often find that I can rewire myself through that process. By time I articulate it, by time I name it and label it and say OH that’s what’s going on, and OH here’s what I can do to do that differently, those skills and awareness have kind of already integrated. This isn’t a 100%-true-always theory, but I have noticed that this tends to be true, and that too feels like a relief.

Okay so: how about y’all? How have you addressed this problem of past hurts in your current relationships? Any tips for me? Any tricks to keeping your own mindfulness and awareness up while dealing with things that are triggering and hard? Anything I might be missing here? Does this make sense? Can you relate to it? Or does it seem like I’m way off base?

PS: A teeny colophon note: I’ve been making some changes to this site’s sidebar and structure in general. A little bitta spring cleaning, if you will. And as such, the category formerly known as SSU has been renamed Critical Theory. It might change again, there are an awful lot of C categories over there in the list, but that works for now. Do not be alarmed, it’s still there.

Also, if you aren’t following my Tumblr log, mrsexsmith.tumblr.com, you might be missing out on some of the things I used to frequently put on Sugarbutch, like for example calls for submission for queer and kinky and feminist anthologies, eye candy photos of hot butches and femmes, media like youtube videos, announcements for other events, and more. It’s easy to subscribe by RSS or pop over there and check out what’s going on.

Desperation & Dominance

“Want to know what I was thinking about when I got off yesterday?” she asks. We’re lying in bed, tangled limbs and sheets, a little sweaty, breathing heavily still, hearts calming. She’s nude now. I’m still in boxers and an undershirt. I’ve taken advantage of the ongoing permission I have to fuck her, take her, if I wake in the middle of the night or before her in the morning, as I often do, like this morning, hands on her, fingers in her, forearm holding her down by her collarbone until she thrashed and came and muffled a scream into my shoulder.

“Yes,” I answer, arm under her neck, the other hand on her hip and curved under her thigh and ass as she drapes herself over me partly.

“I was thinking about … you using me,” she starts in a small voice, quiet, by my ear. I can feel her breath. “Filling me up. Fucking me and fucking me without caring how it was for me. I was thinking about tears streaming down my cheeks, and you not stopping, just … taking me, until you get what you want, and you come.”

I bow my head a little to find her mouth by feel in the dark bedroom. “I like to use you like that,” I say. She nods. “Let’s play later.” She nods again, pulls closer to me.

This story contains Daddy/girl roles in sex play, some domination and submission, and lots of tender loving care. Continue reading with that knowledge, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Love Letter #4 (Growing Pains)

“Relationships take work,” they say. But as someone who now knows I spent way too long in failed or failing relationships, desperately clinging to any fragment of hope or chance of ‘making it work,’ as someone who stayed with abusers, bought their bullshit and was convinced by their smooth-talking blame-the-victim manipulations, as someone trying to wake up to my own power and control and confidence (and yes, maybe I’m spectrum-banging there a little bit, but I think sometimes that’s how I learn), as someone finally finally able to say, “I feel when you because,” and “you’re right, I’m sorry,” as someone who is still prone to overgiving and overwhelm and losing myself, my tendencies go the other way: to RUN. That this, this one, this time, this sign is The Sign, that any red flag is a Red Flag and is grounds to be a dealbreaker, that in six months I’ll look back to now and say there, that’s when it all went to hell, that was the point of no return, I should have listened to my gut, why’d I stay, why’d I trust her, again, how did I get here, I lost myself again, I swore that would never happen and here I am …

But that is not this relationship.

I am still skittish. I am still prone to explosions of emotion when I get scared. I am still unsure—not so much of her, or of this beautiful shiny strong relationship we are building, but of myself, my own ability to keep myself strong, solid, taken care of, whole.

It comes up again and again, especially lately, since she’s been in crisis and I want to help. I am a helper, and a service top, after all. My job is to take and care (but not caretake). My role is to comfort and protect. And when we both started realizing it was too much, and our parts in that, that I took on too much responsibility for her well-being and that she was leaning on me too much and not taking care of herself, I was left unsure of my standing.

What does she need me for, if she doesn’t need me for this?

Then came the silence, and look we stumbled upon another one of my many triggers: withdrawing. And we discovered containment doesn’t mean withdraw, and that I still need to learn how to listen without giving advice.

I need to remember who it is I am dating: her, this girl, only her, not any of my exes. How does one undo triggers, once they’re found? Or will they just always be there, like an old skiing injury, something to be constantly aware of and work around?

I need to remember this, rely on it: here are the things she and I are particularly good at:

  1. Telling each other, as openly, kindly, and honestly as possible, how we feel about where we’re coming from
  2. Taking responsibility for the parts that we own, and not blaming the other person
  3. Being totally willing to work on ourselves individually, and the relationship
  4. Being quick, thorough, vigilant learners, willing to do extensive research to get somewhere faster

I have never had any of these things, truthfully, in practice, in previous relationships, though I and my exes have often given lip service to many of them. Some of that was certainly my fault—it really is only recently that I was capable of executing them, the first one especially.

She keeps saying, “we love each other, we’ll get through this,” but that is not as comforting as those four traits, to me. This is about skill, this is about commitment, this is about patience. And yes sure, this is about love, too, and I am way too in love with this gorgeous, fierce, extraordinary person to stop the hard work it may take to get through these growing pains. They are as much mine as they are hers, and when we get through to the other side, we will know each other and ourselves better, we’ll be stronger and have more tools and skills to weather the changing emotional landscapes of love and relationships.

This continues to be a huge opportunity to grow and evolve and unstick the stuck places, and what better way to take that on than with a kind, loving person who knows me practically as well as I know myself? Together we are more than the sum of us separately, together we are stronger, bigger, more capable, more supported, buoyed by the magic strength that is sharing one’s life with another. Nothing cuts through the muscle, the bone, exposing the marrow, like love, does it? There is never so much to lose, so there is never so much to gain; with the highest stakes come the highest rewards.

I know relationships take work. I am willing to do the work, I just have to be certain that the work is worth doing. And perhaps for the first time, really, for the first authentic time, for the first awake and aware and really fully known time, I have someone who knows this takes work, who is certain the work is worth doing, and who is willing to do the work to be with me, too.

Year One With Kristen (Happy Anniversary)

Today, December 13th, marks the anniversary of my first date with Kristen. I didn’t actually tell the story of how we met, so here’s a short version:

I was invited by a friend of mine, Mr. M, to speaking on a panel at the university where he went to school, in Connecticut, in November last year. It was one of the first big speaking gigs I’ve done, actually. Kristen also went to school there, and they knew each other. Mr. M introduced Kristen and I at the panel before it was starting, we said polite hellos. I remember her smile, remember thinking she was cute and femme. As it got a bit busier, and Mr. M and I got comfortable at the front of the room, Kristen approached us again and stood in front of us.

“My ex just walked in,” she said.

“Want me to beat him up?” I looked up at her, presuming her ex was a trans guy.

“She’s a she,” she said, “and no.” She thought I didn’t know she was queer. Oh, I knew.

“Well then,” I shifted, “want to make out with me?” To make her ex jealous, of course.

She blushed a little, looked down, giggled, “Um … nooo.”

Oh yeah she did. Interesting.

I think we said some other things about exes and shared space and events, but she took her seat shortly after and the panel began. I was listed on this panel under my other name, so I introduced myself, saying, “I’m also known as Sinclair Sexsmith, and I run the online writing project Sugarbutch Chronicles.”

There were a couple of gasps. One girl dug her nails into the arm of the girl next to her and widened her eyes. Kristen, meanwhile, had this little knowing smirky smile on her face (a smile I would later get to know quite well).

Later, she tagged along with the panel as we all went out to dinner after, and I knew there was chemistry. I’m not sure how it happened exactly, but eventually I took the empty seat next to her, and everyone else was at the opposite end of the long table.

“I have a confession to make,” she said.

I raised my eyebrows. Oh? Already?

“I read your blog.”

“Ah.”

“I have so much to talk to you about!” And so we did. I remember specifically a big conversation about books, and how much she loves reading fiction; I recommended The Book of Salt as something queer that my bookgroup had just read. She mentioned that she was planning to move back to New York City and that she came and visited Mr. M very frequently, nearly every weekend. She lived in Connecticut, but I gave her my email address, and we got in touch and made a date for the next time she was in New York. And, well, you already know all about that first date.

That she was familiar with my work online wasn’t a problem. That I wanted to write about her and the sex we were having wasn’t a problem, either – she has often said she likes to be written about, a lot. I have written less about her and the details of our relationship here than I have about other girls, mostly because I am busy telling her about my interpretations of our relationship, instead of everybody except her. I don’t want to write myself into a relationship I’m not having. Sometimes, I want to keep the things between us just between us.

Also, some of the sex and power dynamics we’ve been exploring are hard to write about. The Daddy/girl roles, the d/s that we’ve taken outside of the bedroom are hard to explain and articulate – but I would like to try, and I do hope to keep challenging myself to articulate the things that we play with.

I am so, so lucky to have found someone to explore these things with, someone I trust deeply, someone who I know will tell me if things don’t feel right, someone who will push back on me and stand up for the things she thinks are important, someone who is not afraid to be honest. It’s hard to find someone to go this deep into sex play with, it’s hard to find someone stable, who knows themselves, who is strong and capable. I’m so, so lucky.

I’m actually writing this (and setting it to publish in the future) two days ago, because this weekend, right now in fact, Kristen and I rented a cabin out in the woods with a big fireplace and a well-stocked kitchen outside of cell phone range. I packed two of my For Your Nymphomation cases (the Flogger case and the XL Adult Toybox) with toys and ropes and cocks and restraints and the spreader bar and the throe and a particular special piece of jewelry I expect her to wear for part of the weekend. She’s packing some very nice things, the liberator lingerie, her red apron, and lots of food. She’s in charge of cooking this weekend, and she has an extensive, romantic menu planned, including fondue, peanut butter cookies, stir-fried vegetables, her famous buttermilk biscuits, bloody marys, brownies – all my favorites. She will also be providing me with wine and whiskey, as needed, on demand.

What a year it’s been.

I’ve never known myself as well as I do now, and I’ve never felt so good about a relationship. One year into my relationship with The Ex (who maybe needs a name at this point) we were already falling apart, already not having enough sex, already fallen into lesbian bed death patterns, already not talking to each other, already not being honest. None of my relationship/flings since have reached a year, none of them have lasted longer than six months, and most of them were much shorter. Not to compare her to others – really she is incomparable. The places we have reached are so far beyond what any of my past relationships have been able to get to. And things are just consistently good, consistently building – even when we have disagreements, or when we don’t understand each other, we are so good at talking through it, we are so good at being honest and kind to each other in ways that have been so important and impressive to me.

There are a lot more places I want to go, and she and I always have a list of things we want to do more of (rope and other restraints, anal, daddy/girl scenes instead of just talk), and this relationship just feels so full of potential, so full of promise, so full of love.

Fucking & Making Love

She looked so damn hot yesterday.

I don’t know what it was exactly. She was in an outfit I’ve seen, tight slim jeans, her girly black tank top with the silver star pattern, little yellow sweater with the clear buttons. Maybe it was her hair, she’s been letting it grow and it’s getting longer, almost to her chin, it’s thin so it’s starting to flip up at the ends. So. Fucking. Cute. Maybe it was the earrings, simple large silver hoops, the ones she’s worried are a cliche but I keep trying to assure her they’re classic, sexy.

Off hand, she said yesterday that I am obsessed with my hair. I said ‘obsessed’ was a bit strong, but I see her point. Maybe it’s not just my hair, either, but hair in general. Still, I don’t want to pressure her into doing things like growing her hair long because that’s what I like – I hope it’s okay for me to state my personal preference while at the same time accepting however she prefers to present. Because while it’s true, I do prefer long hair, even more than that I prefer her to make decisions based on her own wants and needs and personal expression, not on what I desire.

Still. Her hair was so much shorter when we met, nearly as short as mine is now; I’ve been growing mine too, going for that early Elvis look. I’d dye it blue-black like his but I really like the few strands of gray that are coming in at my temples.

I guess I really am obsessed with hair.

Point is: she looked so, so good. Fun, flirty. Femme.

We chatted on the couch after I got to her house. How are you, how’s your day, how’s your sister. Maybe it was that I hadn’t seen her in more than a day after spending many days in a row with her. I felt my appetite for her growing, bubbling up. At one point she tipped her head just slightly sideways, her hair doing this little flip on both sides, the lines of her silhouette so perfect, those big hoop earrings brushing her neck, and she gave me a little smile, eyes twinkling. If I’d been on a TV show, it would’ve cut to a shot of me, my spine becoming jelly, my hands to my face, crying OH GOD as I slide off the couch before springing up and throwing myself on her, wrapping around her and kissing her hard, my mouth wherever she’d let me put it, then the camera would snap back to the shot of us on the couch as we were before and nothing would’ve actually happened, just me, sitting there blinking, in awe, probably totally transparent and readable and ooey gooey in love. Am I so obvious? Moments like that I feel oafish, bull in a china shop, too big and awkward next to such grace and elegance, like I am certain how much she knows she’s got me wrapped around her little finger.

Oh and here I am being all dramatic and admirational again. Are you bored of this femme-worship yet? Three and a half years of Sugarbutch and I only love femmes more, I am only more certain of my orientation to them in such a specific way. Only three and a half years of Sugarbutch, but I met my first femme nine years ago, and I knew then … what? Something. The way she shocked me to life, lit up the night like a shower of sparks from fireworks.

And I’ve never had it this good. I tell myself that every day: every day of this relationship I am grateful, so appreciative of every minute we have together. I’ve not known a bliss like this and I’ve never known it to last this long.

When Jesse was here, she had a brief little snag with Violet, some conversation where it wasn’t quite perfect, but she didn’t let it phase her or lose her unwavering faith in their relationship. “We’ve always been able to talk it through, whatever it is,” she said. And so far, Kristen and I have that too – not big explosive fights and feelings getting deeply hurt, but conversations of honesty and self-awareness and accountability and care. There are some things looming, a little, I’ve felt their weight lately, our differences and complications and inadequacies and places where we need more support, but we have always been able to talk things through, even if the journey is more illuminating than the destination, even if the only conclusion is, “well, now we know, that’s how we work, that’s my particular quirks and assumptions coming up against yours in our unique relationship way. We’ll just have to watch how this plays out.” We still come back together, appreciate each other, speak the deep truths. I feel like I am heard, always. And oh how important that is, what a relief to have it in my relationship, with her.

Dacia has a piece she’s read in public a few times lately which has the lines, “I write about the relationship I wish I was having,” and “I buy my own bullshit.” I’ve done that, here, in the past. I’ve written myself into love, used this site to woo and court. I haven’t wanted to do that with Kristen. It’s too precious, too real; I’ve learned from my mistakes, or rather, I am learning, I am trying to learn. That is a major reason why I haven’t written about her like I have others.

Plus, I’m all the more protective of my heart these days. How many heartbreaks is one heart made to withstand, anyway? I love writing about my relationships, but it can also be a crutch – I become obsessed with micro-articulating my feelings and emotional landscapes in writing, sometimes to my own detriment, overdramatizing and letting the articulation of the emotion be more important than the experience, the story, the audience, the effects.

I don’t want to do that anymore.

So I am protective of this relationship, as it has swelled and sometimes burst, its ups and downs. I haven’t chronicled it all here, preferring instead to articulate it to her as best I can. And there are things, snags, places between us which are murky and lurking a little for me right now, things that have come up and we’ve said “we should talk about that more later,” but now it’s later and I don’t even remember what they were, so that makes me all the more nervous. The unknown rather than the known. I should’ve kept a list, I keep thinking. But I’ve got to calm my nerves about this, not let it affect the really good highs inside of which we still so easily slip. So far, we’ve been able to talk through everything, and for now I’ll rest comfortable on presuming we’ll be able to do that in the future, too.

Yes, I was high when I reached out for her upper arm and pulled her onto my lap, and she’d just told me about how she’d done her homework this morning by playing with her ass while getting off, but that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t also in love, wanting to make love, wanting to be inside of her, drinking her in as I sucked her nipples into my mouth and left bite marks on her neck and shoulders. She cried out and I thought, someone should be videotaping this she is so goddamn hot.

In the bedroom we slipped off her clothes. “Take off your shirt.” I slid her tight jeans down her legs. She was in this matching bra and panties I hadn’t seen her wear before – she does wear the bra, a little white one with pink polka dots and pink satin bows, very femme, but the matching panties have layers of ruffles. I’ve never seen her in them.

I didn’t take them off.

“I want to see your ass. Turn over.” She does, gets on all fours. “Show it to me. Get down on your elbows.” She parts her knees a little and arches her back, I run my hand over her curves and feel the outline of her cunt and ass under the thin fabric. I let my fingers trail over her softly, slowly. My mind raced. There’s so much I wanted to do to her, with her. All that ass talk earlier made me want my fingers in her there, to get out the little plug I’d brought to leave at her place (her further homework), wanted to plow her ass hard and make her scream. I won’t do that, yet, of course, it’ll take some time to work up to it. I wanted her to stay on her knees, ass in the air, while I gripped her hips and fucked her slow and hard. I wanted her on her knees, mouth full of spit eyes looking up at me as she sucked me down.

But most of all I wanted to be close, pressed against her, kissing her, wrapped around each other. So I strapped on, peeled off her pretty bra and panties, told her to turn over, slid inside, and got lost in her, got lost in the way we wind around and hold each other. We barely spoke, just felt each other, just took it all in with our bodies.

There were a few times I slowed down, savored her, looked at her, but the vibration was so strong between us, I couldn’t didn’t want to stop. Sometimes I wondered if I should, if her hips were okay, if she needed more of a break, but I kept getting so close and ultimately was able to come inside of her for the first time in a long time, I was glad I didn’t stop. (I don’t know why I haven’t been coming lately. I broke out the Spartacus harness I’d retired hoping that would help. It did, apparently.)

Later, she said, “I thought you were going to stop … but you didn’t. That was good.”

Yeah, that was good. And I’m glad she said that. Always affirming to know I wasn’t pushing her. I want to push her, I want to have that kind of power and trust and knowledge and skill, but that has to be earned, that has to be worthy. I want to do so much more with her, to her, want to take her to all sorts of dirty places and cradle her and worship her and honor her and fuck her and smack her around and force her and hold her and let go with her and trust her.

There’s time. It’s been almost a year, but I know enough to know that we’re in this. And that we’ll keep building, and exploring, as this keeps getting deeper and stronger.

Tachycardia

this is how I want you:

slow. deliberate. measured. languorous. torpid
bordering on excruciating, with kisses that
keep you counting the millimeters between
our mouths (six, four, three), counting
the breaths it takes before my hands
move from waist to shoulders up your
back (five), counting the heartbeats elapsed
to wrap my fingers around your upper arms,
tighten my grip, and press you back against
the wall (124 with occasional tachycardia). you

remember what it feels like to be overtaken,
don’t you, to become supple in my arms, to
struggle until you can do nothing but give over,
become empty for me to fill you everywhere.
because I know that’s what you want, that’s
how you forget yourself, that’s how I forget
myself too, perfect moments of being wrapped
inside you, safe, enveloped, protected, a return
to some place quiet and sacred where the red
burgundy sooths all with muscle and strength.

I will make marks on my wrist so I can measure
how far inside you I can reach, today, tomorrow,
now I can feel the underside of your heart, the
cellar door of it, I will pen the walls with beauty
beauty beauty until it radiates out of your pores,
graffiti seeping from inside. I’ve felt your fingers
thrumming my own atria, those upper chambers
of my heart with their glass doors and misting
humidifiers and weeping plants, I think you know

what it is you cultivate in my chest when your
knees go weak, when you sink your eyes
away from mine and slide back to check if I am
still holding you. I am, I am, my arms never leave
that curve of your shoulders, your hip, the way
you crush against me when I open wide, making
room for every inch of your skin against mine. you
quicken my heartbeats, not something I am used to,
but this means I can be stronger, pump more blood,
stay up even later, fucking and loving till dawn.

“Can I come? Please?”

Kristen gets off easily. When we were discussing it last night, she said there’s a point after we’ve been fucking for a bit where she can simply tighten and it happens, so after a while she can basically come on demand. I start murmuring, “do it again, come for me, do it now,” and she does, almost every time.

It’s a bit of a miracle to me, as someone who takes a while to gear up and get off, and as someone who dated someone pre-orgasmic for four years (four years! We weren’t even open, I didn’t make any single person (except me) come in four years, it was torture). I have written about how it’s hard for me to get off around here somewhere.

I love that she comes like that. It is one of the things I crave most about sex: being able to give someone else that feeling of orgasm, of momentary loss of control, of la petite mort. I love the power of that exchange, the way she wants it from me, the way I keep her poised on my fingers or tongue or cock. I have tried to keep track, but I always get distracted, or loose count, or can’t tell when one ends and the next begins, sometimes she just goes and goes. I have asked her to count, telling her I’ll let her out of the ropes after she gets to ten.

Lately, we have been playing more with the torture of waiting, with making her beg for it, with keeping her writhing but not touched until she can’t stand it. She has noticed has orgasms are stronger and bigger the longer she waits, so that made us implement something else new: to make her ask permission before she can come.

This is mostly because I can’t always tell when she gets close, can’t even always tell when she starts coming, sometimes it’s a cry of ecstasy not unlike being bitten hard or fucked well and I can’t tell if she’s close or expressive. So she has to ask.

She waits until she’s so, so close, as if she’s forgotten she has to ask, then forces out the word: “Please?”

“Please what?”

“Please can I?” Gasping.

“Please can you what?” I don’t let up with my fingers thrumming her clit, my cock shoving inside her. I know she’s on the verge.

“Please, can I come!”

“… No.”

Seems I need to remind her that she has to ask if I want it to be ongoing, though, which I think I do. It is easy for both of us to skip over the asking and go right to the coming. And sometimes having one or two orgasms seems to open her up, make her able to take more, deeper, harder. So sometimes perhaps it’s best to let her come a few times before starting to deny her more, to build up to a larger release.

We’ve added this element of asking permission into sex on various occasions in the last few months, but I think it’s worth continuing to explore. I don’t really know how it’ll work yet, but I love the power dynamic of it, love the extra element of control over her body and her orgasm that I get to play with having. Love how she gives that over to me. Love how I can feel like I can sculpt her rise and fall of energy and release – no, not yet, not yet, keep it building, just a little longer, you can hold it in, hold it back, wait, wait … now: let go. This is what I love about being a top, too, at its very best – being able to sculpt someone else’s experience of their body, sensation, release.

Last night, I wanted her to wait until I was coming, until I came, to let herself come, but I couldn’t quite say that, I wasn’t quite confident of my own ability to get off. I wish it was more consistent for me. I can never quite tell when or if it’s going to happen, I can’t seem to make it happen. The factors all seem variable: sometimes I feel disconnected from her and I come anyway, sometimes I feel totally connected and can’t. Sometimes I don’t expect it and it happens, sometimes I do expect it and it happens. Sometimes I don’t try and it surprises me. I came twice on Saturday, that’s rare, but somehow I had the angle, or the harness placement, or the mental turn-on, and it worked.

Someday, that’s what I want. To use her like that, to be oblivious to her pleasure until I get mine. To take what I need.

That feels extremely vulnerable, because it goes against what I’ve been taught – to be respectful and conscious and interactive in our sex lives. But consent in this kind of play can sometimes trump what is “supposed” to happen, and perhaps will move me into new realms, to explore new interactions, to move into new personal realms, weave knowledge into our bones. And oh my god the very idea makes me so incredibly hot.

There is so much to explore here, with her, I still feel we’ve barely scratched the surface. And I just want more, and more, and more.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen, when we have sex,” she said last night. “I don’t know if it’ll be sweet and lovely, or some crazy tantric energy release shit, or if I’ll be your little girl, or if it’ll be dirty and kinky.”

We seem to be moving from one into another more and more fluidly these days, able to turn on a dime and make something that was full of dirty talk and name-calling and control and, occasionally, pain, into something sweet and sensual, or into some deep-breathing chakra release. We seem to have a little bit of all of it, all the time, and that is near perfection.

Her dirty talk got me off. Twice.

“So,” Kristen said, arms around my neck, looking up from under me, my legs between hers but bent and wrapped around each other, both of us naked, skin to skin, sheened with sweat and still a little bit out of breath. “I guess we figured out what gets you off.”

Not that I – and she – and, let’s be honest, the entire fucking internet – didn’t already know what I like: blow jobs, strapping on, fingering a girl until I make her squirt. But this was different: I came twice in the few recent hours we’d been fucking. Probably mostly thanks to what Kristen was saying.

We’d talked about it the day before. “I want to be used,” she’d said. “Just … fucked with no regard for my pleasure.”

And so I did. And we liked it, a lot, both of us.

“Fuck my hole,” she whispered, “take me, fuck me hard, pound your big cock in me deep. I’m your slutty little girl.”

Just typing that makes my knees go a little weak. Why does that turn me on so goddamn much? Makes my head spin. I feel guilty for it, really, somewhere, just a little, a small piece of me that fears that treating a beautiful, smart, strong woman like that – objectifying, humiliating – is bad and wrong. I know fantasies and role play are so much more complicated than that, that the problematic power play and gender play that we oversexualize for pleasure is just that – oversexualized – in a very specific context, and it doesn’t mean I would ever do those things outside of that context. In fact, the context is what makes them hot at all – the consent – the way she asked for it, explicitly and specifically.

I’ve known this is what deeply gets me off. This isn’t new. I discovered that I could come while strapped on and fucking with Callie, and this is precisely what we used to play with, precisely the language we used, precisely the kind of thing she wanted. I had trouble with it, sometimes, partially because I wasn’t sure I could trust her (go figure) and because of how she demanded it, and that if I didn’t deliver correctly there were consequences.

So this kind of play does open me up in sensitive places, triggers me a little bit, pulls on old wounds of trauma.

I’ve known how much these concepts, this play, turns me on, but I haven’t really brought it up with Kristen before. Well – no, that’s not entirely true. We’ve been building to this, been learning each other and building trust and playing with consent and dirty talk and power play. We’ve been building to this, and it’s of course I wouldn’t have come to her on the first date – or in the first month! The first three months! – and say, I want to take you down like this. I want to fuck you until I get off and disregard what you feel, whether you like it or not. I wouldn’t say that! Even now, I have trouble writing it out – it’s more complicated than that being what I want, what I crave, because while it is, I just can’t get there to do that until I know for certain that my respect and honor for her are in place – and that I know she knows that, too. That I know some of her history and why she craves to be degraded in these ways. I need the trust to be there, and a deeply feminist understanding of sex and power play such that the issues of consent and degradation are clear, understood between us, and ultimately irrelevant to the way we play.

So I didn’t say it first. Honestly, it never occurred to me to this extent – if it had, I might’ve brought it up. We have played with elements of this, but nothing quite so specific or elaborate as we did yesterday. But I so needed that extra little piece of consent, that explicit permission which came from her – so I know I didn’t coerce her into it – that says take me. Overpower me. Use me.

We talked about this a bit recently – I wrote about it – about how hard it was for me to get off and how much she wants – we both want – me to get off more, and one of my major conclusions in exploring that has been that I pay so much attention to her, how she feels, what I can read from her tones and moans and body language, that I forget to pay attention to myself. It’s a strength of mine, to be observant, thoughtful, to pay attention to the person I’m with, I think it makes me a good lover and friend, but it doesn’t always serve me well: I loose myself sometimes, in ways even that I don’t always recognize at the time.

(I wonder how this relates to my history with Callie too, the ways I lost myself so totally and terribly with her. Maybe my getting off (easily) with her wasn’t actually deep connection with myself – or perhaps that’s unfair, since honestly that’s precisely the benefit that I took from that relationship: knowing that I needed to learn to deeply trust myself. But maybe the ways I came with her were about something else. Regardless, whatever connection to myself I began culminating with her was so challenging to keep while dealing with her neuroses and insecurities.)

And that’s precisely what Kristen brought up when we talked about it later: it makes sense that it is a big relief, and release, for me, when I stop doing that. When I no longer put someone else’s needs above my own, and in fact allow myself to override theirs with mine. I never do that, sometimes to my own determent. So being able – and being asked explicitly – to do that sexually is a huge, huge turn-on.

What I’m trying to say is, Kristen & I opened up something deep and wounded and complicated and beautiful and fucking powerful yesterday evening. It brings up guilt, it triggers some old wounds, brings some of my issues of overattentiveness to the surface, and makes me feel so strong and powerful, like the king of the world.

I know you want to know more about what it was we actually were saying, those dirty, filthy things that got me to come inside her twice while strapped on, during a blow job, during a punishment spanking for her being such a dirty girl, during some intense fucking with her ass in my hands and her legs in the air. It’s taken me all day to get through this, unfortunately, so I’ll have to write up the dialogue tonight and get it to you tomorrow.

Did I mention how much I am just totally loving my life? I can’t believe what an amazingly dirty filthy sexy hot freak I’ve found. And? She likes me as much as I like her. Grateful, grateful, grateful.

On Butches: Coming Inside

The truth is, it feels embarrassing, really, to come while strapped on and fucking. The amount I have to let go and risk is sometimes too much for my heart to open up.

It isn’t fair to say that she doesn’t have to do the same amount of risk and letting go when I throw her down onto the bed, shove my hand between her legs, push my fingers inside until she’s screaming and thrashing under my forearm holding her down.

But it’s different, isn’t it?

Let’s not say one is harder than the other, it isn’t about hierarchy: only that one is not the same as the other. But, why? Maybe because that’s the way her body is “supposed” to work, biologically it is built to take inside, to be invaded, to tilt the bowl of her pelvis up and open the hinge of her hips back.

I don’t like making generalized statements like that: “women are made to x because biologically, bodies are built like y,” there is so much unfinished in that statement, and there is some sort of deeper, inner sense of gender and self that is discounted because of our binary system of classification under biology.

But there is something, something about the ways that entering inside, being permitted to come inside, being permitted to invade, to be permitted to take and thrust and enter, is not what my body is made to do, so I am on shaky ground, out of synch with what my cells know. There is something so vulnerable about having sex organs (like a silicone cock) outside the body, something so exposing about the ways I get … hungry, desperate for a safe haven, so dependent upon another for fulfillment and satisfaction.

And there is the moment of orgasm: shuddering and losing control momentarily and I don’t even know if my eyes are rolling back and my mouth is lolling open, such a moment of unconsciousness when I usually have such precise purpose when I am on top, fucking her, sliding in and out, rocking against her. I know exactly how this feels and exactly where to put my hands and such confidence in the ways that I am moving. But in that moment I lose that and all I can think of are those guys, those stupid guys in every bad movie where they are completely lost in their own world and the girl is looking up at them with a face like, really? Really. You’re just going to keep going and you can’t even tell that I’m totally disconnected, and that might be my worst fear, that I am alone in those moments of pleasure, so wrapped up in how my dick feels in her pussy that I don’t even know the ways she is not enjoying this.

And then I am spent and small and soft and dribbling and drained.

I know there’s more to it than that. I know.

But there’s a tiny aspect of it that infiltrates my mind when I find myself close, when I feel my cock tighten and balls lift, muscles pinching. I can’t do that, I can’t let go.

Maybe that’s why it has been nearly impossible to come while strapped on with anyone since Callie. It happens, sure, but it is inconsistent and unpredictable, which makes it all the more embarrassing and exposing. Maybe I haven’t trusted enough. Maybe it’s all mental. Maybe I am still terrified to expose myself, now that I see how easily I have lost myself in the recent past. On the inside of every cell wall in me has YOU CAN’T HAVE ME written a hundred times in tiny print. But maybe I need to go in there with a delicate eraser and figure out what pen it was I used, and write something else. Or maybe I need to leave the walls blank and clear so I can see right through them.

Because when I come inside her, and then come back to myself, and to her, like I did on Sunday morning, nearly falling off of the bed, sheets and blankets completely askew, light coming in the slatted blinds behind us, and she looks at me with those blue blue eyes with so much clarity and witness, so much reverence and strength, though there is a part of me that panics, there is also a part of me that has come home.