Electrostimulation and Orgasm

February 11, 2013 at 11:38 am (Real Life, Sex) (, , , , , , , )


Having one of the most powerful orgasms of my life while strapped to a massage table in the basement of a suburban home is actually a pretty fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

I met a couple at a kink-friendly party who talked about e-stim and invited me to try it. I’ll admit I didn’t do my homework and didn’t really know what they were talking about; I assumed it was a form of electrical play similar to using a violet wand. So when I accepted their invitation and trekked to their home in the suburbs, I was thinking I might remove my shirt but that was about it.

It was a bit of a surprise when Bob showed me two small objects with electrodes embedded in them and explained that one was designed to be inserted vaginally and one anally. Ohhhh… if I’d been smart I would have been a little more prepared! Apologizing for my unshaven legs, I gamely stripped and lay on the towel-covered table. I inserted the vaginal plug and asked my boyfriend to insert the anal one.  They were attached by leads to a control box that looked, to me, similar to a CB radio, which was attached to a laptop for finer control of the sensations the electrodes would produce. Bob started with a basic pattern that felt like something expanding inside those orifices, though it was simply the muscles reacting to the electrical stimulation by expanding and contracting.

It was probably not the best way to start, since I wasn’t at all aroused at this point, and my arousal certainly doesn’t start with being penetrated. Truthfully, I wasn’t enjoying the sensations. Bob kept asking questions about how I felt and making adjustments, then suggested we try some electrodes on a breast. He placed two stick-on electrodes on either side of my right nipple, near the edges of my areola (which are quite large) and we removed the anal probe in order to hook up that lead to the electrodes with a splitter. The sensation there was fascinating and definitely arousing – it felt as if the nipple was being pinched, but the sensation was also distinctly below the surface of the nipple. Now, I absolutely adore breast play and always want lots of nipple stimulation during sex, so this is a key to my arousal, and I started having trouble staying quiet and still, much to the amusement of the audience of my boyfriend and Bob’s wife, Jenny. (Watching someone experiencing e-stim is about as interesting as watching paint dry; there’s really nothing to see except a naked person lying on a table. Jenny was knitting through most of the playtime! It’s only fun for other people if they’re driving the equipment, or when the subject starts squealing with pleasure.)

The nipple stimulation was so wonderful, I asked for electrodes on my left breast as well. This meant disconnecting the vaginal probe, which was fine with me – even with the arousal brought on by the nipple action, I wasn’t getting much out of the vaginal stimulation. So out it came and two more electrodes went on, not quite in the same position but still generating a very similar sensation. Having both nipples stimulated simultaneously is probably one of my most favorite things ever, and I loved it, gripping the edge of the table to keep from arching my back and squirming. I breathlessly told them that it would be heaven to be strapped down and stimulated with a vibrator along with the nipple stim, and I regretted not bringing one with me. Never fear – Bob and Jenny kindly offered the services of their Hitachi, and of course they had a handy pair of velcro cuffs to attach my hands over my head to the table. I just closed my eyes and let the sensations wash over me.

The boyfriend manned the vibrator, and eventually Bob joined in, experimenting with me. He tried inserting another vibrator in my vagina while the Hitachi covered my clit, but at first it felt like he’d inserted something anally – perhaps because of the angle – and I asked him to stop. No offense taken – try something else. He started playing with my nipples along with the electrical stimulation going on, which was phenomenal – very much the type of stimulation on the edge of overstimulation that I crave. The Hitachi was a bit too much, though – I tend to need very focused clit stimulation, and the ball top of the classic Magic Wand was a bit too generalized for me. We took a break from it, and after a few minutes I asked the boyfriend to finger my clit instead. He was game, and it was comforting to have him close and participating in this with me.

Unfortunately, my cell phone started going off with text message alerts, which distracted me quite a bit, and I probably would have reached orgasm much faster if there hadn’t been that break in concentration. I was at a peak of arousal without the release of orgasm for quite a long time, which is both delicious and agonizing – my arms were getting sore from pulling at the restraints, my ladybits were on the edge of numb, though my breasts were still in heaven. The boyfriend stuck to his task, and Bob eventually tried a vibrator inside me again, and that did it – stimulation overload sent me into spasms. My full body reacted to that orgasm – I arched up off the table, disconnecting one set of electrodes in the process, and I know I was loud – it was a deep, rich release. As I came back down, it took me quite a while to calm my breathing, and the boyfriend stayed close to me while I slowly relaxed again. I had a moment of overwhelming emotion that almost broke into tears (not unusual for me after a strong orgasm). Mostly I was terribly dehydrated.

After a bit of wind-down time we did play with a violet wand, which I’d love to experiment with more, then I dressed and we sat around talking for a couple more hours. Bob and Jane are older than my boyfriend and I, they have some interesting hobbies aside from electrical sex, and they were very kind, generous hosts. I’m very grateful for the experience they gave me and sent them a thank-you note afterwards.

It’s an adventure I’m very glad to have had, for a number of reasons. It was an aspect of sexual stimulation I’d never explored and found that I enjoyed very much. I’ve often mused on the possibilities of extreme arousal and sensual stimulation, and how that would impact me with my orgasm difficulties (see here and here), so this experience showed me that while it wouldn’t necessarily speed up my ability to orgasm, reaching orgasm was definitely possible with this kind of stimulation, and could result in a very powerful orgasm at that.

It was also the first sexual experience I’ve had in a long time that involved someone touching me in a sexual way for whom I didn’t feel any kind of sexual attraction. I’ve had poor experiences in the past with sexual contact from men I wasn’t really attracted to, but this was different – not clinical, but not wholly disengaged either. I think it was simply friendly play – Bob wanted me to have a good experience with one of his favorite toys, he wanted to share his knowledge, and he did things he thought would help me get the most out of it. Those things involved touching me in sexual ways, and I was okay with that, his wife was okay with that, and it didn’t mean anything more than friendly assistance. I’ve become unused to thinking of sex detatched from emotional connection and sexual attraction, so it is interesting to reflect on the fact that a wonderful sexual experience can take place with someone with whom I don’t have a strong emotional/sexual bond.

I was very grateful that my boyfriend came along for this experience with me. I was concerned that he would be bored, and very happy that he gamely participated. His closeness increased my comfort level in the experience, and added an element of emotional intimacy that probably helped as well. He has told me he enjoyed the experience, too, and that it is something he’d love to see happen again someday – a fantasy we share of bringing me to orgasm under group stimulation. Another adventure to find in the future.

While I wouldn’t invest in the equipment myself, given the option to play with e-stim toys again, I would definitely do so. Exploration of this kind is part of the life adventure I seek, and it was well worth a Sunday afternoon in the suburbs.

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I could do this all day.

January 17, 2012 at 10:46 am (Real Life, Sex) (, , , )


He said this with his fingers between my lips, stroking and searching for the perfect touch.

I could do this all day.

I’ve wondered ever since – what exactly about that moment could he do all day? What gave him the kind of contented, comfortable feeling that would make you want to stay in that moment all day?

Maybe he loves the exploration – trying to find the right angle, the right spot, the delicacy of stroking tiny ridges and curves of the most sensitive flesh, looking for the ones that quicken my breathing, that draw my wetness.

Maybe it’s watching my face, when my eyes close, when I start to soften, when I start to tense, when I have to breathe heavily with mouth open, when I lick my lips and turn my head to nuzzle against his beard and seek out his lips.

Maybe it’s what he senses through his fingers, how wet he makes me, how the soft flesh closes around him, how the point hardens and swells, and what these things tell him about how I feel and what his touch does to me.

Maybe it’s listening to my breath, to the rhythm he creates, the catch and gasp as his fingers move to different spots, dip inside to thrust and pull out the moisture, then return to circling, probing, seeking again. Maybe it’s a longing to hear that most tell-tale of signs, the rapid increase and heightening pitch of whimpers that mean he is going to achieve what he set out to accomplish.

I could do this all day.

I loved hearing him say it. I love knowing it. But I didn’t know the right thing to say in return, so I said what was probably the wrong thing: That’s good, because sometimes it takes all day.

He didn’t get what he was seeking that day, not on his own. My fingers joined his, mine above and his inside, and we brought it out together, the rise of breath, the swelling, the tightening, my hips rising as the heat spreads and I open and break and cry out and finish. Still wonderful release, together.

*Note, this was originally posted on my Tumblr on Saturday, 14 January 2012.

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Getting my shit together.

September 4, 2011 at 6:42 pm (Family, Real Life, Relationship) (, , , , , , )


This is a long post that has been written, re-written, deleted, written again, and finally posted with a deep breath. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to share what’s been going on with me, but I’ve decided that, like other issues I’ve blogged about, maybe someone somewhere will read it who has shared my experience. Maybe someone will feel a little better to know they’re not the only one. Maybe I can give someone else a bit of hope.

Several weeks ago, I had an emotional breakdown. It was in public, and it was humiliating for me and an embarrassment to my husband. It led to a very long night of crying, and involved feelings of anger, betrayal, abandonment and loss. It was a breaking point. I was the one broken.

I’ve been feeling this coming on, and some warning signs I saw clearly and acknowledged, while others I willfully ignored. I take responsibility for that. If I had stopped and reflected on how I was feeling sooner, I could have asked for help sooner. But for a number of reasons, I didn’t, and I let myself continue on a destructive course.

A really big part of this has been caused by the stress in my working life. I take my job very seriously, and very personally. This year I’ve gone through two manager changes, a major organizational shift, and have been under a great deal of pressure from a heavy workload. For months, I’ve been telling everyone who asked that I’m overloaded, but no one seemed willing to help me re-prioritize or shift any work, they just added more. I felt constantly several steps behind and frequently overwhelmed to the point of immobility.

This brought to the surface a long-standing issue I’ve struggled with through most of my life – a sense that I have to prove myself worthy, and that no matter what I do, I am unworthy. That’s become a big issue in my working life, in my stress over incomplete or insufficient output, my fears of being thought of as slacking because I was struggling to maintain my output, an increasing defensiveness whenever anyone questioned what I was doing or where my time was going or why something wasn’t done yet. As someone without a college degree working in a field where degrees are the norm, I’ve always felt I had to work harder to prove myself up to the job. The pressure really has been coming from inside me, though, and the voice telling me I’m not good enough for this job has been getting louder and louder.

This is a very old issue for me, going back to my childhood. I’ve always struggled to see my own value as a person and have always tried to find it by seeking to keep others happy. I’ve tried to work on this issue, and over the years I’ve found some coping mechanisms and ways to defeat the negative self-talk, but lately those attempts to control my inner critic have not been working. I reached a point a few months ago where I stopped trying. I had a similar emotional breakdown while on a business trip in early June, and ever since then, I’ve felt increasingly out of control. What were occasional bouts of depression that seemed to be PMS related started lasting longer. That inner critic would pop up at any time, even without provocation, to tell me I was worthless and unlovable.

I could clearly see how this was impacting my relationships, but I felt helpless to do anything about it. I was becoming increasingly dependent on my husband for emotional support. He’s a very calming, soothing presence for me, and when I would spend evenings alone, I’d find my inner critic rambling out of control, and anxiety would start gnawing at me. On more than one occasion, I chose to combat this by drinking, which was an old habit I’d broken more than six years ago. Allowing myself to use that crutch again was very disturbing, but I struggled to find another way to comfort myself that wouldn’t be equally unhealthy.

During this same time, I’d been making an attempt to build a my first polyamorous relationship. I fell in love fast and the emotions have been very confusing. I’ve struggled to understand the terms and structure of a poly relationship and how to express my needs. Really, I’ve been uncertain if I was even allowed to have any needs, or if such would be a betrayal of my husband, or if I’d be looked down upon for asking for any needs to be filled. I found myself hyper-sensitive and worrying constantly about this relationship. Did I say or do the wrong thing, am I asking for or expecting too much, am I expressing too much affection, and on and on. I needed frequent reassurance, was scared to ask for it, but clung to every piece given, while the anxiety built up and spilled over into other areas of my life.

Essentially, the stress from my job and the stress over my relationships were feeding on each other, becoming a painful mess. I started feeling like I was being crushed by the weight of my insecurities, fears and responsibilities. I didn’t feel like I could talk to anyone about what I was feeling, because that would mean admitting that I was failing. I just let it continue until it exploded in a very messy, very public way, and I couldn’t ignore it anymore.

I still feel, essentially, like a broken thing. I’ve failed. Yes, I managed to decrease some of my work-related stress through a very frank discussion with my boss about my emotional state, and that has given me some relief. On the relationship side, my husband felt strongly that we should close the marriage for a while, to create a safe place where I wouldn’t feel threatened by his attention to other women, so that he would be able to give me some additional emotional support, and so that I would be able to direct most of my emotional energy towards myself and working on these issues.

That was not an easy decision. I’ve been investing time and energy into building this other relationship that was very important to me. But I also knew that my feelings about that relationship were unhealthy and needed to be reworked. I knew I wouldn’t have much to offer him emotionally while I worked on myself. I knew I could use sex and affection to avoid working on those issues, so I couldn’t allow myself that distraction. The reassurance that I am a valuable, worthwhile person has to be re-discovered from inside me, and I was relying far too heavily on his affection to tell me my own worth.

I knew all this, and I tried to explain it, but I probably did it too quickly, too soon after the sleepless night of tears. I didn’t explain it well, and as a result I’ve alienated my lover and lost what could have been a source of support. This has weighed heavily on my heart the past few weeks, but I’ve not been given the opportunity to make it right. I’m not sure at this point if I’ll be able to.

So that’s the story.

The concept of emotional health is relative. We all have our issues, and we can work on them, and learn ways to manage them, even rise above them. But over time, your life changes, your place and perspective changes, and you grow. And the coping mechanisms you learned or the way you figured out how to function in spite of your issues may no longer work. You have to revisit those old fears or inadequacies and learn a new way to find contentment in spite of them.

That’s what I’m trying to do. I’ll probably never be one of those super-confident people who believes wholeheartedly thst she deserves all the best in life and won’t settle for anything less. But I can get back to a place where I no longer feel unworthy, at least. That has to come from within, but I also need to learn how to accept support from others without depending on it or needing it too much. I’m learning how to walk that tightrope once again.

And that’s what I call getting my shit together. At least I’m trying.

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I suck at this (but that’s okay).

August 2, 2011 at 6:16 pm (Polyamory, Real Life, Relationship) (, , , )


When I’m not making clever quips on Twitter or running around trying to be all poly and shit, I’m a corporate wage-slave. Yes, I have a capital-c Career and I read stuff like the Harvard Business Review. Today I read this article on cross-cultural communication and collaboration, which is Relevant to My Professional Interests; but it also got me thinking about relationships.

The article quotes an expert in organizational behavior who says, “There is a gulf between reading something and imagining something hypothetically and actually experiencing it.”  I am facing this head-on right now in my personal life. I’ve read a lot about poly; I’ve been contemplating it as a personal choice for the past decade, to be honest. Only now am I attempting to put it into practice, and in spite of all my years of reading and thinking, I feel woefully out of my depth already.

The author introduces the concept of this “cultural lens” we each have, based on our life experiences in our own culture, and how it’s a challenge to change that lens when working with people from other cultures. It feels awkward; it makes you unsure of yourself; and you have to ask questions you may never have thought to, or needed to, ask before. “What is the right thing to say? What is the right way to say it? What is my body language saying?” This is still true if you substitute the concept of a cultural lens for an emotional lens, and think about it in terms of your past relationship experience, or within the context of your current/primary/anchor relationship, if you have one. When you start to develop an ancillary relationship, it’s all new territory; you can’t communicate the same way, and the emotional terrain is completely different. You feel uncertain; you don’t know what’s too much, what’s not enough, where you fit in, how to fit in. There’s an awkward period of adjustment that’s necessary to go through.

This is why it doesn’t surprise me that I feel like I suck at being poly right now. I’m in completely new territory. I’m experiencing emotions in a radically different context and it confuses the heck out of me. I’m not even sure I know what I want anymore. The advice of our cultural experts rings true: I shouldn’t beat myself up for this. It’s part of the process.

There’s more good advice I can adapt from this:

  • Acknowledge the differences: admit there may be disparities. Put your differences out there. Don’t trot them out as a convenient excuse for bad behavior, but share your background, your reasons for why you see or do things a certain way. This gives both of you the opportunity to compare experiences and expectations, and reach a better understanding of each other.
  • Build trust and be curious: this is really important when you’re being open and honest about what you may be struggling with emotionally as you build a new relationship. Exposing your vulnerability can be scary. Do whatever you can to show your partner you can be trusted knowing his or her fears or weaknesses. One way to do that is to ask questions – not in a challenging, interrogative way, but by gently probing to demonstrate that you’re listening, and that you want to understand.
  • Decide what practices to adopt: in other words, find your emotional common ground, and use it to define the scope of your relationship. If you’ve put some time and effort into the first two points, you should be equipped to figure out what works for both of you. This may require a little compromise, but it should be done in a way that’s comfortable for everyone involved (and that includes other anchor or ancillary partners, as well).

It sounds like I know what I’m doing after all, huh? Well, I’m still trying to put this into practice. It will continue to feel weird and I’m sure I’ll feel like I don’t know what I’m doing for a good while longer. But I’m going to trust myself and my partner that we’ll figure it out and learn as we go.

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Punk Pals.

July 31, 2011 at 9:29 am (Real Life, Sex) (, , )


In the early 90’s, before the internet started becoming accessible to the common man, there were zines. I was an avid collector and participant in zine culture, and among my favorites was one called Punk Pals. For a buck or so you could submit an ad, and a while later receive the next issue with a hand-drawn cover and a typewritten interior, filled with ads from punks, prisoners, and other ne’er-do-wells from across North America. I met some fascinating people this way, and for a couple years spent a good part of my meager earnings on stamps, corresponding with over a dozen people at a time.

This is how I met Shawn. He was a Canadian punk with a wilted, bleached-out mohawk, a skater’s build, and a big sense of adventure. We took a shine to each other. He lured me into phone sex, which for my still-inexperienced self was crazy erotic. It didn’t take much longer for him to decide to hop on a Greyhound and come visit me.

He arrived in the wee hours of a Saturday morning. We walked down to the river, killing time, waiting for a restaurant to open so we could have breakfast. Eventually we made our way to a friend’s apartment, where I had made arrangements for us to hang out, since I was still living with my parents. In a borrowed bed, with the sun coming up burning through homemade orange curtains, he undressed at the offer of a massage.

It was amazing to me, to touch a man that way, to feel muscles, broad shoulders, smooth skin. When he turned over and pulled me down for a kiss, he was erect. Very erect. Is it just inexperience that makes him seem so large in my memory? I hadn’t seen many erections at that point. He was long and thick. He asked for a condom, and I had to sneak into my friend’s bedroom to find one.

I was bedded, skirt was lifted, and he was prodding between my thighs. He didn’t kiss me again. He didn’t undress me or touch me. He had difficulty getting inside of me. I was dry, and it hurt. He pushed harder, and it hurt more. I don’t think he ever was fully inside of me, and eventually I just went numb. It was enough for him, and he finished, and went to sleep beside me.

He stayed for two more days, went to parties with me, criticized American beer, charmed my friends, but never touched me again. He went home on the Greyhound and I never heard from him again.

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Falling.

July 26, 2011 at 8:15 am (Polyamory, Relationship) (, , )


I’ve read a lot about polyamory – why it’s a good idea, how to handle jealousy, how to juggle time and obligations, etc. One thing I’ve not read about is the experience of falling in love when you’re poly. I’m going to attempt to do that subject some justice.

I first met the boyfriend in March. I didn’t expect to fall for him; I just thought he seemed like an interesting person, and he was openly poly, and I was curious to talk to someone about it. After exchanging a few emails, with talk of meeting, I let the correspondence lag, but he called me out on it.  He pushed the right button; no one implies I’m chicken and gets away with it. So I inflicted myself upon him over coffee and tea. And here we are.

Now, I’m a limerance junkie, and I know the feeling very well; and while it’s a heady, euphoric experience, I know it’s not one to give much weight to. Poly people tend to call it New Relationship Energy (NRE), but I think that’s too heavy of a title to give to something that is essentially the hormonal surge of sexual desire and the giddiness of discovery. So, I went through several bouts of head-over-heels limerance while trying my best to appear calm and proceed with caution as we figured out what we were doing, and what was really behind it.

It has required (and continues to require, I think) a fair bit of figuring out for both of us. This is not a relationship configuration he’s been in before, and this is my first time pursuing a relationship in addition to the anchor who is my husband. So there’s been some tip-toeing, some hesitancy, and the use of very guarded language and meticulously chosen words even in expressing our developing feelings to each other. Neither of us had clear expectations, I think. We were just seeing if, when and where we’d fall.

One of the challenges I started mulling over was the inevitable question: “where are we going?” Relationships are supposed to lead up to something. Relationships are goal-oriented, and that goal is typically to find “The One” and live happily ever after. But I already have one and married him. I can’t currently legally marry another. So getting past the brainwashing that relationships need to have a goal was one hurdle.

I think I’ve become comfortable that there isn’t a goal; there’s no end, no destination. What we’re doing is about enriching each other’s lives. It’s about exploration, support, discovery. The pleasure of communication and of sharing differing experiences, ideas, paths and choices. (And hot sex.) If those things stop happening, then it should be taken as a sign to let our paths diverge.

There’s also one really big glob of fears. I have a strong, committed relationship with a man who is a great partner, my best friend, and truly my life companion. Having been told all my life how hard it is to find your “match”, I fear I’m taking him for granted by even thinking I might find another match. I fear devaluing him and the place he has in my life. I fear I’m being greedy and selfish by even wanting the affection of someone else. And sometimes I just feel guilty. This is in spite of the fact that he has seen how happy I am, and that he’s happy that I’m happy, and he has seen me grow through this, and has wanted me to grow this way, and  is completely supportive of me in what I’m doing. But when one-man-one-woman has been drilled into your brain, it’s hard to let go sometimes, even when you believe otherwise.

And I have this really incredible person over here who is bringing me so much joy in the newness and discovery. He’s approached his life much differently than I have mine, and he helps me see things differently. Consciously or not, he encourages me to grow, and that’s a trait I treasure in anyone. And I fear those differences could become barriers. I fear asking too much of him. I fear that, as much as I want to give him, it won’t be enough. Or, it might be too much.

Is this really any different from any blossoming relationship? Maybe not. I know my patterns in relationships and what I feel, how I peak out and when I start the slide back down. I don’t see a plateau yet, and that’s a good sign of strength. I feel like we’ve established a foundation of openness that will serve us well as we figure this out.  And all we can do is keep falling forward, one step at a time.

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Youth.

July 16, 2011 at 8:22 pm (Real Life, Sex) (, , )


The last time I went to bed with a significantly younger man was before I met my husband, so a little over five years ago. I was going through my last great wild phase, taking pretty much any offer. I’d ended a long distance relationship that had been keeping me in misery, but the misery hadn’t left me yet.

But I digress.

He sent me a picture of him standing front of one of the Egyptian pyramids. He was in college, a big name school, but I’ve forgotten which one. I think he may have been 22 or so. I was 34. He was honest about seeking a fling with an older woman. When I asked him why, he said his friends were becoming sexually adventurous and having fun little affairs, so he thought he should, too. Fair enough.

He was pretty – really strikingly attactive, and not the kind of boy who would have had the slightest amount of interest in me if we had been the same age. He smiled a lot and talked to me about college, his parents, his sumer internship, when we met in the coffeeshop around the corner from my apartment. He was also clearly waiting for a signal from me that I would be taking him home, and finally just asked outright. Why not?

I didnt expect one so young to have so much body hair – he was lusciously furry. But he wanted to be in control and didn’t give me much of an opportunity to explore or even look at him. His kisses were sloppy and wet. He had no idea where my clit was located, and just wiggled his fingers around between my lips like he was fishing for a lost screw. He kept smiling, and sometimes giggled. He didnt last long. As he lay beside me for a few moments, I could almost see him sorting through the experience and working it into a story to tell his friends.

This is the first time I’ve told his story. I wonder how many times he has told it.

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The go-to image.

June 28, 2011 at 6:08 pm (Sex) (, , , )


You know… those moments from past sexual encounters that stand out in your memory, the ones you can return to in fantasy over and over and never tire of, the ones you can pull out of your pocket when an orgasm needs some extra encouragement to deliver. Those go-to images that are tucked away, always ready.

They might not have been with anyone special; or they could have been with someone you passionately loved. The entire experience may not have been memorable, but there was this one thing, this one moment, that has always remained. A single image of something unbelievably sexy.

These are what I like to write about, but some are just too brief to stand on their own. But they’re gorgeous to me, and I want to share them somehow.

Like the man I was curled up beside, during an interlude, and I noticed a small bead of pre-come on the tip of his cock; I wiped it up with the edge of my thumb, then brought it to my lips and licked it off… how he made an approving sound and told me it was the sexiest thing I had ever done.

Or when I was bent over the side of my bed, pressed face-down into the mattress, being fucked roughly from behind by a man who was willing to do, without questioning, whatever I asked him to do.

Or the conversation that slowly turned to play, when I pressed him between my breasts and he came so quickly, and was so surprised that I wanted nothing in return, that I was happy to have pleased him.

Or when I lay with my head over the side of the bed, better to nuzzle his balls and lick him from base to tip, while he fondled my breasts and twisted my nipples just enough to make me whimper against his thighs.

Or when he finished, and slipped out of me, and slid his tongue gently between my lips and over my clit, as if in thanks.

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Letting go of fear.

June 26, 2011 at 11:03 am (Polyamory, Relationship) (, , , , , , )


Recently I’ve been struggling with the dear husband’s budding relationship with his Latvian hairdresser. (Literally, she cuts his hair and waxes his eyebrows.) It has been a slow-evolving one, and he has said that he would be content if it remained platonic. She doesn’t have a lot of American friends, though she’s lived here for about ten years I think, and in some ways he’s helping her become more accustomed to American culture and the English language. He enjoys learning about her culture and experiences, and she seems to be an adventurous and insightful person. But she is also married, with one pre-teen child and another adult child who is living with her. The DH says she’s described her husband as possessive and controlling. So when I recently went out of town for business and found out upon my return that their relationship had become a sexual one, I experienced a big ol’ jumble of negative emotions.

To start with, I’ve been under an unusual amount of work-related stress lately (though my job is always stressful, I’m working longer hours and worrying a lot more than usual), so my emotional state is a bit on the tender side. I wasn’t aware that anything would happen between them while I was out of town, and so I wasn’t prepared for that conversation when I came home. Plus we had already discussed the potential pitfalls of developing a relationship with someone who is married and cheating, so I was surprised that he had decided to take it to the next level. All this quickly wound itself up into a little ball of anxiety and I found myself acting out in stupid, passive-aggressive ways: cutting him off when he mentioned her, for example, and telling him I didn’t want to hear about her. When she showed up at our usual Friday night hangout, I made some gestures that were possessive and territorial and then sulked for a while.

The DH has not called me out on this behavior, but I’m calling myself out. It’s petty. I know that his relationship with her is not a threat to our relationship; none of his relationships are a threat to ours, because we have a bond that is different from any that either of us has ever experienced, and we’re committed to our partnership. But I do feel like this relationship could be a threat to our peace and tranquility and the drama-free zone we live in. And my inability to control that potential threat has me very anxious and thus, acting out in inappropriate ways.

But the point here is — I can’t control what MIGHT happen. Yes, her husband might find out that she’s cheating, but I can’t prevent that. Yes, that could result in someone or multiple someones having painful emotions, but I can’t prevent that. Yes, it could cause some upheaval; it could – heaven forbid – involve a confrontation which could be violent in nature; but I can’t control any of this. And NOTHING could happen. They might never sleep together again. She might decide she’s devoted to her husband. She might be really good at keeping secrets. She might decide to leave her husband. I can’t know what she’ll do. I don’t know what might or might not happen. I can’t control it.

I have big, big control issues. So I have to make myself stop, sit down, and think through this series of events, and admit to each one, I can’t control you. I can neither prevent nor encourage any particular outcome. The future is not in my hands. And I sigh, and I open my hands, and I say to myself, that’s okay. You can’t control it, so let it go.

It feels good to let go. It’s scary, and it’s not comfortable, and it doesn’t feel natural for me, because I cling to my ability to control what goes on around me. But it does feel good, like peeling a scab feels good sometimes.

Fear holds you back. Trying to control things is a fearful reaction. Letting go of fear is the only way you can grow.

 

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Rules, or the lack thereof.

June 12, 2011 at 2:56 pm (Polyamory, Relationship) (, , , , )


When we first opened our marriage four years ago, we established some rules we would operate under, as many couples do:

  1. One partner is permitted to veto the playmates of the other partner.
  2. If a playdate must be hosted in our home, do not inconvenience the non-participating partner in order to do so.
  3. The marital bed is not to be used for playing with other people.

Veto power was only exerted once, and by me – a friend of a friend wanted to play with the DH, and we had a difference of opinion about her. He saw her as a free spirit; I saw a woman desperate for any kind of attention. No more than a month later, we found out she had gotten pregnant by another man and was attempting to entrap him (and by extension, his wealthy family) into a relationship with her. Some very icky drama resulted, and we were both pretty grateful that we weren’t involved in it.

Rule #2 proved problematic. In the early days particularly, the DH played around a lot more than I did, and for various reasons his playmates could rarely host. In spite of this rule there were times when I felt I had no choice but to get out of the way, because I was nowhere near comfortable with the thought of sitting around the house doing my own thing while listening to my husband fuck another woman upstairs. This lead to some resentment on my part until we talked about it further and made a more concerted effort to coordinate schedules so I didn’t feel forced out of the house in order for him to have a friend over.

Over time, though, all three rules went away. Not through any conscious decision or deliberate discussion – I slowly stopped enforcing them. They were, after all, my invention, rules I had requested to establish boundaries and comfort zones. And truthfully, they were pretty arbitrary, serving only to exert control over him and over the potential threats to our relationship. They were like a bulletproof vest, placed over my areas of potential emotional wounds. The rules weren’t helping me overcome my fears of abandonment, of not being “good enough” for the relationship to endure. So as I grew, as I became more confident in the security of our relationship, and as I learned to trust both him and myself to make wise decisions, I let the rules dissolve.

We now operate on trust and respect. We have some basic principles for how our relationship works, but I wouldn’t call them rules, because they really are fundamental principles of good communication. We no longer ask each other for “permission” to be with someone else; we trust each other to make good choices in who we spend time with or become intimate with. We don’t view one another as property to be “shared” with (or withheld from) someone else. We keep each other informed of our plans with others, just as we agree to what & when we do things together, and make sure plans don’t overlap.  And that’s about it. And it’s working very well.

As I meet other people who are polyamorous and who have their own rules, I’m starting to question why they have them. I know everyone is different and what works for me may not work for others, but I do wonder if they have thought about the real reason why they have certain rules in place. Is it to exert control over their partner; is it a form of possessiveness? Is it to cover up and cushion a fear instead of exposing and resolving it? People don’t like me asking these kinds of questions. So far, it’s even resulted in a couple of potential friendships not getting off the ground.

Additionally, I wonder if others would be willing to re-negotiate their rules once another partner with potential for a real relationship enters the picture. Shouldn’t a new partner have a say in the guidelines that affect their relationship? Would you enter a legal contract into which you had no input? Why should a relationship be any different? But this leads to a dissection of the hierarchical nature that many poly people assign to their relationships, which troubles me very much, and will be covered in another ramble at another time.

The husband and I are fortunate to have both evolved our thinking about our relationship at a similar pace and along the same path. It’s one of the reasons why we are so compatible – on many issues, we come to the same conclusion independent of one another. For others, their mileage may vary; their fears may be deeper-rooted and harder to resolve, or their need for control may not be easily sated. Ultimately, though, I know this will become a factor in other relationships the husband or I establish with others, and asking others to justify their rules may lead to fewer relationships than we’d like. But as with many areas of life, we can only live in the moment, and we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

 

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