We Got HUMPed!

I can’t believe we almost missed HUMP (The Stranger’s amateur and locally-produced porn festival) because I got food poisoning the night before. It was unbelievable! (HUMP, not the food poisoning.) I loved it. So did J. We just sat there the whole time, enraptured. We laughed, said “what the hell?!?,” cringed, and got turned on. It was awesome. Not to mention, Dan Savage was at our screening to introduce HUMP. He is so cute!!!

Both J and I loved “Centaur.” It was completely made-me-cry-hysterical. We want to share it with others so badly, because it was just so darn funny. However, one of HUMP’s mottos is “Porn star for the weekend, not for life,” and so the video is gone, gone, gone. The women in the film had the best dead-pan faces and the best lines. Some of our favorites (note: not actual quotes. We did the best we could from memory!):
“I shimmy up his back and sit on his face. . . He likes this.”
“His cum tastes like mountain spring water. Which is good, because there’s a lot of it.”
“His penis gyrates and the end of it vibrates. . . I guess it’s a little like my vibrator.”
“He is in the great room preparing for battle. I try to seduce him, but he yells at me ‘No, woman, I am preparing my sword for battle!!'”

I wasn’t surprised at all when I was turned on the whole time. Not because I was attracted to all of the videos or the people in them. In fact, some of the videos didn’t do anything for me. But again, I think it might be related to the whole notion of women being more easily turned on by sex in general; even watching sex in claymation between centaurs and women turned me on.

Which is why I was not surprised at all that one of the videos that turned me on the most was called (I think) “Sex on the Beach.” It was a cartoon for god’s sakes. But, it featured two things that turn me on a ton: gay sex, and GW sex. And, baby, it worked for me.

One that I thought was particularly well done was “Pedal to Pleasure.” It featured a beautiful woman who rides her bike into the countryside and masturbates. It was one of the most, if not the most, authentic orgasms I saw in the festival.

Our friends had told us to watch out for the piece called “Knife.” I was nervous for this one. But… while I was on the edge of my seat the whole time as the woman’s partner traced a knife around on her bare skin, I understood the power play. And I liked it. I didn’t like it when he put the knife in her vagina. But that’s just me.

J got turned on by far fewer and a different bunch of videos than me. He liked the Furry sex video, largely because the woman was hot. Yeah, she was. He also really liked the Miller’s Daughter because the figures were ambiguous but also attractive and featured young, possibly experimental, and therefore, probably exciting, sex. This was really interesting to me; this was one of the videos I did not like as well because of the animation. But I understand better now why he liked it.

Of course, the video “Teenage Dream” was awesome. It was clearly very-well done and looked like a professionally-made piece. Even though it never showed actual sex, there were plenty of naked men rubbing each other in the shower to make me happy.

“Don’t Call Me Missy” was also one of our favorites because we have a personal connection to the film. I honestly don’t know how I would view it if I didn’t have that connection to it because the fighting and intense physical power play doesn’t turn me on. But because I know what it does for the people in the video, it makes me really happy. Because it was our second time seeing it, we weren’t shocked to see the slapping, body slamming, and crazy wrestler moves. But it was so much fun to see it on the big screen and hear the reactions and laughter among the audience. And I am pretty sure I fell asleep that night with the song used in the video playing on repeat in my head.

We don’t want to “out” our good friends without their permission, but they got a really high award for their entry! We are so proud of them!

I never thought I would say I was “proud” of friends winning an award in an amateur porn film festival… But there you go. I am very proud! Very proud and very happy! 😀 … I can’t wait until HUMP 2012!

Sexual Violence & Rape Culture

I was recently hired as an intern for a small nonprofit working on sexual violence prevention. I am really excited to work with them on their awareness campaigns, fundraising, curriculum development, and starting a local chapter. Being hired has given me pause to reflect on sexual violence and how it relates to my experience negotiating and navigating our open relationship.
I grew up with very clear ideas about sexuality from my mom. Because she (and her siblings) was molested for a number of years by her stepfather, she had a very clear message to send to me and my sister about sex: it should always be consensual and caring. Consensual sex was the only kind to have; if I didn’t want to have sex for any reason, then I shouldn’t have it. I should never feel pressured for any reason to have sex. Interestingly, I found out last weekend that my mom and dad did not have premarital sex. They dated for two years before getting married, and while my mom would sleep over at my dad’s apartment, she always slept on the couch. When my dad first told me this, I thought he was lying because he was embarrassed to be talking to his daughter about sex; well, he wasn’t. My mom’s traumatic childhood forced her to vet her future partner for as long and as best she could before allowing her body to be open to someone else again.
My experiences with sex, thankfully, have never been on the negative end of the spectrum. I have always had consensual and caring sex, and it has always been a clear choice for me to have sex or not (an exception to this is if I count my first anal sex experience as non-consensual, which I do some days). Opening up our relationship was easy in the sense that I have had only positive experiences with sex; I have never worried about my psychological or physical safety or health when getting naked and inviting someone to touch me and sharing my body and self with someone else. My positive sexual past has allowed me to explore other positive sexual experiences. Unlike my mom and others close to me, I have not had to do the difficult and painful work of confronting a non-consensual sexual past or experience to move forward in order to have positive experiences. This recognition is partly why I am so determined to help re-shape our culture around patriarchy and sexual violence.
Critically thinking about my fantasy for multiple men-single woman encounters (which I refuse to call a “gang bang” for much longer- it reminds me too much of gang bang rape; thus, my insistence for people to call it something else!! Goddess Worship works!) through this lens of sexual violence is so interesting. I am just so curious about where this fantasy came from. Is it our rape culture? (Rape culture refers to our cultural acceptance and tolerance for violence-physical, emotional, psychological- against women, sexual objectification of women, etc.) Or is it more related to my growing awareness of my sexual role as a sub? I definitely would not like or want a goddess worship experience where there was violence or disrespect involved. My attraction to the goddess worship experience seems to be from being a major sub, and just wanting to get a bunch of guys off in the same night. I get totally turned on thinking about giving all of the power in that situation to J (however, this is in the vein of the “suspending disbelief” that Dan Savage talks about- I know I could still totally stop anything I didn’t like. But suspending belief for an encounter, and playing into the power play, definitely turns me on). But I wonder how media messages around men being dominant and women being submissive, and the cultural acceptance of that traditional relationship between men and women, have affected me. I am also curious about how porn and erotica have influenced my perception of this fantasy.
I got quite an extensive reading list from my supervisor, and I am excited to read through some new books, and report on related ideas. Some of the titles are: Yes Means Yes, The Purity Myth (this is the one I am most excited about!), and Transforming a Rape Culture.

Talk Dirty to Me Baby!

Since opening up, J and I have had more sex, better sex, and expanded our sex to include other partners, which has also led to more and better sex, both for us individually and together as a couple.

One thing has spiced up our routine in particular: talking during sex. And I am not talking about the kind of talk we used to have during sex (Hey! Did you see that article on NPR today??… Oh wait! Did you remember to turn off the porch light?… Oh shoot, I just remembered something I was supposed to do before bed)

I am talking about dirty talk. After reading The Ethical Slut, I realized how important it was to be able to name body parts and actions during sex, so that my partner could know what I wanted. I wanted the same communication in return; tell me what you want, using the words and phrases that turn you on. Engaging in this has led to more satisfying sex for both of us, because we are no longer embarrassed to say what we want. We actually turn each other on more by saying out loud what it is we want and like.

We have since decided on the words and phrases that we like to use: Pussy. Ass. Cock. Go down on me. I want to swallow you. Cum on me. I like it really wet. 

We also share our hottest fantasies during sex. We talk about Goddess Worship almost every time, or at the very least, MFMs. We talk about tying me (K) up, about J going down on my avatar cock, and power play. We talk about our anal play and fantasize about double penetration (DP). We fantasize about having partners that we are so extremely comfortable with that we don’t have to use condoms with them (which, we have found out, is a fantasy for other couples we know well…)

It is crazy to me now how we never talked about these things, and hardly tried new things during sex. When I moved into my first apartment in college, we were really turned on all the time for various reasons: I went on the pill so we started having sex without condoms (which was awesome), and we had more space and privacy. We bought my first vibrator, bought a couple of books on erotic massage and tantra and sex positions, and had a lot of sex. But our sense of adventure and excitement about sex together certainly dwindled between then and when we opened up. It was certainly never bad sex; it just became less frequent and our routine didn’t change much from time to time. Now we have so many things to say and do that I know I haven’t been bored with the sex we have since early April! 

Dirty talk. I highly recommend it.

Going Home & Not Coming Out

I (K) am home this weekend. Being in my old bedroom, here without J, has given me pause to reflect on opening up. 

Here was my first moment: at dinner, with my parents. I mention casually, without thinking, that I was telling J that he needs to take more clothes to school with him so he looks presentable; I am looking out for him because there are cute girls in law school. My mom gives me this look. “Well, I’m sure they’re not cuter than you. He better not be lookin’ at them!!!”

I had this very intense moment of silence within myself. What? This is how far I have come. I want J to look at cute girls if he wants to. I don’t want him to stink, for fear of scaring off said cute girls.

Up until that moment, I was debating whether or not to come out to my parents, and tell them about our open relationship. I kept thinking, maybe they will understand, maybe they won’t. I want to tell them, I am scared to tell them, it will be a long conversation, I don’t know what to do. In that moment, I think I pretty much decided not to tell them. Just yet, anyways.

I feel so weird; I can’t answer questions honestly. Why were you up until 2am the other night? What is J doing tonight? Uhhh…

Being open and not open at the same time is causing me some internal distress. More on this to come, I’m sure!

Anal Sex Experiences

This is a post partly inspired by the work of James Pennebaker, who has done a lot of research on writing as a means to express emotion, and to ultimately lower stress experienced from past events. I also wanted to explore my thoughts more on how anal play fits into my present and future sex life.

My first serious boyfriend in high school was sort of a jerk. He was one of those jerks that made you feel special if he was talking to you. My mom liked him; she thought he had an “open” face. He was generally respectful and considerate. His mom made us fried rice. He never had a curfew. He spent practically all of his time, money, and energy on his teal Chevrolet truck, which, incidentally, had its own tiny version of itself. The miniature teal Chevrolet truck sat on the dash, reminding me every time I got inside to go to a football game or to a movie, that perhaps this person I was dating was not the most mature person in the world. (But then again- I was in high school)

This was the person I first had sex with. It was very cliche. After prom. In his uncle’s Escalade. He bought condoms on our way home from prom. We parked in a public park’s parking lot and had sex in the back seat. I was 15. He was 16. 

I remember feeling so turned on, and so ready to do it. My mom and I had talked a couple of months before. She told me that if I needed birth control when I was in college, that she would be able to help me with that. I thought to myself, what a cool Mom! I felt supported, which also helped me feel ready with my decision. I felt like I was being safe, I was having very consensual and loving, respectful sex. I felt positively about my decision, and looking back, it still feels like a positive and healthy experience.

Anyways, after our first time, we couldn’t wait to do it again. (duh) But finding the right time was always so difficult. I had the strictest curfew of anyone I knew. I could hardly go over to a friend’s house without getting five phone calls from my parents. We had to design an elaborate plan: I would get permission to spend the day with him going on errands. We really did do those things, too. Visiting relatives, going to the bank, grocery store, etc. Except we stopped by his empty house in the middle of the day. 

We started in his bedroom, where we started with vaginal sex. Because he had a small bed, we moved to his parents’ room… I remember feeling guilty and ashamed for lying to my parents. I remember feeling uncomfortable with how sneaky I was being. So I probably was not turned on. I wanted to have sex, but I think that those negative feelings definitely impacted my experience.

In his parents’ room, I can’t exactly remember what happened, and what was said. I don’t particularly remember his asking me if he could try anal penetration, but he might have. What I do remember is him penetrating me anally, me feeling a deep sense of shame, and him pulling out after 10-30 seconds. I was shaky and guilty. I didn’t know what had just happened. We took a shower to rinse off. I know I didn’t orgasm at all from our second experience, and I remember really intense feelings of remorse.

I started reading Tristan Taormino’s The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women this past week. Since J and I have opened up and had so many explicit and honest conversations with one another about our desires, fears, boundaries, and fantasies, I have felt exponentially more comfortable with the idea of trying anal sex again. I honestly want to try it again, and reading Tristan’s book has been a liberating experience. For example, this paragraph spoke to me since it is pretty much what I experienced:

“Some people’s fears may be about anal sex being difficult, uncomfortable, painful, or impossible to enjoy. Women especially often veto anal sex because of a negative experience in the past. If a past partner tried to go from zero to sixty in five seconds by sticking his dick in your ass without warm-up, lube, or communication, then chances are it hurt a lot and you never want to do it again. Bad sexual experiences are difficult to overcome: who’d want to repeat something awful? Your partner needs to reassure you: this time, with him, it will be different. He’ll take his time, use plenty of lube, and work your ass up to his cock. You will be in control of the pace, and he’ll stop if you say so.” (p.21)

Since starting her book and having more conversation with J and our other partners about anal, I am so excited to work on warming up my mind and body to anal sex. J and I have tried a little anal fingering, and some slow full penetration. It feels good, and I also know that taking even longer to warm up, getting really turned on, and practicing to relax my muscles and mind will make it an even more enjoyable experience. I am so grateful that J and I have been having the conversations and experiences that make it possible for both of us to more fully process and move forward from our past experiences.

Couples Counseling: Communication

J and I recently had our second couples counseling sessions. We decided to talk mostly about communication issues, especially surrounding how we communicate with one another when one or both of us is upset.

It’s an interesting topic for us, and an issue that we have both come a long way with. We are sort of like polar opposites when it comes to communicating when, and why, we are upset. I like touch and emotions and hugs and to be soothed, and that is my natural instinct for how to act when someone else is upset. J likes his own space and to process things on his own first, before having a more rational and logical conversation; this is also his natural reaction to someone else who is upset.

It took us a couple of years before we really figured out how we naturally operate, and how that was causing us more issues. If he would get upset, he would want his own space, and I wanted to hug him and soothe him, but he wouldn’t want that, which would hurt my feelings and I would get upset, which would make him more upset. Or if I would get upset, he would give me space (too much space by my standards), which would make me more upset, and so he would give me even more space.

In the past year or two we have both come a long way in bridging that divide. I am better about giving him space when he needs it, and trying to not prod him too much with questions. He is better about touching me and letting me be emotional when I am upset.

When we are both upset is a different situation. It’s as J described it to our counselor- like trying to push two opposite magnets together. We came up with a possible solution to try next time we are both upset. J can have his space, and let me know that in about 10 or 20 minutes (or however long) he will come back, give me a hug, and talk with me about whatever the issue is.

We realized that we may actually need a counselor who works primarily with clients in open relationships, since often (especially in the past seven months or so) the issues that make one or both of us upset is related to something that is part of our open relationship. I can safely say that they are often my issues- jealousy or insecurity issues related to dating or playing separately or minor tweaks resulting from group situations. It can be difficult, we realized, to know how much of those situations to bring up with a counselor, who says that she believes open relationships are valid and viable, but from what we can tell, is very much monogamously married. If we said, “I felt hurt when you did X when the four of us were having sex” we think she might just drop her jaw and not know what to say. I guess we are just not sure how explicit we can be during our sessions with her, and that it might be more beneficial for us to engage with a counselor who can offer specific solutions and proactive ways of dealing with the issues arising from being in an open relationship.

It was helpful to actively reflect on the work we have already done with how we communicate. I have gotten better at actively communicating my feelings, being assertive, and understanding J’s boundaries when he is upset. He has definitely gotten better at empathizing and touching, and learning that when I am having irrational moments, that all I need him to do is listen. We both believe that continuing to build our communication skills is invaluable, and continue to work on strengthening that part of our relationship.

Christopher Ryan in Person!

Christopher Ryan was in town this past week! And we got to go see him, along with 600 other fans. He was down-to-earth, funny, and knew his audience. He even said, You all didn’t come here for me! You came here to meet each other!! How adept, C.R.! J and I did notice a lot of attractive and young couples, and a lot of fit and attractive older couples (where are all of you??)

It was an awesome way to brush up on some basic Sex at Dawn facts, buy a new copy of the book, and have the author sign it for us. I loved seeing the other Sex at Dawn paraphernalia. I was tempted to buy one of the shirts that read “Wake up to Sex at Dawn,” but honestly didn’t know where I would wear it, except for going to another one of his lectures… or when going to bed.

With our new copy in hand, I think I may have to re-read all or parts of it. One of my favorite lines: “If fear is removed from jealousy, what’s left?” (p.148) I am looking forward to hunkering down with this book again, in our 58-degree apartment, with our electric blanket and a cup of hot chocolate. Because nothing is sexier than that. 🙂

Avatar Cock: First Experiences with a Strap-On

J had been wanting me to get a strap-on ever since I had realized that I am turned on by sex with women. I decided it was a good idea, too. I haven’t had a lot of sexual experiences with women yet, but I thought having one more possibility of how to please another woman sounded like fun!

And so last week, we went together to a nice sex toy shop to investigate the different kinds of dildos and harnesses. I am so glad I got the advice of a couple of friends first (thank you H & C!!), because I literally had no idea what kind to get. The person working at the shop was also very helpful. After about 40 minutes of perusing the different kinds, we ended up with a double-ended dildo with a vibrator, so that the penetrator also has some physical sensations and pleasure associated with using it…. Basically, it is awesome. And blue. So it looks like I have an Avatar cock!

Which just totally adds to my dorky enjoyment of the whole experience.

Anyways, J convinced me to get a really nice harness, which also added to the enjoyment. Really soft red leather. Mmmm, delicious!

Dan Savage is totally right when he says women should use a strap on at least once, to understand what men are doing. OH MY GOSH. It is work!! I am used to laying there and hardly doing any real physical work (I mean, some work, but not compared to using a strap on for penetration!!). My arms got tired from holding myself up! I actually started to sweat a little, my heart rate went up, and it wasn’t just from being pleasured!

I definitely also experienced a new feeling of vulnerability, in the sense that I really had no idea what I was doing with it on. I am not used to thrusting like that, and when J had me practice the motion, I felt like a total dork, and I looked like one too! We laughed a lot. Thankfully, I think I got the hang of it fairly well, considering I had never used one before. Communicating with my partner about what felt good was key; I couldn’t feel what was going on at the other end! All I had were verbal cues to know whether to go faster, slower, harder, softer. It was a constant check-in process, and one that I think will have to continue because of the lack of nerves in my Avatar cock. I will always have to check in about how it is feeling for the other person, and when we switch positions, I will have to be communicative about how it feels for me.

I also have to talk a little about my seemingly uncontrollable reaction to putting the dildo in and walking around with it… I felt powerful. And I really wanted J to… well, go down on me. That is, I wanted to see him bend down and suck and lick on that thing! Is that a crazy, weird, some sort of penis envy, power play thing??? I really don’t know, but it felt so different. And cool. And I highly recommend it. And I can’t wait to use it again!