Managing Triggers Update

At my crisis line training tonight, we discussed trauma and the trauma response. Part of managing trauma is managing triggers from trauma. I am not saying that surviving sexual abuse/domestic violence is the same experience I have from feeling abandoned. Clearly, they are vastly different. However, I found the information useful in understanding my own experience and ways of managing triggers.

Consider this:

Your brain stem is formed first in the womb. It controls basic bodily functions (heart beat, breathing, etc.). Your limbic system is formed next. It controls your sensory processing, processing short-term memories and moving them into long-term memory storage, decides if you are in danger, and tells you how you feel. Your neocortex is formed afterwards, which is your “thinking” brain- it controls higher level thinking and reasoning.

You limbic brain “remembers what it was seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, when it decided you were in danger. These sensory memories can get ‘stuck’ in this part of the brain and become triggers or cause nightmares.”

In addition: “Trauma memories can also get ‘stuck’ in short-term memory storage. Instead of being processed and filed under ‘past things that happened to me,’ I may continue to experience a trauma memory as though it just happened (like a short-term memory) every time it comes into my mind. This may be the case even many years later. Because [the] limbic brain is non-verbal, just talking about it is not enough for re-processing.”

Whoa! This just makes so much sense to me with how I am still having flashbacks and intense emotional reactions to just thinking about the messy and traumatic break-up from this summer. I feel encouraged to try to process my feelings in some other ways besides journaling and talking (like drawing or sculpting) to see if those non-verbal outlets might help relieve my triggers and reactions.

Managing Triggers

How do I manage being triggered by something? How do I resolve those feelings? Will I ever not be triggered by that particular thing? Will I always just have to manage my discomfort? 

Being triggered emotionally goes something like this for me (granted the below is based on my worst triggers, and my most negative experiences feeling crummy; I don’t always feel and go through all of this):
-I feel triggered, which can take the form of feeling excluded, threatened, disrespected, lied to, or insecure about myself. I emotionally feel terrible. I can have deep feelings of abandonment.
-I feel cascading waves through my body that start in my chest and move down into my stomach and entire GI track. I get a stomach ache almost immediately. My heart rate goes up, and I have to remind myself to breathe because I notice my chest is hardly moving.
-I have racing thoughts about the situation, and the underlying issue on my end. My thoughts usually will just run in circles until I can’t take it anymore.
-I then have to do something to relieve my emotional, physical, and cognitive discomfort. That can take the form of blogging, journaling, calling a friend who I can talk to freely about the situation, and talking with J about what is going on. It also, more often that not (and perhaps more often than I would like), results in me crying a lot.
-I need to have outside perspective from friends or my counselors. I need to hear my feelings validated, and I also need to hear some gentle reality checks.
-I also often need reassurance from J: I need feedback from him to relieve some of my irrational fears or insecurities.

It’s all so much work sometimes to go through this process. And the intention of getting better at it means a lot of things for me. It means creating some necessary emotional independence for myself, and honoring my commitment to our relationship and doing the best I can to be thoughtful, communicative, and honest. Sometimes it just feels yucky, though. Later I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work through something, and I know that it is worth it for both me and for J.

Sometimes Fantasies are Just Fantasies…

…and sometimes dreams really do come true.

Yes, you heard me correctly. Sometimes dreams really do come true.

Is reality ever as good as the fantasy? Should we always try to make a fantasy a reality? Or should we accept a fantasy as such and keep it reserved for whispers and aching insides?

I have accepted that sometimes this is the case. For example, I still have sex dreams about my high school crush. We never talked. We weren’t friends. And yet I have this image built up in my mind from high school: my fantasy of being with him. And it is still with me. But would I ever try to actually realize this fantasy? No. It stays with me, in my head, as part of my personal sex life. Similarly, I have little mini crushes on a few different people in my life right now, but for reasons I am saving for another post, I don’t have the intent of moving those crushes beyond the crush stage. The feelings that crushes create, and the fantasies that result from them, are delicious. And sometimes it is more than enough to simply enjoy those fantasies. (The idea of a fantasy is so fascinating to me, too, because my fantasies are very much just images and feelings. For J, I think they are much more detailed and specific. If I am fantasizing about a particular person or act, I am usually just fantasizing about how I feel. I think J is fantasizing about details and an actual sequence of events.)

But other times… other times, we make it happen. Like, finally

If you are not picking up on this yet, I am actually referring to our gang bang fantasy. It happened, folks, and now we’re both just hooked.

First of all, let me discuss the use of the terms “gang bang” versus the term we created, “goddess worship.” They are two qualitatively different fantasies. In the first, I give up control, I am submissive, I am completely dominated in a hyper-masculine environment. In the second, I am completely catered to and I feel worshiped through the comments and actions of the people involved. I have both fantasies. I still do not like the term “gang bang.” I need another phrase to get across the idea of giving up control and letting my body be used by a bunch of hungry men. “Gang bang” does not accurately describe my fantasy because, to me, “gang bang” connotes violence and coercion, and neither of those things are part of my fantasy. I guess I will just have to keep thinking on it.

So. It was amazing. Four friends plus J meant I had my hands (and other parts) full for a good two hours. I was so mentally turned on that there was a wet spot on the bed bigger than I have ever made before (I wish I could have filmed that for our squirting-loving friends!!). The vulnerability I felt and the resulting excitement was incredible. We started off with me going down on everyone. Then J went down on me and fingered me. And then J turned them loose. Within ten seconds I had a cock in my pussy, a cock in my mouth, and another one in my hand. They rotated through, changing my position from on my back to doggy style to me riding them. Spit roast (me in doggy style while going down on someone) is one of my favorite positions, and I got that a lot. We used the bed restraints and I was blind folded part of the time. Everyone came… many times. And after they all left, J and I reconnected emotionally and physically, and that was amazing. And we have continued to reconnect all day today.

There is more to my “gang bang” fantasy that we did not get to experience. Namely, I want to be a cum slut. And because I am Ms. Public Health, that is a no-go. It makes me so hot to think about four or five or ten loads in my pussy. Jesus. But that just ain’t gonna happen. And that is part of the fantasy that will stay as part of our whispers and aches during our play and lovin’ time.

And now I am in the midst of planning something a similar encounter to celebrate J’s birthday… Only this time it will be filmed, as a surprise for J (as in, he is not as involved with the planning and he won’t be there for it). I am so excited to create another experience that we can watch again, and again, and again.

From Boudoir Photos to Crisis Line Training

This past week I took boudoir photos, sort of for the first time. It was a nice full hour. I wore a lot of my dance clothes, my sexy heels, and took some pictures with my belly chain. Turns out that the photographer is “friends with a lot of the girls” at the club where I work. (PS: I think any middle-aged guy who describes 20 year old strippers as his “friends” may have other stuff to work through). We had a lot of fun talking about why I like dancing, my exhibitionist tendencies, and his experiences photographing. I had a wonderful time wearing my sexy clothes, getting naked, and smiling. 

And then… I had to immediately drive to the beginning of my volunteer training to help with the crisis line in town. This rapid transition reminds me of the post I wrote back in April about going from my feminist conference to my strip club birthday stage dance. I had a hard time, again, mentally transitioning so quickly from feeling sexually powerful and in control of my body to a space largely dominated by topics like sexual assault, sexualization, and objectification. Reconciling these two very different spaces is a bit disorienting for me.

Something that I have been thinking a lot about is identifying particular spaces that are safe in which to disclose my experiences dancing. I had been curious up until this week whether or not this training space would be safe or not. I had been thinking that it might be, because the organization also has a sex worker outreach program and is focused on harm-reduction methods of assisting those they are in contact with. And yet, attending two sessions of the training this week, I am still trying to figure out whether there is still a sense of “us” and “them” with regards to people who work in the sex industry. While it is an accepted fact that everyone in the room has direct experience with sexual assault or abuse either because they experienced it or someone they know has, and thus there is a sense that everyone can understand the impacts of assault and sexual violence, I have not yet felt a similar level of understanding for those who work as prostitutes, strippers, call girls, or lingerie models. I am curious to find out the stances of the trainers and other people in my training as I continue attending sessions and getting to know people.

Also: I have been trying to figure out my game plan for applying to my PhD program in public health with regards to disclosing my personal experiences. So far in my personal statement I discuss my personal motivations for studying relationship health and sexual violence prevention: being in an open relationship, identifying as bisexual, and my current experience as a dancer. I feel like academics are more likely to have an open mind about such ideas and perspectives, but I am still nervous about the stigma related to each of those identities and backgrounds.

Something else I realized this week related to dancing is my sense of “flow” while I am dancing. I posted on “flow” a while back with regards to how being with sexy friends is another instance during which I feel this way: 

It is a state of consciousness so focused that you are totally absorbed in an activity and lose track of time. It is a state of complete engagement with life in which you feel strong, alert, in effortless control, unselfconscious, and at the peak of your abilities. You are highly challenged by a particular situation, but also highly skilled at experiencing it, resulting in a peak level of confidence and satisfaction.

I really do feel this way. There really are not that many activities I have done in my life where I feel so engaged, stimulated, happy, peaceful, challenged, and excited. I have felt that way at times in my life when I was swimming, spending time with friends, and having sex. It makes me feel so relaxed realizing that I gain this sense of enrichment from dancing. It makes me feel relaxed about not having a “long-term” job and about not having all of my “plans” figured out. Because clearly I am a happy, satisfied, and fulfilled person right now, which is pretty important.

Pegging, Cock Sheaths, and Filming Oh MY!

J and I had quite the adventurous weekend… full of:

Yes, pegging. I cannot even explain the amount of mental stimulation this gives me. We warmed J’s ass up with some fingering and his prostate massagers. And then I put on my red cherry leather harness (hot!), and wait for it… my Avator cock. O. M. G. I slid it in to his ass slowly. I loved doing it with him on his back so I could watch his face. And I loved doing it while he was on his stomach so I could lay on him and pound away. It was incredible. He barely needed any extra stimulation to come. I gave him a barely-there hand massage while he was on his back and my Avatar cock slid in and out. It was hooottttt. Because my blue dildo is also double-ended and comes equipped with a vibrator, I had a great time in the physical sensation department as well. I really enjoyed not only making him come in another way (by stimulating his ass and prostate) but also  the power play dynamic. Feeling like I was the penetrator and he was the penetratee was awesome.

Cock Sheaths.
This is our new favorite toy, I think. Also known as penis extenders, they are more heavily marketed to gay men. So if you want to find a high quality one, look on gay sex toy sites. The idea is to add girth and length. Again: O. M. G. Using one requires the same kind of warm up that ass play requires. I need my pussy stretched out with fingering and dildo play. I need lots and lots and lots of lube. But once J + his cock sheath is in me, I frickin’ love it. I love it. One drawback is that my vulva and lips get pretty sore if we’re not careful with keeping enough lube on. J bought one initially off of Amazon. It is rubber and goes on sort of like a harness. He liked it because it inadvertently warmed up his ass by rubbing his ass with the strap. We went to a sex toy store and made an upgrade. This one is silicone and slips onto his cock like an extra thick condom. It feels better for both of us. Our best experience with it was when I slid myself onto his cock in doggy style, and once it was all the way in, J pounded me until he came. And then he pulled out and I came sooo much with my Hitachi. Whew.

And more camera work.
We filmed J using his cock sheath on me, and it was really hot to watch. Unfortunately, it is just barely the wrong angle; I can’t see his cock moving in and out of me. BUT! We are going to do it again! (Of course!) Also- we are definitely going to film a pegging session. We are now looking for someone willing to come film us so that we can have all of the best angles documented…

Oh. My. GOD. :D

Rope Photo Shoot…

Friday afternoon. I drive about 25 minutes east of where we live. I arrive to a run-down house at about 2pm. I smile as I get out of the car, reflecting on my last experience. I walk up to the door, preparing myself mentally. I knock, and he opens the door. Kind and deep eyes, welcomes me inside.

We get to work, after discussing logistics like poses, dominance, pain, and flexibility. He finds me a red silk robe to wear, and I undress. 

We start in the living room. Hardwood floors, old rocking chair. He ties my arms behind my back, and my legs bent. Mouth agape, eyes closed. Eyes open. Pinching my nipples, making me cry out. We work here for about two hours, doing minor adjustments to the rope ties. I am in the rope deep.

He helps me walk to the bedroom, where he lays me down and lets me settle into the rope. My mind is somewhere deep, I am thinking but not thinking. I am meditating. My body feels cool on the outside but warm and comfortable on the inside. He comes back after a time, setting up photography equipment and laying out ropes for some new positions. He lays me on my back, leaving my arms tied behind back. My legs are bent, my calves tied to my thighs, my feet pointed. I admire the knots. He adjusts the pose a few times, taking photos of each new one. An hour passes.

I tell him I think that I am close to being done. He unties me, taking photos of the ropes laying across my body, showing off my marks. He takes off all of the rope, leaving my naked and exposed body laying across the bed.

He sits on the bed, and asks if I want to puddle some more or if I am ready to come out. I whisper I am ready to come out. He pinches my ear lobes and my eyes open wide as I take in a deep breath. He touches pressure points and I take in another deep breath. He pinches my ear lobes again and I am back. Wide awake. I feel rejuvenated and relaxed. I still feel deep, but awake. 
I put my clothes back on. I walk back to the living room, thank him for his work. We hug, he asks me check back in with him about how I feel the next day. He makes sure I am okay to drive. I am. I get in the car, and wonder when I can do it again.

Thankful for this experience. Feeling alive and happy. Feeling deeply seated within myself.

A little camera work

We finally invested in a camcorder and tripod. (Thank god!)

Oh. em. gee. So much fun!!!

And then after watching our homemade porn, we had to go at it again.

I don’t know what about filming ourselves turns me on so much. Is it the exhibitionism aspect? Is it the ability to watch J’s ass and legs from another angle and relive the experience? Is it the fact that while I am sitting here typing this J is watching it again on his computer? It’s all of those things :-D

This reminds me: Everyone go get your tickets to HUMP 2012!! We bought ours last night, and cannot wait to go again!