sex, surgery, celibacy

During the 30 days after my partner’s diagnosis and before his surgery, the frequency of our fucking declined, of necessity. He was told not to exercise or do any heavy lifting, and just to take it easy. Sex wasn’t mentioned explicitly, but we figured it would be included in the injunction – at least, the way we were likely to do it. Also, he had found that it felt unpleasant when his heart rate was up, and on top of that it was now also worrying. Our play still tended to end up with one of us getting off, one way or another, but through less vigorous means. Even so, we probably should have taken it easier than we did.

But both of us were concerned about the surgery in our different ways, and that was a buzzkill. He wanted it over and done with so he didn’t have to think about it anymore and he could just get on with his life. I couldn’t think about anything after the surgery until he made it through successfully; planning the future would have felt like wilful blindness to the fact that there might not be an “after” with him in it, even though the chances of things going wrong were very slim indeed. But we found we couldn’t lose ourselves in each other because we had to be so careful physically.

He went into surgery as a fit and healthy man with one issue: a defective valve in his heart that had recently begun to make him feel winded and worn out after only moderate exertions. So they opened him up, cooled him off, and stopped the flow of blood to his brain for over 10 minutes, and when they were done, they put him in ICU in critical condition. That’s the way it goes. Pretty much routine, and yet still scary as fuck. When I spoke to the surgeon afterwards, he told me that there was more damage than he had expected, and I was left with the impression that we’d had a nearer miss than we realized.

They let him out of hospital after a week. Since then his body has been working hard to heal the incision from the top of his ribcage right to the bottom, the punctures from the angiogram and IV and surgical drains, the plethora of needle pokes. And he is getting better. But he is tired and has lost weight and now looks ill in a way that he didn’t before.

Sex? No way. During the first two weeks, I got myself off a few times. I found it easier during that week when he was in hospital because I was home on my own and could listen to the quiet voice of my own desires. I managed to make myself cry once. That was a first. I tend to get good orgasms when using the right toys, but they’re not usually as intense or satisfying as the ones I get when playing with my partner. When I cried, it didn’t relate to any specific thoughts – there weren’t any thoughts, just a bubble of emotion that burst. Perhaps it was a formless, wordless sadness generated by what was going on. Or maybe it had no significance and I just did an excellent job of getting myself off that time. Who knows?

By the end of his first week home, my desire wasn’t exactly gone. More like it was being outcompeted by other needs. There were a couple of times when, having woken in the morning but still being too tired to get up, I laid in bed resting and trying to distract myself with sexy thoughts. Sometimes the thoughts were just fun, sometimes they were coated in a layer of guilt. By the time I was ready to get up, there might be a vague throbbing warmth between my thighs. Sure, I could sort myself out. The Hitachi was handy, though the Pure Wand wasn’t; I could just use the one that’s close enough to reach without getting out of bed. But it wouldn’t feel as good without the other and I didn’t want to get up. And then there’s the fact that he was there and I feel self-conscious about masturbating in front of him; maybe we’ll work on that someday but today is not that day. Ah, fuck it. Easier not to bother. The feeling of arousal was faint and if I tried to act on it, the orgasm would likely be disappointing. I had no way of getting myself any more wound up so that I could extract a satisfying orgasm. The arousal was faint enough that it would go away soon if I ignored it. So I ignored it. I was tired, needing to feel desired, needing to feel nurtured. I hit a wall.

A couple of days later, he was finding it easier to let me get close. He has virtually no upper body strength right now because they cut through his sternum. His whole ribcage is destabilized until it heals, which takes a good six weeks. Right now, he’s held together with stainless steel wire. I can cuddle up under his arm and lie on his shoulder. Before, I had taken to straddling his legs, with my breasts putting a pleasant amount of pressure on his cock. This doesn’t work anymore. I can get lower and put my head on his hip, but he has lost weight and it’s now a bit bony and I think it makes him self-conscious. His body no longer feels like his own; he says he feels like he’s inhabiting a reanimated corpse. Neither of us is into zombies. But despite all this, and despite the red seam down his center and the not very small dividing sign below it, he let me see him and touch him and suck him. After, he told me that he’d gotten himself off a few days before, mostly to make sure it still worked.

A couple of days after that, we gave it another try. I stroked him and he got hard fairly quickly. We had an interesting consent negotiation. I’m still not entirely at ease with blowjobs and he knows that and respects that. So he asked if he could tell me what to do. Maybe, I said. Could he tell me to suck his cock? Yes, I whispered. He managed to warm me up nicely by playing with the notion that he was ordering me to suck his cock, when really it was an elaborate request. Although we still had to be careful physically, we were both getting used to being careful with him all the time, so this wasn’t too intrusive. And he was glad to be a little distracted from his health worries for even a brief time.

Last weekend, we had our first post-surgery fuck. From behind, so there was no issue about supporting his weight with his arms, or my weight on his chest. I couldn’t see any of the healing scars, or his thinness. Though the IV jabs on the backs of his hands are still healing, all I was aware of was his hand grabbing my hair and controlling my head, neither gently nor roughly. He was tentative and slow.

He came hard, taking brief pleasure in the one physical signal that still says “Yes! Good!” Then, as the endorphins were already subsiding, he savored those few moments when he still held the fading feeling of pleasure (so quickly turning to memory), while the feeling of ill health rushed back in to replace it.

Sinful Sunday: party dress

Sinful Sunday

Anticipating your arrival…

party dress 1

So glad you could come. I’ve been waiting for this.

party dress 2

Tell me, how are we going to begin?

Edit: Guest judge Kilted Wookie chose the second photo for the Sinful Sunday Weekly Round-Up:

I’ve always been a sucker for nice black & white images, and this one is no exception. There is a simplicity to the photos that is appealing. The contrast of the black dress against the pale skin draws the eye in. The slightest hint of Basic Instinct in the second image adds to the overall appeal of this submission.

Thanks, KW!

Boobday: curved lines

My partner’s surgery was three weeks ago today, and the intervening time has been filled with worry, appointments, emotion, and feeling overwhelmed. Also, managing to stay fed, doing laundry, fetching, and so forth.

A few days ago I noticed that I suddenly felt empowered to get some things done, which contrasted sharply with the previous feeling of not even knowing where to start. Though I was struggling with that before, too.

Here’s to things returning to some semblance of normal, and figuring out what the new normal is.

Boobday curved lines

Go to Hy’s blog for more boobs.

Dark Ages 19: insights

After I started this series, I soon realized that not everyone finds thinking about their dating history as “a depressing trudge down memory lane”. When I looked back, I saw lots of treading water in aimless and dissatisfying relationships, painful breakups, and few memories actually worth savoring. So I didn’t think about it. But sifting through these old layers in a methodical way has revealed patterns that I hadn’t previously been aware of.

First, some background. When I was little, I knew that you were supposed to get married and have kids. Yet by age 5, I already knew that I didn’t want kids, and I soon concluded that this wouldn’t actually be a problem because no one would want to marry me anyway. So self-esteem was clearly an issue from a young age. (I never dreamt about having a wedding either, but I’m grateful for that.) My parents weren’t physically demonstrative so I grew up essentially without touch.

Most of the childcare was done by my dad. My mom was present, but I’m inclined to blame her emotional distance on the sexual abuse she suffered at her father’s hands. My dad recently told me that after they split, he (my dad) wanted to take me camping (I would have been 11 or 12) and my mom was worried that he was going to abuse me; nothing of the sort ever happened. Interestingly, around that time it occurred to me to be afraid of being abused by him. Did I come to that thought independently, or did I somehow pick up on what was unsaid?

By the time I was about 12 or 13, I tended to feel more comfortable with boys than girls. It seemed like there must be some manual about how to be a girl and I was the only one who hadn’t gotten my copy. My mom never taught me to be “feminine”. There seemed to be all kinds of rules about being a girl that didn’t make sense and I didn’t know the rules so I didn’t play. I didn’t like shopping or makeup, I didn’t dress to be attractive, I didn’t like skirts and dresses, I didn’t travel to the school bathroom in packs with the other girls. I wore jeans and T-shirts, read a lot, rode my bike, kept to myself, and took martial arts classes.

I don’t know why I started dating precisely when I did, but it feels like a switch was flipped — suddenly it was possible and I needed to have a boyfriend. (I never worried about “being alone” in an existential way, and besides, the majority of my dating took place while I was still living with my parents.) I was seeking external validation: being able to attract male interest of a specific sort was a way to prove to myself that I had some worth. My relationship with my dad is generally OK, but the most hurtful thing I’ve ever heard was something he said to me. Prompted by some complaint from his girlfriend (now wife), he told me, “I love you, but I don’t like you very much.”

Feeling the need for a boyfriend made me somewhat opportunistic by necessity. I didn’t give a lot of thought to my preferences about appearance and personality, which were generally vague and unarticulated. Still, personality was vastly more important than looks, and I think my sexual shame contributed heavily to downplaying the role of physical attraction. I preferred intelligence but compromised easily. The most important quality in a guy was that he was interested in me: I found that very attractive indeed, but very occasionally it wasn’t enough (Buddy, Dude). After Bad Boy, I bounced from one guy to the next for months without the slightest sense of direction. I figured that this demonstrated I must be attractive, at least, though I didn’t find that conclusion entirely reassuring.

I may have sucked at choosing boyfriends, but I was really good at commitment. That’s not a good combination, as it turns out. I’d start dating someone and then feel like I should stay with him for some reason that I couldn’t quite put my finger on.

While my parents were together, their relationship was generally civil but not warm and there was the occasional fight (shouting). This would be my model for relationships: duty and commitment without warm feelings or physical affection. My dad confessed to me recently that he was frustrated with the lack of affection and emotional connection, but I have no doubt that my mom felt too vulnerable to let him in. My mom told me recently that while they were together, my dad cheated serially. I’d wager that he was looking for the emotional and physical intimacy he couldn’t get at home.

Is “commitment” even the right word for what I learned from them? I think commitment should involve mutual promises to be good to each other. What I saw in my parents’ marriage wasn’t commitment but perseverance. The notion that a relationship is something to be enjoyed and not merely endured completely escaped me for a long time.

It took a long time before I learned to identify a bad relationship. I’m not sure I really did learn that lesson until I fell into a good one and had that as a point of reference. After Bad Boy, I was spooked for a long time but at least I eventually learned to check in with myself from time to time to see if things were still good or if they had taken a turn.

I wasn’t good at knowing when a relationship should end or actually ending it. I dislike confrontation and I dislike hurting people. I took too much responsibility for the pain of others because their pain hurt me too: that’s a boundary issue due to sensitivity and things I learned at home. I ended two relationships because I thought it was the right thing to do (Small Town, Badger). On two occasions, I broke up with a guy to date someone else (A/V, Gamer). I was dumped once and I found it embarrassingly excruciating (Guitarist). With the rest, things failed to get off the ground, weren’t going anywhere because of distance issues, fizzled out and/or ended mutually.

I wasn’t good at knowing when to start a relationship either. Regrettable things happened when I made snap decisions. I took it slow with Gamer and it went OK; we’re sort of in touch but have little in common these days (for one thing, he goes to sports bars now). Things went better when I actively put the brakes on. Although the split with A/V didn’t go well, we rebuilt our friendship and I still consider him a good friend. And then there’s Wolf, my partner for lo these many years.

I had/have a thing for creative types, which I suppose I knew at the time. A few of my boyfriends and most of my crushes have been musicians. There were artists, writers and actors too. I was into art and singing, so it’s not impossible that I was attracted to what these guys were doing (more than who they were) because they were doing the things I wanted to do, more or less. My preference for creative guys didn’t prevent me from trying sporty guys (Tall had the redeeming feature of also being creative, Small Town didn’t), but I’d call it an unsuccessful experiment.

So my challenges were: low self-esteem; the necessity of being in a relationship; commitment, in the form of perseverance; external validation; not knowing what I wanted other than wanting to be wanted; lack of physicality; and the thread of sexual shame throughout. Self-esteem still pops up as an issue sometimes, but I’ve experienced a lot of healing in all of these areas – from increased maturity, my relationship with Wolf, and now through self-awareness and personal growth.

As it happens, I also learned a lot about Bad Boy – not so much during this process specifically, but in recent years. He’s a special case, and he’ll get his own post soon.

e[lust] #74

Ginger nic1
Photo courtesy of Switch Studies

Welcome to Elust #74

The only place where the smartest and hottest sex bloggers are featured under one roof every month. Whether you’re looking for sex journalism, erotic writing, relationship advice or kinky discussions it’ll be here at Elust. Want to be included in Elust #75? Start with the rules, come back October 1st to submit something and subscribe to the RSS feed for updates!


~ This Month’s Top Three Posts ~

She wanted to let the light in…
Reflections on the Male Nude

~ Featured Post (Molly’s Picks) ~

Is it play acting?

~ Readers Choice from Sexbytes ~

Can a Woman be a Good Mother and Write a Sex Blog

Thoughts & Advice on Sex & Relationships

Leaden Heart
Summer awakening
Our Kind Of Monogamy
If You’re Gonna Be A Thot Do It With Grace
Playing at Poly
I’m a-Lousy-Monogamist
Sharing the bed
The Couple and the Coquette
Four Love

Erotic Fiction

All Girls Night
Unresponsive Satisfaction
i don’t want realism, i want magic
A Stranger’s Tale
Motion Capture
Checking Southward
His Slave Heart.

Erotic Non-Fiction

Sexy Riding
I noticed without paying attention
Humiliating an ex-Nazi submissive: sex slave
The End of a Rut
Rayne is a Fucktoy Cunt
Mindful Orgasm


5 Reasons Woodhull Was an Amazing Experience

Sex News, Opinion, Interviews, Politics & Humor

Sex: Vegans, Carnivores, and Apex Predators

Thoughts & Advice on Kink & Fetish

Location, Location, Location
Seven Dimensions of Dominance
Light That Fire: Motivational Tools

When A BDSM Scene Ends Abruptly

Writing About Writing

You Down With OPT?
Cover Me
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Sinful Sunday: bathing suit

Sinful Sunday

I bought myself a new bathing suit a couple of weeks ago. It’s been ages since I last had a new one. It may be the end of summer here, but I’m planning a trip to someplace warm so it will see some use before next year.

My usual style is basic and understated. I do legitimately tend to prefer simplicity and clean lines, but understatement also served to avoid drawing attention to my body.

When I was in my late teens, experimenting a little with clothing styles, the flattering clothes garnered waaay more attention than I felt comfortable with. There was simple appreciation, and attraction, and sometimes competitiveness or judgment from women. It was a kind of power, I suppose, but not one I’d ever sought, and I felt I had no control over it. I felt that attention to my body was always sexually charged in some way, and I can now see why, in the context of my sexual shame and its ultimate source, such attention felt dangerous. So I covered up.

I’m feeling a lot more comfortable in my own skin now, and I’m starting to fully possess and inhabit my flesh and curves. Because I’ve defused that shame by understanding its sources, being perceived as attractive doesn’t feel threatening the way it used to. I now choose clothes to please myself, and avoiding attention is no longer a goal. I’m not hiding anymore.

And that’s why I bought this very frivolous bathing suit.

bathing suit 1

bathing suit 2

bathing suit 3

Dark Ages 18: Wolf’s version

My partner, Wolf, offers his recollections of our first meeting. My brief version of that story is here. I wish I remembered more about it, but I was ‘fresh meat’, meeting a whole house full of new people and my focus was on Gamer, since we were ‘courting’ at the time.

I know it was late, already well dark. I suspect it was a weekend, but that’s unclear. It was summer, or at the very least, the warmer part of the year. I know we were drunk. I don’t remember much really.

I remember her. She wore black jeans and a black and white striped top, stretch knit that clung to her. She had the athletic curves of a dancer, big round eyes, high cheekbones, a long aquiline nose with a silver ring in one nostril. Those are the principal physical characteristics, but she was also a collection of subtle contradictions. She was small, tiny almost, but not overtly feminine. She looked light enough to pick up, but her body language warned you that if you tried without having permission, she would feel like lead, she would fight, you would win only if you didn’t care about getting hurt, and you would get hurt. One could have called her cat-like, but only if you were the sort that really knew what that meant. She was not, by any meaning of the word, ‘kittenish’.

We may have been a gathering of intoxicated men (barely men, at that age) but she was no sheep amongst wolves. We were, at best, a pack of excited foxhounds and she was the wolf in fox-clothing.

We didn’t talk much that first time. She was ‘with’ Gamer, or at least that was his impression, which he made very clear to us before she appeared. We were at least respectful of that.

That night, on the way past each other in some cramped part of the house, she playfully nipped my stomach with her fingertips, a casual bit of contact to break the awkwardness of the moment. ‘Ooh!’ she said, it seemed in a brief moment, in response to how I felt to her. Did my abs please her? Or was that just some empty flirting?

No, that’s silly, I’m not her type. I’m not anyone’s type. None of us are her type, including the guy who had staked his claim. Does he know that? Probably not.

I guess I was half right – she wasn’t his type after all. I’ve never been a good judge of my own place in things. But I remember that shirt.


Bloody hell, what a challenging few days.

I don’t think either of us slept much the night before the surgery. I woke up around 4:00 am or so and couldn’t get back to sleep, but we had to get up shortly after 5:00 anyway. He had to get to the hospital at about 6:00 to be prepped, and I hung out with him while that was going on. The procedure was scheduled for 8:00, so I left at 7:30 to go back to an empty house with a brain full of thoughts.

No surprise that I couldn’t focus on much. Occasionally I’d have waves of intrusive negative thoughts, or a burst of sadness and anxiety to be released mostly in liquid form. I don’t suppress or bury emotions as a coping strategy, but I didn’t want to get lost in despair either, so I distracted myself while the emotions were churning below the surface.

surgery 1

I was waiting by the phone, so of course I would get a bunch of junk calls – two autodialed telemarketing calls that had only dead air at the other end, one survey, and one follow-up call about a survey I’d agreed to do on paper in a moment of benevolence days before.

When I finally got the call I was waiting for, the surgeon told me that the surgery had gone well, but that brought my anxiety down only one notch. Of course I was pleased that things had gone more or less to plan and relieved that the call didn’t start with the dreaded “I’m afraid that…”, but I had vaguely expected a more distinct sensation of relief. Perhaps that means that only a small part of my mind had been occupied with the worst case scenario after all. Or perhaps some of the potential relief had been eaten up by the counterbalancing fact that the surgery had been more extensive than anticipated due to unexpectedly bad damage (the valve was “extremely calcified” and a lengthy portion of aorta had to be replaced). It was sobering to find out that it was a nearer miss than we’d thought.

Or perhaps it was because the 24 hours after a successful surgery are critical, and I was still on high alert. I spoke to his nurse at the 4-hour mark, and I got the sense that his recovery milestones were coming a little faster than normal or expected or average or whatever the metric is. My anxiety clicked down one more notch. At the 8-hour mark, he was still improving nicely and the nurse anticipated that he’d be out of ICU at the earliest opportunity.

So I  had a nice long soak in a hot bath (while reading about BDSM), and then I slept. That was my Friday.

His mother and I went to see him in the ICU on Saturday morning. He was sitting up in a chair, eyes closed. I took in the green hospital gown, his arm resting on the pillow over his chest and the call button clipped to the pillow, an assortment of tubes and wires. And immediately tuned out the tangle.

He was clearly tired, but he looked well, considering. First order of business – a kiss on the forehead. He leaned over for it, demanding it, and the intimate normality of that demand was deeply reassuring. His hair, which had been fastidiously looped in a doubled ponytail when I’d last seen him, was now a bit of a straggling mess. I untangled the elastic from his hair and combed it out with my fingers, giving him scritches on the back of his head in the process.

We are not demonstrative folk; we’re both sensitive and prefer subtlety, and neither of us go in for public displays of affection. And yet I could not have given a flying fuck who was in the room and who might see me kiss him, kiss his forehead, or stroke his hair, or who might hear the ‘I love you’s.

I had a little more trouble with the day’s second visit. I think the tubes and wires were starting to intrude into my consciousness, which is not good when you have needle phobia. (It’s not just sharps — any kind of breach or damage to flesh is a problem, though blood doesn’t particularly bother me.) And then there was all the stress, anxiety, fatigue, etc.

On Sunday morning he was still in ICU but looking better still. By late afternoon, some of the tubes were removed and he’d been transferred out to a different, calmer unit. When I asked for an update on his condition, the (male) nurse said “He’s a rock star.” It seems that the way to a nurse’s heart is to thrive in their care. At one point, we rearranged his pillows, which brought the nurse in to check because his heart rate had suddenly gone up. [For the gamers out there, I noticed that his scrubs said Aperture Laboratories; turns out his brother works at Valve.]

He got another tube out today. He’s already able to sit up, stand and walk a bit on his own. His mother was with me again for both visits, but she left early during the second visit and left the two of us alone. When she had gone, I joked that now we could have sex, except for the fact that the nurse would see that his heart rate jumped and we’d be caught in flagrante.

I’m finally starting to relax. Now to try to catch up on my rest.

surgery 2

Sinful Sunday: dinner date

Sinful Sunday

This month’s Sinful Sunday theme is “clothes on”.

My partner and I had been talking about dressing up and going out on a date, which is not something we ordinarily do. I wanted him to wear his new suit and he wanted me to wear my gladiators. We didn’t get around to it, and even if we had, photos would have been out of the question. So the day before the surgery, we played dress-up at home.

Imagine we’re at a nice restaurant…

dinner date 1

dinner date 2

FYI, the surgery was successful. I’ll have more to say about it shortly.