Yet another early (pre-blog) selfie. (A recent Sinful Sunday post explains my photos from the vault series.)
She was languid in the passenger seat, seat back reclined, one leg stretched out and the other bent, knee resting against the door. She could see her still limbs reflected brightly in the windshield, trees on either side of the freeway streaking through the image. When she wasn’t dozing, she passively observed the countryside and sky.
He drove in silence so as not to tax her with conversation. It made him inscrutable; she supposed the reverse was true as well. He had woken early (awake again, at a time when he was more likely to be awake still) so that he could meet her at the airport and bring her home. His home, at least.
It was warm in the car. Drowsily warm. He mostly left her to herself but occasionally he beamed at her and murmured a few words. Sometimes he squeezed her knee – to demonstrate his affection to her; or to reassure himself of her presence. Or both.
She’d been travelling for most of a day. It began when she had checked her luggage and gone through security and, though still in her city, in a way was no longer really there. Then the flight to a larger centre. In and not really in that city. In and not really in her country. Schrodinger’s airports. The interminable flight, the time zones. Just a few hours since takeoff and already it was hard to make sense of the time displayed on her watch. Neither here nor there.
As a seasoned traveller, being on a flight didn’t feel so far outside her normal life. Landing at the far end, she knew to expect that oddly familiar feeling of unfamiliarity: How is it possible that I’m really here? How can this place actually exist outside of a photo?
Passport control, that rite of passage. Then trundling her luggage cart through the double doors of frosted glass…
…And beyond, spotting him almost immediately, closing the distance quickly. Arriving safely, into his arms and care. Fait accompli.
Except… not quite. There was still the drive home. His home, at least.
On the flight, she’d imagined the exchange at the border: Business or pleasure? Oh, pleasure, for sure – sex, actually. She had smirked at herself. But it wasn’t just that. She had come here to see if she could trust him enough to submit to him, if she had the strength to allow herself to do that. Trust as an act of brute will – was that even possible?
She was almost sick with the vulnerability of it.
Something would, probably, change in the atmosphere between them after she arrived at his house. That was a big reason why she was here. They were already lovers. He could have started the game during the drive but he hadn’t and didn’t seem likely to now. But the closer they got to his house, the sooner she would be thrust out of this liminal state into… something else. She was weary and had no desire to prolong the time between herself and a proper bed, but by this point, being in the car was known and therefore comfortable in its way and she regretted just a little bit that it would end soon, because then what? When would it start? Or would it start at all? Would they pass the entirety of her visit in light amusements, without even a glimpse of the depths?
He turned from the freeway onto a city street, and the altered tone of the engine was enough to curdle her vague worries into a knot in her stomach. Six minutes later the tires crunched onto the gravel driveway.
This is one of my earliest selfies, which, being pre-blog, I took to send to Wolf. It felt very daring at the time. (Last week’s Sinful Sunday post explains why I’m posting these old photos.)
It’s also one of the first pics of me wearing these stilettos. The heels turn up rather a lot in those early photos; I was clearly intrigued if not smitten with them.
This image still makes Wolf swoon.
The other day I decided to have a look at the photos on my memory card, which had been sitting on my desk for long enough that I’d forgotten what exactly was on it and why I’d put it there in the first place.
The major thing I’d forgotten was the fact that my entire archive of sexy photos (begun after my epiphany and before I started blogging) was still on it. I’d bought my external hard drive expressly for the purpose of storing photos but it was a big organising job and I’d run out of steam after sifting through the safe-for-work stuff. So yesterday I set to work transferring the NSFW images from card to disc. I’m about halfway done at this point.
Even though I am prone to clutter, I’m very analytical and thus very good at organising most things when I put my mind to it. Since I’ve been having difficulties with depression and, more recently, anxiety, I’ve found that organising the materials as a first step often helps me to overcome the challenge of starting a project that (for whatever reason) feels difficult. As I engage with the various items, I start noticing patterns and small tasks that need doing, and then it doesn’t seem so hard to start doing those tasks.
Organising my photos is, fortunately, firing up the same neurons. I use separate folders for each month, which for me is a long enough period of time that there’s more than just a handful of pics but short enough that it doesn’t bog down the computer when it’s loading up the thumbnails. I’m finding that looking at a collection of photos taken on different days tunes me into the similarities and differences better than looking at each shoot separately, and I start mentally categorising the images and coming up with labels. [Note: I’ve never actually tagged photos before this so I don’t know if I’ll find tags useful in future, but I’m not doing many so it’s not much of a time investment.]
Looking at those early images now, I can see that they are cautious and tentative, and I remember the awkwardness and self-consciousness when I took them. I don’t even appear in the very first images; that honour goes to my then-recently purchased stilettos.
FYI, I’ve gotten loads of enjoyment out of these shoes and have only rarely worn them outside the house. I’m glad I didn’t let “Oh, I’d never wear them anywhere” be an excuse not to buy them.
Photo courtesy of Exposing40
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I have never wanted kids. I knew this at age 5 and my opinion on the matter has never substantially changed.
I was raised pro-choice. When I started having sex, I/we always took precautions but in the knowledge that if the preventative measures failed, I’d definitely get an abortion.
The first time I had (PIV) sex was when I was 17½ and about a month or two away from graduation from high school. Teen pregnancy was a huge nope for me, and pregnancy in university would have been pretty lousy too. Eventually I finished my education, had a job and was in a stable relationship, but though the ‘bad timing’ reasons had fallen away, that fundamental desire not to have children was still as firmly in place as always.
Even now, when pregnancy is still probably physically possible for me — but only barely (my age is now a more effective barrier than a condom, hurrah!) — my decision would be the same. If I became pregnant despite precautions, I would not hesitate to have an abortion. This would not be a difficult decision for me, really, since I’ve made the same decision over and over anytime I’ve considered the issue.
No, I’ve not been confronted with having to act on that decision. I’m a thoughtful, sensitive person, and I’d expect to feel a bit of a pang. It wouldn’t be regret about the child not had; it would be that I’ve always done my damnedest to avoid having an abortion and regretting that I had to have one in order to continue to be child-free.
Now let me tell you about my good friend Rosa. She’s like me in many ways: staunch atheist; a highly sensitive person; cautious and slow to trust; intelligent and educated; world traveller; no desire for kids.
I should qualify the last a bit. Once upon a time, she accidentally got pregnant. She loves her child dearly and wouldn’t give them up, but she has been clear to me that this was really not the plan and she would have preferred that things hadn’t worked out that way.
She recently got married and with marriage comes the questions about whether you’re going to have a child, and her (their) answer was an unequivocal no, in part because it’s getting a bit late for that but mostly because they really didn’t want to.
But then she got pregnant accidentally. It really shouldn’t have happened. At her age, she should have had only a 5% chance of getting pregnant during any given cycle. But more to the point, she had an IUD, which is 99% effective. With an IUD in place, it should have been an ectopic pregnancy if anything, but no, it’s all normal and viable and looks fine.
She’s already had a child, she didn’t (doesn’t) want another, her husband doesn’t want a child, and it’s massively inconvenient. When she told me about it, she was clearly unimpressed with the situation, so I started gently encouraging an abortion, but then it became clear that this had happened long enough ago that the decision had already been made. The basis for her decision? She checked in with her gut and chose the option she could live with more easily.
I can’t pretend to relate to her choice because obviously it’s the opposite of what I would have done. But — and this is the really important bit — it is and should be her choice.
The issue she was dealing with at the moment was how to cope with the negative reactions of her husband and child while she was going through something she didn’t want to be going through in the first place. To my mind, my job was (and is) to support her.
If she had come to me for advice earlier to help her make that decision, I would have encouraged an abortion because I knew that she didn’t want to have a child. Knowing what I know now, I doubt very much that I would have changed her mind.
But when the decision is made, it’s made. I’m not going to tell her what to do or undermine her choice. Even when it’s not the choice that I’d make for myself. Even when I know she’d rather not have the child. Even when I can see that the consequences for her are going to be huge; she knows so much better than I do what the consequences will be for her and there’s nothing I can tell her that she doesn’t already know.
Being pro-choice isn’t about demanding that everyone have an abortion — what utter nonsense! Pro-choice is about respecting every individual’s personal autonomy to make their own decisions, especially when those decisions have profound consequences for the person making them. Pro-choice means not criticising or offering opinions that are not asked for; it means not saying explicitly or implying that the choice made is wrong. Pro-choice means trusting women, which I suppose is why this patriarchal society has such a problem with it.
I think there’s a misconception (no pun) that if a person is pro-choice, that means they would automatically have an abortion in the circumstances where that’s a consideration. This isn’t true. A pro-choice person respects other people’s bodily autonomy, but you don’t actually know what decision they would make for themselves. In contrast, if a person is anti-abortion (also misleadingly termed ‘pro-life’), you know that they wouldn’t have an abortion, and that they want to impose that choice on others.
Another way in which Rosa is like me is that she is very precise with her words. She had told her husband that she didn’t want another child and that remains absolutely true; unfortunately, he interpreted that to mean that she would abort an unplanned pregnancy, which is not true. I have a lot of sympathy for him since he’s now in a situation he never bargained for, but my understanding is that they never discussed what would happen if the IUD failed.
There is no contraception that is 100% effective. If you are sexually active, please consider how you would want to deal with an unplanned pregnancy. Just as a vasectomy is ultimately the decision of the person whose penis it is, an abortion is ultimately the decision of the person whose uterus it is. If you and your partner disagree about abortion as a backup plan, then you should seriously consider additional contraception. And for the love of all that is good, talk to each other about it before anyone gets pregnant!
Over a year ago, Ben over at Tantra Punk (@tantrapunk on Twitter, “Your guide to sexual liberation, healing, and empowerment”) contacted me to ask if I’d like to do a podcast interview with him. With one thing and another (including a cold that wouldn’t die), we didn’t get to it until recently. But the interview is now done and published!
I could tell you about it, but nothing I say will sound half as awesome as his very flattering description: “In this episode I’m joined by an deeply intriguing and empowering sex blogger Zoë K. She provides a very insightful glimpse into the lifestyle of an open relating, shame-free sex positive web-enabled literary voice of liberation.”
Click here to listen to our chat on the web, or find him on iTunes.
If you have any questions flowing from the interview, ask away in the comments.
Photo courtesy of Steeled Snake
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 #109? Start with the rules, come back August 1st to submit something and subscribe to the RSS feed for updates!