body hair*

I’ve had my share of insecurities about my body, and like many women I’ve spent unnecessary energy being self-conscious about my body hair and how I “should” groom myself. I’m happy to say this issue no longer concerns me.

I shaved my legs for a couple of years in high school 1, and again for a span of months in university to please a dickish boyfriend 2, but I’ve been au naturel for a couple of decades now. I’ve always preferred wearing pants and shorts rather than dresses and skirts, but I’ve started wearing knee-length skirts over the last few years and I found that I was still a bit self-conscious about leg hair with a skirt. Eventually I realized that the hair is actually quite fine and can’t really be seen unless you’re close and looking for it. I suppose my legs aren’t red-carpet ready, but I can live with that.

Another realization I’ve had in the last few years is that I just don’t care about maintaining perfectly bare armpits. These days, I choose among shaving, trimming and benign neglect, as the mood strikes me. If I have a dance performance, I would trim, or even shave if I was feeling really motivated. For dance class, my strategy is wearing a T-shirt, or wearing a tank top coupled with “not giving a fuck”.

The place that I groom most carefully is the one that’s most hidden. I’ve always shaved fairly generously inside the bikini line, and about a year ago I started completely shaving underneath on a weekly basis. The remaining hair (on my mons) gets trimmed from time to time.

Which brings me to my trip with Gawan. I had planned to shave the hidden bits on arrival at our destination, but Gawan got to me before I did. 3 Though I’m not sure that ultimately made much of a difference to him.

He remarked — entirely without criticism or judgment, mind you — that it was more pubic hair than he’d seen on a submissive girl in, oh, five years or so. Now, what I’ve got is nowhere near full bush — one-third bush, maybe. More like a quarter. But it seems that the subby girls in his neck of the woods raze the bush completely. 4

Apparently I’m something of a novelty — or perhaps I’m revealing my lack of cred as a submissive. 5 I wouldn’t know. My cunt is the only one I’m familiar with.


1 The summer after I graduated, I was in the chorus of The Pirates of Penzance along with many other girls of a similar age. One day at rehearsal, it was reported to me (by Drift, a guy who would soon be my boyfriend, if he wasn’t already at that time) that the topic of conversation among them that day was the hair on my legs. Seriously. Fortunately I was secure enough at the time not to be unduly bothered by such natterings.

2 Surprise, surprise, this was Bad Boy. I had held out for months in the face of his whining. Eventually, I said I’d shave my legs if he shaved his. And so he did. I felt honor-bound to fulfill my end of the bargain. Which is a nutshell demonstration of my character — and his.

3 I much prefer a bath, especially for shaving, but our room only had a shower. And even to call it a “shower” is a bit generous, at least by first-world standards. The water pressure on our floor ranged from unenthusiastic at best to something more like a leak at worst, and there were only two temperatures — “unheated” and “if I’m not mistaken, I think the water might be slightly warmer than it was”. But the weather was very hot, so un-hot water wasn’t a total disaster.

4 A friend of mine — who is hot and blonde — was once asked “does the carpet match the drapes?” Despite being a very sensual if not sexual person, she somehow hadn’t heard the expression before and didn’t understand it, so she answered literally according to how her house was appointed. “I have hardwood,” she replied. The asker thought this answer was hilarious, and it does rather effectively and creatively suggest that she was in fact bare below.

5 This is a joke, by the way. Invocation of the idea of A True Submissive (or A True Dominant, for that matter) is bullshit but remains a common fallacy among people who think in black and white terms — there’s no rule book, no “one true way”. Also, while I’m interested in submission (and not dominance or switching), I don’t identify with it so much that I’d describe myself as “a submissive”. For one thing, I haven’t been inducted into the Sisterhood yet — I think their review of my use of capitalization may be holding up the process. 6

6 This is also a joke.

* Alternate titles: “I trim my quim according to whim” or “I’ve little care to spare for the hair down there — or anywhere”.

condoms

Our preferred method of birth control has always been condoms: first because it worked well for a new relationship; then because I didn’t like the way the pill made me prone to yeast infections; and later because sex was so infrequent that there was no point in using any other method. We found it difficult to get through a box of 12 before they expired — 2 to 3 years later.

One time I got a checkup by a female doctor who mostly saw university-aged patients. She asked if I was sexually active and I said yes. She asked what I used for birth control and I told her condoms. She then gave me a mini-lecture about why that was not a great idea, and I told her that I was satisfied with the protection condoms provided because I had sex infrequently. When she asked why, I told her that I didn’t particularly enjoy it. Well, that was suddenly TMI, as far as she was concerned. I suppose she was expecting a medical reason, like physical discomfort, though that wasn’t the question she asked. I gave her an honest answer, her reaction was weird, and I now wonder what nerve of hers I touched.

Not long after my epiphany, my partner and I revisited the issue of birth control and decided that he would get a vasectomy. That hasn’t happened yet, for logistical reasons, so we’ll continue to use condoms for the next while.

The condoms don’t expire now. I buy boxes of 24 at the grocery store when I’m picking up fruit and milk. I stock up when they’re on sale. It’s simultaneously domestic and debauched.

the “on” switch

I used to wish that I had an “on” switch.

Playing around pretty much required perfect celestial alignment. It wouldn’t happen unless I was in a decent mood overall, I was actively thinking about playing, it was the weekend (probably morning), I wasn’t having my period, we hadn’t lazed about in bed so long that my back was bugging me, etc.

On those rare occasions when I was in the mood, I didn’t feel like I could actually just tell my partner that I wanted to play. Well, it was more complicated than that. I was torn: part of me wanted to play and the other part vociferously denied it, like stepping on the gas and the brake at the same time. Part of me wanted to speak up and the other part thought that was impossible. Not speaking always won. The result was that play pretty much depended on my partner reading my mind.

If I wanted to play and he didn’t successfully intuit that from my very vague hints, I’d get irritated. If I wasn’t thinking about playing and he tentatively tried to start something, I might or might not get irritated, depending on a host of other factors. If he successfully started something and then went too slow, I’d get very irritated. It was a fucking minefield. He probably did well against the odds, but in absolute terms it wasn’t all that successful. Big surprise.

I wished for an “on” switch because I thought it would have made everything so much simpler: decide to play, flip the switch. Done.

But the problem wasn’t the lack of a switch, or the presence of a switch that was always set to “off”, because the flow was being interrupted earlier than that. It was more like a power outage.

So the power is on now. (Read about how that happened here.) Or to change metaphors, the pilot light is on and with it, the heat. I often find myself at a low simmer but sometimes up to a boil. All this without the need for a switch.

My partner has been away for about three weeks now, and I find that I’m very easily distracted when I should be doing other things. (I could tell him to stop sending me hot emails, and I could stop sending him hot emails, and stop all the other little things we do, but that seems a little drastic.)

And now I’m almost — almost — wishing for an “off” switch.

overcoming my fear of cock

For a long time, in my mind “cock = bad”, or perhaps more specifically “dangerous”. I had absorbed the idea that a cock was a source of bad things, including degradation.

When I started having sex, this idea proved to be a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Deep down, I mostly didn’t want sex. My body knew this but my brain didn’t acknowledge it, and so it was uncomfortable or actively hurt (because I was tense and not wet) and it didn’t provide me with any particularly pleasurable sensations. I just didn’t get the point. In addition to the fact that I tend to be a little squeamish about bodily fluids, I was also a little paranoid about cum (and even pre-cum) because that’s the stuff that ruins lives by making babies.

When I was about 10, I learned about blowjobs from a photo in a magazine belonging to my friend’s older brother. It made me uncomfortable and I found it degrading (although I probably didn’t even understand that word yet).

The first blowjob I ever performed was for the perpetually demanding and insensitive Bad Boy. He worked me over and pestered and I eventually allowed myself to be talked into it, but I didn’t really want to do it even while I was doing it. Nothing awful happened (I don’t think he even got off), but being pressured served to reinforce my distaste for the whole business.

The first (and, for years, only) time I went down on my partner was during our early days. I’d bought a flavoured condom for the occasion, which served to make me feel safer even if it didn’t add anything directly to the aesthetic experience. He didn’t pressure me in any way, but I pressured myself. He remembers it fondly — me, not so much, but that’s nothing to do with him and everything to do with me not listening to my gut.

I had always considered it to be an inherently degrading act. When I read That Book and started considering hard and soft limits, I knew fellatio was a hard limit for me, although I appreciated the fact that it was depicted positively. It’s one thing to see this in erotic fiction, but when I began reading women (mostly bloggers, such as Hyacinth) who truly enjoy cock, it was a revelation.

I was not interested in cock, nor did I much want to touch or handle one. If my partner asked and I was feeling sufficiently brave, I would touch him over his underwear. I felt that this touching was something I should do but wasn’t always able to do. The only way to honor his request for attention involved pushing myself. Not good.

But it occurred to me recently that I had an excessively firm boundary about any kind of touch. He had earned my trust a long time ago, but I only realized it recently. When I began deliberately trusting him, it changed the dynamic radically. Instead of fretting about a violation and thus vigilantly policing the boundary (believing this was the only way to keep myself safe), I now figure out where the boundary is and let him know, then leave it to him to respect it and he does. I’ve chosen to remove the wall and be vulnerable and am rewarded with more intimacy. It’s fucking awesome.

I’ve been consciously working on expanding my boundaries while conscientiously respecting my gut. Sometimes I touch his cock simply because I feel like it — he has repeatedly assured me that he will always welcome it, so I don’t fear rejection. If he requests it, I understand that he’s not trying to pressure me. I also don’t pressure myself — if it doesn’t feel right in the moment, I go with my gut and say no. No big deal.

I started testing ideas by fantasizing about them and was pleasantly surprised when these (previously challenging, even distasteful) thoughts actually turned me on, which told me I was on the right track. Now the ideas seem merely “naughty” (and fun), rather than “bad” (and unfun). From touching with lips and cheek, to licking and kissing, I accomplished my first freely and lovingly given blowjob a few days ago. A milestone!

touch

A long time ago, I had come to associate platonic touch from my partner (even hugs) with foreplay. Any touch therefore seemed unsafe because I was afraid it would inevitably lead to sex, which was somewhere I usually didn’t want to go.

I eventually plateaued at a reasonably comfortable place where I could easily accept a hug or a neck rub.

I recently discovered something new: I like being touched.

These days, in the morning, he’s usually on the computer already by the time I get out of bed. The first thing I do is go and visit him; I’ll be wearing an oversized T-shirt without a bra, and maybe a pair of yoga pants, or maybe nothing at all on the bottom. I’ll put my elbows on the table, and it happens that this makes my bum stick out and my breasts hang, hidden but still enticing. He’ll usually give me some pats and squeezes, and maybe a couple of spanks and some fondling. And then I’ll go and put some clothes on. This has become my wake-up routine.

More recently, I find that when we’re lying in bed either falling asleep or waking up, I just want him touching me all over: head, shoulder, breast, hip, bottom. It’s all good. I don’t expect sex to follow necessarily, though I don’t mind if it does.

I’m not afraid of touch now because I’m no longer afraid of starting something. I’m more in tune with what I want and I’m not afraid to express it because he has proven repeatedly that he’ll respect any limit I may set. I don’t have to defend myself: the line is defined by my words and held by his respect for me, and so I can finally, finally let my guard down.

I crave touch. I ask for it. I get it.