photos from the vault: go fish

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.

Photos from the vault:
still life with stilettos
go fish
I spy
blue coat

badge Sinful Sunday

photos from the vault: still life with stilettos

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.

Photos from the vault:
still life with stilettos
go fish
I spy
blue coat

badge Sinful Sunday

e[lust] #110

Elust 110 Header Exposing 40 naked in a beach changing room

Photo courtesy of Exposing40

Welcome to Elust 110

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 #111? 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 ~

Fat, Beautiful, Worthy

Not going great

what pro-choice looks like in practice

 

~ Featured Post (Molly’s Picks) ~

Uniform response…

Mx Nillin Fucks… Melons!

~Readers Choice from Sexbytes ~

The Gift

 

Thoughts & Advice on Sex & Relationships

My Experience with a Soft Penis
Once upon a time
How to choose a sex toy for couples?
The rediscovery of my submission
The darkest hour is just before dawn.

Erotic Non-Fiction

Here and Now
A “Uniform” Experience?
The Next Generation
Teasing

Erotic Fiction

Collaboration
Live Your Desire
Big City
Trick or Treat? Halloween Party (Part 2)
The message said
Girls Do it Better
Barefoot and Bitless
Teddy’s tentacles

Poetry

-02.09.18_11:32-

Sex News, Opinion, Interviews, Politics & Humor

Are cam models sex workers?

Thoughts & Advice on Kink & Fetish

He Smacks My Face, and I Love It
Beach bum

Blogging

Collaboration

 

Elust 88

a tale of two choices: what pro-choice looks like in practice

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!

my interview with Tantra Punk

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.

e[lust] #108

Elust 108 Steeled Snake Header

Photo courtesy of Steeled Snake

Welcome to Elust 108

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!

 

~ This Month’s Top Three Posts ~

Feeling Compersion

Invisibility

To baldly go

 

~ Featured Post (Molly’s Picks) ~

Cut Throat
The City I Love To Hate

~Readers Choice from Sexbytes ~

Legend Told

Continue reading

I don’t feel safe

I don’t feel safe. I mostly mean sexually, but this could apply to other things too; I’m not sure.

Intellectually, I know that I am safe. Wolf and I have been together for a lot of years, and while there have been rare mistakes or missteps, I’ve never felt that he he looked down on me, disrespected me, or used me. Since I’ve been more aware and deliberate about trusting him, I’ve made a bit of progress but not as much as I would have liked.

I seem unable to feel safe. It’s like I don’t have a sense of safety because I don’t have the organ, nerve, bulb, whatever it is that I need to sense it. Or maybe my sense of safety exists but is partly impaired, since I’m perfectly attuned to detect the slightest whiff of danger.

Not feeling safe means I’m always reflexively on my guard such that I don’t necessarily even notice the tension. (It has recently occurred to me to wonder whether my chronic physical tension is connected to this.) Because of my history with Wolf, I can choose to let my guard down a bit but it takes a great deal of effort, and it’s imperfect because I don’t fully understand why I’m on my guard in the first place.

The other night, Wolf and I cuddled the way we always do. Ordinarily he’d touch my back and rub my neck, and I’m happy to let him because he knows through lots of experience what I like. But it still feels to me that he’s in control.

This time I was thinking about my feeble sense of safety and what I could possibly do to develop it. We decided that I’d tell him what I wanted and he’d do it, or he’d stop if I said stop. I often ask him to touch or massage one spot or another, but this time I just told him “touch me here” or “massage me there”. It’s a minor grammatical difference but it was enough to make me feel a little emotionally vulnerable. I hope I’m not imagining this, but when I told him to hug me a certain way because I needed reassurance, it seemed to sink in more thoroughly than usual.

With Jaime, dealing with my inherent feeling of unsafeness is more challenging. He has demonstrated his trustworthiness to me in myriad ways but we don’t have the same length of time together, and most of the time that we do have is long distance, which is qualitatively different and can’t really address issues of physicality.

I think this is why I haven’t really progressed beyond splashing around in the shallow end of the BDSM pool. BDSM often uses a dash of fear to heighten physiological arousal, but when I don’t feel fundamentally safe, all it seems to accomplish is to make me even more cautious and guarded.

I’ve been thinking about how things are with Jaime, and how I’d like to go deeper but I feel like I’ve plateaued. This relationship started with a BDSM flavour and the undercurrent is still there but right now it’s very quiet. I feel a bit disappointed about that. My difficulties with depression and low libido have been a significant issue, and in response to my general mood Jaime has chosen to back off, BDSM-wise.

Thinking about some of the BDSM things that we’ve done together that didn’t go so smoothly, I realised that I’ve probably deferred to him too much, trusting his domming experience more than my understanding of myself and my needs. And frankly, I’m not always that good at knowing my own needs, so it’s really attractive to believe that someone else knows what they are and will satisfy them.

Now, I like to know why things are the way they are, and when facing a current challenge, I often revisit my childhood to see if there might be some early learning colouring the way I think about things now. One of my tentative conclusions is that my parents were not very responsive to me when I was very young. This difficulty is that you develop your earliest sense of self from what is reflected back to you from your caregivers. If my parents weren’t good at knowing me, then they couldn’t teach me to know myself. As an adult, wanting someone else to know and satisfy my needs without my having to figure it out myself sounds like a mind-reading fantasy. But isn’t this basically what parenting young children is about?

But despite the past, I’m an adult and I now understand myself better than anyone else does. “Just going along with things” is a theme in an awful lot of my sexual experiences, and historically the results for me have been neutral ranging through to actively bad. If I’m going to submit, I think I need to trust myself more and be more assertive regarding both process  (how and when we communicate, how I express my needs and concerns) and substance (the activities I agree to).

I believe that it’s possible to be both assertive and submissive, but what I’m struggling with is whether it’s possible for me to do so, in my way, in this relationship.

recovery day

Yesterday was a big day: a dance performance, preceded by anxiety about the quality of my piece and last-minute work to complete my costume. The performance alone would be enough to take it out of me, let alone the bonus anxieties.

So today was a scheduled recovery day during which I planned to do not much at all. (The other option would have been to plan to do things, inevitably fail to do them, then feel like shit for failing to accomplish what I’d planned to do.) I ran a couple of loads of laundry, picked up the “shrapnel” from the dance bomb that had gone off, and generally puttered around the house.

My energy has been low, my mood tenuous. It’s possible that my brain is doing that thing where an emotion just happens but then the brain looks for evidence to justify the emotion, confirmation-bias-wise.

But even if that’s true, I have been feeling down today, though not about the performance. I strive for excellence but as a recovering perfectionist, I’m aware that sometimes my goals or self-criticisms are unreasonable, and that usually happens when my energy and resources are low. I seem to avoided that pitfall this time, partly because I think I was effectively distracted during the time I would have been most prone to it.

My down mood has latched on to more abstract or indirect issues today. A feeling of disconnection from friends (do I have friends?). Disappointment with how my body works and feels.

Being haunted by the ghost of my libido. I just want to feel desire.

I generally tend towards optimism, but it’s been difficult.