at the turning of the year

looking back

I launched this blog at Christmastime 2014, so this isn’t just the turning of the year, it’s also my fourth blogging anniversary!

In January, Wolf successfully defended his doctoral thesis and shall henceforth be known as Dr. Wolf. It represented the end of a long slog, and while his getting accepted into the university in the first place was a very big deal, we had no idea how emotionally difficult it would be on both of us. We are each other’s primary support systems and without that support, we both ended up in depression (though that wasn’t the sole reason for either of us). Completion for him was thus bittersweet as it had come at a much higher cost than expected and it left him wondering whether it would ever feel like it had been worth it.

March saw me take two very different trips back to back without stopping off at home on the way, which made packing a challenge! I was at a business meeting on a Thursday morning, in a succession of airports and airplanes from afternoon to night (my sleep time completely disappearing while I was in the air), arrived at Heathrow on Friday morning, then put in an appearance at the Eroticon 2018 Friday Night Meet and Greet that evening. I was, of course, exhausted.

My time at Eroticon (my second) was excellent, as expected. Although I’m now aware of one sex blogger and one romance/erotica writer who reside in my neck of the woods, it’s such a treat to just be in a room with more sex writers than you can shake a stick (or cane, or flogger) at. And everyone I’ve met has been my kind of people – intelligent, sexy and kind. Just wonderful. But it’s still a big trip for me. Would I have gone just for Eroticon? It’s hard to say, but I didn’t have to make that decision because Jaime and I had planned to meet up there and then travel together for a few weeks.

I made arrangements with the same photographer as in 2017 to do another shoot while I was in London. I must admit, both the shoot and follow-up were a bit disappointing, and I’ve spent the subsequent months forgetting it rather than remembering it.

Just before I returned home in April, I did my first shoot with Molly, which was also my first outdoor shoot. At about 10°, it was chilly to be naked outside, though better than I’d expected – and vastly better than it would have been if I’d been doing the same project at home! (Molly has given me some edited photos but I haven’t posted any yet; I’m experiencing some kind of block that is making it difficult, for reasons I don’t understand. With any luck, I’ll publish them soon.)

Just before I returned home from Europe, I finished weaning myself off of the anti-depressant I’d been on. By early May, my brain suddenly began functioning better; my cognition, focus and motivation improved substantially, which was such a relief! Since then, I’ve been working harder at the day job than I have in a couple of years, leaving me brain-tired and eye-strained at the end of the workday.

In November, I had a solo adventure in Japan; once upon a time I taught English there fairly briefly and went back this year for a visit. It was fun and stressful and tiring and delightful. I had a strong sense of filling my eyes with wonderful things, which I need to remember so I make a point of doing more of that. I’ve already posted a couple of photos (just before my flight out, and just after I arrived on the other side) and you’ll be seeing more from that trip in future.

On Christmas Day I set a boundary with my dad, which provoked a bit of a confrontation, so that was fun. But it means that I’m prioritising my needs over his wants, and that’s good for me. Five bucks says the next time we talk, he’ll pretend it never happened.

Top 100 Sex Bloggers 2018

I’m delighted that Molly (and Michael) included me in her list of the Top 100 Sex Blogs of 2018, which was announced in early December. I’ve fallen in the ranking since last year, which comes as no surprise since blogging regularly continues to be difficult for me, but I’m very pleased to have made the list at all. (Trying to remind myself that it’s OK if I’m less productive, and that I don’t have to blog if I’m not enjoying it.) Warm congratulations to this year’s winner, Rebel’s Notes!

I did find inspiration now and then through the year and there are some posts that I’m proud of, such as:

I’m also very happy to be included in Exposing 40’s round up of 40 [sex bloggers] over 40.

After my first adventure with Jaime in November 2015, I developed irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which may have been caused by the gastrointestinal issues I had while travelling in a country where you need to be careful about drinking the water. In three years, following basic IBS guidelines has failed to control it and the constant bloating – as well as the resultant dip in body image, slight weight gain, and poorly fitting clothes – have really been getting on my tits, so this month I’ve started on a program to test whether certain categories of fermentable carbohydrates (collectively, FODMAPs) might be to blame, and if so, which one(s).

After the elimination phase, my bloating mostly went away. Around the same time, I was suddenly sleeping less and feeling more alert after struggling with fatigue for a number of years. The increase in energy hasn’t been consistent but this unexpected result provides a new lead for an issue where I’d mostly given up hope of finding a specific cause. There are five categories of FODMAPs and I’m currently challenging the third, so I’m about halfway done this process and I think I’ve identified two triggers. I’ll complete this project sometime in January and then follow up with my doctor.

My libido, which was variable at best and was convincingly sent packing by the anti-depressants in early 2017, is still AWOL. I originally started this blog as a place to record my new sexy adventures, but… I’m not having any. Forgive me Daddy, for I have failed to sin: it’s been almost 9 months since my last partnered sex. I don’t see that changing any time soon. And after giving me 4 orgasms on Christmas morning, my beloved We-Vibe Touch has died *cries*

looking forward

After over a year of looking for work, Dr. Wolf has been hired (last minute) for a lecturer position that starts right away. The catch is that it’s in another city – not too far from here but far enough to be inconvenient, especially given the lack of public transit and the fact that we only have the one car. We drive there tomorrow, I’ll get him settled and stay the night, and then I go back to an empty house. It’s a term position running until the end of June so he’ll be there and I’ll be here for the duration, except for the odd time when he can escape. He’ll be staying in a spartan place so it’s not especially practical for me to go visit him there. After that, we have to wait and see.

I have business trips in January and March, and the latter one (as well as the work to be done before and after) makes it ridiculously impractical for me to go to Eroticon 2019, alas. So my plan is to be dutiful, and then fuck off to Jaime’s house for a couple of weeks in April.

That’s my year in a nutshell. I hope you’re having/have had a great New Year’s Eve, whatever that looks like for you, and best wishes for 2019!

a tale of three photographers

I was supposed to do a nude photo shoot last week.

There was more to it than just wanting someone to take photos of me. Some months ago I was approached by a different photographer about doing a nude shoot. I liked the idea a lot (and still do), but worried about whether I’d be up to it. That photographer lives overseas, and while I have tentative plans to be in his neck of the woods later this year, it would be impossible to meet more than a day or two in advance to decide whether I felt I could do this project with him. With the distances involved, I feared that I would pressure myself into going through with it even if I wasn’t entirely at ease, and I didn’t want to put either of us in that position.

And why should I be nervous about a nude shoot when I have a bunch of nude photos on the internet already?

Once upon a time, I connected with yet another photographer, who was trying to build up a portfolio and was offering glamour and nude shoots. I inquired about glamour but was too slow off the mark, though he was still looking for people for nudes…

I don’t know why I pushed on with it. I was torn: I was vaguely interested but very uncomfortable. I would hint daintily at nudity but not commit to it (a shadow on a piece of fabric, a jacket worn without a shirt or bra under it). I felt awkward and almost defensive the whole time and then I hated all the images that came back. And from that I learned caution.

If I agree to do a shoot with Overseas Photographer, I expect some nerves but I don’t want to be haunted by a feeling of wrongness the whole time. How could I get some assurance that it wouldn’t suddenly seem like a bad idea as soon as I got to his studio?

Prior to this discussion with OP, I’d been approached on FetLife by someone who was also a photographer. He was local-ish, and had liked my profile image. That conversation didn’t really go anywhere, in part because I was just feeling my way around the site and trying to dissuade the people drawn out of the woodwork by the smell of fresh meat. Later I started thinking that I could try working with FetLife Photographer as a trial run before OP. FP seemed OK so I got in touch again and initiated a discussion.

We don’t live in the  same city, but FP sometimes comes to my city to shoot and didn’t mind making a trip. I mentioned wanting to meet in advance, which he thought would be unlikely to happen due to the distance and travel times involved. Logistics are definitely an issue, but considering I still wasn’t sure whether I’d be able to follow through — and a major purpose of this project was to help me assess that — I considered an advance meeting to be essential and gently pushed the point. We had been back and forth daily, so when I didn’t hear from him for two weeks (after noting that he had been on the site many times since our last exchange), I took it as a tacit dismissal of my concerns and a conclusion that this was an incompatibility.

But then a couple of days after I’d given up on him, FP turned up again and apologized, explaining that he’d somehow missed responding. We agreed that if either of us was in the other’s city, we’d try to make plans to meet. And not too long after, an opportunity arose.

We met at a coffee shop, and Wolf came along for the first short while, mostly so Wolf could meet him and form his own opinions. (I’d already sent Gawan the link to FP’s FetLife page for an opinion based on his profile info and portfolio.) Wolf left after about 10 minutes, leaving the two of us to chat.

So there I was, in a coffee shop showing a virtual stranger nude photos of myself, and I found that my biggest concern was ensuring the images weren’t in the sight lines of the other customers. I felt strangely comfortable. Strangely? I was surprised, but maybe the comfort was a certainty after all the nude photos I’ve posted online.

Soon after, FP let me know that he had a few days that could work for a shoot (the first being a mere three days hence) but understood if it was too rushed. I picked the last day of the three he offered, and we started making our plans.

The one thing we hadn’t managed to agree on was the release form. We had discussed his approach to nude photography (what gets posted where, whether the model’s face is shown, etc.) when we met and — after I reviewed the release form — also in the lead up to the appointed day. His verbal explanation sounded good, but lots of details that I thought were important were omitted from the form. The evening before the shoot, I sent him my specific thoughts on revising the form. He didn’t get my notes until the morning and wasn’t prepared to discuss it at that point. He called off the shoot. I haven’t heard from him since.

Will the shoot with FP go ahead? It’s not impossible, but we’ll need to negotiate and agree to a release form before scheduling anything. My impression, however, is that he’s not interested in working with me any more.

It’s not a total loss. I now know to discuss and negotiate the release form in advance. I’ve learned that I don’t necessarily need the anonymity and distance of the internet to be able to feel at ease sharing images of my nude body. I was disappointed by the cancellation rather than relieved. I now feel more comfortable with the idea of doing a shoot with OP, and establishing my comfort level was the point of this exercise.

Now I just need to get on a plane, I suppose. But I have a bigger trip in the meantime: I’m going to visit Gawan in about a month and a half.