Archive for February, 2014


February 28, 2014 12 comments

I had to vent. I’m friends with maledoms. A few of them. Lately their wives and girlfriends have been showing a lot of jealousy. They’ve made new rules, baiting remarks; I’ve made reassurances that ought to be unnecessary. “I just don’t see why they think I’m a threat. They do understand that their partners stay with them for a reason, right?”

“They’ve seen you play. They think that because you like more pain than they do, that you’re better at kink.”

That’s wrong. The conclusion is wrong: more masochistic does not mean better at kink. Want better at kink? Be awesome at knowing and communicating what you want and how to do it safely and well, from either side of the slash. That’s how you do better at kink. Which kinks you like and in what doses are all personal preference. There should be no value attached.

The underlying assumption is wrong. I like heavier impact than most, but there’s no reason to assume that means more pain.

Pain is not a simple response to stimulus. If you line up a dozen masochists in front of tennis ball launchers, hit them all with the same force over the same muscle, they will not rate the pain the same. Do this to the same masochist in different contexts, different moods, after exercise or after rest, s/he will not rate the pain the same.*

Part of this is the subjectivity of pain scales. Ask someone to rate their pain on a scale of 0-10, and two things happen: people exaggerate because they want to be taken seriously, and you realize that 10 (“the worst pain you can imagine”) varies a lot from person to person. I’ve experienced a lot of pain. Look at Hyperbole and a Half’s pain scale. A correctly administered injection usually just grazes over a 1. Having my cervix forcibly dilated was about an 8. Having part of my lip torn off by a dog bite was a 9 or 10. A long, heavy impact scene might hit a 6-6.5. Most don’t. Someone who’s never experienced higher thresholds of pain probably can’t imagine it. If my 6.5 is the most they’ve ever felt, they’ll call that a 10. This is perfectly legitimate; pain scales do not use objective units of measurement.

Beyond the subjectivity of the measurement, we also need to consider the subjectivity of our responses. A punch in a scene feels “ooh yes ow,” I lean into it, want more. An unexpected slap on the shoulder will be “ow! What’s wrong with you that hurt!” Less impact, leads to more of what a non-masochist would call pain. This can be true for a non-masochist in other ways as well. Exercise hurts, but the context convinces us that it’s a good pain, a type of reward. Getting a piercing or tattoo is also somewhat painful, but most of us sit quietly through that even though we’d cuss up a storm if we stepped on a roofing tack. This is in part because reward contexts extend dopamine signals to unrewarded stimuli. If pain is giving us something we want, it makes brain go happy place (I am good at science talk, right?).

We masochists know pain isn’t just one sensation. I said needles were barely a 1, right? But I hate-hate-hate needles. They freak me out. Needle play is “oh hell no” unless I can get a permanent piercing out of it because needles make Nic go to an on-edge and unhappy place. But if someone wants to whale on me with a steel pipe? Yes, please!

Finally, and I can’t stress this enough, pain is an interpretation. The stimulus provides sensation, but you interpret that off-site to decide whether it tickles or stings or hurts; whether to cuss or giggle or moan. The same physical sensation feels very different if we want it, if our muscles are tense, if it reminds us of past trauma. This video does a good job of explaining the process.

So even if the king of crazy town were correct in thinking higher pain tolerance=more better at kink, the stimuli that cause pain are not the things that hurt. Your body is, and your nerves. Stimulus response is variable. This without even discussing nerve damage and sensitivity from a physiological standpoint–you wouldn’t call someone with CIPA the best-ever masochist because nothing hurts them, right? They’re not taking more pain. They’re taking zero pain.

I’m a masochist. The sensations I seek out do genuinely hurt. But it’s not just pain I’m after. It’s what that pain comes with. It’s the dopamine surge, it’s the exquisite ability to come out of my own head, it’s the connection to another person and the way we have to open up to each other. Pain is a route to this, and to the bruises (which I love). People who think it’s important to experience the most pain without concern for what that pain does for them seem to be rather missing the point.

*Oh my goodness. Please? I can do this for science?

(More about pain here. I love so many lines from this page.)

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For the Crockery

February 26, 2014 Leave a comment

It’s Twitter’s fault.

There are lists that pop up across the Internet every now and then, things like the Year’s Best Sex Bloggers or Top 100 Sex Blogs or Hottest Blogs on the Internet and such. And a few of us have noticed something all these lists have in common: we aren’t on them.

Girl on the Net said what apparently many of us (as mature, sensible adults) feel about this: “Every now and then someone does a list of “hottest blogs” and I’m not on it and then I have to smash all the crockery and buy new crockery.”


O Miss Pearl then did an awesome thing. She called for peer nominations, pulled things together, and in a few short days, put together this list of “10 Smart Blogs You Shouldn’t Forget (and Why)

This list is great. First of all, I’m on it. Someone must’ve let slip that I have a lovely old tea set that would be in serious peril if I were to find I’d been left off another list. My crockery and I both thank Miss Pearl for the inclusion. Second, because some of my favorite fellow bloggers are included, and that’s happy-making. Third, because I found a few new shiny people to stalk follow whom I might never have seen without this list. So really, go check it out.

Miss Pearl’s list does have one glaring omission, though. See, her blog’s not on it. And maybe it’d be a little redundant to tell her own readers that her blog is fan-freaking-tastic and often overlooked; they’re already there, after all. And maybe it’d feel a bit proud and self-serving to add oneself to one’s own list. But neither of those barriers applies to me, so I’m proposing an addition: read O Miss Pearl. Because 33 things every submissive man should know really ought to be required reading. Because the erotic writing is hot. Because this is the blog of a person whose response to the rest of us pouting about never being on lists even though we are special damnit was to go forth and make us a list.

So go forth, learn about the10 Smart Blogs You Shouldn’t Forget, and remember to add Miss Pearl to it.

This has been a post including shameless self-promotion. I would apologize, but that would detract from the shamelessness.

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“Just for tonight”

February 22, 2014 4 comments

We’re mouth to mouth, skin to skin. We’re sweating, tangled, writhing. I want to throw him on his back, fuck him, flay him alive, I don’t even know. There’s so much need in these nerves, not enough of him to fill it. I’m teetering on the edge of something primal, only hanging on to reason because we are so close to fucking already and he’s not wearing a condom yet.

He bites. I claw. Fuck. “Sorry,” I mumble. I make fists, dig nails into my own palms. I will be calm. I will behave. This kiss doesn’t break, only cracks around the edges. I can’t breathe. I don’t care. He’s almost docile. No; wrong word. He meets my energy, matches it, but tonight he doesn’t overpower me. I’m frightened, giddy, vicious. I want more. My teeth find his throat and he moans. I feel it in my mouth, that sound. He’s let his head fall back, vulnerable. I know it won’t last, hate that it won’t last. I want to tear him apart in this moment. I want to keep it–keep him–like some snarling beast standing over its kill.

My nails drag down his chest, too hard. “Fuck! Sorry. Maybe we need to–” I was going to say stop. He’s not a masochist, not a bottom, not submissive. My body doesn’t care. I want to hurt him, and I’m close to the edge.

“You really want to scratch me, huh.”

“Yes. Sorry.”

“Tell you what. Just for tonight, go ahead. As hard as you want, wherever. Just don’t draw blood or leave marks I can’t cover at work.”

I don’t need to be told twice. I have to hold back. My nails are longer than usual; I could easily make him bleed. I claw long, red lines over his back, his chest, his inner thighs. The last makes him gasp and shake and I pull back. “Sorry!”

“Trust me, that was a good noise.” I do trust him, or maybe I don’t care. I watch his face as I dig my nails in again. I want to slap him, to make him look at me. I want more than I can have, certainly more than he agreed to and I don’t dare ask for it; more would still be not enough. I keep scratching. I claw him while we fuck, make his hips jerk with unexpected pain. It’s more than I can handle: I’m all body no mind and I have to hold his hands in mine to keep from hurting him too much when I come. He’s looking at me. He wasn’t before but now he looks up at me with something like worship and it makes me want him all over again.

I call him beautiful. He is, the fierce attention of his face, my marks on his skin. He laughs, and I dig my nails in deep to turn it into another gasp. “You’re beautiful,” I say it again.

He turns away. “Sure, for a fat–”

“No.” He looks up–I never say no. I kiss him. It’s long and slow and almost sweet this time. “I mean it.”

Afterwards–still skin to skin, still coated in sweat–I run my fingers over his skin. “You’re pretty marked up.” I don’t mean it to sound like an apology, but it does.

“I’m impressed. I could feel you wanting to go harder. That took restraint.”

“You said no blood. Sorry, I was–”

“You’re sorry I’m impressed? I’m not saying this is going to be a usual thing, but damn. Don’t be sorry.”

I am sorry. I’m sorry I didn’t shred him in that moment when he was so in awe, so thoroughly mine. I’m sorry it couldn’t last, didn’t last. I’m sorry–and inexplicably certain–that it won’t happen again. He’s back in control. But just for tonight, it was almost enough.

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E[lust] #55

February 16, 2014 Leave a comment

rose Photo courtesy of Sex with Rose

Welcome to e[lust] – 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 e[lust]. Want to be included in e[lust] #56? Start with the rules, come back March 1st to submit something and subscribe to the RSS feed for updates!

~ This Month’s Top Three Posts ~

Why I Post Nude Photos (and blog about sex)
Discovering Myself Through My Strap-On
Sex Toy Shaming and Bigoted Wise Cracks, FTW!

~ Featured Post (Molly’s Picks) ~

Aftercare and BDSM Play
Two worlds

~ Readers Choice from Sexbytes ~

*You really should consider adding your popular posts here too*

All blogs that have a submission in this edition must re-post this digest from tip-to-toe on their blogs within 7 days. Re-posting the photo is optional and the use of the “read more…” tag is allowable after this point. Thank you, and enjoy!

Erotic Fiction

Come Again
And When I Take You…..
Ride on the Night bus
Superotica Valentine – Day 1
The spelling lesson

Thoughts & Advice on Sex & Relationships

Please let me just say “no.”
5 Easy Mistakes to Make While Flirting
SexyLittleIdeas – The Woman in the Dark Alley
Treasured Property
Supporting Love and Freedom
Predicting My Own Future
Let’s Go Down Again
How to eat my pussy
10 (non-sexual) ways to be intimate with your
Permission to be Human: Granted.
Squirting: What Science Says

Erotic Non-Fiction

Date with V. (N. Likes)
Saving Movie Night
Wicked Wednesday: Nervous
The Painter
Stolen Moments Turn Into Treasured Memories
The Art of the Blow Job and Deepthroat
Stun Guns & Happiness
Fatal’s First Time (with a Hitachi)
First Session
Probation Officer #145: Bowre of blisse 9
Trust Games


you will ask Me to fuck your ass
Fish & Chips
This is not an invitation
Men I Have Known
My Storyyy (Trigger Warning)

Thoughts & Advice on Kink & Fetish

More Than Whips and Chains
Being shouted at: kink or abuse?
Explaining violence and sex
Awww Yeah – Targeted Marketing!
Grass is always greener – swinging
Lazy Dog Sex Position

Sex News,Opinion, Interviews, Politics & Humor

Valentine’s Day Sex Toy Selections
Discovering My Sexuality
Pathologizing Male Aggression


Sex is…


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Trick of the Light

February 8, 2014 53 comments

We’re not invisible. We’re just not real.

Bisexuals are a trick of the light. There we are, the B of LGBT. We’re acknowledged, included, magnanimously held up by the Ls and Gs as part of the queer family. It’s hard to complain. We’re embraced with far more enthusiasm than transfolk, after all. We get a letter, which is more than can be said for a number of other sexual minorities. Unlike “genderfluid” or “asexual” or “intersex”, if you say “bisexual” in conversation everyone knows the word.

Or do they?

We’re a trick of the light. People make assumptions. They try to translate us, but there’s no word for us in their experience. “Bisexual” too often gets erased from our identities and replaced with something else.

What does bisexuality look like, through the lens of hetero- or homosexuality? What does it mean, not to be gender-exclusive in a world where gender preference defines sexual identity?

Well, for starters:

Bisexuals are gay.

We just don’t know it yet.

We don’t want to admit it to ourselves

Or to our families

Or our lovers

Or our friends.

It’s a softer coming out, coming out bi.

Gay, but with passing privilege.

Gay, but afraid.

The gay community can embrace us: we’re just like them.

We just need to be nurtured so that we can throw off the chrysalid form of the bisexual (which will always be monstrous and incomplete; no one could possibly want such a thing) and emerge into the full glory of homosexuality.

If you’re straight, don’t date a bisexual. She’ll come out for real eventually, leave you for a woman. She won’t mean to, but she’ll break your heart.

If you’re gay, don’t date a bisexual. She might not be ready to come out. She might regress. You’ll know she’s gone back in the closet (poor girl, bless her heart) when she leaves you for a man. She won’t mean to, but she’ll break your heart.


Bisexuals are straight.

We just want to look cool


Reject the norms.

Straight, and a threat to gay community.

We might as well be a goddamn terrorist cell.

We threaten the gold-star gay and lesbian ideals.

(“Ew, she’s done what with men? And I’m supposed to want to touch her?” “I don’t want anything to do with a woman who’s had a cock inside her. I’m a lesbian!”)

Really straight. Really gay. Both accusations are based on a completely insane assumption: that it’s easier to be bi than it is to be straight or gay. That biphobia doesn’t come at us from gay and straight alike. Sometimes even other bi folks will spit it at us like cobras if we dare to not be attracted to them (“I knew you were straight. Bitch. You lied to me. Led me on”). People will keep tabs. Is your attraction split 50/50 between men and women? Your dating history? More than a 60/40 split is evidence: really straight, or really gay. And passing privilege? Don’t ever talk to me about passing privilege. It’s not a privilege to have our identities erased all the time. To have every relationship called a “straight” or “gay” relationship. To be called wrong, lying, confused when we come out. It’s not a privilege to be a member of the queer community as long as we’re in same-sex relationships, and shunted to the role of ally (and outsider) the moment we so much as flirt with a different-sex person. It’s not a privilege to be treated like a bridge between the legitimate heterosexual and homosexual communities.


Bisexuality is a phase.

Maybe we’re bi now




But don’t worry

We’ll get a real, grown-up sexuality when we’re done finding ourselves.

Bisexuality is apparently a rich undergrad’s hostel-hop across Europe;

There will be fond memories, sure, but later we’ll smile and shake our heads at our quaint rebellion against the mainstream.

Don’t date a bisexual. She’ll leave you for someone who never knew her as bi once she’s ready to settle down.

I guess some of us never grow up. I’ve identified as bi since age fifteen, and sure ain’t expecting it to change.

I’d like to clarify something, okay? Sexuality can be fluid. Some individuals are differently attracted to others at different points in their lives. It’s possible that a person might identify as straight, then develop attractions to same-sex persons in middle age. This does not invalidate their identity. If a vegetarian adopts an unrestricted diet, that person is now an omnivore. Not a vegetarian going through a phase. Not a pure carnivore in denial. If they order a salad at lunch, you don’t get to crow about how you knew they were still a vegetarian.

For others, sexuality is pretty much set. The Kinsey zeroes and sixes are nodding at this. But guess what? Some of us are just as firmly planted at two-point-seven-five. It’s part of who we are. Every single time we’re told “it’s just a phase,” we’re being told that our experiences, our passions, our self-awareness and our self-assessment are invalid. Everyone knows our sexuality better than we do, and everyone agrees that we’re wrong. The amazing disappearing bisexual. Now you see me, now you don’t. They do it with mirrors, see?


Bisexuality is all about male fetish.

Female bisexuality exists only in the form of the MFF threesome.

(Or the girl-on-girl performance for men.)

We’re the perfect girlfriend

Because being objectified is all we’ve ever wanted from our partner

(Our real partner, the male one. Not threesome girl; she’s just the prop we bring in on Sundays and every third Tuesday to fulfill the fantasy)

But we’re totally not into people of the same sex

That’d just be weird, yo.

If we were into the same-sex partner,

We’d just leave you for them

So we’re totally not into them

(We don’t get to be insecure that our different-sex partner will leave us for someone who shares our gender though. Don’t be silly.)


Bisexuals can’t be monogamous.

We need one of each to be happy.

We’ll never settle down.

We’ll never really love you.

You can only ever be half good enough.

If a bisexual does form a monogamous relationship, we can expect to be told it means we’re straight or gay.

If we were really bi, we’d always be looking for both.

We’re all right for one night stands but we’re not relationship material.

We’ll break your heart.

We won’t even care.

Can’t even empathize.

We don’t have a heart to be broken.

Don’t date a bisexual. We’ll leave. You won’t be enough, and we’ll leave.

I don’t want to get started on the fact that polyamory has nothing to do with being “enough” for your partner. It’s–no. Ngh. No. Moving on. There are some monogamous bi folks who want nothing to do with us poly types. If we can get people to understand bisexuals are real, the poly ones suddenly get pointed out as evidence that bisexuals can’t be monogamous. Everyone knows that all people who identify as a certain sexuality are exactly the same, after all. There’s some tension, some vitriol. Monogamous bisexuals are normal people who want to be in normal relationships. The only difference is that they don’t know, when single, whether that next normal relationship will be same-sex or not. The poly bisexuals? We’re not regular bisexuals. We’re freaks and deviants and sluts.

Bisexuals are sluts.

We’ll fuck anything that moves.

Completely indiscriminate.

And it’s all about sex. It’s only about sex.

Forget intimacy. Forget attachment.

We’re not like that.

We’re just looking to get laid.

We’re just looking for a good fuck.

Don’t drop your guard, don’t open yourself up to us because if you do we will hurt you.

Don’t date a bisexual. We’ll leave you for the next attractive creature to walk by.

This one hurts. The inability to receive intimacy because we’re perceived as unable to provide it. Becoming attached, knowing we’re just an object. It’s fear, often. The fear of rejection that comes with any relationship, coupled with the messages we’ve all seen for as long as we’ve known bisexuality was a word. And God, I empathize with fear. I know it better than anyone. Fear has been my seeing-eye dog. Fear is the voice that translates the world–all of you–from whatever strange languages you speak into my native tongue. But what you’re afraid of isn’t true. We’re not different from other people. Not smoke and mirrors, flesh and blood. We might just give you our hearts. We know it’s risky. It’s always risky, for anyone. But please don’t throw it on the ground just because you think it isn’t real.

Bisexuals are a health risk.

Make sure to whisper, we might be listening

All that sleeping around?

Bisexuals are riddled with STIs

We’re a vector.

Like a mosquito or a plague rat

We introduce disease to the innocent.

See, bi women sleep with men, and some forms of sex with men carry higher transmission risks for some STIs. So we get these gross man-diseases and give them to lesbians, obviously.

Bi men sleep with men. MSM are higher risk for HIV. So bi men are the vector for AIDS among straight women, obviously.

If you find yourself nodding along with this, thinking it’s not biphobic at all just basic health consciousness, kindly go to hell. Those of you about to say “but–” the answer is no.

Safe sex practices matter in all relationships regardless of sex and gender configurations. Risk communication and regular testing matter for all of us. Saying someone’s a public health risk on the basis of orientation alone is bigoted. Period. There are folks who insist that bisexuals present a sexual health risk when they’re serially monogamous, have had few or no sexual partners, and/or receive regular STI panels. These folks aren’t afraid of STIs. They’re afraid of cooties. They’re exhibiting a disgust reaction to our identity and trying to frame it in a socially acceptable way. This is not okay.

But we should set that aside. There’s another thing, and it’s worse. Any woman who has been penetrated by a man is a risk to lesbians everywhere? Shun and shame and definitely do not date? I’ve heard it more than once: gold-star or go home.

Lifetime prevalence of penetrative rape of lesbians is over 13% [2]. More than one in eight. Are those one in eight still unworthy? Not lesbian enough for a partner who shares her sexuality? Who ought to be ashamed, here? I think someone got it wrong.

Bisexuals are deranged.

Probably bipolar

Or something

Wild and promiscuous as we are, we’re definitely mentally ill.

We sure as hell ain’t normal

Must be crazy.

And so ungrateful, when you deign to want us despite our sluttiness, even though everyone else thinks we’re going to leave you for someone not your gender.

The suggestion is that bisexuality is a symptom of mental illness, rather than a valid sexual identity unrelated to illness. It is certainly not something that warrants treatment, let alone stigma. The jokes I’ve heard conflating bisexuality and bipolar disorder are awful, ill informed about both the sexuality and the disorder, and stigmatizing of both. I didn’t want to discuss this stereotype in depth because I’m uncomfortable with it. I feel guilty for being a person with mental illness (none of y’all’s business what) identifying as bisexual. Proves the stereotype, right? I have a similar sense of guilt for being nonmonogamous and bi. It upholds the can’t-be-monogamous stereotype.

The thing I should have remembered is that this stereotype doesn’t just hurt bisexuals. It hurts anyone with mental illness. There’s a stigma attached to mental illnesses as a class that one sees with only a select few physical diseases and conditions. Any mental illness will be seen as synonymous with “crazy” or “deranged” or some other sweeping generalization that people will use to invalidate anything we do or say.

Mental illness isn’t substantially different from physical illness. It takes different forms, affects our lives to varying degrees. For some it can be debilitating. Others find treatment regimens that allow recovery. A persons ideas, identity, and self are no more invalidated by their having a mental illness than they would be by asthma.

The point here, to reiterate, isn’t that bisexuals are exempt from mental illness nor that we’re universally mentally ill. The point is that bisexuality is not a symptom of mental illness, nor a cause thereof. And unless they’re backed with well-presented peer-reviewed evidence to the contrary, those statements need to die in a fire.

Bisexuals are damaged.

You know what?


Yes we fucking are.

We’re damaged by the attacks, the erasure, the distrust of our partners, the beliefs that we’re all lying or insane or sex addicted.

We’re damaged by the constant dehumanization and objectification.

We’re damaged when we’re mentioned alongside the gay and lesbian population only to be ignored or subsumed.

Even in scholarly articles about sexuality.

Articles that mentioned bisexuality and articles that examined bisexuality in their analyses (N = 348).

We’re damaged by having higher rates of rape, sexual assault, and stalking than either straight or gay folks.

74.9% of bisexual women experience sexual violence at some point, compared with 46.4% of lesbians and 43.3% of straight women. [2]

47.4% of bisexual men experience sexual violence at some point, compared with 40.2% of gay men and 20.8% of straight men. [2]

We’re damaged by being treated as unclean, impure; as traitors and turncoats

As if gay and straight were bitter enemies.

We’re damaged by being thrown back and forth between mainstream heterosexual culture and GLBT community based on current relationship status. By being unsupported in either, unwanted by both.

Bisexuals will leave.

That’s what it all boils down to, really.

We’ll leave.

Simple insecurity.

People can’t see us as what we are.

We’re bisexual.

We’re perceived as  a dizzying, unpredictable flicker.

Look now, stage left: she’s straight! No, wait, stage right: she’s gay! Wherever you look, we’re already a shimmer, already somewhere else.

If we can’t even be steady and constant in our sexuality, how can we be steady and constant to a partner?

But that’s the trick. We’re not sometimes-gay-sometimes-straight.

Those are just reflections. That’s where monosexual norms want you to look; the only options.

We’re not even on the stage.

They do it with mirrors.


Bisexuals are really:


That’s it.

All the rest? It’s what other people say about us.

And to us.

We’re human.

Just like you.


1. Kaestle, C.E., Ivory, A.H., A Forgotten Sexuality: Content Analysis of Bisexuality in the Medical Literature over Two Decades Journal of Bisexuality 2012, 12(1), 35-48. Available online here.

2. NISVS 2010 Findings on Victimization by Sexual Orientation. Available online here.

Things I Didn’t Reference But Check Them Out Anyway

The San Francisco Human Rights Commission’s Bisexual Invisibility

What Lesbians Think About Bisexuals (a video, informal survey)

Bisexuality: Myths vs. Facts (another video)


1. This is written from a mostly cis-female perspective, because that’s my experience. Other sexes and genders’ experience may vary. Other individuals’ experience may vary. Funny how that works.

2. I am aware that not everyone does this. There are people who are not biphobic. Yay! If you feel the need to shout “no fair! I’m not that guy! You’re the bigot for pointing out biphobia exists because I’m totally not that guy!” please do me a favor. First, realize that biphobia is pervasive and harmful even if not every single person participates in it. Second, realize that shouting “I’m not that guy” is a recognized silencing tactic, and “not that guy” guy is totally always 100% that guy. Third, go eat a shoe. It’s a better use of your time and hands than making that particular argument.

3. Please don’t tell me that no one says these horrible things. I’ve experienced all of them, and I have no doubt there are more that I haven’t had to deal with. Lovers, partners, family, friends, even a PhD in LGBT studies have stood and told me “this is what you mean when you say you’re bisexual. You are wrong about your identity. The thing you say you are and say you feel does not exist.” It fucking hurts. Telling us that people don’t do this to us doesn’t make it hurt less, it just tells us that here is yet another person we can’t talk to.

4. Gender binary language is used here. In this case it is deliberate: the assumptions above are by and large made by binary-identifying people who see people neatly divided into a gender binary. “He’s going to leave his boyfriend for a woman” is not only biphobic, it assumes trans/genderfluid/genderqueer/intersex people either don’t exist or couldn’t possibly be of sexual interest. And yes, it’s a problem, just not the subject of this particular rant.

Talk to me

February 5, 2014 3 comments

“I want to do like a predicament scene with clothespins.”

“I have clothespins.”


“A few hundred of them.”

“Want to get your toybag?”


“Wait, did we just negotiate?”

“Not yet. Who’s topping?”

“Uh, me. Remind me about your limits? No knives, and..?”

“Don’t fuck with my head, don’t hit my feet. No knives.”

We fumble briefly, decide to lay out a grappling mat. It takes only a minute to turn a vague idea of clothespin predicament into a plan. Four lines of pegs attached to a cross, me on tiptoe with arms stretched wide.

“So you move, you rip them off.” She’s grinning hugely.

“It will be a tense 43 seconds.” I move a lot.

“43 seconds? C’mon, you can do better than that.” She hits me before I can answer. Just slapping, bare handed. I relax into it, waiting for heavy pain. She throws a punch, hard enough to make me wobble. Two pegs snap off my hip, and I giggle.

“What happened to 43 seconds?”

“Getting bored?”

“This standing thing isn’t working for me, you’re too tall.”

“Okay.” I spin to face her, clothespins snapping all at once. She’s closer than I thought, holding a wide stance with her face an inch from my chest. “Oh! Hi!”

She looks up. “Hi. You watch pro wrestling right?” She grabs me under the arm and by the back of the knee, half-tosses half-drops me across the mat. “That’s some WCW shit right there.”

“William Carlos Williams?”

She pauses. I’m balanced on clawed hands and one knee. She’s dragging my body up by the other leg, hauling it up above my head. “What?”

The poet. WCW. You know, ‘so much depends-‘”

“‘On a red wheel barrow–‘ yeah. The hell is wrong with you, girl?”

“How long you got?”

“Until you start screaming.” She slams me down with a thump to the shoulder blade. I see Spouse hand her a wooden spoon. She applies it fast and hard to my inner thighs. I’m sweating, which makes it sting worse. I do scream. Well, yell. “Ow!” and “fuck!” and “fucking ow!”

“Aww, does it hurt?”

“Fucking stinging fucking goddamn fucking spoon! I hate that thing.”

“Guess you should go to your cave.” She starts hitting again, improbably loud slaps that have me punching the mat.

“What are you on about?”

“Your cave.” Slap. “Find your power animal.” Slap. “You know.”

“It’s a goddamn penguin!” We’re both giggling hard.

“Okay okay, be serious. I forget, have we tried this before?” She grabs my chest and lifts. She has tried if before. Attempt to induce a spasm in one of the pectoral nerves, I think. “Yeah. It doesn’t work.”

She frowns. “TMJ?”

“Nope, sorry. I mean you can try.” She applies pressure, and I take a moment to pop my jaw.


“Actually feels better now, thanks.”

“No problem.” She punches me in the chest, hard. It’s unexpected. I make a sound when I exhale. “What was that? He-?”

“No, just–hur” she punches again, forces air out.

“Definitely an “H”. Hmm. Hell? Hi? Henry?” We’re back to slapping, apparently. I start laughing, a hand over my mouth doing nothing to hold it in. “What?”

“I’m Henry the eighth, I am…” There is no excuse for singing Herman’s Hermits (hell, I shouldn’t be allowed to sing at all) but I’m committed. At least through the end of the chorus. I can’t remember the rest.

“Oh my fucking God. Turn over. I don’t even want to look at you.” She’s laughing. I hear her rummaging in my bag, focus on my balance rather than looking over. Too much weight on my left knee, pins and needles ascending on that side. She waits while I flex.

There’s no talking after that. She’s found everything that stings and she’s using them hard. I glance up: we have an audience, no one else is playing. Fuck it. I scream. Cuss. Shout. Shriek. Pain turns into energy, needs an outlet. I’m punching the mats in rhythmless staccato, balancing on the fingertips of my left hand while the right slams into the ground.

She stops, hands resting on my thighs. “You good?”


“‘Yup’? Then what was all that noise about?” A two handed slap, with all her weight behind it. Ow. “Just having a tantrum?”

I giggle. “Hysterics. You know how it is with women; we just have fits over nothing.”

“Ugh, I know.” She pauses, as though she has more to say. Laughs instead. She drags me to my knees, prods everywhere she’s hit. “You’re really warm.” She leans across me to pick up the Sandman. Copper rolls over my skin.



“It’s cold!”

“It’s cold.” I want to bite her smirk right off. “You don’t like the cold?”

“I am a lizard and I’m going to die!”

The whole room laughs at that one. She laughs loudest. “So go to your cave!”

“It’s cold there too!”

We’re both breathless with laughing. I can’t meet her eyes without making it worse.

“Okay, we good? We done?”

“We good.” I grab her in a bear hug. “Thanks. I needed that.”

“Bet you did, girl.” She helps me clean and pick up–unusual, that.

I’ve had quiet scenes. Play where the loudest sound is a quick breath or a clink of glass. They’re pleasant, calming. Nothing like this. Two people come together not in silent understanding that may or may not be all imagined, but in conversation. We’re raucous and vulgar and laugh too much. We have fun.

Some folks hold back. Don’t joke; it’s disrespectful. Don’t scream; it’s weak. Don’t speak; it’s not the time.

To hell with that. I’m not here to skate the surface of you, I’m here to dive in. Let all those words and sounds and all the rest of it break the surface.

Talk to me.

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February 1, 2014 Leave a comment

“I made up my mind I was going to find someone who would love me unconditionally three hundred and sixty five days a year, I was still in elementary school at the time – fifth or sixth grade – but I made up my mind once and for all.”

“Wow,” I said. “Did the search pay off?”

“That’s the hard part,” said Midori. She watched the rising smoke for a while, thinking. “I guess I’ve been waiting so long I’m looking for perfection. That makes it tough.”

“Waiting for the perfect love?”

“No, even I know better than that. I’m looking for selfishness. Perfect selfishness. Like, say I tell you I want to eat strawberry shortcake. And you stop everything you’re doing and run out and buy it for me. And you come back out of breath and get down on your knees and hold this strawberry shortcake out to me. And I say I don’t want it anymore and throw it out the window. That’s what I’m looking for.”

― Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood

There’s a certain kind of love, when the impossible happens and agape settles over eros, storge, and philos. It is unconditional.

Unconditional love is a horrible thing. I suspect those who want it are lucky and unimaginative both: it doesn’t occur to them just how bad conditions can be. Even as a kid I sneered at it: the Giving Tree was a cautionary tale, surely, about giving up oneself for someone who may not care at all.

When it happens, it’s not by choice. I don’t want it. It’s more than vulnerability. It’s illogical. It pushes aside “why do I even care?” no matter how valid the question. Why doesn’t matter. Supporting this person will be a priority. I’ll sort myself out later.

It’s automatic. Unexpected, the first time. I’d always been so good at walking away from anyone who hurt me. From anyone, really; cut-and-run was an easy solution to any argument. But there I was, wedged in the back of a closet in the middle of the night with an overheating cell phone pressed against my face. Listening to a voice I’d heard grow and change all the way from childhood say “You’re so much smarter than I am, and I can make you an idiot. That’s all you had going for you–being smart. If you’re not bringing that to the table anymore, what good are you to me? I never cared. I just wanted to see if I could make you care. If I could break you. It was easy.” There was more. I don’t remember–I spent the better part of that night in fugue–but he said there was worse, later. That he was too ashamed to repeat it, that it was inexcusable, unforgivable, and please-believe-me none of it was true.

Inexcusable. Unforgivable. He was probably right.

I couldn’t say anything. Couldn’t tell him to stop, ask why, apologize, beg, anything. The closet was a safe space: small, cramped, easy to control. I could lock out the whole world, every threat and person and object except my own clothes and shoes. I brought the phone with me. He was causing the panic, too-calm words spinning me into nothing like a spell, but I brought him with me. I was so afraid that whatever had caused this was hurting him. I couldn’t go unless he told me to, couldn’t hang up in case he needed help.

Inexcusable, but I spent weeks talking him through it. Excusing it. He was mentally ill. We talked for hours, found the process that had brought him there. I understood. We were badly cracked but not broken, both willing to patch each other with pieces of ourselves. Unforgivable, but I forgave him long before I understood.

I was in love with him. Horribly, impossibly, unconditionally. I never said it. Not even after I admitted it to myself, nor after he said the words to me. There was no point. We were dangerously incompatible. His mental illness, and mine. His religious devotion, my near-atheism. His monogamy, my unwillingness to consider it. He wanted children so badly. I never have. Impossible.

I thought it would eventually fade. I’ve been passionate, fond, and philosophically and intellectually engaged before. It’s not the same. Those relationships form connections–strong ones–but cruelty, incompatibility, boredom, even distance wears them down. They need maintenance, building up. To be clear, that’s one of the best things about them. Affirming the worth of a relationship is part of keeping it intact. When that other valve opens, it turns sand to concrete with me sunk in its center. Once it sets, all I can do is learn to walk with the weight of it.

I had hoped to be done with the unconditional. It isn’t better. It’s not just illogical but harmful. The first one broke me. Survivable, but life with a missing limb. The place he used to be still hurts. I wanted never to do that again. I went through stages of grief falling for the Techie: No, this isn’t real, just a biochemical surge fueled by intense play and incredible sex; it will pass. No, I refuse, how dare I even think of falling for him? Okay, yes, I was playing too close to the edge but if I back off maybe we can go back to just fun. Fuck, I hate myself, why can’t I be smart enough not to do this again?

I haven’t seen him. Not because I’m hurt–sure, it was a measurable quake, but I’ve been through worse with people and come through still friends. There’s just no point. He’s showed no interest in maintaining anything. Best leave it alone.

I have been spending time with his girlfriend. She’s unhappy. Doesn’t trust him (who could blame her?). I don’t mind talking her through some of it, though I tread carefully around offering advice. He’s my ex; there are so many reasons not to go there.

She said something. “He’s mopey because he thinks he doesn’t have any friends anymore. And all I can think is ‘whose fault is that?’ you know? The way he treats people doesn’t exactly earn friendship.”

She’s right, of course. But that’s not the way I think. It’s automatic: he’s unhappy, I wish I could help. If he did want friendship, I’d still be there.

Unconditional. It’s pretty well fucked up.