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Possession

April 27, 2014 Leave a comment

There’s an undercurrent to monogamous norms that bothers me on a fundamental level. I’m not saying it exists in every monogamous relationship, but the idea is prevalent. It’s so ingrained in the narrative of relationships that people can’t seem to wrap their heads around the alternative at all.

The idea is that your partner is *yours*. That being in a relationship means you get to control them. It isn’t even subtle. And it’s more than a little frustrating. Folks have no hesitation about making assumptions about how a relationship works, and starting a conversation without checking those assumptions in the least. In the last month folks have said to me or my partners:

“You let your husband date another woman?”
No. Spouse dates Polly Pocket. I am happy to be in a relationship with him. His relationship with her does not diminish that. I don’t let him do a damn thing; he’s an autonomous human being.

“Can I play with Spouse?”
How the hell would I know? Ask him! I would get this, if context were different. If she were making sure we didn’t already have plans together. But she knew we didn’t. She was asking me for permission to do something with him. I can’t consent for Spouse. I can’t negotiate for him. Those conversations have nothing to do with me.

“No, you want to have sex with her and that’s okay *but*…”
There were about forty caveats. There was hemming and hawing. I felt uncomfortable enough to offer to leave the room so they could hash it out. Almost awkward enough to say nevermind the sex, it’s not worth it. They’re a married couple who are poly, but that seems to mean something very different to her.

“It’s okay, I know I’m not enough for him.”
Bless your heart dear, he don’t need you. Not enough? Is sex like oxygen now? There has to be a certain supply or he’ll fall to the floor in a dead faint and never recover? Please. He don’t need you cause he don’t need anybody. He wants more sex than you do, fine, but that ain’t nothin’ to do with you being enough. Don’t stay and be unhappy because you felt inadequate, that’s good for nobody.

“You know your man’s making out with another woman over there?”
This was said to Z, and her answer was “yep, I make out with her too.” And she did, shortly after she got back to us with drinks. Good times.

“You got two beautiful redheads? You’s a lucky man!”
God, this one pissed me off. He’s lucky, but I’m not? She’s not? Last I checked the three of us were each with two sexy partners. Z and I aren’t the Techie’s harem. He didn’t catch us like fish and mount us on the wall. (Against the wall…that might be another story.) We’re each with him, we’re with each other, and nobody’s “got” anyone. Ain’t none of us trophies.

“Are you taken?”
God, the ways I want to answer this one. “Yes, thank God you asked, I’m a prisoner, please help!” “Oh, yes. As often as I can manage it, in ways you can hardly imagine.” I’m not quite that sarcastic, or quite that lewd. Almost, some days, but not quite. “Wrong question.” has become my go-to response, but I’ve been known to flash the wedding ring (and yes, reinforce the false assumptions about what it means) with the overly persistent.

Beyond things directed at us personally, I see things like this all the time in my Facebook feed:

20140428-010933.jpg

“How to keep your woman/man”:
Why do we need different lists for men and women? And imply all women want to cling like dryer sheets and men would rather not engage?
And don’t forget, relationships are for straight people who don’t understand each other because men and women are different species and/or lack common language. And of course, your partner is something to lure, catch, and keep, not a person to build a relationship with such that they want to be near you.

The core issue here isn’t monogamy. If two people decide to make their romantic and/or sexual bonds exclusive, good for them. The assumption, though, is toxic. The assumption is that a relationship (or at least a “serious” relationship) automatically strips a person of the right to make decisions about other relationships. The assumption (made explicit in some scripture) is that a relationship is not an agreement of two autonomous people but a single unit the members of which are incapable of decisions or actions regarding individual needs without securing the other’s permission. And all these helpful outsiders’ comments, no matter how well meaning, come from the assumption that possessive monogamy is the only valid format a relationship can hold. They undercut nonmonogamy.

disclaimer time
I’m not talking about agreed upon D/s dynamic here. Negotiated power exchange is awesome and absolutely ought to be respected. This ain’t about that. This is about norms that erase individual autonomy, that in effect project a specific power exchange onto persons in a relationship and treat them as though they fit it without bothering to treat them as individuals first. This is third parties projecting relationship norms onto everyone they meet and often refusing to listen when corrected.

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Peculiar Personal Performance

April 24, 2014 8 comments

“The problem with playing at the club is that I can’t fuck you.”

His breathing is ragged. He speaks in a quiet growl that makes me want to growl back. I grind my hips against his. The tension has us wound impossibly tight. We’re playing hard, even for me. I’ll have bruises for a month, mottled garters around both thighs. My legs are shaking from the effort of staying upright while they swell and I don’t care. I don’t want it to stop.

I know this moment. It’s still violent, always violent, but the topology has changed. We’re so still, after all my twisting and writhing under his blows. He’s feeling along my edges but my surface isn’t orientable. If he wants inside he’ll have to break me. I almost want him to.

The problem with playing at the club is that I can’t fuck you.

Yes, it’s a problem. It wasn’t a problem until he said it; I was giddy with tension before but now it’s insistent, focused. If we were at his place he’d be fucking me now. He’d be pinning me down with a hand on my throat. He’d be telling me how much I want him with that smug look that I can’t even call arrogant even though he’s wrong; I want him so much more. And I’d be arrogant, too, if he teased, sure that he wouldn’t hold back for long.

But we’re not there. This tension has nowhere to go and now that he’s said it it’s the only thing in my mind.

He rakes his fingers across bruised skin, covers my mouth with his when I gasp. This isn’t kissing. I’m being consumed, voice and lips and skin and anything-you-want disappearing into him.

He puts a hand on my cheek, looks me in the eye. “I want to make you come.”

“God yes.” I’m surprised, later, that I didn’t hesitate at all. I’m not an exhibitionist, not really. Orgasm is intimate. It belongs to me, to my partner. It’s ours. I’m greedy for it and jealous of it and no I don’t care who’s watching, not really, but it isn’t for them and I’m not going to share.

I’m on the edge from kissing and from pain. He isn’t gentle. He shoves his fingers into me, rough and hard and perfect. His eyes stay focused on mine. I’m trying not to scream, not to draw attention. Trying to draw this out, if I can.

He whispers. “Come for me.” I turn my head, sink my teeth into the back of my forearm to keep from crying out. I nearly lose my balance. Too many nerves firing all at once in overwhelming contradiction of pain and yes and ohGod.

He pulls my arm away when I regain my footing. “I want to see your face when you come. I want to hear you scream. Can you do that for me?” I nod. I can’t answer aloud. He’s good with his hands, or good with me. I’m moaning again in seconds, low and soft at first, but rising fast. My hand flies up to cover my mouth. I remember not to before it gets there. He smiles. “Not yet.”

Fuck. Hell. Fuck. I exhale slowly. Refocus. Not on the pressure of his fingers inside me, or–oh God. Refocus. Math? I’ve gone past math. Words. Three syllables, beginning with P. Palimpsest. Petrichor. Priory. Pleiades. Please. Please. “Please.”

He shakes his head. He’s hoping I can’t hold back. He’s arrogant enough to think he can make me come when I’m trying not to. I’m contrary enough, proud enough, to refuse. But God, I’m close. Palmetto. Pinniped. Piranha. Predator. Like him, predatory, eyes on mine with all the smug fierceness of a cat staring down cornered prey. “Oh, fuck, please–” Refocus. Preamble. Portentious. Predicament. No, that’s four. Persistent. Pretentious. P– P– P–. I can’t think anymore, can’t see straight, can’t remember enough words to pull away from sensation. “Please.” If he says no, I still have the emergency brakes. I can control this. It may not be worth it. Employ that tactic and I may not be able to orgasm at all for days.

I don’t have to decide. He’s nodding, that smug grin still playing across his face. “Come for me.”

I don’t close my eyes. Don’t look away. Try not to think of how ridiculous my face must look, how ragged my breathing, whether I need to be quieter. His expression has turned gentle. He straightens to pull me into his arms and I let him. In these heels I can rest my chin on the top of his head, but somehow I feel small. Almost dazed. He whispers “thank you” and I smile.

The problem with playing at the club isn’t such a problem, not really.

e[lust] #57

April 16, 2014 Leave a comment

Elust #57 Cammies on the Floor Image
Photo courtesy of Cammies on the Floor

Welcome to Elust #57

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 #58? Start with the rules, come back May 1st to submit something and subscribe to the RSS feed for updates!

~ This Month’s Top Three Posts ~

I’ve Got 99 Problems

Vasectomy Blues

I’ve always wanted to call myself queer.

 

~ Featured Post (Molly’s Picks) ~

Aoyama Yuki and My Very First Times

I don’t know how to be happy

 

~ 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!

Sex News,Opinion, Interviews, Politics & Humor

Prostitution Laundering
That Body-safe Sex Toy Could Make You Sick
“Nice Shoes. Wanna Fuck?” — On Pick Up Lines
Rape prevention
Life of a Sheltered Child: Sex Toys (Part II)
A Tour of Fucking Sculptures Sex Toy Studio
Bashing Belle Knox: Because You GET Porn
Would You Pay $133 to See Midori Eat Fruit?

Thoughts & Advice on Kink & Fetish

Heart of Glass
Talking BDSM: Are safewords really necessary?
45 Seconds
I want
Whispered Words
Aftercare: In Kink and Erotica
Ariel Castro: The Man in the Mirror?
We Are Ethical
Apology tokens, punishments, and forgiveness

Erotic Fiction

Very Short Stories – If We Hadn’t Had Sex
Billy
Larry Knew Better
Lasting Impressions
The Boys
Sounds of a Kitten
Chemical (se)X
Shopping Together
Enjoy Being Seduced on the South Bank
Room 6
Caught In The Act
Packing Light
For your thighs only (007 Parody)

Erotic Non-Fiction

Dental Torture
My hand around your throat
Conversations With My Owner
Cuming Without You.
On My Knees Again
It Always Starts With A Kiss
World Champion, Yes, I Can!
Omne Trium Perfectum
When Good Sex Tapes Go Bad
Submission: An Initiation (Part Four)

Thoughts & Advice on Sex & Relationships

Hidden No More
Female condoms are fucking awesome!
Female Ejaculation and How to Achieve It
Mommy Doesn’t Want Sex
How To Train Your Vagina
Camp Dildo
Being slut shamed made me want more sex
Don’t say my name

Blogging

“Hidden” memes
A Brief History of Sex Blogging

Writing About Writing

Openings and Grabbing Your Reader

Poetry

Sense Memory – a Lusty Limerick

 

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What is “Normal,” Anyway?

April 15, 2014 38 comments

So, you may have noticed that I’m a bit of a deviant. And by “a bit of a deviant” I mean the tagline of this blog is “sex at three standard deviations” for a reason. It’s mostly a joke. I picked three because I deviate from societal norms regarding sex in three major ways (kink, nonmonogamy, bisexuality), and threw in standard deviations on a whim/because I’m a bit of a nerd.

Figure 1: What the hell is this doing in a sex blog?

Figure 1: What the hell is this doing in a sex blog?

It still might be true, though. If you look at the normal distribution, you’ll see it’s divided into sections. If µ in the middle there is your mean, µ +/- one standard deviation is mathematically normal. If we were talking about men’s height in the US, average is about 5’10”, and a standard deviation is about 2.75″, so 68.27% of men will be between about 5’7.25″ and 6’0.75″. That’s our normal range. Between the first and second standard deviation, men who are 5’4.5″ to 5’7.25″ are likely to be considered short, while their analogues on the other side at 6’0.75″ to 6’3.5″ are tall. 95.45% of people should fall within this range. At 3 standard deviations, you’re down to 5’1.75″ or up to 6’6.25″. Only about 1/4 of a percent of men are going to be outside that range. It’s unlikely to pass without comment.

Behavior’s a bit trickier. You can’t treat a sexual identity and behaviors as just one thing, so say we take a persons kinks and preferences and plot each of them according to what proportion of the population shares them. Kissing is going to be well within the norm. Being waterboarded is going to be well outside of it. Sexual proclivities that 2.7 or fewer out of an average sample of 1000 people share are at three standard deviations.

bellcurve2

Figure 2: Placement of points does not represent the result of any research survey. Just threw ’em in at a guess for illustrative purposes.

That’s not to say a more common preference is better, or that a very uncommon one is an excuse for someone to crow about how kinky they are. It is freakish, sure, but only in the sense that it’s unusual. Value judgments based solely on how common a preference is are frankly just boring.

So what does it mean, to have a kink or preference further from the norm?

It can mean stigma.

Visibility helps with this: prevalence of LGBT persons in America varies by survey, but rests pretty firmly at or beyond 2 standard deviations (a recent Gallup poll puts the national average at 3.5%). There’s still rampant homophobia, but acceptance of gay and lesbian relationships is more common than not and trending upwards (more Gallup). Having an unusual kink or multiple partners still comes with the risk of social consequences if discovered. Normalizing a kink in terms of stigma needn’t mean convincing more people to enjoy it, just convincing them that it exists and folks who engage in it can be otherwise normal.

It can be harder to find partners who share your interests.

Again, some of this has been circumvented. We find each other. We have gay bars and clubs for those interested in same sex partners, BDSM groups for kinky folks, swingers clubs and poly meetups for swingers and poly folks respectively. We have the dark corners of the Internet. Still, less common means lower odds of meeting someone who shares whatever you’re looking for (and with whom you’re also compatible generally. That’s still important, obviously). Looking for a smart, nerdy straight or bi male to make out with? They are legion. Higher total number means higher number of potentially compatible ones. Yay! Looking for a smart, nerdy queer person who’s into waterboarding? Call me; I’m thisclose to giving up.

No partner is going to share every one of your preferences. There are too many possible variables, it’s just not going to happen. We prioritize, seek out the things without which we can’t feel satisfied with or properly connected to a partner.

It means thinking a little differently.

Being queer or poly or kinky means rejecting societal norms, to some degree. It can’t be done automatically, because the script isn’t provided for us. We have to think about it, challenge it, build our own systems and articulate our own ideas. We don’t always do the best construction, what with the lack of established blueprints and all, but we do what we can.

So what is normal anyway?

Normal is within 1 SD of the average. Normal is cisgendered and cissexual. It’s heterosexual. It’s vanilla. It’s monogamous. Normal is not better (though a certain subset of them certainly seem to think they are). Normal is not worse. Those of us who fall outside the norms aren’t anointed innovators and bringers of truth to the regular folks. It just means we’re different. Most of the time, I think I’m okay with that.

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Loyal, Honest, Faithful

April 4, 2014 10 comments

 

“Gotta set boundaries in life.
I’ve contemplated this whole poly/nonmonogamy thing that I’ve lived for so long.
It was a nice phase
but at the end of the day
I’m a nice girl
I’m loyal, honest, and faithful
When a man has my heart, I don’t want to look at anyone else
And I don’t give it away lightly or often.”

We aren’t close. We went out a few times, had a few scenes at parties, never really kept in touch in between. Not close enough that seeing her post this on Facebook should have led to such a strong sense of betrayal.

After all, we weren’t in a relationship. Her decision to focus on monogamy doesn’t affect me.

But her phrasing does.

“It was a nice phase.”

Nonmonogamy is not a valid long-term relationship paradigm.

It’s okay for people who aren’t looking for serious relationships. It’s sowing wild oats, having fun, but it can’t build anything real.

So many people seem to think this: that seeing and sleeping with multiple people is fine, but only until you pick one to settle down with. There’s a monogamous end-game, a belief that multiple partnerships automatically mean less.

It’s an idea that sets lovers in competition with each other for the chance to cement a relationship.

It means treating partners with less care, because no matter what we say, they’ll think the relationship can’t be important, emotionally involved, or built on real connections. It means we’re more likely to get hurt, when they decide to settle down with someone else. It means they won’t expect to have to let us down gently, will be surprised and unprepared by our reactions. To them, it’s no big deal. Be cool, it was just a thing.

If you do view nonmonogamy as a phase, or as a style not commensurate with forming ties, be up front about it. Be compassionate, if one or more partners you aren’t emotionally involved in falls for you. Don’t string anyone along, don’t lie, and don’t laugh when they offer you their hearts. It’s okay to turn it down, it’s always okay to turn them down, but gently, gently.

“I’m a nice girl.”

“Nice” girls are monogamous. Nonmonogamy is perverse, hedonistic, wanton, or cruel.

If they think nonmonogamous partners aren’t nice, what must they think of those of us who choose nonmonogamy and reaffirm that choice year after year? If we’re othered, diminished, perceived as lacking in moral capacity, how well do we expect to be treated?

I don’t trust people who say “I’m a nice person.” It’s such an easy defense to fall back on, when bad behavior is called out. They can’t deny the behavior, so they twist: “I’m not the sort of person who does that sort of thing!” They may not be malicious, but they lack the self-reflection and empathy required to score highly on the recently developed Nic’s Niceness Scale.

If you think nonmonogamous people aren’t nice, don’t date us. Don’t sleep with us. We deserve better from our partners, and you don’t want us anyway.

“I’m loyal”

Nonmonogamous people are disloyal.

A person can have multiple loyalties. Most do. Partners, family, friends, communities to which they belong, communities with whom they’re allied. Loyalty need not be exclusionary, and indeed, exclusionary loyalty often reflects a moral judgment on the excluded party. Think divorced parents: the ones that demand exclusionary loyalty want their kids to pick sides. Those who ask for loyalty that can be inclusive do not. It’s a less self-centered, more positive, less jealous way of thinking.

Anyone who doesn’t believe it’s necessary to be loyal to–that is, supportive of–all of their partners has no business forming partnerships in the first place.

If you think nonmonogamous people are disloyal, don’t date us. Don’t sleep with us. We deserve better than someone who will rescind loyalty once they find the “right” partner, and you don’t want us anyway.

“I’m honest”

Nonmonogamous people are dishonest.

I have trust issues. They’ve been validated, over and over again. I’ve been told Odysseus-level lies about relationships, seen promises broken and cowardly silences maintained. And every time a lie about partners has come up and I’ve gotten any kind of explanation for it, it’s been the same: “I thought you/she/they would leave if you/she/they knew about each other.” It’s because people assume that exclusivity is desired that they feel the need to hide the lack of it at all. It’s not okay, this assumption. It’s all kinds of insulting to those of us who truly don’t desire exclusivity. We’ve said we’re poly, we’ve said what that means, and you choose to believe–what? That it’s a lie? A trick? A trap? A self-delusion? Why would a person want to be in a relationship with someone they believed was lying about their entire relationship paradigm? The point of this, though, is that the lies aren’t caused by polyamorous ideas. They’re caused by monogamous ideas incompatible with polyamory. It’s a blood transfusion being rejected; the ideas are toxic in polyamorous context*.

If you think nonmonogamous people are dishonest, don’t date us. Don’t sleep with us. We deserve partners who will respect us and interact with us as individuals, and you don’t want us anyway.

“I’m faithful”

Nonmonogamous people are unfaithful.

This overlaps strongly with loyalty, but I’m addressing it separately anyway. Let’s talk about what being faithful actually means. It means constant, steadfast allegiance or affection. It means devotion, religious or human. It means dutiful and true to its object. Faithfulness does include exclusivity to one’s partner if that’s what a couple agrees to. Dutiful and true, to whatever agreement the relationship is based on. For those of us who are not monogamous, faithful means something else. It means steadfast affection, approaching our partners within a caring framework, and maintaining the ethical duties we all have to our partners. Those duties just don’t happen to include sexual or romantic exclusivity.

If you think nonmonogamous people are unfaithful, don’t date us. Don’t sleep with us. We don’t want the stress and misery that come with your misconceptions about our relationships, and you don’t want us anyway.

“When a man has my heart, I don’t want to look at anyone else. I don’t give it away lightly or often.”

Nonmonogamous people give their love lightly, often.

Love does not work that way. Our hearts are fragile. Poly people may share ours with more than one person at a time, that’s all. It’s still thrilling and frightening and terrible to fall in love**. Heartbreak still hits hard, and still makes us cautious of getting close to another person again. When someone has my heart, it doesn’t mean I forget or stop caring about others. It means that this person, no matter what, will be a priority. It means I will take time and effort to make them a part of my life as long as they want to have a place there. It means I will not take their presence for granted, will always be grateful for the moments they choose to share.

If you think nonmonogamous people feel love differently, or less, please think again. We may not fall in love with every partner. We may not fall in love with you. But we might. We deserve not to be treated as objects, even if we aren’t in love. You deserve not to be treated as an object, even if you aren’t in love.

 

* Note that I said in a polyamorous context. The ideas work fine in their own system–your blood for the most part is safe and healthy in your own body. The transfusion of those ideas to a system with which it is incompatible is what causes harm here. I’m not calling monogamy a disease or unnatural or toxic, I am saying that a simple incompatibility exists between some of its core precepts and the healthy practice of nonmonogamy.

**I do not have a healthy relationship with this process. Your mileage may vary.

DISCLAIMER

I don’t speak for all the poly people. Some folks probably think I’m wrong to varying degrees. That’s cool. Best to have a conversation about it before starting a relationship though, yeah?

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