Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sinful Smoke

The night is still hot from the bright sunlight of the day. The boards creak, even now, under any weight. At some point the sad porch had been painted a dull neutral tan but now it was more brown and scratched than painted. In the desert, there really isn't much to look at at night. Just more apartment buildings, and small gardens the building tries to keep in one piece. I slip a cigarette between my lips and pull. The paper cracks and burns. The cherry flavor of the filter is crisp on my tongue. My cup is empty, sitting by itself against the railing.

The low groan lets me know he's there and I turn my head. So often, there are comments about the way in which feminine wiles turn heads and melt brain cells. Really, the way he leans against the top of the door frame with one hand, giving me the long line of his body, is practically criminal. I can't read his face; the lamp behind him hides any expression.

I never sleep well with someone else in the bed. Hell, even without the extra body its nearly impossible. I turn back out to the night, believing that if I stare at the stars long enough he'll get the message and go back to bed, and to Jack. He doesn't though. Instead, he curls around me, bringing my hand to his lips and pulling from the cigarette. I would raise an eyebrow but knowing Brendan he'll just laugh and say 'in moderation'. Tonight, I'm not up for the usual games. The way he holds me still makes me uncomfortable. At first it was all in fun, and games. My first love, not fell by the wayside not too long ago. I like to forget the way being held feels. Brendan and Jack are really the first two people I've ever slept next to.

I'd like to say that I'm shaking because its cold, but honestly I don't know what to think. Less than a month ago I met Brendan at a party. Tonight, I've learned new worlds exist. New words exist. Words like Kinky, and Poly-amorous sound more like fairy-tales than diction. It's like I've slipped in the shower and woken up in a porno.

I'd like to remind him that Jack is sleeping in bed, but as her lover, I'm sure he'd know best whether she'll miss him or not. I'm betting not. He could be a killer. They could be using me. I wonder if anything they've said is real tonight or if it's all for the sake of a threesome. I flick the butt of the cancer stick somewhere into the gravel and debate whether to reach again into the pack of cloves on the railing. I lean into him and kiss him hard. If we stand here too long we'll have to talk. "More, Please."

His lips are hot at my throat, and the night is already warm to begin with. It isn't long before he ducks inside to the bedroom and is back again. He curses at the condom and then again as he first shoves aside my underwear. I know I can say the words they taught me tonight. I can make this stop but I don't want to. I should feel embarrassed but I'm not. We're fucking for the world to see, and he's biting at my neck while wrenching my hands behind my back. I can't breath. I'm off balance, but he's not going to let me go. I'm trying not scream, not to make a sound. He just laughs in my ear and tells me to let the neighbors know if I'm enjoying myself. It's all to much for my brain. I'm answering back to every dirty thing he says and tomorrow I'll feel like a slut and a whore for it. Tonight? Tonight, I can't remember what I'm saying, or tell if that's really my voice answering him.

It's over too quickly and not soon enough. I can't help but watch every corner and pray that no one sees us, or am I really hoping someone does? The full condom gets tossed lazily into a trash can before the tell-tale noise of a zipper lets me know that he's back to being half dressed again. He pets me and kisses me. My knees feel empty. When I stand on tip toe to kiss him; they shake. He inclines his head and pulls me toward the living room again.

I shake my head and motion for the pack next to me. An after sex cigarette is the perfect excuse. Something flashes across his face. I don't know what it means. He and Jack have this whole other language spoken in subtle looks and shoulder shrugs. Instead, I light up defiantly and stare out into the night, pretending like nothing is wrong and like I know what he means. I adjust my panties like I'm not covered in sweat and condom lube.

Hell, even if I am just a toy to them, its nice to be wanted. Even if they are lying and the world isn't full of these words, I can do what I like for the price of my soul. I lost that to a kid with a hard-on for Blink-182, anyway. So, I pull from the cigarette and pretend this is old hat. I try to make smoke rings like my mind isn't going a mile an hour. If I tip my head at the right moments no one will know that I haven't a clue. For Brendan and Jack I can be a wet dream.

I can be a fantasy.

I can be Jet.

No where else in the world matters.

Maybe, just maybe, they aren't lying. Maybe a few words and some rough sex don't make me everything everyone has said I am. Maybe I can be all of these things and somewhere there really are people that believe my desires don't make me terrible. The cigarette is bitter and the light grey smoke puffs into the warm air. The taste of cherries is heavy on my lips from the cigarette filter. At night, the desert is quiet and I'm left with my thoughts and an empty glass.

Seven years later, I don't quite know why Jack and Brendan took me in. I was a little more than a lost child. Nights in New York City are nothing like the warm evenings in Phoenix, Arizona. Brendan and I connected on such a level I swear I could feel him breath when we danced in circle. Jack, well, she was hell on wheels. At seventeen I lucked out and fell into bed with people who taught me what it is to know kink, and sex, and what I wanted. I came to them afraid, lost and alone. I left a growing thing and unashamed.  There is something to be said for park theory. You always leave less experienced partners better than when you found them, or at the very least in the same condition. They did more than that. They woke me up from a nightmare. My first love left me broken; most first loves do. My first real lovers helped me find what it is to be whole. There are a dozen horror stories about threesomes and adults who use young bisexual women. There are tops who abuse bottoms. There are bottoms who manipulate and abuse new tops. The world can be a scary place.  I want my very rare and lucky experience to exist somewhere other than my memory. I hope that my lovers remember the times they were nervous, and worried, and excited and know I did not use them. If I've ever played the part of corrupter, I hope my partners are better for it.  I hope I can continue to remember what it is to be new, to be scared, and to be on the verge discovering everything inside me.

Coming Out Kinky (Republished from ParksDunlap.wordpress)

Dear Parks,
What do you think about being out/coming out as kinky? Any advice or tips on how to navigate being a deviant?
Please visit soon,
Milwaukee, WI
Recently, many of my students and peers have been asking me about  BDSM/Kink, and because of certain popular book called Fifty Shades of Grey, BDSM is now being discussed in a more mainstream way. So lez do it!
(Flag of leather, latex, and BDSM pride)
BDSM, kink, and consensual power exchanges/dynamics are also a part of a lot of people's sex lives, including my own, and I want to represent and provide information about sexuality, all parts of it, with this blog and with my future as a sexuality educator.
So, coming out kinky...
I think it's important, when sharing any information about yourself, that you consider why you want to share that information. Is it because you want to feel politically represented? Is it because you want your loved ones to know what you are all about? Is it because your dad straight-up asks you what the San Francisco Citadel is and why you are going there so often and "Um...it's a nonprofit for sexuality education, exploration, and consent studies" just isn't gonna cut it anymore? (True life.)
Is it because someone sees your marks and is like "Are you okay? Did someone (he, it's always a he) hit you? You don't have to take this anymore. I know a place you can go," and coming out is just a part of assuring others that you are safe?
Is it because you need to out yourself in order to access more information about safety and how-to's, and to find others who have similar identites?
Is kink a political identity for you? Or is it just something fun that you do sometimes in a very private way?
Do you want to come out as kinky?
Are you ready to explain what BDSM is? And why it's not a monstrous thing?
Do you have the support systems  you need to feel safe coming out?
(I should really make a flowchart for this.)
Coming out can be a scary thing. And coming out kinky, well, it's often seen as an over-share. This is because kink, BDSM, and all that jazz are immediately seen as sexual. Kind of like whenever someone mentions gayness anal sex is immediately thought of.
Kink, in my opinion, and in my personal life, is a political identity. So much so that I flag every day.
When you tell someone you are into kink, into BDSM, you may align yourself with power exchange community. You are sharing a part of your identity that may tell others:
  1. How you fuck
  2. How you date
  3. How  you may form your family
  4. That a lot of what you do is actually illegal in most states ('cept New Jersey; you rule, New Jersey)
  5. That with its illegality, you risk losing your job/kids/other important things by sharing this part of yourself with others
  6. That your sex ed did not cover what your sex actually looks like
  7. That you have not been represented in most sexual health books
  8. That you are having queer sex, because the sex that you are having is non-normative, making it queer
You also need to think about how when you come out as kinky, you may be outing partners of yours as well. If you tell someone "I only have kinky sex" and that person knows who you are dating, guess what? You just outed your partner.
So ask your partner(s) first, and discuss how to share your sexuality with others without outing people without their consent.
You will also probably have to have a conversation about consent with most people you come out as kinky to. Because they will honestly and well-meaningly want to know why kink is not abuse.
Kink and BDSM are not abuse because they demand the consent of everyone involved. If there is not consent, it is assault. Not kink, not sex, not play, but sexual violence.
Plain and simple.
(This is not to say that abuse does not happen in the BDSM community, because  it does.)
It's important to focus on the positive aspects of why you love kink. The blog Happy BDSM has a lot of smiles and kink (NSFW).
People will also say a lot of stuff like this:
(Yes, this was one of my internet procrastination projects with one of my best friends. And that is my room. And that is my speculum.)
Sometimes it's also important to keep it simple when coming out kinky. As a friend of mine put it, "This is not a game of shock and awe."
Sometimes I come out by saying that "A partner and pet of mine..."
Or when someone asks me about a bruise, "Everyone involved had a great time," and leave it at that.
A friend in NYC on coming out kinky: "... I often just act like it's a normal part of my life. Because, you know, it is."
Remember that you are normal.
Focusing on the positive, on the caring, on the joy, eye contact, smiles, and intentional planning that goes into BDSM/kink is really important. 
Have resources available for when questions arise. You do not need to be the resource, but you can help guide people in your life to literature and videos that can help them get it.  Here is a link to Clarisse Thorn's BDSM Resources. This is a wonderful resource list. 
Remember that you are not alone. A lot of us love this stuff, live this stuff, find the hardware store a super-erotic place, and get off on dark and perverted stuff. Good luck! Godspeed! May there be wind in your sails and tails on your back.
And let me know how it goes!
 Read more from Parks on their blog:  parksdunlap.wordpress.com

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Fear and Loathing

About me: I am a kinky, queer, poly, writer and activist named Piper. My level of humility is constantly declining, and I honestly believe the more we can share about ourselves, the more we learn about each other, so I don't hold back when I'm writing. I write about my sex life, not only as a space for myself to grow, but also as a place for others to learn something, too. You can check out my blog here, and below is a recent entry about hard limits.

I have this thing about feet – it’s called a hard limit. But this limit extends outside of scenes and into my every day life. Most people’s hard limits are things you wouldn’t expect to encounter or tolerate outside of D/s play, like objectification, needles, or blood play. But when you don’t like anyone touching or even looking at your feet, ever, it comes up more than just with foot fetishist: pedicures and foot rubs and sandals, oh my.

So, the other night, I challenged myself. I had just walked across the city to get to a rope bomb, and I was ready for some serious rope. I had done a gravity boot a couple weeks before, and was hooked – but I wanted to push it further, and luckily, we were at the perfect spot to do just that. The park we were in had some walkways that rose slightly above the Hudson River, which were lined with heavy steel and concrete railings.  And I had a plan.

Gravity boot, over the railing, just above the water, wearing nothing more than underwear, on a night that couldn’t be more than 55 degrees – this was going to be fun.

Because this was a little more risky than other ties, Mr. Blue and I wanted to make sure we mitigated as many other risks as we could, so when I asked him if I should take off my heels, I already knew the answer would be yes.

He touched my foot, and the rope followed, and I felt my skin spike and a sort of chill run down my spine, but as he wrapped the rope into a kind of slipper, my body relaxed and the rope high took over. I slipped over the edge of the bridge, into darkness and one of the most delicious head spaces I have ever experienced: I was completely relaxed and entirely energized, feeling like I was floating. It wasn’t until the rope was coming off that I even remembered I was barefoot.

I am all for people having hard limits: knowing where your triggers are, and putting a big, red fence around them is great for everyone involved. However, my feet is one limit I am sick of having. It gets broken, made fun of and brushed off more than any other limit I’ve ever heard of. People can’t fathom that talking about my feet, even looking at them, makes my skin crawl, in a way that people wouldn’t even think about pushing if someone’s limit was rapeplay or another edge play or common trigger.

I’m not saying I’m aiming to rid myself of hard limits, but by pushing myself in ways that I know I can (like as a necessary safety component for my dream tie) I am bringing myself closer to being able to manage my triggers in a way that’s healthy for me. And in the end, that’s a big step towards getting a handle on my sexuality.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Countering Negative Body Image

I’m sure we’ve all heard that exasperated sigh followed by a phrase such as: “I look awful. I need to lose weight!” It saddens me each time.  It’s not the fact that they are saying they need to lose weight that saddens me. And it’s not just this phrase. Weight can be replaced with any other physical attribute and if the adjective isn’t awful it’s something just as negative.

The point is there seems to be a commonly held belief that there is always something to change about one’s appearance. Not just change but improve.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to alter one’s appearance for whatever reason. But the idea that one must improve or constantly work on their appearance for fear of looking or feeling awful is upsetting.

As upsetting as it is, it is something I can understand. I have pretty positive body image but it was something I had to work on. Struggling with body image is probably something most people have experienced.

We’re bombarded with images and messages of what bodies should and should not look like. What makes a body good is quite limited while the list of what makes a body bad is extensive.

Good and bad seem like very simple and unfitting words to describe bodies. But sometimes it seems as though that is the way we’re meant to think about our bodies.

I’m not going to write about how the media tells women they have to be thinner and thinner each day. Yes, that message is given along with many others. A lot of these messages apply to men as well but they’re often left out of the research done on the media and how it influences body image. I find this unfortunate. I think anyone’s body image can be negatively affected. And most media images leave no room for those who do not fit into the male/female, masculine/feminine binary.

I remember when I was maybe sixteen and I was worrying about my breasts being too big and not perky enough. I’d often look at images of naked women in an attempt to find someone who looked like me. I needed the comfort of those images to remind myself that I was normal. I did finally find pictures on an obscure website (http://www.007b.com/breast_gallery.php). It's a website for women to post pictures of their breasts because they too felt like there was something wrong with their breasts.

The pictures helped me and when I read through the comments it seemed to help tons of other women. I found a similar site (http://www.the-clitoris.com/) with women worrying whether their vulvae were abnormal. While it was great to be able to find those sites it was difficult to find them in the first place.

In saying that these sites helped remind me that my body was normal I am not saying that bodies in the media are not normal. But the bodies shown to us are of a very limited variety. And oftentimes they’re unrealistic because of the way they are enhanced.

I can go on and on about the negative ways one’s body image can be affected. But instead I think it may be more helpful to consider the ways in which one can counter those affects.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a bit of an exhibitionist. I love taking pictures of myself and I love having others take pictures of me. It’s something I enjoy because it turns me on but it’s also a way I can express a body positive attitude.

I’ve gotten a few messages from women on Fetlife telling me my pictures have inspired them to take pictures of themselves and love their bodies. By writing this I am not trying to pat myself on the back or boost my ego. But when I get these messages I feel really great. I know how hard it was for me to get to a place where I love my body so if I can help someone else get a little closer to that place then I’m happy.

As a solution to combat negative body image I am not suggesting that everyone should become an exhibitionist. But I do think people should question themselves and others when they hear that exasperated sigh followed by a phrase that describes their bodies as bad in some way.

I also think social media can be a great way to find and create places where all bodies are accepted. There are a ton of blogs, Tumblr and Twitter accounts out there now that attempt to create a space that is accepting of all types of bodies. It makes sense to find alternative forms of media if the mainstream one is only serving a very limited group of people.

However, even then it can be hard to find a place that acknowledges the struggle people other than women face when it comes to body image. Hopefully that is something that will change. I also think there is a close-minded view that only tries to help "curvy girls". This is great but curvy girls are not the only ones who struggle with body image issues.

In countering negative body image I don't think it's helpful to say something like "real _____ have _____". Real men/women/girls/boys/genderqueer folk/trans folk/intersexed folk/etc. have whatever body they have and they're real regardless.