Subculture Spotted: The Kink Community & My first play party

This last Saturday I went to my first ever BDSM party. I went there with some fear and anxiety. I was afraid of seeing some acts that would make me uncomfortable and just be generally hard to watch. I was worried I would see abuse. It felt dangerous. I felt nervous. I was very afraid I would be approached to engage in play. I expected this to happen many times. What follows is a real story.
What I saw was beautiful, inspiring, and positive. My faith in people was restored and my fear relinquished.
I had been an honorary member of the BDSM fetish and kink communities for a few years now. As an honorary member I talked with my kinkster friends often and had expressed interest in going to their social meetups called “munches” and kink play parties. The first thing that struck me about these people was their raw honesty and apparent lack of fear. This is a very personal subject. Some would call it a dark secret. Most would include it in their “unmentionables” pile. But not Sadie. She’s an amazon.
In the BDSM and kink communities which from now on I will refer to simply as the community anonymity is important, but so is honesty. Everyone in the community has a kink name that is different from their given one. Or at least that’s how it should work. In practice I found that it is mostly the women who use pseudo names and the men keep their everyday names. I’m not sure why this is the case.
When Sadie first started telling me about her involvement with the kink community I was a bit shocked. Not by the types of activities she was describing but that she was telling me all these real things that happened. She was so honest, so open, so fearless. This was the first time in my life anyone had talked openly with me about their own sexual perversions. I soaked it in and asked for more…
Here’s some of what Sadie shared with me that I’d like to pass on…
  • structure within the community
  • sub/dom relationships
  • safety & consent
  • checking in with your partner
  • how to negotiate
  • how to be respectful
  • fire play
  • needle play
  • protocol parties
  • slave positions
  • munches
  • play parties
There is an order to things in the community. There is structure, protocols, safety words, and moderators. You are safer exploring your kinky side within the bounds of the community or at a play party than you are in your own home. Here’s why…
  • The community is serious about safety.
  • They look out for their own and guard against predators.
  • Your anonymity is valued, respected, and protected.
  • They are knowledgeable about their craft.
  • They negotiate everything.
  • They ask for permission.
  • They respect the bounds of your relationship.
  • Nothing is expected of you.
  • There is no pressure.
  • There are party moderators who job is to protect you and ensure the rules are followed.
  • Safe words are always used for slow down or complete stop.
  • After care is practiced to aid in the recovery of a sub after a scene is performed.
  • They are not judgmental.
They are not creeps.
They are just like you…and a lot like me.
Every community is different. If you are reading this and are involved with the kink community in your city please understand this is based on the community I am involved with. It can represent nothing else. This community in Austin is the only one I have known. Though I would like to know others. Just a disclaimer I do not presume to know or assume all communities are the same. Every community is independently operated.
Here’s what I know about the Austin kink community…
The Austin Kink community is a social one. They are out and proud. They gather in public and discuss their fetishes openly at weekly meetups called “Munches”. There’s a munch in South Austin and one in North Austin. Some people go to both but most go to the one closest to them. I have attended both groups.
The munch is a social gathering open to all. There you will find experts, amateurs, and wannabes. The munches are held at local bars and are well attended. There is no sexual play at a munch. You can talk to people about their experiences or about sports. You can meet other kinksters you might like to play with in the future. You can buy tickets for an upcoming play party (held monthly). You can negotiate scenes. And you can drink.
The first munch I went to was the South Austin munch. I went with a few friends. And I held on to that safety blanket for a while. Before this I had  attended a few private social events within the community so I already knew some people. Again, I was surprised at how friendly, social, and  open the people were. I truly felt welcomed and not just because I was fresh meat.
I talked to people about how they were first introduced to the community, their kinks and fetishes, and their experiences at recent parties. Then I saw Sierra…
She walked into the bar rather meekly, looked around for a minute, and then took up residence on a bench on the outskirts of our large group. I did not know her. I had never seen her before and I didn’t think she was part of the community. I asked my friends if they knew who she was. I was told “she’s interesting”. She was the most beautiful person in the bar, and by far the one I was most attracted to in the group. I had to talk to her. I wanted to at least try.
So I asked my friends to go over with me and make introductions. They kindly obliged.
“Hi, I’m Faye.”
     “I’m Sierra, it’s nice to meet you. Would you like to sit down?”
Yes, yes I would. We talked for hours. I let go of my safety blanket.
We talked about male sex entitlement, consent issues and gray areas, working in the adult industry, confidence, and how to guard yourself against verbal and physical abuse. She has been around the community for many years and would consider herself a bit of a veteran. She grew up in a liberal, sex positive household. From an early age she was familiar with or at least aware of alternative lifestyles such as polyamory, kink, fetish, and LGBT. Her parents raised her athiest/agnostic and so she had no religious influences.
I also met another girl that night. She already knew Sierra. The three of us spent a while discussing consent, rape, and the gray areas.
Sierra had a unique perspective on body and personal confidence. Sierra has been stripping professionally for the last two years.

The location of the party was remote. It was about 45 minutes outside of Austin proper. The roads we took to get there were really poorly maintained. It felt like I was on some kind of sex safari. I carpooled with my friends in the community. We were some of the first to arrive. Sadie wanted to make sure we got there in time for the hog tying tutorial at 8:30. The party would start afterwards.
When we first went inside the house the first thing I saw was a girl topless on the couch cuddling with another girl. I like this place already. Sadie gave me a tour of the house. It was a house, not a dungeon, a warehouse, or club. The main room you walk into when you enter the house was the designated social area and no play was allowed here. It included the living room, kitchen, and another room for recovery.
Everyone was smiling and friendly. Mostly they were catching up with friends and partners. It was a very social and pleasant atmosphere. We continued the tour and saw the different rooms available for play. The house was arranged in a U shape around a central room which I’ll refer to as the main play room. This central room was very large and had an open ceiling to the second floor where there was a convenient viewing deck overlooking the room.
The main play room had many tables some looked like massage tables, others were tables with benches meant for being bent over, there was a long solid wood table. The most interesting feature this room was a floor to ceiling spider web wheel made of wood and chain. A few of the girls were climbing it and sitting on the top. There was also a pulley system installed with a rope hanging from he ceiling that could be used for suspension. The main play room was very open and airy the rooms of the house were more isolated and much smaller. Many kind of play and scenes could occur simultaneously in the main play room.
The other rooms of the house were arranged around the main play room. There were two floors and an outside deck. The rooms were much the same. They all had massage and/or medical tables, large floor to ceiling wooden Xs, and various tie and suspension points. Oh and a mini-dungeon room, but it was more like a closet with a metal bars for a wall.
The party started with the hog tie tutorial in the main play room. There was an older couple there to teach although this particular play party was 35 and under. On the floor was laid out a yoga mat and many ropes or varying size. He started by binding the hands leaving a long piece of rope hanging to tighten. He then had the sub lay stomach down on the mat. He bound the feet leaving a loop available. He took the rope left over from the hands strung it through the available loop by the feet and cinched it up creating an impressive arch in the back. He explained at every step safety precautions including not making the rope too tight so as to avoid making the hands and feet go numb. He talked about how long a sub could safely stay bound before going numb in the limbs. He pointed out some major nerves to avoid wrapping or binding such as the radial nerve running along the outer bicep. After showing the basic hog tie he went on to a more advanced version including a chest strap. This more advanced version is safer for a sub to stay bound for longer periods of time. He showed how to create a chest strap so as to not choke the neck. There were many couples practicing the techniques.
After the tutorial session there was a race. It was a race to see who could hog tie their partner fastest but there was an added challenge. After being fully bound the sub had to pick up a plastic spoon in their mouth and put it in an empty solo cup without the cup tipping over. This is way harder than the picture happening in your head right now. The sub has zero range of motion, it was pretty amusing to watch.
Before the play could begin the moderators gathered everyone in the main room to go over rules of the party.
1. You need verbal l permission to play with another person, if they have a dom you need to request permission from the dom as well
2. Safety words for the party are RED means full immediate stop, and YELLOW means slow down and check in, a sub can use these safety words at anytime
3. If you here someone say RED and the scene is not stopping find your nearest moderator to report
4. Leave your area cleaner than when you came use sanitizer to clean after your scene
There were three moderators, 2 men and 1 woman. They were recognizable by the red armband they were wearing. All the moderators spent the evening walking around the house ensuring everyone was safe. I felt safe in this space.
I never heard RED being used at anytime during the night. I was never approached by anyone or creeped out by any of the party attendees.
Scenes I saw…
  • sub/dom flogging on X, later saw same couple having oral sex
  • one girl chained to ceiling and feet spread but locked together on floor, she was blindfolded, group of people playing with her, sensory experiences, many different textures, ice, feathers, fur, some flogging, pushing her back and forth, about 4-5 people playing with her
  • sub/dom spanking/flogging on medical table
  • needle play, stick design and making a flower
  • massage play, just massage
  • sub/dom girl/girl in mainly room, very sensual sub was on hands and knees on a table, dom started by kissing an touching her, then used a flog and spanking while intermittently touching her, dom was also spinning flog and kind of dancing
  • girl/girl/guy in a room with a medical table, girl was being play with by girl and guy, guy was giving her pleasure and fingering her, while girl was spanking
  • fire play on long wooden table in main play room, girl was chained to table, guy was playing with her, he had two candles, a butane tank with torch, and rubbing alcohol or some other accelerant, he also had a 2-tipped rod one tip was on fire and the other he used to rub the accelerant onto skin, he would make very swift motions of rubbing the accelerant on the skin lighting it then smothering it out with his hand. The skin was never on fire and the sensation was very brief. He also used hot wax to play. He also used chinese glass bulbs for suctioning to her back. This is called fire cupping. He would take the cup put the enflamed rod into it for a few seconds then immeditately turn the cup upside down and place it on the skin of the back. This was repeated until around 10-12 cups were on her back. The cups were clear and you could see the reddened skin being sucked up quite a lot into the cup, the skin looked rather swollen. He left the cups on for a while and then removed the one by one. They all left round red marks, one cup left a large purple mark. It looked bit like she had been attacked by a horny octopus.
  • free style wrestling/fighting sub/dom girl/guy on the floor of the main play room
  • full body suspension by pulley system in main play room
  • punishment in the mini-cage
  • saw lots of comforting in the recovery and living rooms, the subs were in cozy pajamas and wrapped in blankets while their doms and lovers gently petted and massaged them, lots of cuddling
  • group hug to finish off the night
They provided food and water/soda at the party. This party was dry meaning no alcohol was allowed. The food consisted mostly of a variety of weird oreos, I think someone went to the store and just said give me all the oreos you have. ALL THE OREOS YOU HAVE.

LGBT Vocab 101 – How not to sound like a naive quidiot

I’m fairly new to the LGBTQ-mmunity having only found myself as a gay women in spring 2015. When I first started to identify as gay or lesbian I knew nothing, but more so than just not knowing how to be gay, I didn’t know how to speak gay or how to interact with people in the community. I heard many words I didn’t understand. I heard about many orientations, identities, and sexualities that were confusing to me. So I tried to educate myself with media, tv, movies, and educational websites.

I have learned a few things since then and to save you the embarrassment, and because we all need to start somewhere, here’s a vocab lesson for you. I can’t tell you what it means to be gay, bisexual, or lesbian. What I will try to do is de-shroud some terms that utterly confused me upon coming into this community.

Something I realized recently is that LGBT is no longer a complete acronym to represent this community. You have probably seen it represented in many ways LGBT, LGBTQ,  or LGBT+. The last one I’m convinced was created by someone like me who couldn’t follow the ever changing acronym.

Most recently at Haven Con, an LGBT and kink friendly home grown comic con based out of Austin TX, I learned that the LGBT community has started to merge with the kink community to form the biggest umbrella the world has seen.

So if you’re still following here’s the most complete and updated acronym I have found: LGBTQIAPK+ I added the + for good measure and to keep this article relevant.

Lesbian
Gay
Bisexual
Transexual
Queer
Intersex
Asexual
Pansexual
Kink
+ (any additional identities or sexualities)

The most common blanket term heard to refer to the whole community is queer. Queer is anyone who is not heterosexual and/or cisgendered.

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Cisgender 

Identifying by the same gender you were born with, such as you were born a female and identify as a female/woman as opposed to someone who was born a woman and does not identify with that gender. For example someone who was born a female but identifies as male in their everyday life (these individuals are not necessarily trans).

Queer 

An umbrella term encompassing all individuals that do not fit under the heterosexual or cisgender models. Most all LGTB+ individuals would also consider themselves queer.

2000px-Pansexuality_flag.svgPansexual
The difference between bisexual and pansexual can be confusing and unclear, some argue that these 2 labels are the same, but most all pansexuals will say it’s a completely different identity. Pansexuals often consider themselves gender blind. Bisexuals are attracted to women and men. Pansexuals may be attracted to people who do not exist on the gender binary of women and men. For example their lovers could include transexuals, gender non-binary, gender fluid, two spirits, or androgynous folks. Pansexual does not does not mean you are attracted to anything including animals and children.

Asexual 
AceFlagNot being sexually attracted or aroused by others. Asexuality is very complex and little understood. Not all asexuals are abstinent. Some engage in sexual activities with their romantic partners for a variety of reasons even if they are not sexually motivated or inclined. Asexuals may also have a romantic identity such as aromantic or demi-romantic meaning even if they do not desire sex they may still be interested in a romantic relationship which ca include cuddling and closeness. Asexuals can be in relationships just like anyone else. Asexuals are not necessarily without a sex drive meaning they may still have a physical desire to have sex but not act on it due to not feeling sexual attraction. Asexuals may engage in masturbation to satisfy their sex drive.

Intersex
Can include anyone with an abnormal chromosomes, hormones, or genitals that do not fit within the binary of male and female. Does not necessarily have to do with genitalia or existence of both penis and vagina. This can include transexual individuals who have chosen to change their sex but it also includes people born with a natural variance in their chromosomal pattern or genitalia. Intersex is not the same as gender fluid or gender non-binary. Intersex individuals have a physical difference whereas gender fluid or non-binary individuals do not necessarily have this.

Non-binary
An individual who does not identify within the gender binary of male/female or man/woman. They may identify as somewhere in-between, both male and female, or as neither. They do not feel the gender binary accurately represents them. They may have a combination of masculine ad feminine traits, features, or identify with both male and female genders depending on how they see themselves that day.

Gender fluid
Similar to gender non binary. It is someone who feels they are on a spectrum between feminine and masculine identities of woman and man. Their identity can fluctuate frequently depending on how they feel, what they are wearing, a role they are undertaking, or the relationship they are engaged in. These individuals may identify also as non-binary. The main difference between gender fluid and gender non-binary is a non-binary person may always identify in one way versus a gender fluid person’s identity is constantly in flux.

MTF 
2000px-Transgender_Pride_flag.svgMale to female transexual, an individual who was born male but identifies and chooses to live as a female, they may or may not decide to modify their bodies through hormones and surgeries

FTM
Female to male transexual, an individual who was born female but identifies and chooses to live as a male, they may or may not decide to modify their bodies through hormones and surgeries

Kinsey scale
A sexuality spectrum scale used to assess individuals sexual preferences. Sexuality is a spectrum and most individuals are not 100% gay or straight but somewhere on the spectrum.

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Sex Tech and the new look of pleasure

A round of applause follows as a Julie Gillis, co-founder of Bedpost Confessions, asks the crowd, “Can we get some love for all the sex workers out there?” A kinky, sex-positive, open-minded group of educators, techies, and adult entertainment professionals gathered for a panel on Sex Tech organized by the Southwest Sexual Health Alliance (SWSHA) and BaDoink VR.

As soon as a new technology is created someone starts using it for sex. The day after the camera was invented the first naked picture was taken. Dildos were created and used along with the earliest known stone tools in the paleolithic era. Steam powered vibrators were used by doctors in the 1600s to treat women for hysteria presenting with symptoms of anxiety, sleeplessness, irritability, erotic fantasies, and wetness between the legs. Women would go to their doctors for an orgasm. Satisfaction was the cure and it was good. Vibrators did not become home appliances until the 19th century when smaller, lighter batteries became widely available.

hysteria

Technology of today exists in the non-physical realm and is touching us more than ever. Partners can now connect intimately across long distances through voice chat and remotely operated toys. Virtual reality from companies like BaDoink immerses the viewer in a sexual scene where you can be the object or the doer. VR development is currently being dominated by the adult industry, but the uses of VR go far beyond pleasure seeking. From a sexual health perspective VR could be critical in the future for education, therapy, and accessibility.

free trial vibrator

“Healthy is a loaded term,” says sexual health educator, Dr. Karen Rayne. You should define healthy for you and your relationship. Each new piece of technology comes with a fear narrative, says McPherson. What does it mean? How will it affect us, our kids, and our relationships? Adult entertainment VR is particularly controversial. The intensity of the immersion and possibility for integration with physical devices creates many questions for couples. How should we define cheating? How will the use of VR affect my sex life and relationship outside the headset? These are questions everyone will now need to answer. The consensus of the panel is to discuss new sex tech with your partner before incorporating it into your relationship. Answer the questions above, expect the fear and anxiety, discuss boundaries, and schedule relationship check ins.

dr with vibrator

Purity as an ideal is fading. “In 50 years, everyone will have naked picture on the internet somewhere and it’s just not going to seem important anymore,” says Rayne. Privacy, right now, is a bigger issue and problem for people than it will be in the coming years. Morality and shame are still working to keep sexuality in the private sphere, but openness is spreading. Awareness is in and bigotry has been voted off.

“There is no normative sexuality, variance is the norm,” says Gillis.

Accessibility is the greatest asset of technology. The internet, mobile applications, virtual reality, and gadgets all increase our access to knowledge, each other, alternative communities, and pleasure.

VR future

Technology has created a platform for sexual diversity to be acknowledged, accepted, and accommodated. From FetLife to 3nder alternative communities are gaining exposure. Not only is it easier to find what you’re looking for you can also find people looking for the same. The future is normalization where the alternative is just that, an alternative.

It’s not like that! – a commentary on poly comedy “You Me Her”

A trailblazing new comedy centered on polyamorous relationships.

You Me Her is not your standard rom com. Or even standard polyromance. The circumstances surrounding this married couples entry into the world on non-monogamy is strange. An escort, an ex-lesbian, and a best intentioned husband become entangled and two lovers become three.

you me her

Jack and Emma are not polyamorous. They are an average, middle-aged, monogamous married couple. They were not looking for love.

Over the course of a few unconventional days, Jack and Emma found themselves questioning everything they thought they knew about themselves, their marriage, and love itself. They found themselves falling back in love but not with each other. There was another woman, but it wasn’t a secret. It wasn’t cheating. It was a trio of loves, the start of a polyamorous journey. A never expected trail.

Jack and Emma had no role models and no clue how to navigate these feelings for another woman. But the feelings are too strong to ignore. So they will try. They will struggle. They will love and they will fall, but they will do it together, at least, for now.

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Polyamory, or many loves, is a type of non-monogamous relationship structure. Monogamous relationships involve 2 people that are exclusively involved with one another. Polyamory is a freeform relationship structure and could include: trios, families, or complex trees with branches of lovers stemming form a central couple. What is common to all polyamorous relationships are core values of trust, honesty, and openness. Other lovers are brought in with the knowledge and acceptance of all partners involved.

My perspective on this new series is internal to the polyamory subculture. I am poly, a lesbian, and a woman.

There is very little reference to polyamory or non-monogamous relationships in television today. It’s just not well represented yet. Showtime’s Polyamory: Married & Dating (2012-2013) was a reality tv series that followed two poly families as they navigated life and their relationships. This series was hyper-sexualized but accurately portrayed the benefits and hardships of these relationships. Polyamory is highlighted in individual episodes of other reality shows including MTV’s True Life and Montel Williams.

cast

I am both excited and nervous to see how You Me Her will present and navigate the world of polyamory. I hope it will be an accurate representation of the community and its values.

The basis for this show I find a bit unaccessible. The concept of a married couple falling in love with an escort seems far-fetched and unrealistic. What is accessible though is feeling attraction to someone outside of your relationship and even developing feelings for them. Although many of us would like to think we are blinded by our love, we do notice others. We notice when they are attractive. And we can start to feel attracted to another person physically or emotionally. Maybe it presents itself as a close friendship. They might be feeling you would never act on. Or they may be feelings you struggle to admit you are having. I feel this attraction is natural and that you should not feel ashamed. Your eyes work, congrats.

I am excited to see how this plays out and how the show’s creators will approach topics of jealousy, bisexuality. emotional fidelity, relationship negotiations, and how to deal with family and friends.

PORN: What is it good for? Absolutely something.

I recently attended the inaugural talk of the Sexceptional Lecture Series organized by the Southwest Sexual Health Alliance. This series is being hosted in Austin, Texas and invites sexperts to speak on a range of topics including pornography, pleasure, orgasms, sexual shame, libido, kink, female sexuality, and self-acceptance. The objective of the series is overcoming fear, shame, and sexual misinformation. The series is aimed at sexual health professionals (e.g. counselors and therapists) but is accessible and highly interesting for the lay sex nerd (pun intended). It feels safe here.

The room at the Austin Center, where the event was hosted, was quite lively… actually, it was rather loud. Despite being filled with professionals who, for money, sit quietly and say “hmmmm,” they seemed a social bunch. A colorful, open, friendly group. These were my kind of people. I appreciated the visual feast of pastel hair and patterned pantsuits. I don’t think shame could enter here. It is the only thing not welcomed by this group.Our speaker was Dr. David Ley, a well known therapist, author, and public speaker on sexual and mental health issues. The talk began with a history of porn. Dr. Ley showed images from pre-history, including the oldest known cave art depicting sexual acts. The images were shocking, exaggerated, abstract, and heterosexual.

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It piqued my interest to see these early, unfamiliar depictions of human sexuality. I had heard of Venus figurines and other fertility representations from my academic studies in anthropology, but these usually showed only the female form with exaggerated femininity. I was not aware that sexual acts between two people were depicted this far back in our history. Fascinating. Dr. Ley coined a term for these images “petroporn.”

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It was unclear why this history was relevant to the discussion of modern porn’s influence on everyday life, but I was happy Dr. Ley included these images. He went on to show other early forms of porn. The first of what you could call “pornographic” films were released in 1896. One was by Thomas Edison depicting a kiss, and the other, “Le Coucher de la Marie,” was more sordid. Before these films were released displays of sexuality and love were confined entirely to the private sphere—the bedroom and the home. There were no public displays of affection. Coy was in. Imagine you had never seen a dick before… and then you watched the film Brüno, starring Sacha Baron Cohen. It would feel like that. Whatever you felt when you saw Bruno’s dick swinging in a circle must have been what it felt like to see two people kissing on the screen in 1896. Shocking. Unfathomable. Repulsive. And probably some fainting would have been involved.

bruno

We have come far. A kiss is not shocking. We actually find it delightful and heartwarming… at least I do. But how far have we really come? Sex in the media is still highly regulated. Porn is illegal in many countries. We have a ratings system for Hollywood movies and control who is allowed to see content we deem explicit. But who has decided this? Is this censorship? The production of sexually explicit material is even more regulated. Currently, you can only legally shoot an adult film in California, Nevada, and New Hampshire (kind of). All this regulation around sex displayed in media indicates our discomfort about these subjects. And this lack of comfort, openness, and acceptance of ourselves as sexual beings has led to widespread shame and secrecy. What is accepted by he majority is that your sex life is to be kept confidential and private.

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Humans have a long and complex history with sexual material. We have been making and consuming it since the paleolithic era and although most people acknowledge that it is part of the human experience, we each, on a very individual and personal level, have trouble accepting our own use of it. This is the fundamental question Dr. Ley addresses in this lecture. How can counselors and therapists address the shame and guilt experienced by their clients? How can an individual overcome their own prejudices toward porn and its related ethics?

Dr. Ley says people have always been afraid of sex. It is viewed as dirty, unsafe, unclean, and addictive. People also have many conceptions of what porn is and what it does to people.

Here are some of those beliefs:

  • Porn objectifies women.
  • It leads to violence.
  • It creates sexual predators.
  • It feeds pedophiles.
  • It creates unrealistic expectations of sexual experience.
  • It creates sex addicts.
  • It creates fetishes.
  • It feeds promiscuity.
  • It causes sex crimes.
  • It is responsible for sexual violence.

These are the prejudices, fears, and misinformation that encircle the word “porn”. These are the concepts that are important for counselors and therapists to acknowledge when taking care of the needs of a client. Which of these beliefs outlined above do you carry? Are there other associations you have with porn?

Something I find interesting is the discrepancy between how strongly I feel my conceptions to be true and what can be proven. The overlap is mostly always minimal. 🙁 What I know is rarely known by others.

Shame and fear regarding sex affects women more than men. One of the greatest fears for both genders is being judged for our sexual desires and fantasies.

670px-Create-a-Fantasy-Character-Name-Step-3-Version-2We do not feel comfortable sharing our fantasies with others for fear of not being accepted by others. Porn is appealing because it validates our fantasies and desires.

Women and men have different fears when engaging in sex. What women fear most is being judged about their body. They struggle with body image, acceptance, and feeling sexy or worthy of being a sexual partner. They worry they are not desirable. Not wanted. These feelings are strong and can be triggered easily and unintentionally by a partner. If this sounds like something you have struggled with it is beneficial to have a conversation with your partner about these fears and anxieties. Even better is if you are able to recognize when and how your anxieties around sex are triggered. Has there been a time when your partner said something that killed the mood? Do you need to be dressed sexily to be ready for sex? What are your pre-requisites? Do you know those of your partner?

The greatest fear men have when facing a sexual encounter is related to performance. They fear they will be unable to give their partner the greatest pleasure—the orgasm. This is particularly true if their partner is female.

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The female orgasm seems to be more elusive and is not indicated by obvious fluid release. Knowing this, how could you help your partner with his or her anxieties? Have you talked about what you like? What turns you on? What have been the circumstances and sexual actions that usually lead to an orgasm?One of my greatest and most personal fears is fear of the unknown. Of not knowing what is to come. Of not being able to predict situations, people, and my own future. How I have dealt with this fear is by asking questions. Of reading. Of trying to know more. And it has helped. But surprisingly one of the things I never asked questions about or even thought to try to know better was the sexual preferences, desires, fears, and anxieties of my partner. I don’t know why this is. I imagine it is related to culture and upbringing.Sex was never talked about in my own house. I never had an open-ended conversation about sex with any of my partners. Sex was never intimidating for me, but I know it often is for others. And no wonder. We are all just taking risks and trying things without having any idea of what will work. We wander aimlessly around our genitals. We are lost. What surprised me the most when I started this blog was the number of things in my life I never asked about or questioned. Of these things, sex was the largest uncharted territory.Starting a dialogue with my partner at the time, over a year ago, led to many personal and relationship changes. The exploration of my own sexuality and preferences. A paradigm shift away from monogamy. And many revelations about myself and about my partner. Many shifts took place. I have learned so much. And it began with a few questions and conversations on my own therapy couch.Here’s a few good questions to start a dialogue with your partner about sex:

  • What are your fears or anxieties surrounding sex?
  • What has been your most enjoyable sexual encounter with me? What do you think made that time most memorable?
  • What turns you on? About me?
  • What makes you feel confident and sexy?
  • What kinds of content turn you on? Do you watch porn or read erotica? What situations or attributes turn you on most?
  • What is your ideal sexual encounter? Start to finish, describe in detail.
  • What sex acts do you like the most? And the least?
  • What are your boundaries or no-go zones?
  • Are you interested in exploring kink?
  • Do you have any fantasies you could share with me?

Through this conversation you will discover many things about your partner. Your partner is exposing themselves to you in a big way. It is a huge step. You will both feel very vulnerable. The only way to quell each other’s fears and anxieties is by first, acknowledging them, and second, accepting them. These, Dr.Ley says are the most important steps. The only real way to overcome our inbred feelings of guilt and shame.Don’t do this lightly. Or give yourself too much credit. It is not enough to say “I love you and accept you.” Are you still secretly judging your partner in your head? They will be able to tell. And this will break the trust they gave to you. It is so important to maintain this trust with your partner when discussing uncomfortable subjects. It’s all you have. Try not to judge. Try to resist imposing morals on them based on how you feel about their fantasies or desires. One of the hardest things in a relationship is trusting your partner with the most personal pieces of information: your fantasies, pleasure, needs, and desires. There is no wrong or unhealthy sexual behavior or fantasy.We all experience the need to hide our sexual lives both from the world and even from our sexual partners. We feel embarrassed to talk about it. Shame regarding our secret preferences and fantasies. We fear rejection. We fear that we are not normal. That others will not understand and accept our viewing of pornographic material, especially if that material exhibits kink or other taboo engagements.

kinkPorn is part of our daily experience. Even if you don’t watch porn visually or experience erotica in a book. You are exposed to pornographic content in movies, advertisements, and by your partners. Porn and sex can make us feel uncomfortable. It is especially difficult to trust another with your sexual secrets.Dr. Ley offered two key pieces of advice for how to overcome our guilt, shame, and fear surrounding sex and porn. The first is to acknowledge. Acknowledge what you are feeling, what your partner is feeling, and acknowledge that the consumption of porn is natural and widespread. Second, acceptance. Accept what your partner shares with you. Accept their preferences, desires, fantasies, and kinks. This does not mean that you agree to fulfill or engage in anything… it just means you accept them as a unique sexual being. Acceptance means you will not call them weird and will not judge them. Accept who they are so you can also receive acceptance.The only way to eliminate guilt is to eliminate how we view the guilt-inducing act. We only feel guilty when we feel we are doing something wrong… something we shouldn’t be doing for whatever reason. The only way to eliminate shame is to remove the arbitrary judgements/ethics/morals that surround the act we feel shame about. If you were my child and I told you every day of your life that eating ice cream was wrong and that God hates people who eat ice cream, you would not eat it. If you did eat, if you gave into that temptation, you would feel many things. ice-cream-cone-of-shameGuilt, shame, and fear of getting in trouble. But only because I had set this up in your head. I had created these reactions because of what I taught you about right and wrong. Let’s reteach. Let’s fuck things up. Why should we accept the un-acceptance of ourselves as sexual beings. Why shouldn’t we talk about sex? It fascinates us all. ALL you have to do is acknowledge first and accept second.Resources:

Kelsey Obsession *explicit content*
Image Credits:
http://www.lawrencesupplements.com
www.thestar.com
http://media.sdreader.com/
http://s1.dmcdn.net/
http://pad2.whstatic.com/
http://www.readerism.com/
http://www.brainlesstales.com/