Anxiety: This is real (poly) life

Rupaul says “how in the hell can you love someone if you can’t love yourself?” I usually rally around that phrase, spout my supportive “halleloos” with hands held aloft in solidarity while watching his show. But in reality? That’s a whole nother ball of neuroses I struggle with.

Around 7 years ago, I wrote a book where one of the main characters was in a poly relationship for many years and was getting nervous because her boyfriend wasn’t proposing. She really wanted to get married. But she didn’t just want to get married, she wanted to get married to him. That was what she came to by the end. And not that there was any connection to reality in there but that might’ve been the conclusion I came to in my life. So eventually, he proposed. We got married. Married our girlfriend. But it didn’t fix the problems we had and now we’re divorced.

And I’m remarried. Much happier, this time around. But we’ve been bickering a bit lately as holidays and life changes and lack of sleep and illnesses pick at us. My insecurities and anxiety are having a field day with the season and changes. Plus, it doesn’t help that I feel like no matter how clearly I communicate, my husband isn’t listening to nor reacting to what I’m actually saying, only what he thinks or feels I’m saying. This gets frustrating. But then I also start getting scared. Why isn’t he listening? Does it mean he’s already checked out and moved on? Have I lost him already? I can’t compare to the internet crush he has. Or his girlfriend. Or the snarky friend he kinda likes. Or the person we had a date with tonight.

But then I catch myself. Why do I have to “compare” to them? Isn’t the point of poly to honor the differences? To be happy that he finds other people to connect with? That I don’t have sit through endless conversations about movies I don’t care about but the person we went out with tonight would totally do with him? That while I can hang and be a snarky bitch, it’s not my preferred tone; I did it too much in my teens and early 20’s as a defense mechanism and I don’t really want to go back to that. And I don’t want to wear make up and clothes like his internet crush and I don’t have the money to get the boobs his girlfriend has (she’s way more than just boobs, but it is a feature he really likes.)

These are all people. They know about me. In fact, he was telling his internet crush just tonight that his wife co-founded a burlesque troupe. And his girlfriend sent me a sexy pic tonight while we were out on a date. And his snarky friend is technically my friend, too. And he keeps doing the things he said he would do to communicate better. We’re in therapy. These are all good things.

Going back to the Rupaul quote, I’m realizing that I’m having some serious issues just loving myself. Obviously, everyone else is better than me and it’s just a matter of time before another husband discovers this and leaves me. Before he hightails himself out of my life and I’m left alone again.

It’s actually pretty easy to love other people when you don’t love yourself. I’ve had a pretty good run pouring energy into making other people happy and seeing them light up. Supporting them, accepting them. Buying things, running errands, keeping schedules. So why can’t I extend the same love to myself? Why do I eat food that isn’t healthy to assuage the anxiety instead of taking strides to live healthier? Why do I fear every time someone new comes in the picture or old relationships come fleeting back in? Why do I struggle with loving my body but not do something about it to make it stronger or more like I want it to look like like dance or more exercise? Why is it so easy to tell people I care about to forgive themselves mistakes because they’re just human but I can’t grant myself the same forgiveness so easily? Why do I tell other people to follow their dreams, but stifle my own?

Well…at least with that last one, I’m here, fighting to make some of those dreams come true. Finally created a space where I can come and get this stuff out instead of stifling it inside and letting it fester. That’s something, right? If only I could stop feeling that nothing is good enough to post and that my feelings and thoughts don’t matter.

Things to remember:

  • Poly is not a competition. Just because my husband has new connections, or rekindles old connections, or has more people in his queue than I do, does not mean I’m “losing” or less important or going to wind up alone and that they’re better than me.
  • Just because he wants to have sex with other people doesn’t mean he’s going to stop having sex with me.
  • We can have two different sex drives.
  • Communication is important.
  • There is truth to the quote “the only constant is change” but that doesn’t mean that the change is always going to be awful.
  • One of the things I love about my husband is that he actively celebrates and appreciates all body types. Including mine. I just have to remember that mine is included.
  • Also, he encourages me to reach for my dreams which is awesome.
  • We have a therapist and we go regularly. It’s okay to seek help.
  • I matter. My thoughts, feelings, fears, joy, dreams, health – it all matters.

(Music that makes it better: “This is Real Life” from the TV Show Nashville.)

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A polytude of thanks

Once again, it’s Thanksgiving Day. For me, I have much to be thankful for and much to be thoughtful of.

  • My sister (and her family)

While I don’t always agree with all of them, they’ve welcomed me and my freaky lifestyle in their home to live when I first moved down South and then, later, when I moved out on my own, helped and supported me to do that. My sister doesn’t fully understand my life, but she loves me. Sometimes I take it for granted that I can tell her that my husband’s girlfriend is coming to visit and ask if she can partake of Sunday dinner my sister hosts. We agreed to introduce said girlfriend as our friend to the rest of the family, mostly to not have to get into a discussion about what polyamory is with the 4 and 6 year old nieces who are not my children, but my sister knows who she is and is welcoming her to break bread. When I think of families who have disowned people just for coming out as poly or an alternative sexuality or kinky, and then I think of my sister, the wellspring of gratitude I have to just be allowed to be me is sometimes overwhelming.

I’ve had conversations with her about kink stuff and while she doesn’t fully get it, she now knows a few things like  a) it doesn’t always have to be about sex, b) I’m not into being a lamp post, and c) furries exist and she may know one or two (not me). She knew my silver bracelets with my ex-husband were a collar and didn’t try to tell me I was wrong or bad because of it. She did, however, try to point out ways I wasn’t being treated well in that relationship overall, but it wasn’t because of the kink aspect. And when it came right down to it, she was right. Hence the “ex” husband part.

She’s joked with me about my job running programming for Geeky Kink Events, listened when I mooned over a new crush while currently married, and flown halfway across the country to be my Matron of Honor the weekend I decided it was a great idea to get remarried at the Wicked Winter Renaissance Faire, perform with the burlesque troupe I co-founded (White Elephant Burlesque Society – OMG so fucking good), and because I didn’t have anything else to do on Sunday, audition for The Voice. My sister is hardcore supportive love in action and living proof that you don’t need to think alike to love some one. I am truly blessed to have her as my sister and best friend.

  • My job(s)

I run programming for a company called Jeff Mach Events.  It involves working with an insanely talented pool of international writers, singers, bands, dancers, actors, performers, artists, poets, craftsman, tech people, editors, kinksters, and presenters. These people inspire me to keep creating and recreating myself. The opportunities and friendships I’ve made because of this job are too numerous to go into now, but I’m incredibly grateful for them.

In my other job, I am grateful to be allowed to teach water aerobics to people. I actually get paid to exercise, and in the water, which is amazing to me since I’ve been a water baby from the time I was born. However, it’s one of the few places I have to be careful when I talk about my other job, because this one is vanilla to the Nth degree.

  • My husband.

He and I have come a long way. To be blunt, he hurt me a lot in the beginning of our relationship and I wasn’t sure if we’d survive it. But I took a chance. I felt that if he followed through on the promises to change that he made, we stood a chance. Hell, even better than a chance. It was hard to explain, but I knew in my bones that if he could follow through, we could have something special.

And he has. And we do. We’re going to therapy. We’ve worked through some difficult trust issues. We’re building a life and a future together. He’s now teaching other people about good poly and safe sex practices. He encourages me to pursue my dreams. He’s helped make me a better person, more able to express myself out loud than I’ve ever been able to.

  • The extended family whom I’ve chosen and who’ve chosen me.

My ex-husband’s mother, for one. It was probably a clear sign that that marriage was over when I was more upset that I’d lose that particular mother-in-law than I was over the fact that my husband and wife were leaving me for each other. However, the first time I saw her after her son told her the news, she took the awkward bull by the horns and pulled me aside to tell me that no matter what happened, she loved me and I would always be her daughter. I went back to my soon to be ex-husband and ex-wife and said it wasn’t like they were losing a wife, it was more that they were gaining a sister. Ya gotta laugh, right?

Then there’s the intentional polycule apartment I live in. The poly community I’m getting to know. The kinksters I’m friends with. The burlesque dancers. The fire eaters. The hardcore punk ballerinas and fiercely fucked up clowns. The trans and non-gender binary people who’ve let me share in their journey, the multitude of sexually diverse people, and the blended families that crop up out of the most unexpected places.

  • My cell phone, computer, and car. 

Holy fuck, amirite?

  • An awesome therapist and healthcare

In the South, it’s a rare therapist indeed who doesn’t try to tell you polyamory or kinkery is wrong or a sin. Who congratulates you on publishing erotica. And just…healthcare. Sweet mother of happy, healthcare.

There’s more, but I think I’ll end it here. My goal is to remember I’m thankful for these things every day, not just at Thanksgiving, because they make all the other 364 days not just liveable, but a celebration of life. Thank you and I hope you either find yourselves similarly blessed in your tribe or that you find it soon.

Just how ‘open’ do you wanna be…?

The past few months have brought me to the crux of an interesting quandary. The title of the post says, or rather, asks it all. Just how “open” do I wanna be? About my life. My path, proclivities, feelings, loves, desires.

Years ago, after the first Susie Bright book I read (Full Exposure – OMG, go read it), I felt positive I wanted to be like her. Around that time, I offered to and wound up giving a talk on polyamory at a friend’s local convention. I was green beyond belief but I was, as Linda Ronstadt sang, “Willin'”.

Willin’ to walk into a space with people I (mostly) didn’t know and talk about the fact that I didn’t think there was anything wrong with loving (and potentially sleeping) with more than one person. In fact, if I remember correctly, I was there with my then boyfriend and girlfriend. (Now ex-husband and ex-wife, but hey, that’s for another day.) And not only was I there to talk about how there wasn’t anything wrong with it, but ways to do it, books about it, conflicts that might come up (Hey, Jealousy…apparently, I’m writing in song titles tonight), compersion, etc. I was terrified to do it, but also high as a muthafucking kite when I was done. I was a poly activist! I was fighting the good fight and spreading the word about opening up relationships.

*sigh*

I was so young.

My heart was in the right place(s), though. A few people came up to me after the “class” to thank me. Ask questions. And while I did my best to answer them or point them in a good direction, I never really went anywhere with it. Or my dreams to write.

I did write a book way back in 2007. (Paperback Writer…I wish. More like Still Editing and Once You’re Done Maybe If You’re Lucky You’ll Be a Paperback Writer…The Beatles were SO right to go with the title that actually pops.) As the parenthetical says, I’m “still working on it.” I’ve done other things. Wrote a non-fic polyamory piece about how the Sims 2 was NOT a poly-friendly game. (Srsly. For short: it’s basically considered cheating if you take up with anyone who’s not your steady person and then, a FUCKING 6′ TALL BUNNY appears OUT OF NOWHERE, that ONLY YOU CAN SEE to prove you’ve gone insane from crying at the betrayal. That’s NOT OKAY, MAXIS.) for a close friend/mentor’s event magazine.

Tried my hand at the YA short story game after I wound up being introduced to an incredible person/now colleague and (most importantly) friend. Published six short stories, commissioned and paid for and everything. It in no way paid the bills, but it was totally the first time I’d ever been paid to write things that meant something to me. Lesbian polyamory. Asexuality. Internalized misogyny. YA pregnancy. Coping with a parent’s alcohol addiction. (Man, the tags on this post are turning into word salad.) I suppose this can all be considered “building my portfolio”, but it’s never really felt even that cohesive or important when I think about them all individually. After all, I wasn’t

  1. being offered a publishing contract
  2. in print, (beyond a non-circulating event magazine that doubled as the Playbill for the event)
  3. writing regularly
  4. making enough to earn a living from it.
  5. remotely famous

Amanda Palmer, in preparation for writing her book, (The Art of Asking – another OMG just go read it and then go read this article/interview about it from Brain Pickings by Maria Popova) I think, asked people how they knew they were successful. How/when they felt like “real” artists/writers/singers/actors/creators. It got written into her book like this:

There’s no “correct path” to becoming a real artist. You might think you’ll gain legitimacy by going to university, getting published, getting signed to a record label. But it’s all bullshit, and it’s all in your head. You’re an artist when you say you are. And you’re a good artist when you make somebody else experience or feel something deep or unexpected.

It’s so simple and true and yet…and yet I still felt that thrill the first time I was in print, yet without pay. And then when my writing was liked by people. And then when I was paid for online writing. And most recently when the online writing I was asked to do was liked by people AND I was published in print and given a contract for my short story. It was like a beacon to forge ahead with those dreams. To do those things that I’ve been aching to do for years now but just never really knew how.

Sure, I had a few secret blogs that I thought I would just see if they “took off”. There are also a few secret blogs I kept secret and locked for reasons or to specific people. There’s also a not-so-secret other social networking site that I’ve been on and writing on for years. But recently, I’ve begun to tire of this cloak and dagger game of hiding who and what I am. Of being ashamed of my evolving sexuality and desires. Fuck, we’re living in the 50 Shades of Grey era. The good Christian housewives and stylists in the Southern salon where I had my hair did earlier this year were talking about kink and sex, for fuck’s sake. So when someone I’ve worked with as my gig doing programming for Jeff Mach Events asked if I’d be up for doing a guest blog post on kinkyasexuals.wordpress.com about being in the asexual spectrum and being into D/s, I thought, FUCK YES I’LL DO THAT THING. The next thought, when she asked if I had a blog or website I wanted to link up to the post was, FUCK YES I NEED A BLOG OR WEBSITE TO DO THAT THING. (BTW, you can read that post right here on my blog now, too!)

So I looked at all the myriad tried and failed attempts at making something of my dreams and realized they were either too specific and not what I wanted to do or behind barriers I couldn’t open up myself, so I set up this blog to blow open my own barriered writing. I started rebranding a lot of my social media presence (“presence”…if it can be called that…I mean, I’m not Jen Lancaster, The Bloggess, Amanda Palmer, Tristan Taormino, Lori Duron, Cecilia Tan, Dossie Easton, Janet Hardy, or Susie Bright, but they’re the stars I see in my eyes I look up for guidance of who I want to be and what I want to do. A little piece here and a little piece there…more on that later) to fit who I am and what I want to write about and stand up for.

And now, here I am, with a newly published short story in the First Annual Geeky Kink Anthology, a guest blog, and my own brandy new blog with some new stuff and some relevant writings from the past few years that I posted other places.

I’m terrified and excited all at once. This puts many things I’ve only begun talking about exploring (demisexuality, cuckqueandom), mixes it with things I’ve been doing for 15+ years (poly and kinkery) and sees what happens.

It’s scary to think about being this open because things start happening like my dad calling me to congratulate me on my newly published story. My newly published, kinky, cuckqueanarific short story. I had that moment of panic thinking he’d actually read it when I realized that one of my sisters, who’s on Facebook, where I talk about things in a slightly more controlled manner, must’ve seen me being over the moon about the anthology (and subsequently terrified before the first public reading I did of it…but that’s also another story) and then told me dad. *exhale and graciously accept congrats.

Then there’s the conversation I had with my ex-mother-in-law-turned-dear-motherlyfriend (and yet another story for another time) who is…fairly conservative. But she did eventually know about and support her son’s relationship with two women. But still, fairly conservative. But as my new husband said when he joined us for lunch a few weeks ago (srsly, that WILL be another story for another time) she’s also delightful and loves me and when I decided to take the plunge and tell her about the short story being published…in the vaguest of terms…she was elated for me and asked where to find the book. I hedged and told her she might not want to read it since it’s erotica. To which she replied, “oh, please. We’re all adults. I’ve read 50 Shades of Grey.” I damn near fell over on the spot. But it just went to show me that maybe I wouldn’t lose the people I loved if I was out and proud and me. And, um, wrote about it.

There will, inevitably, come a day when someone calls me a slut for sharing these things. For loving more than one person and having an open relationship, for liking the thought of my husband fucking other people, for enjoying consensual pain and sensation play, and, ironically, for favoring all of these above random and/or casual sexual encounters. I dearly hope I won’t lose vanilla connections. But like the above-mentioned nine women I mentioned, I have to write about what I know. So there will be some (a lot of) poly in here. There’s some (a way whole bunch of) kink. Some art and music. Some gender issues. Some geekery. Some geographic, socioeconomic snark. Some mental health issues but finding the humor in it all with brilliant humanity and a lot of spunk and snark.

Those are my goals. Those are the pieces that touch me deeply so I hope writing about them will be able to touch others deeply. The art and music may come in the form of burlesque, the gender issues may not quite be a gender-evolving child, and I know nothing of Lululemon, but it’s the spirit of it all that I want to share. And here’s where I start finding my own little corner of that sky. (Cause BAM, I hadn’t thrown in a song title in a while. Oh, did I mention I’m kinda obsessed with music and musicals? Yup, that’s a passionate thing, too.)

Welcome to our world. Thank you for being here. ❤

Sex (and dating) is boring. I want adventure.

(Note: My original post is on another, more locked down social networking site. This is the evolution of that first post.)

Okay, so they’re not entirely or always boring. Both can totally be interesting and fun. But I’m finding that plain, old, run of the mill, cat and mouse game of vanilla sex is just…boring. Sex has never been a primary urge for me. It holds no interest to me as just a thing unto itself. My primary urge is connection to specific people and energy and the adventure of that connection. But all around me, from when I was growing up to present day, there’s this push that sex is the end goal.

With modern dating as I understand it,there’s a complicated dance which involves presenting yourself as something you’re not and having conversations you don’t really want to have and faking interests. Sitcom, movie, and book plots revolve around it. And if you want to skip the dating and go right to the sex, from what I’ve heard, mainstream offerings are limited to bootie calls, one night stands, and affairs.

So the sex happens, and it’s sweaty and intense, and then…it seems to be over. Many times, if statistics are to be believed, without the female bodied person even having an orgasm. And my mind just boggles.

I have no desire to color my hair to hide the gray, apply layers of makeup, wear heels, put on restrictive garments to force my body into a shape it’s not, and have conversations about things that I don’t care about and feign interest/knowledge I don’t have in some hope of getting laid. In fact, “getting laid” has never really been a goal for me.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve done burlesque and theatre and various other types of performances. I fully understand the benefit of makeup, specific undergarments, hair dyes and wigs, costumes. But that’s just it for me. They’re parts of costumes I wear when I want to disguise who I am and be someone else. This is why is makes no sense to me to do these things for dating and sex. I want you to see who I am and goddammit, I want to see who you are.

In my mind, it’s too easy to just go in for sex. One night stands are fairly simple to find willing partners for, bootie calls are more and more socially sanctioned, and our culture finds it more permissible to cheat rather than open up your relationship with the consent and agreement of all parties. Turn out the lights, take off your clothes, insert tab A into slot B or some variation thereof, have orgasm (or not), call it a night. The thought just makes me weep with boredom and lack of comprehension.

My goals are getting to know someone, connecting with them, taking time to listen to them and hear them and be actively interested in them, caring about them and loving them, talking about sensitive subjects, touching their skin, seeing what areas make them shiver so I can do that more and which make them shrink away so I can do less of that. My goal is to watch the changing light in their eyes like a movie and feel the emotions rolling off them as they talk about something we both fully, actively enjoy talking about. I want to dance with or for people and feel that they want to reach out and touch me and experience me the way I want to experience them. My goals are to find the people who revel in my singing or singing with me. Soaring harmonies of the musical and the physical and emotional variety are my goals. I want to not just be seen as a sexual body conquest to be “done”, but a whole person to be savored.

As I learn more about myself, I’m still trying to figure out if the label demisexual fits. Perhaps I’m just selectively sexual and looking for the types of sexual encounters that go beyond carnal. That transcend lust and dip into exploration and appreciation and fully experiencing the moment. Something that can’t be duplicated. New creation. I want to go on people adventures and I want to people to go on a Geneviève adventure.

Because there’s so much more to experience than just sex. So many touches, cuddles, glances, situations, feelings, bruises, breathless moments that fulfill me more than being fucked. I crave power play way more than I desire orgasms. In fact, I often find sex to be distracting from more interesting pursuits.

What’s funny about this is I feel like in trying to describe this and figure it out, I sound like a prude when I would wager that the very few people I have been and am sexual with would describe me as anything but. I love sex with the right person/people, have been praised for my oral skills from both teams, and do partake of some fun sexual olympics. It’s just never been a primary preference of connection and only sometimes is it my secondary preference of connection. Currently, my husband is the only person I crave in a purely sexual way. Anyone else I’m interested in is mostly for non-sexual fun, with an infrequent dose of potential sexy times.

In the words of James Boyle from Facebook/berlin-artparasites:

I hope you meet someone who wants to experience you and not just see you by their eyes. Someone who doesn’t only want to have sex with you but moves their fingers over your body like trying to find a city on a world map and mark their favourite destinations. Someone who wants to experience you like a masterpiece. Whenever we observe a masterpiece we get the urge to touch it and most of the time we do, involuntarily, because it’s so perfect that we not only want to see it with our eyes and forget it’s details later on because I read somewhere that every time you recall a memory your brain edits it bit by bit so we long to experience it so that each part which contributes to it’s perfection stays with us afterall how scary it would be to forget how perfect you felt. So I hope someone experiences you like a summer breeze stroking your hair, like the warmth of bonfire on a chilly winter night, like the taste of that traditional homemade dish by a mother for her children who’s taste forever lingers in their mouth. I hope you find someone who justifies in treating you like the perfect art you are.
– James Boyle

Granted, this has made it hard to negotiate sometimes.

Them: What do you want?
Me: To see what we can experience together…?
Them: Care to narrow it down a little?

So I’m learning to refine it. To be more specific about the types of things I want to experience, even if they do feel incredibly weird like blindfolding each other and touching skin slowly. No words. No sight. Just touch. Or a game of adult hide and seek. Or spending an hour just making out. Or having my hair brushed then being pummeled to a playlist of my favorite songs.

One of the best compliments I got recently was from a friend who was helping to massage out some issues in my lower back. My pants were pulled down slightly to allow him access and he all of a sudden said, “I know you may have some self-consciousness about your stretch marks, but these are pretty badass. You’ve got lightning bolts back here.”

It wasn’t sexual, but it had a sliver of sensuality to it. It was a true connection between two people. It was opening myself up to feeling better and letting someone in, instead of falling down a spiral of despair because he was commenting on my stretch marks.  It was appreciating that stretch marks are not horrific. He kept working out the issues in my back. He said something positive to me and helped me to see my body in a new, more powerful way. He didn’t have to buy me dinner and I wasn’t expected to “put out”.

THIS is the type of experience I want.

Two great tastes that I can’t usually put together: a guest post on kinkyasexuals

(Originally written for kinkyasexuals.wordpress.com)

When I was around seven, my older sister was in the Concert Choir in high school. They had a fundraiser, as school clubs are wont to do, to raise money and did so with the most enticing of all things: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Seven year old me thought it was my birthday, Christmas, and Easter all rolled into one when case after case of the bright orange wrapped treats were carried into our house. I was given a strict lecture by my mom (and vague threats from my sister) to Not Touch The Candy. That if I wanted some, I had to ask because we had to pay for it all. And by “we”, my parents meant “they”. Seven year old me tried to contain the pure joy and desire of being in the same house as cases of Reese’s and do it up proper by asking when I wanted some. The problem was, I wanted them all the time and my mom had to keep telling me “no”. My solution to this was to steal a case, stow it under the crawl space of our front porch, and then proceed to sneak off to eat my way through it over the course of a weekend. (Side note: I do not recommend this.) More than thirty years later, I still cannot eat peanut butter and chocolate together. The smell of it makes me nauseous.

People often look at me like I’m crazy when I tell them I can’t eat anything with chocolate and peanut butter in it together. While most everyone I know considers the two to be “two great tastes that taste great together”, I can only enjoy one at a time. This may seem like a strange opening for a blog that talks about the asexual spectrum. But for me, kink and sex are like peanut butter and chocolate. Each are fantastic on their own, but rarely do I (or can I) put the two together.

Before I had the vocabulary to know that I’m demisexual and panromantic, I used to think I was a lesbian. In my teens, I was only interested in women, so it stood to reason. I met my first husband when I was 20, and that kind of turned my “baby dyke” identity on it’s head. We dated for a few years before meeting the woman we would later marry (and they would then leave me and marry each other.) I was sexually attracted to them, but rarely attracted to anyone else. However, after meeting and falling in love with my (now) ex­wife, I learned about the term polyamorous. I fell in love on a regular basis with all different kinds of people, but was hardly ever sexually attracted to them. Likewise with play partners.

I’ve been asked when and how I chose to be this way, to separate kink from sexuality, but it really was never a conscious choice. The bottom line is that kink rarely “turns me on” in a sexual way. Yes, I get breathless with the right Dom(me)’s tone of voice and adore impact play like flogging, but to be blunt, neither make me wet.

For example, once I was exploring vendor row at GKE (the Geeky Kink Event) with a friend and sometimes play partner whom I share an interesting D/s switchy dynamic. I had her on a lead and was primarily testing different toys on her willing backside. In my Dommely element, I picked up a particularly stingy toy and used it on her ass. She reacted with an arched back and tortured yet pleasurable exclamation. Things were going well. I was enjoying myself. And then she said something like, “god, I’m going to have to change my panties. That made me so wet.” On my end, it was like a bucket of ice water had been dumped on me. There was nothing sexual about this to me. I was not wet nor in need of a panty change and the thought of this being sexual made me want to stop completely.

The person who mentored me in many aspects of D/s and polyamory was a Dom figure in my life for many years. I read his book. It resonated on many levels…well, all but the parts on sex. We had myriad conversations about power dynamics, kink, polyamory, the nature of love and submission, healthy ways of practicing both, navigating through complicated emotions and situations, and so much more. But we never had sex. My connection to him was incredibly strong and his type of mental dominance hit the core of my service oriented submission and I think that if I had wanted to, we probably would’ve had sex. The only problem was I had no sexual attraction to him and our interactions never “turned me on” in that sexual way.

There were times I thought I was broken. Or repressed. I didn’t masturbate to kink porn. When my mentor would ask if I was wet from our interaction, the answer was, to the best of my recollection, always no. And while he tried to convince me that there wasn’t anything wrong with me, that he still thought I was a worthy student and submissive, I couldn’t help but still feel less than. I wasn’t a “good submissive” or “good enough” because the only people I could mix kink and sex with were my then boyfriend and girlfriend. I wasn’t the nubile, wet, ready sex sub. I wanted sensation play. I craved mental dominance. I needed cathartic pain. But none of it came with a side or main dish of sex. ALL I wanted was flogging. Being told to kneel. Being thrown into a wall and ordered around. None of this ended or included sex in my mind. Scenes began and ended with the play, many times with me partially or fully covered.

For a while, I could hide behind the fact that my husband and wife’s boundaries when I dated or played with people is that it didn’t include sex. Since I was an un­named demisexual, this wound up being fine with me for the most part. Even after my marriage(s) fell apart and I began figuring out my own rules, I quickly discovered that while I wanted to pursue play partners, sex was not a big factor for me.

When I moved down South from New Jersey, I quickly searched for poly meet ups and a kink community. Imagine my delight when I found out that there was not only a local community and munches, but a dungeon! And not only a dungeon…a SEX FREE dungeon! I made friends in the scene who weren’t happy about the the fact that the dungeon was sex free but I was ecstatic. Finally, the pressure to have sexual relations and kink mixed together would be relieved. At long last, there was a place where I didn’t have to worry about expectations during negotiations, or being around other people having sex around me.

Thankfully, it hasn’t been difficult for me to find a few partners who are okay with the lack of sex. Some even prefer it, at least for right now. And while I still feel like the world around me always pairs their kinky peanut butter with sexy chocolate, I know it’s not entirely true. There seem to be more people who think sex is integral to their kink than not, but there are still people out there who can and do separate the two. I’m more comfortable than ever in my own skin and desires. Not wanting to mix sex and kink doesn’t make me any less kinky, or any less of a submissive, or any less of a Domme. I don’t need to play with someone sexually to command them mentally and I don’t have to be wet or down to fuck to be a “real submissive.” Just because chocolate and peanut butter is enjoyed together by many doesn’t mean that that’s the only way to enjoy the two, just like sex and kink.