Archive for sexploreum
I want to get more involved at kink events, but I'm too anxious and self-conscious. What can I do to ease myself in?
It’s not clear from this question if today’s fuckbucketeer means involved, like, being on the senior prom committee or involved like getting their frequent flogger card stamped at the local dungeon, but both interpretations call for more or less the same approach, with a bit of fine-tuning.
If "involved" here means getting to play more, or feeling more comfortable about showing up at active kink events and getting some action, then we can turn to the last fuckbucket for the answer. That advice-seeker wanted to know how to find the fun events in the first place, and my main point was simple: it’s very difficult to find play on its own. You can't just insert yourself into a sex party without knowing people non-sexually first.
The more connections you have with people—real, person-to-person connections—the easier it is to be aware of play environments and be invited into them. Show up at the munches regularly, make a deal with yourself to talk to the people on either side of you at the pub table (give yourself a reward afterward, too!), participate thoughtfully in online discussions… these are just a few ways to get more involved in and connected with the kink community or communities where you live.
Once you have made the connections and gotten into the kink events, those awkward feelings will still come up. If you’re not used to public kink—and most of us aren’t, at first—you will not know where to look. This is okay. Many dungeons have orientation sessions, and some kink communities offer workshops, for new folks. General etiquette: don’t stare too much, don't touch without asking, and if you see a person whose look you like, just talk with them for a few minutes and then pop the question.
Now, if you’re talking about getting involved in the kink community in a more social sort of way, like wanting to get “into the club,” the same basic rules apply. You need to have people get to know you as a person. Show up and don’t worry about whether anyone is going to want to get with you.
Other things you can do:
Volunteer your ass off. Be of service. Pick an event that you are curious about, and check out volunteer opportunities. If they don’t have anything listed on the web site, just drop them an email. Offer for positions that you have skills in, or even in areas where you want to develop skills (sound equipment or dungeon safety or whatever). Bonus: this is also a great way to get into an event for a reduced rate or for free!
Skip that whole “fashionably late” game. The times when I’ve tried that, I just ended up feeling more lost, because everyone else had already met and were already getting their game on. Get there on time, and ask what you can do to help, because even experienced party hosts will have last-minute party crises.
Put down your phone. I know. It’s difficult. At kink events like play parties, probably phones aren’t allowed out beyond the cloak room anyway. But even at munches or other non-play events, if you are looking to make connections with people, you have to be present for them.
Find the other people by themselves. You will not be the only one feeling self-conscious. But if you make yourself a social director with an assignment—talk to other soloists for a few minutes a piece—it will a) feel like you’re being useful and b) take you out of your own misery for a little while. And part of what feels awkward for me about being at events is the idea that other people will see me off by my lonesome and they will think I’m a loser. (I know, sometimes we are still in high school.) But if you are out there talking to people you’re not alone.
NOTE TO THE REGULARS AT THESE EVENTS: See how people stress out about this shit? Make it easier on them: be welcoming, introduce people to other people, let new folks help. Even if your kink social awakening was effortless, be aware that not everyone’s is. Most people’s aren’t. Besides, socializing new folks well is one of the ways that we can help make kinky community safer and more awesome for everyone, ourselves included.
If even one anxious, self-conscious kinkster-to-be sees this post, I'll be happy. It's part of the work I do for the world. Wanna help me keep doing it? Become a patron of mine over on Patreon!
My first fictional-character play, The Pretty One, hasn’t gotten many reviews because I haven’t shown it in many places, but the ones that it received were pretty fucking glowing AND audience response has been good. Both kinds of audiences mentioned that they found the characters to be authentic and relatable. They also frequently noted how restrained the characters were—one reviewer said, in our face-to-face chat after the show, that “they were almost British-like in their reserve”—and how they weren’t really expecting that from me.
This makes me laugh, right before I stop laughing and go huh, because to be honest, I wasn’t really expecting that kind of writing from me either.
Thanks to the previous successes or at least notoriety for my autobiographical shows, and maybe also Sidewalk Smut, and perhaps how I am in social media and just, you know, walking around on the street with cowboy boots and big tits and a big voice and unblushingly saying the rather rude names of my shows while promoting them to strangers… thanks to all of that, I have developed a reputation, for just being blunt and open and saying everything as it is.
I have to say, my education and work experience in human-interest and arts journalism brought me that far. Give me the facts: where, when, why. I had pursued a particular type of food writing, too, in which I rummaged through my life in food to write a column a week about, say, cookbook collecting or homemade jam or holiday foods. I was used to plumbing my own depths, such as they are, and excavating some pretty raw material for public display and consumption. Dig, write, polish, repeat. It was not a major leap from that to one-woman plays based on my sex life.
But when I turned my hand to writing fictional characters and their stories, instead of transcribing myself to the page and stage, I had to stop and re-think just about everything I knew about creating and performing solo theatre.
The thing is, right, I had never really learned how to find a back story. Journalism was facts, either someone else’s or my own. I just had to pull them out and write them down in a meaningful way. And as for performing the role of Me in my first three three shows, I had instant, instinctual access to all the shadow and motivation and emotion that I ever needed. People praise that as authentic and open and raw, and I guess, yes, in comparison to much of what is out there, but in my insecure performer’s heart, I was always a little, like, well, okay, but how much talent does it take just to tell it as it is?
I know, I know. Articulating our insides does take work, and wordsmithing is a talent, whatever the content, and being present with the audience, even through the tough stuff, is hard. But I wasn’t creating that inside-the-character from scratch.
And then, with The Pretty One, suddenly I was. Six separate times, creating a character from the ground up. I had to sit and sit with those people in my head, waiting for the stories to become clear, writing things down, reading them out loud and both the character and I saying, no, actually, not that, that is not actually true. That would never be true.
These people I made, they are not me with my loud mouth and stubborn nature and fuck-you attitude, all of which was born from my own history. They had their own histories and personalities, and like most people in the world, they maybe aren’t that open to people they don’t know; even to their dearest loved ones they might not tell everything. Most people hesitate when they are telling truths. They stumble and go down wrong paths, in their minds, with their words. And they probably don’t use exposition when a simple eye-roll or grimace or loud laugh can fill in where their words leave off. For sure, these characters of mine are more reserved than I am about sex stuff.
Even after writing nerdfucker, which is just one fictional character for the entire play, I still can’t believe how challenging it is to not just insert myself into everything this person says or does. But that is essentially what I’ve had to learn to do: hold my own self back and leave enough quiet, still space for the character to come in, find their own boundaries, and say what they need to say.
(Yes, I know this is all still me. Shhh. Don’t tell them that. I don’t want them to get scared away. The process is working pretty well so far.)
Theatre is just one of the ways that I delve into the hard stuff: sex, love, relationships, self. If you like what I do and want to help make it possible to keep doing it, considering becoming a patron of mine on Patreon!
How does one get invited to/find out about a sex party?
Network your ass off, that is, make friends with people who might throw sex parties, or who know about sex parties. Don’t make friends with them only because they might be party-throwing- or knowing-about perverts; that is super exploitative and creepy. But if you are feeling like everyone in your current circle of acquaintance might judge you if you mentioned anything about going to such a party, now might be a good time to broaden your friendship networks a bit.
Best places to meet these people are munches or sloshes: social gatherings for kinksters. Generally munches are held in places that aren’t focused on booze, and sloshes are held in pubs and bars, etc. Just about any online swing/kink site will have some kind of listings for this, but Fetlife.com is the first place I would recommend for finding munches. Like most communities online, it has lots of assholes, creeps, and people pretending to be people that they aren’t. However, when you drill down into the places category, the regional and city groups on Fetlife are pretty reliable ways to find people in your area.
There will be announcements about munches, as well as… wait a minute, there are some sex parties listed here, too! You could just skip the munches and head straight out to the parties, right?
WHOA THERE, BUCKEROO. You could just go to the sex parties and the monthly dungeon play parties, just pay your money at the door or buy that membership or whatever. But you’re going to show up at those things and not know anyone, and you’re still gonna feel left out of the loop. Take it from me: being a wallflower at a play party, when you really want to play, is one of the worst kinds of wallflower to be.
Take the time to get to know people in your community first, even if, hell, especially if you don’t want to have sex with them or flog them or anything. Munches or sloshes are good, as are workshops at dungeons or local sex toy stores. If you’re lucky enough to have a sex/sexuality convention or sex-geek convention within easy traveling distance, that’s a bigger step to take, but you will definitely have the opportunity to meet lots of people at once, if you’ve got the personality to handle all of that interacting.
BE CHILL, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD. Don’t get all wrapped up in finding this party that you want so bad. The right party will emerge when you are putting in the effort to socialize properly and you’re ready for it, whether it’s a commercial dungeon or a hotel room orgy at a con, or a Cards-against-Humanity game that went right off the rails.
In the meantime, do not keep pestering your new-found friends about whether they know of any sex parties. Do not have that be the only question people see you posting about on the private FB group. Do not ask that question continually at munches. This shit is creepy; don’t do it. Asking everyone the same question over and over—“do you know where the party is this weekend?”—makes you like one-track and desperate, and that is not an attractive look on anyone.
Generally, people want to meet and befriend other people who have at least a little bit of a personality. You want to show that you are capable of being entertaining and friendly, because most sex parties have a lot of downtime and you want to show your potential hosts that you can do more than suck dick or make happy porno noises.
Go ahead and check out the commercial offerings that are out there. Again, Fetlife regional groups will frequently have posts for the clubs and dungeons in those areas. Whatever else you do, I encourage you to go with someone you trust, whether that's a partner or a friend. And do the research for these clubs before you get there. Different parties, both private and commercial, have different codes of conduct; some allow only non-penetrative BDSM-oriented play, others are fine with whatever. Most have some sort of dress code to follow as well. DO YOUR RESEARCH.
Finally, I want to put out there a radical Step 5:
Talk to your existing friends about your interest! Maybe not everyone, maybe only one friend. This might feel scary, but listen: if you are not in the habit of talking with your friends about your sex life, you have no way of knowing what their sex lives are like, either. They may have a monthly Groupon for orgies! Or their friend may be the dungeon master at the play party down the road. You don't know unless you put yourself out there a little. Again, you gotta be chill and not just dump it on unwilling listeners; that way is truly Creepville. But if you have people in your friend circle already who you feel are already close enough for this conversation, give it a shot. You really never know.
Through my blog posts and theatre work and storytelling shows, I try to make more room for discussions about sex, sexuality, relationships, and art. If you think this is important work, consider becoming a patron of mine on Patreon! Everyone's small per-piece contributions add up!
Two years ago I was still writing, at length and in various places, how polyamory felt like the right path for me. I was busily engaged in setting up some kind of love network—the “sailor in every port” model, I called it—and was having a few fun and interesting encounters as I traveled, and came back to a couple of more “steady” lovers during the winter months, and it felt fine.
Included among my sailors was a special man here in the UK, who I fell entirely in love with. Originally I had intended to simply make space for him in my “inner circle,” but after some time building a relationship with him I realized that there was no one else in that inner circle anymore. Not only that, but about a year ago I realized that I wasn’t even remotely romantically interested in anyone else, in any circle, at any level. I met up with past lovers during that strange emotional fugue period, and just could not find the sparks again. My mind said, wait, but polyamory, but my body and heart had flown to him and I could not coax them back.
But this sudden swing, this flip of the switch, felt just … impossible. I was almost angry with myself, and spent a fair amount of time poking away at my psyche. I was disturbed that somehow, after sacrificing so much and working so hard at building a life around ethical non-monogamy, my curiously meandering path had led me to an intense and important relationship that was the only place I wanted to put my heart and sex and everything.
How fucking retrograde, I thought as I beat myself up some more.
I still tried to fight it for a little while. I corresponded with a few people on OKC, met up with a couple of 'em, even. But making myself go on dates that I didn’t want, purely out of political convictions, didn’t feel fair to me or to the other person. And when I tried holding hands with soon-to-be-former lovers, it felt… friendly, but not sexual in the slightest.
Fortunately, at some point in my angst-ridden veer into romantic mono-vision, I started connecting the dots between this most recent sea change and my similarly unsettling shift at the age of 28, when my sexual focus widened dramatically to include cisgender dudes again. After 8 years with a woman, I had been crushed; I felt betrayed by my desires, and felt as though I was betraying everyone else. Follow your bliss, is what I said to myself. I said it like a prayer, held onto it like a lifeline. There was no going back on what I knew, no denying what my heart and body said.
Follow your bliss. It helped me come to terms with wanting dudes with dicks again, and the same affirmation kicked in for this new development as well. I was able to relax into this new facet of myself, but only after exoticizing the fuck out of it. Seems I still can’t stand the default, really, so he and I had to make my monogamy kinky, a cross between chastity games, tease & denial, and playing house.
The fact that I chose this way of being with my partner, in spite of the long separations that still remain, helps me to feel more comfortable in this new desire. Making radical monogamy part of our play, rather than absorbing it whole-cloth into my identity, means that when things shift again—as they surely will—I hopefully will have more stable ground to stand on. The change will feel less like a tsunami, and more like a swing. Yes, it can hurt if I fall off, but it’s not the end of my self.
Besides which, this new “monogamy” game super-charges the time in between, and fits extraordinarily well in our 24/7 dynamic. When my partner and I do get together, and I present him my carefully banked desire like a gift, the way that he accepts it and gives his own to me feels like divine confirmation that my choice this time, for now, is good.
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Do threesomes live up to the fantasy?
Short answer: they can, but often don’t.
Long answer: Ooh boy.
Without any context or background knowledge—the anonymity of the Fuckbucket being mostly, but not entirely, a blessing—I do not know exactly what threesome fantasy we’re talking about here. Threesome fantasies vary, depending on the orientation and fucking style of the person doing the fantasizing. There's no one threesome fantasy, and some of them are probably more achievable than others.
Like, I personally have fantasized for at least a decade about being spit-roasted (two dicks, at least one belonging to a cis guy), with other combinations of genitals being at most half as interesting to me. In my experience and current network, though, it's not that easy to find cisgender dudes who both like pussy and are actually okay (as in, keeping-hard levels of okay) with more than one dick in the room. Conversely, I’m not sure if as many straight men fantasize about it as our collective sex consciousness would indicate, you know, two hot bi cis ladies converging hungrily on that magnificent cock , but… yeah, I’ve heard enough guys talk about it to know that the number is statistically significant. AND AT THE SAME TIME, we bi women are all over the place, but we're not automatically down with that particular configuration. No, not even for you.
Setting logistics aside—which you actually can't—I suspect threesomes succeed or go south for the same reasons that two-person couplings do: communication, or lack thereof. However difficult or scary it is for two people to "use their words," trying to get three or more people on the same page is exponentially more so.
The problem is that people really deconstruct the fantasy all the way to the base. It’s not just getting two babes of your preferred gender mackin’ on your hot body and on each other. We develop a lot of our fantasies from pop culture, and Hollywood would have us believe that sex happens organically, maybe with some extra drinking**, but definitely with a minimum of talking. According to that manufactured fantasy, negotiating sexual encounters is awkward and makes for boring scripts. Sexy times are supposed to just EMERGE, ruffling the white gauzy curtains and turning on some lovely rose-coloured lighting on their way in.
And also, sexy times are supposed to just drift away afterward. I suspect that a lot of people, in any constellation of coitus, don’t deal with post-coital feelings very well. With established couples inviting a third in, there’s the strong potential of jealousy, plus that third person feeling maybe a little left out. With solo or otherwise non-hierarchical folks setting up the scene, perhaps that reduces the possibility of feeling threatened in one’s existing relationship, but…
I am not the person to answer this question. I’ve tried threesomes exactly four times. Only once did the mechanics actually work out, but even in that case I felt a little manipulated, like I was doing it to please my partner at the time more than for my own pleasure. The rest of the cases were either insufficiently communicated, or poorly planned. I do not have what I would consider a truly successful threesome under my belt.
I suspect that threesomes can live up to the fantasy, but you have to be hella good communicators, all three of you, before, during, and after.
** (In actual fact, I would suggest that booze complicates threesomes. It might feel easier, while you’re flirting and chatting and pushing annoyed party-goers off the couch, but you might be muddying the waters of real consent and not be making the best decisions at that moment.)
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I have a new partner who is pretty shy during sex. She likes it to be dark and usually has her eyes closed. How can I encourage her to look at me/make eye contact?
First of all, thank you for using the word "encourage"; that is a solid and constructive attitude to take with one’s sexual partner(s) and new behaviors or activities. You can’t spend too long “persuading” or “convincing” someone before you discover yourself embroiled in an argument about butt sex (this is usually the area that people try persuading).
OR what I think is worse, the person who is the target of all the persuading finally just gives in because they don’t want to keep having the same tedious discussion. Now you’ve got someone whose consent is less than enthusiastic, if not actually coerced, the idea of which should leave you with a serious limp/dry case of the heeby-jeebies.
Authentic encouragement is a good tactic, in other words. But what does that look like, in this case?
Let’s get a sense of perspective first. From your question, I am to infer that you like sex to be well-lit, and you like to have your eyes open. That is the way you like it. Let’s just put these out there as two different ways to have sex, neither of which being inherently more enlightened or liberated than the other one. They’re just different ways of doing it.
Also, your sexy times are still new. You and your partner are new to each other, maybe still feeling a little hesitant or unsure. Maybe this is how she is at the beginning of a new thing, and then as she gets more comfortable with you she will be okay with more visible sex.
BUT ALSO: how much eye contact does anyone actually have during sex? I mean… real assessment time. Even if you take out all the times when you can’t make eye contact because hello, roadkill! (!r, that’s a flattened doggy position) and you take out the positions where your partner is too far away for you to make meaningful eye contact without your glasses on… even if we just focus on cis-het missionary with your faces no more than 18 inches apart, how much eye contact do people have? I personally really enjoy watching my lover, but sometimes I need to close my eyes because I’m concentrating on a sensation or there’s a fireworks display happening on the backs of my eyelids, or I’m having such a good time that if I actually saw his beautiful face in the middle of all of it I might implode.
So. The question here is … how much and what kind of eye contact are you looking for? Is it even eye contact that you're talking about, or something else? Like, is the dark bothering you because you don’t think she’s looking at you, or because you want to be able to see her? Does she make eye contact with you when you’re talking? Some people just don’t do eye contact that well.
I think there’s some fun experimentation to be had here with blindfolds and daylight and intimate conversations and carefully paced afternoon make-out sessions. However, you need to answer those questions first. And not just you, but the two of you. Have a little conversation, where you tell her what you like and want, and invite her to tell you. Keep a curious, open-minded attitude—stay encouraging, and open to whatever result comes out of it—and I hope y’all will find a way to let some light in.
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