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Archive for sexploreum

Unexpected conversations about surprise kinks: a brief survival guide

A common question that I get about my time doing phone sex is, “Did you ever get stumped on a call?” That is, did I ever get a call for something that I knew nothing about or otherwise didn’t know how to handle?

The answer, of course, is “yes, but I still had to take the call.” (See this past blog post about cuckolding for one of my first such glitches.)

That’s the main thing about doing phone work for a company: you can’t really flail or go silent or be overtly shocked or otherwise fail on a call, because the dispatcher will be listening in, especially when you’re a newbie. If you end up getting a complaint or the caller hangs up on you—out of frustration, not because they came, and yes, you can tell—you are going to get another call immediately, one that doesn’t even start with a “hello.” The dispatcher will go straight to “what the hell was that.” Just one of Those Calls is enough to have you scrambling to keep up and stay cool the next time you get a request that you don’t understand.

In one sense, that scrambling desperation underscores how different phone sex for pay is different from dirty talk and other sexy times in a partnered, unpaid relationship. Callers can and do drop some seriously random shit on their PSOs, and we just have to deal with it, in a way that non sex workers don’t. Couples can and should be having conversations online or in person about things they like and are curious about.

But since the human imagination is vast and colorful and surprising, and even broad daylight and earnest intent are not always enough to insulate you from psychological flail, it helps to be prepared. With that in mind, I’d like to offer you a few tips on what to do if your partner brings up A Thing that you know nothing about.

  • First of all, DO NOT PANIC. Your partner is not going to hang up on you. They are probably more scared of your reaction than you are of feeling like a fool.
  • Stall for time if necessary with simple non-committal exclamations, like “huh” or “wow,” uttered casually but with some interest.
  • Ask all the clarifying questions you want! “What do you like about that?” or “How does that make you feel?” or “Is [some character in their fantasy] wearing something special?” Again, keep your inflection in check. You are not interrogating them, you are doing important information gathering.
  • Thank them for trusting you with this information, and if you feel like you need to do more research before you talk again or act on this, say that, something along the lines of “I’d like to find out more about this, so that I really understand it. The way you talk about it makes me intrigued.”
  • Do the research. Fetlife.com is a fine repository of both erotica and discussions around all kinds of kinks. You can also google the kink + “erotica” or “fan fic”.
  • Notice recurring phrases or motifs as you do your research. Those represent more common “hot buttons” in the kink, and are probably good information to bring into further discussions.

Most of all, take your time. You have lots of it. You’re not on the clock, not really. You don’t have to get them off in an hour. You can have the conversation(s) and do the reading, and you will come back together all the better for the wait.

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FROM THE FUCKBUCKET: “Watching/being watched?”

Watching/being watched?

Such a seemingly simple, seemingly binary question to pull out of the Fuckbucket a couple of weeks ago. In the heat of the moment, with fifty people laughing, I went straight for the answer that made the most immediate sense. Watched, of course. I want to be doing, I said. I want to be throwing the goddamn party, or at least be an integral part of it.

But it’s not that simple, this question and sex, the sex that I like to have, at least. Yes, I want to be watched, but whoever is doing the sex with me, their watching me is the most important. And yes, I want to be watched, but you best believe I have my eyes open at least part of the time, and that a good part of my pleasure is gained from watching my lover watching me, an echoing eyeful of erotic bliss, an “I-know-you-know-I-know-you-know exactly how much I love this” moment.

Watching, you see, is not a passive thing. Those of us in live performance know this, that the quality of observation can be quite different between two people sitting right there in the same row. One person is seeing you only. You may be shimmying or orating or slamming down a prop right there and they are seeing that happen, but it’s a surface sense, a passive view. They won’t remember 30 minutes after they leave the room what you were doing. And then the other person. They’re seeing you, too, but they’re watching as well, actively engaged. They may be leaning forward, even, craning to hear every word, and you can see in their reactions, their facial expressions, that they are right there with you.

Before I understood the different kinds of viewing energy in theatre, I knew about them in sex. Or maybe it was sex performance. Here, let me explain:

When I used to go around to the Power Exchange in San Francisco—when I lived two and a half blocks away and it was an easy walk over, even in high heels—I would occasionally climb up into a sex sling in the basement areas and masturbate, separated by a chain-link fence from a stream of mostly naked humanity. I was new to kink and fetish, and newly discovering cock, and this just seemed like a good, safe way of getting to explore a bit of both.

Even in the dim basement lighting, I could mostly see the men who stopped to jerk off in front of my “station,” and mostly they were just staring right into my cunt, seeing that display, watching my fingers move. I liked this okay, but I was always looking for someone who could manage to set up a visual connection, eye-to-eye, without words AND while tracking all the activity happening in that sex sling at once.

These people could watch my face, gaze into my eyes, and then tear away from the eye contact to look back at what my fingers. And I in turn could see their cocks get harder as they jerked it, seemingly transfixed, for the moment, by my pussy pounding activity. But they always managed to tear themselves away, look back into my eyes, see me get excited and then that in turn, back and forth, watching and watched… only a handful of people of the hundreds who passed me during the eight months i hung out at the Power Exchange ever stepped into that connection, but it was beautiful when it happened, so I didn’t mind the rarity.

Watching/being watched?

Actually, now that I think about it, I want both.

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Fringe essays and origin stories

Fringe season has started, and with Fringe come the requests from publications who want to look like they’re being oh-so-active in covering Fringe productions, but all they’re basically doing is sending us lists of awkward/precious questions to answer and email back to them.

It’s Fringe essay season, in other words. I’m never in the mood for it, because who has time to introspect about process at the point when we're done creating and have actual performing to get through? But the truth is, these “interviews” offer us artists the best chance of getting our own actual words into the piece, and I have to really think about what it is that I do. It’s remarkably clarifying!

For example, this fellow in Edinburgh runs something he calls the Dramaturgy Database. One question there is: How did you become interested in making performance? It's good for me, right now, when I'm struggling to establish myself in a new location... It's good for me to remember my roots.

I first started creating works for plus-sized dancers 16 years ago, because I had started dancing myself and was tired of feeling completely left out of the creative and performance part of the dance world. After the very first dance recital I was in, at the age of 28, I was told that I had a very compelling stage presence. I had had so much fun creating a couple of partner moves with one of the other dancers, and that experience of creation, combined with the positive reinforcement of that praise and the adrenaline rush of the performance itself, led me to want more.

Over the course of the next years, my works for the company went into more narrative-driven pieces—dance musicals with a plot—and at the same time I began working as a phone-sex operator. I found myself wanting to write a solo play about that, because my experience as an actual sex worker was not really represented well out there in the performance world. (Again, representation matters.) When I toured Phone Whore and found that people wanted to hear what I had to say, and that I was good at it, a whole new world opened up.

Now, sever years after that first terrifying tour of Phone Whore, it's very clear that I love performing. I've also realized that part of my internal pressure to create my own works is that if I didn’t, there would be nothing for me to perform in, as a fat person. The roles allowed to us are limited and boring. I create the works and the characters that represent me, in some way, and what I want to see out in the world.

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” That’s part of how I became interested in performance: I want to make a world where I have room to create, as a fat middle-aged woman. The other part of it is just something I picked up from two years at Burning Man. They don't have many rules there, but this is on: “No spectators.” In other words, don’t show up to Black Rock City expecting other people to entertain you. Become part of the pageant, as a performer or a caretaker or a technician or as an active, generous audience member. I’ve heard that Burning Man ain’t what it used to be, but I will always be grateful to it for that one concept. In terms of my creative work, I don’t wait any longer for other people to start the party; I bring the party myself.

I want to bring the thing that makes people move inside, that demands thinking and maybe some uncomfortable reflection on one’s own actions. My work ends up being both activism and art. I want that mix, I’m good at both, and in performance is where that finds a home.

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FROM THE FUCKBUCKET: “My new girlfriend is so much hotter than me, that I don’t believe she likes me as much as she obviously does”

My new girlfriend is super into me and vice versa. However, she is so much hotter than me, so I’m finding it hard to believe she likes me as much as she obviously does. How do I deal with this?

Oh, my dearest Slammer. I am familiar with your struggle; I would venture that the majority of people in partnered relationships are familiar with it at one point in their lives or another. It is a real thing, to be aware of prevailing standards of “hotness” and to live with that pointed aching feeling that you don’t rank very high in them.

Will it help when I tell you that, even though your feelings are real, the standards aren’t? By that I mean, the standards aren’t objectively real. They have the power they do because people believe that the standards are objective and universal.

There are plenty of evo-psych studies that would seem to testify to the notion that certain physical qualities are attractive across the board, in all cultures throughout time. Such qualities usually involve physical traits that suggest fertility and child-bearing capacity in women (e.g. that old waist-to-hip ratio), strength in men (chin and jaw and broader shoulders), and genetic health in both (symmetry).

But all of that is just so much dusty, retrograde dissertation when you can look around you IN REAL LIFE—not pop culture or the media, that shit’s a fucking wasteland for body diversity for both individuals and couples—anyway, look around you on the street and you will find plenty of examples that people see all different types of people hot enough to shag, date, live with, marry. One person’s “meh” is another person’s “OMG INTRODUCE ME TO THAT DUDE IMMEDIATELY.”

In fact, as an exercise, I encourage you to spend a little time consciously people-watching, say, at a mall or movie theatre, and specifically focused on (obviously) romantic and happy couples. Just observe who is with whom; look at their different body types or faces or styles. If you find yourself judging them, like “what does she possibly see in him?” simply note that thought and set it aside. Think of this as both meditation and affirmation, and also a way of filling up your visual databank with something other than what you see on the big screen or the entertainment rags, for evidence of what types of people are worthy of love.

(Also, go check out what Dr. Nerdlove has to say on this subject right here!)

Oh, and by the way, you’re doing one other thing right already: you understand that this is your challenge to deal with, not your girlfriend’s. You say she is obviously into you, so there’s probably nothing else she could say or do right now to convince you any further. Underneath concerns about the other partner being more conventionally attractive, there almost always are fears that the person will leave you for someone “more in their league.” This is also an understandable fear. People sometimes leave. Relationships do end, but they end for lots of different reasons, and we’ve already established that societal standards are not absolutes, and so “leagues” is a shit concept.

You don’t want to play by those rules, darling. You want to keep playing the way you apparently have been, where she finds you hot and you find her hot. Whatever you’re doing, it’s working fine. Go out and watch other couples of all sorts being happy, and know that, when you’re out there with her, someone else may be watching you and enjoying the fuck out of your happiness.

Every Friday I answer in detail a question received in the Fuckbucket at a previous Smut Slam. If you want to get your sex or relationship or life question answered, GO TO A FUCKIN’ SLAM. Or, send me a question at littleblackbookproductions@gmail.com

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FROM THE FUCKBUCKET: “My husband thinks it’s a great idea” (I bet)

I couldn't post this last Friday, because the UK went slightly sideways after the genital erection, er, general election. It's still sideways, to be honest, but life and sex go on. Let's dig into the Fuckbucket!

“Is it okay to invite my friend and her boyfriend to our party mainly because I really want to shag her boyfriend?! (My husband thinks it’s a great idea!)”

Hello, lovely Fuckbucketeer! Thank you for helping me illustrate that a lot can be read into Fuckbucket submissions, even if they’re hella short and written in not very legible pencil.

For example, the way you punctuated the bit in parentheses makes me think your husband is not an unbiased observer in this situation. I mean, I’m glad that the two of you are on the same page about your open relationship, and that he’s excited about the prospect of you getting some, but… he seems to be really excited about it, so I think maybe don’t listen to your husband on this one.

Let me note also the specific way that you asked what I thought about this. You did not ask “is it bad” or “is it wrong.” You asked “is it okay,” which means that, at least subconsciously, you are expecting/hoping/wanting me to answer yes, it’s okay.

I hate to pop your bubble, but the answer is no: it is not okay to invite your friend and her boyfriend to a party so that you can pounce on her boyfriend.

Fuckbucket questions are of necessity brief and lacking in context—like, there is nothing in your question that concerns their feelings or availability—but here’s a true thing: if you don’t know whether or not they have an open relationship, or you know definitively that they don’t have an open relationship and you just want to make a cheating move, well, you’re a shithead.

Sadly, the strategy you would like to implement is not any more acceptable if your friend and her shaggable sweetheart do have an open relationship. If you don’t know and like them enough to want to invite them to your party for their own sakes, regardless of outcome, then that’s a little weird. Or it could become weird.

Because honestly, I have to wonder about your ability to implement your strategy in an emotionally intelligent way. If you invite them mostly to get into his pants, I don’t think you’d be able to hide where your focus is. Some people could do that—flirt with the guy without making the girlfriend jealous and/or suspicious—but I don’t think you are one of those people. I suspect your friend would figure it out within 30 minutes, between you making unrepentant cow eyes at her lover and your guy standing around watching the scene unfold like his own personal porno.

You can avoid any potential ethical dilemmas here in just one easy step: Ask your friend and her lover about this shit before the party. Stepping into unknown sex and/or relationship territory after everyone’s had a few drinks is a bad idea. Have this conversation sober. If you don’t know your friend well enough to have this conversation sober? You don’t really know her well enough for this to be an ethical option.

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FROM THE FUCKBUCKET: “How many dates before you bring out the strap-on?”

“How many dates before you bring out the strap-on?”

Lovely Fuckbucketeer, let me put one thing out there first: surprise strap-ons are never the way to go. Anything penetrative and/or dick-shaped is usually going to be a strongly individual preference or anti-preference, shall we call it. I’m sure you were speaking metaphorically, and not advocating slipping your detachable penis into the action without checking first. I just want to make sure that my readers understand this too.

Anyway, once we take stealth dick out of the equation, when you introduce your willy depends on two things:

  • How do you define “dates”?
  • How important is the strap-on to your sex life?

If by “dates,” you mean more traditional courtship, like coffee dates and dinner-and-a-movie dates, maybe a snog on the couch or whatever, then you would wait until you’re having one of those important conversations, about wanting to have sex with each other and oh, shit, that’s on the table now, we need to sort out a little about what we want to do to each other.

Whether you have sex on the first date or wait six months, you should still eventually have a conversation, either online or in person, about what kind of sex you want, ideally before you actually get down to fucking. This is the time to bring up your sweet, sweet harness of hotness. If strap-on sex is more of a sometimes treat for you—the frequency depending on how much your partner digs it, if at all—it’s okay to wait until you’re a little further along, but again, talk first, don’t just strut out of the bathroom wearing it.

Alternately, try the ol’ sex-toy tour approach, and include the harness and dildo(s) as part of that tour. Pour a couple of glasses of wine, or make up some lovely hot chocolate, get comfortable on the sofa, and take turns cracking open your toy boxes! (Obviously, you’ll have wanted to double-check that everything is clean and well-stored before you display it like that). Even if your partner doesn’t go straight for the strap-on, you’ll find that a little bit of show-and-tell with your toys makes it easier to talk about the options. Take turns telling anecdotes, maybe dry-demonstrating anything that the other person hasn’t seen. This is possibly the best way to share your strap-on proclivities, or really any proclivities that involve particular object: showing off the object itself, and not in action.

If the strap-on is extremely important to you, as in, you never have sex without it, your best bet for dating would be environments where it is acceptable and appropriate to mention your strap-on right up front: sex- or kink-focused dating apps or web sites, queer orgies, after-hours room parties at sex-ed conferences. Put it in your bio for those environments, hell, take some strap-on selfies so that you’re not even going to have to worry about counting dates before letting people know; people will just know. This way you can be sure that you are attracting only people who like to receive strap-on action, and you can avoid at least one potentially awkward conversation about your silicone shlong.

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