Archive for the Fuckbucket

FROM THE FUCKBUCKET: “Should one marry their sexual fantasy?”

I’m … not sure why one wouldn’t? If you are also compatible in other important areas, and there doesn’t exist a legal impediment against it, and both parties are capable of giving consent (of age, having a sound mind, not being a car or a corpse or an alpaca), then go on ahead and marry that fucker, if that’s what you both really want!

I did not get the sense from this question that this was a situation in progress for the writer. They were asking a hypothetical question only, but it had a certain sense of anxiety about it, as though they are looking ahead at a period in their life when they might be expected to “settle down”—or may also want that for themselves—but they’re looking at it from the vantage point of a period in their life when they are getting some good action going on, and they’re wondering if the wild sex life stuff ends at 30.

“When I settle down, will I have to just settle?” is perhaps one underlying question. “Maybe I will get to a point where I don’t have much choice,” this person is thinking, “or I have less than I do now. Maybe I will have to relinquish some of my expectations and settle for less than what I want.”

To this I say, fuck that noise, DON’T FUCKING SETTLE. If getting married or otherwise into a long-term, emotionally committed relationship is something you want to do, please hold out for the things that are most important to you, and if your sex life is important to you, keep that bit close to your heart. It is not weird or one-track to make one’s sexual compatibility and excitement an important part of your relationship quest, it’s just keeping your priorities clear.

There is, of course, that sexist notion that still persists in some people’s minds, that there are some women you can have a great time fucking, but you would never “bring home to meet your mother,” e.g. a good time versus a good wife. But this is patent bullshit. Like, I’m not even going to waste two more sentences on this terrible dichotomy. Get you a person who can be both.

The more I think about this question, the more sex and relationship myths I see, lurking underneath the surface. Yes, you can be both smoking hot and a suitably stable partner. No, marriage/cohabitation/whatever does not mean a death knell for your sex life. Yes, sex lives can change after you marry/move in, but that’s more to do with New Relationship Energy wearing off and maybe you taking each other for granted; it is not a sign that you have sacrificed your sex fantasy on the altar of domestic bliss.

If your fantasy fuck has all the other qualities you need for a life partner, whatever those may be, GREAT. Sit down and talk with them beforehand about things like date nights, and bucket lists and games and workshops and anything else you might be able to use to keep tapping into that molten core. It takes effort, in the face of real life, to keep fanning the flames of whatever kinky shit you’re into.

But you can do it. So go ahead and marry that perv. If they think about you the way you think about them, you’ll deserve each other.


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FROM THE FUCKBUCKET: In what way do you best phrase your feelings of insecurity without hurting your S.O.?

If this is your first conversation that the two of you will be having about things that might be accompanied by feelings of insecurity and jealousy, then you probably won’t be able to do it without some amount of hurt. These conversations, and the feelings that happen on both sides of the equation, are fucking challenging for most people, even if you’re used to having them—like many polyamorous people or open sex workers—and the first time out can feel scary and bad. Just remember: you aren’t unevolved or “basic” or whatever for having either the initial feelings of insecurity OR for feeling anxious about the conversation. They don’t teach this shit in school, although they should.

The best thing you can do going into such convos is for both people to assume the best intent and mutual investment on both sides. (If you can’t do that, then feeling insecure and jealous is not the deepest level of challenge that you have, and I recommend seeing a couples’ therapist pronto.)

Another basic thing is to really make yourself physically present. Sit across from each other so you can have eye contact; turn off the damn phones. And be prepared to breathe a lot and stay silent and listen.

I talked about this a while back, about leaving lots and lots space in tough conversations. You’ve got to leave room, take time to hear the other person and then come up with your response. This is basic conversational respect: don’t be preparing your response when you haven’t even listened completely to what they are saying.

It’s worth going into these with similar sorts of ground rules that you establish together. Whether that’s my “asterisk” concept (setting up a code word that indicates that you have finished speaking for the moment) or an understanding that one of you may cry when upset, but that doesn’t mean ending the conversation, whatever your particulars are, it’s good to get them out on the table to support the process.

Also, and maybe this is obvious, do some thinking ahead of time about what is really going on. Take notes for yourself if you need to; it’s easy to get lost in your head when emotions are running high. At the very least, spend a little time thinking or journaling about what happened to bring up this conversation, so that it’s not all unfolding real-time during your discussion.

Okay, enough about prepping. How about that actual conversation?

When you tell your partner about those feelings, hook them up to a specific event or situation where you feel them; that is, avoid sweeping statements like “I’m just feeling so insecure lately!” Try phrasing it as a cause-and-effect thing: “when you stay out so late and I don’t hear from you, I feel anxious/insecure/angry (whatever the tough emotion that you feel).” The cause, however, is not them, it’s a behavior or situation, and you are reporting your feeling about that situation, NOT THEM.

Spend some time digging in with your partner. Are you worried about losing your partner to someone else? Do you think that their co-workers are more attractive than you are? Are you missing some intimacy at home? Are you dealing with so much instability in your life that you just need one spot of stability, and you thought that was your partner, but now this is happening? Go deep. Because yes, there are things that they are doing or ways that they are being that are bringing these things up, but you are not a blank slate or a puppet with strings waiting to be pulled: you are bringing your own history and feelings in as well.

When you’ve hashed out what is really going on, and how they feel, and actually what are the facts about the situation, it’s time to ask for what you want. Can you lay down some action items, and make a date to check in on them? Sometimes the remedy is as simple as a phone call or text; maybe you do need a therapist together. What is something that they could do, or the two of you together, that would help you feel better?

Remember also to think about the things that you could do to help yourself. I’ve heard this called “self-soothing,” and holy crap, is it something that I have had to work on constantly when it comes to my own relationship insecurities. Basically, you’re looking at non-harmful things that you can do when you’re feeling bad, and also just committing to sitting through the uncomfortable feelings. Sometimes you need to share with your partner when the shitty feelings come up; sometimes you can share with trusted friends, or work on it by yourself through journaling or making art. You get to decide for yourself, hooray, self-sufficiency! (That was only partially sarcastic.)

Then at the end? Your partner might still feel hurt or whatever; you might still feel insecure. But make sure that you have something good to do together afterward, making dinner or watching a movie or a bath together, something bonding. Because you did it. Feeling insecure and hurt are normal things, but you talked about it, and you planned for change, and you still love each other and the world did not end. Well done!


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FROM THE FUCKBUCKET: “my partner and I have a Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell agreement, and it’s starting to feel a little weird”

we're on "don't ask don't tell" for our sorta open relationship. I want to be more open about my feelings toward others, but he doesn't, even after suggesting it. I don't mind necessarily, but it's starting to feel a bit secretive.

This is not a question, it’s just a scribbled-down statement about how things are (or were) for someone in the Smut Slam audience, but I felt like I wanted to address it anyway, because there is a question in there: "what should I do?"

If I’m recalling correctly, there were a lot of polyamorous people in the audience that night and when I read this part, a murmur rippled through the crowd. The whole room expressed a sort of “yup, been there” and then sighed one collective sigh.

Many of us have been there. Oh my lord. DADT as a policy statement for open relationships is super common, especially for folks new to open relationships who think it’s some sort of training-wheel approach, just to get started. I know I did, with both the first and second partners I tried an actual opening-up with. I had asked about it, and my partners reluctantly agreed to it, but on terms: “I don’t want to know anything about it.”

And the thing is, that works, on a purely theoretical level, in a world where all you wanna do is scratch that itch and get laid, in and out and back to your “real life” and your “real partner.” Don’t Ask Don’t Tell works there, in that world where all you want are discrete bits of time with people who aren’t asking anything from you except some time with your particular and very discreet bits. DADT works fine, in an ongoing way, when you have a perfectly compartmentalized life and psyche.

In reality, very very few people have that kind of life and/or psyche. You may say you can do it, because good lord, that person is hot and you really wanna scratch that itch! But the reality is, life bleeds out all over everything. You develop feelings for that person who was supposed to just be a no-strings-attached fuck. Or at least you like them—hopefully—so you wind up watching a movie with them that you really love and then you go back to your primary partner and say, hey, I want to show you this movie, and they love it too and they say, “Wow, that was amazing! Where did you find out about this movie?” and you’re suddenly like, eep. Can I say?

What do you do if that happens with a sex move?

No couple magically match up their free time without discussion, sometimes a lot of discussion, depending on the couple and their already existing schedules. Carving out time for other people, without mentioning those other people, is really difficult.

And yeah, those feelings. They do happen, and if you’ve already set down a DADT policy about such basic things as “no mentioning dates with other people” and “I don’t want to know their names,” you’re suddenly going to be in an even more untenable position when the feelings come up.

This is not to say that your boyfriend doesn't have the right to say, "I don't want to hear about what you and your date did in bed last night" or "I'd rather not be the sounding board for any relationship problems you're having with your other partners." Those are pretty common boundaries; hopefully the two of you can hash those out together. But it sounds like the embargo is laid down pretty hard and pretty low, so... yeah. How much of your life/time/attention/heart is wrapped up in these other relationships, and how important is it that you can be open about that?

This person isn’t asking for advice, but for any readers who may be in the same situation, I encourage you to use the Sheelzebub principle, named after a Captain Awkward reader who had some sage advice for anyone wondering what to do in a challenging relationship situation:

Can I live with this for another month? Another year? Another five years? Ten years? The rest of my life? How long?

Maybe you’d be okay with it. What about your partners in DADT-ness? That might feel a bit shitty for them too. You’re feeling a little bit constrained now. How will that feel after five years of it? I can’t answer that question for you, but as someone who tried “don’t ask don’t tell” once, I can tell you I would never go back.


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FROM THE FUCKBUCKET: “What was your hottest epiphany?”

My hottest epiphany was, in itself, not hot. It was the opposite of hot. It was the coldest that I had felt in my life up until that point, and it happened in my counselor’s office when I was rocking back and forth in a chair that was not designed for rocking, sobbing and doubled over from the psychic pain. But eventually it led to the best sex I've ever had.

Let me explain.

I had gone into counseling because I had cheated on my longtime partner, a woman, with a man. Although my awareness of my bisexuality had been sneaking up on me, to the point where I was starting to feel a little weird at office parties (I had a crush on my male editor at the newspaper), I thought I had it “under control.” When I subsequently went to a newspaper convention, drank two margaritas the size of my head, and rather aggressively pursued a male advertising sales rep from Sacramento… I realized I had nothing under control and sought out counseling.

There in the comfortably bland office, I dissected and discussed my craving for "male company," after nearly nine years of avoiding that shit like the plague. That was not the epiphany. I knew that I wanted cisgendered men back in my life, at least for the bouncy fun bits. The hard part was weighing that desire against everything else in my life.

Because I was still with my partner, and I still loved her, and I knew that pursuing my sexual desires was going to throw everything into chaos. She was already hurting, and I didn’t know how to make that stop. My new-found mantra for that period was You can’t unknow what you know, but saying it didn’t really help.

I felt guilt for what I had already done, and guilt for what I hadn’t even done yet, and deep, deep shame for all of it. It took me months and months to drill down to the core of it, something leftover from growing up in a large religious family with scarce resources and scarce love and sex being a perversion anyway: I felt that I wanted too much. I wanted more than I “deserved.”

Of course this goes back to always being a little bit hungry, and never being able to ask for more because there wasn’t more. But the current-day psychological upshot was that I felt that my wants, of any sort, were excessive. I was "greedy" for wanting what I wanted, and my happiness was nowhere worth near as much as other people’s. I could feel the desire—so profound that it transcended mere tingly bits—and at the same time I could feel my horrified recoil at my own selfishness, so I had been going around and around like a gyroscope, balanced in this endless push of lust and self-loathing.

I don’t know how exactly I broke that cycle. My counselor coaxed me down the path multiple times, as I made little baby steps and then waited for God to strike me down. I had to brace myself against the sure knowledge that yes, my choices would affect my partner, and try and fail and try again to be ethical, to be caring. I had to weigh, over and over, the risks and potential outcomes. I had to be at peace with the nature of my sexual self, and with the knowledge that it shifts and changes.

This is a process more than an epiphany. I still don’t always know how to proceed with my passionate pursuits. I still definitely worry about how those pursuits affect others. But at least I know that I must pay attention to my desires. I can’t always fulfill them right away or at all, because the world is not that kind of place, but my desires are valid and important, and they are definitely not too much.


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