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Tagged From the Fuckbucket

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FROM THE FUCKBUCKET: “What’s the best thing you can do to expand your erotic imagination?”

The erotic imagination lives in the brain, and you know what they say about the brain…

It’s a muscle. Stretch it. Exercise it. Keep it flexible.

It’s a channel for electricity. Throw out lots of synaptic points and see what connects.

It’s hungry. Give it lots of food for thought.

There are any number of excellent metaphors for what you need to do, but it all boils down to this: to expand your erotic imagination, you need to feed it, use it regularly, and push outside your known zone every now and then.

Feed it. Where you get the fuel for your particular machine isn’t that important, as long as it’s legal, ethical, and interesting for you. Porn can be a good source, if you’re visually inclined, but you can also read erotica, or have a partner read erotica to you. The good thing about written or audio erotica, versus visual, is your mind gets to fill in the blanks. Try reading a piece to yourself, and then having it read to you, just to see changes for your between the two different takes!

What you feed your erotic imagination doesn’t have to be straight-up depictions of sex or kink, either. You can get out there and experience activities that are aimed at the senses. Get a massage; play in water; carefully cook a dinner that requires more than one napkin. Hit a museum or sculpture garden, or visit a fabric store, where you can run your hands all over the silks and satins. (Don’t make groaning noises, that’ll just freak the sales people out.) Go dancing to different kinds of music to see how they feel in your body.

(PSST: go to a Smut Slam near you and hear about other people's sex adventures. You will definitely get some ideas, and possibly some good cautionary advice, too.)

Plain ol’ conversation helps keep your well full, too. Talk with your partner(s) about the things you already do together, as well as the things you might do. Take them with you on these fieldtrips, and talk about what happens there. But don’t just make these forays a one-time thing. You need to…

Use it regularly. That phrase “use it or lose it” is not just a nicely rhyming platitude. This is true of all skills or abilities: if you do not regularly do a thing, your ability to do it will eventually atrophy.

With the erotic imagination, this means both going out and getting your “source material,” as it were, AND THEN making space in your life for playing. Don’t worry about any direct correlation between what you are doing on your sensual dates and what you are doing in your sexy times. You don’t need to force the connection; your brain will do the alchemy on its own.

Push your boundaries. I don’t mean break through them like a randy rhinoceros, or ignore your own internal misgivings or pain warnings or actual hard limits. I just mean, if you discover something that makes you shiver a little, or if your partner suggests something that you know nothing about… maybe try it.

Normally, in the course of your regular sex-having schedule, you’d probably push unknown items back in favor of activities you know and love, right? Go for the sure thing. But in the interest of stretching your boundaries, go ahead and lean on that question-mark spot, when one arises. Obviously, do all the safety prep and checks first: discuss it beforehand, including safe words/signals, investigate accurate technique, and even maybe plot out baby steps to this new and possibly scary thing, if it’s something you really aren’t sure of.

But look: if you’re already making the time for sensual dates, and making regular space in your life to incorporate all that new material, you’ve got enough time to slow down and gently push. Leaning into a stretch is how you make it bigger.

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I'd like to think that I'm helping to broaden people's erotic imaginations too. If you think so, and you'd like to help me to more of that, please think about getting over to Patreon and becoming a patron of mine. Rare footage of stand-up comedy sets, exclusive backstage interviews, and more as perks for my supporters!

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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FROM THE FUCKBUCKET: “were you always so open about sex, or did that come about over time?”

Were you always so open about sex and sexual experiences, or was it something you became more open about over time? If it was over time, why?

At this point I really am pretty upfront about most of it.

Neither our ability nor our desire to communicate about sex are things that come pre-installed at the factory. As kids we may be touching ourselves all over the house, or playing doctor back behind the shed, but actually talking about it?... Nah. We tend to absorb whatever our family does, for better or for worse.

With that in mind, I would have to say that I probably was more open and exploratory about sex stuff at an earlier age than anyone had a right to expect, given my background. Despite having been raised in the Mormon church, I still managed to find plenty of books with dirty bits by the time I was 10 or 11, and went looking for ways to experience dirty bits by the age of 14 or so. (Or maybe there was every right to expect that, because of that fighting spirit of opposition, but how come none of my siblings or cousins broke free?)

For a while in junior high school, I had one friend who was willing to share with me a lot of the details about her sex life. We would stare up at the Duran Duran posters on the walls and ceiling of her room, and she would tell me what she did with her boyfriend on those nights where she told her mother she was with me. (Yeah, I was the Alibi Friend.) At the age of 13, that definitely felt like a sort of open-sharing sex-ed outlet, but then I got bigger, both in tits and body, and crossed the line into plus-sized and focused more on school and our other friends turned on me, so I lost that. I was on my own.

From that point forward, my approach seems to have been:

  • fumble toward “bliss”
  • fuck up, sometimes hardcore
  • learn and integrate that learning OR take a huge reactionary swing in another direction
  • repeat

Eventually, over time, I got better with the various steps of this process. I started sitting down and thinking a little more in advance about what constitutes “bliss” for me. Additionally and where possible/necessary, I learned to think about other ways to get that bliss, some of which may be better for me and other people than just being led on a wild goose chase by my cunt.

I got better at dipping my toe in. Paradoxically, I also got better at plunging into the deep end, keeping my eyes open and committing to the dive. Sometimes that’s the thing that fucks you up.

And so, as I got better and more confident at following my (sexual) bliss, the learning curve became less harsh, less steep, considerably less fraught with explosive arguments and confused tears and occasionally lab tests and actual danger. (I should say that the curve has only really gotten shallower in the last seven years. I'm a late bloomer in so many things!) My mistakes aren’t so big now that I’ll feel the urge to run screaming in the opposite direction. And I am managing to find people who can walk and talk with me through the learning.

Now, as back when I was 13, my path seems to unfold right out in public view; I have never been very good at hiding my explorations for long. I don’t know if it’s because I’m stubborn or an exhibitionist or what, but no matter how difficult or weird it gets, wanting to be up front about sex stuff seems to be part of my personality.

Eventually, that led me to creating various shows around sex and sexuality because that’s what interests me. In performing around the world, I started to see that whatever attitude I have seems to be good for other people to witness. Authenticity in sex, especially in areas that don’t have societal support like kink or queerness or alternative relationship approaches or even as basic to me as asking for what I want… most people want more of it, but they don’t know how to get it.

I don’t know that I do either, but I’ve been trying to for a while, so it seems worthwhile to share my experiences with others. It feels like a way that I can make a difference.

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