Archive for the ‘Sexuality’
I was recently answering a question in a queer poly FAAB/woman/feminine-oriented group I’m part of and thought it would make good blog fodder. I have a ton of posts I keep working on and meaning to finish, but keep putting off, so I figure I could slap this one up. I have no idea what my readership is like these days (not that there’s many of you since my writing gap has grown larger and larger), but I imagine this might not be new information. Oh well!
Question posed: What is your story with your sexual identity? What’s your relationship with being queer?
(tl;dr, early bloomer. much queer, but always awkward. so genderqueer. much kink.)
I had my first sexual experience around third grade with a female friend of mine at the time: kissing and rubbing our bodies, including genitals, against each other while sleeping over at each others houses. I fooled around with a few people in middle school and high school, had my first boyfriend in middle school, where we ended up in a polyish relationship where he was dating me and another girl for a period of time. We weren’t together for very long, but mostly because it was middle school and less because of the poly. I had a few girls who were maybe sort of almost girlfriends, but who were mostly friends who were girls that I made out with or had sex with once and not really ever again. I was horribly awkward and shy and I didn’t know how to approach girls, or anyone for that matter. I did experience some discrimination and uncomfortableness from others because of my visible and unapologetic queerness, but I was used to being othered for most of my life anyway.
Being attracted to people regardless of gender was always a non-issue for me to some extent. When I learned the term bisexual around 6th grade I began calling myself that and coming out as bisexual, which lead me to being the President and Co-founder of my high school’s Gay/Straight Alliance (as they were commonly called then), and also lead most of the people in my school and my hometown thinking I was a lesbian. I came out to my mom somewhere around freshman year of high school and her response was: “oh, I thought you were a lesbian.” A non-issue. My older sibling identifies now as queer, as I do, and they were where I learned the term bisexual from all those years ago.
I discovered the concept of bdsm/kink around 6th grade as well, having had fantasies about it for as long as I’d had fantasies. That became and has always been a central part of my sexual identity as well. I first believed I was strictly a Submissive or Bottom, but have been identifying as a Top and Switch for the last seven or so years now.
I started playing consciously with my gender in high school as well, probably also leading a number of people to assume queerness from me (even though the conflation of gender and sexuality is inaccurate and not useful for anyone, imo, it is unfortunately pervasive, and gender does in fact tie in to sexual identity, since sexual identity is based on it, e.g., one cannot be homosexual or heterosexual without having a gender to base the homo or hetero aspect of that identity on. But, I digress). My genderfucking once included a fellow student that I didn’t know once asking me if I was a guy in drag (I was wearing a wig and “feminine” clothing). This was highly amusing to me, even though it was obviously meant to be offensive (I didn’t take it that way, though). I also did a lot of acting all through school (elementary-high), and basically during the plays in 6th and 7th grades I went through a phase where I only wanted to play guys (a big part of that, I think, was that I was always taller and larger than all of the girls and most of the guys in my age range at the time, but also probably something else).
I started identifying as queer around when that became common language, somewhere around 2005ish while I was in my undergrad in Gender Studies. I started identifying as genderqueer around the same time, though I had played with gender for long before that.
Onyx and I met when I was 19. It was my first real long-term relationship, and we have been together ever since. We’ve been poly since we met, and I had a long-distance relationship at the time we met as well, and that was also a non-issue. I wasn’t familiar with the term polyamory when we got together, but I knew the concept of an open relationship and was happy to expand my identity to include poly as well. We were only theoretically poly/monogamish for the first few years of our relationship, though.
For the first few years of our relationship I also had a difficult time with him being cis male and us being in a seemingly heterosexual relationship. I was not used to experiencing heterosexual privilege and it was really uncomfortable for me. I felt invisible and ignored by both queer and non-queer communities and people. I began feeling uncomfortable in queer circles and queer community because of my primary partnership with a cis guy, and I experienced individuals change their way of relating to me once they found out about that. I had my first serious girlfriend when I was 23; an attempted triad with me and Onyx that ended horribly. We were mostly monogamish for a while after that, until over a year ago when I met Rose.
Ever since I decided to take the Sexological Bodywork Training and once I started talking about it I have been asked these questions over and over again: what is Sexological Bodywork? Who is it for? What does a Sexological Bodywork session look like? Here are my answers to those questions.
What is Sexological Bodywork?
Sexological Bodywork is somatic sex education that utilizes a variety of bodywork techniques in order to encourage the client’s whole erotic self to come forth. Sexological Bodyworkers are trained in breathwork, genital anatomy, masturbation coaching, sensual and erotic massage, and scar tissue remediation. We are educators rather than healers. Our goal as educators is to create a safe container within each session so that healing may occur when the client is ready.
Sexological Bodywork has been a certified profession recognized by the state of California since 2003. It was founded by Joseph Kramer and grew out of his work with The Body Electric School (which he also founded back in 1984). Since it’s inception it has spread beyond the California training to have Certified Sexological Bodyworker (CSB) Trainings in Austrailia, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland.
Who is Sexological Bodywork for?
Anyone and everyone interested in having a deeper experience of their own erotic nature. Sexological Bodyworkers work with individuals, people in various relationship configurations, and groups in private sessions or within public workshops.
I believe everyone can benefit from a session or series of sessions with a CSB, as very few (if any) of us are fully embodied and having the type of sex and relationships we are desiring to have. Part of human nature is that we change. Our desires fluctuate and our bodily sensations change as our bodies change, as we change. We often get stuck in ruts with our own sexuality. We have a drive to continue to strive for improvement, but often our inner self is scared of change and grabs on to patterns that no longer serve us. Sexological Bodywork works at the basic level of humanity, with the body, in order to assist people to understand their own body and live more fully embodied lives. It is possible to have the sex life of your dreams.
It goes beyond sexuality and sexual functioning, though, as well. Joseph Kramer likes to say “if you want to change your life, change the way you masturbate,” though that also goes for the way you approach sex and sexuality in general. When we are receiving the kind of touch, love, and attention that we need deep down at our core both from ourselves and others we can truly blossom into all that we are meant to be and do our work in the world. That is what we as Sexological Bodyworkers help to facilitate in our clients.
What does a Sexological Bodywork session look like?
There is a wide range of possibilities for what a session looks like. It can be over the phone, on video chat, or in person. It can include discussion and coaching suggestions without touch, witnessing the client self-touch, erotic massage, and/or genital touch.
There is no one right way to do Sexological Bodywork, as long as it fits within the professional code of conduct and ethics. This includes the practitioner remaining fully clothed throughout the session; unidirectional touch, meaning the practitioner is touching the client and not the other way around; and the use of medical-grade gloves whenever genital touch is involved. All Sexological Bodyworkers bring their own personal background, experiences, and specializations to the table creating a slightly different experience from practitioner to practitioner, therefore a generalization outside of the professional guidelines is difficult to make.
Personally, while I have had some talk-only sessions, including the first session I have with any client, most of my sessions have included some form of touch with a focus on embodiment. This has not always included genital touch, but it is one of many options available. I begin and end most of my sessions with a practice from my spiritual tradition as a way to create a container of sacred safer space between us as well as to transition in and out of the session. After discussing the client’s experiences since our last session and goals for this session, we determine what we want to work with within the session to work toward their goals.
For a large part of the last year Onyx and I were monogamish. There was occasional makeouts and things with other people, but even though there were a few people we were interested in I couldn’t think of venturing out into another relationship at the time. I was a wreck and thoroughly closed to myself. I could barely let Onyx in and the idea of a new relationship was daunting and terrifying.
Since Onyx and I got together we have never been strictly monogamous. Our flavor of non-monogamy has shifted many times over the years, but more often than not we have only been in a relationship with each other. When we first got together I had another long-distance relationship I was in, though that was not particularly healthy and stopped before we moved in together. For a long while after I moved in with him we were monogamish or poly-theoretical. We were not monogamous, but we weren’t actively seeing anyone else or seeking out additional partners. We flirted with a long-distance N-style relationship with a couple friends of ours at one point. Then Marla came along. We shifted into the triad and then to polyfidelitous together. Once that ended, and after our time apart, we have basically been in an open/non-monogamous relationship. We have played with/had sex with people, but we haven’t really been in any other relationships besides the one between us. This began to shift a few months ago.
At the end of September I met a couple of people at a weekend ritual workshop and began to date them. The concept of meeting someone or wanting to play with someone at the ritual was so out of my head that Onyx and I didn’t even have a conversation about the possibility beforehand. It was unexpected, sudden, and intense with both of them in completely different ways. Luckily, even though the ritual was in Portland, they both live in the Seattle area and so we have been able to continue seeing each other. More on them in other posts, though.
In light of those new relationships budding another friend and I started dating as well. She and I began talking about dating before my father died, but due to that happening it got postponed until recently. Due to extremely busy schedules and both of us having multiple partners we haven’t been able to spend too much time together, but we are working on it.
Onyx recently began dating another person as well. This is someone I am close with and knew before he did. I introduced them, which is amusing to me. It has been really lovely to watch the two of them beginning their relationship, especially since I have much love for both of them.
Historically in our relationship he has been much more open and relaxed about me seeing other people than I have about him seeing other people. He has also had more interest in the last year or two for other people than I have. For a while after the triad, once we got back together, we were primarily wanting to explore new relationships or play partners together rather than separately. I didn’t know why it was so daunting to me at the time, but there were many things going on with me and it was difficult to play with someone else with him. It has been really good to have this shift to poly happen with me finding multiple people to build relationships with after not feeling much interest for that. Having the experience of being the first one to venture into a new relationship has helped me be comfortable with his new relationship as well.
Our communication abilities are the best they’ve ever been (and I hope to continue to be able to say that as our relationship progresses), so we have been able to talk about any issues, jealousies, envies, or whatnot that come up. Because of this our experience with poly this time is much different than the last.
Each of us seeing already-poly people who have at least one (usually many more than one) other partner is really helpful as well. We aren’t exactly new to polyamory and non-monogamy, but neither Onyx or I had much positive experiences with it before now. Being in relationships with people who do have positive experiences with it, who can handle their shit, who have good communication skills, and who are seeing other people so they aren’t focused exclusively on one of us has been exceptionally good.
I currently only have express consent from one of the new people mentioned in this post to give them a name or talk about them in depth on here, so look for upcoming posts about him. More consent will be asked for, so eventually I will not have to only speak in generalities. For now, though, know that there will be more poly-focused posts in the future.
A lot has happened in the three months since this semester started, both personally and professionally, and in some ways I can’t believe it is over already. I wasn’t prepared for the speed with which these three months have gone by, but it has all been wonderful. There were some topics that I wanted to write about but just didn’t get the chance, like Public Humiliation, Skin Stapling, Corsets, more on our Rope escapades, and joining my fellow student bloggers crafting homemade floggers, but I just didn’t have the time.
I re-read my application post and my introduction post in preparation for writing this, my final post on the Kink Academy Student Blog, then looked over all my posts this semester. My intention when applying was to use the videos I would be watching and the techniques I would be learning to get closer with my partner, Onyx, as well as to learn skills that I could use both with him and others. [...]
Okay, so I’m only kind of cheating this week because I’m not exactly going to be talking about things that I learned from the videos I watched this week, although I will be talking about some awesomely fantastic videos. My life for the last week revolved around my first public workshop, which was on Thursday. I was presenting on the topic of gender. For most of the week I was gathering data and information from both books and web sources to be sure that what I presented was the latest and most up-to-date gender theory that I could be presenting.
Part of the reason why I want to write about this and these videos this week is because I want to bring attention to them. It is easy to focus on kink when looking at videos on Kink Academy since, well, it’s right in the name and there is a vast library of videos to choose from. While gender can be a kink for some (it certainly is for me–but not in the sense that I fetishize gender-variant people, in the sense that I get off talking about gender and gender theory–but I digress) that doesn’t mean that everyone is open to talking about it.
Learning about gender should be something required for everyone, not just those who are gender-variant or don’t fit within the gender binary. Everyone has a gender, but often people who are cisgendered (their sex and gender align with what they have been assigned by society) are forgotten when talking about gender because people who fit into the norm often do not get discussed because we assume that everyone knows what that means. However, I also think it is necessary for us to talk about cisgendered people to attempt to un-other gender-variant people, but that is a whole other topic. [...]
In my first post I wrote about rope bondage, I mentioned that Onyx and I are fairly new to it and he gets frustrated by rope fairly easily, really he tries to make everything more complicated than it actually is. I mentioned that we were talking about making our rope play a weekly occurrence since, as we all know, practice makes perfect. That hasn’t happened, but we were able to explore some more rope videos and have a rope night tonight after a long hiatus!
First we watched some of the newest videos that have come out.
Graydancer‘s Rope Scene Connection & Flow Part 1 and Part 2 are invaluable, I think, when it comes to rope bondage. He’s talking about things that seem really simple and obvious once you know them but are not often taught during rope classes such as how to approach someone you’re playing with, how to connect with the rope bottom during the scene, and how to keep confident during a scene even when you make a mistake. His tips are great for any sort of scene, really, not just rope bondage.
Then we reviewed. [...]
Life is moving along at such a pace lately that it’s difficult to keep up with writing about all the things I want to write about. Not that I’m complaining, really, but this hasn’t happened to me in a while. Nearly a month ago Onyx and I attended a Living Love Revolution Aphrodite Temple. It’s all been a bit of a whirlwind, but in a wonderful way. The temple was absolutely phenomenal and transformational in so many ways.
This was a two-day retreat, essentially, at a remote location outside of Seattle. There were somewhere between twenty and thirty of us there. We had been told about it before we went, of course, including having some of the activities described in a good amount of detail, but I don’t think either of us were really prepared for everything that occurred. In a good way.
I could feel a very noticeable energy shift in me from before the temple to after. I have felt far more open as well as more radiant, which often go hand in hand. I feel less timid about expressing myself however feels authentic for that moment, less anxious about what other people will perceive and more content with what I have to offer. I feel in touch with love, which was at least part of the point.
There was great emphasis on embodiment, autonomy, safe consensual touching, and getting what you need. It is all about getting your needs met and learning about how to ask for those things you need. It is about finding the beauty in yourself and everyone around you. It is also about Aphrodite, of course, and all these activities just aid in connecting with her more.
While we were there I felt somewhat disconnected with Onyx, or like I had to disconnect with him in order to be seen the way I wanted to. It’s something I didn’t experience at the play party we went to on March 4th 1, which says to me I may getting through that little blockage. It’s something I’ve held on to for quite some time, this notion and worry that I will be seen as less queer because I’m with him, when that’s really just silly. I have tried not to be ruled by it, but at the same time I have been.
I wasn’t opposed to the disconnection in the moment, exactly, but I saw it as a necessary part which irritated me. I think going through the experience of the temple, though, allowed me to let go of that and be able to connect with him more ever. I’ve been allowing my shy masculinity to shine through ever since I wrote about it and more and more since the temple itself. I think I experienced what it was to be seen for me in the moment which has just made me want to be seen like that more often.
I also didn’t experience any jealousy or anxiety about being disconnected and each of us being touched and caressed2 by other people, which was fantastic. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do with that going into it. It was remarkably easy, and though we were in the same room we rarely interacted with each other during the activities. I’m excited to see what happens in the future.
I loved it so much I’m now in the Priest/ess training program for it and Onyx and I will be going to the one being held in April. I want to go to the July and November ones as well, and would be surprised if that didn’t happen. I’m beginning to work quite closely with the high priestess, not just for the training but doing classes and workshops with her as well as working on websites for her. This is only the beginning.
I’ve never really considered myself a fetishist, despite the long list I keep on FetLife. Although there are non-sexual objects that I find attractive and even sexy I have never been to the point of needing them in order to get off. I did understand that my magical tools were technically fetish objects but I wouldn’t call them such and I didn’t know how to stretch that definition into bdsm.
When I saw the title of a recent Kink Academy video: Making Unusual Fetishes Work For You – Part 1 I was intrigued and, being a psychology geek and aspiring sex educator I decided to watch it even though I wasn’t sure I would get anything personally relevant out of it. In it Wintersong just gives a teaser for the rest of the video series, just giving an outline of what he will cover in future clips. In addition to getting me excited to see the rest of the series it also got me thinking about my own fetishes.
Wanting to explore the subject further I found Lee Harrington‘s video Fetishism and devoured it eagerly. He talks about three different kinds of fetishism–desires, needs, and empowered objects–and points out ways to present a fetish to a current or potential lover in a positive way. I had heard the basic definitions that he uses before both through my own explorations and in obtaining my psychology degree but he re-framed them for me in a kink context. The re-framing actually made me start to identify with two of the three: desires and empowered objects. [...]
It wasn’t long ago that Onyx put a collar around my neck for the second time, but at the time there was little that came along with it that wasn’t already in our relationship. The last year has been the best we’ve ever had together, and after nearly six years together that’s saying something. Hopefully, though our effort at sustaining and nourishing our relationship, that trend will continue. After the first time he collared me and I moved in with him there was a time when we attempted to implement some service and protocol in our lives. It didn’t work.
There was lots of baggage we both were battling back then, issues and assumptions we both were making due to past experiences either with other people or with each other. I desperately wanted some structure. I wanted clearly defined rules and protocols. I wanted all the things I’d heard what M/S is, the things I had read about in books and erotica. I wanted to be controlled by him in every way. When we tried to put those into practice, however, I rebelled. I didn’t trust him. I couldn’t submit in those conditions. He couldn’t control me and I wouldn’t let him.
Fast forward four years or so. The last year we’ve been at our peak as far as our intentional non-egalitarian relationship, which I often refer to as Owner/Brat for lack of a better term. I am owned by him, I am his, but I am not always submissive or obedient. I have the leeway to be a brat, to struggle, things we both really enjoy (though usually I’m only a brat in certain contexts). I had been consciously neglecting the other aspects, however, at least partially because they didn’t work before.
Enter Delving Into Power, a weekend intensive by Lee Harrington (who has some wonderful clips here on the Kink Academy) that Onyx and I attended the first weekend of February. Going through that weekend my Service Submissive self was tapped into and I realized there were aspects I was missing and that Onyx and I were finally in the right place to address service and protocol in our relationship so naturally I began scouring the service and protocol category of Kink Academy to see what other tools I could find.