Fetlife Giveaway

So, I've done that thing where I entered a giveaway and I'm now going to use this blog to not only increase my chances of winning, but also give y'all the opportunity to enter and win some awesome kinky loot.

Sit on Santa's Lap at Fetlife.com and tell him three of the things from their extensive list of gear (worth altogether almost $24,000!) that you'd like to get in your hot little hands. Then, if you so desire you can pimp out your blog/facebook/twitter/etc just as I am doing here to increase your odds of winning.

Which three did I pick?

The NJoy Eleven, the Enchantment Corset in Satin and the Bondage Corset. Hooray for metal sex toys and sexy bondage garments!

While you're up, you can also become my friend. I've just fleshed out my profile (slightly) and my handle is anewparadox. You might even get to see a picture of my face. I've been flirting with the idea of outing myself, but that whole stripper/dominatrix thing is hard to take back once it's officially on the internet. Anyway, be my fetfriend and we'll see from there!

Instability

This is the third year in a row that I've had a sexual dry spell in the fall.

Last fall semester, I had sex only once the whole semester with an old friend who I sort of fell into bed with. The year before that, I also had sex only once between August and December, with an attractive barista who proceeded to treat me disrespectfully afterwards.

Once again, I'm finding myself with the desire for physical touch and affection but without the confidence and comfort I need to go find them. I've got a combo of reasons: the issues with men that I think are obvious from my recent entries, my unrealized feelings for my roommate (which I promise I will write about eventually), and some personal weirdness around my job as a domme.

It's just such a weird trend. I think the consistency of the timing is most related to the fact that I always go through a pretty big move in early fall. This year was particularly big, with the move to New York City, but every other year it's been a transition from San Francisco back to a college whose population has changed (thanks to graduates and dropouts) and where my relationships have altered.

I forget, each time by the time I'm transitioning again, how hard it is for me and how long it takes me to recover from change like that. I want to be someone who can just pick up and do whatever and yes, I survive, but I also don't handle big change well at all. It takes a toll on my comfort level and then on my self esteem. I don't always feel it at first beyond the stress of getting settled physically, but I always see the effects in the end.

I hate being unsettled someplace, having to rebuild my support structure/family of friends. I don't even feel able to meet other people because I'm living in a space of not feeling safe and it's hard to have the charisma or energy to do it. I forget this every time I move, but it's always there and I always have to fight and take a long-ass time to overcome it. I'm ready to be done with it now.

Modern Work

I had a thought the other day.

Work used to be someone people would do to survive. Work was how you killed or grew and ate your food. It was how you had clothes so you didn't freeze to death. You know, essential stuff. You put in effort because that's what it took to have what you needed, and exertion was the natural consequence of getting those things.

We still have work, though, despite the fact that our clothes are made thousands of miles away and our food is grown and picked by strangers. And sure, the people who supply those things are working at it, and a lot of the work that we all do in this country serves to bring those products to their consumers. But also, so many of the available jobs are marketing or crunching numbers or managing other people to do those things. Somebody cuts the paychecks for the best boy on a movie set. Someone writes the copy on the label of fruit juice bottles.

It's a weird thing to think about, with too many implications to write about in a single blog post. We clearly, as beings, need stuff to do, are designed to struggle at something. Even if it's weirdly insignificant.

Also, the fact that we outsource our physical needs allows for so much more population. When we make someone else get our food for us, we give them a job and something to do and a way to get their own food. And also, then we need a random job ourselves, so it creates this weird society beast. It grows exponentially and the result is that we both need and create more and more people and more and more resources. Sad for our planet that its resources aren't infinite. Sad for us that we're killing it.

This post kind of reads like stoned ramblings, and sadly it's not. It's just odd to be an adult and deconstruct going to work every day even a little. No wonder so much art is made about this. I want to go read John Cheever some more and watch some Mad Men. What a strange world I live in.

Ani Difranco - The Story

I would have returned your greeting
If it weren't for the way you were looking at me
This street is not a market
And I am not a commodity
And don't you find it sad that we can't even say hello
'Cause you're a man
And I am a woman
And the sun is getting low
And there are some places that I can't go
As a woman I can't go there
And as a person I don't care
I don't go for the hey baby what's your name
And I'd like to go alone thank you
Just the same
Songs should always perfectly articulate things I've been thinking about. Or rather, the best ones do.

Vulnerability

When I was last in a serious relationship, with my ex M who I dated for four years, I was extremely devoted to the relationship and making it work, helping it last. It was an open relationship for almost the whole time, and through it I began to explore polyamory. Within that, though, we were very close and very dedicated to staying together.

Since I broke up with M, I've certainly dated and I've had short-term relationships. I was seeing a girl when we broke up, but that fell apart soon after because we couldn't reconcile our monogamous and polyamorous goals. I had one boyfriend who sort-of-accidentally moved into my room during my junior year of college, but he left school after we were together for a semester. I've had a couple of summer lovers, but nobody in the last few years who lasted more than a season or a semester.

I've handled all these breakups and growing- or moving-aparts really well. Some have been harder than others, but I've stayed friends with each lover and moved on fluidly. I'm very mature about it all, usually calm and forgiving. I've felt good about all the relationships ending, in fact. I cried over some of them and certainly a couple were hard, but I always saw it as a learning experience.

I wonder, though, if that's just because I only allowed myself a certain level of depth in each of these interactions. I have been in love with maybe one person since M. That loss was certainly the hardest to deal with, but I did it. We'd never promised each other anything, and I let it go.

It's been a very, very long time, though, since I made any kind of relationship commitment. When I decide to be in a relationship, when I make promises to somebody and make it a priority, I throw myself in. I feel very strongly and I work very hard to make it go well. I like it when I can be submersed in that way. It feels good.

I'm also really, really scared of it. To be committed like that puts me in such a vulnerable place. I don't think I'm wrong not to throw myself into that; I do need to trust someone before I give them that power over me. It takes time to develop that trust.

I just wonder if I'm missing out, or if I'm limiting my own happiness by being so guarded. I'm having an opportunity to commit, which I'll likely write about soon, and I'm considering a big shove to my comfort zone. The opportunity, and my resulting anxiety, just made it totally clear to me how long it's been since I opened myself up in any real way. It's a long-forgotten feeling, and we'll see how it pans out.

Schroedinger's Rapist

I want to share with you all a guest post at Shapely Prose by writer Phaedra Starling that I found not long ago which has put a lot of my thoughts about public interactions with men into words. It's not a short post, but I really recommend reading the whole thing, especially if you happen to possess a penis.

The post discusses how, when one approaches a woman in public, it's really important to be aware that she does not know whether or not you're a rapist. An excerpt:
Consider: if every rapist commits an average of ten rapes (a horrifying number, isn’t it?) then the concentration of rapists in the population is still a little over one in sixty. That means four in my graduating class in high school. One among my coworkers. One in the subway car at rush hour. Eleven who work out at my gym. How do I know that you, the nice guy who wants nothing more than companionship and True Love, are not this rapist?

I don’t.

When you approach me in public, you are Schrödinger’s Rapist. You may or may not be a man who would commit rape. I won’t know for sure unless you start sexually assaulting me. I can’t see inside your head, and I don’t know your intentions. If you expect me to trust you—to accept you at face value as a nice sort of guy—you are not only failing to respect my reasonable caution, you are being cavalier about my personal safety.

Fortunately, you’re a good guy. We’ve already established that. Now that you’re aware that there’s a problem, you are going to go out of your way to fix it, and to make the women with whom you interact feel as safe as possible.
Now, there have been some negative reactions to her tone. I think, given the subject matter, that it's called-for, although perhaps her condescension is unhelpful. If you can disregard the talking down just for a minute, though, and if you hear all the dismal statistics and despair at the state of affairs, if you wonder how you can successfully approach a woman without being a creeper, or if you're just really awesome, read the rest of the article. It's worth it.

What Makes a Woman a Bitch

I want to clarify something about my goal of being more assertive.

I know that it's not very nice to tell a potential suitor to fuck off.* There are damn good reasons, though, for no more Ms. Nice Girl. I've written about a few of them over the course of this blog. The long and short of it, if you don't want to go back and read four blog posts, is that I'm constantly sexually harassed every time I leave my apartment.

It doesn't matter what I'm wearing; it doesn't matter what expression is on my face; it doesn't matter how I respond or even who I'm with. I'm tall and noticeable and have red hair, and I'm apparently hot. Or "sexy baby" or "can I taste that lip ring?" or "look at that pretty tummy." That last one was today.

This puts me in an awfully awkward situation. The thing about hot women in the media is that they're always portrayed as bitches: the blonde popular girl who is too haughty to respond even with kindness to the poor nerdy boy who just wants to love and cuddle her. What they don't show on TV are the good reasons for this behavior.

I don't want to be a "bitch," but I'm fully aware that the reason people use that word is usually to bring women into line. The words "bitch" and "slut" more often have to do with a woman exercising her power and the discomfort that causes in everyone else. If I have boundaries around who I allow to talk to me and in particular how they do it, I'll be branded a bitch. I'll become "that one" who is too cool to give the time of day to a defenseless guy. The thing is, y'all are rarely actually defenseless.

There are things that I respond well to. "Hello, how are you?" is usually one of them. Curiosity about me as a human being with emotions, opinions, and things I like to do is another. "I like you" or "You're pretty" on the street or in a club when my looks are the only thing you could know about me are not. Male folk have an option in how they view and approach me.

Nobody likes to be objectified, diminished into just one part of their person. Maybe somebody who approaches me ham-handedly is just socially awkward and because that's the only thing I see, I judge him as such. I recognize that if I reject someone in a club, that could hurt their feelings. The truth, though, is that it hurts mine to be approached lewdly, to be singled out solely for my looks. So what would you have me do? I'd love a better world, where this wouldn't be a problem. Or just a better solution. Any ideas?


*There's a more specific story there: a group of guys came up to me and my roommate and asked if we'd make out. I asked if they would then all make out with each other and they said "Hell, no!" so I responded with "Well, fuck off then."

On Being Assertive

So, my current professional and personal life goal is to learn to be more assertive in my flirtations, my rebuttal of others' sexual attentions, and in the bedroom.

As a domme, it's professionally essential that I find a way to be comfortable with topping these men who come in and want to pay me hundreds of dollars to do so. They want me to call them sluts and worms and dogs and whatever, they want me to step on them or beat them and humiliate the shit out of them. There's a very large part of me that goes "Eek! But that's mean!"

I'm starting, though, to embrace it. I can see the change in the rest of my life, too. I went out clubbing the other weekend at Webster Hall. I had no idea where I was going - I was just along for the ride - but apparently this is a too-well-known and therefore sketchy place to go dance. LOTS of men who will throw themselves at you. And they did.

But I told them to fuck off! Well, not all of them. I was a little kinder to a few, but I routinely and calmly rejected them if I didn't want to dance with them. I just danced with my roommate, and when I did finally find someone attractive, I made out with him. And then left. It was altogether awesome because I felt fully in control of the situation.

My goal for the next while is to strike up one conversation each day with someone I don't know who looks interesting or attractive. If I go on any dates, I want to be the one to initiate physical contact, even if that just means holding hands. If I see an interesting profile on OKCupid, I will in fact message the person. These sound like little things, but they're challenging to me and I intend to conquer them. A few baby steps, and I'll be there. Whee!

Inconsiderate Lovers

There are so very many people who are bad in bed. Specifically, there seem to be hordes of inconsiderate men floating around waiting to spring their time-wasting self-centeredness on me at any unsuspecting second!

That's not to say that all men are bad in bed, of course. I've been with men who were wonderful lovers and women who were only so-so. There are lots of factors to a sexual experience, and plenty of them have nothing to do with skill and everything to do with connection. That said, there's a base level of consideration that makes for a decent lover. When I say someone's bad, I mean that they're selfish, not that they lack tongue agility or erectile prowess or some such nonsense.

For all I know, straight women could be on average just as bad as straight men in this regard. I can't be sure, as they won't sleep with me. Same goes for gay men. I have been with more inconsiderate men than inconsiderate women, but I've also just been with more men than women. Maybe it has nothing to do with demographics.

All that said, it's just sad. I'm almost content with very mediocre sex; I know how bad it could be, so if they even try to give me any kind of pleasure, I'm halfway to satisfied.

Now, generally speaking, I can just take care of myself when I'm having sex with someone who doesn't know what they're doing. That's actually totally fine. If they're trying and I like them enough to invest the time, I can teach them what I like. In the meantime I can take care of myself, and that's sexy in and of itself. I love to masturbate with assistance.

There's no hope, though, with the ones who don't even try, who don't care a whit about my pleasure. Kind of like the guy I slept with last week.

This man was attractive. I thought he was gay, actually, when we first met, which made him even moreso to me. I like people who push the queer/gender envelopes. However, his idea of foreplay was to masturbate a little and then try to put it in me. In other words, none.

As an independent woman who knows how to take care of her own pleasure, I could have done something about this. I could have initiated the sex sooner. Instead of sitting there not wanting to watch the same episode of Real World Road Rules twice in a row because he was too stoned to notice, I could have climbed into his lap and gotten things started.

Instead of waiting until I was too tired to care enough, waiting until I was half asleep in the middle of the night and woke up to his cock in the air as he stroked it, I could have taken matters into my own hands.

Instead, I had the second worst sex in my life (ask me about the worst sometime). He tried to go for it without a condom, which I had none of, and once I got one and put it on him, he went limp immediately. And then to sleep. Not once did he try to touch any part of my body other than my vagina, with his penis. Gross.

Perhaps if I'd started things earlier, I might've been able to steer him into, you know, doing anything at all to my clitoris or nipples. I could've asked him to turn me on in any way other than masturbating in my general direction. I like a show as much as the next girl, but not enough for me to be ready to fuck.

Anyway, I'm going to make it a project for myself to be a more aggressive flirt and lover. I want to initiate things more, drop this femme bullshit where I try to attract people but make them take the final step. I'm going to set concrete goals, hold myself accountable, make this a real thing I'm working on. I'll let you know how it goes.

Being Invested

When I moved to New York City, I imagined I would work as a canvasser for a little while as I searched for and found another job. I didn't think I wanted to do it in the winter; I didn't want it to be my actual job here. It was a great situation because I could transfer from San Francisco without having an income-less period, but I didn't want it for more than that.

Then, of course, I arrived here and things changed.

For my first week or two of canvassing in New York, my average raised was terrible, I was completely exhausted every day after work, and I had no energy to even look for other jobs. I dreaded dragging myself out of bed every morning to trudge in. Things were going in a bad direction.

Of course, being the savvy individual that I am, I realized that this was no way to go about my life. In San Francisco, I really enjoyed canvassing. I did quite well at it. I liked my coworkers a lot. The nature of the beast had not actually changed, so I knew that the job itself was not in fact my problem. It was, of course, all about my attitude.

As soon as I made the decision to actually invest in my job, to treat it as what it is - the main portion of my life and what I spend my time on - things got so much better.

We had a meeting that week, the day I made this decision in fact, about the national plan of our company. I'm a field manager of the canvass, basically the bottom rung of the leadership of the company, but my boss made an effort to clue us into the vision of what we're doing and what it means for our activism and politics in general in this country.

It's pretty awesome to be a part of something that's empowering much larger numbers of citizens to actually get involved in what's happening in the government. I like canvassing for political groups because the way I see it, it's the only thing combating the fact that money talks and corporations by far have the most of that to throw around. Sure, a twenty dollar donation to a PAC isn't that powerful, but if we can get thousands of people to make those then we suddenly have some leverage.

The right tends to be so well organized through their churches. It's been a consistent problem of progressive politics that we're so concerned with being revolutionary that we can't organize behind a single goal. Canvassing may have a hope to bring us together in large enough numbers to start fighting effectively against the f*ing Christian Coalition. That is pretty neat.

Bearing that in mind as I work has not only improved my morale by leaps and bounds, but it also makes me a better worker. I personally raised around $2300 this week, which is pretty fucking cool. It just goes to show that how happy I am really has the most to do with how much I'm committed to what I do.

When I pour all my personal energy into a goal, it doesn't feel bad when I have less of it at the end of the day. It feels like I'm connected to something, like that expenditure was a gift. That's what I want to feel in all the work I do, forever. It's good to be figuring out how to do that.

Sex Worker Personae - A Submissive Mistress?

I've spent a few shifts now at the dungeon, and helped in a few sessions. I'm not yet sure how I feel about the whole business, but I do know what a few of my challenges will be.

The most difficult thing for me, particularly in sessions with other mistresses, is to stay out of sub space. The whole setting of the place is meant to send a submissive person into a state of mind that's aroused and obedient. I'm surrounded by "instruments of punishment" and women in skimpy fetish clothing. When I go into a session to train, I'm standing next to a woman in a dominant role, one who calls herself mistress and who has control over at least one other person in the room.

My first instinct, of course, is to be full of "Yes, Mistress" and attempts to please. Trying to work as a professional dominant has made it only more clear to me how much of a little sub I am. It comes so naturally to me, the obedience and reveling in the sensations, whereas I definitely feel awkward trying to dominate or humiliate the clients.

I understand now why people have sex work personae. As a stripper, I never really needed to be anybody but myself. I'm already all these things that men want in a dancer: extremely sexual but reserved with it, bisexual, available, articulate, eager to please. Genteel but dirty. It bugs me a little that these character traits that I happen to have are also the ones that men fetishize, but there you have it.

As a domme, though, I know I'm going to need to find/build a persona for myself. I'll need to find a way to act that's comfortable, but different from the way I usually am. I know there are people who do that for stripping, who act out a role when they hustle and lap dance, and now I'll get to experience that in a different industry. It should be interesting to see how it turns out, what roles I end up playing. I'll certainly fill you in as I find them.

Something New

I mentioned earlier that I was going in for an interview at a dungeon. That was, of course, a teasing hint since I haven't blogged about it since.

Well, I went in for my interview just over a week ago. I sat in a little room with simple but decadent furniture for about two hours waiting for the owner to see me. I ended up choosing a different, better dungeon, but the time before that first interview stands out in my memory.

I wish I could capture the feeling of walking up to a strange building, ringing a buzzer, and being let into a new work space for the first time. The dark rooms and BDSM instruments and even the smell of the place affected me like a client: intriguing, arousing. I was wide-eyed, taking it in. I want to put that feeling into a bottle and save it for later. There's nothing quite like the sense of total newness, of having no real idea of what I'm getting myself into.

It's the same feeling I had when I went for my audition at the strip club. It's a feeling of nervousness, yes, but mostly actual excitement over the mystery of it all. I think wanting to feel that is what drives me a lot of the time. It's a unique and pleasant kind of agitation. I like to be stimulated; I get bored with the everyday. I can only have that special sensation from truly novel, vaguely dangerous situations.

It feels really good to be back to that freshness. I know that being a domme will eventually become just a job. I'll learn from it and acclimate to it and it will change me, just as stripping has. I won't be able to imagine anymore what it was like to be me before I started.

That, though, is why I write. If nowhere else, I can find that feeling again on this page, on the internet for everyone to see. That's a pretty cool thing.

A Post of Two Cities

So, there are lots of things that are different between San Francisco and New York City. There's the weather, the size, the unique NY garbage smell, and SF's general sense of carefree liberalism compared to NY's angsty liberalism. Yes, they are both major cities with a serious leftist bent, but obviously they've got drastically different cultures within that.

Canvassing in New York City is also somewhat different. It's definitely the same animal, but perhaps a slightly different breed. It's harder to get people to smile at you as they pass by without stopping. They're way more in a hurry and used to be hassled. They've got the blinders on in a way that San Franciscans never did.

One major difference between the cities, both in canvassing and just in being on the street, is that I get street harassed a lot less here than I did in the West. I'm not really sure why. It could be because San Francisco, as Aviva suggested in the comments on that first post, has a more lenient attitude in general over what's acceptable public behavior. If sexual behavior in public is easier to get away with, does that make sexual harassment easier too? I don't know, but I can see the difference.

Now, I do still get bugged. People definitely hit on me when I'm in public, but it's so much more polite. It's still annoying, but much less so when someone says "Pardon my saying this, but you're very pretty," than when they ask my friend, "Hey, is that your girlfriend? I'd put that on my tongue," or just shout "You're hot" from their seat in a door frame.

I'm still not sure how to respond to street come-ons. I'm thinking calm honesty would probably be the best policy. You know, respond like I would if I was canvassing. "Thank you. It makes me uncomfortable that you say that, but thanks. It's weird on the street." I said something to that affect to a guy who wanted my number the other day, and it worked really well. He just said "That's cool, I understand" and walked away.

Has anyone had any successful rejoinders to this kind of stuff? I'd be interested to hear what works for you.

Moving and Settling

I've been in a very strange mental state lately, one that I tend to enter during periods of intense transition or stress. Things are bumping along pretty well with the move to New York City. I've got an apartment I really like and a roommate I love and a job that's stressful but fulfilling, so on the surface level I'm doing well. My roommate's been having some health problems that have thrown a good-sized wrench in things, but overall things are alright.

I feel, though, kind of disconnected from everything. I have to keep reminding myself that this is, in fact, my life. What I've been doing is my everyday reality. This job is what I do now, at least for the time being. I live here. You know, for reals.

It's a dissociated feeling, and it makes it hard for me to think critically about things or to decide what I really want to be doing. Everything feels very temporary, and I just kind of go through the motions. It's not a terrible place, I wouldn't say I'm depressed, but I'm definitely not at full functioning.

I think it will be much better once I develop a concrete friend group beyond my roommate and her friends. I need to have people I can call to chill on a Thursday night, for my own fun and also to be less dependent on her. In a sense I need to guild up my New York family.

I think I'm starting to settle a bit more and come out of this. Thus blogging here; it's hard to do when I'm all out of it. Hopefully I'll be posting a lot more about all the interesting shit that comes up when canvassing and the weird stuff that happens in my relationships. It's all still there, I just need to write it down.

Being a Grown Up

Well, I've now signed my first lease.

My mother used to always say that you're not a real adult until you have to pay your own bills. After a couple of weeks of sitting on the phone with the cable, gas, and electric companies, setting up appointments and equipment for same, tracking down and paying for furniture, and unpacking boxes, I think I can now officially say I am an adult.

I've been getting up every morning at 9am and trucking on the subway into work. I'm still canvassing here in New York City, which I definitely don't want to do for much longer. It is, however, a job with income. This is currently important.

I don't believe I've mentioned this here before, but one of my friends is a professional dominatrix (or pro-domme). I'm planning to go in with her to the dungeon where she works and have an interview with the boss this Tuesday. If you read here at all regularly, you know that I definitely have a submissive bent, so this venture should be pretty interesting.

I have no idea whether I will like dominating men for money, but it's another one of those things that I figure I might as well try and see how I feel about it. I'll certainly be writing about that, and much more about my adventures in this biggest U.S. city, now that I'm finally a bit settled. I'm such a nester; it makes me much happier to have a home to go back to that's all set up and pretty and comfortable. This is the first one I've gotten to build myself.

P.S. See, Myca, I blogged!

Everything's Gonna Be Alright

This is an extremely quick blog post to thank everyone who offered to help and let y'all know that I have found and apartment and everything is settling nicely. I'm at a friend's house on his computer, but I'll have internet of my own starting around Friday. I'll be able to write more extensively about my crazy week starting then.

Woo, moving!

Uh Oh

So, I'm moving to NYC tomorrow, and I no longer have anyplace to stay while I apartment hunt.

I was planning to crash with a friend of mine for a few nights, but he just had a family emergency and had to take off. He was already going to be moving away at the end of the week, so he's giving up his place and I can't stay.

Therefore, if you are a New York City (especially Brooklyn) person and have a couch I can sleep on, I will be your new best friend. I know it's sketchy to be asking over the internet, but I'm in sort of dire straits as I've got a plane flight tomorrow and no idea where I'll be headed to when I leave the gate.

I'll be stalking the interwebs for the next day or so, watching my inbox feverishly, so if you can help me out (or know someone who can) please leave a comment here. We'll be BFFs. Instantly.

Canvassing vs. Stripping Part 2: Objectification

I wrote not long ago that stripping and canvassing are very similar. I stand by this; it's mostly the same skill set and similar interactions. I've been surprised to find, though, that there's one major difference. I actually feel a lot more objectified when I'm canvassing than I ever did when I was stripping.

There's the general problem, in canvassing, of standing on a city street for five and a half hours a day. This makes the street harassment I mentioned in my last post a constant issue and very much a part of the job. It's a sort of montage in the background of my daily life. You know, various cut scenes of "Hey baby, what's your name?" and "Aren't you pretty?" and "You got a boyfriend?" and "I'd put that on my tongue."

It also happens with the people I canvass, though. See, I'm ostensibly standing out there for a cause that has nothing to do with my looks or my body. It's gay marriage, it's about equal rights, it's a political thing. I'm being friendly and outgoing but not sexual. The size of my boobs and the color of my eyes have nothing to do with it.

And yet I get the once-over from customers on the street as much as I did when I was stripping. They come on to me just as often. The difference is that in a strip club that's part of the expected interaction. By being there in a thong, I've given the customers permission to oggle and be lewd at me, assuming they pay appropriately.

One of the things I always liked about stripping is that it took objectification, which happens every day no matter what I do, and put it in a place where it was controlled. It gave me the option to consent to it. It gave me bouncers to make it stop if anyone did it in a way I didn't like. When I was stripping, I had the option of saying "No" to someone's objectifying behavior and having it mean something. Yes, we needed the bouncers to enforce that, but we had them. It was enforced.

On the street, I can't say no. I do sometimes, but it's often ignored. I feel like I have no control over the way people treat me, and it's often with minimal respect. I feel uncomfortable a lot of the time. I feel placed into a box labeled "fuckable woman" and imposed upon. I feel objectified. Way, way more than I ever did when I had chosen to be naked on a stage.

Sexually Harassed

Every day I go to work in downtown San Francisco. I get dropped off outside the BART station near my house, ride a train for ten minutes, and walk approximately 100 feet outside another BART station to get to my office. It's a very short trip, especially in terms of the number of steps I take that are actually outside.

Every day, I am catcalled, propositioned, lewdly complimented, or generically hit on by a man at least once on my way to work and at least once on the way home. Often, it's more than that. I literally can't walk outside my house or out of my office without having some guy try to foist himself on me.

Of course, when I'm canvassing on the street for five and a half hours a day, this effect is multiplied tenfold. It's true that pretty much all canvassers are attractive by society's silly standards. It's part of how we make money, and I of course use that to keep my average high.

Even when I'm not trying to attract a donor, though, I garner a lot of unwanted attention. The other day, a fellow female canvasser and I were waiting for a bus and a man driving a Mercedes pulled over, asked if we were dating each other, and then told us "I'd put that on my tongue." It's gross, and it happens all the time.

I'm damn sick of this. It's driving me crazy. I have to fend off sketchy men almost constantly, and it's to a point where it's a big burden. I'd love to be able to just walk down the street without having to think of some witty rejoinder or feeling awkward and rude as I ignore a come-on. Even just having to respond to this shit takes up a decent amount of time and energy that I'd much rather spend on better things.

The thing is, I don't do anything to bring on this attention. I just happen to be at an age and in a physical condition that makes me fit the arbitrary beauty ideals that our society holds over everyone's head. I didn't choose this, it's just the fact of my person. It's a fucked up consequence of being "attractive" that I then have asshole men assuming it's okay to oggle me. I become an unwilling participant in their show of masculinity: hey, look at me! I'm attracted to a pretty woman! This proves I'm a man!

I actually really look forward to getting older and being less "ideally" attractive. I know for a fact that anyone at all can be really sexy. It's all about confidence and feeling sexy and projecting that attitude onto other people. Anyone can do that, no matter how they look, and it's something you get to choose.

When I'm older, I won't have to be perceived as sexy all the time just because of how I look. I'll get to be sexy when I feel like it and towards the people that I pick. It'll have so much more to do with who I really am and what's actually sexual about me than this annoyingly arbitrary body I've got and the gender role that goes with it. I'll get to actually have some choice about it, some control over the mode in which I'm interacting with people.

I suppose I don't know for certain that this is true, and it's certainly true that one can never control anyone else's actions or reactions. Gender roles will still suck and I'm sure it'll be annoying when I'm feeling sexy and other people don't pick up on it. I know there are two sides to this beauty ideal coin and that they both rather suck. I'm just really fed up with being sexually harassed on the street every day, and I'll be glad when it stops or even just happens less often.

Gay Bar

I went, tonight, to a gay club in the Castro. San Francisco's pretty fun in that its queer culture is exactly what you'd expect it to be. This club was all techno, mostly gay people, more men than women, and a good amount of drinking. It was packed. The bodies writhed together. It might as well have been a scene from Queer as Folk. (Although I know that was set in another city.)

I went to gay bars and clubs a lot throughout my college career. There was a period of time where I'd go to a gay bar at least three nights a week, to socialize and sometimes dance and sometimes drink.

I didn't like going to straight dance clubs because men would inevitably feel me up or at least hit on me in a very sketchy fashion. At gay bars, there isn't this problem. The men are only interested in each other and the women know better than to be totally disrespectful.

Since I've graduated, though, I've spent less time with queer folks. My job is to canvass for a queer issue, but there are still more straight people at work than gay ones. I'd sort of forgotten how much more comfortable I am within the queer community than I am in the straight one.

I have my own gripes with the gay community, mostly involving their sometimes exclusion of bisexual people. I still feel better, though, with teh gays than with teh straights. There's so much more gender flexibility, such an understanding that gender roles don't have to define everything. It cuts down a lot on the blatant sexism.

I'd forgotten, before tonight, how much more comfortable I feel around gay people than around straight ones. I'm considering taking a little break from dating men, just because I've gotten into such an unfortunate head space about them. Even if I don't skip out on all the less-sexist men who I do like, I'd like to spend more time with gay people. I think it's time to start pursuing women again.

Self Discipline in Writing, and My Evening

I think it is now time to start forcing myself to post every day. I have been very, very terrible about blogging for the last several months, to state the obvious. This isn't because I've had nothing to talk about; my brain continues to churn regardless of what weird emotional/stress state I'm in. I've had plenty of things percolating.

I just haven't really been writing. Not here, and not for school anymore, and not in my journal, and not anything fictional. Nothing. This, for me, is not a good thing.

Writing keeps me a little more sane, forces me to analyze my life, helps me to understand my feelings and experiences by articulating them. I really need to be doing it more, because I've been letting some good ol' life patterns (like the whole man issue I wrote about in my last post) build up without really dealing with them.

I spent tonight at a bar and then a dance club with a group of people from work, and although I enjoy the company of many of my coworkers, I was left feeling uncomfortable and almost grossed out after this evening. It really had nothing to do with my companions and everything to do with my feelings about men and being surrounded by them.

I was being lightly hit on by one male coworker, Y, who shared that he hasn't had sex in months and is desperate (his word!). He was also pursuing, and talking about pursuing, another coworker who is new to the office. C, the third woman in the group, picked up an Italian guy early on and got him to buy her drinks and make out with her.

I was being more subtly but also more persistently hit on by N, another male coworker who has a girlfriend but who admits that he make-out cheats on her when he's drunk. He kept saying he wanted to drink more so that he could make poor life choices and touching my knees. A random guy outside the club who I talked to for about a minute took the time to make sure that N would be escorting me home as it's not safe out there for a beautiful lady like myself.

I can't really say what it was that bugged me so much about the whole night, I just felt vaguely dirty, as though I was a part of something I didn't like. I wish there was some way to just check out of traditional gender roles entirely, to not be confronted with them all the time. I wish men didn't objectify me constantly based on my confidence and openness around sexuality. I don't want to be someone's wet dream.

I like it when people are attracted to me, sure, but not so much when it's because they think I'll be the perfect lay. Or the perfect anything, for that matter. It's so much nicer when they perceive me as a human, flaws and all.

It's been an off night, and I'll do a better sort later through what was up. I'd like to find some kind of conclusion, a reaction to this discomfort with men, that will help me function better in their presence. It is, after all, a little hard to avoid them altogether.

Stripping and "Hating" and Dating Men

When I first started stripping, I heard from lots of my coworkers and a few of my friends in the industry that the job would make me hate men. They said that when you do sex work, you see the worst in men and so it is inevitable that you start to dislike them at least a little. I didn't write this off entirely, as of course they had experience at that point and I didn't, but I hoped that it would be different for me.

I was, I rationalized, doing sex work for different reasons than most of them. I didn't need the money, I just kind of wanted to see what it was like to dance naked and get paid for it. I figured this privilege would protect me from making some of the compromises they might have had to, would protect me from a changing opinion of men. I knew the industry would definitely alter me, as everything in life does, but I figured my compassion could hold up to it in that regard.

Well, my compassion is certainly still there. I feel sorry for men much more than I hate them. But things have definitely changed in my feelings towards them.

I've been thinking about my recent heterosexual trend, wondering why my attention has been so much more on men than on women. It hasn't been for lack of physical attraction to women; it's just that when I meet a nicer (and attractive) man, my focus zooms in on him immediately. He stands out to me. This hasn't been happening much with women.

It occurred to me that I've got a little reaction formation going on when it comes to men. (Wikipedia: In psychoanalytic theory, reaction formation is a defensive process in which anxiety-producing or unacceptable emotions and impulses are mastered by exaggeration of the directly opposing tendency.) In this case, I'm very uncomfortable with and somewhat dislike men, so I've been dating them.

So I certainly don't hate men, but I do hate a lot of the things a lot of them do. I don't much like being objectified without my permission. (Accepting money for it is giving permission.) I don't like it when they assume I'm sexually available or feelingless based on my orientation or relationship style or job. I feel almost paranoid about being imposed upon by them, pushed into ways of being or thinking of myself that I don't like, and it affects me from day to day.

So I'm very defended against them. In order to protect myself, I have to be paying attention to the men around me at all times. I'm expending an enormous amount of energy and attention on making sure I don't interact with men in ways that will hurt me. I'm super up front about my job, orientation, and relationship style so that I can immediately avoid the men who objectify them. Putting up barriers like that takes a good amount of effort and so I'm always very aware of men.

What this means is that when I do find a guy who's nice to me, who doesn't do those things I hate, I've already been paying oodles of attention to him in order to find that out. It seems notable, remarkable, that he's not going to be sexist towards me. I appreciate him a lot. I date him, if he's available. There you go. I'm not as afraid of women, and so this happens less often.

(As a side note: I don't claim this is a rational reaction to anything. These are feelings and my attempt to understand them.)

Now, back to stripping. Stripping didn't force me somehow to have these feelings towards men. It's not even that men act much differently at a strip club than they do in general. In fact it's just the opposite, and that's the problem. Stripping commodifies the sexist interactions that exist every day, everywhere. It puts a monetary value on them and so it makes them very, very obvious.

As a stripper, I have to trade somewhat in misogyny, to play off it and manipulate it so that I can get lap dances and tips and avoid groping and slurs. It's something I simultaneously like and hate about the job. I've learned oodles about gender roles, particularly about what's dysfunctional in masculinity. I like learning. However, this knowledge makes it hard to move comfortably in a world that's so full of sexism. I'm just so aware all the time. I can't really sit back and accept it, learn to ignore it, bite the harness and move on like women have been doing for centuries. I'm psychologically fighting it out most of the time.

I'd like to try to shift my focus a little. It's probably unnecessary and certainly draining to be so defended all the time. I'd like to learn, in my day to day activities if not my scholarship and activism, to brush off sexist men. I don't want to let them inside my head, let them affect me, which is something I do have control over even when I can't change their behavior. It'd be nice, even, to spend more time with women and live more in a sisterhood community where I can feel safe. Focus on safety, on whom I am comfortable with rather than on whom I'm not.

I suppose it's a lesson for me as an activist. I want to keep working to change the things in the world that strike me as unfair and wrong, the things that make me angry and hurt me. I need also, though, to focus on healing from that anger and hurt. It's just as important.

Birthday Post

It's my birthday today, and I am now 22. Whoo!

Actually, I'm not feeling particularly excited or sad or whatever or anything about this birthday. It kind of just is. I like getting older, as I always hated the way people would ignore what I was saying because I was young, or seem generally suspicious of my intentions. I've noticed that happening less and less, and it's awesome.

Mostly, for me, this birthday means the end of my medical insurance coverage by my parents and the beginning of my "real" adult life. That's something I've been grappling with for a while now, and I'm finally starting to come to terms with it. The concept of independence is still a little freaky (I'm lucky I've had someone to depend on so that's the case), but I'm starting to pull things in order. It feels pretty good.

So happy birthday to me!

Kissing (and my first HNT!)

There is nothing I like more than kissing, whether I'm fucking, making love, or just sitting around enjoying it for itself.

I am a hugely orally fixated person. I love oral sex, giving blow jobs and going down on women. Sometimes when I masturbate, I put my fingers or a dildo in my mouth because it feels really good to me to have something there. These things are great and I wouldn't want to do without them, but my favorite thing to do with my mouth and my time is kiss.

Kissing turns me on more than any other sexy activity. I cannot have sex without kissing; I won't be into it and I'll get frustrated and annoyed. Kissing is what makes me wet, and I could do it for hours before getting to anything else.

More importantly, it's what really makes me feel close to whoever I'm with. A kiss causes an instant release of happy bonding chemicals in my brain. It's like insta-bond. Even just a quick peck from a partner as we go about our day keeps me happy and prompts small swooning. I really just like the feeling of someone else's lips on my own.

I haven't had lots of good kissing in almost two weeks. (I know, I have a low tolerance for abstinence from anything.) I want some.


Kisses in bed, anyone?

Canvassing vs. Stripping

To those of you who also work in the sex industry (and some savvy folks who don't), it may not come as a surprise that working as a canvasser is similar in many ways to working as a stripper. That might sound like a stretch, but aside from having to wear a slightly different uniform, a lot of the things I'm doing in my new job as a canvasser to overturn Prop 8 are similar to what I did as a stripper.

I spend all day being cheerful, nice, and attempting to get people to give me money. I have to walk up to strangers, charm them, and get them to like me. I need to be completely comfortable with rejection because more people will walk by me on the street or refuse to open their screen doors than will donate $70 a month. I need to convince people to part with their money in ways they weren't expecting.

One of my immediate supervisors (not the hiring boss) just remarked to me that she's noticed our company doesn't hire unattractive people. The office is pretty diverse in terms of race and sexuality, but nearly everyone is aged 18-27 and is at the very least pretty or cute. This is partly because of who they hire and partly because you have to make a certain amount to stay on staff. Prettier people make more money.

That prettiness principle demonstrates the job's similarity to stripping. It's slightly exploitative, it commodifies people's looks, and it lends itself to a particular staff demographic.

My point here is that stripping is a lot like any other service or public relations job. Yes, it commodifies and sometimes exploits people, but so does canvassing or waiting tables or selling just about anything. It's all labor, stripping just involves less clothing.

That is all.

Future Work

I wrote not long ago about living at a crossroads right now. Well, one of the major lanes of that road is work: what I'll be doing, where I'll be doing it, and how long I'll be doing it for.

I've been working as a stripper for going on two years now. I've had a lot of time to experience and think about that kind of sex work. I wrote at the very beginning of this blog about the reasons I decided to start stripping. The most lasting motivation has been the one that pushed me to understand the industry, the customers, the workers, and what it all says about gender and life. I think it's all incredibly fascinating.

Of course, stripping is hard work. I've tried never to make bones about that. It takes a lot of energy to dance but mostly to hustle, to be very nice, to be sexually available but not, to be charming and beautiful night after night.

When I would work at the club near my college, I'd be too tired to talk much after a shift. It would be like my voice was all used up. I'd be too keyed up to sleep, but too tired to speak. It was great to live in a laid back house of people where I could just sit in a room with others and watch them play video games. They gave me a comforting, calming presence without asking for anything from me in return.

Well, that kind of work isn't really something I can sustain on my own. I really need the supportive relationships, the people around me, in order to keep my energy up. I do like stripping. I like the attention and harnessing the raw sexuality and dancing and talking to people. At the peep show, I get paid to masturbate, which is basically awesome. However, I'm looking for something else now to fill my days, with maybe the occasional lucrative naked night thrown in for good measure and fun.

So I'm sending out résumés looking for work in New York City. I'm moving there at the end of August and I want a full time youth and/or LGBT or women's rights related job. I'm kind of excited at the prospect of work I could like and not have to take home for me. Something that would stimulate me intellectually and hopefully exercise my compassion without making me too much a part of any sexist institutions. You know, a "real" job. It should be fun.

Bisexuality and Dating Men

For the last couple of years, I've dated only men. I've slept with plenty of women, but all the people I've seen consistently or seriously were men. I wouldn't say that I've done this on purpose, but it's been a pretty obvious trend.

I think a lot of the reason for this is simple convenience. There are a lot more straight men scattered around in obvious places than there are queer women. They tend to approach me more often and I end up with them just as a matter of odds. In the past six months or so, I have been on more of a hetero kick, but that's not unusual. I've always gone through cycles of leaning one way or the other every once in a while. I had a lady cycle three years ago, and now I'm going the other way. Woo, fluid sexuality.

This trend of male-dating, however, puts me in a strange and slightly uncomfortable position. I'm a bisexual person who has been very involved in the queer community. In college, most of my female friends were queer. I was part of the leadership of the Gay Straight Alliance. I went to gay bars. Most of my jobs were in specifically queer-friendly or queer-oriented places. I tied a lot of my identity in with queerness.

And yet, most of my relationships were heterosexual. Straight, if you will.

Of course, the fact that my relationships are always open does allow me to sleep with women. That doesn't change the fact, though, that people assume I'm straight when I go out in public with a male sweetheart. It's sort of like the queer part of me is hidden inside myself.

I don't like feeling hidden. I end up questioning myself a lot because there is pressure from both sides to define and present myself as either queer or straight. It's not always an open or spoken pressure, although I've heard my share of "choose already" jokes and not-so-jokes. It's more often a pressure based on the fact that the queer community is so close and clearly-defined. There's a norm there, and there are great rewards of community and support for following it.

I do have a strong desire to be recognized for who I am and to fit in with a group. I'd like to be more independent, but part of my identity is based on how others see me. I suppose that's my own cross to bear, but it makes the bisexuality particularly hard when it keeps me separate from what seems to be such a fun and close-knit group. I'd like to be a part of it.

I'm not letting identity issues stop me from dating whomever I like (or love) or dressing how I want or making friends with whomever I want. It does cause me some angst, though, when I feel excluded not only from the straight world which kind of turns me off anyway, but the queer community that appeals to me.

Crossroads

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about where I'm going with my life and how I want to get there.

I've had a pretty good idea of what I want to do for a long time. I really want to be involved in sex education. I think that's a way for me to be a teacher, which really appeals to me, and help people, which is really important to me, and be an activist, which I think everyone should do. Sure, not everybody can be an activist about everything, but I think we can all make a contribution, however small, to some world progress we think is important. It's more a question of caring about the world and the beings in it and letting that affect your behavior than organizing rallies.

That said, I'm having a moment of hesitation about my life plan now that I've got my undergrad degree in hand and the possibilities of what I could be doing are wide open. I could live anywhere, I could work at almost anything. I could get my masters (in human sexuality) or not. I could live for the whole year with my best friend or not. I could travel. I could settle down. It's so endless.

I'm not operating under the illusion that I need to know what I'm going to be doing for the rest of my life. I'm just at a point where I can really, truly decide what I want to do now and the myriad choices are a little more overwhelming than I expected. It's kind of cool, but also kind of scary.

The World Provides

Life, the universe, and everything are pretty amazing sometimes. As in surprising and challenging and I'm amazed amazing. If you read here, you know I wrote this...
"I've been doing a lot of thinking and my conclusion is this: I'm not in a primary relationship (of any kind) and I want to be. So I need to start acting like that's the truth instead of ignoring it. Time to communicate what I actually need, to be clear with new partners. I want cuddles and talking in low voices and doing things together that aren't sex and comfort and familiarity with body and mind and someone to do things with and a partner in crime and someone to call me on my shit and the ability to fight sometimes and have it be okay. I want to actually get closer. I want love."
...about two weeks ago.

Well, the world seems to have provided. Ironically enough, I've started spending a lot of time with S's best friend X. X and I slept together with S there (and participating a little) about two weeks ago, and I went to visit X in Santa Cruz for four days the other weekend. He's loving and spiritual and all these things that I haven't had in my life for so long. It's kind of nuts and I have no idea what's going to happen, but I'm going with the flow. X has moved up to the city now to live with S (I know) so I'm seeing him a lot.

I don't have much else to say. I haven't been blogging very much because I've been kind of reevaluating my life and what I want to be doing with it and that's eating up my brain. Hopefully I'll come to some conclusions soon and then I'll have more to say.

Money

A disorganized and possibly rambling continuation of my thoughts on my privileged stupidity when it comes to money: how did I get this way?

I try to be fairly open about the fact that I come from a very privileged family. For starters: I'm white, started out as Catholic, and my family has a lot of money. My dad is an executive for start-up biotech companies, which means he does very well financially. My mother works very part time and doesn't make much; she could afford to make that choice. Both of my parents are college educated. They both came from upper-middle-class white families. My background is a continuation of theirs.

We did not talk about money in my family when I was growing up. Apparently, it's partly because my father really hates to. I think it's a combination of his being proud of how much he makes and wanting to spend it on his wife and children (quite the patriarchal sentiment, that) and feeling awkward about being richer than most people and living in luxury. Not ridiculous luxury, but luxury nonetheless. There's a nice big dose of white, wealthy guilt in my family and the way it manifests itself is that we DO NOT talk about money.

My dad hands his credit card to waiters at restaurants before they bring him the check, and he just signs it. My mother doesn't check the price tags of things we buy at the grocery store or jeans at the mall. I don't know how much money my dad makes in a year, or in a month, or in a week, or in an hour. I don't know how much our mortgage costs. I don't know how much our food costs. Off the top of my head, I don't even know how much this computer cost.

Maybe sharing all of this is just rubbing the privilege in people's faces, and I shouldn't. I guess my point, though, is that things really shouldn't be this way. One of the things about privilege is that it allows you not to be aware of things like money or race or gender or sexuality.

If you're white, that's supposedly the default race and most white people don't even have to think about their race until they're confronted with a minority person who's bringing it up. I think white people who give in to this option of ignorance are socially irresponsible. I think financially privileged people who give in to the option of ignorance about money are socially irresponsible.

I hate that my parents didn't talk about money just because we didn't have to talk about it. Just because we didn't need to discuss what we couldn't afford or what we needed to miss out on due to lack of funds doesn't mean we shouldn't have been talking about what we could afford and how special that was. It's something I needed to be aware of.

Yes, I heard from time to time that we were lucky people and that we shouldn't take it for granted, but the taking for granted was happening on a daily basis and that's a much stronger message.

I probably won't ever be truly poor. I won't know what that's like. I don't want to let that stop me from feeling empathy for people who are poor or from appreciating what I have. I don't want to let it spoil me, which it seems in part to have done. I don't want it to keep me from being a good, responsible person. I don't want it to stop me from helping people.

So I've got to figure this shit out.

Freaking Out

So I had a series of banking fuck ups which led to my bank charging me around 100 dollars that I can't afford in fees because I was absent-minded and kept forgetting to deposit a couple of checks I'd gotten in the mail and also forgot about an automatic charge that was coming up.

This, and my reaction to it, has made it finally apparent to me that I'm completely freaked - over the moon - at the concept of being a real adult and having to be financially responsible for myself. Yes, I have a degree, and I know how to work and how to study and how to learn and some stuff about how to have relationships and I know how to make money. I just have no fucking clue how to manage money or save it or otherwise ensure that I'm not always broke and screwing up with overdraft charges and fucking up my credit. This is something I have not yet learned at all.

And that's really scary. I have a stay of execution of sorts in staying with my parents for the summer - no rent. After that, though, I'm on my own and with almost no idea of how to pull that off.

I realize now that I desperately need help, a teacher of some sort in how to do this. Soon. Now. And I need to save a lot this summer and get it under control. If I screw up my credit (I don't have cards, thankfully, so it hasn't happened yet), that's very hard to undo. I do not want that.

Also, I'm completely broke now and don't get paid until next week. It's so ironic and stupid to be this privileged, living in a nice house, typing on a nice computer, with a pretty degree I'm lucky enough not to have paid for myself, and yet to be so clueless with money that I can't even handle small life expenses. It's such a product of being spoiled, and I'm frankly ashamed of it.

What good can I do with my privilege if I just destroy it by being spoiled and ignorant? I need to get this shit figured out so I can devote my time (and time is money) and money and life to doing good things and helping people.

Word Vomit: My Life Since Graduation

I haven't blogged in a while because I've been feeling again like I don't know what to say. A lot has been going on in my internal life, and it's a little hard to pin it all down and have it figured out enough to share it with other people.

Graduating college and moving across the country (again) but this time moving away from upstate New York for good has been kind of hard on me. I'm missing my friends in New York, and I'm missing the two pretty awesome lovers I'd started seeing not long before I left (curse my timing), and I'm missing the admittedly stressful busy life I had there. I'm kind of reeling at the end of my college life, my mode of being for the last four years, and also to a certain extent the end of my childhood. (Or adolescence or whatever.)

I'm feeling the fact that my friends from San Francisco mostly don't actually live here anymore. I'm lonely.

The worst thing right now is that a major reason I came back west at all this summer was to be available to explore the relationship I started with S when I was here over winter break. We've been talking over the internet for months, talking about what we'd do when I got here and making all sorts of loosely imagined plans. I was very excited to see him.

For a variety of reasons, though, he seems not to be making himself available to me, and I don't think he wants to pursue the relationship anymore. Maybe he never did and my expectations were just too high; I don't know. I haven't had a chance to talk to him about it, as I think he may be avoiding me. We've only hung out with other people there. From small hints, though, it seems like he's no longer that interested.

I'm disappointed, to say the least. Even in the last few weeks he'd talked about how excited he was that he'd get to see me soon. I was very much looking forward to actually getting to spend time with him. Yet it just hasn't been happening.

I've gone on a few dates with other people, had a little sex. It's been pretty unfulfilling, and I know it's in the absence of doing anything to take care of my emotions. I don't even really have friends here. I don't have the possibility of a primary relationship, which is what I was so eager to explore with S. It's difficult for this transition to be so different from what I was expecting.

It's really hard for me to admit that I want to be in a relationship, that I want to really get to know someone, that I want to work toward intimacy. It feels so unhip, and I almost feel weak that I can't just put it aside until it's more convenient and enjoy the sex and the eventual friendships for now. As soon as I get anything going, I'll just be leaving again. Seems sort of silly to try and find closeness now, anyway.

My body's not letting me put it off, though; I'm feeling more and more shut down as I try. It's clearly time for me to do something differently.

I've been doing a lot of thinking and my conclusion is this: I'm not in a primary relationship (of any kind) and I want to be. So I need to start acting like that's the truth instead of ignoring it. Time to communicate what I actually need, to be clear with new partners. I want cuddles and talking in low voices and doing things together that aren't sex and comfort and familiarity with body and mind and someone to do things with and a partner in crime and someone to call me on my shit and the ability to fight sometimes and have it be okay. I want to actually get closer. I want love.

Easier said to myself than done. Now I have to say it to other people, prospects, and to encourage it to happen without forcing it. It's all such a delicate balance. I have to find that tightrope, though, and start walking it, because it's the right thing for me right now and ignoring it is getting me nowhere.

Four Hours

I'm graduating in four hours, and then after all the schmoozing and the getting of that $160,000 piece of paper I have to pack. I'm leaving here early in the morning after that.

I'm going to miss everyone so much, and this place, and my time here. I'm moving on to great things, but I'm having a night of being sad about what I'm moving away from.

I've made such a wonderful family away from home here. I've been slowly spending time with people to say goodbye. I said au revoir to two of my lovers today, and that finally made it hit me. I'm going to be very sad when I drive away from this part of my life in just over 24 hours.

It'll be really something to sit there on that damn froufed-up lawn surrounded by peers that make up the scenery of my daily life and knowing that I won't see most of them again (except possibly at reunions).

What a crazy world this is, with changes that just happen one day and never go back.

Watching

I love watching people being affectionate and sexual in public. It's really sexy to see two people standing in line and one of them casually reaches out to stroke the other's thigh for thirty seconds as they're paying for food.

It's arresting to see two people in the library, sitting at two computers next to each other, and watch them ignore their screens as they talk. I can't resist staring at their absorption in each other's faces, the way one might reach out and brush at the hair of the other. I can see the way their mouths hang open just slightly more than usual, a signal that they'd like to be kissing.

I remember being a teenager and waiting in the parking lot of a pizza place, waiting to pick up my boyfriend. A long blonde woman and her tall, big boyfriend were standing in front of my car and I didn't think they were attractive, too scornful of their stereotypical good looks. But then they started making out, just attacking each other's faces and grabbing at bodies, and I got such a thrill sitting there watching. It was such a shamelessly intimate public spectacle. I don't know if they saw me there, but I was only a dozen feet away.

The foursome that I had a year ago was all because I saw the other couple kiss. I watched the way their lips clung together, and their eyes were closed, and they had half smiles, and I wanted to be kissing them. Both of them. Together. Fortunately, the guy I was with that night shared my feelings.

I suppose I have a great appreciation for watching and being watched. There's just something about both that gets to me like very little else. Good thing there are orgies in the world, and I can do both as much as I like.

Mother's Day

Okay, I know that everyone ever is writing something about their mother today, but I'm just going to go ahead and jump on the bandwagon.

In the last year or so, it's been truly wonderful to get to interact with my mom on more of an adult level. I've found out a lot about her that I'd never known before, like that she never practiced monogamy until she started with my dad at 26, and that she used to have an erotic lit collection in college that she'd lend out, and that she watches porn sometimes today. Turns out I come by all of it honestly!

I've had my share of gripes with my mom, as everyone does when they grow up. I think mothers get a really bum rap, having at least most of the responsibility for child care placed on them and then being held accountable and labeled flawed if they're not perfect moms. The expectations are too high, and the emotional punishments for imperfection are too ridiculous.

Whatever arguments I've had with her, I love my mother very much. I'm so much like her, in mannerisms and personality, and then also as it turns out in my passions and tendencies. This doesn't bother me at all; I may make different choices than she did, but I'm glad I've got this legacy from her.

I owe her for the amazing quality of my sex education growing up, and for answering all my questions about everything ever (including but not limited to sex) with as little discomfort as she could manage. I'm thankful that she learned about feminism and taught it to me as I was growing up, that she had the insight to learn from her daughters and then pass that knowledge to us.

So yeah, happy mother's day, everyone. I can't share this post with her, as she doesn't know about this blog, but I will definitely be sharing the sentiments. I hope you all can find a way to thank the mothers in your lives, even if they're not the biological ones you expected or are supposed to be grateful to. I know it's a Hallmark holiday, but an incentive for appreciation never hurts.

On Being Desired

I try to be confident in my body regardless of what other people think. You know, the old thing where you're supposed to love yourself before you can connect with others. Or whatever.

I wear what I want. I take or leave grooming habits (like shaving) as I feel like it. I have days where I don't try to be sexy. Realizing I didn't have to look good all the time, especially if I didn't want to be attracting anyone or interacting that way, was a huge thing. It's a relief to be able to say, "I'm not feeling sexy today, so I'm not going to dress to impress," and feel fine about it.

It does, however, feel really good to be desired. Especially by a lot of people.

It's pretty great to sleep with somebody and see in their eyes that they're impressed by you, and so happy to be getting to touch you. It's really nice to hear that I'm sexy or hot and to have people appreciate how I look. It's a total ego boost to get however many messages a day on OkCupid. These days, people are telling me they want me all the time.

I don't want to be dependent on these things, though. I feel sexy on my own and that should probably be enough, but I'm basking in the attention. I'm worried I might be enjoying it too much, that I'll get used to it. I know it's a part of the confidence boost I've been having lately.

I don't want to be one of those women who despairs at getting old, who tries too hard to hang onto her youthful life and body. I really look forward to getting older, to getting to know more things and do more and have a different outlook. I want to have more experiences in my memory that I've learned from. I want to see how I change. I'm going to do my best to enjoy all of it.

Being "young and hot," though, is addictive. I get all kinds of good feelings from people noticing and appreciating my looks. I can imagine myself being disappointed as I age, when my body changes, when it's different after I have children, when I don't fit the silly ideal and people might not pay to see me naked anymore.

I know the best I can do is try to understand that sexiness is about a lot more than fitting into a physical ideal. There are so many ways to be sexy. I've got to remember that, and try to appreciate this vessel I walk around in for what it can do, not just what it looks like. I'm sure I'll manage it and be fine. It's just a question of reminding myself and not getting too caught up in the young, thin, and hot hype.

Lazy Sunday, Sunny Kissing

I spent the night on Saturday at the house of one of my gentleman friends after his party. He was (and is) sick, coughing up a little lung, but I've got a get-out-of-contagion-free card with my antibiotics. He is good at cuddling and I slept well. It's a feat for two people in a twin bed to sleep comfortably; I like fitting together well.

I stayed for breakfast and afterwards we brought blankets out into the sun, and laid there wrapped around each other. He's a very good kisser, very soft and slow which I adore. It's hard to find in a man, that care in brushing our lips together and feeling all the layers of skin. There are those who lead with the tongue, and too much spit, and pressure that's consistent and hard, not variable and playful. He lets me nip at him a little, kiss lightly at the corner of his mouth, and I can pull away to look at him, tease him.

He pulled me on top of him so I could wriggle and feel him hard in his shorts; I know he doesn't wear underwear. We rolled so that the gaggle of fraternity men four houses down couldn't see between our bodies, and he slid his hand to the neckline of my tank top.

My nipples are fiercely sensitive, in the best way, and he had promised earlier to experiment with them. I couldn't touch my vulva, even a little, and he knew it. He wanted to please me just through my breasts. I couldn't make much noise, as the neighbors had started a barbecue next door, but I could breathe into his ear, bite it, and tell him how good it felt. I could slide a blatantly obvious arm between us and try to cup him through his pants.

"I think I need to get you inside soon." He said it as he pinched the tip of my nipple between his index and middle fingers. "As in now."

We went, skipping past his friend napping on the couch, up the stairs to his bedroom, and I made him come into my mouth with the sexy, goofy look on his face that meant I'd done it right.

Vagina Bread

So the antibiotics I'm on for my ear infection have given me a yeast infection.

Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww, vagina bread!



That is all.

General Randomness, Graduating, and Copious Sex

It's been weeks since I posted, I know.

I'm in a very weird space where I'm approaching the end of my undergraduate whatever and the sense of winding down has kind of taken over my life. It's really starting to sink in that I'm leaving here and that this phase of my life, these connections with this large group of people, are coming to an end.

Yes, I will visit here. Yes, I will still stay in touch with and go on loving some of the people who have been a part of my life here. There's a lot, though, that won't continue after that ceremony ends on May 17th and I drive my shit to New York City on the 18th.

I've been slowly checking out of everything here, from my campus activism to the writing of my column to my classes. The blog, unfortunately, has been sort of lumped in with the general check-out. I promise, though, that I'll get back to it more regularly sometime soon.

I've been spending a lot of time with people, trying to sort of appreciate my relationships. That's been really good, and there are definitely a few more people I'd like some one on one time with before I leave. I feel like it's important for me to express how much I appreciate my friends and lovers before I go, to make sure we'll stay in touch.

On a mostly unrelated note, I've also made an OkCupid account, and boy is that site awesome. I think I've got an advantage on there as a woman because the gender dynamics are very concretely traditional. The men seem to make a lot of overtures. I am listed as bisexual and am looking for women, but haven't found or been approached by as many of them. Despite that lack, I'm pretty spoiled for choice and get to be picky.

Because of that, I've met a few really cool guys whose company I've been enjoying immensely. I haven't had this much consistent good sex in ages, and it's even more fun that it's with more than one person. The ones I've been seeing repeatedly are all really cool and interesting, and good in bed to boot. I'm having great luck with the site.

So the ridiculous amount of sex I've been having is also a time suck. Maybe I'll write more about that, although I have a feeling one or two of them might be reading this blog, which could get awkward. I have generally avoided real time blogging about the sex that I have. I'll write about past encounters, but to avoid discomfort or hurt feelins I haven't written up things as they happen. Maybe it's time for a change. I've got a few fun stories to tell.

Tea Bagging



I don't think I even need to comment on this. Holy fuck nuts. Laughing my ASS off.

Rallies

As an activist and progressive type and queer and everything else, I keep a deep dark secret. It stays inside of me and only my very closest friends know the truth. I put on a good face and pretend it's not true, but inside I feel the conflict to my core. The reality is this:

I hate rallies.

I know. As someone who wants to toss the Man around a little, who wants change and all sorts of other good things, I'm supposed to be all about large groups standing in the freezing cold and inspirational speeches and chanting and signs. I should love picket lines and dramatic displays and chaining myself to things. I should feel the energy, the burn, the drive, the power of the people!

I don't.

I really think that rallies are most often purely for the benefit of the people holding them. I rarely see any kind of change as a result of a rally. If anything, a successful rally is more often a sign that a change is about to happen. The success of a rally, its high attendance and large effect on public opinion, doesn't make the change, it just shows that it's imminent. A rally won't have high attendance or an effect on public opinion unless people are already leaning towards supporting its cause.

I do know that rallies are an important tool in a campaign. They can show that an idea has the support of lots and lots of people. There is power in numbers. I just get annoyed because too many times rallies are held in substitute for other kinds of activism. It's like "there's a war in Iraq that we disagree with, let's march on city hall and say we don't want unnecessary deaths," but that doesn't actually change the fact that we're at war.

If you've got a big goal, you've got to come at it from lots of directions and protesting isn't enough. We're still in Iraq after years and years of protests; it took a concerted effort from politicians working in countless ways to even get someone in power who wants to consider getting us out. You know, there were legislative actions, and lobbying actions, and opinion polls and public service announcements and whatever else. The rallies were relatively insignificant.

I do go to rallies when they're about a cause I support, but I always feel vaguely annoyed and fatalistically amused at the enthusiasm I see there. Yes, I do sometimes get caught up in the spirit, but mostly I'm just standing at the sides trying not to laugh and cry at the same time.

So this is it, me coming out of the closet as a rally skeptic. Shame, shame, and all of that, but eh, I'll be active in other ways, thank you.

Sexy, Sexy Video

Via Violet Blue.



This video called Aprop is beautiful and sexy and makes me long for cuddles and kissing and waking up with someone. Watch it. It will positively affect your life, at least for a couple of minutes.

Domination vs. Humiliation

I was thinking yesterday about my kinky proclivities, and the reasons why until fairly recently I've hesitated to act on my submissive desires. I've known that I'm into restraint and submission for a very long time, but I never did much about it. I didn't feel ready, somehow, or comfortable with the idea.

I realized yesterday that a lot of what turned me off of the available images of dominance and submission was the way humiliation is often connected to any kind of sexy power play. Very often along with the spankings and bindings and hittings and tossing arounds, there are words and narratives thrown in about how humiliating it all is. About how the sub is naughty and should be ashamed and needs to be punished.

For me, the desire to be dominated is not at all connected to these narratives of shame. I don't feel ashamed of having sexual desires. It's true that I have been shamed by other people for them and sometimes even felt abnormal and freakish. My response to that, however, was more to say "fuck you" and learn to be proud than anything else.

I grew up in a household where, despite some of the usual discomfort about sex, my parents and especially mother always said "whatever you do is fine by us and we love all of you, including your sexuality." This stood up to my coming out as bisexual, my disclosing that I'm a stripper, and some overnight visits from special friends where we made a wee bit more noise than intended.

This is not to say that I begrudge anyone their enjoyment of humiliation, just that it's not for me. I just can't eroticize words that turn sex into shame. I understand the value of reclaiming these narratives and getting off on them, I just don't do it. It makes me too uncomfortable.

What I like about being dominated is simply the loss of control. I'm incredibly, sometimes destructively self possessed in "real" life. I am able to let go of some of that during any kind of sex (which is one reason I like it so much) but being dominated lets me do so even more. I can hand the restraining of me over to someone else. I don't have to do it, at least for a little while. It actually feels freeing.

I also just love to please and it makes me wet to be ordered around and thrown over someone's knee. I can't necessarily explain the physical response, but as it is, I'm just going to enjoy it. Minus the whole "You've been a naughty slut and need a spanking" part.

RIP Computer

Well, my computer just officially really and truly died. I'm pretty sure the motherboard fried itself. Woo!

My friend, who is a wonderful lifesaver, is letting me borrow her extra laptop until I can get a new one of my own. I need to, like, spend some serious time kissing her feet. I'm actually excited about the whole thing, though, because now I get a new computer. I'm getting a Mac, happily going to the Dark side. They have lots more fun over there anyway.

I just finished a rough draft of my honors thesis, which is pretty much totally different than it was at the end of last semester. Yes, I used some of the writing I did then, but I've gone in a totally new direction in the last few weeks and I like it a lot better.

Basically, I'm saying we need to make better porn and then give it to children. Well, adolescents. And not in so many words. But I'm excited about it. I'll post some on here when it's a tad more polished.

Graduation in just over a month! Ack! Whee!

That is all.

Good Lap Dances

I love it when I can get really into lap dances. It's so much fun when the conditions are just right and I can get turned on by what I'm doing. It doesn't happen all that often, but it's not that rare either. I'm a big tease and love touch just in general. It's a given that the act of giving the lap dance would be sexy to me sometimes.

The hottest thing for me in a lap dance is a respectful and responsive customer. If they're busy trying to grab my ass or grind their dicks against me, pushing and pulling me this way and that, then I'm busy trying to fend them off and can't really have fun. Even if they're pushing the boundaries just a little, it means I have to be on alert and can't relax into the experience and have fun.

Then, as long as they're keeping their hands to themselves, I love feeling, hearing, and seeing a man or woman respond to what I'm doing. I like to hear that their breath is coming more quickly. I like to feel the erection. I like the look that people get on their faces and the wistful comments they make about how much they'd love to actually be able to fuck me. (Again, so long as it's not in a pushing, pressuring kind of way.)

That actually turns me on. I'll get wet. It becomes a better lap dance, I get more into it, and the sexy looks I'm giving them are genuine. Those kinds of lap dances are so much fun.

I had one of them tonight, with a guy who was attractive as a bonus. While yes, I do get turned on in dances fairly frequently, it's almost never with a young, pretty guy. It was lovely, and now I'm in a good mood and all energized. Too bad it's the middle of the night and there's nobody around to play with.

Spring Sex Challenge

This is the article my editors didn't want to run because it was too blunt without "adding anything to the space."

It’s that time of year again where the weather starts teasing us with alternating sun and snow like a lusty lad or lady flashing us from across the room. We’re all starting to feel a little restless, waiting for spring to come so we can break into the outdoors. Sure, it’s already technically here, but this is upstate New York. We always have to wait.

Well, I’m not one to take it slow. I’m challenging all of you to shake off the winter blues and have a little extra fun this week in honor of the beginning of spring. Do something new and totally radical in the bedroom. Or do it outside, while the cold still lasts. You won’t get to savor the contrast of freezing air and hot tongue for much longer.

This is my spring sex challenge to the campus: shake things up. You know that fantasy you have about getting out your old cheerleading outfit (or putting on your girlfriend’s) and taking it up the butt? Go for it.

If you’ve always wondered about that incredibly hot biology TA, make a pass and see what happens. Plan a sexy study session. Don’t forget your glasses.

You don’t have to have a sexual partner, either, to take some risks. Masturbate creatively. Sure, we can all do it sitting at our computer with a hand on the mouse to browse through porn. We’re all comfortable on our backs in bed.

Try doing it in a new position, or with a new toy. Change your location. Spend a little more time. Masturbation can be one of the great joys in life, and even as satisfying as partner sex if you give it the time of day.

I want to hear moaning and screaming all across campus. It should be so loud that your neighbors will applaud every orgasm. We might as well get some action now before we have to start stressing about finals. Let’s celebrate while we can. The tests will be so much better if we can all go into them just a little more satisfied.

If you’re not the sexually adventurous type, just try connecting with someone new. Make a new friend or start a new relationship. It’s a spring tradition! There might still be snow in the air, but there can be some love there, too. Turn that restless energy on to someone exciting and it’s bound to be a good time.

Professors, that means you, too. Married? Make a special spring date with your partner. Get a babysitter. Live it up, the sun’s coming back! Everyone should get the bug, from deans to administrators to our best loved building service workers. They spend all that time cleaning our ungrateful floors; they should be able to bring a sweetie and make them dirty for a change.

As usual, practice safer sex and be honest about what you’re doing. If you want to be extra honest, do a little kiss and tell. We can all inspire each other to be even sexier with stories and words. I hope to hear a few good ones myself.

My Work: Identity and Control

As you may have been able to tell from the fact that I published one of my articles here, I've been conflicting with the editors of my college sex column. The column itself predates me; it existed before I started writing and I took it over in January of last year. I've been writing an article for it every week that school was in session since then.

About two months ago (maybe a month and a half) the paper had elections and I got a new set of two features editors. Right off the bat, they started editing my articles more heavily, and particularly turned the first one into a piece of sentimental drivel. This was annoying, but they did a little better the next few weeks.

I admittedly am not very good with deadlines, so it's not really fair to expect stellar editing in the time crunch I force them to. I recognize this, and take responsibility for that. My previous editors took the tack of just not changing what I wrote much, but one must account for style differences.

In any case, about a month ago, they started looking for a writer for next year and put out a call to basically the whole staff of the paper asking for submissions for my column. They didn't tell me they were doing this. They informed me the day I would have submitted an article that they had someone else interested in writing the column and they were giving them a shot. They told me after it ran that they were looking for someone for next year.

They told me they had another article for the next week, and because I had a large work load that week, I didn't submit one of my own. Both the articles they ran in these two weeks were very sex negative. The next week, I wrote my editors a letter asking them to consider sex positivity in selecting a new writer. I sent them the article I published here last week.

They responded (somewhat dismissively) to my about concerns surrounding the content of the column, but did not publish my article that week. I did not hear from them about said article at all for the next month, even though I emailed them asking if they might like a different one or whether they wanted me to keep writing at all. I simply picked up the paper every week and instead of my article there was another piece of painfully sex negative writing.

I finally wrote an email asking them to communicate with me more clearly about the column and let me know what was going on, saying that my feeling were hurt by being ignored. Just days shy of a full month had passed since they'd last responded to me.

My editor answered finally and made it clear that she had not even read my article (which I'd sent in a month before) until I sent my blunt feelings-hurt email. She said she didn't want to run it because it seemed like too much of a response to the articles they'd been running. She thought it seemed more appropriate as a letter to the editor.

She chastised me for being late with articles, which admittedly I deserved. She asked me to submit them no later than Mondays at 5. She said she would run a new article of mine the next week if I got it in on time.

I decided to pick my battles and just submitted a new article this week. I turned it in on Monday at 7pm, which I think is fairly reasonable. I didn't get a response and again I opened the paper to see someone else's article. This one was thankfully not as judgmental, but still relied on some negative language to make jokes.

Today, I received a letter from the editor in chief of the paper. She basically said she thought my article was too blunt about sex without "adding anything to the space." I'll run it as a separate post so you can judge for yourselves. I don't think this article was especially explicit, and it was much in the same vein as the ones I've written for a year with overwhelmingly positive response.

She explained that on Wednesday night, which is the night the paper has to be finished, the features editors had showed her my article and the one that they ran instead. She said she regretted "that we didn't have the time prior to publication to give you feedback and discuss your piece so that we could have run it. I would love for you to finish off a strong run by writing in our final three issues for this semester, but I think that also requires an equal commitment from you to make sure your articles are in early so that this situation doesn't present itself again."

She clearly thinks it's my fault that she only saw the articles on Wednesday, which means my editors are passing the blame onto me. This week, I got the damn article in on time.

So now I don't know what the hell to do. I'm feeling incredibly discouraged by this. Sure, I can try and write a new article super early for next week (in addition to writing a rough draft of my honors thesis by Monday) and hope that makes it better. Even if I do get it in early, I just don't have faith that my editors would give enough shits to do what needs to be done to publish it, especially if that means feedback. They've never given me feedback. Ever.

It also just really, really, really sucks to see the column I've worked so hard on, the column I started writing to try and counter the sex negativity it and the rest of the paper were filled with, revert back to the bullshit that's everywhere else in this freakin' society.

It hurts. it makes me feel like all the work I've done is being erased. I've had people, strangers, come up to me and thank me for writing what I do because it made them feel better about who they are and what they wanted to try sexually. I've gotten emails from random adults from clear across the country asking for sex advice because they didn't know where else to go.

I feel like they're taking that away from me, and almost spitting on the work that I've done. They don't value it, and they don't realize how much everyone else around here seems to value it.

I sound like such a diva, but I really think this is important. There is so much shitty sex writing everywhere. If you're an editor, why not seize the opportunity to do better? Why perpetuate negative stereotypes that actively hurt people, that make them feel guilty or unsexy or bad about themselves? Fuck that. Fuck that so much.

I also know that I've let a lot of my public identity get wrapped up in this column. Really, everybody on my campus reads it. I meet people and they recognize my name. These days, I meet people and they ask me why I'm not writing the column anymore. (And complain about the new writers.) I like being "the girl who writes that sex column," it makes me feel happy. I'm proud of what I've done.

I feel like that's being ripped away and it's part of my identity. Which is why I'm so (possibly unreasonably) angry about all of this. I'd been trying not to take it seriously, to just take the attitude of "I'm leaving and have no control over what happens when I'm gone anyway and this is just the way of the world so I should let it go" but the letter from the editor in chief today just sent me over the edge into full blown fury.

I'm hoping writing this has let me clarify and solidify my thoughts. I'm going to have to respond to this in some way, and it'd probably help if I can talk about it without getting choked up and angry. I apologize if it's ranting and rambling. If you've gotten all the way through it, any thoughts? Am I being totally unreasonable? Ugh, I hate this feeling.
On living, loving, learning, and fucking with the materials I've got at hand.

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