I don't really make New Year's Resolutions, but one of those times when I take stock of my life and make some decisions about how I want to change it happened to fall at the beginning of the year this time.

I've been living in New York City for a little over five months now, and it took me a while to find any kind of comfort zone here. This is not an easy city, and it's huge and overwhelming and not always that friendly. The people are actually friendly, but they're also busy and absorbed with their own lives.

A couple of weeks into January, I had a meltdown at work. I'd been canvassing full time since September, despite my plan to use it as a New York starter while I found another job. I had recently quit the dungeon and then quit sex work altogether. I was trying to raise money for the ASPCA, which is a good cause but not one I especially give two shits about. I felt like I'd gotten away from all the things I wanted to focus on in my life.

So I left work early that day. I took the rest of the week off. I read Can I Wear My Nose Ring to the Interview?, put together a plan for a job search, and cut my work hours down to part time. I went and got myself an apprenticeship with an awesome sex educator who's going to let me take her intensive women's sexuality workshop for free and be a mentor to me. I got back to what it is I want to be doing.

I guess what that means is that my resolution is to actually do all the things I've been wanting to do, the things that are the reasons I moved to New York. I'm going to events at Babeland and kinky events and poly events and I'm getting back into that community, except in a new city this time. I'm dating again, ending the celibate period I gave myself. I'm blogging again! (In case you didn't notice.) I'm just back to my usual self and my usual pursuits.

It feels really good. Maybe I'll try this resolution thing again next year.

It's Not Easy to Get Me Off

I've been masturbating for a very long time. Since I was about six or seven, I think, although I don't remember having orgasms exactly until I hit puberty. It just felt really good, and then it would stop feeling really good all of a sudden. No peak, just a termination. I got there eventually, though, and it was great.

I've gotten more sophisticated in the ways that I masturbate over the years. I went from rubbing myself against bean bag chairs and stuffed animals to using a tiny bullet vibrator. I now have a lovely collection of toys and I like to play with them in different combinations. Sometimes I watch porn. Sometimes I invite a partner.

One thing that I don't do, however, is masturbate using just my fingers. I have done it a few times when I really felt like I shouldn't make any noise. But I think I can count on my hands the number of times I've come from my hands.

The truth of the matter is that I have an extremely sensitive clitoris. Generally speaking, fingers are too rough for it and I desensitize quickly. I just don't come from manual stimulation, and even with oral sex it takes a little practice to figure me out. It seems that many women like flicking or good amounts of friction, and that doesn't work for me.

What I didn't realize until recently was how embarrassed I was that it's not easy for me to come. I'm this big sex nerd, I try to know and learn as much as I can about sex, I have lots of sex, I'm sexually open, and yet it's not so easy to get me to orgasm. I feel awkward that it usually takes a session or two with a new lover before they've mastered the art of my orgasm.

Most often, I can communicate my way to the Big O anyway, even if it's just because I let my partner take the assist while I masturbate with a vibrator. So it really shouldn't be a big deal. But there are those times when I've given several tips about what to do, I'm turned on so it's hard to articulate about the right tongue stroke, I've been close for fifteen minutes but am starting to get desensitized, and it's just so depressing to tell them it's not going to happen.

It is superbly frustrating for me not to come, but I feel like I have to hide my frustration to avoid bruising egos. Most of the time I'll just move us on to other things without commenting on it, but if they've been going down on me for twenty minutes then that's kind of hard to do. I do actually (shame of shames) fake orgasm from time to time if they're doing the right thing and for some reason it's just not working this time. It's pretty rare, but as a sex educator who tells people never to do that, it makes a hypocrite out of me.

This is something I want to work on and overcome. I'm not exactly sure what's the source of this embarrassment, other than the fact that I'm just as influenced as anyone by our culture's emphasis on sexual performance. But I do know that orgasm isn't everything and if I don't communicate honestly about my sexual needs then I'll never have them met. I want to live up to my own advice. Confessing this all here seems like a good start.

NYC and my Fiscal Politics

About three months ago, I had an experience in the subway that really blew me away and solidified my fiscal politics. I didn't write about it at the time because I was feeling writer's blocked, but it seems important enough to reach back a little bit.

I was riding the subway home from a fancy dinner with my parents, who were in town for Thanksgiving. I was carrying a bag full of various leftovers they'd given me, which I planned to gleefully eat over the next week. I'm not exactly flush with cash, so free food was a luxury I was looking forward to.

As I was sitting there in a half-dozing, full-stomach, late-night stupor, a woman got on the subway and began one of those hat-in-hand speeches that you often hear from bedraggled people on the trains. She was missing most of her front teeth and had graying hair sticking out from the sides of her head. She said, "You're all I've got and I'm hungry and thirsty." She started to ask for whatever pocket change we could spare.

Well, I was sitting right next to her and I had all this food, so I just handed her a big thing of risotto that my parents had given me.

She stopped mid-sentence. Probably mid-word. She looked the container over, opened it, and started eating right there with her hands. She didn't really look at me, except once because I was watching her (I said, lamely, "Happy Thanksgiving,") and she got off at the next stop, still wordlessly eating.

I was so struck by her facial expression and the way she took that food. This woman was clearly starving. She had not eaten in days. It was obvious, and my heart just broke.

It's so impossible to understand living in this city. You can walk up Park Ave and see all the fancy shops and the women with obvious plastic surgery and fur coats and fancy cars with drivers. I collect hundreds of dollars sometimes in single donations on the street. And yet, there are people here who are starving.


So, it became immensely clear to me that there's no reason that the kind of extreme wealth that's on display in this city should even exist. There's just no sense in it when we could tax those people into a semblance of reasonable life and be able to feed and house the people who need it.

I'm not saying people shouldn't be able to build up money and that there shouldn't be fiscal rewards for work. I do think it's important to have a bell curve of socio-economic status. I just think we need to cut off the ends, eliminate the outliers. So yeah, still pay doctors more and let people at the top have higher salaries, but there's just no reason for anyone to have gold dinner plates or private jets or whatever. It's just gratuitous.

So I guess that makes me something of a socialist, although not an extreme one by any means. That's something I'd shied away from for a long time because I felt like our fiscal politics were very, very complicated and trying to take a stance when I don't fully understand them would be silly. But really now, I can at least grasp a general concept and think it's close to the right thing to do.
On living, loving, learning, and fucking with the materials I've got at hand.

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