Wicked Wednesday – 319 – Let Your Partner Say No

I’m guessing that some of you read the title of this post and immediately though, “Well duh, Livvy”, but I’m not just talking about giving or removing the idea of enthusiastic consent here, although that’s obviously important as well, even in relationships where there is also implied consent. There is something more to be said for letting your partner say no within a sexual situation (or any situation really.)

Having agency within one’s life, sexual or otherwise is incredibly important and, I feel, incredibly freeing. You’re not obligated to go along with the crowd and it lets you do what you need or want to do both in and out of bed. This is something that I think many people think about too much because going with the flow has always been encouraged, especially, it seems for girls and women. We’re expected to say yes to all kinds of things, even when we want to say no. But back to saying no in a sexual context without specifically removing consent.

Here’s an example of what I mean. Let’s say that my partner wants to try bringing food into the bedroom to play with, but on their own they decide that I wouldn’t like it and therefore they don’t bring the idea up at all because they have essentially already made the choice for me (i.e. assumed I’d say no.) BUT, if my partner comes to me outside of a sexual context and says hey, maybe we should get some edible chocolate and some whipped cream to play with in bed. Suddenly I have agency again and I can decide if it is something I want to do or not. For the record, it would be a no; I’ve heard that the edible chocolate stuff is really gross and I don’t want to be sticky from whipped cream. By not making a choice for me, my partner has given me a choice to say yes or no to that particular act. Notice that I’m not saying no to sex as a whole or to other things, but just to the idea of food in bed. It can be your yum, but it certainly isn’t mine.

The example above is pretty clear and concrete and defines what I mean relatively precisely. And it can be about anything between you and your partner, whether its related to your sex life or not. It’s simply another good way to share your lives together and to communicate in ways that give you both the power to say yes or no to any given thing at any given time. There’s no pressure or expectation that something has to be done, especially when we focus back on sex, and instead it creates an open dialog that might given you more or different or better ideas of things to suggest to your partner.

So, yes it is a form of consent to let your partner say no to something just like any other type of consent that is out there, but in this case it can give them the freedom or permission that they need to say no in other parts of their lives as well because they may feel empowered knowing that they can say no to you, so they can say no to others. Never assume that you’re idea is too kinky or weird or vanilla or whatever and that your partner won’t like it. Just ask them!

 

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Wicked Wednesday – 318 – Recreate

 

So lately I’ve been struggling really badly with my bipolar disorder. I’m incredibly depressed and haven’t been able to handle much in the way of running my life. And I’ve spent all weekend wondering what to write about for Wicked Wednesday or even if I was going to be able to write a post. Much angst ensued. Even now these words are hard to write.

What could I recreate? A retelling of some famous tale? A memory brought back to life? And then I knew. I realized exactly the thing that I need to recreate. And it has nothing to do with sex or erotica and everything to do with me. I feel like (and have felt like) that I lose parts of myself to my bipolar disorder. It just takes things away from me like a parent disciplining a child, but I don’t always get them back as a reward for good behavior. If I did, my life would likely be much simpler.

But the thing that I need to recreate, somehow, is that spark that I used to have for writing and blogging and doing things with my life, no matter what they are. I’ve become so desensitized, so numb to everything but the depression that I’ve let that gift slip away from me. And right now, I have no idea how to get it back. I take my medications and I go to therapy, but when you’ve been subconsciously downplaying things to your therapist that doesn’t help much. I had an “Aha!” moment regarding that subconscious behavior just the other day. I’m sure my next therapy appointment should be fun. But back to finding a spark of…creativity, life, energy, I don’t know what to call it. Maybe all of those things.

How do I do this? I don’t think I can force it and I don’t want to force it. OK, I do, but that’s because I hate who I’ve become and want instant change, but I’m pretty sure that’s not how this all works. It is going to be a long road I think and a journey that only I can make. Where do I start? How do I begin? I don’t even have those answers. So until I can find them or figure them out am I doomed to wander lost, trapped inside my head? I don’t think so. I think I can try to actively move forward even with the depression and anxiety weighing me down. It just won’t be fast or easy to do.

So, I guess, this week folks, instead of some steamy erotica or sexy fun, I’m baring a part of myself open to be recreated somehow. If anyone has any sage advice or suggestions I’ll certainly take them into consideration and see how they might help me out, help me be me again, and find my way back into something resembling light even if it is dim.

 

 

Fat and Sexy: Learning to be Both

So my last fat and sexy post was in September of last year and it was a shit show. I was having car trouble, knee trouble, and various other issues that I felt related to my problems with being fat and sexy. Fast forward to now and I’ve found out that I have arthritis in both knees that is probably only going to get worse so some of the physical activities I wanted to get involved in are probably either a straight up no go or not a good idea, no matter how much I might want to. Of course, I can also ask what physical activities because I’ve basically been a slug since February. But I’m trying to address that by getting back into yoga. Dear Gods, it is harder than I remember it being and I already knew it would be hard.

But what prompted me to write this post was something I read by the Formidable Femme herself, Sarah Brynn Holliday. Her post “When Do I Get to Celebrate My Fat Body?” took me back to all the times my ex disparaged my weight or otherwise made me feel self conscious about my body. It was so bad that I couldn’t stand to be naked around him or let him see my body. By the end of our relationship though I had lost weight and was finally “skinny enough” (as far I was and still am concerned I was still fat.) But it was too late at that point because I had decided it was over. Not him.

But no matter what size I was then or what size I am now, I still feel damaged and broken. My current partner assures me otherwise frequently, but when I can’t stand to see my own body reflected back at me in the mirror, when I try to eat less, when I try to be smaller because smaller is better, what does that say? It still tells me that I’m not worth the time or the effort, that I’m not good enough and that I’ll never be good enough. I fight this fight just as much as I fight to keep my bipolar disorder under control.

However, as much as I can relate to the post referenced above and how heartbreaking it is for me to see myself fight to be smaller and take up less space in a world where fat people aren’t given license to exist, I am also starting to relate to the idea that fat and sexy are not mutually exclusive of one another. My partner greets me with a kiss and “Hi Gorgeous.” on a regular basis. I’ve finally stopped cringing when they call me that. I don’t roll my eyes anymore, although I will still duck my head a bit, not because I’m ashamed, but because the (still unexpected) compliment embarrasses me a little because I don’t know how to gracefully accept a compliment of that caliber. I’ve never seen myself as striking or pretty or even cute so gorgeous is right out. But I hear it all the time. What do I do; how do I reconcile what I see in the mirror with what I’m told?

And the only answer I have is that I don’t know. So I try to just let it wash over me and be as accepting of it as I can instead of being ashamed of who I am and what I look like. I’m fat, even when I’m “skinny” I’m still fat, and I doubt I’ll ever be at my smallest size again. I mean come on, 2 pounds and 12.5 ounces is just unrealistic for someone my height! Yes, I just made that awful joke. In all seriousness though, I ask the question why can’t I be both fat and sexy? What is stopping me from being both? Is it just all in my head and a matter of confidence? Is the answer really that simple? It doesn’t seem like it is. But what do I know? I’ve never had the confidence to know what being both fat and sexy is. Maybe though, just maybe, I’m learning.

Are Cellphones the Ultimate Sex Toy?

Almost everyone owns one. We’ve gone from the big, blocky monstrosities to sleek computers that we carry in our pocket or purse. We use them for all kinds of mundane things from actual phone calls to getting directions, and, of course, watching porn. But watching porn isn’t quite what I’m getting at here, although porn in and of itself can be sexy.

But how can we use phones as sex toys? I mean sure most of them vibrate, but I’m pretty sure that’s not exactly what that function was designed for. However, with cellphones comes instant communication and constant access. And that’s a great thing in many ways if you want to keep in touch with people all the time or if you have a busy schedule, but again that’s not sexy.

You know what is sexy though? Getting to work and shooting your partner a suggestive text message. Getting one back in reply. Spending the day trading sexts and maybe even photos if your job allows you that kind of privacy. It lets you build up the anticipation, the desire for one another over a period of hours, which can be incredibly important to someone with a responsive desire mindset and also, incredibly sexy. So in some ways, a cellphone makes an excellent sex toy, if you’re focused on the mental aspect of things and want to create desire in yourself and your partner But there can be some concerns with turning this little device full of data into a virtual sex toy, by putting it to work as a way to communicate your sexuality and sexual needs.

Speaking of communication, how is this digital form of it important in the great scheme of things? And how does it change our interactions with people? Again we are back to that instant accessibility. If you have consent you can sext anyone, anytime. You can have good “old-fashioned” phone sex. You can make a booty call. And this all happens because someone invented a portable telephone and then refined the idea until we have modern cellphones. But the downside the always being accessible is that you’re always accessible. People expect to be able to reach you regardless of the time of day or what you’re doing. It can be exhausting to be that “on” all the time. But it definitely changes how we act with and react to different people. Sometimes a dick pic is a welcome thing and it is fun to trade photos, but if the wrong person sends you that same picture you’d be offended or grossed out or both. And speaking of naughty pictures that maybe you don’t want Grandma to see at a family dinner (don’t leave your phone unattended folks) privacy can become a big concern.

So how private is that communication that you’re sharing? Sure, it is meant to be a for your eyes only kind of thing for you and your partner, but what many people don’t realize is that phones can be hacked and data mined just like your email or Facebook account can be. Unless you have zero apps on your phone, it probably knows far more about you than you realize. There are ways to mitigate this particular issue if you are truly worried about privacy. One of them is, of course, to not engage in the behaviors, but what fun is that? To my knowledge, one of the best private messaging applications out there for sensitive communications is called Signal. Signal is designed specifically to encrypt data end to end, does not store data on its servers, and can delete messages and leave no trace that they were ever there. Much more secure than say, Snapchat for example. Of course, if you’re the type that likes to save and re-read messages or look at photos then Signal won’t do, but if you want your privates to stay private, that’s an option.

So what do you think? Is a cellphone the ultimate modern sex toy where you can arouse a partner with just a few words sent from one screen to another? Or a suggestively naughty picture to their Snapchat? Have you used your cellphone to sext, share photos, or otherwise engage in sexual activity? If you haven’t done it, would you want to? There is a myriad of questions to be asked all ranging from the sexual nature of the communication, how the communication itself affects us, and how we can keep these communications private. The final take away that I hope my readers get from this piece is that using technology to spice up your sex life can be fun and exciting, but should be done in a way that protects both parties while still allowing them the freedom to explore themselves and their sexuality with their partners.

Wicked Wednesday 309 – Conviction – (I, Submissive)

 

We all have strong beliefs that shape us and make us into the person that we are. I strongly believe in being myself, whatever that means. In this particular instance though, I’m talking about sexual submission because that is a part of who I am. My submission is so much a part of me that I spent years feeling incomplete without it and struggling to understand why I felt like I needed it so much. I still struggle with they why of it sometimes.

But there’s something about service and submission that just does it for me. I crave that power exchange and while I have it in my life now, I am greedy and want even more of it. I don’t think I could do a Total Power Exchange 24/7 kind of D/s relationship. I do think I could use a bit more discipline and structure in my life and while I can be disciplined and make a schedule and whatnot on my own, that’s not the same as submitting to what someone else wants in regards to what I want or may not want. Like food. I have complicated issues with food. But if my partner and I are out and they order for me, even if they’ve consulted me about what I want, those issues vanish temporarily because it is OK for me to eat the food without feeling guilty because Sir says its OK.

There are so many things like that, that are part of my submission and I’m sure there are some that are as yet undiscovered. They’ll come in time as my submission improves and deepens and I become more in tune with what I want and need as a submissive. I’ve always felt that this was a lonely road to walk because I’ve never had people I could talk to about being submissive and what it means to them or to me. I could never open up to anyone about this side of my life because I simply didn’t know anyone who might even begin to understand. Now I’m learning that while the conversation would be nice, I don’t have to have it. I can explore my submission through writing or reflecting or even talking to my Sir. I’d still love to hear and learn from other submissives experiences because I think growth and change are an important part of leading one’s life, no matter how you choose to live it.

I think that my next goal in improving myself to be a better submissive will be to continue to work on learning to love my body just the way it is instead of the way I wish it was. Then when I am tied in ropes or left otherwise exposed I can focus on the event that is happening instead of wondering if the rope makes me look like a sausage about to burst from its casing or if my partner is repulsed by my rolls or my body as a whole. Logically, I know they aren’t. They show me every day that they think I’m beautiful just the way I am, but wrapping my mind around that one is hard. So here’s to pushing through that mental block, past those voices that whisper inside my head. Here’s to using these beliefs as a springboard to a better me.

Where will I go from here? Only time will tell, but I want to be a submissive that makes my Dominant proud. Proud to have me, proud to love me, proud that they have helped me become a better person through my submission. I, submissive, want to be good.

Fearless Sexuality

In order to have sex fearlessly we must be willing to face the things that have shaped and will continue to shape our sex lives. This means facing up to bad experiences, trauma, and looking at our current relationship, both with our partner and with our own sexuality. Sometimes this may take therapy or counseling, particularly to handle bad experiences in relationships or trauma, especially that of a sexual nature.

Sometimes a bad experience can be something as simple as bad night of drunken sex (we won’t get into the implications of consent here), but other times it can be a series of bad sexual encounters, that aren’t specifically traumatic and we need to be able to look at those encounters and say, “OK, this was bad.” And then we must identify what was bad about it and work to change any bad or negative things, particularly if we are at fault. When we can examine our bad experiences and thus, ourselves, we can improve our sex lives simply through being.

Dealing with traumatic sexual experiences can be harder, simply because trauma itself can be difficult to process either alone or with the help of a therapist. But it can be done and if you want to improve your sex life, it needs to be done, for your well being at the very least. I know from my own past that confronting sexual trauma is hard and scary, but I also know that once I made an effort to try and work through it so I could move on, that my sex life and life in general would be better for me. And it was. I still struggle, I won’t deny that, but letting go of some of the fear associated with my sexual trauma was a way to let the healing process begin. I’ll never be completely over it I don’t think, but each day I am better than I was. I find more peace within myself and know more and more that it wasn’t my fault.

In examining a current relationship with a partner you have to look at the way you fit and work together and how compatible you are in a general sense and in bed. Sometimes people who are very different can have the strongest relationships, but if you have a severe mismatch in libido or other problems that you deem serious enough to negatively impact your relationship then those things should be discussed and hopefully compromised upon. And if your partner happens to be abusive and your reflection opens your eyes to that, then I urge you to get out before things escalate. I spent nearly a decade with an abusive man and still have the mental and emotional scars from dealing with it. Don’t be like me.

But, I feel like the most important part of being able to have sex without any fear is knowing our sexual selves. Whether that is through masturbation or meditation it is important to know who you are and what you want out of your sex life, otherwise it will simply be unfulfilled. You must be non-judgmental and be able to look clearly at yourself to know what makes you curious or playful (and playfulness in the bedroom is encouraged) what makes you excited or happy. There is no magic button or pill that will suddenly make you sexually aware of the self. It is something that begins to happen as we grow up and age, but even so our awareness of ourselves is ever changing and sometimes we may even lose sight of that awareness and become a null in a void for a time where it seems like sex or sexuality doesn’t exist. Finding your way out of that particular labyrinth takes fortitude and strength and again the ability to question yourself and be aware of who you are and what you want as you emerge from a void.

Only once you’ve begun to conquer these things and can live in the moment, laugh in the moment, and take joy in the little things can you truly begin to embrace having sex without fear. This is a path that many people follow intuitively because sex is such an integral part of our biology, but for those of us struggling with the issues I noted above it can be much harder to navigate our way through the quagmire that can be sex and relationships or just sex by itself because the subject becomes so conflated sometimes with gender and equality and the ideas of the patriarchy. Sex is yours, his, everyone’s. And yes, sex is power. It is energy. Use it wisely.

Can Maybe Sometimes Mean Yes?

(Just so we’re clear, I did not write this piece as some kind of weird defense against any of the recent current events involving sexual assault, harassment, and rape allegation that have been all over the media. I wrote this more from the point of view of being in a relationship and making negotiations about pleasure in those relationships.)

Alright everyone, hear me out here before you decide I’m crazy and don’t understand enthusiastic consent. I know that in a perfect world yes would mean yes and no would mean no, but what exactly does maybe mean? Is it a future yes or a future no? Is it supposed to be a polite, if unclear and vague, way of saying no? Does it come from a place of fear of saying yes or no?

Or does it come out of the idea that my partner might like something that I am ambivalent about? Could it be that I simply have a neutral attitude towards something and so I give the neutral answer? But how does that impact pleasure? If my partner never gets this thing that they want and enjoy, could that breed resentment or even anger? Sure it could. But if I’ve said maybe to whatever their sex act of choice is, that doesn’t mean I’ve committed one way or the other. It could mean I’m unsure because I don’t know what they want. It could mean that I am completely uninterested in it. Or the thing could just be kind of meh for me.

So, what if maybe, sometimes, under the right circumstances, meant yes? It means that a person in an actively consenting relationship could be willing to do a thing. It might mean that they do it simply to give their partner pleasure, but they are still willing to do it despite their own feelings towards it. And that is an OK thing to do. Hell, that’s a good thing to do if you ask me. I feel that it contributes to a healthier sex life over all.

However, I recognize that there are some things that some people simply won’t or can’t or don’t want to do. So in that case what does maybe mean? At that point it sees like a way to give your partner the hope that you might be willing to try something new when you’re not even open to it. In that case I would posit that maybe means no, but I would also suggest that you learn to communicate with your partner in such a way that saying no to them is OK. That avoids miscommunications and any vagueness regarding doing or not doing x, y, or z sexual activity. This ability also leads to a healthier sex life.

Now we get to the idea of maybe and consent. Does maybe imply consent? In a long term relationship where the people know one another well, it might or might not. That all depends on the nature of the relationship and how well the people in it can communicate their needs and wants. But if this is just a short term thing or a one time thing, I feel like the people involved have to be more clear than just saying maybe. Maybe can be ambiguous for many reasons and the root of those reasons should be known before assuming that maybe does, in fact, mean yes. So in the long run, I feel like maybe should automatically be treated as a no, except in certain circumstances, such as a long term relationship and even then it requires constant talking and dialog in order to make sure all parties are on the same page.

Have you ever told a partner maybe? How did they respond? Did you wind up doing whatever that maybe activity was anyway? Were you trying to politely say no? Or were you scared to say yes? All of those questions (and more I’m sure; feel free to share your own) are the reasons I ask if maybe can sometimes mean yes. What do you think about maybe instead of a definitive yes or no?