Thoughts on Aftercare

Aftercare is an essential part of any type of BDSM whether it is a long drawn out scene or a simple spanking when the kids aren’t home. It makes the end of playtime a much more comforting experience and can be a great time for bonding with your partner(s.) As a submissive I know that being held and loved and being able to slowly drift out of subspace and knowing I’m safe is just an amazing feeling. But to me, even in my own relationship, it feels like aftercare is mostly directed towards the submissive. However if you stop for a moment and think about it, dominants or tops need their own version of aftercare as things can be quite demanding on them as well. The questions to ask though are A) do they get that aftercare and B) how can we improve upon the idea of aftercare for them so they get something out of it?

My partner and I have discussed this particular topic more than once and sometimes the aftercare for them is simply being able to take care of me. That helps them come back to center and feel more settled. But I often wonder if I, as a submissive, am doing enough to help them get there because many times I’m a shaking puddle of happiness, drifting through subspace and that makes it hard for me to do much beyond hold onto them and tell them that I love them. Repeatedly. Maybe that is what they need most in that moment. Sometimes, however, they need some space to put themselves back together and that’s OK too. Usually I get a drink and cuddles and they make sure I’m alright before giving me a blanket and ensuring that I know they won’t be far and I can always call out to them if I need them. That is another thing that works for us. What works for us might not work for you.

On the flip side, perhaps you are the submissive who considers things like getting your dominant a drink and making sure their needs are met could be part of your aftercare too. Perhaps you arrange things before hand to make it easy, which is great for planned things, but harder for more spontaneous play (unless you’re super organized and always keep things ready for when anytime becomes playtime.) However you do it I think that finding a way to take care of a top, just as they take care of a submissive is an important thing in any relationship, no matter how serious or casual things are between the people involved.

Aftercare means different things to different people and it can vary so widely that I don’t want to attempt to guess at what it means for you personally. I do want to suggest that readers take a long look at how they practice aftercare and see if there’s a way things can be different that might allow the dominant person to receive more or better aftercare as it seems to be good for them as well. If they are struggling to be grounded after a scene, what can you do to help them come back to center? Do they need touch and closeness? Do they need space? And lastly, how can you combine the aftercare for a submissive with the aftercare of a dominant in a way that allows the people involved to all get what they need?

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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!

 

Intimacy and a More Fulfilling Relationship

Casual intimacy in my relationship is not an uncommon thing. We share little touches, inside jokes, and looks that only we can read, among many other little gestures. We cuddle just for the sake of cuddling. We kiss gently for no reason other than to share a kiss. We cook together in a tiny kitchen that is barely big enough for two. Basically, our intimacy is part of our every day life.

This creates a strong feeling of closeness and togetherness that is, in my opinion, often better than any sex we could have. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking the sex, it’s great, but it is the little things that are the glue that keeps us together.

And the effect that those little intimacies has means that when I am craving touch and perhaps my partner hasn’t thought about it I can say to them, “Hey, come cuddle with me.” Sometimes it leads to more and sometimes it doesn’t. And it is OK either way it happens to go. But it makes us better and stronger. It is also a great help because we suffer from mismatched libidos and sometimes I want something more than they do or they aren’t up for sex at all. We compromise and find other ways to satisfy that intimacy, even if it means my partner getting me off or holding onto me while I get myself off.

And now we’re getting into more than just causal intimacy I suppose, but when you’ve been together for a period of time doesn’t everything become kind of casual? Sex isn’t always perfect. You might laugh mid-orgasm and break the mood a little. Things might go sideways somehow; you never know what might happen when you engage in sex. Perhaps you haven’t shaved you legs in a few days, but your partner isn’t going to care all that much because they love you and care for you and want to share an intimate experience with you.

Ultimately, everything from tiny kisses to murmured “I love yous” is going to bring a couple closer together in some way. It’s part of sharing and building a life together, part of caring for another person. The effects of intimacy on a relationship cannot be overstated as anything other than a good thing.

Conversely, what about the lack of that intimacy in a relationship? I’ve been on both sides of the coin, you see, and the sheer lack of touch and affection left me starved for it. Even now I crave it sometimes simply because I need it, other times because it feels like an approval of me and who I am and that I am lovable. Lacking intimacy in a personal relationship breed resentment and fear and eventually it can lead to a complete and total breakdown of the relationship itself.

When this happens you can try couples counseling or trying reintroducing intimacy slowly back into your lives, but it must be done carefully so as to not upset the delicate balance you and your partner are trying to achieve, which is a happy medium that you can both live with, particularly if one partner isn’t terribly affectionate to begin with. Sadly, it isn’t always possibly to do so and the relationship fails through no one’s fault, but merely a lack of emotional and physical intimacy.

Because this emotional and physical intimacy is so important to keeping a happy and thriving relationship alive, it must be worked on and nurtured and almost become second nature to you and to your partner. Always take a moment to give them that kiss or hug, make sure they know that they are a priority in your life and your relationship will be all the richer for it.

Fat and Sexy – Struggles

So I’d been doing better and feeling better for a while. I really had. But I started slacking for various reasons, none of which were good, and while I’m holding at a size 24, I still want to be smaller, healthier, and yes, sexier. Recently I was in physical therapy for some knee pain and while I’ve not been given any restrictions on what I can and can’t do, I’m still not DOING anything.

Which is making me feel awful and very, very much not sexy. My gym routine has basically become non-existent and that fitness class only has two more sessions before it goes on hiatus for the summer, which means if I want to stay in shape over the summer I have to hit the gym or skate outdoors. And I have to get back to watching what I eat because especially lately, I feel like my appetite has been out of control. I’m at a point where things are really getting hard for me and it all started when I quit going to the gym. To make it worse I had gained back some weight. Not much. Just enough to make me frustrated with myself, to feel like I was worthless.

So it looks like I need to do several things. Re-evaluate my goals to start with and see what I can do to help them along over the coming months. And my goals are simple things like the gym and skating and eating better. I can do all those things. I’ve done all those things. So I’m going to do them again. In fact, by the time you read this post, I should have been doing them again for at least a few weeks. Feel free to tweet at me and ask. Accountability is a good thing.

At this point though, I haven’t cried or shied away from the mirror too much. I’m trying to be more honest with myself about my body, what it looks like. And what it might look like after I lose weight when I realize that I still don’t like the way I look, which might happen. I’m also trying to handle the fact that I gained some weight back in a reasonable fashion. Yes, my immediate response was to be upset and I still find it bothersome that I slipped off the wagon so to speak, but is less than 10 pounds really that big of a deal? I mean it shouldn’t be and to a lot of people it probably isn’t. But to me I’m having to consciously make the decision to not let it be a big deal or I will obsess over it and only make myself miserable.

Right now, I know my strengths, my weakness, my failures. I also know my plans, my goals, and my reality. So it is time for me to get my shit together, turn all those negative things to dust and take the positive things and run with them. Well, not actually run because I’d have two black eyes…but you know what I mean I hope. I may be struggling right now, but there is always tomorrow and another chance to be better.

Fat and Sexy – Moving Forward

In my first fat and sexy post I indicated that I could be fat and sexy at the same time. And I knew that was true, but what I hadn’t realized was how little I really believed in the idea that fat and sexy go together. That was especially true when my clothes came off. Dressed I can wear clothing like armor and in the right outfit I can forget that I’m fat, I can be sexy. If I was feeling really down on my body I would try harder than usual to keep it covered, even from my partner. Staying dressed all day, changing quickly in the dark bedroom, diving under blankets at bedtime so I couldn’t be seen, so my fat was hidden. Never mind that they have already seen me naked more times than I can count. Sometimes bad days are bad days I guess.

More exercise has helped and I continue to be motivated to exercise because I’m trying to reach goals that I set for myself. Being stronger is one of my big goals. Being smaller or skinnier is, to an extent, a lesser goal, but a goal nonetheless. I want to be able to wear cute clothes and not have to shop in the men’s department for t-shirts. And I’m getting there, slowly.

But recently, I had a huge revelation. My partner and I were cuddling in bed after sex (Yes, fat people have sex too) and they were holding me tightly against them, just where I like to be, and said to me,”You’re beautiful and I love you.” Now this may seem incredibly insignificant to most people. It is something a lover would say. It is something that mine has often said to me over the years we have been together. For the longest time I never believed hearing that I was beautiful or gorgeous was the truth. I would heavily discount those words as nothing more than words. I couldn’t understand how they could possibly apply to me. Yet, for whatever reason, that night, no different from any of the other times we’ve shared a bed or cuddled or made love, I actually believed them. My partner said something to me that for years I’ve struggled to accept and finally it seems to have sunk into my head.

Just because I’m fat doesn’t automatically make me ugly, unworthy, or undesirable. It just means I’m fat. And obviously people see that. But what people don’t see is the truth that my partner is teaching me. They’re not saying I’m beautiful because I’m fat, they’re not putting qualifiers on the idea that being thinner would make me more beautiful; they are simply telling me what they see when they look at me.

And if what my partner sees is beauty, then who am I to contradict them and disbelieve them. I know what I look like in my own eyes and I will probably always struggle with that, but I can never tell what someone else will see when they look at me. And I need to learn to let those insecurities go and trust the person who loves me most. I think having it sink into my head that they honestly find me beautiful is the first step to making that change. So here I am.

Sex with Women vs. Sex with Men (My Experiences)

I’ve had my share of sex with both men and women and it seems like there can be a huge difference between the two. Dating almost exclusively girls all the way through high school I was in awe of their softness and femininity. It was such a contrast for someone who felt they came off as hard and at least a little butch. I loved the way their skin felt under my hands and the softness of their lips. I loved that they often seemed soft and plaint and were ready, willing, and able to do anything I asked. If they said no, then it was no and the same went if I said no. I was very aggressive with them and it worked. I thoroughly enjoyed all the time I spent with my girls. One of my best nights was with my friend (we’ll call her Kitty) and she was soft and plump and her breasts were delightful. We are still friends and even now I love her a little.

Kitty was brave and fearless and would try anything that came up in conversation. We often shared nights at her house making love as quietly as we could so we didn’t get caught by her parents and then have to explain ourselves as neither of us were out yet except at school (although I suspect my father knew about me). But my experiences with Kitty were what shaped a lot of my sexual attitudes and mores because we were both willing to be so honest with one another.

With all my girlfriends and female FWBs learning our bodies and each others bodies brought only pleasure and we reveled in it, delighted by what we learned and shared with one another. Protection never seemed like an issue we had to worry about since we couldn’t get pregnant and the idea that one of us might have an STI never seemed to occur to us.

I did have sex with one young woman who was a few years older than me who was hard and definitely butch, but very tiny. It made for an interesting contract between the two of us because despite her attitude and mine being so similar I still took charge of our activities and she became passive and incredibly lovely for me. I remember that she loved my eyes and I could look at her and that was all it took to have her wanting. And I frequently teased her, by looking at her over the tops of my sunglasses with a wicked smile on my face, just to watch her melt. We didn’t last long, but she is the one who really taught me that my sexuality was more powerful than I knew. And I began to use that power to try and seduce straight friends I was attracted to, which never worked well, although many of them were flattered at the attention as teenage girls can be. When I realized that I could have this power over girls I got curious and began to try it out with the boys.

And when I say boys I really mean young men, most of whom were older than me as the boys at my high school didn’t date “girls like me.” I wasn’t a pretty, popular cheerleader nor was I slender or even considered notable. (It blew my mind that some of my girlfriends found me attractive even.) But I digress. Back to the slightly older young men that I flirted with and teased. They were harder. Their lips not as soft, their skin slightly rougher, facial hair and larger hands. Being intimate with a man became a far different experience for me. I became the passive one, letting them lead me into activities.

I was game for pretty much anything that came along, provided that protection was used, and I always enforced that rule. And the men I fucked all found me attractive despite my being a little chubby, with unruly wavy hair, and an average enough face. And they would tell me so, as much as the girls did, which both flattered me and blew me away. I could understand how another woman might find me attractive, but these men who could have easily been fucking someone much prettier than I was struck me as odd and strange at first. I finally began to believe it and that gave me a desperately needed confidence boost. I kept my circle of FWBs small (because that’s all these men were to me and I to them.) I let them manhandle me, fuck me, make me come, but not one of them was able to bring my submissive nature really to the forefront. Even my husband of ten years failed to do that, although that was largely lack of trying on his part. But even as I was passive with the men that I fucked or let fuck me I was never afraid to say stop or tell them no. And most of them (save my now ex-husband) respected that rule. Consent was important in all of my relationships and I made certain that people knew that. I never felt devalued because I didn’t want to do something. I don’t think sex with the boys at my high school would have been quite the same.

The most striking thing about sex with men that endeared me to them was that, contrary to the rumors I heard, these guys wanted to please ME. It wasn’t all about them, but it was about us. When you’ve heard different for as long as you’ve been talking about sex with your female friends it can be surprising to learn that they were wrong and it is OK to take pleasure in sexual acts with men. And I did, just like I had with the ladies I was with. But there was still something surreal about sharing pleasure with a man for a long time.

Overall, I think the biggest difference in my experiences tended to vary from person to person, more than from men and women. I know that I was the aggressor with one sex and the passive partner with the other, but it was all sex, and usually good sex, although I did have some bombs like we all have I’m sure. Those tended to be more with men for whatever reason. I think it was a lack of communication on both parts. Sex was and is something I enjoy and while today I choose to be in a committed relationship with a man, I would have zero qualms about getting involved with a woman if the timing was right and having that softer experience once again.

Fat and Sexy: Progress and (slow) Acceptance

So when I wrote “Fat and Sexy” sometime ago I was really struggling with my own body acceptance and really not getting anywhere. Mirrors were my enemy and I was too much a fan of comfort food to lose any weight. When my weight ballooned and left me wearing a size 28 I knew that I had to do something. I was hurting too much to exercise and it was getting to the point where I got winded walking upstairs to my second story apartment. Diabetes and heart problems run in my family and I wanted to minimize the potential for having those in my life as well.

So I started with cutting out the snacking and comfort eating, followed that up with portion control, and slowly began to lose weight. It took a while because I wasn’t exercising, but I finally dropped a pants size and even losing that small amount of weight helped me see myself in a slightly different light. I still disliked the mirror, but it made seeing myself a little easier. And once I had my eating under control I started exercising. Slowly at first. I couldn’t keep up with the DVD I was using so I slowed it down to a more manageable pace. I started to incorporate body weight workouts. I even was going to the gym for a while, but I struggled with motivation in an unwelcoming atmosphere so that eventually kept me from going back.

Even so I lost more weight. Before the Christmas holidays hit I was down to a size 24, the smallest I’d been in several years. Now I’m back on my roller skates getting fit with a roller derby themed fitness class, plus getting back into a routine after having the holidays and having been sick for a couple of weeks. I’m making progress and while I don’t always see it, other people are noticing.

My relationship with the mirror is bordering on neutral. I’m starting to feel less shame and more acceptance for my body. I was weighed at the doctor’s office when I was sick and I’ve gone from close to 400 pounds to just under 300. That’s progress to me. So is putting my weight out on the internet for that matter. And here I am.

I’m not where I want to be; not even close. My eventual goal is to lose enough weight and be strong and fit enough that I can play competitive roller derby again. Not to mention becoming healthier, feeling more attractive, and generally learning to love myself no matter how big or small I am, no matter what the scale says, and no matter what society thinks. I’m fat, but I’m also gonna be sexy and happy.