Saturday, August 30, 2008

Not all at once, part II

It's quite possible that Spot won't play with Master and me anymore this year. And I'm completely okay with that.

I've talked with both Master and Spot about the issue, though we haven't had a three-way conversation yet (that'll have to wait until we're all on campus together). Master is reluctant to because he and Spot are in Residential Life (though that didn't stop him last year, when both he and I were), but also because he doesn't want the relationship to progress further from "friends with benefits." Spot is reluctant because she knows she doesn't make a very good "secondary," which is inevitably what she would become if she and I developed our relationship further, and she doesn't want to be part of a V - it'd be a full-up triad or nothing, which means that she and I can't continue without Master, even though he's said he'd be okay with that.

Again, we still haven't spoken all together in person, but I have a feeling we're going to call things off. I'm a little sad, since I do like playing with Spot and I'd love to continue, but I understand it's probably not the best idea. I'm not afraid of us having a terrible falling-out; when I stopped playing with Jack and Lupa last year, there was no drama or anything, and we're just as close friends as we ever were. It's amazing what can happen when everyone acts like reasonable adults.

And acutally, speaking of Lupa, she's asked if she can pretend to be in a poly relationship with me and Master in order to fend off the advances of someone she doesn't particularly care for. Master and I think that's an awesome idea and are all for it; a part of me almost hopes it can eventually become real and not a facade. I still do care for her, and it'd be nice to play with her again now that she's more confident sexually.

Man, I really am spoiled. I'm used to being able to play with a woman and a man - what happens if I'm no longer able to?

Friday, August 29, 2008

Not all at once, now.

Several things have happened in the last few days. I'll try to give them all justice, but it may take more than one post.

Firstly, I had to use my safeword over the weekend. It was bizarre - Master wasn't even in the same room. He's not even in the same state! But he went past a limit; he told me I should play with someone I'm not interested in.

That's just... no. No, no, no. It's one thing to suggest, one thing to fantasize, but I am not one for playing with someone whom I don't care for deeply. The person he wanted me to play with was a woman I don't even hang out with. When I said I wasn't interested in her, he said, "If I want you to do anything, you will do it. And you will thank me. Is that understood?"

I felt cornered. I felt trapped. My hands were shaking. So I used the safeword, and immediately Master asked me if I was okay. No. No I was not okay. I did not want to play with that woman, and he was scaring me. Master calmed me down; he wasn't going to make me do anything. We talked about it, and in a minute or so I felt better.

I'm not sure when exactly we slipped back into our D/s dynamic after I used the safeword. I'm not even sure if we ever stepped out of our dynamic. I suppose that's just one of the weird things about being in a 24/7 relationship - you don't ever "break character." You just scale the intensity up and down as the situation warrants. And this adapting, this shifting from more-D/s to less-D/s, has begun to happen so naturally and so subtlely that I hardly even notice it taking place anymore. It's just... part of who I am, and part of who we are as a couple.

Honestly, I think it was a good thing that I used the safeword (besides for the obvious reason that it stopped a situation I was uncomfortable with). It really highlighted for me - and perhaps for Master too, though I can't presume to know what his thoughts are - that this is 24/7 for us. There is never a time when Master is not my Master (unless there's explicit rules laid out beforehand), and there's never a time where I can't use the safeword to stop whatever's going on.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Dramatis Personae

The people who will probably be mentioned often in my blog:

Zula - That's me! Recent graduate, writer (for realz! I get paid and everything!), sub, feminist, poly, and so on. Master usually just calls me "kitten."

Master - My boyfriend, my lover, my friend... my Master. We've been together for about five years. He lives in the state next door, so visits are a bit difficult but not impossible. This is his first kinky relationship, same as me.

Lupa, formerly known as S - A close friend and former college roomie. She and I are infrequent partners, though apparently we act more like an old married couple than Master and me! She's a super-switch, but the poor dear currently lives somewhere with a nonexistent kink scene.

Ume, formerly known as R - Another friend from college. He's a former playmate; since Master and I have officially started our D/s relationship, Ume and I haven't exchanged more than a kiss or two at parties.

There are so many supporting characters who flit in and out of random scenes that it's probably a waste of time to list them all here! I'll do my best to keep things coherent, regardless.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Watch out - here comes a political post!

I was going to post this on my personal journal, decided I didn't want to risk antagonizing my friends, some of whom might take exception to my views on abortion, and posted it here. It was inspired by this disturbing news article (pointed out by Trin) about women who choose to abort because the fetus had minor defects that are easily fixable with surgery.

To be honest, before I started reading the journals of Trin, Bint, Miss Nomered, and others who focus on disability activism, I had never seriously thought about ableism before - and especially not about how it affects the whole pro-life vs. pro-choice debate. Fortunately for me, I'm starting to learn more about disability activism, and it's really changed the way I view society, including how I view abortion. So, after a bit of mulling, here's my long-winded stance on abortion as it stands at the moment:

I hope I will never need to get an abortion. I know for some women abortions are no big deal - not much different than taking emergency contraception, if a bit more medically involved - but I have a hard time seeing abortion as a "morally neutral medical procedure," as I've seen it put, because I think you're still killing something that, if it doesn't miscarry on its own, could become a whole person. It may be a product of my socialization, but doesn't make my apprehension less real.

However, that does not mean I think a woman's right to get an abortion should be infringed in any way, shape, or form. The rights of a woman trump the rights of a bundle of cells in her uterus, full-stop. End of story. Having a child can drastically change one's life forever, and only the woman herself can decide if she's ready for that. If she isn't, then she deserves unfettered access to the resources she needs to avoid having children, which means not only abortions but also safe, effective, and affordable contraception. Conversely, if she is ready, then she deserves quality health care to make sure she and her child are safe, regardless of her age, income level, or marital status. (Of course, implicit in this is that a woman also deserves a comprehensive, accurate education on sexual health so that she is able to make an informed choice.)

But what about a woman who was going to have a child, then found out the fetus had a developmental defect and decided to abort it? On the one hand, raising a child with a disability can require a tremendous dedication of time and resources that the parent(s) simply cannot afford. That's perfectly understandable, especially considering how fucked up the US's health care system is at the moment. On the other hand, when a woman decides to abort just because she doesn't want her kid to be a "freak" with six fingers or (heaven forbid!) "retarded," that's ableism. To call that morally questionable would be the understatement of the year.

What it is not, however, is a reason to restrict abortion access. There is no possible way for the government or any private organization to divine whether a woman's intentions for getting an abortion are "pure." It would end up going one of two ways: either officials would look the other way while women aborted "defective" fetuses anyway, or officials would "err on the side of caution" and wind up denying access to hundreds of women who genuinely needed abortions. It's entirely possible that both scenarios could happen simultaneously, with the first one applying to upper-class women and the second scenario affecting lower-class women. Regardless, it'd be shitty all around.

So what can be done? Far as I can tell, the best thing to do is try to change how society views people with disabilities and what it actually means to be disabled. Once women realize that having a child with a disability isn't the end of the world, they will probably be less likely to abort because of a developmental defect. It's basically the same thought process behind reducing abortions through comprehensive sex education and affordable sexual health care - if you give people the resources so that they don't need (or feel they need) abortions, then naturally they won't get them.

Of course, changing the deeply-ingrained opinions of all of society is really fucking hard. So it's going to take a lot of work, and it's not going to happen any time soon.

Actually, I'm thinking maybe I will post this on my other journal. A friend of mine who's been making uncomfortably ableist remarks reads it; maybe reading this will give her the gentle poke she needs.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

For all occasions

Nothing zonks me out like an intense play session. After a scene of spanking, knife play, and bondage (among other things, but those are a few of my favorites), I always sleep like a baby.

Conversely, nothing perks me up in the morning like an energetic bout of (mostly) vanilla sex. After that, I'm ready to go face the day!

The lesson is: sex and/or BDSM is appropriate for any time of day, and you should do it as often as possible, ideally multiple times a day.

Yes indeed.

Friday, August 15, 2008


LET ME SHOW YOU IT. (warning: there be fake p33n on the other end of that link.)

I went to the Smitten Kitten in Minneapolis with F the other day. It was super-awesome! The store was smaller than I expected, but it was very open and airy - and they had free water, which was nice because it was hot out. Though F wasn't looking for anything in particular, I was there on a mission: I wanted one of their little floggers and a nice, relatively cheap strap-on harness to use with M in the future.

I think I may have weirded F out a little bit, since she's vanilla, though she seems understanding of me getting all giddy over elkhide floggers. She does like light bondage - but that's all I liked at first, too, and now look at me. Really, it's only a matter of time... *plots*

Ahem. In any case, the Smitten Kitten was really neat. And it's actually really easy for me to get to - so maybe I'll be making trips there more often. I also saw on their website that they're hiring. Oooh, so tempting.

Random note: most amusing item they had there was the "Vanilla Bondage Set," which had packaging shaped like a carton of vanilla ice cream. And all the ribbons etc. inside smelled like vanilla, too. Very cute. ^_^

Uh... I wanted to say more, but I forgot. I'm sleepy. I'll talk more later.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Why I don't like talking about sex

You may not be able to tell from this blog, but in real life I am extremely private when it comes to my sex life. Late last year, I would semi-regularly play with two friends, R (a guy), and S (a girl) in addition to master. What I did with R and S I never really shared with Master in detail, though he was aware of my time with them; similarly, I didn't tell R and S much about what I did with Master. At the time, I thought I was just being polite; it isn't very nice to compare your sex partners, after all, and I didn't want to make anyone jealous. But mostly I think I was just shy.

For someone who is such a staunch advocate for healthy and exuberant expression of sexuality (I suppose you could call me "sex-positive," though like a lot of people who may fit the label I have some quibbles with the term), it's really weird that I'm so reluctant to share my own sexuality with others. I'm sure a good portion of the cause is our dysfunctionally prurient society, which teaches everyone that whatever you do behind closed doors, make sure it stays behind closed doors. (Unless, of course, it's something freaky, at which point it's dragged out for the general public to gawk at.)

But blaming society is too much of a cop-out. There's gotta be more to it than that.

In high school, I was decidedly part of the "relationships? Pff - who needs 'em!" crowd. Even though I had a girlfriend for two-thirds of my high school experience, we were low-key about it, partially out of necessity (being the only lesbian couple in a school that had no gay community to speak of) and partially because we were both pretty laid back. Not only that, but my friends and I were band geeks, science nerds, orchestra dorks - the kind of students who tended to not have boyfriends or girlfriends. At lunch, the gussied-up preppie girls two tables over would gab on and on and on and on about their boyfriends, and my friends and I would mercilessly mock them behind their backs. The message was clear: don't talk about your boyfriend/girlfriend because no one likes a braggart.

And even though I had a great girlfriend, we both identified more with my sullenly single compatriots. We were the outcasts, the unloved, the cynical realists. We scoffed at the bubbly depictions of high school romance in the movies and our peers' airheaded attempts to replicate it, which ultimately ended in drama-filled breakups. We were simultaneously above the rest of the student body, since we saw through all the pettiness, and jealous of their dates and their parties and their steamy encounters.

So then I entered college. I still considered myself one of those ragtag (virgin) misfits that no one really pays attention to except fellow misfits. That was fine; I liked it that way - misfits are more interesting. It's fun to laugh at the mundies and all that.

Then I met Master. He was simultaneously everything I loved about my friends and everything I hated about the "popular kids": a gamer with a goofy sense of humor, smart, incredibly handsome, and popular! My lord, it seemed everyone on campus loved him! Well, according to the paradigm I'd brought along from high school, his popularity automatically precluded me from any chance of dating him. I was a geeky, naive freshman, and he was a suave, well-liked upperclassman; there was no chance in hell he'd notice little ol' me.

But he did. And, to my shock, he actually took an interest in me! It was so much more than anything a little dweeb like me could hope for! Now I had another reason to be quiet: I felt like I was committing a horrible transgression - I was reaching beyond my rightful "place," as it were, and I didn't want anyone to lash out at me in retribution.

When I finally got over my inferiority complex, a new reason for me to stay my tongue emerged: we were both going to be on the Residential Life staff next year, and it would be... less than professional for two staff members to be openly seeing each other. Not only that, but throughout this time Master was still in a long-distance relationship with a girl in Chicago. Though they had agreed it would be okay to sleep with other people, it would still look sketchy to people who didn't know of their agreement. So I kept my head down.

I did allow myself to tell two people, though - two high school friends who didn't have any connection with my college, so there was no way the information could leak back to campus. The first person I told called me a whore and a sex addict when he found out I was having sex (gasp!) three times a week. I can only imagine what he'd think of me now. Needless to say, I didn't remain friends with him much longer. The second person I told, F, I had a significantly more complicated history with. F was my best friend in high school, the very first woman that I developed a full-on crush for, and the catalyst for my self-discovery as a bisexual (she says, and all the bisexual women and lesbians nod with sympathetic understanding). As you can guess, it did not end terribly well. She was attracted to me, but maybe not, but... We made out a few times, I made my first fumbling, awkward attempt at lesbian sex, and then we went our separate ways, never to speak of it again.

I assumed that F wanted to put her ill-fated brush with bisexuality behind her. So I was shocked when, after telling her I had lost my virginity, she was incredibly hurt and jealous. The reason why dawning on me, I asked, "Are you jealous of me or of him [Master]?" A pit of dread settled nicely in my stomach as she affirmed that it was him he was jealous of because he was intimate with me.

Great. I had done a fine job of alienating the one person I was actually comfortable talking about my sex life with (besides the person I was actually having sex with, of course). Lesson learned - best not say anything to anyone.

It's possible that these are just convenient excuses that I latched on to in order to cover my shyness, but I think there's some legitimacy behind them.

So what do I do to overcome my aversion? Well, I post here, of course. I can start posting at my non-anonymous journal too - little bits, at least at first. Master wants me to talk to F about it, but so far my efforts have been for naught, mostly because I have no idea how to go about it and end up being incredibly bumbling and awkward. I'll have to try again soon.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Oh noes, teh books

I can't find my "Screw the Roses, Send me the Thorns" book. :( I think I lent it to Master; I hope he still has it. It's nigh-on-impossible to get a copy of the damn thing.

However, I did just order a copy of "Opening Up" on Somebody posted a quote of it on Livejournal and their take on it (Yeah, I have a Livejournal. No, I'm not telling what my username is. (Hint: it has nothing to do with this blog)), and my mind exploded a little bit, but in the good way. So I figured I should try reading the rest of the book and see if it helps me at all.

Monday, August 4, 2008

"Relationship Broken, Add More People," or, "What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger"

Master and I have agreed that we can play around with people (short of actual sexual intercourse) while we're apart, as long as we clear it with each other beforehand. Master mentioned one woman in particular - a former girlfriend of his - that he was considering playing with, and I told him that was fine. A day or two later, Master told me of a party he went to that this woman hosted, where he said he got a bit sloshed and ended up messing around with her. When I asked him for more details on the extent of his escapade, he reassured me, "Nothing you wouldn't approve of." I assumed (my first mistake) that he meant some fondling and making out. Okay, no problem.

Later that night, I learned that Master and the woman did significantly more than fondle and make out. They didn't break our rule of no sex, but they came closer than I realized I was comfortable with.

Well, shit.

I'm sure that Master got exasperated with me during the ensuing long telephone conversation. Why was I upset now? I hadn't been upset before - what had changed? I'm not sure. A lot of it was good, old-fashioned jealousy: this woman was doing things with Master that I'd give my right hand to do right now (well, I hyperbolize, but you get the idea), and Master was having fun partying while I was stuck being bored and employed full-time. But then, I've dealt with enviousness stemming from not having fun while Master is before, over things as banal as him going to a movie while I'm stuck at work for the evening.

Another reason, I think, that I was having problems was because I've never met this woman at all, and Master has only mentioned her once or twice in passing. When Master does things with M, I don't have as much jealousy because I've been around the two of them and I can see, quite plainly, how much Master cares about her. I care about her, too. Though Master tells me that the other woman was important to him, on the other hand, it's hard for me to conceptualize when I've been given very little indication of it. So when Master engages in activities with her that I view as very special and indicative of our closeness, and I can't see that he is also close to her, it feels to me like he's cheapening what we have.

I know, I know - it's all very convoluted and not very rational. Unfortunately, that knowledge didn't make it any easier to shake the profound feeling of uneasiness that I had.

Well, Master and I talked. And talked and talked. We went in a lot of circles; I seemed to be stuck in a rut of moroseness. Despite all my openness and willingness over polyamoury, I couldn't seem to get over this one little thing. Finally, I said, "I guess I still have a long way to go, huh?"

"You have come a long way. Remember last year? You spent the night crying because I danced with C instead of you, and you and I weren't even together yet!"

That flash of perspective suddenly made me feel a lot better. He was right! Why was I so insecure then? Because I didn't know if Master really wanted to be with me. Now I'm sure of it - it's one of the few things in life I'm absolutely, completely positive of. So why should I get so hung up over one drunken incident that I'd even agreed to beforehand? It wasn't a complete, magical turn-around, but it helped a lot to realize that I'm a much stronger, more confident person and more more secure in my relationship - and it's partially because, I think, of my efforts to be polyamorous.

I'm certain that I'm not inherently monogamous. I'm also certain that I'm not inherently polyamorous. What's "natural" for me - and for most other people, I'm sure - is to sleep around as much as I want while keeping my partner(s) exclusive to me, which is the most evolutionarily advantageous technique. For obvious reasons, however, this is simply not possible in reality. So I have a choice: I can either suppress my wanderlust and become monogamous, or suppress my possessiveness and become polyamorous. Most people take the former route, probably because it's generally easier.

Because let's face it - being poly is fucking hard. Not only does it fly in the face of our selfish, insecure nature, but it requires a level of dedication to your relationship(s) that many people can find exhausting. You must communicate with your partner more openly and more clearly, especially concerning those ever-muddled emotions. You must subject yourself to rigorous self-examination to determine what your boundaries really are and what you're willing to do to make your relationship(s) work. And, of course, whenever there are more people there are more possibilities for misunderstandings and hurt feelings and just plain wankery.

For a lot of people, the rewards aren't worth the effort. They're content with one person in their life, and are willing to sacrifice the occasional romp in the hay to keep that one special person close. This is a perfectly legitimate way to live. However, I don't think it it fits me for a couple of reasons. For one, I'm pansexual, and I like feminine aspects just as much as masculine aspects. I want to keep in touch with that part of my sexual identity, which is most easily accomplished by playing with women as well as men. For two, Master and I are in a long-distance relationship part of the year, and we're both very physical (ok, sexual) people. If we can't get that physical aspect from each other for three months at a time, it only makes sense to look elsewhere for relief.

So I self-examine. I pick apart at my nebulous masses of feelings and dredge the depths of my vocabulary to put words to what emotions I find. I confront parts of myself that are unpleasant in an attempt to conquer and subdue them. And I share parts of myself with Master that I haven't shared with anyone before, often not even myself.

It can be painful at times, but I think that this rigorous self-discipline has actually helped me - not only in my relationship with Master, but in general. Yeah, it's pretty kitschy to say so, but I think polyamoury has made me into a better person. Of course, I still have a long way to go (the road of self-improvement is neverending), but looking back at where I was from where I am now does give me hope.

Friday, August 1, 2008

In lighter news

Ack, I'm tired. Despite three pillows, a sheepskin rug, and a throw blanket, the floor is not condusive to a sound night's sleep. -_-

Regardless, lookee what I gots here!

Whee! I feel special. :3 Thanks a bunch, Trin!
Now, seven other blogs who should get one... *peruses blogroll*
You know what? I nominate all those people over there. There's a reason I put 'em over there - they're good! All of them! Go read them now!
(Psst: if anyone can point me towards some good blogs of fellow petplayers, or even... *gulp* furries (I still have a bit of hesitation calling myself that), I'd be much obliged.)