S is for SEXUAL HEALTH (and self love)

Making crystallized ginger. Also, incidentally, a “fig” — though that’s for another post.

I am making crystallized ginger in my kitchen, I started some fermented honey garlic the other day, and there’s newly portioned homemade lentil & barley vegetable soup in the freezer. I just bought a new vibrator to replace the one I use most which was failing. I also recently had a full STI panel done (including blood work for lyme disease, ’cause summer in Albany = bites by ticks). Each of these actions are forms of self love, partner care, and respect for my communities. Each of these things contributes to my emotional, psychological, and physical health this winter, and so the health of those I’m around as well.

Instead of simply reminding my readers to go out and get tested today, I’m going to write about how to have some of the hard conversations (even with ourselves) which need to be had for sexual and sensual health to be maintained actively between testings. Truthfully, even though I’ve been talking about sexual health for decades personally and professionally, even I need to remind myself to be more thoughtful about my health and the risks I’m taking when I play sometimes. It’s easy to get lulled into a false sense of comfort when you’re healthy for awhile or have ongoing monogamous partnerships. It’s in these places of comfort that the opportunity for mistakes or the unexpected to happen finds its way.

It’s complex to know your sexually transmitted infection status: It is not how often you get tested which is the most important detail to consider, but the window of time it takes a bacteria or virus to incubate to show up as positive. For example, according to STDCheck.com, Chlamydia has an incubation period of 1-5 days before it will show up on a test as positive (though another online source cites 1-3 weeks), whereas HIV has an incubation period of 9 days-3 months depending on the type of test given. This doesn’t take into account bad testing conditions and people who are more likely to test false negative. I once tested positive for Chlamydia and none of the other people I was sleeping with at the time, or for three months prior (since the test before that one) tested positive. It’s more common for people with penises to test false negative than people with vulvas in certain tests, and most doctors don’t inform their patients that drinking a lot of water before being tested might skew results, or to abstain from peeing for one hour before certain tests.

I try to get tested for STIs every three months unless I’m in a monogamous relationship — though perceived monogamy and exposure to STIs are certainly not mutually exclusive, and cheating and lying percentages are high in our world. Three months because that seems to be the magic number than most STIs have for a max incubation period, and three months because that seems to be about how long I’m interested in most people I’m frequently having sex with. Having an STI check after a breakup feels great! If I’m in a monogamous relationship I make sure my partner and I have been tested before we become sexually active with one another, or that we’re both tested near the beginning of our sexual relationship and we discuss our results. After that I get tested every 6 months or at my yearly doctor’s visit. If I am having sex with more than one person or a partner of mine is, we talk about the risks involved and what our agreements around safer sex and disclosure with one another are, and what we promise to do if/when someone fucks up.

I don’t have sex with people without talking about STI’s first. This means if we’re getting hot ‘n heavy and we haven’t spoken about our sexual histories with one another in detail before, we’re going to stop and take a talk break before we get too risky and carried away. Have I ever messed up and not done so? Yes, though we did have the talk afterward and that situation makes me feel really shitty. Each time was due to being intoxicated. Also not good, but good to see the pattern and make note. Also, I must say that in almost every single sexual experience I’ve had I’ve been the one to broach the subject. This leads me to believe that if I don’t take the responsibility to talk about sexual health, that many many people would just never talk about STIs at all. This is VERY concerning to me.

Talking to others about sexual contact and evaluating risks: It’s hard to do until it isn’t anymore. Practice makes perfect, and figuring out how you best like to start the conversation will dramatically help you feel prepared. There are a lot of questions to ask, and it’s important that you’re getting the information you need from your potential sex partner to feel safe about moving forward into risky territory. If a potential partner gets angry about being asked to talk about sex and STI status, if they don’t answer your questions fully, or try to breeze through the conversation and downplay its importance, consider that a risky behavior in itself. How upfront is this person and how upfront have they been with other partners — if they’ve even had this conversation at all — and what does that mean about their knowledge of their own body or what risks they’ve engaged in historically? Though it may be emotionally hard to talk about your sexual past and current risk factors, do you really want to have sex with someone who won’t care for your body at the very minimum by talking before fucking? Here are some questions and phrases to open up a conversation:

  • I’m really into this, can we pause and have “the talk” before going any further?
  • What talk? Oh, STI history, other relationships or sex partners, and safer sex practices. Who wants to go first?
  • Have you ever had an STI?
    • What have you tested positive for?
    • When was your last outbreak?
    • Were you treated for it?
    • Is your outbreak still active?
    • Have you been tested since treatment (and if so what was the result)?
      • Keep in mind that if the infection was bacterial (Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, etc.) there is still a window of time after treatment where a retest will not prove effective, so make sure you retest within the recommended timetable for each treatment.
      • As for viral infections (HSV 1 and 2 [Herpes], HPV [Warts], HIV, Hepatitis [A, B, C]), the virus will remain suppressed in your system after exposure and between outbreaks, so retesting isn’t as useful as you will test positive from that point forward even when no outbreak is occuring.
      • Decide how you feel about exposure to a virus if your partner has tested positive for one or has had an outbreak of a viral infection in the past. Ask more questions if you have them.
  • When was your last STI test, and what were you tested for?
    • What were your test results?
    • Have you had sex with anyone since your last test or sex with anyone directly before your last test who might not have been covered by the last test?
    • Are you having sex with other people currently — are they regular or casual partners?
      • What are your safety agreements with these people?
      • What are their statuses or known risks associated with them?
      • Are you having protected sex with these people every time you have sex or just sometimes?
  • What safer sex methods do you use (if any)?
    • Do you use barrier methods for PIV (penis in vagina)?
    • Anal?
    • Oral?
    • Toys?
    • Every time?
    • Any time recently you haven’t?
    • Do you share toys?
    • How do you clean toys between uses?
    • Do you have this talk with everyone you have sexual contact with?
    • Do you engage in risky sexual behavior when you feel you are having an outbreak of any sort (safer or not)?
    • Have you ever had a cold sore? If so, recently? Can you tell when one is coming on?
  • Anything else you think of, or questions that arise as you’re having this talk are great! Ask away!

What makes it hard to talk about STI status is the same thing that makes it hard to talk about sex: cultural stigmas, lack of practice, internalized feelings of shame, and fear of repercussions. If you’re positive for various viruses or have had a bacterial infection recently, don’t let that stop you from asking questions of your partners and sharing your own experiences upfront. Take responsibility for your health and the health of your partner. In my opinion the number one reason it’s important to have these conversations is that being clear about health risks associated with sexual behavior contributes to consensual sex. If you’re in the middle of having “the talk” and realize you don’t want to expose yourself to a risk that person poses, you have the right to say no and change your behavior with them. There are a lot of incredibly sexy things people can do with each other without putting themselves at risk of various infections. This same opportunity to consent or decline to risks should be given to anyone you engage in sex with. If you knowingly risk giving someone an STI without disclosing your history or status, you are taking away someone’s right to consent to those risks on their own terms. You do not have the right to make decisions for anyone else’s body, just as no one has the right to make decisions for yours. Only through openly and honestly talking do we respectfully come to a place of “what next?”.

Some helpful ideas about non-judgmentally thinking and communicating about STIs and sexual health:

  • Using the words “Positive” and “Negative” rather than “clean” in regards to test results. Just because someone has tested positive for an STI does not mean they are dirty or unhygienic, just as testing negative for certain infections certainly does not mean they are “clean” or even negative of all health concerns. It’s false terminology which contributes to stigmatization. Anyone who is sexually active can test positive for an STI, and in fact 50% of adults test positive for at least one STI in their lives. We don’t consider ourselves “clean” because we haven’t caught the flu yet this season. It is more medically accurate to use the term “negative” in reference to a test, and it’s more likely to put someone at ease if they aren’t being asked if they are “clean”. People who are less worried about judgement are less likely to lie or shut down in a conversation which is best executed openly and honestly.
  • Avoiding words like “slut”, “promiscuous”, “sleep around” when asking about someone’s sexual history. Asking “how many partners have you had since your last test?” will give you a more accurate answer, and will not make you look like a judgemental jerk while asking. Remember too that everyone has a different idea about what constitutes promiscuity — usually “more sexually active than I am” is what ends up fitting the bill, which is no way to measure another person’s experiences meaningfully, lovingly, or helpfully.
  • Let your partner know that you’re happy to answer any questions they have, and that waiting or refraining from certain activities is totally ok with you. People who are less experienced may feel afraid to ask questions, or may think that because they perceive you to be more experienced that they should just go with the flow and trust blindly. This is especially true if there’s a power dynamic differential in play. People may feel pressure to “do X now or never” regardless of needing some time to process the conversation you’ve just had about risks and histories. Letting people know that more conversation is always welcome, that there’s no pressure to engage in anything anyone’s uncomfortable with, and that “no” is always an appreciated boundary when put on the table, is not only responsible and appropriate it’s the behavior of a more tuned in partner. Who doesn’t want that?
  • Remember that testing positive for an STI is not the end of the world. You’re in good company — millions of normal, everyday, sexy people are diagnosed with various sexually transmitted infections every year. Many STIs are 100% treatable, and others are easily supressible. Even HIV is not the death sentence it was 20 years ago, and lots of people who are currently HIV negative treat themselves against exposure with PrEP.
  • Learning you are positive for an STI or have been exposed to one is not a finger pointing “whose fault is it” moment. STIs exist, and by having sexual contact with other people you are putting yourself at risk. When you catch the flu you don’t hunt down the people who might have given it to you so you can yell at them (at least I hope you don’t), you let the people around you know that you’re sick so that you don’t pass the flu along unnecessarily. When you test positive for an STI it’s important to let all of your relevant past partners know they have been exposed or might have exposed you, and that they need to talk with their other partners and seek treatment and testing. By caring for ourselves, and our partners we care for the larger community as a whole. Do your part, and don’t assume anyone you had sexual contact with knowingly meant you harm. If you are adult enough to have sex, you should be adult enough to talk about it even when the conversation isn’t sexy or ideal. It’s time to clean up the mess, not point fingers in judgement of everyone around so you avoid taking responsibility yourself.

There is always so much more I can write, but I think this is a good stopping point for now. I hope you have some great conversations with partners about sex, and if the unexpected ever does come up that you feel empowered to talk about it with past and present companions. Educate yourself on how STIs are contracted, treated, their incubation windows, and test times. Understand in your bones that people have their own lives, desires, and demons and aren’t always 100% honest about their behaviors. Take responsibility for your decisions and your body. I hope my words have helped you feel more comfortable speaking up on behalf of your health and so the health of everyone.

Play On My Friends,
~ Creature

Please support my work on Patreon. For one time donations click here: Support the Artist 
~Thank you.

 

T is for TRANSCENDENCE

I’m writing about something which I think is hard to communicate about clearly. I don’t think our language or cultural practices focus on interpersonal connection and energy exchange as much as they elevate mechanical technique. However, connection and energy are a part of how we communicate and affect one another. When a sub/bottom is open to receiving the attention a Top/Dom desires to invest in them, fascinating things can happen beyond the physical journey. Sex, kink, and BDSM are physical activities, of course, but there is so much more to what is going on in any type of intimate physical scene than simple mechanics. Emotional and psychological connection can be played with and manipulated, and even if the intention isn’t to manipulate another person on these levels, it will happen naturally sometimes regardless. Our bodies are connected to our psychologies and emotions, and it is impossible to touch someone in only one of these places without affecting the others. It’s important to take responsibility and learn more about these things if you care for the people you play with.

Am I just talking about having good chemistry? Not really, though that can help people find a groove more quickly and is certainly part of the equation. I am talking about a certain willingness to be open, internally, with the people you play with, to engage not only your physical prowess but emotional sensitivities and psychological understanding. This type of willingness must come from all parties for a solid connection to form. It’s not just the job of the sub/bottom to be open, the Dom/Top must be in a space of intent listening which requires a higher level of openness too.

What would I call this type of exchange? Trust? Openness? Good listening? This type of exchange does require all of these things from both partners to succeed, but none of them are really it. Intuitive bonding? Maybe, though the driver needs to keep their intuitions in check and be open to the information they’re receiving which might be adverse to what they expect or have come across in the past. Spiritual? Well, I’m not a very “woo” person, but I do think the idea of one’s spirit being present for the exchange is an apt part of the equation. Energy exchange? This falls a little flat for me, as everything from saying “good morning” to people you pass on the street to wild tantric journeys fall under that heading… this is where I get a little stuck in our language. I know when I have this type of connection and openness with another person, or am open to cultivating it with someone, yet I don’t really know what to call it. Within my own experience though, I’ve started defining it as: what happens after what I refer to as “The Waiting”.

“The Waiting” happens when I generally know where I’d like to go with someone, but need to find them physically, emotionally, psychologically, willingly here with me before we can start. I’m used to grounding myself and finding my place of listening, my place of finding and reaching into the parts of a body which speak to me, but the person I am playing with must come to me asking for these things before I may begin. It’s not as simple as consciously asking out loud either. Many people have approached me “wanting to be Dominated”, but they were not ready, nor were they internally calibrated to willfully let me begin with them. Like a stray cat on the street, if you want to get it to come to you for a pet, you must do a fair amount of calling after it, talking, silently being there open hand extended, and… waiting.

“Offering” comes from all sides of a scene. We often talk, in BDSM forums, about a sub’s “offer”. This sometimes refers to a sub taking a position which physically lets the Dom know they are ready for whatever the Dom will ask of them. What we talk about less frequently is the offer a Top or Dominant makes. Obviously the D-type is spending a lot of time “doing”, though doing is not separate from offering if it is attached to active listening. Whether a top is wielding a whip or a feather tickler, is interrogating with red face and torture devices, or is pleasuring a body erotically, the activity (offer) will last only as long as it pleases the one who has ultimate control over the scene: the submissive. Once a safe word is uttered, the body convulsions twitch in that certain “this feels like an edge” kind of way, facial ticks reset more slowly to “please Sir, may I have another”, or that particular quality of scream let’s you know it’s time to cool down for a bit, the offer is packed away in favor of another offer — one more appropriate to this moment.

My experience is my experience, and yours is yours. This is always true, no matter how well we know one another, how many times we have played together, nor how long we have explored the same scene over and over again. This is somewhat easier to remember during pick-up play or with new partners. The alert level is naturally high in these instances because you know there are things you don’t know about this foreign body in front of you. Over time that alertness can wear down, and sometimes we forget that no matter how connected a scene feels, the people involved are having separate experiences. Physical mechanics only tell one part of the story. Emotional sensitivity is needed. Psychological prowess will help a scene unfold more responsibly. Communication is key, of course, but communication is imperfect. We must employ all that we can if we desire to delve deeply.

I find breathing helps key into all of these elements. Breathing helps set a pace between partners — breathing together is not only an exercise of the will to be on the same page, but it regulates our bodies to one another and heightens awareness of where in our own bodies we feel holds and tension. We can breath into tensions to release them. We can unlock our own hesitations by focusing on breathing into our fears and letting go. In breath, this basic function of life, there is everything to be discovered not only in ourselves, but of the people around us.

Listening goes hand in hand with breath. Allowing ourselves to notice where we feel rigidities and softness. Allowing ourselves to slow down, and slow down again as we find edges we are unfamiliar with, thoughts or questions about where our connection is headed. Being mindful that energy is cyclical helps too. It’s natural to build and build and build, and then need to take a step back before building up again. Energy also turns corners and as it does goals must fly out the window in honor of the new shape taking form. Listening without judgement will take you further. Observation, questioning, and acceptance are key to riding these waves gracefully.

Intuition is a wonderful tool if you trust yours and have tempered it to be responsive to other people’s wills. Intuition is not everything, and it’s important to continue learning about the world of your scenes in multiple ways to responsibly delve deeper. Intuition is important but should not be used solely on the merit of its presence in a situation.

Which leads to the idea of experience. We gather experiences and information in so many ways when we’re open to it. Of course (I hope) we learn through trial and error, but we also learn through reading articles and books, through the stories we share with one another, by asking our partners questions about their experiences rather than assuming you know how a thing was for them just because you were present. We communicate in plethora ways because that’s how we get better over time, and if there’s anything the human species likes more than innovation, I don’t know what it is.

When a scene adds all of these elements together, when The Waiting has come to a close and play happens openly and flows between partners, there is a transcendence which can occur. We reach the “zone”. Domspace and subspace can follow, and from these heightened places there’s no telling what the journey will be. While I feel this space is deeply primal by nature, it requires deep responsibility to navigate safely. These types of play can release huge amounts of energy from a person’s body, or open up deep wells of emotion, psychological triggers being tripped on is not unheard of, as well as visions, a loss of time and spacial awareness, blackout moments, and any number of other experiences.

Following is a letter from a sub of mine who wrote about one of our encounters. It was a simple scene using no more than a handful of clothespins and some string, though our time together leading up to physical play allowed my sub to slowly and steadily open up to me as well as their own inner world physically, emotionally, and psychologically:

Yesterday was such a beautiful experience for me.  After you had removed all the clothespins from my body and I started trembling (in a good way) it felt like something was unlocked in me.  While I laid on your floor, I’m sure you saw it (whatever it is) starting to work its way through my body in a wave starting at my head and running down through my center and out my legs. It felt like a massive energy re-alignment on one level with something flowing freely throughout my body that was once blocked and I almost started to cry with joy (but was unsure if this would weird you out).  On another level it felt like a complete twitching and shaking of every muscle group in my body at once; even the really small muscles that you don’t always notice playing a part in movement. I think I was even visibly convulsing throughout this.  I wish I knew what caused this to begin with or what caused it all to be released in this moment but am grateful for it.

This felt so so compassionate of you to do this to me (and I hope that I can find myself in this situation with you again in the future…having you cause me so much intense pain and stimulation). I can’t thank you enough. It seemed like as soon as I had the need for more stimulation you were right there to apply it to my body in exactly the right way. I only hope that you felt enjoyment with pinning me in that moment because it was really special for me to be on the other side of it. Surprisingly today my chest doesn’t have any marks or lingering sensitivity.

I realize too that being held and cuddled by you was exactly what my body needed in the moments immediately after this. My emotions were very raw and vulnerable from our earlier work. Thank you so much Sir for calling me to your side and letting me cuddle with you. It means a lot to me that you would share part of yourself and energy with me in this way. In those moments afterwards I can still feel our bodies connecting with each other and it helped greatly to handle the emotional aspects of whatever happened. Also, today there is a bit of a sensation of being out of contact with [my] body which feels a little bit like when you have a ringing in your ears after a loud sound that you can’t shake… you still hear a ringing but look around for what’s making the sound and that thing is now gone…… Your skin is ringing in my body today.

My body has been twitching and stretching all morning in bed in strange ways (almost as if I’m an artist trying to convey a complex feeling with rapid body thrusts almost as if taken over by something) and I feel 100 times bigger than my actual body. When I received your text earlier I even went into a state of heightened arousal and it felt like I was having sex with you on some level and was semi-orgasmic…

I hope that you’ve had a wonderful morning, Sir. ~xxx

I’m grateful that this experience was as positive for my sub as they describe. I have been in exchanges where what opened up was less joyous for the person to process. I’ve subbed in scenes myself which caused me to question my own desires and work through fears about my worth, complete with harsh self-judgements for me to sort through. Not everyone will come away unscathed or smiling from opening their inner worlds up. It is important to find ways to support one another on these journeys for whatever arrives. We must take responsibility for ourselves ultimately, but it’s good to share with one another and be there for your fellow creatures, accepting one another’s offerings, and listening to the edges of our desires as they play down. We do these things together because we need one another in our lives, these stretches of years where we are born and then die alone.

Play On My Friends,
~ Creature

Please support my work on Patreon. For one time donations click here: Support the Artist 
~Thank you.

R is for ROLE PLAY

“I thought to bring my own exam gown, as the paper robes are so scratchy. I trust you’ll let me know when it is the right time to change for you…”

“Doctor, my body feels strange and tingly all over, and I’m getting headaches. I’m distracted and can’t seem to get anything done… The source of my madness seems to be the swollen button between my legs. Let me know if you need an accompanying photograph for your files. Thank you for being on call…”

“My preliminary diagnosis is one of nervosa cliterosa… a rather extreme example of female hysteria. It will take considerable effort to treat and will most likely require the insertion of a probe deep into the genitalia… You can see what the probe looks like below. I will also send a picture of other tools that I may employ.”

Who said negotiation can’t be fun? Slipping into character is not always easy, and what feels safe, flirty, and fun over text may not carry into a face to face situation effortlessly. However, role play, for all the cheese and clumsy attempts at cleverness, mixed with the desire to turn on and be turned on, is perfectly emblematic of the “adult playground” which is kink.

What are good role play ideas? Great question! Yes.

That didn’t answer my question… Well, it did though. If all parties are voting yes to a role play idea, why not move to negotiations, scene building, and try it out in a safe, sane, and consensual risk-aware manner? The entire idea behind role play is that we can make fantasies we’d like to experience come to life. Are all fantasies come to life going to prove to be great ideas in the end? No. Just like every time you have sex it’s not the greatest sex, and every day at the office is not the best day there. Don’t be afraid to critique what worked for you and what didn’t when you’re all in a headspace which allows for it. Try again if something in there really worked. Next time keep the good parts and edit out the stuff that fell flat. Add in the stuff you forgot to do or were inspired to try but hadn’t negotiated for yet… You’ll learn a lot about yourself, and potentially one another. Maybe you didn’t know you need the aesthetics of the scene to be really vibrant to get into it, or a wig is all you need to talk filthy dirty, or the feeling of being emotionally powerless was a huge turn on, or that ankle restraints are great for setting the scene — but please make sure they’re undone before fucking because you need to move your legs around to get the best angle for pleasure, or that your partner likes being tickled as long as you’re using that voice, or that you really want to be coerced and emotionally manipulated way more deeply than your partner felt comfortable doing today… Practice makes perfect. This play is yours to write, rewrite, and evolve.

Building a scene: This happens first so a successful fantasy can play out. Building a scene can happen in a lot of different ways, but it must happen beforehand, and it requires a willingness to (probably graphically) talk about sex, talk about desire, and talk about boundaries. Building the scene is a negotiation period where the participating parties figure out what the role play will look like, who plays what character, what might/will/won’t happen in the scene, who’s responsible for what actions/props/environmental controls/costume elements/”extras” casting… and as many of the details as you can figure out to feel safe and secure enough to let go while playing with one another in imagination land.

Character Development: This is an important, and often overlooked part of role play. Character development asks you to look at who your character is, what they want, and how they’re going to get it in the scene. It is entirely one thing to say “I want to do a Doctor/patient scene”, and entirely another when the patient shows up expecting a sexy pornographic gynecological exam, but ends up behind the curtain with a mad scientist Doctor wielding fists full of scalpels and needles, or a MD type who is newly researched and emphatically prepared to give an actual pelvic exam and who would never be comfortable breaking their patient’s trust… When I say “Doctor”, to which flavor of Doctor are we referring? When you say “exam”, what style of exam are we prepping for?

Set, Props, Location, Costume: You can enter role play as instantaneously and fluidly as you can change your voice. You can also spend weeks creating the perfect costume pieces, acquiring props, and revelling in the details of every moment you have planned out. Frequently our scenes fall somewhere in between. What do you want for this role play to feel fun and sexy (or dirty and evil, or exhilarating and uncomfortable, or…)? Maybe all you need are the right shoes or wig to really feel into it, maybe the prevalent image in your head for this scene is the moment someone’s naked body is draped over a furniture piece waiting for you, maybe you just want to feel a wrestling of wills until someone loses and suffers the consequences, maybe as long as “X” happens your partner can flesh out the rest of the night how they please and you’re happy to just be along for the ride, maybe you really don’t want to do this scene at home you need the fresh energy of a foreign room, or… Whatever little details you see or feel or want from a scene are things you should be up front about and plan to include. These details or events will act as triggering forces helping you appreciate the actual situation you are in.

It’s all fun and games, but what if I start feeling feelings? This totally happens. You are in a heightened state employing your psychological and intellectual endowments as well as physical, environmental, and sensual experiences. It’s easy to have your heartstrings pulled when you relax enough to buy into your imagination. To feel yourself empathize with a character, or to suddenly connect more deeply on a personal level with what’s happening in the room, to “feel” the fantasy, and sometimes be triggered by it, are all potential experiences which role play can bring on. We are no different than we were as kids who might have gotten their feelings hurt when they didn’t get what they wanted out of playing house with our friends… Our minds are powerful fuel for behavioral experiments. Know  that. Think about potential triggers when you plan your scene. Play honestly with people you trust. Talk in depth about what you want and what you don’t want in a scene, and be prepared before you start. The first aid kit of fantasy role play may be filled with bandaids, toys, and prophylactics, but it should also have an agreed upon script about what to do when someone [starts crying, gets angry, seems out of it, isn’t responding “normally” within the scene, gets agitated…], and of course, safe words and agreed upon aftercare and/or after scene check-ins are important in this type of play too. It might take a little longer than normal to process experiences which are not predominantly physical in nature. Concerning healthy expectations: the more risky the fantasy content (physically, emotionally, psychologically), the more you need to prepare ahead of time, and the more trust you need to have between play partners.

“I’m stepping out of character for a minute”, is a great check-in phrase if you need a reality check, and there is no reason not to take brief time outs when anyone feels the need for one. Sometimes taking 30 seconds out of character helps alleviate a situation more efficiently than searching for a way to say what you need “in character”, or in “code” which might not be interpreted correctly by your scene partner. In that vein, I find calling out discomfort to be the easiest way to get over feelings of inadequacy, nerves, and actual discomfort. If you’re engaging in role play of some kind, chances are that you are someone (and/or with someone) who has a creative mind who wants to use it. Stumbling blocks are often a fear of getting tripped up somehow and falling ungracefully on your face, or offending or hurting someone inadvertently. Repeatedly I’ve found that the surest way to get back to the sensuality and ease with a partner I’m feeling friction around is to call out what’s happening when it isn’t working so we can both take a moment to recalibrate and decide to get back to what works. It also gives opportunity to address the friction if it’s symptomatic of a bigger issue going on between us. Adjustments don’t have to be boner killers, and when they are, well, there was probably a good reason to kill that one — rest assured boners can be built back up. “Back in character now”.

Have fun and laugh at yourself and with one another. Don’t be afraid of catharsis if it’s healthy and everyone around is prepared. Let yourself learn new tricks, let go a little deeper when you feel safe doing so, and lose yourself for a moment in play. Isn’t that why we love this playground in the first place?

Play On My Friends,
~ Creature

Please support my work on Patreon. For one time donations click here: Support the Artist 
~Thank you.

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