The Other Side of Expectation

I found myself in the middle of a wonderful moment the other night. It was simple enough, I was eating dinner with a couple friends in my bedroom. I was dressed comfortably for the cool weather, and relaxed on my bed as we ate. We were in my bedroom because I have just moved to a new apartment and don’t have any furniture for the living room yet, and our kitchen is too small for a table… One of my friends was collared with a dog collar around their neck and topless, wearing only a rope harness I had tied onto their body earlier. They were eating out of a dog dish with no hands at the foot of my bed and grinning ear to ear while chatting about this and that between mouthfuls… This charming pup/boy had cooked dinner and served my guest and I: a wonderful and tasty vegan dinner paired with wine. They were collared and harnessed because they are my pup/boy, and it was the least I could do in appreciation of their service and care for the evening. (Well, I suppose I also beat them up a bit as well — just enough to get them giggling and smiling and merrily on their way to the kitchen…)

My other guest was stripped completely naked and kneeling properly on a blanket on the floor by my side. Beautiful posture, quiet demeanor, and holding a small tea saucer and chopsticks in his hands. His eyes were big practically unblinking saucers throughout our meal, experiencing the moment he was in wholly, and taking small bites of the food I placed on his dish from my own plate. His attention was studied and careful, eating when I ate, drinking when I drank, and gracefully taking the whole experience in. This guest of mine had just cleaned my bathroom while dinner was being made. Earlier in the evening I had brought him to his first proper sex positive/kinky/queer/feminist sex store… If his eyes were dark saucers of pupil now during this meal, you can imagine how the soft brown of his irises had disappeared in that environment earlier. Under my instruction he had bought a new toy he was curious about trying out. I am holding the gift in my home until he has learned enough about pleasing me to earn his reward…

In the middle of our simple dinner I thought to myself, “Oh this, this is my life — this is my life and I am so very happy and grateful for it”.

Is this blog meant to brag about my situation? No, but I do want to talk about that feeling. I experience this particular shade of gratefulness not infrequently in the midst of nontraditional happenings. It creeps up on me during sex and fetish parties while trussed up in bizarre predicaments, or watching a room full of people vulnerable, raw, and connecting deeply. I get it performing onstage with talented politically adept fellow actors who are telling their stories and raising fists against the ghosts and injuries of their pasts. This feeling washes over me on perfectly temperate days sitting in the sun deep in nature away from other humans, and it comes to me when I’m lost in writing or my art making process. This feeling tastes like contentment infused with excitement, there are hints of sensuous power at the edges of it’s balanced and grounded finish. The feeling is a restful animal, turned on, full, knowing all is right with the world.

How did I find myself here in this beautiful moment surrounded by good food, a happy pup, and turned on houseboy? In short, I got here because I made it happen. The more detailed answer is through years of hard work examining my own issues and trying out different paths towards pleasure. I got here by fighting for my own identity to be acknowledged — first by myself, and then by others around me. I got here by studying sexuality and human behavior, by making mistakes along the way, and acknowledging the depths to which I self-repress. Like most people I sometimes release my needs sideways, which is a problem I’ve consciously kept examining and challenging, and committed to work towards a more and more direct path to pleasure — my own and others’. I’ve zig-zagged through relationships which did not suit me finding a million reasons to better learn “no”, I’ve learned to stand my ground about gender, sexual identity, non-monogamous heart longings, kink-over-sex limitations (my healthy preferences)… I’ve had to accept myself first against deep fears that I will be abandoned or slandered by those who don’t understand my wants and needs in effort to be happy. I’ve battled guilt about advocating for my desires, and I’ve come to the other side stronger and more fully realized after each ending.

Along the way I’ve met more and more friends who understand me layers down deeply. Friends who see me and who value my voice as I celebrate and thrill at the creatures they are too. I’ve met people who have given me permission to be wholly myself, who’ve demanded I say what I mean rather than what I think anyone listening expects to hear. I have learned to better love from these imps and faeries as they’ve allowed me. I’ve started to dare showing up in spaces I was afraid were not mine to inhabit (though I’ve fantasized for decades about being welcomed in them), and I’ve felt my jaw drop in awe at the beauty there which I’ve spent years missing out on, by way of fear, self worth traps, and denial.

This is what it’s like to live outside the comfort of dominant society. There are gifts glittering in the trees and campfires of our queer Elders who reside on the outer edges of normativity. I’ve found new breath in dirty drafty bars smelling of stale tobacco, leather, cheap beer, and human musk. There are concrete rooms draped in cloth and furnished with benches, wooden rigs, and outfitted with toys of every imagined use, which hold onto the sweaty stench of lust while nightly showcasing mad desires and the everyday stunt people who conquer knives, needles, whip lashings, feather ticklers, gruff melting words to the ear, bootprint bruises, chains for hitting or bondage, seduction via a potent mix of jealousy/shame/compersion/voyeurism released during a bull’s intentional thrusts, and in dark corners you can find instances of heartbreaking love coursing through the body of a kneeling silent creature holding onto the well known leg of their Master…

From the years of puberty on we are taught to see some “thing” that we want, and conquer it with a quick fuck, a ring, relational rules tempered by selfishness and leading frequently to lies. I am grateful to be sitting in a room with people who make my heart sing. I am thankful to have scattered across the country playmates of varied genders and relationship styles who are as happy to have me in their bed as they are to simply take tea and catch up, or choreograph an evening of humiliation and pain, or submit to my will, or mold me, putty that I am, between their own fingers for a night… I like this adult life of eyes which sparkle, pupils that dilate wide in awe and anticipation of what comes next in our scene, of building trust through clear and open communication of our fantasies, our desire, boundaries, always ruled within the constitution of presentness, consent, respect, and earned trust.

We are a tradition of animals who have told ourselves “no” enough times to understand what we are capable of, and not starting in until we are ready to jump. We are improv performers gifted at exiting gracefully from our scenes when we are ready for an end. We are bodies full of scars and pleasure points hidden sometimes from even ourselves, scouring each other’s maps for adventurous answers to common problems. We are simple. We are ridiculous. We are educated in the dangers we employ, and oathed to take responsibility for inevitable downfalls, for our mistakes and unforeseen consequences. We find happiness in silly places — and goddamn if that in itself isn’t some kind of satisfyingly sexy win.

If  you didn’t know it, this is a love letter. Thank you to the scores of friends who have guided and helped shape my journey, to the hands pleasuring my way on each new adventurous day, and to the future teachers and students of my body, my heart, and my mind. That I can experience and articulate my joy is in service to every single one of you. May my findings be permission for others to wonder what might be if they seeked out a new kind of happiness, one that looks like a private fantasy but exists somewhere safely and consensually close by, a fantasy shared by other architects and creators of desire.

Play On My Friends,
~ Creature

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

Sex vs. Kink

I was recently asked what the difference between “kink” and “sex” are. It’s a good question, which people will vary wildly in their opinions about. Following is my take on the subject. I encourage others to disagree and to articulate for themselves differently than I do here — one of the most important things we get from talking about sexuality is an evolving and broadening scope of understanding about how things function differently for others. These varied articulations can, in turn, help us understand ourselves more deeply, or in new ways. I am all for that.

I will start by stating that “sexuality” is something separate from “sex”. Sexuality is a general blanket term which describes the factors surrounding how someone likes to (or does) get off, or feel turned on. Peoples sexualities can be identified (sexual identity) in multiple ways and within different categories such as: kinky, vanilla, queer, straight, gay, bi/pan/omnisexual, asexual, leather, fetishistic, Top/bottom/Versatile, D/s, switch, Sadistic, masochistic, hedonistic, primal, so on and so forth, etc… Sexualities evolve, grow, change, are discovered and rediscovered, and emerge throughout one’s life as one has new experiences, is exposed to new concepts, and generally learns more, and accepts or rejects more about what they find. One’s sexuality is influenced by one’s behaviors, though frequently sexual behavior and sexual identity do not go hand in hand (more on this later).

“Sex” is a word which encompasses a series of activities that one can engage in (or not), and which contribute to a person’s view of their sexuality. What is and is not (what “counts” for) sex is defined differently by different people. For the sake of ease I usually define sex as “anything ending in the word sex or job”. By this definition I would include sexual intercourse (PIV intercourse, genital or anal penetration with toys, all types of fingering, hand jobs, fisting, anal sex), also oral sex (cunnilingus, blow jobs, rimming), scissoring, frottage, masturbation, mutual masturbation, and generally anything which includes the rubbing, sucking, or licking of genitals for the intention of getting someone turned on and/or in an orgasmic state, to be “sex”.

Sex is not just about activities though. How we feel about the activities we engage in, and what we want to believe “counts” accounts for what people label as sex as well. “Energetic fucking” can be as much (if not moreso) sexually satisfying, sexy, and pleasurable as plain old vanilla intercourse is. So is energetic fucking sex? Some would say it is, others would say it is not. The same goes for a lot of activities including some of the ones I have labelled specifically as sex above.

Did you have sex if PIV intercourse only happened for a second with someone you wish you hadn’t hooked up with? What about if it was someone you desperately wanted to fuck? It turns out that we’ll label what counts and what doesn’t count as sex differently depending on how we felt about the situation. People often also say things to the effect of “we sorta kinda had sex not really” in situations where they feel grey about consummation. Is it sex if no one orgasms? What about if only one person involved in the equation does? I don’t believe there is any hard and fast rule to completely defining what is sex and what is not sex. There are a lot of “sexual activities” though, and some of them sometimes seem to count more than others to the general population. It is absolutely possible to believe you have had sex with someone who does not consider the time you spent together sex at all.

Moving in the direction of our next subject for definition, I personally would consider all of the activities I outlined above as examples of “vanilla sex”. I am sure a lot of people would consider at least some of them to be “kinky” though.

A “kink” is a bend or an irregularity in the system. What is kinky and what is not kinky resides entirely in the realm of speculation and personal definition too. The first question one must ask when deciphering whether an activity is “bent” must be: whose system are we evaluating for kinks? Fact: what’s kinky to you may be completely vanilla to me. Things that were defined as kinky to me in the past, may now be viewed as mainstream and vanilla as I’ve gained understanding or experience of the activity in a new way. For instance, consider activities such as spanking and oral sex. Some people consider both of these things to be kinky, some consider both of these things to be vanilla, and people also believe all the variables in between. There is no hard and fast definition about what’s kinky until a person who wants to define it for themselves does so as such. Lines in the sand, all.

What’s the point of defining something as vanilla or kinky to begin with? Well, I think like all perfectly imperfect language useage, it’s shorthand to find others who might be into what you’re into. We take a general idea (rather than our stringent personal definitions) of what’s “normal” behavior and label ourselves on one side of the divide in hopes to attract or repel people who we believe may identify similarly or differently than ourselves. The follow up questions are the important ones to anyone you wish to engage sexually or kinkliy with: ok, so you’re [vanilla/kinky], what types of things do you like to do? What feels good? What drives you wild? What should I do/not do to turn you on?

Now let’s revisit that idea from earlier about “Identity vs. Behavior”. Someone may not identify as kinky, but may also get really turned on by, let’s say… being tied up. Their behavior, when they decide to get turned on by going out and getting tied up a bunch, may be viewed by others as kinky. So is that person kinky? To much of their community, the answer may be yes. Does it matter? No. It matters to the person identifying the way they identify why they choose the identity they choose. Even if they are enjoying categorically “kinky” activities on the regular, if that person identifies as vanilla, they are vanilla. We don’t know all there is to know about that person or their reasons for choosing one identity over another. A person’s identity is their right to define as they choose for their own reasons in whatever moment they are sharing it with others. It’s important that we trust and respect people and their processes of uncovering and defining their own lives. This doesn’t mean we can’t ask questions or have a great conversation about how we view the definitions of these words differently, and we can also discuss the finer points of growing and discovering or rejecting new facets of identity over time. This also doesn’t mean we should deliberately hurt or mislead others by being opaque to the meaning of our behaviors and the expectations we set up when we use certain words exclusively to people we’re sharing our identities and sexualities with either… At the end of the day, we are all works in progress for better and for worse. We are all responsible for meaningful clarity and reasonable transparency about our interactions with others. We do not all agree about where these gray definitions land, hence the need for multiple ongoing conversations about our needs, wants, and expectations from the people we’re sexual and sensual with.

How you feel about these subjects is important. How you feel about them helps you figure out your own personal boundaries and articulate yourself more clearly than if you only thought in black and white dictionary definitions about what “should” or “shouldn’t” make you feel turned on, sexual, or sensual with another person. Also, as important as it is to respect people’s differences, community standards exist and account for some degree of safety and general information dissemination for reasons. The young person who believes oral or anal sex “isn’t sex” may be more vulnerable to STIs because they believe they are still “a virgin” and therefore invulnerable to the consequences of engaging in sexual activity. Here we see that differing community standards can contribute to education and/or potential harm through an unexamined ignorance of all the contributing factors which play into behavioral reality. Does it matter that you’re [gay/kinky/monogamous/heteroflexible…]? Only to the extent that responsible conversations with the people you are engaging with sexually/sensually/kinkily/romantically with are able to happen relatively transparently.

So go to it! It’s the most natural thing in the world to be turned on. Let’s talk about sexuality, sex, kink, behavior, and identity…

Play On My Friends,
~ Creature

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

Sensuality

Vibrant beautiful little things, reminding us to slow down and notice them…

This week I’m immersed in a lot of things. The theme seems to be sensuality — a meditation on connecting with the body and surrounding environment at a visceral, emotional, and sensual level. It fits well with the oncoming season change. These Northern temperatures shift drastically throughout the day, followed by humidity, scattered weather, and emotional states… We are preparing for colder times. Times we want to wall off, but also time we would benefit from the heat of others and warmer environs. It is a good time to collaborate.

Speaking of collaboration, I am currently in tech week for a show I am Directing. The show is full of circus performers who are highly skilled but sometimes less actor/storyteller connected to their material within performance. Over and over again the direction I give boils down to breath, to being in the moment, to slowing down and using the apparatus they’re on like a scene partner, to have a sensual connection with their medium between “tricks” to support the piece’s story arc… Sensuality. That we are connected to our Mother Earth and environment at all times — not just when we’re doing an exciting winning move.

I’ve found this recently in a more sexual context too. I was with a partner who enjoys exhibitionism and we met someone who enjoys watching couples have sex, so invited them over for a show. It was a pretty fun time together, but it was also an interesting study in how people who don’t know one another and are not going to have sex, can still communicate sexually and sensually with one another quite openly. Our watcher had such a sweet face and was definitely interested in both me and my partner’s bodies (my partner was in their’s as well). As the scene was not about us interacting with this person sexually though, it became about a few other things instead.

It became about talking. It became about D/s negotiation. It became about sound, about the thickness of the air in the room. It became about orgasm control, about watching (and watching the watching), it became about selective touch and well placed flirtatious stimulation shy of graphic involvement… It became about playing at the edges of sex and firmly in the world of this intoxicant called sensuality.

On another adventure one day I met a sub who had refrained from orgasm at my request for four days before we met. They edged themselves 32 times over those day (a personal record for them), reporting to me each 5th time, writing to me about how they were feeling… By the time we were face to face all I had to do was touch their leg with my foot under the table to elicit a full body shudder and smile. Sensuality wins in my book.

The feeling of cool crisp air and full sun on my face as I walk the streets of this old, beautifully built city reminds me I am happy living this life. The slower movements of a stroll after a heavy meal, touching the bushes and fence railings along my path. The perfume of flowers I have  stopped to smell, crushing herb leaves in my fingers and offering my hands up to a friend’s nose. Walking closer to another’s body until reaching an arm around is the natural instinct followed, a head close enough to a shoulder that my hand reaches up to guide it there softly, feeling the letting go… Through our senses, we animals know this world intimately, and have an opportunity to dance more closely. We can read tension in our own or another’s body when we slow down enough to notice how the world around us feels, and how the world in us is doing.

I love feeling the world around me. It calms me. My anxieties loosen. My schedule seems manageable and I gut level know I will show up for the next moment successfully after I leave the one I am in. Sensual intelligence teaches me to simply “be”, which is stimulating and calming both. Healthy.

Play On My Friends,
~ Creature

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

WARNING: Explicit Content

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