Mr. Vanilla and I have a power-neutral relationship. That means that while we consider ourselves kinsksters and engage in BDSM play, we do not have a permanent power dynamic that we operate under. He always tops me and I always bottom to him but when we aren’t doing a scene, we aren’t doing any power exchange.
Being power-neutral can sometimes mean that we feel like we’re on the outside looking into the kink community. We also run into lots of assumptions. People that don’t know us will assume that we have some sort of protocol in action when we do not. Mr. Vanilla frequently has people ask him for permission to talk to me or give me a hug. While we appreciate that this person is trying to be polite, it is an awkward situation because he doesn’t decide for me who I can speak to or hug. Nor do I for him.
Nonetheless, we’ve been toying with the idea of a long-term (indeterminate ending) set of protocols in our life. We’ve played with a very simple one for a few weeks and both enjoy it. I wonder if this is a step towards a bigger change in our dynamic or if it is just a simple way of showing love. I’d be curious to hear about anyone else that has instituted protocol from scratch and how that went.
Recently I’ve been involved in relaunching a kink group in my town. It has been . . . challenging to say the least. I’ve realized that in the sex blogging world, I always so easily gravitated to the people I had something in common with. It was never just sex but some sort of nerdiness about sexuality, a concern with feminism, an academic interest in kink. One of those things usually lined up and bam, new friend.
In the kink community, especially locally, it isn’t so easy. I don’t have a repository of writing to learn about someone from. Fet stalking can get you part of the way but only so far. And, as a leader in a group, at the end of the day I’m in interaction with people that I really don’t have much in common with. Some days I really struggle with it. I don’t always feel that enjoying hitting or being hit with similar objects is enough common ground to build a friendship on.
Has anyone else experienced this before? How do you handle it? Where are my nerds at?
So, remember when I first told you about Mr. Vanilla? My life was pretty different then. I had just had a miserable breakup with Michael. I was still in a relationship with Jay. And he seemed so simple to me. I wasn’t really fair in the way I described him. The “vanilla” moniker was only a piece of what made my description incomplete.
During this past year, Mr. Vanilla and I were married. Best decision I’ve ever made.
Furthermore, he has been joining me in participating in the kink community. Best decision he ever made? Well, he might not go that far. But the “vanilla” moniker is becoming more ironic with every scene, play party, and demo. Did I tell you that he took Mr. Vanilla as his scene name? Well, he did. And it is a great conversation point every time.
Now, that isn’t to say that he has become a totally kinky motherfucker. In fact, he has been self-identifying as a service top. Since I’m not much of a shrinking violet submissive, that works just fine for me.
His capacity to surprise me every day is the reason I married him and there hasn’t been a dull day since.
Photo courtesy of Delilah
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What makes me a woman? - It’s a stumper, this question. There must be something that makes me a woman. Something more than how I am perceived by others as I walk down the street. But what is the answer?
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There’s pain and then there’s pain (and then there’s pain) -Part of what I crave in the second type of pain is the selfish sadism of the partner who continues despite my pleas. He does it because it arouses him, and he does it because I’ll endure it for him.
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Sex Toys: Single or Partnered, there is no shame in owning them – There’s no fucking shame in owning your sexuality, in taking control of your own damn orgasm. Can you PREFER human contact and partnered sex to sex toys? Sure. You can prefer whatever the fuck you want. But don’t insinuate to me that owning a lot of sex toys is somehow bad or shameful.
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The first Gender Celebration Carnival is complete but the conversations begun are still carrying on. Some amazing writers participated in this first event and I hope that more will jump in next time. In case you missed any of the posts, here is a complete list of the authors and their posts over the past two weeks. Go check them out and add to the conversations that have begun. If you want to participate in the next Carnival, stay tuned as I will be posting about it shortly.
How amazing was I at karaoke last night? Well, I had two backup dancers, 1 backup singer, and someone playing air keyboard behind me. Also, there were half a dozen lighters out. What? You thought I was just a sexual exhibitionist?
Good Vibrations was kind enough to send me a copy of the book, Toygasms: The Insider’s Guide to Sex Toys. I was excited to read this book and hopefully gain new information about choosing toys and using them in unique ways.
On a basic level, the book does just that. It provides a general overview of the types of toys available and describes material types as well as basics of playing with them. This book is definitely one that is geared towards beginners with toys so it starts from the premise of needing to convince your partner to play with them and needing to overcome personal embarrassment.
Now, there are certainly people out there that may have feelings of shame and embarrassment about sex toys but I’m not one of them. This irked me a little bit as I began reading but I was able to get past it to evaluate the information that was provided. And the information in this book is of good quality and reliable. However, there were some serious issues with it that ultimately turned me off pretty significantly.
Beyond the assumption of shame and negativity that the book started with, it also carries a strong assumption of heterosexual cisgender relationships. That assumption was one that I could not get past. A book like this has an opportunity to normalize a spectrum of sexual behavior, gender expression, and relationship styles by mentioning them as equally valid and Dr. Sadie Allison doesn’t choose to take that opportunity. The book is illustrated and the illustrations and text refer almost exclusively to hetero couples. The pictures of solo play depicted all depict female-bodied people. Even the chapter on anal play only has passing reference to the male prostate and otherwise assumes female-receptive anal sex. The only image in the book that depicts a same-sex couple is of two women in the section on double-ended dildos.
Beyond the huge blindspot of non-hetero sex, the book also has a somewhat obnoxious tone. Dr. Sadie Allison’s attempts to come off as playful and flirty end up sounding juvenile and embarrassing. The jokes and puns all sound dorky and forced and they often come at the expense of complete information.
My final critique is the the book doesn’t make a single toy recommendation. Perhaps this is an attempt to appear neutral or keep the material up-to-date but some reference of particular toys and manufacturers would be an incredibly useful element that is simply not included.
In summary, Toygasms: The Insider’s Guide to Sex Toys, is a book that is stymied by inadequate scope. If you have no information whatsoever about sex toys at your disposal it might be helpful. But if you are sitting here right now, reading this review, you don’t fall in that category. With so much quality, specific, up-to-date, and gender-sensitive information available online, I can’t think of a reason to read a book like this. A great place to start, in fact, would be the Good Vibrations Magazine.
After Hania left town, I didn’t really expect to see her again. Sure, we discussed me coming for a visit to Syria but was that realistic? Then she was living in Prague and it seemed more possible but not probable that we might be in the same place again.
Nonetheless, she and I have kept up with each other. With each story of the Arab Spring, I think of her. I wonder if her family is well. I wonder if her activist friends are safe. I’m grateful that she is safely in Prague instead of being bold and loud and beautiful (and in danger) as I know she would be in Syria right now.
It sounds mundane, but we’ve maintained contact via Facebook. She comments on my posts and we chat briefly. Nothing special really. Then last night, she said, “My dear Ellie, I will belly dance at your wedding!”
I thought to myself, “Ah, wouldn’t that be nice. But this is just Hania being Hania. Too much beauty and love in and intention to be constrained by reality.”
But, it turns out that there was a great deal of truth to what she said. She followed up with a private message to me saying that she would be returning to the United States for her PhD. And not just anywhere but right here. At the University I work at. So, Hania will be near to me again and I am so hopeful to rekindle that friendship. She moved something in me that I’ve not quite felt before with another woman. Something I desperately wanted to feel with my ex-girlfriend Ariel but couldn’t because of all of the pain and stress of that situation. She felt safe, soft, sisterly but also so mysterious and sensual. I felt that I knew her but that I wanted to always be closer.
So, Hania will return here in a few weeks and I am looking forward to introducing Mr. Vanilla to her – I think they will get along quite well. And I hope she will let me tie her up again and that she and I will cook delicious, fragrant foods, and that she will teach me to belly dance. But I will be glad to just be near her.