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Seattle writer/professional dominatrix's personal musings, rants and life-trivia...
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
A delicate subject, STDs, but occasionally one I can find some humor in. Take what happened to me a few months ago…
Now, I’m not monogamous, and neither are my partners. We’re all as smart and as careful as we can be, and I actually have great confidence in smart-and-careful when it comes to STDs. For my entire sexual life, using latex protection and basic safer sex practices has served me and my partners very well indeed.
But you can’t get complacent in these matters. Thus, I go get tested (for everything) rather more frequently than most people. Sometimes I’ve done it through my regular healthcare provider, but more often I use a stand-alone testing center, and I usually don’t do it under my real name. Why? Because I trust health insurance companies about as far as I could throw an overpaid Wellpoint executive. God forbid something serious should ever happen, but if it does, I want to know about it before it gets into any medical record with my name on it.
And there are plenty of ways to do that. This outfit, for example. You make the appointment online, show up, let them jab your arm, pee in a cup, and boom, you're done. In and out in twenty minutes, get your results on the phone in three days. Sure, it’s more than a $15 co-pay, but you cannot put a price on peace of mind.
So last November when I was booked to shoot with Kink.com, the prospect of getting an Adult Industry Medical test did not alarm me. My first reaction was: Cool, it’ll be time for me to get tested anyway. I won’t have to pay for it this time.
But then I thought: No - this is connected to my real name. I want to know for sure I have a clean bill of health before I sign my name to anything. So as ridiculous as it sounds, I scheduled myself for a medical screen about two weeks before I was due to take the AIM test for Kink.com. What? Control issues? Me? Like I said, I just call it peace of mind.
When I booked my private appointment, I chose a different lab than the one I’d been to previously. This isn't like going to the neighborhood pub, where you want the bartender to call you by name when you walk in the door. It was in the same area, though. Medical business always clump together like bunches of grapes, and this was no exception. At the appointed day and time, I showed up at the little no-frills lab and gave my usual fake name to the two people behind the counter.
Even though intellectually I know this is a big ole whatever to these lab techs, one does wonder: what do they think of people who come in for full-battery STD testing? I’ve never had anyone say anything to me, but it’s nicer when they don’t look at you funny.
This pair seemed pleasant. One of them was a nice-looking guy, clearly gay, with a round face, chunky glasses and thick, spiky hair. The other was a woman who made me think: this is a nice girl who’s trying to look a little edgy, with magenta-red hair and some tatts, but who still seems like a rather sweet, earnest, small-town sort of girl.
After a few minutes of fumbling around in filing cabinets, they found my appointment paperwork and led me off to the blood-drawing area. I’m not afraid of needles – even when they’re going in me - and I’m pretty easy to get blood from, so that went smoothly. Then the nice red-haired girl handed me a little cup with a plastic lid, like a Tupperware container for a single shot of booze. She indicated where she’d drawn a black line on it with grease pencil.
“Now - I know this is kinda tricky, but you see this little mark? If you can fill it up right to that line, as close as you can, but please not go over it…”
I smiled and took the container. “It won’t be a problem.”
Three days later I get the call: all clear. Which is what I had expected, but it's always nice to have one’s beliefs confirmed. So, okay - bring on the official AIM test. A few days after that, I called the Kink.com office in San Francisco to get the where/when details.
“Um – you’re in Seattle? Looks like there’s a lab in, what is this, Lynnwood? Is that good?”
“Good lord, no. That’s way far away. Is there a place in Capitol Hill or First Hill anywhere?”
There was more noise of papers ruffling on the other end of the phone. “Okay, here’s one that says Capitol Hill.” I scribbled down the address, day and time on the back of an envelope, tucked it in my calendar, and thought no more about it.
When the day came, I started driving towards the address and thought, “Hey, wait a minute, this address looks familiar…” Yeah, you guessed it: it was the very same lab I’d been to less than two weeks before.
Damn, I thought, there must be a dozen labs like this within a mile! What are the odds? I should have gone to Lynnwood. I walked up to the doors. Well, maybe there will be different people working. I’m under a different name, so…
I went in, and there they were: Chunky-Glasses-Boy and Nice-Redhaired-Girl. Oh, this is going to be slightly awkward.
They looked up, smiled at me, and then looked puzzled, in a way that clearly expressed: “Hey, we recognize you, hi there! But wait - you were just here before. Why are you here again?”
“So, yeah, hi.” I pulled out my ID. “I, uh, was here recently, but today I’m here for an AIM test, under this name.”
They both stared at me perplexedly for a moment, then a look of comprehension flashed across the boy’s face. He crouched down and began rummaging through some folders in a plastic milk crate that was shoved far back under a desk. There were quite a few of them, I noticed.
His co-worker continued to look confused. “A NAME test?” she asked in a loud voice, looking from one of us to the other. “What’s a name test?”
He stood up and elbowed her sharply in the ribs, eliciting a small ow! “Cybernet Entertainment, right?” he asked me.
Hr frowned at the file he held. “But you’re not a nineteen-year-old male.”
I laughed slightly. “No.”
More rummaging. His associate had lapsed into silence, but she still looked baffled. He eventually flushed out my (new) file, and the three of us went into the blood-draw area, where I turned away and made rather a long business of setting down my bag, taking off my jacket, and slowly tugging up my shirt sleeve, waiting until the whispers behind me stopped.
When I turned back, the boy had taken himself off, and the red-haired girl was smiling at me with an expression of apologetic friendliness. I smiled back to indicate: It’s all right, darlin’, I didn’t take no offense, and laid out my arm for the needle. We chatted lightly of minor matters, and she remarked to me all her friends were phlebotomists, too. “We kinda all hang out together.”
I know some people who’d like to crash those parties, I thought to myself, watching my blood trickle into the plastic vial. But I didn’t say anything. The girl had been clued in that I was a kinky porn star, I didn't want to overload her brain completely.
As I pulled down my sleeve, she turned to me with the familiar little cup and the same earnest expression as last time and began to recite, ““Now - I know this is kinda tricky, but you see this mark I made…” Then she stopped. “Oh, wait, you know how to do this, don’t you?”
“Oh yes,” I replied, “I certainly do.”
Monday, March 08, 2010
I have toyed with the idea of making a quick reference, flow-chartish sort of handout to give people. It would list all the usual lines of attack and all the answers to those lines. But I doubt that anyone who’s going to say these things would pay any heed to that.
However, FurryGirl had the charming idea to create Bingo cards with all the standard anti-sex work talking points on them. (And so did Renegade Evolution.) I have certainly sat through many, many meetings and lectures and panel discussions where one could have gotten to Bingo! very quickly with one of these.
See the larger version in the original blog post by Furrygirl.
Still, I have to say I like the idea of creating a drinking game with them even better. I don’t know what one would win as a prize in such a Bingo game, but I’m certain doing shots of something strong would make the experiences of listening to offensive drivel like this much more enjoyable. Perhaps some sort of board game - that included drinking. A roll-and-move style of game, not unlike Monopoly. Some of the squares would say things like, “You Got A Book Contract! Collect Two Hundred Dollars.” Other would say “Your Strip Club Got Raided! Lose A Turn.”
It’s certainly far more entertaining than arguing with anti-sex work people…
Labels: sex work
Friday, March 05, 2010
Okay, maybe it's not sexy to you. But I’m very happy with my place. Buying my own house was an extremely big deal to me, and I’m still pleased and proud of it. I love having a place I own to play in, it makes me feel way more private and secure than I ever did in rented spaces. I have a strong sense of “mine!” about my house. It’s an extension of who I am.
That being the case, I’m constantly seeking to improve it. Last year, I renovated the whole first floor, and part of that was removing a wall between two rooms to make them into one bigger one. The main playspace has thick black carpet, blood-red walls, and a black ceiling. I actually brought the black paint down around the top edge of the wall, to a picture-rail style of molding that’s about six inches from the ceiling, and the result is that the room seems taller than it is. It all looks very sharp, and nicely finished.
Except that one-third of the newly-redone space was still carpeted in the same deep gold carpet as the rest of the house. Can you say clash? It’s been driving me crazy, looking at it. But, as remodeling always does, the whole extravaganza cost me more than I’d projected. So I gritted my teeth and waited until I could afford to pull up the gold carpet and put in the black without feeling guilty about a not-absolutely-necessary expense. Which would be – now!
I have other plans as well, but my other projects are all on the main floor. First is getting my terrible crumbly popcorn ceiling sheet-rocked over. (It’s less mess than scraping it off, I assure you.) Hopefully I can have my unbelievably big, ugly, 70’s faux-river-stone horror of a fireplace mantle taken out at the same time, and the boys can sheetrock that, too. And some new lighting fixtures, some new sliding doors, and a new coat of paint – and I think that’ll probably be most of my remodeling budget for the year!
The stage-by-stage remodeling will probably be going on for a couple more years – I still have two more really dated-looking bathrooms (think: avocado green cabinets and glittery metallic-bronze tub surrounds) and a kitchen that’s pretty beat up. But that’s all right. I’m connected to this space, in a way that I haven’t been to any other. I love my house, and it loves me right back. I’ll give it anything it wants.
Labels: my non-kink life
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
Then, letters: the first is from a listener asking about jealousy and threesome sex/BDSM. Threesomes are fraught with peril, in my opinion. The best threesome experiences I have had were in situations with three previously-uninvolved people.* The emotional stakes are considerably lower when no one has ever slept with anyone else before. An established couple plus one? That’s a very tricky situation. But it's a common fantasy, so Monk and I step through some of the ways it could happen.
Next, a request for guidance from a BDSM person who’s wondering about how to answer her friend’s question: “Am I cut out to be a slave?”
The last letter asks, “Is it fair for a people in a polyamory group to veto the partners of other partners?” Monk and I both have some opinions about the term “veto” and making rules that create the illusion of control over other people. I predict they will not be universally agreed-with, but what would be the point of listening if you already agreed with everything we said?
About twenty minutes.
*I did have a three-way romp not long ago that was quite, quite lovely, and it was with two people who were - let us say they were previously involved, if not precisely a couple. But - they are both exceptional people.
Monday, March 01, 2010
(*Okay, I guess I don't know about the taste of one's blood. But sweat, spit, girl secretions, and piss? Absolutely. I also have a theory that drinking lots of diet pop makes one's piss sweeter - all that aspartame, sucralose and acesulfame potassium coursing through one's system. That's based only on remarks made to me about my particular flavor though, so I have no real evidence whatsoever to support this idea. However, if some scientist wants to do a controlled study, I can certainly supply taste-testers.)
View this image full-size, in a new window, here on the OnlineSchools site.
Link via The Sexademic
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
What? Yes, I know he’s been dead for almost 500 years. Cromwell being the sort of guy he probably was, I’m sure he’d be pleased to know he was still influencing people. Especially a woman like me.
It happened because I wanted to read Wolf Hall, a novel about Thomas Cromwell by Hilary Mantel. So I went to That Big Electronic Bookseller and found it. Easy, right? I should have been gone in sixty seconds. But no. On the same page was this:
The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt by T.J. Stiles.I am a total sucker for biographies. Not quite as bad as I am about “The History Of…” books, but close. So okay, into the cart. But you know how it goes. The crack dealers then showed me this one:
“A gripping, groundbreaking biography of the combative man whose genius and force of will created modern capitalism. Cornelius “Commodore” Vanderbilt is an American icon. Humbly born on Staten Island during George Washington’s presidency, he rose from boatman to builder of the nation’s largest fleet of steamships to lord of a railroad empire. We see Vanderbilt help to launch the transportation revolution, propel the Gold Rush, reshape Manhattan, and invent the modern corporation—in fact, as T. J. Stiles elegantly argues, Vanderbilt did more than perhaps any other individual to create the economic world we live in today.”
Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. by Ron ChernowWell, hell, if you’re going to read about Vanderbilt, you have to read about Rockefeller, right? Click. Oh, look, on the same page: business books!
“Born the son of a flamboyant, bigamous snake-oil salesman and a pious, straitlaced mother, Rockefeller rose from rustic origins to become the world's richest man by creating America's most powerful and feared monopoly, Standard Oil. Rockefeller was likely the most controversial businessman in our nation's history. Critics charged that his empire was built on unscrupulous tactics: grand-scale collusion with the railroads, predatory pricing, industrial espionage, and wholesale bribery of political officials. The titan spent more than thirty years dodging investigations until Teddy Roosevelt and his trustbusters embarked on a marathon crusade to bring Standard Oil to bay.”
Selling in Tough Times: Secrets to Selling When No One Is Buying by Tom HopkinsYep, that’s my dirty little secret. I don’t read a lot of BDSM porn. I read sales-technique manuals, and they make me kinda… hot. Look, don’t judge me, okay?
Hopkins lobbies for a return to basics to maximize sales in an economic downturn. The first step is to save existing business by going the extra mile, making human contact, and initiating loyalty-building campaigns. Hopkins shows how to quickly tell if a client is right for you, reduce sales resistance, woo clients from the competition, and cut costs while continuing to appear successful.
But that one led me to: Ignore Everybody by Hugh MacLeod and then Fascinate by Sally Hogshead. I did not ignore. I was fascinated. And it is very dangerous for me to have a Kindle and a credit card.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Thou Shalt Not Oust The Incumbent Partner from his/her living space so you can have a date with the mutual lover. This is a violation of important poly tenets Root For The Home Team and (the self-explanatory) Be Very, Very Nice To The Primary.
I have come to the conclusion that one of the reasons my poly life runs rather smoothly is that we have physical space to spread out in. The Big House is, as you may have inferred, fairly big. And I have my own domain as well. (Don’t think for a minute having space for my poly adventures didn’t figure strongly into my choice of workspaces.)
Because nothing creates disgruntlement like a situation where Partner A wants to come home from a long day at work, flop on the couch, eat pizza, and play video games, and Partner B is running around lighting candles and putting on sexy music because they have a date – with someone else. Partner A may very well be able to go over to a buddy’s house and flop/eat/game over there, but there’s probably going to be some resentment about that.
And resentment is what kills relationships. People think it’s the big things, but it’s not. You can forgive your lover One Big Mistake a lot more easily than you’ll forgive ten thousand niggling little irritations.
For one thing, petty resentment is what erodes the sex in relationships. (Any romantic relationships, not just poly ones.) It’s because it’s the easiest thing to deny a partner without actually having to cop to there being something wrong. Most of the time, people don’t consciously think, “Oh, fine – make me wash your dirty dishes again? Turn the TV up to eardrum-shattering levels even though I asked you not to again? See if you get laid tonight.” But the resentment takes root, and it is subtly poisonous.
Everyone annoys his/her partner sometimes. But if you want to be happily poly, you should strive not to let your other involvements impinge on your sweetie’s preferences and comfort, and that starts with not denying them the simple creature comforts of home.
If you're the non-domestic partner, make sure this isn't happening. You do not want the resident partner to be feeling resentful about something as easily fixed as physical space/privacy and start associating that feeling with polyamory in general and you in particular.
Therefore, if you want to have a hot date with someone who lives with a partner, have the date elsewhere.
Monday, February 22, 2010
Show notes: First of all, I was not playing with my nipple while we were recording, all right? Let the record show. The bomb shelter we’re doing these things in is freezing cold, so I was actually wearing a leather jacket. A motorcycle-style jacket, so that’s two layers of leather over my chest. You could not have found my nipple with a sonogram. That’s just Monk being silly.
Our first question is a letter from someone who asks what to do when you’re caught in a sexy, kinky situation and you want to do bondage, but you have no rope? Monk and I free associate about improvised bondage equipment. (We did not use the microphone cables for bondage, though. The sound guys frown on that.)
Then a BDSM newcomer asks: explain to me why exactly I should get involved with the BDSM community? The short answer is: they’ll teach you things you might not otherwise know, and they’ll be support for you when things are tough.
Lastly, a sex worker asks a question about emotional relationships with clients. It’s a nuanced issue, and I get sort of uncharacteristically woo-woo about my feeeeeeeeelings in this one, so don't say you weren't warned.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
When I started doing it, I had no idea how popular this blog would get, and how much it would change my life. In my cranky moods, I often compare this blog to the alien, blood-sucking plant in Little Shop Of Horrors: constantly demanding my precious time and energy.
And blogging is not the shiny cool new thing it was when I started writing here. The constant work of it, combined with the general decline of blogger-chic, has thinned the blogging ranks. I have observed other sex bloggers fall by the wayside over time - including several who were once loud in their disdain for me. Naturally I would never lower myself to publicly sniping with such people. I simply recalled to myself a line from the novel Gone With The Wind, where Rhett Butler remarks to Scarlet O'Hara, "Nothing annoys the godly so much as seeing the ungodly flourish like the green bay tree."
But as much trouble as it is, my little blood-sucking pet here has me brought me many amazing people and fabulous experiences that I would not have had otherwise. And equally valuable, it’s given me a place to examine and organize my thoughts on those things, which is good for my personal growth.
Starting the Stranger column, nine years ago, was also a hugely pivotal point for me. I love being part of The Stranger, and I believe being published in a print publication granted me much local popularity, as well as some real-writer credibility in certain circles.
However, I would have to say, while I don't get anywhere near as many hits as the Stranger site does, this blog seems to have disseminated more widely than the column. I base that only on the number of people I've spoken to who know about the blog, but are surprised to learn of the column. It may be that I just don't talk to as many folks for whom the reverse is true.
But it gets around, this blog. People from all over the world send me the sweetest, kindest, most touching letters imaginable, telling me how much they like reading it, and what they’ve learned from it and especially enjoyed about it. Those little notes mean a lot to me. I can’t always respond personally to each one, but I read them all, and they make me smile. So thank you all for that.
Another year. I’m still here, and I’m still flourishing.
Labels: writer's life
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Or is the other way around? I can never remember. But I was thinking about it last night, when Monk and I did our second appearance at the Peg-Ass-Us show. That photo? I brought that very harness and dildo with me to the show and displayed it to the audience. Everyone seemed to enjoy seeing it, although no one volunteered to let me actually demo anything on them. Too bad.
The show is fun and sexy and educational and simply delightful in so many ways. And John and Sophie are the cutest, sweetest, most winsome pair of sexual outlaws in the world, you just want to pet them and cuddle them and take them home and... do evil things to them.
But I digress. We went out for drinks after the Sunday show with John and Sophie, and I got to talk to them about how they handled putting their very real, intimate lives out on a stage for everyone to see. Because as I was watching the show, I was thinking that in some ways, Monk and I do a written version of this on our blogs and podcasts.
Obviously for us the topics are different. We do reveal a lot, though, and sometimes that gets uncomfortable. Particularly because we are not anonymous bloggers. We put our faces are on our blogs. Our professional names and reputations on riding on this. The stakes are high for us.
But we don't want to be too safe, because that's boring. So it's a continuous dance on the edge between regrettable TMI and the same-old, tame-old stuff. And I for one think Monk has nothing to apologize for, because when it comes to busting out of the stereotypes about straight male tops, he will go there. Even when there is right up onto a stage to talk to an audience full of people about pegging.
The reason people like to read us, and like to see shows like Peg-Ass-Us, is because it is real. We're just talking about things lots of people either really do, or really want to do. That blurry, low-rez camera-phone snapshot of mine? Almost seventeen thousand views since I put it up less than a year ago. (And that's just on Flickr, God only knows how many people have it posted on a website somewhere.) I'm quite clear that many of even the straightest of straight male tops are not utterly uninterested in having a woman touch their ass. You've still got two nights to catch the show, guys. Go there.
Monday, February 15, 2010
A fresh new podcast! By popular request, we’ve gone to a slightly longer format for this one, it’s about eighteen minutes.
In this episode, TwistedMonk and I answer a variety of your questions. The first one is about primary/secondary partners in polyamory – can one person in a relationship be a primary partner and the other person be a secondary?
The second question is about dealing with unexpected interruptions during a BDSM scene.
The last question: how do you introduce yourself to a kink celebrity (perhaps like me or Monk, but definitely not limited to us), and other general social tips for BDSM culture.
Not at all safe for work!