Tag Archives: Molly Moore

Little Monsters: On Jealousy

From an illuminated manuscript, (c. 1400)

Illuminated manuscript, (c. 1400)

Last week, I posted this on Tumblr:

“Jealousy isn’t a failure to transcend. It’s a persistent human reality. It requires acknowledgment and compassion and the gentle refusal to let it rule you developed through practice and patience – patience with the situation and, most especially, patience with yourself.”

This was not a random, theoretical musing on my part. It was a reminder, one I wrote to myself years ago – the last time I had a really good, serious bout with jealousy; because while I’m not fantastically prone to it, I still get jealous like anyone else. It’s just rare enough that, when I do, it really gets my attention.

So, why did it flare up? Something innocuous caught me off guard and I found myself slammed by an irrational, makes-no-sense case of the green-eyed monster. But here’s what really fucked me up (far more than the jealousy itself did): the fact that it happened.

I’ve written about non-monogamy before and, after being non-monogamous for a good fifteen years, I’m fairly practiced at dissecting my feelings. Very often, in the case of jealousy, there’s a territorial impulse at the heart of it (I get so impatient with myself over this). Other times it’s envy regarding time and proximity. Sometimes, it’s just old-fashioned insecurity (often stemming from the two things I just mentioned). This time though…this time it was much less clear-cut and, as a result, far more unsettling.

I’ve been sitting with it for a while now and I’ve finally begun to realize that even more than jealousy, frustration and proximal envy (all of which were mixed up in in there too), what really threw me off was the fact that I felt vulnerable quite suddenly, and that’s a frightening thing.

It’s one thing to love someone. It’s another to realize at a deep, cellular level that loving them means they could hurt you, and no one, including my ego-driven self, wants to get hurt. It was realizing how vulnerable I am that rattled me more than anything else.

In a strange confluence of circumstance, this subject has been making the rounds a bit. Rachel Kramer Bussel used a couple of my quotes in her excellent article on polyamory last week, and since then, I’ve had some good conversations with people about non-monogamy, jealousy and how to deal with it in poly relationships. Here’s how I manage, for what it’s worth:

  1. I try not to lash out because I’m having feelings. If possible, I try to understand what’s going on before I express how I feel to anyone else. Unfortunately, this time I dropped the ball and vented, which rattled me even more because it indicated how totally consumed by my feelings I was.
  1. I try to look at the source of my jealousy and figure out why it triggered me. In this case, it wasn’t the trigger so much as the fact that having tangled, jealous feelings made me realize how vulnerable I am.
  1. I try to reframe the issue in a way that puts me in control of those feelings rather than allowing them to rule me. In this case, I could A. shut down, shove my partner away and not feel vulnerable B. double-down on my initial response and make everyone miserable or C. acknowledge that I feel vulnerable and gradually bring myself to a place where that’s okay. For the record, I chose C. because I’ll be goddamned if I let my emotions own me – they are mine, not the other way around.
  1. Finally, I try to talk to my partner. This can be really fucking hard, because to admit to being jealous is, in fact, to admit to being vulnerable. That takes trust and a leap of faith. I was very lucky in that he was great when I told him, and though I’m still getting comfortable with the vulnerability, I don’t feel nearly so rattled anymore. In the context of our relationship, it’s just a fact and I own that because, at a very basic level, loving someone means you might get hurt. It’s just part of the deal. It’s been a long time since I’ve had to connect those dots, but I’m glad I did.

**Note on #4: It’s important that you communicate your feelings to your partner in a productive way, not in a knee-jerk reaction kind of way. That’s why I try to figure out what’s going on before I get anywhere near discussing it. The point of telling your partner is not to make them to stop doing the thing that makes you jealous. The point is to help them understand what’s going on so you don’t accidentally create a wedge in your relationship. It also has the nice side effect of giving them the opportunity to give you a bit of slack while you’re dealing with it.

And that’s the key – you dealing with it. Because your feelings are your feelings and you’re the one who has to deal with them. As Cunning Minx over at the Polyamory Weekly podcast says, it’s all about owning your own shit.

Here’s the bottom line (or, at least, my bottom line specific to this instance). The fact that I feel vulnerable isn’t bad. It’s not something to fear. It’s just a statement of fact. What I have to do is adjust my self-perception to include that vulnerability. Now, thanks to the discomfort of jealousy, I’ve realized that I am vulnerable and I’ve accepted that as part of being with my partner.

Jealousy is only a monster if you let it be monstrous. Like anything else, you can use it – not to change your partner or your relationship, but to better understand yourself. It’s not easy. In fact, it’s legitimately hard, but the alternative is even harder in the long run. I’d rather keep the little monster firmly on its lead.

**NB: I had a lovely conversation with Molly Moore about communicating and receiving admissions of jealousy, and she very correctly pointed out that this is much easier said than done. I’ll be writing a follow-up post or two soon exploring this in more depth.

**NB 6/1/15: As part of the lovely conversation I mentioned above, Molly Moore invited me onto her podcast, the KissCast to talk about jealousy in more depth. You can listen to that episode HERE.

The Pussy Pride Project

"The Great Wall of Vagina" by Jamie McCartney

“The Great Wall of Vagina” by Jamie McCartney

For all that I write about sex, I’m a pretty private person. Wrapped up somewhere in being a dominant, introverted voyeur is the impulse to hold large parts of myself in reserve. Of course, there are people whose natural, infectious joy bumps me off the sidelines – people like Molly Moore, the curator of The Pussy Pride Project, (and the mistress of many things. The woman wears multiple hats and looks lovely in all of them).

I’ve been following The Pussy Pride Project for awhile. I don’t like body shaming, (or any shaming for that matter), and the idea of a sex positive project aimed at highlighting women’s relationships to their genitalia appealed a great deal. Of course, if didn’t occur to me to contribute until Molly asked me to, and so, because it’s Molly, I’m setting my reticence aside to discuss my cunt…because, to me, it will always be my cunt and not my pussy (no offense preferrers of “pussy”. It’s just a semantic thing).

To be honest, I was pretty ambivalent about my “female parts,” as my mother calls them, for much of my life. And really, when you grow up thinking of your genitalia as your “female parts” you’re probably not going to get all attached and romantic about them.

Despite that, some of my earliest memories involve sexual pleasure, which was a mysterious and much sought after thing when I was little and having orgasms by accident. As I grew older, I explored many aspects of my sexuality, but I never took the time to deliberately acquaint myself with the portions of my anatomy that produced all that sweet, random feeling because we didn’t talk or think about that in my family. Oh, my goodness, no.

The question of grooming went equally unaddressed. I left it all wild and silky, not because I preferred pubes, but because it never occurred to me to go bare. It wasn’t until I was in my mid-twenties, when a partner shaved me for the first time, that the eroticism of being hairless made itself known. With each pass of the razor, the place I’d always thought of as my “female parts” became, irreversibly, my “cunt.” The orgasm I had directly afterwards was a game-changer. He went down on me, smiling the whole time like the keeper of ancient secrets, and I came so hard I nearly passed out. Since then, I have always shaved or waxed or done some combination of both, not because I want to fit some modern, hairless aesthetic, but because I feel everything so much more without pubic interference. I wouldn’t bother if that weren’t the case. I do it purely to please myself, and the results are worth the effort.

Despite all that, I didn’t give my cunt serious consideration until after I had my daughter. I know that I’m stating the obvious when I say that your body changes a lot during pregnancy and birth, but I was unprepared for how much. In my case, my body changed for the better, though it took several months and many ice packs before I wanted to find out.

Before my daughter my clitoris was temperamental and somewhat “demure” as one lover called it. My labia were fairly flat and unobtrusive. Everything was seemly – my vagina and its attendant parts folded themselves up into a tidy little package that responded when opened but didn’t make demands.

After my daughter was born, things got interesting. Suddenly, my clit was fuller, more prominent and much more sensitive, (ie: “demanding”). My outer labia, once so discrete and lady-like, is now fuller as well – so full that they look sort of plushy and plump, even when I’m not turned on. The folds of my inner labia have changed as well. They look more ruffled and pink, and the one on the left sticks out, so that every now and then my cunt looks like it’s sticking out it’s tongue. I love this, by the way.

Compliments…I have been complimented, which is lovely and curious. I’m always happiest when compliments have less to do with aesthetics and more to do with how my body responds. My cunt has never been called “perfect” though it has been called “perfect for me.” Frankly, I don’t know if there’s any such thing as “the perfect pussy.” I suspect not, just as there’s no such thing as perfect breasts or a perfect cock. I do think, however, that there is such a thing as the perfect fit, but that subjective assessment depends entirely on who you’re with.

At this point in my life, I can say that I have a fondness for my cunt, though it still confounds me at times, especially when the stimulation that works one day, doesn’t work the next. Even that makes me smile though. Like many women, I’m complicated and slightly perverse. I love what I love, and I want what I want, and though my heart is strong and constant, it is anything but predictable. I love that my cunt reflects that.

If you’d like to read more posts in The Pussy Pride Project, click HERE. Or press the the picture of the pretty, suggestive flower. I know I would….

Pussy Pride

On the Value of an Image

Photo by & courtesy of Chintz Curtain

“Behind the Lens” by Chintz Curtain

This week I had the enviable task of choosing the Sinful Sunday Weekly Round Up. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the meme, Sinful Sunday is a project started and curated by Molly Moore of Molly’s Daily Kiss. To find out more about Sinful Sunday, click here.

Unlike other memes, Sinful Sunday is “all about the image,” which is the biggest reason I’ve been drawn back to it week after week for months. The images that made up week 188 of the project were hard to narrow down – there was a ton of sexiness, sure, but there was vulnerability too, and elegance and art. There were happy people, reveling in their bodies or the bodies of their partners; there were images that were unapologetically and joyfully pornographic, and photographs that implied more than they showed. Here are the images I ultimately picked, though I could have happily chosen more.

The meme is incredibly popular among sex bloggers, a group of writers that I love for their frank approach to sex, kink, body image and relationships, but I would especially encourage erotica writers to check it out too.

A great deal of erotica writing is the spinning of fantasy. Fantasy sells, and while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that from the perspective of either the producer or the consumer, it does mean that erotica is generously populated by chiseled Doms and slinky, latex-coated nymphs. Again, that’s fine and fun and grand. God knows that I’ve written my fair share of idealized bodies – women who gush with arousal when faced with a devilish smile, and men who saunter around comfortably at a muscular 6’3. They are fantasy people, Hollywood people, people that allow us to slip into a fantasy and escape our mundane lives. But… they aren’t representative of what’s real.

What’s real are breasts that are small enough to palm, or bellies that are soft and comfortable. Real is the blissed out smile on a sub’s mottled, tear stained face, or the plump, dimpled wrist peeking out from under a worn leather cuff. It’s the woman with mascara running down her face as she sucks off her man, or the guy lying in bed, idly stroking his flaccid cock. The bodies aren’t always rock hard. Sometimes there is pubic hair, sometimes there isn’t. The images capture moments that are, at times, more vulnerable, or irreverent, than overtly sexy. But that is real. And it’s beautiful. And there are real, valuable stories in every one of those pictures.

I’ve been writing from paintings and photographs for as long as I can remember. The very first story I ever wrote, a vicious little cautionary tale called, “Object Lesson,” was inspired by an Edward Gorey illustration, and I recently wrote a piece for Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks. I’ve even written from a Sinful Sunday image before, and I have to say that, objectively speaking, the story that resulted may be my best.

As an erotica writer, it’s easy to get wrapped up in creating fantastic ideals. Honestly, I enjoy creating fantasies. But fantasies can also be based on reality, on slices of humanity that touch us in some way. Fantasies can star men and women of all shapes and sizes, at all stages or life. Fantasies can become more than just an escape, they can give you a peek into someone else’s life. Sinful Sunday reminds me of that. Outside of the aesthetics, beyond the sexiness of  the meme, that’s why I look for it every week, because it is all about the image, and the image is all about a person. Ultimately, that’s the kind of erotica I love to write.

Have I participated in Sinful Sunday? No – not yet. But honestly, out of a sense of fair play, I very likely will.

PS – Exhibit A is currently running his second Sinful Stories competition, and it’s exactly in the spirit of what I’m talking about. The contest is open until Monday, November 24th. Click here for the rules. I’ll be posting my own entry, based on this photograph by Happy Come Lucky later this weekend. Please do have a look at the images from Week 187 and possibly consider entering. There are so many stories to be had out of an image if you look.

NOTE: It’s important to mention that if you do decide to write a piece of fiction based on a Sinful Sunday image, (or indeed any image not in the public domain), ethics and good manners require you to get the creator’s permission first.

 

The (It Girl. Rag Doll) Podcast

It Girl Rag DollSometimes I get to do really cool, unexpected things. Most the time, these things are fairly small, like having lovely, frank conversations about sex or writing or life. But every once in a while, the thing is bigger, like having a lovely, frank conversation about sex, writing and life on a freaking fantastic podcast. This was the case three weeks ago when I sat down to Skype with the lovely Harper Eliot and her amazing partner in crime, Molly Moore, of Molly’s Daily Kiss, for the (It Girl. Rag Doll) podcast.

By way of a small confession, talking about myself for any great length of time isn’t easy. I’m a writer who depends heavily on revisions and edits – speaking off the cuff has never been one of my great strengths. I’m a natural listener / question asker so, while I was thrilled and honored to be asked on the show, I was also a bit nervous. That said, I shouldn’t have been. Molly and Harper made it so painless and easy that, when the hour was up, I wanted nothing more than to climb through my computer screen and continue the conversation with them.

Click HERE to have a listen.

We talked about everything from writing and words, (please don’t call a lady’s cunt her “va-jay-jay”), to kink and non-monogamy. Even better, I left the experience full of ideas and thoughts, one of the biggest indicators, for me, of a wonderful conversation. In fact, I have no doubt that at least two follow-on posts are going to result from that conversation.

Sadly, the IRGD podcast is winding down and will finish at the end of the year. Luckily, Molly Moore will be striking out with a podcast of her own starting in 2015, and there will still be an archive of excellence to listen to at the IRGD website. Click on over to have a listen to episodes on transgression, flashers and peeping Toms, fucking sculptures and much, much more. While you’re there, check out their newest episode, in which I get to talk to these two excellent, intelligent women.