Oct 21 2017

Episode 065: Kitty Chambliss

Episode the sixty-fifth; Wherein the Pageist has an utterly delightful chat with the unspeakably exuberant Kitty Chambliss about jealousy in non-monogamous relationships and how to deal with it.

.44 Intro and Announcements:

  • Still no announcements because this intro was recorded very early in preparation for my husband’s brain tumour surgery.

4.11 Interview:

41.05 Closing Remarks:

Oct 19 2017

Four Star Turds; On Being Constantly Disappointed by Humanity

There’s a trend that’s got right on my tits. A sex positive (or kink-positive) company or feminist person is out there, being sex positive and repping the community and saying some good things and just being great.

And you share some stuff of theirs online—on social media.

Then someone says, ‘Oh, didn’t you know, that person is an abuser.’ ‘That person is transphobic as hell.’ ‘That company has some toxic views on women.’ Uh… it’s a sex toy company… ‘Yup, owned by someone with some GROSS views on women.’

I’m not referring to any one person right now because I was thinking about certain people and companies when writing this piece for the podcast and in the ten days between then and adapting it to post, other things have happened. Both in the vanilla world–where people with a long history of feminism have behaved in misogynistic ways–and in the sex positive industry, where a sex toy company reacted entirely the wrong way to being gently corrected on someone’s gender.

It’s something that happens so regularly that if I used names in this piece, future readers would think, ‘Wow, since then we’ve had the news about [whomever] being a massive disappointment in three weeks’/six months’/two years’ time.’

This is the sort of thing that becomes dated fast. And that is fucking depressing.

Now when some new human arrives on the general scene of life–be they celebrity of any calibre or politician I just wait until they say or do something terrible.

Other people go right into fangirl/guy mode, swooning away. And I’m in the corner, squinting. Suspicious as hell.

There’s the saying, ‘All your favs are problematic.’

But they shouldn’t be. Perhaps we shouldn’t idolize trash humans. Maybe I’m being overly optimistic here, but asking people to not be giant, spicy assholes shouldn’t be an imposition.

And it’s not just out in the world of vanilla people with their fuzzy consent and rampant rape culture. Every week it’s some other company or person within the kink or sex community who’s being gross. And forget the general population. After fifty-three percent of white women voted for someone who bragged about sexual assault I knew exactly who I could trust on feminist issues. (Not most white women.)

My life, professionally and socially, resides in the realm of sex and kink education and entertainment so I don’t have to deal with the unenlighted vanilla masses most of the time. Yet, still, some ideas from the wider world make their way in and just ruin my good time.

Yes, humans are judgmental dickweasels, as a group, but the sex and kink positive community should be more aware and accepting of wacky things like consent, identity, gender issues and all the things that come up surrounding bodily autonomy and individual freedom. I expect more from my team. You want your group to be better.

Long term experience has made me not trust anyone.

Them: ‘Hi! I’m new to the sex positive community!’

Me: :squints: ‘What’s wrong with you?’

Them: ‘I’m sorry?’

Me: ‘Something’s wrong with you. State your malfunction, please. Racism? Homophobia? Whorephobia? Kinkphobia? Do you use your place in the community to abuse people then gaslight them? What? Eventually we’ll all find out just… out with it. Save us all the time and disappointment.’

You can’t live your life that way, though—not ever trusting anyone. So for me it’s about long-term actions. Because people can write some beautiful words for a significant period of time and turn out to be turds of the highest calibre. Four Star Turds. Turds with security clearance.

Don’t tell me you’re a safe person—if you’re actually a safe person that will become apparent over a period of time. If my instant, unwavering trust is more important than my genuine peace of mind and intellectual connection then that’s a warning sign for me. Why do you need to convince me of your goodness? Just let me see it over time. And if I don’t see it then that’s my loss. I’m just being a distrustful meanie poohead and you’re an innocent in all of this. Take that knowledge and be on your way. Be mad at all the people I couldn’t trust who turned me into such a jerkface.

I don’t get what’s so difficult about letting other people live their lives. People of colour, people of all genders and orientations, sex workers, people with kinks that aren’t yours, whatever. These are all things that have nothing to do with your life. If you leave any of these groups of people alone, they’re going to say, ‘We’d like equal rights,’ but they’re also just going to go about living their own lives, minding their own business.

Hatred of any of these groups is like seeing someone walking down the street and walking over and going,

‘Hey! Your simple existence makes me unhappy!’

Which is your problem, not theirs, until you make it theirs.

The hater is the disruptive one. The thing they hate about the other people is immutable. You can’t legislate away … any of it. Even sex work. Still gonna be there. Making it illegal just makes it more dangerous and puts women at risk.

Why do you give a shit what other people do?

Speaking of what other people do—these cheesedicks who use their place in the community to abuse people. What they do does harm others and so they can be chucked off a pier with a concrete helmet on. It harms the community, it harms the individuals involved and it sets the precedent that that sort of behaviour will be tolerated or even condoned.

It shouldn’t be tolerated or condoned. You know better. We know better.

Stop being Four Star Turds.

[This originally appeared in an abbreviated format in episode 63 of The Pageist podcast.]

Oct 17 2017

Witches, Princesses, and Women at Arms by Sacchi Green

(source)

[This is the text of the book review from episode 63.]

This episode’s book review is of Witches, Princesses, and Women at Arms: Erotic Lesbian Fairy Tales edited by Sacchi Green and published by Cleis Press.

I received this book for free, but the words I say to you will be true, as always.

As you’d expect from the title, this is a collection of reimagined and retold fairy tales with a lesbian slant. It’s not just gender-swapped classics, though. In one—the granddaughter of Red Riding Hood has a very interesting encounter and it’s intimated that her grandmother had quite the liking for wolves so our protagonist is part wolf. Well hello, Little Red.

From the Introduction:

Some [authors] adapted traditional tales, and some updated old stories to contemporary times, not merely changing the gender of a character but making the female aspect essential. Some created original plots with a fairy-tale sensibility, while some wrote with merely a subtle aura of fantasy. Their heroines are witches and princesses, brave, resourceful women of all walks of like, and even a troll and a dryad.

The gays aren’t exactly thick on the ground in classic fairy tales, but they were there, according to the Wicked Stepmother from Cinderella. She spills all the tea in a hilarious short piece full of word-play called ‘SWF Seeks FGM’—standing for Single Wicked Female Seeks Fairy Godmother. She goes in search of a Fairy Godmother to help her out with her image and winds up being helped out of her clothing instead.

Though the stories are all written by different people, one thing several authors seem to agree on—getting undressed is annoying. The witches and various magical people tend to magically disrobe. Hey, when you’re in a rush to get to the sexy, you don’t have time for muggle things like untying ribbons.

If I were magical I’d never undress again. Poof! Naked. Poof! Dressed. It’d be great.

The fairy godmother in the story in question is also lushly built and the Wicked Stepmother is all about it. She enjoys every inch. I was talking with the person who runs Red Light Library podcast—he reviews the more out there erotica—and he said lots of people are giving a nod to the BBW (or Big Beautiful Women) fetish by saying the character has big boobs and butt but then doesn’t mention anything else about their physique during sex. Which is inaccurate and cynical on the part of the writer. That’s not what was happening in that story—Wicked and the writer, Allison Wonderland, knew of what they spoke.

There are various body types and skin tones on display in these stories—it’s not all fair damsels with golden tresses and light eyes. There are masculine women and toned bodies, soft, rounded bodies, dark skin and light skin, brown eyes and blue eyes, short cropped hair and flowing locks.

If you have a thing for Brienne of Tarth from Game of Thrones—there are a few women who pose as men, pull on armour and go into battle for one reason or another.

There are women who know their bodies and how to pleasure themselves and women discovering their capacity for pleasure for the first time. There’s a little something for all of the women-loving-women, basically.

The take on Rumpelstiltskin was particularly clever. There was also a story about a human woman who fell in love with a tree dryad—their relationship spanning a lifetime—that was touching. The sex is vanilla for the most part, though there was some biting in one story that was a-okay. I mean… a person falls in love with and has sex with a tree in one story, which is an actual fetish called dendrophilia. And in ‘Trollwise’ the everyone is into some pain with their sex. So, overall, it’s vanilla, but there are some kinky moments.

I wasn’t familiar with all of the fairy tales referenced, but it didn’t matter—they stood on their own. They were well-written and inventive. If you’re looking for magical bedtime reading, this is a good place to start. If you’re looking for a more pansexual—an equally well-written group of fairy tales with a cast of characters across the gender spectrum, then I recommend Leather Ever After, that book is also uber-kinky. I reviewed that in episode three. The text of that book review is here. Cleis Press has several other anthologies (and is a favourite of Sinclair Sexsmith’s) to choose from, as well.

The next book from this publisher that I’ll be reviewing will be 50 Shades of Kink: An Introduction to BDSM by Tristan Taormino, which will be in November some time.

I would give this a 5/5 if you’re looking for something new and fun.

Oct 13 2017

Episode 064: AliceinBondageLand on Chastity

Episode the sixty-fourth; wherein the Pageist learns a whole bunch about chastity from show favourite AliceinBondageLand.

.45 Intro and Announcements:

  • This episode was scheduled several days ahead in preparation for Walter’s biopsy, so no announcements. I’ll catch up on those in a few weeks.

3.29 Interview:

  • AliceinBondageLand joins the show for the third time! YAY! This time we’re discussing chastity, which is the eroticization of not being allowed to touch your naughty bits.
  • This was a first in that she asked people for questions on other platforms (Reddit and Twitter) and so answered not only my questions, but also questions from people who practise chastity or are curious about trying it. We got into health and hygiene as well as safety and the motivation behind chastity play. Also, how to do it as a single person vs in a couple.
  • Santa Clara County Leather Week 2017
  • Recommended sites to find toys for prostate toys:
    NJoy
    Aneros
  • Shops Alice recommends for luxury chastity devices:
    Steelwerks
    Latowski
    MatureMetal
  • For cock pumps, Alice recommends going over to MedicalToys.com.
  • A popular device is the CB6000, though it wasn’t recommended from any particular shop.
  • Alice has previously been on the show to talk about FemDom and what she loves about what she does and Female Led Relationships. She’ll be back to talk about all sorts of other goodness in the future.
  • You can find Alice on Twitter @BondageLand
  • Her website is AliceinBondageLand.com
  • On Fetlife she’s GoAskAlice
  • On instagram just look for @aliceinbondageland
  • Alice’s flowchart for choosing a Chastity Device:

1.37.56 Closing Remarks:

  • Thank you for tuning in!
  • In the next episode I’ll be interviewing Kitty Chambliss, relationship coach and author, about dealing with jealousy in ethically non-monogamous relationships.
  • Support the show through PayPal!
  • Support the show and site on Patreon and get bonus content each month!
  • Like The Pageist on Facebook, follow on Twitter, Tumblr, Goodreads, Quora, Medium, and Instagram and join the Fetlife group.
  • You can also subscribe to the website through the email form in the sidebar.
  • Subscribe to the iTunes feed here. You can also rate the show in iTunes, which would be much appreciated!
  • The libsyn feed is here and can be used in your favourite podcast feed reader.
  • All episodes can be heard in an embedded player on this page.

Oct 09 2017

Episode 063: Witches, Princesses and Women at Arms

Episode the sixty-third; wherein the Pageist has an update about Walter’s diagnosis, announces a new way to support the show, and laments why we can’t have nice things. The book reviewed is Witches, Princesses, and Women at Arms edited by Sacchi Green.

.45 Intro and Announcements:

  • Thank you to all of my patrons for making the show possible and welcome to the newest patron, Alice!
  • Two new Facebook follows: howdy doo to Becca and Tawnya.
  • The newest country to hear the show is Angola.
  • Several responses to the survey, with some useful comments. Thank you!
  • Walter’s brain tumour is playing silly buggers and I don’t know how it will effect the schedule for the rest of the month.
  • The show and site finally has PayPal capabilities!!

8.32 My Submissive Life:

  • Everything is disappointing and it’s disappointing. How hard is it to not be a kink-shaming, homophobic, racist, transphobic, etc jerk?
  • Apparently, very, very hard.
  • Nie on impossible.
  • Ugh.

13.31 Book Review:

(source)

  • This episode’s book is Witches, Princesses, and Women at Arms: Erotic Lesbian Fairy Tales edited by Sacchi Green and published by Cleis Press.
  • The book is a collection of thirteen stories–some retellings of classic tales, some new stories with an aura of fantasy–with a feminine slant. The titular roles are represented most frequently, but there are also trolls and dryads and even a particular Wicked Stepmother we all know and (possibly) love.
  • If you’re looking for a more pansexual, kinky version of fairy tales, I highly recommend Leather Ever After. The text of the book review is here.
  • The Red Light Library: A sex-positive podcast for reviewing the best/weirdest/worst erotica up for sale. We celebrate kink and shame manipulative hack writers every Wednesday. Their Patreon. Their Twitter.
  • The Sexy Section is from ‘Trollwise’ by Sacchi Green.

22.36 Closing Remarks:

  • Thank you for tuning in!
  • In the next episode I’ll be interviewing show favourite AliceinBondageland about chastity.
  • Support the show and site on Patreon!
  • Like The Pageist on Facebook, follow on Twitter, Tumblr, Goodreads, Quora, Medium, and Instagram and join the Fetlife group.
  • You can also subscribe to the website through the email form in the sidebar.
  • Subscribe to the iTunes feed here. You can also rate the show in iTunes, which would be much appreciated!
  • The libsyn feed is here and can be used in your favourite podcast feed reader.
  • All episodes can be heard in an embedded player on this page.

Oct 05 2017

What the Pageist Did in September 2017

Podcast Episodes

Episode 61: Sweet and Rough: A review of a collection of short pieces of well-written butch/femme erotica with a decided D/s flavour and packing in every piece. mmmm-MMMM! Also, the fun of hormones and what they can do to the human body.

Episode 62: Sinclair Sexsmith: Author, teacher and Dominant, Sinclair Sexsmith was on the show to talk about consent in erotic fiction, how feminism is compatible with kink and just why so much erotic fiction is so terrible. We had a great conversation.

Writing

Over on Wattpad I began posting my first novel in chapters. It’s called I’m Normally Perfect and will appeal to people looking for age gap, lesbian (vanilla), fiction. It’s about much more than that–it would have to be, it’s 1,914 pages long–but it spans around ten years of the time the two main characters know one another. Here is the home page of the piece, with plot synopsis and so on. It’s free-to-read, though definitely read the introduction first, please.

Patreon Rewards

Monthly Greeting ($1): September’s greeting was about goals and gratitude and the ‘joys’ of perfectionism.

Poetry for Patrons ($3): John Wilmot returns with three rather naughty poems indeed that were great fun to read.

Mixtape ($5): This month Sinclair Sexsmith hung around after our interview for episode 62 and did an entire other interview on packing, which was informative, eye-opening and hot.

Other News

At the next Eroticon I will be teaching a class on using lucid dreaming to realise otherwise impossible sexual fantasies. Tickets are available to the March 2018 conference now.

Sep 22 2017

Episode 062: Sinclair Sexsmith

Episode the sixty-second; wherein the Pageist discusses consent, feminism and just why so much erotic writing is so bad with author Sinclair Sexsmith.

.43 Intro and Announcements:

  • I’ll be teaching a class on lucid dreaming for otherwise impossible sexual fantasies at Eroticon in March! My bio will eventually appear on this page.
  • From the endlessly wonderful Reid Mihalko, I won a ticket to next year’s Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit, which I will hopefully get to attend (dependant upon finding a sponsor for airfare/lodging).

2.27 Interview:

photo by Bill Wadman

43.07 Closing Remarks:

Sep 19 2017

Sweet and Rough: Queer Smut by Sinclair Sexsmith

(source)

[This is the text of the book review from episode 61.]

The book this week is Sinclair Sexsmith’s Sweet and Rough: Queer Smut. I got this as a bonus for supporting Sinclair’s Patreon. So I paid for it…sort of.

I read the first story and immediately went to get a copy to send to my Big Spoon, which is what I call my gentle Dominant type lady friend. Because, like when you spoon with someone you can be the little spoon or the big spoon and she’s the big spoon. Anyway. First story and I put down the Kindle and went ‘Must send copy to Joan.’ Because. Yes. But—read on for why it’s a yes for me and why it may be a yes for you.

The book is a collection of sixteen short pieces—some very short, just a page or two Kindle-wise—focusing on butch/femme lesbian erotic encounters. There’s pretty much always a tinge of Dominance and submission and there’s always a strap on.

This is a collection of stories about packing, which is where a female-bodied person wears a soft or hard dildo whilst going about their day. Some people use it for sex purposes, some for gender purposes, others just for fun—there are many reasons. Sinclair and I did an incredible interview all about packing for the Patreon patrons.

The point is—if you’re into strap ons—or butch/femme hotness, this is the book for you. It’s extremely well-written.

And with that—before I get to the review, I’d like to have a sidebar with you fine individuals.

When I tell people about the show—that I review books about BDSM—the first reaction is that I must only review erotica (it’s like they don’t know non-fiction exists, which makes me sad, because you can actually learn things from books) and the second reaction is, ‘Thank god, because I read a lot of erotica and most of it is so bad.’

Later this week is an interview with Sinclair and we’re going to talk about why that is. People, sex writing doesn’t have to be badly written. You don’t have to suffer for your jollies.

Back to this book, which is A+ on the writing front.

Each story features Sinclair—don’t stop reading—I know having the author as a character sounds like solipsism city, but I’ve been reading their posts on Patreon and their blog and knew them to be…not incredibly self-centred—we talked about how they came to write a bunch of stories featuring a version of themselves in the interview and it was pretty interesting.

It doesn’t ruin the book.

Though the stories all have a butch/femme element and there’s usually power and control being played with, each one has a different setting. Well, I think three take place in a library or a classroom. I’m all on board for that. Kinky literary fucking is always a plus.

In one of those stories, there’s this line:

I think what I often think when I see a gorgeous, leggy girl, reading some intellectual book, in barely enough clothing: if she’s queer, man, all is right with the world.

Indeed. In. Deed.

It’s not just about the sex, though. The author also covers how gender plays into packing and sex. With lines like:

It was daring of her to be so bold with a bj, but I really like that. It forgives me the apology I constantly carry for being a cock-identified lesbian-feminist queer-dyke. A butch who fetishizes gender dynamics and craves gendered play in the bedroom—if she wants my cock so bad she’s willing to take it, I know it’s okay that I want it that bad, too.

Yes, slip some intellectual into my sexy, baby. Erotica doesn’t have to be about perfect people who are always confident and the ultimate lovers—they can be human. They can be messy and complicated. I love it.

In some of the stories the kink is blatant with graphic flogging or spanking. So, you know, thank you, for that. In others, the power dynamic is there, but played with more subtly. There’re also insightful descriptions of the psychology behind certain types of play. Like:

She pulls against me, not to get away, but to heighten sensation. Struggling has such varying degrees. She doesn’t want out, she wants more.

Yes. That is true.

Reading the author’s descriptions of a woman’s body during passionate sex—it’s obvious Sinclair greatly appreciates the female form and pays close attention to every sinew, muscle and breath. They’re a veritable connoisseur of feminine pleasure—clearly enjoying giving it and observing the results of their ministrations.

There are bjs, vaginal and anal and all sorts of goodness in this set of stories. You can purchase it from Amazon or the publisher’s site, or get it like I did by supporting Sinclair’s Patreon.

5/5 if you’re into the sort of things I’ve described in this review.

Sep 17 2017

Episode 61: Sweet and Rough

Episode the sixty-first; wherein the Pageist marvels at the wonders of hormones and 3D model clitorises. The book reviewed is Sweet and Rough: Queer Smut by Sinclair Sexsmith.

.44 Intro and Announcements:

  • Thank you to all of my patrons–you make the show happen! Mwah!
  • Big, huge hugs to the newest supporter, Dedria!
  • Two new Facebook likes, from Kitty and E, welcome to the group!
  • The show is now in Bahrain, Belarus and Ecuador.
  • Someone took the survey and had very kind things to say–if you’d like to fill in the survey, the link is here.
  • If you haven’t checked out the BDSM community The Cage–it’s growing. Give it a look.

4.09 My Submissive Life:

  • My 3D model of a clitoris from Lumberjill a.k.a. Shoulda Wooda arrived and I love it! Check out the Etsy shop here. See more of his work on his Instagram. Below are photos of mine.

A post shared by Paige La Marchand (@thepageist) on

  • For an incredibly informative slide show on how genitals are formed in the womb click this link. Thank you to Sinclair Sexsmith for that link!

9.48 Book Review:

  • (source)

    This episode’s book is Sweet and Rough: Queer Smut by Sinclair Sexsmith, which is a collection of short, very sexy, very well-written pieces of erotic fiction featuring butch/femme relations and packing scenarios.

  • ‘Packing’ is when a female-bodied person wears a dildo–either soft or hard–in a harness as they go about their day. This collection explores gender and celebrates the female form.
  • Sinclair did a bonus interview for my Patreon subscribers about packing–what it is, why people are into it and so forth. It’s available here.
  • Sinclair’s Patreon is here. Their blog is sugarbutch.net and has some great writing. Fiction and non-fiction.
  • You can get the book from here. Or by supporting Sinclair’s Patreon.

16.35 Sexy Section:

  • The section this episode is about a strap on blow job. It’s the short, short piece from this week’s book ‘Her Mouth on My Cock’.

19.45 Closing Remarks:

  • Thank you for tuning in!
  • In the next episode I’ll be interviewing the author of today’s book, Sinclair Sexsmith!
  • Support the show and site on Patreon!
  • Like The Pageist on Facebook, follow on Twitter, Tumblr, Goodreads, Quora, Medium, and Instagram and join the Fetlife group.
  • You can also subscribe to the website through the email form in the sidebar.
  • Subscribe to the iTunes feed here. You can also rate the show in iTunes, which would be much appreciated!
  • The libsyn feed is here and can be used in your favourite podcast feed reader.
  • All episodes can be heard in an embedded player on this page.

Sep 02 2017

What the Pageist Did in August 2017

Great strides were made in upgrading the recording booth.

Podcast Episodes

Episode 58: Reviews of two novels by Francoise Sagan: Bonjour Tristesse and A Certain Smile. The text of the reviews are in this post.

Episode 59: Jillian Keenan, freelance journalist and author of Sex with Shakespeare (which is fantastic and you should read it) came on the show for an interview about spanking, fetish-as-orientation, imaginary friends and other fun things.

Episode 60: Mike Merrill, publicly-traded individual, was on the show to talk about what it’s like letting friends and strangers make his life decisions for him, how power exchange concepts can benefit vanilla people and a pretty cool Kickstarter book the backers will help write. (It’s kinky erotic fiction.)

Writing

Over on Kink Craft, I had a piece about Asexuality and Kink published.

Here, I proposed A Solution to All of the Unsolicited Dicks going around. The link is safe for work.

I also wrote a piece about what it’s like dealing with gynecologist appointments when you’ve been sexually assaulted. That piece is a little heavy, but has a happy ending.

Patreon Rewards

Monthly Greeting ($1+) The greeting for August pertained to new starts and new slates and referenced watermelon slingshots. It made since in the greeting, I promise.

Poetry for Patrons ($3+) were three sensuous offerings by Robert Herrick.

The Mix Tape ($5+) was an excerpt from Jillian Keenan’s Sex with Shakespeare–a fantasy sequence involving the author, one of Shakespeare’s heroines, a switch (the spanking implement, not kink role) and some lesbian action. Sexy, literate and funny.

Website

The sidebar has been updated and rearranged for a more user-friendly feel.

Index pages (just, all of them) and the Resource pages all have collapsible sections to save time scrolling.

Some changes have been made to improve user-experience on mobile, since about half my traffic comes from people on their phones. Now those users will have access to all of the resource pages. Huzzah!

The Support page has a new look.

Aug 26 2017

Gynecologist Appointments and Sexual Assault

[CW: sexual assault]

I’ve had six pap smears and one colposcopy. Seven times speculums have been introduced into my body. The colposcopy (which is to test for HPV after an abnormal smear result) was done under anaesthetic, due to the pain involved during regular exams.

So I can remember six glorious experiences. Only one of which wasn’t horrible.

Doctors, you need to do better. It can’t be that I’ve just happened to get three uncaring physicians. (One person did three of my delightful procedures, another did two.) And I do give them credit—they were each awful in their own distinct ways.

If I’ve had to deal with this level of callousness, then other people have, too. People have to deal with this every day.

Dr. Guy

So named because he was the only male doctor I’ve seen for gyno reasons. (Did you think all of them would be men since they’d been terrible?)

I can’t recall how old I was—due to sexual assault and mental illness my late teen years 16-19 blur together. This happened after my assaults and molestation and I was probably 18 or 19. Possibly 20.

There was a nurse in the room with us and all I recall was bursting into tears during the actual speculum part of the exam then, as I was crying, him putting his finger in my rectum as I sobbed. He didn’t tell me he was going to do that and because there was a sheet covering my lower body and legs the nurse couldn’t see it.

He’d been a long-time friend of my mother’s so for years I thought that must be part of the exam until no other doctor ever did that.

The doctor and nurse were both very consoling and calm and saying how it’s humiliating and the nurse said, ‘You never really get used to it—even after you get married.’ Because I come from a place where people stay virgins until marriage. Whatever, lady.

Several years go by before I wanted to have another pap smear. Even then, I didn’t want to, but I thought I should.

Nurse Doesn’t Listen

I’m not sure of this person’s title. She may have been an RN or a PA. I don’t know.

I do know I told her I didn’t partake in penetration (and hadn’t done so) and so needed whatever speculum she used on virgins.

Fine. Sure.

We do the exam and it hurts like hell. I nearly pass out.

This is when she informs me she used the regular speculum because ‘You’re a grown up now—you can use the regular speculum.’

Sidebar: I don’t have vaginismus, for those of you wondering, I’m just unaccustomed to penetration.

Those results came back fine and I was relieved not to need another smear for years.

But years do pass and I needed to see her again.

I know it seems insane that I would return to the same person. Life is difficult for me to manage. I thought if I explained about the previous time and made myself really clear, she’d listen.

Nurse Doesn’t Listen Round Two

My husband went with me this time, as I was married, but we explained we were asexual and didn’t have sex and last time, etc.

I don’t know which speculum she used but I thought I was going to faint and informed her of this.

Her response: ‘You’re not going to faint.’

Weirdly, she did tell me to lie back and rest a bit, though. If she really thought I wasn’t going to faint she would have hurried me along.

What? Is just saying ‘You’re not experiencing the things you’re experiencing’ supposed to work?

Then there was a reprieve! I got a doctor would was good and listened. The experience was still difficult and painful, because trauma and such, but…

Doctor This Is How You Do It

She listened to how things had gone at the previous place and that I was small and nervous and so on.

Her approach was military-like. Got in, did what she needed to do and got out again, while just asking questions about what I did and my hobbies to distract me.

It was the most pleasant unpleasant experience you could have.

Alas, my insurance changed and I had to switch providers.

We return you to our previously-scheduled horror-show.

Doctor Stunningly Beautiful but Cruel

This doctor was a doppelgänger for an actress I had a crush on for years—someone who was my ideal of beauty. When she left the room the first time I turned to my husband and said, ‘Is it just me or does she look like [Probably Very Nice Actress]?’

Him: I was just thinking that!

That didn’t stop her from being the worst of the bunch.

You might ask yourself how a person could top the crew I’ve listed above, well, hold on to your britches.

The first round doesn’t go well because it never does and I nearly pass out. They do bring me orange juice and crackers, though.

There’s some abnormal cells and they need to do a colposcopy.

Dr Maleficent (she doesn’t look like Angelina Jolie, it just seems like a good name) did the colposcopy, but that was under anaesthetic, because apparently it was unpleasant even for people who handle smears well, so no thank you. The bill for the anaesthetist was $1000, though, which they didn’t tell me about beforehand and yes it was with the ACA. Don’t need health care in the States, kids.

The colposcopy came back and yup, I had the HPV. I’m not thrilled with how this is handled, as I find out through my insurance provider rather than the doctor’s office. So that’s how I found out I had HPV and when I had to come to terms with something I had been in denial about for many years—having been sexually assaulted.

We finally have a face-to-face meeting about this after I’ve processed and written about it and done my own research and cried and all sorts of things. She’s telling me how it’s spread and talking about sexual activity and I tell her I got it from an assault. It’s the first time I’ve said this out loud to another person. So she knows and I assume it goes in my file.

During this conversation I also learn I’d need smears every six months for 18 months to 3 years to keep an eye on the cells

This was when I decided to take up medicinal masturbation, so I could at least get through each smear without wanting to die.

The next smear came up. I’ve been fiddling with myself even though I didn’t really want to and it was less terrible. Dr Maleficent exclaimed, ‘You’re getting better!’ Like I’m improving at being able to take a stranger touching me somewhere I really don’t want to me touched.

She knew how I contracted HPV. She knew I had no other, positive sexual experiences and she congratulates me on getting better! at dealing with pap smears.

Then, the second the exam is over, she’s off, out of the room. To see another patient, I guess. They must be busy, I figure. Nope. She’s just chatting in an empty room with her nurse. Really? You couldn’t sit and make sure the assault victim was okay after that?

Trauma Doesn’t Vanish in the Exam Room

Just because you’re a doctor and you’re trying to help or don’t mean any harm or aren’t even doing anything you consider sexual doesn’t mean the person on the table in front of you is experiencing the situation the same way. After awhile all bodies probably look like lands to be mapped or mysteries to be solved, but we’re individual people with fears and traumas and pains.

Luckily, the results of that final exam were clear, but I have to have a pap every year now to be sure it doesn’t return. I had a go at the medicinal masturbation last week and it hurt like a motherfucker. I thought I was warmed up and ready to go, but apparently not. Really looking forward to my next smear test, which is this Thursday. It’ll be a brand new person. Can’t wait to find out what their nickname will be.

[Update: Post-appointment]

Nurse NHS FTW

The more I deal with the NHS, the more respect and admiration I have for it. My appointment yesterday was with a nurse, who listened, was compassionate and said, ‘There’s no need for that [attitude from the doctors and nurses]’ when I explained how I’d been treated in the past. When I gave details of my lack of sexual experience, she switched out the medium speculum for the small without prompting and even had me laughing by the end of the procedure.

I felt a little light-headed during, but she checked on me in that regard to make sure I was all right, and it passed quickly. There was no physical pain for the first time during one of these exams.

I actually don’t dread returning for my next exam, which is pretty much a miracle. Perhaps I should have called this one Nurse Modern Miracle.

Aug 24 2017

Episode 060: Mike Merrill

Episode the Sixtieth; wherein the Pageist talks with Mike Merrill, the publicly-traded guy about power exchange, allowing strangers to make his life decisions and not filming porn.

.45 Intro and Announcements:

  • One new Facebook like: Hello to Grayson.
  • Two new survey responses. Thank you! You can take the survey here.

2.18 Interview:

  • In this episode I speak with Mike Merrill, the world’s only publicly traded, private individual. We discuss power exchange, including the ways traditional, negotiated power exchange can benefit vanilla relationships, as well as how he decided to allow strangers on the internet to make life decisions for him.
  • His main website is kmikeym.com if you’d like to buy shares or see what that’s about.
  • The Kickstarter for the book is here.
  • There’s also a website about the book’s project, Publicly Traded, Privately Held.
  • His Twitter is @KMikeyM

53.45 Closing Remarks:

Aug 23 2017

A Solution for All Your Unsolicited Peen Woes

If WikiFeet is a new site to you, please read my post first. It’d mean a lot to me.

In episode 56 of my show I mentioned a writer and comedian named Sarah Benincasa. She wrote a book called Real Artists Have Day Jobs.

Awhile back on Instagram she posted a photo of her entry on WikiFeet, which is an open source wiki for images of celebrities’ feet. A couple people were appalled and her response was, ‘It’s just a site for foot fetishists—nothing wrong with that.’ So, you know, A+ for her on that front.

This was my introduction to WikiFeet, which of course I had to share with Walter and he instantly had an idea.

WikiDicks. :extravagant hand gesture:

It’s not what you think, though. Or maybe it is.

It’s a site where people can send aaaaall the unsolicited dick picks they get and then, like WikiFeet, they can be rated from one to five stars.

There could be a second rating for quality of the photo, because there’s a skill to taking a shot of your junk.

There are problems, yes. Like if it’s a really good photo and a really attractive dick (that still doesn’t make it okay to send to someone without their permission), then people would be stealing it to send when someone requested a dick pick to find out what they’d be getting.

So this conversation would become common:

‘Hey, how’d that date go?’

‘It didn’t. I asked for the dick pick and he sent that SAME WikiDick I’ve got from the last three guys. I don’t have time for liars.’

‘You know, one day, that actual dude is going to send you a pic of his actual dick and you’re going to turn him down. Imagine—that dick with those photography skills and you’re going to miss out.’

One set of ratings on WikiFeet.

There could also be user-submitted pics, if they wanted tips on how to take a better crotch shot or were simply looking for a rating in general. That would be a paid service.

Because we’d need to make money to fund the massive number of servers we’d be operating.

I could totally see groups of women cracking open a bottle of wine or four and cackling over the stories of the unsolicited cock-shots. Because that would be part of the fun—the story behind the photo. ‘This was this guy’s opening salvo—his salutation, if you will. No words, just a blurry shot of…this. Luckily, he then included eight more angles in case I didn’t get the message of the only thing he was offering. Not a word did he type, though. For I did not need to know more. And he was right!’

I’m sure gay men would have a great time with it, too. Oh honey, would the gay men enjoy it.

There could be tags! Like keywords, so if you were in a mood to see a whole bunch of five star photography level, veiny cocks with a slight leftward curve, there you go!

Strangers around the world have provided them for you. With comedy commentary.

Another set of info. Guess who I searched for.

There could be a third rating, as well. ‘Ability of user’ or ‘cocksship’ or something. For those who’d tried out said appendage. It would be difficult to verify actual contact, of course, so all reviews of that nature would have to be taken in the of spirit of camaraderie. Or some other gender-neutral term for people exposed to unwanted cock. Cockraderie? ‘We’re all cockrades. Putting up with unsolicited dick in the inbox. Pass the wine and let’s gripe.’

Inevitably, dicks would be recognised. ‘Wait… that’s my ex. He was such a douche, always sending his dick out to everyone and had that birthmark that looked like Texas. Let me tell you—it’s a nice piece but he just lies there.’

Others would be okay with this. ‘Yeah, but I’m into that… do you still have his number? Private message me.’

WikiDicks could work on many, many levels, I’m telling you.

Of course now, someone is going to contact me and say, ‘Oh, this is a real site—it just has a different name.’

I pre-emptively respond to that with: WHY ISN’T IT CALLED WIKIDICKS—THAT’S THE PERFECT NAME.

{I used male pronouns for the cock-owners throughout because it seems unlikely female cock-havers are throwing it around without consent.}

{This originally appeared in an abbreviated form as part of the My Submissive Life segment of episode 58 of The Pageist podcast.}

Aug 17 2017

Episode 059: Jillian Keenan

Episode the fifty-ninth; wherein the Pageist talks with author and spanking enthusiast Jillian Keenan about spanking, Shakespeare, consent and all sorts of other things.

.45 Intro and Announcements:

  • Hello and a big welcome to the new Patreon supporter, Devan!
  • Angola, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belize
  • Jim liked the Facebook page. Hiiiiii, Jim!
  • Two very positive survey responses–thank you! You can take the quick, anonymous survey about the show here.

4.01 Interview:

  • Jillian Keenan is a freelance journalist, author of Sex with Shakespeare, spanking enthusiast and children’s rights advocate.
  • I reviewed Sex with Shakespeare in episode 42. The text of the book review is here.
  • You can find her on Twitter: @jilliankeenan
  • Her website is jilliannyc.com
  • Her interview with Tina Horn on Why Are People Into That?! on spanking is here.

46.15 Closing Remarks:

  • Thank you for tuning in!
  • In the next episode I’ll be interviewing Mike Merrill, the publicly-traded guy.
  • Support the show and site on Patreon!
  • Like The Pageist on Facebook, follow on Twitter, Tumblr, Goodreads, Quora, Medium, and Instagram and join the Fetlife group.
  • You can also subscribe to the website through the email form in the sidebar.
  • Subscribe to the iTunes feed here. You can also rate the show in iTunes, which would be much appreciated!
  • The libsyn feed is here and can be used in your favourite podcast feed reader.
  • All episodes can be heard in an embedded player on this page.

Aug 15 2017

Bonjour Tristesse and A Certain Smile by Francoise Sagan

 

This is the text of the book reviews from episode fifty-eight.

This episode’s book reviews are two novels by Francoise Sagan. Bonjour Tristesse and A Certain Smile. The versions I read were both in one edition by Penguin Modern Classics, translated by Heather Lloyd in 2013. These are the unexpurgated versions of the books. Certain passages had been cut when initially issued in the fifties, though reading it now I couldn’t figure out which ones they’d be without the help of the notes in the book. It’s not exactly scandalous.

I’ll start with Bonjour Tristesse. Which means ‘Hello Sadness’ in French. This is the opening paragraph.

This strange new feeling of mine, obsessing me by its sweet languor, is such that I am reluctant to dignify it with the fine, solemn name of ‘sadness’. It is a feeling so self-indulgent and complete in itself that I am almost ashamed of it, whereas I had always looked upon sadness as being a worthy emotion. Before, I did not know what sadness was, though I knew what it was to be languorous, to have regrets and, more rarely, to feel remorse. Today it is as if I am enfolded in some silken thing, soft and enervating, that sets me apart from others.

It’s about a carefree young woman, Cecile, and her equally carefree widower father, Raymond. They’re spending the summer on the Riviera with her father’s girlfriend-ish sort of person, Elsa, and an old friend arrives. Anne. Anne is the Dominant who would straighten out their lives if they’d let her. Neither of them are very responsible human beings.

This is how the narrator protagonist describes her very early on:

Anne was a fine person. To my mind there was nothing mean-spirited about her. She would guide me, she would take responsibility for my life, in every circumstance she would show me which path to follow.

A Dominant by any other name would still run your life.

Then there’s this:

‘My poor little girl,’ Anne’s voice went on quietly. ‘My poor little Cecile. It’s my fault in a way. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been so strict. Do you believe me when I say that I didn’t wish to cause you distress?’

She was gently stroking my hair and the back of my neck. I didn’t move. I had the same impression as I did when, on the beach, the sand disappeared from beneath my feet, sucked away by a receding wave. A longing for defeat and gentleness had overcome me and no other feeling, not anger, not desire, had ever swept me up as this one did. I wanted to abandon the play-acting, to entrust my life to her, to put myself in her hands for the rest of my days. I had never before experienced such an intense and overwhelming sense of helplessness. I closed my eyes. It seemed to me as if my heart were ceasing to beat.

Cecile is supposed to be studying for exams and she’s only seventeen but spending time with an older boy and that’s only going to get her into trouble with a capital baby.

Of course, as she’s so different from what they’re accustomed to, they’re both attracted to her—she offers a sort of stability and structure that’s foreign and therefore intriguing.

But she’s also, ultimately, radically different from who either the girl or her father is on a fundamental level.

Cecile, the little manipulative minx she is, concocts a plan to break up her father and this woman—though she also still wants her in her life (she’s quite indecisive) by getting the guy she likes, Cyril, to pretend to be romancing Elsa, the woman her father threw over for Anne. Raymond is the sort of man who’ll be wildly jealous and will cheat with Elsa, thereby ruining the prospective marriage with Anne.

It’s very French.

Sagan published this when she was eighteen, which is remarkable for multiple reasons—one of which is the self-awareness. It was originally published in 1954.

This book came up as recommended when I was looking at Georges Bataille books and the blurb said, ‘Funny, immoral and thoroughly French.’ I thought, ‘Check, check and yes, please!’

Both books are amusing in a dry sort of way, and they are very French. ‘Immorality’ is, however, subjective. I kept waiting for the immorality to kick off and… it turned out to be people having extra-marital affairs. Which I suppose was immoral in the mid-50s, but I thought was par for the course in France.

Really, the characters in both novels could have benefited greatly from some ethical non-monogamy workshops, as the woman in the committed couple and the ‘other woman’ always have a sympathetic relationship. I kept hoping they’d get it together and be a happy menage.

It’s like when you’re watching a film from the 80s and think, ‘All of this would be over in five minutes if even one person had a mobile phone. Or the internet.’

On to the second book.

A Certain Smile was published in 1956 when Sagan was twenty. It’s similarly self-aware and angsty. But the first novel’s protagonist was quite flighty and carefree and the second one was more cynical. They seemed to be polar opposites.

The general plot is young woman-has-affair-with-married-man-while-admiring-his-wife. The plot is the affair—from start to end. This time the ‘other woman’ is a university student, Dominique—the author would have been twenty when the novel was published. It’s written from the point of view of the student.

Something the author writes about in A Certain Smile on more than one occasion is what it’s like not being allowed to be yourself—having to perform a version of yourself. Something those of us with low affect can identify with. Here’s an example, she’s talking about going to visit the man she’s having an affair with:

My visit to her depressed me. I went to Luc’s without much enthusiasm and even with some trepidation: I was going to have to chat, be friendly and project an image of myself to them. I would have preferred to have lunch on my own, twirl a jar of mustard round between my fingers, and be vague, vague, completely vague.

It’s interesting that in both books the young, female protagonist greatly admires an older, more sophisticated woman and likes being doted on by that woman, but also does things that makes that woman’s life difficult. Not intentionally—not, ‘I’m going to wreck this woman’s life because I like her,’ but, ‘Boy, I really like so-and-so; she’s great! It’s too bad this other thing I want means I have to make her miserable.’

Stop wrecking these women’s lives over men. Screw the men. They don’t care about you! The women do! The women think you’re great!

Here’s one of the passages from A Certain Smile that was swoon-worthy for me. Francoise is the wife.

Francoise took me into her bedroom to try on one of her coats, which was more stylish than mine. She got me to put on one or two, made me turn round, stood the collars up. At one moment, while doing so, she held my face between the two lapels of the collar and I thought, stifling the same laughter: ‘I’m at her mercy. Perhaps she is going to suffocate me or bite me.’ But she merely smiled.

‘You’re drowning a bit in this.’

‘That’s true,’ I said, not thinking of the coat.

‘I really must see you when you come back.’

‘That’s it,’ I thought. ‘Is she going to ask me to stop seeing Luc? Will I be able to?’ And the answer came to me straight away: ‘No. I couldn’t do it.’

‘Because I’ve decided to take you in hand and dress you suitably and introduce you to things that are more fun than those students and libraries.’

‘Oh, goodness,’ I thought, ‘this is not the moment, it’s not the moment to be saying that to me.’

‘Should I not?’ She went on, in response to my silence. ‘I rather felt I had a daughter in you.’ (She laughed as she said that, but in a kindly way.) ‘If that daughter is going to be rebellious and purely interested in intellectual things…’

‘You are too kind,’ I said, stressing the word ‘too’. ‘I don’t know what to do.’

‘Just let yourself be done to,’ she said, laughing again.

Neither book was what you’d call explicit. As it was recommended for people who enjoyed Georges Bataille I was expecting a sadomasochistic, or as least sexually explicit, good time.

Alas, these are more delicate and poetic, which is nice some times.

Here are two passages from Bonjour Tristesse.

And then began love’s merry dance, where fear goes hand in hand with desire and where, too, there is tenderness and rage and then that brutal hurt giving way to the triumph of pleasure. With Cyril’s gentleness playing its part, I had the good fortune to discover it that day.

 

My body responded to him, became fully itself and blossomed when close to his. I kissed him passionately, I wanted to hurt him, to leave my mark on him so that he would not be able to forget me for one instant that evening and would dream of me that night. For the night would be endless without him, without him close to me, without his lover’s skill, his sudden passion and his long caresses.

I do recommend the edition I read—the Penguin Modern Classics Edition—the particular translation and with both novels, as they compliment one another beautifully and highlight the parallels as well as differences between the protagonists and stories.

If you’d like to really experience the mercurial moods of a teenage girl, these are the books for you—they’re exceedingly well-written—Sagan is far more eloquent than many authors twice her age—but they were an accurate representation of a certain period of my life that I do not miss.

I could also see how reading about a person who doesn’t seem to know her own mind could feel like an experiment in self-torture. So, pick these up accordingly.

I give both books 4/5.

Aug 10 2017

Episode 058: Two Novels by Francoise Sagan

Episode the fifty-eighth; Wherein the Pageist returns from an unplanned break with a revolutionary idea about what to do with all the unsolicited peen going around and remembers that morality is highly subjective. The books reviewed this episode are Bonjour Tristesse and A Certain Smile by Francoise Sagan.

Intro and Announcements:

  • Thank you, everyone for the kind words regarding Walter’s brain tumour. His treatment is going well.
  • Especially thank you to Naiia.
  • Thank you to the Patreon patrons who stuck with me even though I didn’t post anything last month and didn’t get rewards out until the end of the month. You’re all rock stars.
  • Hello and welcome to the show’s newest supporters, ItGoesto11, who also sent one of the loveliest notes, and M and Keith.
  • Huge thank yous to Beau Gest for the Kindle paperwhite and the permission to return it since it was the second one–the return will fund most of a new microphone, which will be enormously helpful. Also in that shipment was a copy of Jay Wiseman’s SM 101, which I’m very much looking forward to.
  • New Facebook likes include Kasia and Eleanor.
  • New countries include Slovenia, Armenia, Uganda and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • There were six survey responses! Oh boy! If you’d like to respond to the survey (it is quick and anonymous), you may do so here.
  • Later this month I’ll be interviewing Mike Merrill, the publicly traded individual. His website is KMikeyM.com.

My Submissive Life:

  • It feels like a million years ago, but it was episode 56 where I talked about Sarah Benincasa.
  • This is her Instagram. This is the photo that kicked off the entire WikiDicks conversation.

Book Reviews:

Bonjour Tristesse and A Certain Smile book cover

(source)

  • This episode’s books are two novels by Francoise Sagan, both of which were in one volume by Penguin Modern Classics. The first is Bonjour Tristesse, which is about a mercurial young woman who plots to break up her widower father from his new relationship, even though she’s quite taken with the woman.
  • The second was A Certain Smile, which follows the affair from start to finish between a young woman and older man, while the younger woman is quite fond of the wife of the man she’s involved with.
  • Both were delicate, well-written, must less explicit than what I usually review on the show, explorations of the inner world of a young woman. The first book was published when the author was eighteen (in 1954), the second when the author was twenty (in 1956). Both are a reminder that what is considered immoral and scandalous at one time hardly raises an eyebrow in another.

Closing Remarks:

  • Thank you for tuning in!
  • In the next episode I’ll be interviewing … someone. A few options are possible.
  • Support the show and site on Patreon!
  • Like The Pageist on Facebook, follow on Twitter, Tumblr, Goodreads, Quora, Medium, and Instagram and join the Fetlife group.
  • You can also subscribe to the website through the email form in the sidebar.
  • Subscribe to the iTunes feed here. You can also rate the show in iTunes, which would be much appreciated!
  • The libsyn feed is here and can be used in your favourite podcast feed reader.
  • All episodes can be heard in an embedded player on this page.

Jul 10 2017

Anxiety, Indecision and the Looming Spectre of Death

[CW: suicide, depression]

I’ve taken a break from all the work I haven’t been doing to write this, in the hope it’ll help get some of it out of my system. This post has a little to do with kink, tangentially, but if you’re looking for something hot and sexy, it’s not going to be here.

How It Started

Three weeks ago, my husband was diagnosed with a brain tumour—it’s highly treatable and most likely he’ll be fine. If you have to get a brain tumour, I recommend one on your pituitary gland.

Cognitively, I know this will probably be a blip in his health history. That hasn’t stopped The Anxiety from creeping in and settling in my stomach like an unwelcome thing that’s had too much coffee. It’s got the jitters and it won’t stop yammering.

My husband is my best friend and the first person I’ve known whose presence doesn’t drain me. We can spend days together and I don’t feel the need to recharge. I can’t imagine my life without him. He is kind and sweet and funny and gentle and nerdy and goofy. He’s the first person I fell in love with—prior to him I didn’t know I had the capacity to love anyone.

What I Worry About, How Likely it Is, and What the Outcome Would Be

I worry…

he’ll have another seizure (or some other medical emergency) when we’re not together. The seizure he had that prompted the trip to the emergency department didn’t look like anything from the outside. He just got very confused and couldn’t think of the words he wanted to use. Now that he’s taking medication to shrink the tumour (the seizure was caused by the tumour pressing on his brain) it shouldn’t be a problem, but that doesn’t stop me worrying about it.

he’ll die in his sleep. That’s not a listed side effect of the tumour or treatment, just an irrational side effect of being confronted with his mortality. Cue picturing what that would be like to wake up to and cope with step-by-step. Thank you, brain.

if something does happen to him, I won’t be able to support myself. We have life insurance but who knows if it would pay out and, at this point, no, I wouldn’t be able to support myself. More on this in a later section.

if something happens, I’d have to return to the States. I would, as I have no claim to remain in the U.K. This would be particularly terrible, as I love it here. This is the first time I’ve been happy in a geographic location in my life. Not only would I have to return to the States, I’d probably have to live with my mother, which is a circle even deeper in Hell for reasons covered in a later section.

The idea of having to deal with an international move after losing the best person I know… it’s doing my head in, as they say here. Usually when I should be sleeping.

How These Worries Manifest Themselves

I can’t sleep. I can’t read (which is part of my job so it’s important). I can’t write (see previous parenthetical). I can’t get back into a routine, which is important for my mental stability.

Trying to form a plan in order to feel a bit more in control, let alone implement the steps in said plan, is shall-we-say ‘difficult’ under the circumstances.

The phrase ‘paralysed by indecision’ keeps coming into my head. What should I do? Should I give up trying to make this business work and try something more stable, if I can even make that happen? How long will it be before I feel safe and can stop worrying about him every second he’s not in my sight or asleep?

‘How Is It Possible a 39 Year Old Can’t Support Herself?’

Mental illness is a hell of a thing, what can I say. It prevented me from finishing high school and college/uni. The jobs I’ve been able to hold in the past never paid enough to support a whole human being. My mother helped pay my rent for a long time (and I didn’t live extravagantly, my two jobs and still no insurance simply didn’t cover rent and food and bills) and I had some delightful credit card debit. Because food had to be purchased so I didn’t die.

My mother can’t afford to help with rent now, but she’d be thrilled for me to move back in with her. She lives in a town of 8,000 in the Deep South in the U.S. When I lived there I bit my nails until they bled and pulled my eyelashes out compulsively. It’s called trichotillomania and it’s not a good time. I don’t like there and there don’t like me.

In the last two years I’ve actually figured out what I can do with my life and I’ve begun taking steps to make it into a career. It’s writing and podcasting about kink. Also eventually doing voice-overs and audio books and teaching and other things in this field. Other people do this and don’t starve so I know it’s possible; it’s about building an audience and marketing and doing the boring business stuff that’s required while your incredible partner does most of the financial heavy-lifting in the household.

I recognise how incredibly privileged I am to be able to attempt to do this full-time from the start. Simultaneously, if I wasn’t doing this, I don’t know what I would be doing, as mental illness is a hell of a thing, as I’ve said, and doing jobs out in the world were both mentally and physically draining to the point where I was only just surviving—going to work then going home. I wasn’t contributing anything to the world, I wasn’t improving myself and I wasn’t making enough money to even pay all of my own bills.

The thought of having to return to that non-existence, in my hometown, with my mother (who is nice in her own way but drives me completely insane) is enough to put me back in that headspace of ‘I could always kill myself.’

I know that sounds glib, but that was a serious option in my mind from the time I was 12. And remained so until shortly after I married my husband. Finally, for the first time in 25 years, suicide and self harm didn’t seem like a good idea or even an option. I wanted to be alive even if I didn’t feel like I had a purpose. Then, I found a purpose in life! Something I never thought would happen—figuring my life would be spent passing time, just trying not to be a raging jerk to other people.

Discovering a reason for living was a revelation. Partially because I didn’t think I’d ever have one and partially because looking forward to getting up in the morning was an entirely new experience. Rather than having zero ideas or motivation for living, I suddenly had a plethora of ideas and plans for what I wanted to do and it could benefit other people. I felt useful and energised for the first time.

I’m not having suicidal ideation now, but remembering what it was like living like I was before immediately puts me back in the ‘what’s the point of this again?’ state of mind. I could easily be right back there again, mentally.

How I’m Trying to Combat This

I may need to return to seeing a therapist, but who knows how long it will take to get in and whether or not that person is kink-friendly, since part of my anxiety is being able to make my kink-based business self-reliant while staving off the terror my favourite person in the world is going to die horribly and far too young. I’ll never meet anyone else like him and living without him scares me to death.

I’m trying to be rational, though. This tumour (that he has named Lurker, since it’s been there for months) will most likely take his leave with little fanfare, in the grand scheme of things, and it would be best for me to focus my efforts on building the business. Knowing I was working towards being able to support myself (as well as being productive in general) would help allay much of my anxiety about life, the universe and everything.

Knowing what would help and actually implementing the plan are two different things, however. I try to work and … just can’t. My brain would rather play mindless games on my phone or check social media for the hundredth time. I can’t seem to get it together to do the things I know I need to. My brain goes to white noise when I try to concentrate. I’m probably supposed to be being kind to myself right now, but that would be much easier if myself would do the things that would help mitigate my anxiety most.

Me: ’Hey, brain, if you do these things, it’ll help you feel better.’
Brain: ’Yeah, I know but have you considered [hanging cadence].’
Me: ’Focus! Just do this one thing! You’ll make money and it’s been on your list for two months!’
Brain: ’Okay, let’s check Twitter for five hours first.’
Me: ‘Fine. I’ll lower the bar. How about we accomplish this one thing today. One thing? Please?’
Brain: ‘Okay. Have you seen this game, though?’

I carry the (quite good!) book I was supposed to have finished reading days ago from bed, where I intend to read a bit before sleep but don’t, to the sofa in the morning, where I intend to read, but don’t. I make notes on the various pieces I want to write for my site and to pitch to other sites but can’t wrangle the attention span to send the pitches or write the actual pieces. I can’t sleep until I’m utterly exhausted and the sun is high in the sky. Then I sleep a bit and get up and have that conversation with my brain again.

It’s exhausting not accomplishing anything and I don’t know how to deal with it because I’ve never been in this situation before. I’ve never had things I wanted to do and not been able to make myself do them because everything just seemed to require a bit too much brain power.

So here we are. I’m trying. I’m struggling, but I’m trying.

Jul 01 2017

What the Pageist Did in June 2017

The Pageist Logo

Patreon

The Monthly Greeting was about the Roman Goddess Juno–where we get the name for the month of June. The Roman’s were kinky… If you want to know why I say that you’ll have to support the Patreon.

The Poetry for Patrons in June was from one of my favourite Victorian writings–The Pearl. It was the first poem in the piece and regarded what men could get up to once they grew bored with vulvas and their accompanying bits.

This month’s Mix Tape was an interview with Graydancer on how to receive blow jobs gracefully. Wooboy. I learned some things.

Podcasts

Episode 53: Podcaster, sex educator and rigger, Graydancer joined the show and we talked about consent. It turned into my longest episode yet, but the topic is an important one.

Episode 54: This episode includes a review of Cooper S. Beckett’s second novel, Approaching the Swingularity, and I was finally well enough to read the sexy section from The Reunion, so there were two sexy sections, since there was one from Swingularity, as well. I reviewed The Reunion by Laura Antoniou in episode 47. The text of the book review for Approaching the Swingularity is here.

Episode 55: A review of my favourite lesbian porno comic, Small Favors by Colleen Coover, and I express beaucoup gratitude for friends, the sex educator community and my listeners. The text of the book review, with several images, is here.

Episode 56: A very brief episode about my husband’s recent diagnosis of a brain tumour and how that will affect the show. Also, two short book reviews and some resources for people interested in improving their dominance or submission.

Episode 57: Cooper S. Beckett returns to the show to discuss his book Approaching the Swingularity, and we also talk about pegging, male bisexuality and more.

Writing

Some cliches are such for a reason. That one about being careful what you wish for… Well, yeah. I got my decades-long dream of living in Oxford and it hasn’t all been roses.

All the Smaller for it is an essay about two of my very favourite topics–kink as orientation and non-sexual kink. With a bonus fav sub-topic of the devaluing of sex education.

Meditations for Submissives 009: Maximus. June’s Meditation was a good mix of advice for people on both sides of the slash.

My birthday was in June so I made a post about it. It has my face in it if you’d like to know what I look like.

The essay Sexual Health and Kink is about dealing with STDs/STIs when kinky, myths surrounding the chronic ones and ways to handle a diagnosis of the same.

Submissive Journal Prompt 011 is a response to the Max De Pre quote: ‘We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.’

Personal News

As mentioned in episode 56, Walter was diagnosed with a brain tumour. Luckily, it appears to be the easiest type to deal with. He began treatment and that’s going well, thus far. Whether or not I have to take a break from doing the show and site will depend on how long he has to be out of work and if I have to get a vanilla job. Or if I can miraculously start making enough money from the show and writing to pay our food bill.

I attended my first Pride in many, many years and that was nice, if remarkably vanilla–next year I’m wearing a Leather pride flag as a cape. It was still lovely to live somewhere that had a parade and festivities in the first place.

And, as mentioned above, it was my birthday. That keeps happening, but every year has been better than the last (this month’s health scare and general political climate notwithstanding) so roll on, forties.

Also

I also added an ‘In the Works’ section to the sidebar of the site so you can see many (but not all–gotta keep the mystery alive) of the things I’m working on.

Jun 30 2017

Episode 057: Cooper S. Beckett Returns

Episode the Fifty-Seventh; Wherein the Pageist welcomes Cooper S. Beckett back to the show and they talk about his newest book, Approaching the Swingularity, as well as pegging, male bisexuality and more.

.45 Intro and Announcements:

  • Thank you for all the kind wishes about Walter’s health. He’s doing well and is mostly bored at the moment.
  • An extra thank you to GentleEnglishman for ordering the Kindle from my wishlist! MWAH!
  • GentleEnglishman also got Sex with Shakespeare for me, which was great and I reviewed in episode 42.

1.57 Interview:

57.57 Closing Remarks:

Jun 22 2017

Episode 056: Brain Tumours and Real Artists

Episode the fifty-sixth; Wherein the Pageist has a big, scary announcement and offers up two very brief book reviews.

.45 Intro and Announcements:

  • Listeners in new countries–the Bahamas, Hungary and Lithuania.
  • Swingset.fm is a swanky bunch of shows–check it out. Eventually I’ll be over there, technology cooperating.
  • Thank you to my Patreon supporters for making this episode possible!

2.53 My Submissive Life:

  • My husband has been diagnosed with a brain tumour. Treatment begins on Monday, but the show may be a bit different (more interviews and fiction reviews) for a bit.
  • Thank the heavens for the NHS.

6.50 Book Review:

In this episode, two very short book reviews:
Real Artists Have Day Jobs Sara Benincasa

11.04 Closing Remarks:

  • Thank you for tuning in!
  • In the next episode I’ll be reviewing either a fiction title or interviewing Cooper S. Beckett. Time will tell.
  • Support the show and site on Patreon!
  • Like The Pageist on Facebook, follow on Twitter, Tumblr, Goodreads, Quora, Medium, and Instagram and join the Fetlife group.
  • You can also subscribe to the website through the email form in the sidebar.
  • Subscribe to the iTunes feed here. You can also rate the show in iTunes, which would be much appreciated!
  • The libsyn feed is here and can be used in your favourite podcast feed reader.
  • All episodes can be heard in an embedded player on this page.

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