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.
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  • 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.

Jun 21 2017

Small Favors Deluxe Hardcover Edition by Colleen Coover

Small Favors deluxe hardback cover

The hardback cover. (source)

[This is the text of the book review from episode 55.]

This episode’s review is of Small Favors by Colleen Coover, published by Limerence Press.

Unlike some of the books I review I did not receive this one for free—I’ve purchased this book many times, in fact.

First, I bought each of the separate comic issues when they were released—there were eight of them between 2000 and 2003.

Then both of the collected volumes, which, between the two of them, brought together issues one through seven.

The edition I’m reviewing today is the hardcover deluxe version that was just released in May.

It collects all eight issues—the final issue is in colour—as well as sketches, pin ups, other behind the scenes bits and pieces and a new short story.

First, book as object. Since it’s billed as a deluxe edition.

It’s quite lovely—there’s no book cover to flap around and get in your way, the cover image and title are printed on the front. It’s rather classy.

The pages are sewn in so it’s solid and the headband (that cloth bit that sticks up at the top of the spine of some books) has gold glittery thread in it, which is a nice touch.

Small favors glittery headband

The end papers are a heavy weight colour I’m not going to describe because it’s not gold or beige and whatever I say will be wrong. It’s in the lightish yellow range.

Small Favors end papers

It’s whatever colour you call this.

About the only thing missing is a sewn-in bookmark, but you don’t really need it, as it’s a comic and it took around an hour and a half to read the entire book. I could have definitely spent more time over certain pages, though.

Oh yes, and it smells good. Because it’s a nice weight paper with lots of ink due to it being a comic.

Now, on to content.

Issue one of Small Favours is about Annie, who is fantasising about her cute girl neighbour. She’s having quite the vigorous wank, totally nude in the back garden, when suddenly, she’s absorbed by the ground and lands in some nether-realm where a stately, Queenly type figure and her apprentice (who are both teeny, tiny) paralyse her with magic.

These two beings represent her conscience. They stand on her naked chest and inform Annie that at the age of twenty-one she’s already used her life-time allotment of masturbation. To prove how salacious the girl is, she produces polaroids of her fiddling with herself in all sorts of situations.

Annie protests saying, ‘So I masturbate a little’

Queenly exclaims: ‘A little?! These were all taken on the same day!’

Small favors proof

They tell her she’s simply got to behave herself from now on and in order to facilitate this, she’s been assigned this pixie-like creature named Nibbil. Nibbil has big blonde pigtails and appears to be wearing a black latex bikini with over the elbow matching latex gloves.

Her job will be to ensure Annie acts like a proper young lady from now on.

While the Queen and her assistant—whose name is Janus and I’ll get back to her—are blathering on about her moral turpitude or whatever, Nibbil has an eye-full of those polaroids of Annie diddling herself hither and yon.

The Queen and Janus go off to magically bond Nibbil and Annie together forevermore and our little pixie girl has discovered she’s utterly turned on by those photos.

Whatever is a tiny pixie girl to do?

Sometimes things are so large we don’t see them. Annie is just so big she doesn’t notice her there anymore—she thinks she’s alone. She’s super turned on, though, and sees a protrusion (hint: it’s Annie’s nipple) and hops on.

She’s having a grand ol’ time, then notices that she’s being watched and introduces herself.

‘Ummm, Hi, Annie! My name’s Nibbil! Gosh! I hope you don’t mind me fucking myself on your nipple!’

‘No. I like this. I like dirty girls.’

Having been given permission, Nibbil resumes her previous endeavours, now with the onomatopoeia of ‘boing boing boing boing’ and an expression of utter glee on her little face.

Small Favors dirty girls

This entire comic is very funny. I laughed out loud many times.

Then, Annie is all turned on, but she can’t move—she’s immobilised by magic still—so she asks Nibbil to help her out.

And she does—what a sweetie.

Small Favors Nibbil Helps Annie

Nibbil ‘helping’ out.

Once they’re both thoroughly satisfied, the Queen and Janus return to announce the women are irrevocably bonded. Nibbil will be keeping Annie in line in perpetuity.

No, they didn’t see what happened.

The takeaway is Nibbil is magic and very sweet, if not the brightest crayon in the box.

Throughout the following issues (which become chapters in the deluxe edition) we learn that Nibbil can grow to human size. So they take turns wielding the strap on. They’re switches in pretty much every way.

Sometimes Nibbil stays small and they play with that in all sorts of ways.

There’s a poly element in that our pixie friend encourages Annie to approach the hot neighbour she was lusting over when they were first introduced and thoroughly enjoys Annie’s enjoyment.

They also meet another girl at one point and have some three-way fun.

Small Favors Threeway

Like so.

Then there’s an orgy involving five people—all women. There are only vulva-having ladies in this book.

Small Favors lesbian orgy

Why isn’t this a live-action film yet?

At one point, Janus, the Queen’s assistant, is sent to check up on Nibbil and Annie.

I love Janus.

Janus wears glasses and a prim dress and has her hair in a bun and is usually carrying books—the titles of which reflect her inner thoughts. Like ‘The Clean Human Being’ and ‘Humility’

Her goal is to please the Queen and receive her approval and admiration. This is her kink.

Small Favors Janus is the best

This is what Janus thinks will happen when she finds the girls debauching one another.

As she’s walking up the drive to do the check in, she grouses,

small favors janus

That being at the top is Bean (not my Bean–she’s an actual person.)

Meanwhile, inside the house, Annie is going down on Nibbil, who suddenly starts crying and then this conversation happens:

Annie says: Oh no! I’m sorry! I thought you liked it when I licked you there! Oh no!

And Nibbil says:

small favors colleen coover nummy titties

So they’re running around the house like lunatics trying to clean everything up so Nibbil won’t get into trouble.
And something really good happens, but I’m not going to tell you what because spoilers.

Part of why I have such affection for Small Favors is nostalgia—it was released when I was a young-ish lesbian. And I hadn’t seen anything like it—I still haven’t.

It’s as graphic as it’s possible to be.

I gave a copy of the first collection to my friend Bean for her birthday one year and we were walking in public when she flipped through it and went, ‘Whoa, that’s graphic, I need to put this is my bag, hold up.’

It’s pretty much cartoon labia on nearly every page.

small favors annie masturbate


small favors nibbil masturbating


small favors toys


But it’s also very sweet and funny.

It’s also quite kinky! I didn’t realise. Because I was a kinky person but didn’t know it back then—I just thought it was the normal way to be—but looking at it now a vanilla person might be annoyed by all the spankings and bondage and such.

There’s even a story called ‘How to Spank Girls’.

Small Favors spankings

Which includes one of my all-time favourite comic panels, ever.

Note to my younger self: This isn’t the sort of thing vanilla people find normal. Find a clue, your life will be better for it.

I mean, in the very opening—Annie is fantasising about attaching her cute neighbour to the washing line with clothes pins by the nipples so she can do other naughty things to her. Sure. Everyone thinks about that.

Small Favors clothes pins on nipples


At the same time—there’s so much explicit consent. There’s a lot of people checking in or affirming their desire to do things. Which is definitely not something you see in BDSM porn—or any porn, really. People usually just go with the fantasy of power. I give Coover much credit for that.

So, it’s super fun and the physical version is high quality and I’m very happy. The end.


Jun 20 2017

Unforeseen Circumstances

This week’s podcast episode & posts will be delayed due to a family medical emergency. Many thanks to the staff and doctors at John Radcliffe Hospital & the NHS for their caring, thorough attention. Regularly scheduled programming will resume… when it does. We don’t have all test results or a diagnosis yet.

Jun 18 2017

The Things We Wish For: A Cautionary Tale

At eleven pm last night, as I was finally settling down in my too hot bed (because they don’t really do A/C in England), after being awake thirty-two hours (because I have a terrible time sleeping) there began fireworks.

On a June 17…

It wasn’t a long display, but immediately after, live music kicked off.

Was it for the Queen’s birthday? I asked my English husband. No, they don’t usually do that (fireworks or live concerts in the middle of the night) for her Majesty.

It sounded like it was nearby.

The music was loud enough I could make out songs—it was a cover band. ‘Living on a Prayer’ and a manic version of ‘I Will Survive’ a la Cake were a couple choice selections. The bass was reverberating in the bed that I desperately wanted to be sleeping in.

Mystified, my husband went out to investigate while I lie there, looking through dailyinfo.co.uk, the local events schedule for Oxford. Nothing that matched this cacophony was scheduled in our suburb or in Oxford itself.

Eventually, Walter returned and reported that it was ‘so strange’ because the music seemed loudest on our street, but it wasn’t even in our suburb. As he was walking, the cars driving by and the wind seemed to be knocking the music in different directions, but it became clearest when he turned back up our street to return home.

Enigma unsolved, he got on NextDoor, a neighbourhood forum, and asked any neighbours who may be awake and aware of what was going on.

One responder didn’t know the exact reason but added jovially, ‘Oxford in summer, eh?!’

Wait. So this is normal? But why? They didn’t say.

Finally, someone else on NextDoor did know. It was the Christchurch end of year ball.

We live nowhere near Christchurch. But sure enough. Fireworks at 10.20 and live music until 3. Then a silent disco from 3 to 5am. (That’s where you wear wireless headphones to listen to the live music.)

So this is something that happens every year this time. Okay.

Of course, other colleges have them, too. Not all 33 colleges, thank the old gods and the new, but several. Enough that the upcoming weekends are going to be an emotional whirlwind.

This is a Difficult Timeline for Me

Oxford has been my happy place since I was 22. England has been my happy place since I was 16. When people have difficult childhoods they develop ways to escape—some use drink or drugs or sex, others use fantasy worlds they create or read about.

England was my escape. It was a real place I could move to one day. I understood people left you alone in public and didn’t pry, it was beautiful, liberal, and, most importantly, it was very far away from where I grew up.

So when I decided to really settle in to writing my first novel (my actual first had no plot or direction and was abandoned a few chapters in at 17 years old) it would, of course, take place in England. So I could live there in my mind at least.

I chose Oxford University as the setting and the more I learned about the city and the university, the more I loved it.
After that, Oxford was my go-to fantasy place. All of my stories were set there. It’s just where I lived in my head.

That novel was 2,400 words long and took two years to write—I learned much about England and Oxford in that time, but somehow not about these end of year balls. Or, if I did, I didn’t realise how loud they’d be. When I’d visited the city for research it had been in November so I’d missed out on the music blaring across the city.

I didn’t really think I’d ever get to move to England. And certainly not to Oxford. When it happened it was a dream come true.

But the dream wasn’t supposed to work out this way. And when you only get part of a dream you’ve had for the majority of your adult life it can be disappointing. If you want to laugh at the white woman who didn’t get everything she wanted, that’s fine. I understand how entitled that sounds. Read on—my pain can be your hilarity.

The University and Why End-of-Term is Going to Be Unpleasant

Oxford University is the second oldest university in the world. It’s the oldest English-speaking one. People have been teaching in Oxford for a thousand years.

In my first novel, my protagonist was a student at the University (New College). Because I thought I could have gone here. And I probably could have if I’d had help for the mental illnesses that kicked off when I was eight and if my alcoholic father had spent more time giving me confidence rather than telling me women couldn’t do anything.

Instead, my mother was dealing with her own burgeoning alcoholism and mental health problems—possibly due to dealing with my father. She didn’t have a lot of time to pay attention to me or my issues.

I had a high I.Q. though and everyone told me I was going to do amazing things—my parents were already saving for college when I was eight. This was something no one in my family had done before—gone to college—so saving for it seemed like they were doing something radical, but I was crazy smart, so it was going to be worth it.

(Yes, my father simultaneously told me I was pointless for being female and put money aside for college for me. I don’t pretend to understand him and I didn’t cry when he died.)

The thing about achieving academic success is that you have to show up. And study. It’s much easier to do both of those things when you don’t have untreated depression and anxiety and don’t go through a period every. single. year. where you want to kill yourself.

So Oxford was the place I could have gone in the timeline where my parents weren’t shit parents but I had the exact same genetics.

Everyone in our culture receives the message that in order to be smart you have to have a degree. (I worked at a university in North Carolina—plenty of people got degrees by simply showing up and doing what they were told. Trust me—a piece of paper proves nothing.)

If you’re naturally intelligent, though, you really receive this message. You have to use your intelligence in a way that involves getting paper that can be framed. When I was converting to Judaism, after several meetings and a dinner with his wife, who was a professor at the local university, my rabbi said to me, in a rather surprised tone, ‘Rose* noticed how smart you are, too,—now we just have to get you a degree.’

Not in anything. Just a degree.

Being smart doesn’t count unless someone else says so. You have to prove it by following the rules.

The Degrees I’ve Attempted—The Money I’ve Wasted

Every dinner I had at Rose and the Rabbi’s house people would ask what I was studying (I was young enough to be a student). Then I’d have to explain I wasn’t at university (while my face turned brighter red than my hair) because I just wasn’t any good at organised education.

People don’t take your word for it, though. They never do with mental illness. They don’t see what goes into dealing with whatever you’re dealing with because it’s invisible.

‘But you’re so smart!’ They’d all exclaim.

They don’t give degrees for just being smart, though. You have to be able to walk into the classroom. And sit for the duration. And focus on the topic—not on the fact that you’re surrounded by people or your own breathing in an effort to calm down.

You have to be able to actually get out of bed and get dressed and washed and there and still have the energy to do all of those other things.

And not only once. You have to do it a lot. For many classes.

Then you can’t just go home and collapse from the exhaustion involved with all of that—you have to study and do coursework.

This is if the only thing you have to do in life is school. No chores, no family, no work to pay bills.

For a person with depression and anxiety that was impossible.

It took me six years (and three schools) to get to within two classes of an Associate’s degree, signing up every semester for full-time and winding up dropping (or just not showing up).

An Associate’s degree is usually a two-year degree that can be obtained at the easiest of easy institutions in the U.S.

I was at one of these institutions, during one of my better periods, taking a class that was easy for me and the teacher said, ‘You shouldn’t even be here—you should be at Harvard.’ He said it like he was disappointed in me for being in his class.

Professors at the university I worked at as an admin assistant would mistake me as another professor and be surprised I didn’t at least have a Masters.

Other people should really be thankful for their neurotypicalness.

It doesn’t matter if you’re intelligent, though. It’s that degree that says you can follow the rules and show up and turn things in on time. That’s what matters.

And it is so hard to not internalise this.

I offer these examples not as a way to brag, because they only made me feel good for a quarter of a second. Then, the message behind the statement gets nice and comfortable in my brain, which hates me.

‘You are a failure.’

‘You are inferior.’

‘You have a natural gift—this should be easy for you.’

‘You’re wasting your potential.’

‘If this is how you are without formal education, can you imagine what you’d know with it? Can you imagine what you could accomplish in the world?’

‘Oxford in Summer, Eh?’

Every year we’ll be able to hear those celebrations. And fair dues, those kids worked hard! They deserve to have a party.

Some part of me feels cheated, though. Years ago, I should have been at one of those celebrating my hard work and graduation from one of the most prestigious academic institutions in the world.

I could feel it. Lying in bed, I could imagine being at that concert in black tie and evening gown, surrounded by other people who had their whole lives ahead of them, but at that moment, who were there, celebrating the achievement of making it as far as they had. Some coming from other countries to study here. How hard did they have to work? How proud they—and their families—must be. It must have been a night to remember.

I was jealous and miserable.

That was before learning there would be balls over the next several weekends, as well.

The Degree I Could Get

The University of London, Goldsmiths has an English literature degree that can be achieved online in three years. Unlike courses in the U.S., you only study the subject you’re there for in the U.K. Part of my difficulty in America was the requirement to take classes I had no interest in, which gave me much more time to focus on panicking or simply left me with zero motivation to show up.

But why should I get this degree now? I’d finally have one and I’m sure I’d learn a lot—Goldsmiths is highly respected. But the chief reason I’d go for it is to be able to say I had the degree. I would have to put my new business on hold (or at least devote far less time to it), just when I’ve finally found what I want to do with my life.

That doesn’t mean I don’t want a degree. Those voices up there are still there. But, rationally, I don’t have good reason to spend the money or time getting this one.

This Timeline, Man. It Gives and It Takes.

I’m writing this in the tiny back garden of our bizarre little terraced house in suburban Oxford, where I never thought I’d live.

Neighbour’s lives in every direction are audible, because people live right up next to one another, but it’s not stifling like it would be in mid-June in coastal North Carolina, which is A+. A posh couple has just moved in next door and hearing the woman say ‘Funky’ in her accent makes my day.

I’m ridiculously happily married (to a man?!) and we had our eleventh anniversary last month. He’s having some sort of male menopause at the age of forty and has become obsessed with grilling chicken on the barbecue—something he’s never cared about before in his life.

He’s just worked out how to warm English marshmallows (3/4th the size of U.S. type) on the prongs of the tool he uses for moving the meat around and offers one to me. ‘Gooey,’ he says, offering one. They’re excellent.

If it weren’t for his financial wherewithal I’d be in who knows how much debt, as I like to shop when depressed or drunk. Now we’re completely out of debt. We have no savings to speak of, but we don’t owe anyone anything. This is basically fantasyland for me.

I’d probably also be a raging alcoholic—it was a lot easier to stop drinking with his help.

Or dead. Honestly. I’ve been suicidal in the time we’ve known one another and he got me to the hospital when I was unconscious and vomiting.

When I finally worked out what I wanted to do with my life—a podcast and website about kink education—he’s been enthusiastically supportive from the start.

It was through his English citizenship we were able to move to England. Neither of us could believe when he got the job at Oxford University, as he doesn’t have a degree, either, and U.S. institutions wouldn’t give him an interview without even a Bachelor’s.

They flew him out for an interview—the first time he’d been to the city as an adult—and he loved it. He was as in love with it as I was by the time he left.

So we got to move here. For weeks—maybe a few months—I’d wake up in the morning and think, ‘I live in England!’ I still have these moments.

He was so happy to have been able to bring me back. He was happy to be here with me, too.

And we both love Oxford. It’s beautiful and has such history and so many things to do.

But after dreaming about living here for twenty-two years, I relocated just in time for Brexit. For the Tories to try to dismantle the NHS. For a coalition government with the DUP (?!)

Americans, imagine if the Tea Party (picture the most right-wing humans you can) was its own party and they only had three senators, but in order to have a majority number of votes in the Senate, moderate Republicans formed a whole government that included teaming up with them in order to secure their votes when they needed them.

And for the Digital Economy Bill to pass.

I finally work out what I want to do with my life, after nearly forty years of a philosophy of, ‘Everything is a way of marking time until we die,’ and that thing revolves around kink and sex education and the DEB happens.

The DEB aims to ‘protect the children!’ by banning all sorts of things on the internet that anyone with VPN or Tumblr can still see. It’s poorly thought out and misogynistic. This country is supposed to be liberal. Are they going to bring back capital punishment and handguns next?

The Big Blue Tick Mark of External Validation

I’ve never been more myself or more of an adult—I have solid plans for growing a business I’m serious about that I feel has value. For the first time, I look forward to working. There are so many ideas jostling for attention it’s difficult to focus on just one sometimes.

That doesn’t stop the voices saying what I do isn’t worth as much or that I’m not living up to my potential because I don’t have that piece of paper and that I didn’t get it when I was supposed to. That I’m not doing something more conventional that can be written about in the paper. That I can’t get that blue tick mark—that I can’t be verified by life.

When your worth is measured by external validation from a young age—by a degree, for example—you value verification over your own feelings of self worth or accomplishment. Perhaps I don’t trust my own ability to judge my achievements. I just have to be happy being happy. I’m working on it.

*Not her real name.

Jun 17 2017

Episode 055: Small Favors

Episode the fifty-fifth; Wherein the Pageist expresses gratitude for community, friends and the best listeners in the world. The book reviewed is Small Favors: the definitive girly porno collection by Colleen Coover.

.45 Intro and Announcements:

  • The show has a new Patreon supporter! Effusive thanks to Dave!

1.48 My Submissive Life:

10.15 Book Review:

Small Favors deluxe hardback cover

The hardback cover. (source)

  • This episode’s book is Small Favors: the definitive girly porno collection by Colleen Coover.
    It collects the full run of the popular (very) explicit lesbian comic that ran from 2000-2003, including all seven of the black and white issues and the previously uncollected eighth colour issue. Also included is a new short story, pin-ups, sketches and other bits and bobs.
    It’s kinky and fun-loving (and hilarious). I had forgotten how funny.
    The premise is that Annie has used her lifetime allotment of masturbation by the age of twenty-one and the adorable Nibbil has been sent from another realm to make sure she behaves herself forevermore. They are irrevocably bonded through magic and, well, Nibbil is a naughty little someone herself.
    They thoroughly enjoy their bond (and bondage). Though it doesn’t remain just the two of them for long, as Nibbil understands compersion well and encourages Annie to explore whatever and whomever she’d like. Her cute neighbour, for example.
    This is such a fun time while demonstrating healthy kink and that lesbians can get down with the best of them.
  • Check out the artist’s website for more information about the author and her work: ColleenCoover.net


20.48 Closing Remarks:

Jun 15 2017

All the Smaller For It: Kink as Orientation & Nonsexual Kink

All the Smaller For It a.k.a. Everyone Doesn’t Have to Experience Relationships the Way You Do

This week hasn’t been so swift, as my Mother likes to say when she doesn’t feel good. ‘I don’t feel so swift.’

I started Monday morning being compared to a rapist and pedophile for being kinky. Here’s what happened.

Sunday, in a conversation on Twitter, giver of hilarity and taker of will to live, I pointed out that some people believe kink is an orientation, since it’s unchangeable and present from an early age. This didn’t feel like a controversial statement to me.

Monday I woke up to someone saying that NO, kink is only sexual and if we’re going to include kinky people in LGBT then we have to include rapists and pedophiles.

I said that first—kink doesn’t have to be sexual—asexual people can be kinky (the person disagreed) and that kink is all about consent. Rape and pedophilia very much aren’t.

Then I realised—this person doesn’t know what my job is.

So I explained this is what I do—I read (books, articles, essays) and write and listen to podcasts and learn from other people and have a show, sharing information about kink. Teaching is an excellent way of learning—it helps you remember what you’ve read, synthesise information from various sources and forces you to solidify your opinions, as well as form sound reasoning behind those opinions.

This is what I do all day, seven days a week. It’s my job and my personal life.

Sarah McDonald Kinky Nerd

This is the safest image that came up when I searched for ‘kinky nerd’. It’s Sarah McDonald.

I figured they just thought I was a random person with as little information as they had.

The response I received: Good for you.

Then they told me to pick up a biology textbook because I didn’t understand how sexuality worked.

That person (and the people who agreed with them in the thread) will never listen to my show (or read this) because they aren’t interested in learning anything. They’ve decided what kink is and is not. And that is sad and infuriating, but their lives will be all the smaller for it.

They know what kink and sex is for them specifically and that’s enough for them. Which is fine—my knowing that other people experience the world a different way because either I do so myself or because I’ve read about or spoken to people who experience the world differently is enough for me.

Some people don’t believe other people when they talk about their experiences of the world—if they don’t experience it for themselves it doesn’t exist for them. They believe only their experience of anything is ‘correct’ and everything else is wrong and must be explained or accounted for rather than simply accepted as a different way of living in the world.

I need to learn to leave people alone when they don’t want to learn.

I have this wacky thing, though, with information. It’s free—here—understand the world and humanity better.

If you’re reading this, perhaps you’d like to understand some of the world and your fellow humans better. So, here is some information.

My presents often come in the form of information. (source)

Kink as Orientation

Kink is an orientation—for some people—because it’s how they relate to others intimately. Not just sexually, but emotionally. They are ‘oriented’ that way.

You can’t un-orient someone from their particular thing.

I should say ‘we’. Looking back, my service-oriented submissiveness was present for years before my romantic feelings for women were. I didn’t have a word for it, but I knew I wanted to be useful to a woman I admired.

For years I could describe, with many, many words how particular women (who I’d now just call Dominant) made me feel using many, many words, (which I’d now just say submissive). I could also sort of describe the type of relationship I wanted (now it’d be called a power exchange) and all the things I’d like to do (now it’d be service).

When Jillian Keenan was on Why Are People Into That?! with Tina Horn and they talked about spanking Tina asked her if she had to give up spanking or sex which would it be Jillian said sex without much pause. Tina said the same.

If that isn’t oriented towards spanking, then I don’t know what is.

(Keenan has a great article on Slate called Is Kink an Orientation.)

In the recent episodes of Tina’s show about masochism with Dirty Lola (pt1, pt2), she actually said she felt she was oriented towards sadomasochism. That it was profoundly part of her.

For some people, BDSM isn’t an orientation. It’s just something people do on occasion to spice things up—to goof around. To feel naughty. There’s nothing wrong with that.

To say that kink isn’t an orientation is like saying that because some people fool around with the same sex at a play party, no one is ever completely gay or romantically oriented towards the same sex.

Just because something works one way for you doesn’t mean it has to work that way for everyone else. Other people’s experiences are just as valid as yours.

If it’s something that you couldn’t give up—if it makes up a part of your core being and has been present since a young age—you’re oriented that way. Just like you’re whatever gender you are (or aren’t), or whatever sexuality you are.

Speaking of sexuality.

Relax. It’s not what you think. (source)

Non-Sexual Kink

Kink can be non-sexual. Even for sexual people. If your thing is rope you can enjoy tying up everyone for the art and creativity and challenge. You don’t have to want to fuck everyone in the rope.

Though I suppose some people could be so turned on by the act of tying—if they were pansexual and had a high libido—maybe they could find everyone in their rope sexy.

The point is—lots of kink can be non-sexual. Power exchange isn’t called ‘sex exchange’. It’s about power and control and trust and a thousand other things. Sex can be involved, but it doesn’t have to be.

A lot of people think power is sexy, but a lot of people think cars are sexy, too. When someone buys a new car you don’t automatically say, ‘When are you going to fuck in it?’

Just because something is deemed ‘sexy’ by the wider world doesn’t mean sex is involved.

Someone I know who is a Master and is married to his slave—he also had another slave for a time (they were all poly) and he intentionally didn’t have sex with his second slave because he didn’t want that energy to cloud the power exchange. If a full-time Master/slave relationship isn’t kinky, I don’t know what is, but they didn’t have sex.

There are also several groups of asexual kinksters on Fet. I don’t know what to tell them. ‘Some people on Twitter think you don’t exist so… Sorry.’

Kink is definitely about sex for many people. Just because it is for you doesn’t mean it has to be for everyone.

Because I’m a creative person and this is how my mind works—I began trying to work out if there were any kinks that couldn’t be practised non-sexually. The only ones that were really difficult were chastity and things like prostate milking.

Even forced orgasms could be non-sexual. It’s not something I have any interest in, but if I were in a long-term power exchange and my Ma’am was really into that, I’d do it as an act of submission. Orgasms feel good, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not something I’d ever ask for or care about. After about the third I’d be yawning.

But with penises and their accoutrements—if you don’t care about that stuff…I mean, I could lock my husband’s junk up and his biggest issue would be bathing. Trying to clean an uncircumcised cock in a chastity cage is probably a real issue.

But: ‘Now, keep your hands off yourself!’


I really never thought I’d wind up writing about Walter’s dick, but there we are. It has a little turtleneck and he washes under it and then goes FOONK and pulls the covers back over its head. It’s sweet.

And it never bothers me for anything. That’s the best part.

It couldn’t make me happier if it had its own Minion sweater. (source)

The Devaluing of Sex Education

Now. The ‘Good for you’ where the person dismissed the time, energy, money and effort I put into learning and sharing information about kink.

I was shaking with rage. I’ve never had my intelligence dismissed before—to that degree, I mean, I am a woman—and I did not care for it.

They had made up their mind about what kink (and kinky people) were and didn’t care that someone else knew more and was happy to share.

I think much of this comes from our culture’s devaluing of sex education. Sex is simple and straightforward and anyone can have it. There’s nothing new to learn about it, right? So you probably already know everything there is to know. And you certainly don’t want to know more—especially about anything deviant like BDSM. Mainstream media will tell you everything you need to know about that, except that’s nearly always written by non-kinky people who don’t do research and perpetuates incorrect and harmful information from other non-kinky writers.

One of the most profound things I have learned in studying sexuality—about myself and the rest of humanity—is that sexuality is far more complicated and nuanced than we’ve been led to believe by religion or government or society. It’s beautiful and amazing. If people were just allowed to be themselves and explore, with other consenting adults, obviously, we’d all be better off. I don’t know how much work we’d get done. But there’d probably be fewer wars.

How we are oriented—how we connect with others intimately—whether it’s sexually, emotionally, how we need to structure our relationships to be most fulfilled, whatever… is when we’re being most true to ourselves. If we have to lie about that—about who we are at our core—then we’re lying about everything else. You can’t build an honest life on top of an untruth.

People who give you resources to help you be more honest with yourself and those in your life—because we can’t ‘teach’ you anything, we can just give you resources and hope you make the most of them—hope they work for you. We want you to be your most authentic self. Because when you are—you’re happier, as are the people around you. And there’s no reason to be miserable. Some people have to remain closeted due to the country they live in—or the specific area—and my heart goes out to you. But knowing yourself and knowing you’re not alone is vital, I think.

I’m a fucking sex and kink resource librarian. It’s my goal in life to accumulate even more resources to help even more people in future. If you ever come across a useful resource, send it my way, (thepageist [at] gmail) and I’ll add it to the pages on my site.

I’m going for the virtual, kinky version of this. It’s the long room at Trinity College, Dublin. More photos here.

We’ve Been Here For Years, Mofos

So this Twitter person (and several agreed) that we shouldn’t allow kinkily oriented people under the LGBT umbrella unless we were going to allow in rapists and pedophiles, too.

Well, uninformed individual who didn’t want to listen to the person who devotes their life to this, but who has a podcast, kinky people have been marching in gay pride since 1981. So HA-HA.

I thought so, but I wasn’t sure of the dates, so I would like to thank Laura Antoniou for the following information, who very graciously answered my questions on Twitter (which isn’t all evil).

My question to her was when did Leather people start marching in pride?

She had to look it up—thank you, Laura! (I wasn’t even sure where to start with that) and said the Gay Male S/M Activists (GMSMA) and the Lesbian Sex Mafia (a lesbian BDSM community) marched in 1981 in Gay Pride in New York. There was also a big Leather contingent at the 1987 March on Washington for Gay and Lesbian Rights, which was possibly the first appearance of SSC—Safe Sane and Consensual—on a banner.

It’s not like regular old gay folks are promoting consent on banners out in the world. Neither are non-kinky people, for that matter. But the Leather people were.

SSC was created by the Leather community, as a way of putting the non-kinky people’s minds at ease. Because, you know, we’re so terrifying. Doing things with other people who want to do them.

Meanwhile, thirty-five years later, the vanilla world still hasn’t caught up and started using the consent model we do, which is more conscientious than theirs. The irony. It burns.

Back to Laura, though. She said her first Pride was in 1984 and she was marching with the Lesbian Sex Mafia in the early 90s, where they had regular debates on whether or not to march with the lesbians of the leathermen. To which she added ‘Imagine!’ I can just hear that in her New York accent.

She also said back then there were protests to them marching, where they were called rapists and child molesters. Charming. Good to know the haters haven’t come up with anything new in decades.

This comes back to people thinking they already know everything they need to know about those dirty perverts, though, right?

Anyone reading this who worries they are anything like that—you are fine how you are. As long as what you’re doing is consensual with another adult human being you are fine exactly how you are. It’s not your fault the people around you think they know everything there is to know about human sexuality. I know I don’t know everything and I’m excited to learn more. I know that my world is only going to expand, though; it’s not going to contract—that’s not how it works. You just learn about new and varied ways people connect and relate—both to others and themselves. Physically and emotionally, sexually and intellectually.

This experience has made me endlessly grateful for the community of kink and sex educators I am proud to call my peers and mentors and it makes me even more determined to work to eradicate such narrow thinking. It also makes me grateful for and proud of my friends, who have been open-minded and supportive and of me and my career from the beginning.

This is for you. (source)

(This piece originally appeared in a shorter form in episode 54 of The Pageist podcast.)

Jun 13 2017

Approaching the Swingularity by Cooper S. Beckett

[This is the text of the book review from episode 54, which includes a reading of one of the steamy scenes.]

This episode’s book review is Approaching the Swingularity: Tales of Swinging and Polyamory in Paradise by Cooper S. Beckett.

I received this book for free and Coop runs swingset.fm, but I auditioned to read the part of Paige in the audio version of this and didn’t get the part. So, fuck this guy. This book is a piece of shit.

I’m kidding. Cooper is the sort of author who would want an honest review anyway and he can take criticism. With that as a preface, I don’t have a great deal of negative to say except, like in A Life Less Monogamous, the first book in the series, everyone appears to be drinking, all the time.

But I’ll get to that in a minute.

I was going to review this on the show long before there was any plan to join the network, because I loved the characters of Paige and Bruce from A Life Less Monogamous, which I reviewed in episode 5.

To recap that book—Ryan and Jennifer are a youngish couple in a lacklustre, monogamous marriage. They meet vibrant, older couple Bruce and Paige and zoom into swinging. And they all drink a whole bunch and almost never seem to get drunk unless they need to be for the plot.

That was one of my quibbles with the last book. I said you shouldn’t read that one if you struggle with alcohol because I don’t usually have a problem saying no and I wanted a drink.

This book takes place some time after that one—not years, but it doesn’t pick up the next day, either—and all four of them have gone off to a swingers’ resort in Mexico, Xanadu X, along with one hundred and eleven other couples.

That’s a lot of genitals to possibly interact with.

That’s also many characters to juggle. Which the author does admirably.

The book is broken down by day—the holiday lasts a week—then, within each day there are chapters, each are told from the point of view of various characters.

Some chapters are by Ryan, Jennifer (who now goes by Jenn), Bruce and Paige, then we have new people, including the person who has run the get away for ten years, Raymond and whose partner has recently left him. He’s not exactly in an orgy-mood, as you can imagine, but has to put on his party face for the benefit of the other attendees. There are chapters by Alejandra and Crista, Xanadu’s first lesbian couple and all I have to say is Coop seriously knows some lesbians, because he’s nailed what lady relationships are like.

Crista also has a reactive libido, rather than proactive, meaning that it’s a special flower that needs careful nurturing. He uses the book to educate on many subjects including things like reactive vs proactive sex drives, but also things pertaining to poly and swinging and has his characters demonstrate safer sex and kink negotiations as well as STI and STD conversations. And the conversations come across as quite natural. It’s obvious this was written by a person who actually does these things.

In terms of ‘doing these things’—people did a lot of things. There were many sexual activities experienced including a gang bang and an orgy and pegging and a lesbian foursome and a standing sixty-nine and… just… so many things.

But the book isn’t just one scene of debauchery after another—each of the characters are going through their own woes because obviously your week-long orgy isn’t going to happen when life is going perfectly, is it? At first I was thinking, ‘Jeez, is anyone’s life going well?’ but then I realised that of course life is going to happen to you when you just want to get your junk out on a Mexican beach.

There are some profound moments and some heart-wrenching ones, as well.

There were a few laugh-out-loud moments, too. Someone gets stung by a jellyfish at one point and a Mr Helpful type comes running up the beach to pee on the poor bastard in a scene that had me cackling… That’s an urban legend, by the way. Don’t pee on someone who’s been stung by a jellyfish. It doesn’t help. No one’s in the mood for watersports just then.

The people narrating the story aren’t the only ones around, either. The author isn’t enough of a masochist to attempt to introduce us to all one hundred seven other couples, but some other people are regular players.

There’s Strom and Kitten—the podcasters—who start out obnoxious and … well. They’re fun.

Then there’s Will and Madison. We’ve all met a Will. He’s that guy you want to shoot into the sun. We’ve also all met a Madison. Where you think, ‘Why, girl? Why him?’

There’s James and Debra—the much older couple who’ve been to every Xanadu since its inception. I loved James and Debra. They appeared to be the only couple who weren’t having some sort of relationship or personal crisis. That reminds me—fuck you, Coop. I know you’re reading this.

Xanadu had its first triad—in the form of a gay guy, bi guy and straight woman—Rory, Terrence and Marley.

And finally, perhaps my favourite character, Lydia. The person Ryan has his first thuper kinky experience with. (It’s the steamy scene I chose to read at the end of the episode.)

There were a few others who appeared by name, but those were the big ones—the ones with plotlines.

As a writer—respect to juggling all of that. I was mentally keeping up with how all of the 500 plotlines were going at any one point and whether they would or would not be resolved and how believable those resolutions would be.
Well-fucking-done, man. I’ve been going over various subplots in the days after finishing it and just wind up being impressed all over again.

Ryan is curious about exploring his bisexuality and his thoughts on this were really well expressed, as were Crista’s experiences as someone with a less-than-naturally-enthusiastic sex drive.

We learn more about Bruce and Paige—who, in the first book—seem to have this whole Swinging Open Poly thing down. We learn no one is perfect and people are just trying to make it work as best they can. And that even people who know swinging or poly is right for them can still have fears and doubts.

We also get to see how the foursome’s relationships have grown and changed in the time between books. It made me happy. That’s all I’m going to say. Dear god, a lot happened in this book. Not until writing this did I realise just how much. It didn’t feel like a Russian novel.

I highlighted lots of bits and pieces, but I really liked this one:

‘when does time ever truly allow for our desires in full? Instead, it keeps us humble, parceling out moments, making them precious.’

Yeah well, time’s a jerk. I desire more time to read and write. So, you know. Who wants to be humble.


I read the final, pre-editorial draft, so there were more than the usual typos, but because I didn’t read the final draft I’m going to give Coop and his editor the benefit of the doubt—they both probably caught a lot. I’m just covering my bee-hind with this note.

As mentioned before, everyone drinks, all the time. Which may simply reflect the swingers’ resort culture, but, again, if you struggle with that sort of thing—wave off, wave off. I really want an espresso martini, though, and I can’t have either of those things without regretting my entire life.

That’s it. Which is a fairly short list of quibbles.

Overall: The author’s writing improves with each book—this is his best yet. Character, pacing and plot are all on point. This one is sexy, hilarious and full of heart and you might learn a few things, too. You don’t have to start with A Life Less Monogamous, but you might as well, as it’s a good one, as well.


Jun 11 2017

Sub Journal 011: What We Need to Be

We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are. –Max De Pre

When I first learned what a submissive was—and particularly service-oriented submissives—thought, ‘My whole life makes sense now! I’m going to be the best submissive ever! This is who I’ve always been! This is going to be a piece of cake. So easy. All I have to do is show up.’

Boy, was I in for a surprise.

Natural vs Learned

Then I learned about natural vs learned submissives. I didn’t think one was superior to the other, but I thought learned submissives had a much harder road to go, since us natural submissives just were the way we were.

Now I look at Natural vs Learned as being right-handed vs being left-handed. Anyone can learn to write with either hand. To play Virginia Woolf in The Hours, Nicole Kidman learned to write with her left hand, as well as learned Woolf’s handwriting, while using pen and ink, for example. Practise and determination is all that’s required.
If Kidman had already been left-handed, that task, while still formidable, would have been significantly less so.
Being naturally submissive (when that’s what you want to be) is like being right-handed. The world is already working in your favour. It doesn’t mean you’re going to be a world-class guitarist the first time you pick up a guitar, but you won’t have to either learn to play right-handed or buy a specially-made left-handed guitar. You’re working from an invisible advantage from the start.

Antoniou on Naturals

There’s a quote from Laura Antoniou’s The Marketplace, which goes:

‘Even the most gifted of naturals, those individuals whose wrists are naked without restraints and whose souls are bleak without guidance, need to be trained.’

The more I read after I first got out there, the more I realised I had a whole lot of work to do. At first I thought I shouldn’t do any work on myself, because my first Domme would want to ‘fix’ me to be just how she wanted. And if I was perfect then she wouldn’t have anything to fix.

Now I side-eye my previous self.

No, honey. Just no. (source)

A submissive or slave’s position is to make life run more smoothly for their D-type (though I suppose there could be some who enjoy looking after a wreck of a person).

I realised I needed to make myself into a person who was worthy of being owned. It didn’t mean I wasn’t allowed to have bad days or be human—it meant being honest about my failings and improve myself to suit the sort of D-type I wanted to serve.

The sort of D-type I wanted was the type who would want to help me be my best so I’d need to prove that I was committed to being my best and improving myself before we met so I’d have something to offer in the first place.

What was I going to say, ‘I waited for you to arrive before working on myself, but now I’m going to develop discipline out of nowhere’?

Sure, self. That’s right.

The sort of Dominant I wanted wasn’t an idiot, so she wasn’t going to buy that, either. I realised I needed to start tidying up the place myself. I was going to have to start being my own D-type until someone else could blessedly take over.

It’s not as though I was going to attain perfection prior to meeting a Dominant and would wind up saying, ‘Sorry, you just missed having someone to improve.’

I even put it on a business card.

What I Need to Be

What I need to be is useful to my Dominant.

I can be that by learning what I need and want (and how to differentiate between the two).

By taking care of my body, with adequate sleep, exercise and nutrition.

By constantly learning about kink, my submission and the wider world.

By communicating (the good and the bad) even when it’s hard & unpoetic.

By recognising that I’m already good enough but that training is eternal.

By being kind to myself when I fail to live up to my own high standards.


[This prompt comes from submissiveguide, which I’ve reviewed on this site]

Jun 10 2017

Episode 054: Approaching the Swingularity

Episode the fifty-fourth; Wherein the Pageist gets another year older, makes her case for why kink is indeed an orientation for some people, explains what nonsexual kink is about and is finally well enough to read the sexy section from the last Antoniou book reviewed a hundred years ago. The book reviewed is Approaching the Swingularity: Tales of Swinging and Polyamory in Paradise by Cooper S. Beckett.

.44 Intro and Announcements:

  • TWO new Patrons! Welcome, welcome to Gray and James and bless your little cotton socks! You can support the show on Patreon by going to patreon.com/thepageist
  • My birthday post, with my wishlist and free ways to support the site and podcast.
  • Very very soon I’ll be firmly ensconced on lifeontheswingset.com. Oh boy!
  • One new Facebook like.

3.13 My Submissive Life:

18.55 Book Review:

  • This episode’s book is Approaching the Swingularity: Tales of Swinging and Polyamory in Paradise by Cooper S. Beckett.
    It’s the sequel to A Life Less Monogamous, which I reviewed in episode 5, and this picks up the stories of the two main couples in that novel Ryan and Jennifer (now Jenn) and Bruce and Paige, as they go to a Swingers’ resort in Mexico for a week.
    The novel is broken up into the days of the week-long holiday, with each chapter being told from the point of view of a core group of guests. The four mentioned previously and new characters–each dealing with their own relationship or professional struggles.
    A variety of genders, play styles and orientations are presented intelligently and compassionately and the author’s writing ability continues to improve with each book. This one was a sexy, surprising treat.
  • Coop was on the show for an interview in episode 8.
  • I also reviewed the author’s collection of autobiographical essays: My Life on the Swingset: Adventures in Swinging and Polyamory in episode 30.
  • You can follow Coop on Twitter: @CooperSBeckett
  • He’s the host of the podcast Life on the Swingset amongst others, which can be found on his website CooperSBeckett.com.

29.26 Sexy Segment One:

  • From Approaching the Swingularity. There were so many to choose from it was difficult. I opted for a scene involving kink. Because why not.

42.20 Sexy Segment Two:

  • From The Reunion, which I reviewed in episode 47 but was coughing far too much to even attempt to read erotica. This scene was between a character from a previous book and the ubiquitous Chris Parker and Lordy. Just… Lordy. If rough anal does it for you, then here you go.

49.36 Closing Remarks:

  • Thank you for tuning in!
  • In the next episode I’ll be reviewing Small Favors: Definitive Girl Porno Collection by Colleen Coover
  • 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.

Jun 06 2017

Sexual Health and Kink

STDs/STIs and What They Don’t Tell You

I have HPV—it’s something I’ve written about before a few times. From the responses I’ve received and the news in general and information that’s just out there about STDs and STIs…people really don’t know much about HPV.

My first writing, had some incorrect information because I was freaked out and it can be difficult to find accurate info about this one. Which is odd, because it’s very, very common.

People like to tell me that it’s fine, they had it and it cleared up and now they’re fine.

If you have a cervix and you contract one of the cancer-causing types of HPV—it doesn’t go away. That’s why, even if abnormal cells no longer appear on your pap smears you still have to go in once a year, rather than every three years like other cervix-havers. Because it can return at any time. You can also pass it on even if you don’t have abnormal cells on your cervix. (This is less likely, but still possible.) Even if you develop cancerous cells and have them removed by the delightful procedures available, it can return. It may not, but it can. And you may still pass it on.

Penis-havers—there’s still no test for you. There’s no test for cervix-owners, either. You can have it for years and not know. I had it nearly twenty years before I found out. There is no ‘positive’ diagnosis. You find out you have the cancer-causing HPV when you develop annoying cells on your cervix. Other, less likely but possible places are the tonsils, throat, penis, vagina or anus. You know, nothing you use or care about.

There are one hundred strains of HPV. Most are harmless and your body will throw them off. Some cause warts—the ones that cause warts are NOT the ones that cause cancer. Warts are just annoying and ugly. Though, apparently, severe cases of warts have to be removed by lasers and can cause scarring. My research sometimes is disturbing.

Let’s talk about Herpes.

Herpes has a bad rep. All it is is an ugly sore. Some pharmaceutical reps weren’t selling their medication like they wanted in the 70s so they made it into a huge deal. Marketing! There’s a great video from Adam Ruins Everything that explains a bit about it.

Loads of people have the herp. Eighty percent of the US population has it. Ninety percent of people worldwide have it. People do need to know if they have it for pregnancy reasons—it does cause issues for pregnant women and foetuses, but in general it’s not going to do all that much to you except not look pretty and be owie.

It certainly doesn’t give you cancer of the squishy bits that’s untestable.

Look. If I met someone who was a great match for me in all the ways and they had HSV I’d be: So what?

I have one other phrase for you, this one comes via Cooper Beckett:

Antibiotic resistant gonorrhoea of the throat.

That’s a phrase that sticks in your mind forever.

It’s also self explanatory, I think.

People like to say, ‘If you’re going to have sex, you’re taking a risk; everything we do is risky—getting in a car is risky.’

You still wear your safety belt. You still don’t drive 110 mph in a 30 mph zone.

They also like to point out how many people have certain infections or diseases, like I did above with 80%. Often, when giving a percentage—particularly a high percentage—it can sound like, ‘Well it’s okay then, let me dive in, too.’

And sometimes, it kind of is—like HSV—basically, don’t worry about it if you do get it. If you get cold sores—congratulations, you have a type of herpes. Cold sores aren’t going to make your mouth fall off.

But with other high percentages, it can feel inevitable. I remember years ago reading an interview with a gay man who was talking about how it almost felt like, eventually, of course you and everyone you knew was going to be diagnosed with HIV—AIDS was such an epidemic.

Recently The Washington Post published an article about a new report from the CDC (the Centres for Disease Control) that found that around twenty percent of the adult population in the United States have the cancer-causing type of HPV. A little more than one in five people. This number had increased dramatically from a few years prior.

Now, you can look at it like, ‘Well, I’m probably going to get it/my body will probably kick it’ or you can just not have to worry about it at all and use protection.

I get that fluids are sexy to some people—I can follow why exchanging fluids would feel more intimate than clinical cling film and latex sex, but chemo and anxiety isn’t fun either. Particularly if you find out years later and you don’t know who’ve you’ve passed it around to.

Also, get your kids vaccinated. It’s a vaccine against cancer.

This is an area straight people can learn a lot from gay men, who’ve made condoms de riguer since the AIDS crisis. Now they have PrEP—which is a daily pill that can be taken to reduce the risk of contracting HIV. It’s controversial within the community for complex reasons. I don’t feel like it’s my place to advise gay men whether or not to take it—it’s understandable why some think it’s not a great idea; it’s understandable why some think it is. But for a very long time, in the gay community, unprotected sex was Russian roulette. It was a possible death sentence. Wrapping that shit up wasn’t a question. You just did it. I wish everyone else could get there.

What does this have to do with kink?

If kinky people talk about one thing—it’s consent. Not telling a potential partner about your sexual health situation removes their ability to give full consent.

Learning you have something that’s not eradicable that can be dangerous or annoying to another person sucks—it can be devastating. Educate yourself as much as you can. Don’t try to push down how you feel like I did and tell yourself you’re fine. That doesn’t work. Just feel whatever it is you feel. You’re human—you’re allowed. Be kind to yourself.

Explain to your potential partners calmly what you know and how to keep you both safe.

Get creative. There were certain things I had been curious about that I know I can’t do now and I feel like I’ve been robbed of potential experiences by a horrible human. Dealing with those feelings is it’s own other Gordian Knot of nonsense I don’t have the time or energy to get into at the moment.

My doctor said it’s difficult for women to pass it to one another (but not impossible and I would worry—it’s my hobby) so I’ve had to come up with new ideas. My imagination has risen to the challenge. I’ve worked to eroticise barriers in my own mind so whenever the time arrives it won’t be any more awkward than I am as a human in the world in every other way.

Absolutely explain to your partners. Don’t be the person who doesn’t. It’s hard, I know. Tina Horn has some good suggestions on how to have these conversations in her book Sexting. Write it down if you need to in order to get the words right and allow the other person time to process. People often treat you how you act so if you are relaxed and straightforward and present your facts and ideas they have no reason to be a jerk.

If they are a jerk—that’s all on them. You’re the same person you were before the conversation.

If you’re with a kinky person, hopefully they’ll be used to improvising and being creative and will be cool. If not, oh well. Don’t fuck them. They’re not worth it.

[This writing originally appeared in a slightly altered format as part of episode 49 of The Pageist: The Pageist talks Health and Kink.]

Jun 04 2017

Meditations for submissives 009: Maximus

There isn’t a bust of Maximus, so here are some Roman face pots instead. (source)

The Meditation for June is a mix of good advice for submissives and Dominants.

This is Book One, Number Fifteen.

The Maxwell Stanisforth translation in full:

Maximus was my model for self control, fixity of purpose, and cheerfulness under ill-health or other misfortunes. His character was an admirable combination of dignity and charm, and all the duties of his station were performed quietly and without fuss. He gave everyone the conviction that he spoke as he believed, and acted as he judged right. Bewilderment or timidity were unknown to him; he was never hasty, never dilatory; nothing found him at a loss. He indulged neither in despondency nor forced gaiety, nor had anger or jealousy any power over him. Kindliness, sympathy, and sincerity all contributed to give the impression of a rectitude that was innate rather than inculcated. Nobody was ever made by him to feel inferior, yet none could have presumed to challenge his pre-eminence. He was also the possessor of an agreeable sense of humour.

Maximus (possibly Claudius Maximus, another Stoic philosopher) was the embodiment of the Stoic ideals of being unbothered and unwavering. Moderation in all things including emotions.

Maximus was my model for self control, fixity of purpose, and cheerfulness under ill-health or other misfortunes.

Self control = goes along with moderation in all things. If you have control of yourself you can choose when to let go because you’ll know you can regain control when you’re ready.

This is a personality trait that is admirable in people on both sides of the slash. A D-type who can’t control themselves can’t be trusted to control anyone else and no one wants to deal with an s-type who isn’t interested in learning to control themselves.

Fixity of purpose as an admirable trait reminds me of one of my favourite quotes ‘The secret to success is constancy to purpose.’ Which is by Benjamin Disraeli, one of Queen Victoria’s prime ministers. I wrote a submissive journal prompt on why that was important for s-types. You can’t accomplish anything if you don’t focus on that thing.

Stoics were big on not complaining even when in pain. Pain was simply part of life that everyone who’d ever lived had dealt with and there was no reason to believe you were any more deserving of a painless ride than anyone else. ‘Pain is finite,’ basically.

This doesn’t mean s-types should keep health problems from their D-types. Dominants need to know what’s going on with their submissives so they may assign tasks and alter expectations accordingly. There’s a difference between being straightforward about health problems while getting on with what you can and whining about every little ache and pain as though no one had ever had a cold before.

Some D-types have to enforce down-time with their subs, however, as many subs take the Stoic value of working-through-the-pain too far, as they want to do everything for their Dominants, even with a perforated spleen and multiple compound fractures.

His character was an admirable combination of dignity and charm, and all the duties of his station were performed quietly and without fuss.

Everyone likes a person who has both dignity and charm. Unfortunately, ‘charm’ isn’t something that can be taught. When a person who lacks it, attempts to be charming they either come off hyper-creepy (men) or slutty-in-a-bad-way (women).

submissives who get on with their tasks without fanfare—because they enjoy and are fulfilled by what they do—rather than because they are prideful or are looking for praise are the ideal s-type. If a sub is trying to out-sub everyone else… or if you find yourself doing things for performative reasons or because you think it’ll ‘prove’ you’re a good submissive, it’s time to rethink those particular actions.*

*Performative doesn’t mean doing exhibitionistic subby things with your D-type because you enjoy doing them. If you enjoy it for its own sake it’s not ‘performative’.

He gave everyone the conviction that he spoke as he believed, and acted as he judged right.

Integrity. Something people on both sides of the slash should cultivate. subs: if the person you’re considering submitting to doesn’t have integrity—their actions don’t echo their words and they aren’t consistent—this is a red flag. You won’t be able to trust them.

Bewilderment or timidity were unknown to him; he was never hasty, never dilatory; nothing found him at a loss.

This sentence is what every person on Earth is looking for in a leader. Whether it’s a leader in business, the military, the bedroom or anywhere else. Some of these traits are acceptable (possibly attractive) in a sub, but not a D-type.

Bewildered or at a loss (never being): there are people who are collected under every circumstance. No matter what it is—it seems they’ve considered all possible outcomes and are prepared to handle it. While obviously a valuable trait for D-types, it’s also handy for s-types, as it means they’re used to thinking through various outcomes and are prepared to handle whatever they need to in order to make their Dominant’s life flow smoothly. This is a trait that can be cultivated with effort.

Timidity: Shyness in an s-type (hello) isn’t necessarily bad as long as it doesn’t interfere with being able to communicate needs and wants within the relationship. D-types need as much accurate information as they can get so submissives must learn to communicate honestly, no matter the subject, even if embarrassed.

Acting too quickly or being slow to act are unattractive traits for anyone. The former is an indication of impatience and the latter is indicative of indecision or wilful obstruction.

Impatience is, (in a power exchange) at best, useless. At worst, it’s dangerous, on the part of a Dominant. An impatient s-type is just annoying. Being in a hurry never hastened anything.

Indecision, on the other hand, makes a Dominant seem weak-willed. If, after a person has had the opportunity to review the necessary information, they still cannot make a decision (or choose not to for fear of accepting the consequences) they are not ready to make decisions on behalf of another person.

Being slow to act on behalf of a submissive has different consequences. If a sub requires more clarification before undertaking a task they need to learn to ask as soon as they reach the point of needing the information. If the slowness to act is based in procrastination or laziness then a review of goals and motivations is in order.

None of this is to say a person who is shy or who occasionally gets tongue-tied can’t be a Dominant. However, if a person tends to act rashly or is lazy, it would be wise to work on those aspects of their personality.

He indulged neither in despondency nor forced gaiety, nor had anger or jealousy any power over him.

The use of the word ‘indulged’ here is interesting. Even back in the year nil people enjoyed being emo and wallowing in their feelings to the annoyance of their friends. “Ugh. I like ol’ Sextitus, but he doesn’t half go on about Lucretia, does he? Sack up, already.”

Maximus wasn’t a Pre-Christian whiner, though. He didn’t let his negative emotions—sadness, anger or jealousy—get the better of him, nor did he pretend to be in a better mood than he actually was. Stoics valued seeing things as they were.

As a D or s-type, it’s important to be able to identify your emotions, but not allow them to control you. The former is necessary to accomplish the latter. Why should a submissive put their physical and psychological well-being in the hands of a person who can’t control their own emotions?

Kindliness, sympathy, and sincerity all contributed to give the impression of a rectitude that was innate rather than inculcated.

‘The impression’ of being inherently morally upstanding (rather than having learned to be so) is an interesting word choice, but an important one. It’s possible to learn to be kinder and more sympathetic (sincerity will follow) by learning more about the world and others’ situations and practicing empathy. By simply realising everyone is doing their best. These qualities are valuable in everyone—whether they are into power exchange or not.

Nobody was ever made by him to feel inferior, yet none could have presumed to challenge his pre-eminence.

s-types, if a D-type is trying to out-Dominant everyone around they are insecure. Insecure ‘Dominants’ are not people you want to spend time with. Huge red flag. Ethical D-types help everyone around them—submissives, other Dominants, vanilla people, dogs—because they’re not intimidated by other people’s success or happiness. Kink isn’t a competition.

Previously mentioned was how submission should be practiced for its own reasons—not to impress anyone else. See the final sentence of the previous paragraph. There will always be some submissive who seems to be out-subbing everyone else. If they’re genuinely happy then they’re doing so well because they’re genuinely happy and their submission complements their Dominant’s. And they’ve been working their hindquarters off constantly improving themselves. They’re not worried where they fall in the non-existent Power Exchange Olympics, because they’re focused on their own goals.

These are probably the ones the second part of the sentence applies to. The inspire other subs to try harder—but don’t compare yourself to them. They’re at a different place on a different journey taking completely different photos with a different tour schedule.

If a submissive is performing their submission—don’t be jealous because they’re not happy unless other people are unhappy and they will burn out. They’re not being fed by what they’re doing.

He was also the possessor of an agreeable sense of humour.

I like how ‘Oh yeah, and he was funny,’ is tacked on to the end. As though we needed anything else to recommend the man to us.

A sense of humour—being able to laugh at ourselves, and the scene in general, is vital. What we do is serious—being in control of other person’s body, life and emotional well-being is serious—and allowing someone to have control is obviously serious, but it’s also supposed to be fun. If you’re not enjoying yourself at least some of the time—if you’re not being fulfilled emotionally—perhaps power exchange isn’t for you.

Jun 02 2017

What the Pageist Did in May 2017


I was on Auntie Social’s show Stereo-Typed to talk about Pageism, which you can listen to here.


All supporters received a greeting about an interesting tradition in olde Oxfordtown.

The poem was a fifteenth century Welsh poem (translated to English) called ‘Ode to Pubic Hair’

The Mix Tape was a section from Madison Young’s DIY Porn Handbook (reviewed in episode 40) about BDSM negotiation in porn, though much of it could be useful for non-pros. She uses the acronym: REAL SHAG TOP to remember it easily.

In Vintage Naughty Readings: Romance of Lust we were up to instalment 6 and Mrs Edgerton received a letter in return from her dear friend, that was equally as salacious as the one she’d sent.


Episode 050: Two novels by Georges Bataille (Story of the Eye and L’Abbe C). My Submissive Life: I come out to my mother, the DEB is real, and the complicated and nonsensical way we define work in Western society. Text version of the reviews here.

Episode 051: Auntie Social was on the show and we discussed books (both kinky and vanilla) and the propensity to focus on fantasy to the detriment of real life.

Episode 052: Decoding Your Kink by Galen Fous. My Submissive Life: All sorts of milestones and adulthood seems to have snuck up on me. The text of the book review is here.


Game ReviewA review of Robert Yang’s Radiator 2 triptych of moderately explicit, hilarious gay games: Hurt Me Plenty, Succulent, Stick Shift.


Asexuality: Questions & Answers: Over on KinkCraft, I wrote about common questions about and beliefs surrounding asexuality.

The Governor’s Secretary: I began an educational BDSM fanfiction set in the Wentworth universe. It’s available on this site at the link right there and on AO3. The fic includes resources and a glossary. The first four chapters are up.

Joan Ferguson is Not the Domme You’re Looking For: An update to a two-year-old post about Joan Ferguson from Wentworth, who originally appears to possess excellent qualities of a D-type, but eventually reveals a host of red flags, which is useful as a cautionary tale. Also: What Joan would be like as a Domme, had things gone differently.

Meditations for submissives 008: Severus: This month’s Meditation focuses on beign a decent human and friend, as well as contains advice for being a good D-type.

Jun 01 2017

Wish the Pageist a Happy Birthday

My birthday is this month (39!) and I’ve finally found a mission in life (letting people know they are just fine with their proclivities, whatever they are, and helping them learn to do their thing as safely as possible).

It’s my job and everything.

The Pageist

I’ve even started putting my face out there. (The shirt is from fuck.com and says ‘I don’t have a dirty mind I have a sexy imagination.’)


Every single year has been better than the last and it’s great to look forward to life for the first time—let me tell you.

If you’d like to help me celebrate, show your appreciation or general friendship, my Amazon wishlist is here.

My wishlist is a little boring in that nearly everything on it would go toward work, but I love my job, so it’d still be a fun time all around. And you’d benefit from whatever arrives—either in the form of more high-quality podcasts (a new mic, boom, acoustic foam) or in the form of content itself (books).

There are also several free ways to show your support on the Support the Pageist page.

The biggest two are leaving a review on iTunes and linking to my site from your blog (if you have one).

I’m also a creative person (read: perpetually in need of feedback) and if you’d like to leave a comment below on what you like about the show or site or would like to see more of I would be endlessly grateful.



Jun 01 2017

Episode 053: Graydancer

Episode the fifty-third; Wherein the Pageist talks with Graydancer about consent. Also: The importance of giving blood.

.45 Intro and Announcements:

  • My first giveaway has ended. Two of the winners are Margaret and Amanda. Congrats to them! I’ve contacted the third person and am waiting to hear back.
  • You can subscribe to the show’s rss feed of the show here.
  • My birthday is this month! Help me celebrate by visiting this link!
  • Ramadan Mubarak. May your Ramadan be one of renewal and peace.
  • Happy Pride, people who celebrate it!

3.21 My Submissive Life:

9.41 Interview:

Graydancer in a kilt with rope

1.13.27 Closing Remarks:

  • Thank you for tuning in!
  • In the next episode I’ll be reviewing Approaching the Swingularity by Cooper S. Beckett
  • 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.

May 30 2017

Decoding Your Kink by Galen Fous

{This is the text of the book review from episode 52.}

This episode’s book review is Decoding Your Kink: Guide to Explore, Share and Enjoy Your Wildest Sexual Desires by Galen Fous. Whose name I hope I am pronouncing correctly.

I received this book for free, but that has never stopped me from being honest about what I read. Episode 31 or 48 should be proof enough of that.

The author puts right out there that this book is from the point of view of cisgender, heterosexual male in the dominant role. It was still inclusive and recognised the existence of an array of other people—including asexuals. So, points for that.

He recognises that people do kink for a variety of reasons, saying:

No matter how dark or perverse, or light and spiritual you seek to be, there are new maps being created and older ones resurrected, that offer the opportunity to express your authentic sexual desire in a healthy, conscious manner.

Fous starts the book talking about his personal journey to becoming comfortable with his kinky side—and it wasn’t an easy one—then talks about how this influenced his decision to help other people become comfortable with who they are. He says:

Exploring our personal Eros fully, discovering all that has been hidden in the shadows all these years, can lead to a state of greater self awareness and confidence. Confronting and resolving old shame and guilt can lead to psychological breakthroughs personally.

Which is absolutely true—it’s why I started doing what I do. When you suppress and deny a core part of yourself it negatively impacts everything in your life. There is nothing more central to a human than how they relate to other humans intimately—whether that intimacy is expressed sexually, emotionally, mentally or any other way. Well, except perhaps how a person relates to themselves, I suppose.

When a society, government or culture tries to define the acceptable way for people to relate to themselves and one another that society, government or culture are attempting to control what it means to be human.

All a person has to do is get up in the morning—you’re human. You’re you. Complete as you are. Ta da!

The phrase the author uses for what we think of as typical sex is ‘friction sex’. Which I really, really liked. Because we have mindfucks, right? So why can’t we have mind sex? I’ve had conversations with people where you’re right on the same page—it’s exhilarating.

There could be emotional sex, mental sex, what Erica Jong would call the zipless fuck—there are all sorts of profound ways to merge with another person, which is what kink is all about. Finding unconventional ways to connect with someone.

The phrase he uses at one point is ‘straight-up friction sex’. I can hear some of my friends now with that one.

‘I really need some straight-up friction sex right now. So much friction my hair is standing straight up and entire florist shops full of balloons float towards me.’

I want this phrase to make its way into common parlance so I can say, ‘I’m not really into friction sex. Other types—absolutely. Not so much with the rubbing.’

Something the author has created—or conceptualised—is the Personal Erotic Myth. It’s all the things that set your brain (or other parts) tingling. Props, power play, costumes, atmosphere, phrases, all that. The bag of tricks your brain opens up when it’s time to get intimate with someone else or yourself. I’m going to talk more about this later, but wanted to introduce it here, because it’s a big part of his philosophy.

Later in the book the author discusses the physical consequences of holding down or holding in the emotional responses we’ve been taught are wrong. So, if you’ve been told you’re not supposed to express your emotions by your family and society, you’ll close yourself off emotionally, but also physically—you’ll hold yourself more stiffly—cross your arms more, clench your fists and so on—as a way to physically hold back your natural response. And that’s why white men can’t dance, basically.

I’m simplifying greatly because the section is long, but it was quite interesting—in the example provided, he talks about a patient who had been repressing a lot for decades and how he usually used music therapy to help people get in touch with a natural rhythm.

This guy just could not find it. If you repress and repress and repress some things some people will never be able to get it back.

When he was talking about how our emotions affect our physicality it reminded me of how easily I stopped biting my nails once I was out of an awful situation. Bit them for years—until they bled—tried everything to stop. Once I was out of high school—school had always been a living hell for me—I just stopped. Without trying or noticing.

As I was working on the review I realised that since I’ve moved to England what I thought was TMJ has cleared up. My doctor said he couldn’t find anything wrong with the actual joint, but my jaw popped like hell when I ate anything chewy—loud enough to hear it across the room. It seemed like that’s what I had. It doesn’t do that now. I think the muscle in my jaw was very tense—maybe I was clenching it a lot. I had never been happy where I grew up or in the general area where I lived. Liberals aren’t meant to be born and raised in the American South.

They say you can’t move away from your problems, but apparently you can. Some will just go away if you get away from the stressors. Either way—it’s nice to be able to eat chewy bread and yawn without my jaw popping again.

In this book—there’s a lot of talk about archetypes, rituals and symbols and how to understand and use them to your advantage. I particularly liked this bit:

A couple in a D/s relationship could create the mutual intention, for example, to aspire to the highest ideals of their respective positions as Dominant and submissive and bring these qualities to the relationship.

He goes on to talk about how, obviously, people aren’t going to achieve perfection—it’s about intent and commitment, though.

While we’re on not achieving perfection—everything was not perfect, because when is it ever. And you know I like to cover the pros and the cons.

There was more repetition than necessary—several repeated paragraphs. I don’t mean publishing errors, I mean bits that were repeated intentionally.

In a similar vein, the author had a tendency to overstate his case. I understand—it’s hard to kill your darlings. You have twelve paragraphs that are beautifully written, but if you’ve covered everything you need to say in six then the six will suffice. The people reading the book, they get it… you’re preaching to the choir.

I was hoping for more actual exercises on how to work out your personal interests. The book is called a ‘guide’ and at times it felt more like an ad for the author’s personal brand of therapy.

There are some recommendations, and quite a bit of advice for other things, but that could be overshadowed by the overstating of his case. It’s also understandable that you can’t write down exactly how therapy works because it’s going to be tailored to each individual. The title just didn’t seem quite apt. You guys know how much I love my homework.

When he was talking about your Personal Erotic Myth it reminded me of Meg-John Barker’s class, which I attended at Eroticon. The session was about learning about yourself through your fantasies. It included a zine—a pamphlet that was quite a few pages long and had many exercises. We only got through a couple or three in the class and my mind was blown. I learned things about myself just by examining my fantasies for forty-five minutes—and I think we did, like part of three pages of the nineteen pages in the booklet.

This book—Decoding Your Kink—made me want to break that back out and really sit down with it. The zine is available on Meg-John’s site, which is megjohnandjustin.com—the actual document is here. It’s £2.50, but it’s worth it. Whether you’re a writer and are looking for inspiration or just want to learn more about yourself or your partner or how your brain works when you’re not looking (because your brain is doing stuff when you’re not looking)—it’s totally worth it.

I was also reminded me of Madison Young’s homework assignment from her DIY Porn Handbook, which I reviewed in episode forty, where she talked about just having a conversation with your desire.

Hello desire.
What do you most crave?

Then letting your desire guide the conversation from there.

I took the Personal Erotic Myth Survey on Fous’ site (link in the notes, if you’d like to contribute your info) and it’s a fairly blunt tool and really not scientific—which the author admits to. Participants are self-selected from sex and kink-positive communities, which will skew your results like mad. There have been over 2,400 respondents, though. I’ll be writing a separate post about the survey itself that will be up in a couple weeks, hopefully.

It’s just about paying attention to who you are in those private moments and accepting those sides of yourself.

Now I’m going to put on my Pedantic Pants because I cannot help myself. If it drives you crazy, pretend they’re made of your favourite fetish material.

There are flocks of possessive apostrophes when words should have been plural. Including in a paper that had been submitted to a professional journal which was a little…oof

Some people enjoy making up words for things. Sometimes that’s useful—because we don’t really have a word for that thing and when we don’t have a word for something it can be easy to pretend it doesn’t exist. Other times it can come across as precious—it depends on the words chosen.

Other times people come up with new words for things we already have words for (that’s not really the case here—it’s just one of my peeves—‘We already have a word for that’).

The author invented a few new words and phrases, is what I’m trying to say.

Like, Sex Creature. This is described thusly:

Most people have a complex authentic sexual persona, as distinct as a fingerprint and inherent as their eye-color…

Then he goes on to say these sexual personae are ‘distinct and independent from our outer social personas.’

While this phrase is useful—to help people who are ashamed say, ‘Oh see, this is a part of myself, but a separate part and it has a name’—I feel like trying to get the psychotherapy community to embrace the term ‘sex creature’… it’s very Freudian, isn’t it? It sounds like something someone with a German accent would ask you about. ‘Are you in touch with your sex creature?’

‘Sure, his name is Ralph and he sounds like Elmo. Looks like Sweetums, though.’ Sweetums was that giant Muppet on Sesame Street.

Sweetums the Muppet

My sex creature (not the guy in the hat). [source]

Love the concept. The name, though… it’s like English food. Not so great with the naming.

The last thing is Fetishsexuality. Or what Jillian Keenan—who wrote the outstanding Sex with Shakespeare—calls Alternasexuality—I believe that’s her word for it. Something like that. It’s based on ‘alternative’. Both authors are trying to do the same thing, which is establish that kink is an orientation for some people and should be recognised as a valid, separate orientation like being gay or straight.

Keenan had a great article on Slate about kink being an orientation, actually—it’s something she writes about a lot—anyway… the idea would be a huge step forward in terms of legal issues. If kink was recognised as ‘just the way some people practise intimacy’ then taking children away from parents who are kinky, forcing morality clauses on kinksters and so on would go the way of the dodo.

So I do think a word is useful in that it helps validate the group to the people outside—who are the ones passing laws and making judgments against us—but it also lets people who might be uncomfortable with that part of themselves know they’re not alone. ‘No, you’re fine. There’s a word for that. Welcome.’

And if you think there are too many labels out there—people only started to use the word ‘gay’ to mean exclusively ho-mo-sexual in the 60s. Not that long ago. If you complain about there being too many labels, that usually means you’ve never had a difficult time working out who you are or your place in the world. Congratulations. Not everyone is that lucky. Have some compassion.

So. A word is good. I’m not in love with ‘fetishsexual’ though. I know what it means and it sounds like it’s exclusively for people with abnormally high attachments to textiles or clowns or something. It’s sort of specific sounding. It feels like I’ll be explaining what it means to everyone if I describe myself that way.

‘Alternasexual’ … Sorry, Jillian. I love you, but I feel like Winona Ryder is going to show up and we’re going to listen to a mix tape while wearing flannel… That doesn’t sound so bad, actually. It’s a little 90s, is what I mean, though.

But I don’t have a suggestion! I know! I’m terrible!

However, if either of those caught on and the mainstream started to get it, accept it and defend it—I’d happily explain what it meant to everyone. I don’t care what you call it, just give me my rights and dignity.

I suppose, though, ‘whateversexual’ (maybe that’s what we should call it—since people can literally be into “whatever”)—‘Whateversexual’ would be the technical term and ‘kinky’ would be the slang. Like homosexual and heterosexual are technical terms for gay or lesbian and straight.

I’ve only just realised, bisexuals are only ‘bi’. They don’t have an informal name. Huh. We got really lazy when naming the bis.

Anyway, those are my thoughts and this episode is long. Wrapping up:

Overall, I enjoyed it. Fous has some thought-provoking insights and useful advice. If you are interested in the psychology of kink maybe give it a look.

I’d give this one a 4/5.

May 23 2017

Episode 052: Decoding Your Kink

Episode the fifty-second; Wherein the Pageist seems to have become an adult at some point, meditates on the importance of finding your place and learns about her personal erotic myth. The book reviewed is Decoding Your Kink: Guide to Explore, Share and Enjoy Your Wildest Sexual Desires by Galen Fous.

.45 Intro and Announcements:

9.50 My Submissive Life:

  • ThePageist.com is two years old. When I started the site I could have never forseen where it would take me. I’m so grateful for what I get to do.

12.39 Book Review:

35.55 Closing Remarks:

  • Thank you for tuning in!
  • In the next episode I’ll be interviewing Graydancer of Kink Sex Culture about consent.
  • 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.

May 20 2017

Migraines are the devil

I have been laid low by a post-blood-donation migraine. This week’s episode will be up by Monday.

May 12 2017

Joan Ferguson is Not the Domme You’re Looking For

[Disclaimers: This post is about Joan Ferguson from Wentworth (or Wentworth Prison), not the character from the original show Prisoner: Cell Block H. This post has spoilers up through series five.
I owe a great deal to Joan Ferguson (and the actress who plays the role so well), as she’s helped me realise some of the darker truths of my nature. Due to that I now have a podcast and website devoted to kink.
I love the character and wouldn’t change the way she’s being written or portrayed—this post is not a criticism of those things, as I believe creative decisions belong to the show-runners who have a longer view and wider vision than viewers. I’m enjoying watching their vision play out.
Also, there are a couple gifs I don’t have a source for–if they’re yours, please let me know and I’ll credit you.]

Introduction to This Very Long Post

Two years ago I wrote a post entitled The Ultimate Domme about this character—in it I asserted that Joan Ferguson, then Governor of Wentworth Correctional Centre, was the ultimate Domme.

Over the previous two years I’ve learned a decent amount about BDSM, and the character has been developed more completely by the writers and actress.

Now: Joan Ferguson is the person we’d warn people about in the kink scene.

It’s not all bad news, though. If Dommey-Joan is your thing, I have your back.

In this piece I’ll talk about what we have about Joan kink-wise in canon, then why she’s all the red flags you could want, then I’ll give you why she could have been a Domme and finally, what she’d be like as a Domme in an AU.

First, some good news:

Evidence Canon Joan Would be Excellent at Kink

  • Joan is a sexual sadist—the actress who plays her (Pamela Rabe) has said she believes the character gets a great deal of sexual satisfaction from the things she does to people. She clearly enjoyed doing a cavity search on a particularly difficult inmate…
  • …and during a scene where another inmate used her to commit suicide (it’s a complicated situation, but trust me), Joan couldn’t have been more into it if she’d been wearing one of those strap ons that press against the pubic bone just the right way.
  • Sexual sadists are all fine and good when everyone is consenting, but when some people aren’t on board it’s a felony. (Felonies get you thrown in prison and then you don’t get to wear your hot-ass uniform and have to wear the Teal Jumper of Penance. It’s not worth it.)
  • She’s more of a reaction junkie—another word I’ve heard kinky tops called—because when she witnesses someone she likes moaning over ice cream it gives her some jollies. This is positive because she could do any number of things to another person and enjoy it as long as the other person had an extreme reaction.
  • She’s germ-phobic and would therefore be A+ with barriers and other safety protocols. I don’t believe the woman would ever touch another human being with her bare hands if she didn’t have to.
  • Joan loves props. Leather gloves, batons, pencils, fencing foils, etc. And she’s no slouch. She knows how to use any prop she comes into contact with like a pro. (See next point.)
  • She’s strong. She throws other women around like it ain’t no thang.

I am suddenly very, very interested in rough body play. (source)

  • She’s incredibly inventive. Whether in a bare ‘Correctional Officers Only’ room with a bucket of water and mentholated spirits, a prison psych ward with naught but a red pencil and a mentally unstable inmate, or a dentist’s office with a slightly loopy rapist and bog standard dental supplies, Joan Ferguson can put together an entire kink scene in a matter of seconds. It is a goddamn shame she’s a lunatic, let me tell you. Loss to the entire kink community.
  • It’s not just about physical domination, either. We’ve seen her mentally and verbally top people time and time again—sometimes in conversation, sometimes in humiliating/degrading ways. Without negotiating, she can work out exactly what will have the most profound effect on another person. Imagine what she could do with a CEPE checklist.
  • She also understands the anatomy of a kink scene. One person describes some of the ‘quality treatment’ she’s received (she doesn’t call it that, but that’s what it was) and afterward she says Joan was ‘so nice’. Which sounds like aftercare to me. This also sounds like Joan got something out of it and was basking. This is an image after one of their moments.

I prefer my cuddles on a soft bed, but you do you. (source)

  • The bottom from that scene is in the front. Joan is in the back—she seems dazed herself and I wonder what the script said.
  • She has more money than God. Toys for days. You could go to kink conferences all over the world.
  • She fences, which requires focus, strength and practise, much like throwing a whip would do.
  • And she looks like this the rest of the time.

I mean. (source)


Canon Joan is the Bad Kind of Sadist

Two years ago we couldn’t have known that Joan is one giant red flag—she appeared to have many traits that would make her an ideal D-type (Dominant, Mistress/Master, Owner, etc).

She was calm, intelligent, had an encyclopaedic understanding of human psychology. She wanted to ‘protect’ a person who was important to her (this is very Domly).

Contrary to how the media likes to portray BDSM exchanges, it’s not all about what the D-type wants—if the s-type (sub, slave, pet, property, etc) doesn’t get things they want they won’t stay. D-types generally want to make sure their s-type is well cared for.

After awhile the red flags began waving like a storm warning.

This. In every direction you look. It’s weird. (source)

The writers have made her a psychopath—or, as we like to say, one of the bad sadists. (Important note: Not all psychopaths enjoy physically hurting other humans.)

(Another important note: Not all people who enjoy hurting other humans are psychopaths. Some are fun people here to give you a good time!)

  • Psychopaths get bored very easily. She had to get into general so she could manipulate the hell out of everything with a prefrontal cortex. While that’s fun to watch (and I will follow her into Hell—don’t get me wrong), it’s not the sort of person you want to be in a relationship with. And it’s certainly not the sort of person you want to be in a power exchange with.
  • Good D-types don’t manipulate—they’re straightforward with what they need and want.
  • Joan doesn’t open up easily—I’ll get more into this in the third section of this piece—but good D-types need to be in touch with their vulnerability. They need to know their weaknesses and be able to show that side of themselves to their s-type. This one isn’t entirely her fault, but the stone-cold-Dom/me is not an ideal. It allows the s-type no room for humanity, either.
  • Psychopaths are who they need to be moment-to-moment to get what they want. There’s nothing on the inside of a psychopath. They’re sort of wearing a people-mask. Jess Warner hadn’t mastered the art of keeping her mask on all the time. Joan playing people by being 900 different characters is delightful, but good D-types have integrity. They’re the same person through-and-through. Lying about who they are is anathema to them.
  • Joan would probably enjoy someone doing everything she wanted and who allowed her to indulge her sadism, but she needs to feel like she’s outsmarting people.
  • Even if she had the most hardcore masochist and devoted Leather slave at home, she’d still go to work at Wentworth and torture people there all day. (In my AU, she’s still Governor, okay?) Because there would be people getting in the way of whatever she was trying to accomplish and they’d have to pay. I love her, but she doesn’t lack ego.

For her to be a good D-type she’d have to not be dangerous to society. Here’s how that could be.

How Joan Ferguson Could Have Been a Domme

I have been fascinated by serial killers and sociopaths since I was a young teenager and have read quite a bit about them. It’s rare for psychopaths to be born—it happens, but it’s odd—usually psychopathy is created. Severe child abuse is one part of the equation, as is some other mental illness. You need a combo. (Thankfully, or else there would be many more of them out here.)

It has been intimated that Joan’s father raped her. Though that could have been a manipulation. He certainly was a difficult man to please as a human being. One thing after another has happened to Joan to remove her further from humanity.

As mentioned before—she doesn’t open up easily, due to her father teaching her emotions were weakness—when you grow up without access to your emotions you lose the ability to reach them. They atrophy.

If she had been met with kindness at some point—if she had been given the opportunity to experience someone seeing her for her, meeting her on her level, and accepting her that way—things could have gone differently.

I’m not saying she wouldn’t still have had a propensity for kink—a person can be oriented that way no matter their background.

In one of Gloria Brame’s books she interviewed a person who said she was glad she’d discovered BDSM when she was 18 because otherwise she would have gone through life being ‘a complete shitfuck asshole’. She was very dominant, but because she had people to do these things with consensually she didn’t feel compelled to non-consensually dominate every person in her path. She could also identify what she was in the first place, which is the first step to not being a terrible person.

I rather feel that if Joan had met the right sort of submissive when she was eighteen or so, maybe things would have gone a bit differently. Someone who could have helped her realise some things—smell the kinky coffee, as it were—and given her a creative, consensual outlet. If that had happened there’d be a different Joan Ferguson out there in AUland. Even later she would have had a chance. After the last couple years, I don’t know if she has a chance—she’s been humiliated, degraded and had to do too many things that further separate her from the rest of humanity.

At the same time—she doesn’t think she’s done anything wrong. Psychopaths generally don’t.

However, we’ve established that if you want someone in charge of your body, mind and life, you want it to be the Joan Ferguson with a full compliment of empathy, compassion, self awareness and vulnerability, though, so, not the one we currently have in canon.

[If you were with canon Joan and someone convinced her you’d betrayed her she’d kill or maim you. She’s not the most stable person so it wouldn’t be that difficult to convince her of your betrayal, since she’s been betrayed so many times. If you’re okay with being killed or maimed for her…well, I’m more interested in realistic power exchange, which is what this piece is about.]

What Sort of Domme AU Joan Ferguson Would Have Been

There are different types of power exchange styles but I’m pretty certain Joan would have been into Leather. Not just because she likes her leather gloves, but because it’s based in a military background and can have quite strict protocol. She likes her things just so and while any D-type can have everything ‘just so’ in their relationship, I feel the military background fits.

{Though I’m of two minds on Joan’s father being military. He had a certain bearing, yes, but they also have an enormous amount of money that makes me wonder about a drugs connection. She mentions his ‘foot soldiers’ at one point, which is a term for people who actually sell drugs on the street, as opposed to the people who handle the money and other aspects of the operation. As he’s Russian, and they eventually left Russia, I wondered if he was in the military and eventually ran a drug operation much like a military regime then they fled their home country for this reason. Either way, she grew up with strict control and being allowed to have that over another person would give her great pleasure.}

Mothering: Speaking of Joan’s childhood—we know nothing about her mother. Jianna wrote a letter where she said Joan could get her son off to sleep better than anyone. She has a fondness for babies, even if it seems counterintuitive, but she’s never been allowed to explore that side of herself. Her father actively discouraged feelings and emotion (and probably gentleness), which would explain why she’s so awkward with affection.

If allowed, within the context of an established power exchange, I believe Joan could learn to be gentle and nurturing with another person in a mothering role, which would help her heal some of her own wounds. I’m not necessarily talking about sexualised age play—kink encourages playing and exploring various facets of a person’s personality in non-judgemental ways. If an s-type enjoyed being bathed, cradled, dressed or put to bed, as it made them feel submissive, they could request this and it would allow Joan to care for someone in a way she’d never been able to.

Mentorship: Joan loves to mentor someone. She loves to protect and guide, as well. She wants someone who is absolutely and utterly on her side, who wouldn’t dream of betraying her. And she wants to be the same to that sort of person. She wants to be recognised as the chief authority in another person’s life—someone who knows absolute best. For this reason I think Joan would be into:

24/7 TPE: (24/7 Total Power Exchange) This is practically what she has with the inmates. She tells them what to eat, what to wear, when to get up, how much money they can spend, etc. If someone she respected, who she thought was a worthwhile person, chose to give up all of that authority to her—woo, talk about a head rush.

Some Aspects of Leather: There are what feels like billions of protocols for Leather and I don’t want to get into Old Guard vs New Guard. I’m not well versed enough to really get into it, for one, but one thing that is popular is the s-type removing the D-type’s boots at the end of the day. Somehow I don’t think Joan would like anyone touching her feet. But if you were lucky she’d probably let you shine her shoes eventually. And do leather glove care.

It could be the s-type’s job to always walk to the left and two steps behind and to always open the door for her. (Actually, I can’t make up my mind if she’d want to open the door for her sub or if she’d want her sub to open the door for her. It’s the one thing I can’t decide on.)

Other Possible Protocols:

  • To always help her with her coat first before putting on their own.
  • When you were considered good enough you could take care of her work uniform.
  • To make sure the cutlery and week’s vodka were aligned properly in the drawers and freezer.
  • To clean the fish bowl on a regular schedule.
  • Her house has many shiny surfaces—those will need to be cleaned without streaks.
  • Eventually she may allow you to clean her house when she isn’t there—can you make a bed to military bounce-a-coin-standards?
  • Can you fold a fitted sheet?
  • Can you detail a car? You’ve seen her car.
  • Eventually she’ll let you borrow her car to pick up the dry cleaning. Huge trust moment.
  • Some people prefer to be chauffeured around, while others prefer to do the driving, as it makes them feel in control. Joan would want to do the driving.
  • When you go to restaurants she would order for you—you wouldn’t even get a menu.
  • Cleaning her house—you know you’re going to find hair pins everywhere…somehow.
  • Everything will need to be cleaned and disinfected on the regular. We’re talking about Joan Hazmat Ferguson, here.
  • She will like her coffee and tea a very particular way—colour, sugar, temperature, roast. Learn it. This is what a butler’s book is for. (A book with a person’s every preference in.)
  • Your job is to make her life easier. She will run your life so you can make hers run more smoothly.
  • And she will be very good at running your life.

An occasionally she gets in these break-y moods and you have to clean *that* up. (Thanks to provider!)

Harder things to do:

  • She asks: ‘What are you thinking right now?’ [This is AU Joan who is a good Domme. She needs to know what you’re thinking at all times—she needs to know you as well as she possibly can do. Whether it’s: ‘That you look really hot in skinny jeans’ or ‘Why do you name all of your fish Bob?’ or ‘That song I am slowly going crazy 1-2-3-4-5-6 switch, Crazy going slowly am I 6-5-4-3-2-1 switch!’] Can you answer immediately and honestly?
  • Telling her when she’s being a little too pushy. Even in AUland she’s still Joan with a tendency to command before thinking. because she’s Always Right, yes? AU Joan is aware of it, though, and simply needs to be politely reminded that whatever command hasn’t been negotiated yet. AU Joan doesn’t get shirty about it and ask if you had something better to do.
    ‘No, we hadn’t discussed turning over control of my finances yet, but as you’re clearly excellent at handling money, yes, going to the bank to set up an account with a monthly allowance is a good idea. Discussing long-term investment plans sounds like a plan.’

Other notes because I’ve thought about this a LOT:

  • I bet she’d always want to be called Governor. Not ‘Ma’am’ or ‘Mistress’ or ‘Master’ (in Leather, some women choose to be called ‘Master’ rather than ‘Mistress’.) She’d be Governor at home, too.
  • She’d be a heavy sadist. Inventive like whoa, with a vast array of implements and experience, and into all sorts of scenes. But the woman could bring the pain. She’d be into intense scenes of all types. She’d get that gleam in her eye and you’d be half thrilled and half terrified. Interrogation scene? Medical play? Bondage and forced orgasms? Heavy impact? Chemical play? Fear play? Who knows?!

You’d only know she’d be incredible at it.

And she’d be so nice after.

May 11 2017

Episode 051: Auntie Social

Episode the fifty-first; Wherein the Pageist discusses books, fantasy and reality with Auntie Social. Also, new goals and rewards on the Patreon!

.52 Intro and Announcements:

  • I’m doing a giveaway! Adult colouring books, notebooks, t-shirts and more! http://thepageist.com/2017/04/20/the-pageists-adult-fun-pack-of-fun-giveaway/
  • Thank you to Eros for pointing out that The Stranger was written by Camus, rather than Sartre. Whoops. One of those French existentialists.
  • The rewards and goals on the show and site’s Patreon have been re-worked–check it out!
  • Thank you to the newest Patreon supporters: Luna and G!

3.06 Interview:

50.50 Closing Remarks:

May 09 2017

Story of the Eye and L’Abbe C by Georges Bataille

[This is the text of the book review from episode fifty.] [This text corrects my statement in the podcast that Sartre wrote The Stranger–it was Camus.]

The books being reviewed this week are two by Georges Bataille, who has not one, but two French names I can’t pronounce easily. I picked these up when I met up with Eros a few weeks back and all I knew was that the author was well-respected and the first book today—Story of the Eye—regularly makes must-read lists.

Not knowing what it was about, I flipped the book over and saw the words ‘explicit pornographic fantasy’ and ‘sexual quest involving sadism, torture, orgies, madness and defilement’.

Right. Oh, and look, they have another of his books. Let’s have that then, as well.

I haven’t fallen so profoundly for an author’s words since reading Nabokov for the first time. This was when I had a credit card and no sense of financial self preservation and I went out and bought all of his novels and started reading them in chronological order.

Some writers do things with words that make me want to absorb everything they’ve written.

In Harry Potter there’s this thing called a Pensieve, where memories are rendered into a liquid and another person can immerse their face into another person’s thoughts, basically, and see what they experienced.

Some authors make me want to do that. I want to smoosh my face into the crotch of the book (really called the gutter, but I like crotch) and absorb the words that way. Just let them wash over me.

Luckily, Bataille doesn’t have a large number of books.

Before I get too much more moony-eyed over this guy—there are people who probably shouldn’t read this one. So I’ll do the, ‘You might be traumatised for life’ warning now then tell you about the book. The author gets really graphic about some things so it’s not like he merely mentions something and I think my listeners are delicate flowers.

If you have a horror of eye wounds or things being done to eyes… stay away. There’s a reason the book is called Story of the Eye.

There’s a very graphic… well, everything is graphic… one of the graphic scenes is of a bull-fight. If you’re put off by scenes of rampaging animal cruelty then there’s an entire section you’ll want to skip.

Finally, if you’re offended by sacrilegious acts, then woo boy, there’s a whole scene that’s key to the plot that will send your pulse racing in a bad way.

On the other hand, if you’re into sacrilegious acts—no skipping ahead!

If you’re neither here nor there on those, but you’re into pee play, boy, do I have a recommendation for you. Urine is wildly popular with the two main characters and seems to be an intrinsic and uncontrolled part of their play, much like how the protagonist in The Piano Teacher simply had to urinate whenever she became aroused.

This is the opening of the book:

I grew up very much alone, and as far back as I recall I was frightened of anything sexual. I was nearly sixteen when I met Simone, a girl my own age, at a beach in X. Our families being distantly related, we quickly grew intimate. Three days after our first meeting, Simone and I were aline in her villa. She was wearing a black pinafore with a starched white collar. I began to realize that she shared my anxiety at seeing her, and I felt even more anxious that day because I hoped she would be stark naked under the pinafore.

She had black silk stockings on covering her knees, but I was unable to see as far up as the cunt (this name, which I always used with Simone, is, I think, by far the loveliest of the names for the vagina). It merely sturck me that by slightly lifting the pinafore from behind, I might see her private parts unveiled.

Now in the corner of a hallway there was a saucer of milk for the cat. “Milk is for the pussy, isn’t it?” said Simone. “Do you dare me to sit in the saucer?”

“I dare you,” I answered, almost breathless.

The day was extremely hot. Simone put the saucer on a small bench, planted herself before me, and, with her eyes fixed on me, she sat down without my being able to see her burning buttocks under the skirt, dipping into the cool milk. The blood shot to my head, and I stood before her awhile, immobile and trembling, as she eyed my stiff cock bulging in my trousers. Then I lay down at her feet without her stirring, and for the first time, I saw her “pink and dark” flesh cooling in the white milk. We remained motionless, both of us equally overwhelmed…

Suddenly, she got up, and I saw the milk dripping down her thighs to the stockings. She wiped herself evenly with a handkerchief as she stood over my head with one foot on the small bench, and I vigorously rubbed my cock through the trousers while writhing amorously on the floor. We reached orgasm at almost the same instant without even touching one another. But when her mother came home, I was sitting in a low armchair, and I took advantage of the moment when the girl tenderly snuggled in her mother’s arms: I lifted the back of her pinafore, unseen, and thrust my hand under her cunt between her two burning legs.

I dashed home, eager to masturbate again. The next day there were such dark rings around my eyes that Simone, after peering at me for a while, buried her head in my shoulder and said earnestly: “I don’t want you to toss off any more without me.”

My note after after was: Literature!

So that’s how our narrator meets and begins his debauchery with Simone.

He and Simone are outside one day doing dirty things with one another and are seen by another person, Marcelle. (Marcelle is a woman—it’s one of those French names that sounds the same for either sex but is spelled differently depending on the sex.)

She is a delicate, conservative creature, but is swept up into a threeway. Of course, with these two—it’s not an ordinary threeway. It’s a crazed-fucking-in-a-violent-thunder-storm-menage.

Marcelle is later horrified by having participated and tries to avoid them, but is eventually coaxed to a small gathering.

What takes place at the gathering isn’t all entirely spelled out—surprisingly—but what is given to us… Well, it sounds like Caligula would have had a great time.

This sends pious Marcelle round the bend and she’s packed off to the asylum, which is in a castle some distance away. Because France.

Our intrepid debauchees, however, are now obsessed with the girl and are determined to break her out. But! They’re teenagers and only have bikes. Still, sexual obsession is what it is, so off they go and nearly die. As you do.

That’s only the beginning, though. One unpredictable thing after another happens and they wind up wandering over various parts of Europe doing a variety of morally questionable things.

Tonally, it reminds me of Camus’ The Stranger—it’s not long before the narrator is contemplating some Existentialist concepts. But he’s also on the brink of physical and mental collapse at the time and that will make anyone question the point of life.

It’s very French. Besides the Camus thing there is a touch of de Sade’s libertine philosophy, as well. None of the characters are sympathetic and it’s rather literary. If you’ve read any French lit and didn’t care for it I don’t know if you’ll like this one.

If you’ve not read any before, well, this would be a hell of a place to start.

This book had really detailed, unusual fantasies on behalf of the characters. Portnoy ain’t got nothing on these people. I was impressed.

For example, five pages into the story we have this:

That was the period when Simone developed a mania for breaking eggs with her behind. She would be a headstand on an armchair in the parlour, her back against the chair’s back, her legs bent towards me, while I jerked off in order to come in her face. I would put the egg right in the hole in her arse, and she would skillfully amuse herself by shaking it in the deep crack of her buttocks. The moment my come shot out and trickled down her eyes, her buttocks would squeeze together and she would come while I smeared my face abundantly in her ass.


There’s an obsession with eggs that I thought must be based on an actual kink the author had witnessed it was so unusual. Luckily, this was the Penguin Modern Classics version and included extra bits and pieces including a writing by the author about where the imagery came from.

It was so much worse/fascinating than I would have ever guessed. I’ll put in spoiler tags on the text of the book review next week for those of you who don’t intend to read the book for whatever reason, but great day in the morning.

As promised: Spoiler tags! It had to do with his father, who had severe health problems, including blindness. He couldn’t relieve himself on his own so a young Bataille watched his father urinate a lot and was intrigued by the glazed over, half-expression on the man’s blind eyes when eliminating. Eyes and eggs and, later, bull testicles are all a similar metaphor and are used in similar, perverse ways for sexual enjoyment.

In terms of writing the author is masterful at conveying much with little. The novel itself is more a novella—it’s 65 pages long—but a lot happens.

If you opt to read this one—and I can absolutely understand why a person both would and would not—I highly recommend getting the Penguin Modern Classics edition. Besides the extra piece by Bataille, it also includes an outline for a sequel that sounds…bracing, and an essay about pornography by Susan Sontag that was mind-blowing.

There was also a short piece by Roland Barthes explaining the metaphor of the eye, which was useful because I thought I was missing something.

Rating this one is nigh on impossible. Some people wouldn’t make it fifteen pages before barfing and throwing the book across the room.

Other people would be like me and say, ‘More? More books by this person?’

Basically, you’ve heard the review—hopefully you can work out if it’s for you based on this.

The second book in this episode is L’Abbe C.

It’s less blatantly profane as well as less straightforward with what’s happening. If you need everything to be spelled out and resolved this is not the book for you. If you’re comfortable with ambiguity in your fiction then here’s some ambiguity for you.

There’s a framing story where a man named Charles gives a manuscript to a narrator—the manuscript is about the events leading up to Charles’ brother’s death. This is right at the beginning—it’s not a spoiler.

Then we read the manuscript, written from Charles C’s point of view, which is the bulk of the novel.

Charles is something of a libertine and he’s been involved with a woman named Eponine since they were very young. So has his identical twin brother, Robert, who is a priest.

They’ve all been friends since childhood, and, later, Charles and Eponine became lovers. The woman eventually became a prostitute, which has never bothered the author of the manuscript, but it greatly disturbed the priest—even before he became a member of the clergy.

She was a bit too licentious for his taste and it was what sent him down the path of being a giant stick in the mud.

He started ignoring her and avoiding her in the small town they lived in, until he moved away.

Once he became a priest, she taunted him by calling him facetiously ‘L’Abbe’ as though he were supposed to be above the lesser mortals.

Eventually, due to various circumstances, Robert winds up moving back to where they live—it’s never named—and Eponine is determined to have him. To sort of corrupt him for his judgment of her all of those years.

I thought I knew what was going to happen, but I was wrong. Bataille didn’t take the obvious route, I’ll give him that.

It’s a story about two people obsessed with one another (Eponine and Robert) and the person trapped between them.

It’s also about people who don’t fucking communicate.

The twins have a…strained relationship where they don’t express what they think or feel well and at one point Robert explains something then his solution to the problem is: ‘We just shouldn’t talk anymore.’

What?! There are other options than just not speaking anymore. It’s not like you’ve been going gangbusters on that front, as it is…

The end of the book is a few pages written by Robert then a some more pages by the original person who had been given the entire manuscript and that allowed a few more bits and pieces to fall into place, but I still had many questions. Books like that can have a dream-like quality that’s not entirely unpleasant to give yourself over to, even if, at the time, you want to strap the characters down and do whatever you have to to extract a straight sentence out of them.

Though this one wasn’t as explicitly explicit, it had its moments. There was a particular quote I wanted to share with you.

She bit my lip so fiercely and savoured her fear so intensely that I was strongly aroused myself. Moving with calculated violence, I changed my position, and my body became as taut as it could be. There is no pleasure more voluptuous than that which attends such deliberate anger. I felt as if I were being rent by lightning which continued to strike, as if prolonged by the immensity of the sky.

L’Abbe C is more of a very intense character study than traditional novel. If you’re going to give Bataille a try I’d recommend Story of the Eye first (unless you think that one would give you the yurks).

I’ll be reviewing other books of his in upcoming episodes. If you’ve read any of his, please leave a comment or email or note in the FetLife Group—I’d love to have a conversation about it.

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