Episode 069: 50 Shades of Kink

Episode the sixty-ninth; wherein the Pageist reveals why comedians are not to be trusted, despairs over technology and enthuses about the new shop. The book reviewed is 50 Shades of Kink: An Introduction to BDSM by Tristan Taormino.

.44 Intro and Announcements:

  • Thank you to Mark for recommending an alternative to Skype! Here’s to clearer interviews in future.
  • Several survey responses, which always makes my day. If you’d like to take the (brief, anonymous) survey, you may do so here.
  • The site’s old theme is no longer nice to look at on desktop so has been jettisoned for this one until Walter can build a new site from scratch. At least this is classy.
  • Our Zazzle shop is nearly ready to launch! Just in time for the shopping season.
  • Kate Lister (@WhoresofYore) is writing a book called A Curious History of Sex. You can help fund it here.

5.15 My Submissive Life:

  • Thanks to Arthur Chu (@arthur_affect) for reminding me of some things I had forgotten about comedy. One of his threads inspired this week’s segment.

11.24 Book Review:

(source)

  • This episode’s book is 50 Shades of Kink: An Introduction to BDSM by Tristan Taormino. The precursor to her book The Ultimate Guide to Kink, which is for more experienced people, this one is an excellent beginner’s guide. Covering everything from common myths to how negotiation and contracts work to a wide array of actual kink practices succinctly, this one would also be a good choice for a vanilla person who was curious about what kinky people actually do.
  • Amy from Coffee & Kink talks about why 50 Shades branded materials are useful and important in this blog post.
  • AliceinBondageLand joined me to talk Chastity and orgasm control, which is covered in the book.

25.08 Closing Remarks:

  • Thank you for tuning in!
  • In the next episode I’ll be interviewing the hosts of Red Light Library about reviewing erotica.
  • Support the show through PayPal!
  • Support the show and site on Patreon and get bonus content each month!
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  • All episodes can be heard in an embedded player on this page.

Poly Land by Page Turner

(source)

[This is the text of the book review from episode 68.]

The review this episode is Poly Land: My Brutally Honest Adventures in Polyamory by Page Turner. A more apt title for a book there has never been.

I received this book for free, but you know me. Get set for what I think.

Do you enjoy reality television?

The kind where they find people you wouldn’t want to spend time with but are weirdly compelling to watch? The kind that have entire threads on Twitter with their own hashtags—maybe you have a pool at work to see who’s going to flame out first?

Then this is the book for you!

Seriously, I did enjoy it, but talk about a dumpster fire in the middle of a clusterfuck.

While I was reading it someone on Twitter asked if every book on poly was an example of what not to do and I was like: The one I’m reading is. I like it but everyone needs an interpersonal communication class.

The author, @PolydotLand, liked that tweet and agreed, saying she thought everyone could use several communication classes.

It reminded me of Dan from Erotic Awakening. He says that he and dawn spent their first two years of polyamory just doing polyamory all wrong. Reading this book was like watching that unfold before me and being powerless to stop it or help.

People. Books are your friends. Opening Up by Tristan Taormino. The Ethical Slut by Janet W. Hardy and Dossie Easton. Jealousy Survival Guide by Kitty Chambliss. They can help you.

I wanted to live tweet it. Seriously. ‘Oh, NOW this has happened. … I mean, of course.’

It would be an interesting read for a poly group. The discussion would be… lively. It was definitely an object lesson in the variety of ways to avoid communication and the disastrous consequences of doing so.

Between chapters about the author’s life, which charts a course from a less-than-stellar monogamous, patently unhappy marriage to something infinitely better after going through reality television-worthy hell, there are chapters called Poly Signposts, which cover important things to know about ethical non-monogamy. Including things like the difference between the poly scene for dudes and for women (because it’s very different). And New Relationship Energy—or NRE.

I’d be reading these signposts thinking, ‘All right, clearly you’ve learned a lot—are we going to see that growth in the book because the people in your life are yeesh. Run awaaaaaay. You’re better than this.’

I’ve never heckled a book before. I’m telling you, the Twitter hashtag would be incredible.

But it was very, very useful. And entertaining. I looked forward to getting back to the drama (something I avoid like the plague in real life) to see how else people could communicate badly.

There are some bad communicators out there. In ways I hadn’t imagined.

Look folks—if you want to be in the ethical non-monogamy crew, you have to talk to other people about your needs and wants. I hate talking about my feelings, too, but I just have to suck it up. That’s the ethical part.

Speaking of ethics. This book demonstrates that it is possible to cheat within polyamory. And it’s not cool.

There’s also a sexual assault near the end of the book. It’s handled delicately and isn’t graphic and it’s recounted briefly, but it’s there—the author does mention it in the copy so it’s not a surprise. Props to her for that.

The people in her life dealt with it better than I would have ever imagined. So it wound up being… not positive, but it turned out okay. About as okay as anything of this sort could turn out. It was a demonstration of the best way to handle a terrible situation.

Earlier in the book something happened where someone had to … well, they didn’t have to, but they had sex with another person’s wife into order to be able to have sexual access to the husband faster because the wife was strict about access and it was a faster route. Maybe I’m being asexual over here, but … The wife in question was a real piece of work, let me tell you.

The author is a bisexual woman with a high libido and a kinky streak and an interest in telling people what she feels so, you know, she should be having the time of her life in the poly scene, but the initial bunch of humans she’s dealt are some seriously entitled dudes and women who refuse to have straight up conversation using understandable language.

She has her own flaws, which she doesn’t hide, but in many ways, Turner seems made for polyamory, and just needed to get through the initiative test of the first few years.

Yes, it’s one of those ‘here’s how not to do poly’ books, but it’s entertaining (if enraging because who ARE these people) and if you’re already in healthy relationships it will make you appreciate them more.

Granted, this book sort of made me not want to try to date… so that’s bad. But I certainly know what to look out for when I get out there. I also know what I won’t stand for and what I need—two things that weren’t in abundance when the author started her poly journey.

Style-wise, the author is real. It reads like someone telling their story and sharing occasional letters and chats. It’s not highly polished, but also not so ‘human’ so as to be unreadable.

If you’re looking primarily for information on how to do healthy ethical non-monogamy, go for Opening Up by Tristan Taormino. If you’re looking for help dealing with specifc, difficult emotions, try Kitty Chambliss’ Jealousy Survival Guide. If you’re looking for what happens if you fling caution to the wind and date whatever random shows up—what it’s like out there for people who don’t prepare themselves—go for Poly Land. It was a ride and a half. If she writes a sequel, I would absolutely read it. I give this 5/5.

[The author has a website, Poly.Land, with quizzes, resourses and writing about polyamory–it’s pretty cool.]

Episode 068: Poly Land

Episode the sixty-eighth; Wherein the Pageist tells the story of meeting her Ultimate Hero and also shares some good news. The book reviewed is Poly Land: My Brutally Honest Adventures in Polyamory by Page Turner.

.44 Intro and Announcements:

  • New listeners in the Faroe Islands, which was a brand new place to me and was fascinating! Welcome!
  • Two survey responses that I really needed to see–thank you! You can take the survey here and make my day, too!
  • Big squashy hugs to Joanna, my first PayPal donation person! Hey lady!
  • We’re working on the shop for the site, with the plan to launch it in the next week or so! Much excitement!

6.47 My Submissive Life:

  • This episode’s segment is about why I appreciate my listeners and why you shouldn’t meet your heroes.

16.48 Book Review:

(source)

  • This episode’s book is Poly Land: My Brutally Honest Adventures in Polyamory by Page Turner.
  • It is creative non-fiction about the author’s journey from an unhappy, monogamous marriage, into her early years doing poly all the wrong ways–with some of the worst communicators ever to stalk creation. Hilarious and infuriating, it was highly entertaining, if an excellent example of what NOT to do. The book also includes useful information about ethical nonmonogamy.
  • I’ve never heckled a book before.
  • Check out the author’s site, which includes writing, quizzes and poly resources, Poly.Land.

23.52 Closing Remarks:

Jealousy Survival Guide by Kitty Chambliss

(source)

[This is the text of the book review from episode 67.]

A couple episodes ago I interviewed the author of this week’s book—Kitty Chambliss. The interview was informative and a thoroughly enjoyable the experience. We covered some information from the book I won’t be discussing in this review (since it’s been covered on the show), as well as other things about polyamorous relationships and unhealthy information we receive about what the ‘ideal’ relationship looks like from the media.

Her book—Jealousy Survival Guide: How to Feel Safe, Happy, and Secure in an Open Relationship is incredible and I’m so happy to be reviewing it. I received it for free, but I’m so glad I did.

Before I get started—there are two books out there with the title Jealousy Survival Guide—so be sure you get the one written by Kitty Chambliss.

There is a boggling amount of information in this book. It’s only a hundred and six pages, but there’s a lot going on: psychology, interpersonal communication and life coaching. It’s impressive how much happened in so little space.

The author is a life coach by profession (her site is lovingwithoutboundaries.com) and it comes through in her writing—her enthusiasm is palpable. There’s a chapter that’s basically about getting your life on track through your relationships. It’s about figuring out your life goals and then seeing if your relationships align or further those goals.

I’m not sure if that’s something most people do—think of their personal goals first and then their relationships and feeding those goals second. We tend to place relationships as above our own personal happiness or worth—women do, anyway. But of course you’re going to be happier and thrive if you figure out what you most want in life—where you want to go—and then only involve yourself with people interested in helping you get there or going on that same path.

There were several moments of, ‘Well, that’s a different way of looking at it, but it’s so obvious now,’ in this. I love books like that. Show me a new way of looking at the world that makes everything clearer, makes everything make more sense.

Though the book is short—it’s not really meant to be read in one sitting. There are exercises made to be practised over a period of time. For starters, there’s a contract you make with yourself. Regular listeners know how much I love my homework and I LOVE contracts. The one you make with yourself is useful for setting your intentions.

I took many, many notes and it’s difficult to decide what to talk about—it’s one of those books—so that should tell you something there.

One thing the author talks about and is important is that jealousy (and I found the technique works for anxiety, as well) is just an emotion. We try to escape discomfort quickly rather than examining it, but it’s not going to kill you.

There’s a technique, where you just have the unwanted emotion, examine it, and deal with it constructively. It’s a whole section on it’s own so I don’t have time to go into it, but that section alone was worthwhile. Jealousy isn’t a huge problem for me—at the moment anyway, but anxiety is. They’re both human emotions that are going to happen at annoying times and you have to cope with them.

This book is written for people in nonmonogamous relationships, but the advice would work for just about anyone trying to conquer out-of-control emotions or get their love life on track with their personal goals.

There are practical communication strategies—it’s not just worksheets for yourself and theory, either.
And there are moments where I felt seen. The author gets it. At one point she says:

I have realized that many of the fears that creep up for me are related to the unknown or to expectations of how I think things should be or predictions that I make.

Oh. Yes. Hello. Are you me?

For dealing with overwhelming emotions there was a concept called Defusion or Cognitive Defusion or Cognitive Deliteralization. It’s:

Observing then questioning our thoughts and detaching from them when possible.

The purpose of defusion is to see thoughts and feelings as what they are, not as what they say to us they are.

You’re not mad someone was late home, you’re scared they were in a wreck, for example.

There were strategies upon strategies for dealing with things. One of the communication techniques was non-violent communication, which Kitty talked about in the interview. It’s pretty involved and could take it’s own book or episode, but the chapter on that was useful and covers the basics.

Then there was this quote, which warmed my Stoic heart:

Be the person you truly want to be in the world. Every day you get to re-invent yourself, and be a better version of yourself. Who do you want to show up as? In terms of the subject of this book, do you want to be a frazzled, crazed, drama-creating, stressed out person who gets in a jealous rage and potentially damages your relationships? Or do you want to come from a compassionate, loving, understanding place, practicing patience with yourself and others, and create inner peace for yourself and a feeling of safety for others?

Kitty Chambliss’ Jealousy Survival Guide is a slim volume, packed with information and worksheets useful for dealing with any toxic emotions (not only jealousy) that could threaten a person’s wellbeing—in or out of polyamorous relationships. Her expertise as a relationship and life coach is apparent—there is much wisdom contained in these pages. Wisdom and practicable knowledge. This is already a go-to resource I recommend to my listeners and anyone looking for advice on how to take control of the emotions that threaten their happiness.

Definitely a 5/5.

Episode 067: Jealousy Survival Guide

[I cannot get this episode to load from libsyn for some reason, but you can download it from this link.]

Episode the sixty-seventh; Wherein the Pageist believes in magic, but only the bad kind and finds a book that helps with life, emotions, the universe and everything. The book reviewed is Jealousy Survival Guide: How to Feel Safe, Happy and Secure in an Open Relationship by Kitty Chambliss.

.45 Intro and Announcements:

  • The Patreon is a year old this month and a big thank you to my longest supporters: BeeTee, Nug, AuntieSocial and Beau Gest.
  • Also a huge welcome and thank you to the newest supporters: Aria, Formidable Femme and Just Erik.
  • One new Facebook like, howdy doo to Jared
  • TWO iTunes reviews–I’m spoilt! Thank you! It helps the show out immensely!
  • Two survey responses, sans comments, which is totally fine. If you’d like to take the survey, which is brief and anonymous and gives me useful demographic information, it is here.

3.27 My Submissive Life:

  • Magic is magic. I have to stop fearing the bad magic since I don’t believe in the good magic.

10.47 Book Review:

(source)

  • This episode’s book is Kitty Chambliss’ outstanding Jealousy Survival Guide: How to Feel Safe, Happy, and Secure in an Open Relationship.
  • Kitty Chambliss’ Jealousy Survival Guide is a slim volume, packed with information and worksheets useful for dealing with any toxic emotions (not only jealousy) that could threaten a person’s wellbeing—in or out of polyamorous relationships. Her expertise as a relationship and life coach is apparent—there is much wisdom contained in these pages. Wisdom and practicable knowledge. This is already a go-to resource I recommend to my listeners and anyone looking for advice on how to take control of the emotions that threaten their happiness.
  • The author was on the show a couple episodes ago and we had a fantastic time talking about jealousy and the various ways it’s viewed in our culture.
  • More resources and information about the author at lovingwithoutboundaries.com

22.33 Closing Remarks:

What the Pageist Did in October 2017

I went to my first English fair. Where we deep fry everything–the English have lots of sweets stands.

Podcast Episodes

Episode 63: A review of the anthology of lesbian fairy tales: Witches, Princesses and Women at Arms edited by Sacchi Green. Also: Why we can’t have nice things (Four Star Turds are why). The text of the book review is here.

Episode 64: AliceinBondageLand returned and we had a fantastic (very) long chat about chastity. Why people are into it and all sorts of safety information, including where she recommends shopping for devices.

Episode 65: Relationship coach and expert and author, Kitty Chambliss joined me to talk about her book, Jealousy Survival Guide: How to Feel Safe, Happy and Secure in an Open Relationship (which is free on Amazon from November 1-5). It was a great conversation.

Episode 66: My first Chuck Tingle, Scary Stories to Tingle Your Butt. It was… unforgettable, but nearly indescribable. I did my best, though. Also, erotica for geeks publisher Circlet Press showed me just how boring I am when it comes to kinks. The text of the book review is here.

Writing

On this site I ponder the existence of Four Star Turds. You know, the people who appear to be decent humans, but then turn out to be homophobic, racist, sexual predators. Why is it so difficult to be a decent person?

On Wattpad, I added several chapters to I’m Normally Perfect, the vanilla, lesbian, age gap relationship novel I started posting in September. It’s up to 19 chapters and nearly 400 pages and gaining fans. Reliving the time of my life when writing it has been…something else and I’m happy to share it.

Patreon Rewards

Monthly Greeting ($1+): I nerded out pretty hard in this month’s greeting over the significance of Halloween and playing dress up and role play and its possible relationship to kink. So much so I nearly forgot to thank my patrons. Whoops!

Poetry for Patrons ($3+): This month was two poems by T.S. Eliot, someone I, somehow, hadn’t read before. His words weren’t explicit, but were sexy in a way that jazz can be sexy. The poems were ‘La Figlia che Piange’ and ‘Portrait of a Lady’.

Mix Tape ($5+): The Mix Tape this month was very special–I asked the patrons if they wanted some Victorian Gothic or something sexy and it was 2-1 Gothic so I got to share my favourite spooky story, ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’. Who doesn’t like a little implied incest in their fiction, I ask you?

Other News

I can now accept donations via credit card through PayPal! If you enjoy the show or site or my work in general, hit up the donate link.

I submitted my first short piece for consideration for an anthology. I’ve been writing since I was six, and have been paid as a journalist–both permanent and freelance–but it was my first time composing something specifically for a collection. Even if it’s not chosen (and I probably won’t know for many months) I’m proud of the piece and it was still an important moment in my life as a writer.

Last, but definitely not least, Walter had surgery to remove a large portion of his brain tumour, then spent ten days or so at home, healing. We’re still waiting on the biopsy, and he’s taking medication for what they had to leave, but it was one more step on this journey we’re on.

Scary Stories to Tingle Your Butt by Chuck Tingle

(source)

[This is the text of the book review from episode 66.]

This episode’s book is Scary Stories to Tingle Your Butt: 7 Tales of Gay Terror by Chuck Tingle. I’m not sure where to start, here. If you’re familiar with this author you’ll know why.

I’ve wanted to review something of Chuck Tingle’s for awhile—because I wanted to read something of his and don’t have time to read for fun. So if I want to read something I have to make time to review it..

But the man is prolific. He has… a LOT of erotica. Making a decision on what to read was difficult.

Then I spied this book—he has two collections of scary stories—and I thought, ‘Great!’ Here’s as good of an excuse/opportunity as any.

Now. How to describe what I read.

It’s erotica and comedy and science fiction, at times. Some of it was very thought-provoking.

The author’s characters are sometimes straight (or they think so) but their latent homosexuality manifests itself in unusual ways. Like, as ghosts.

The actual sex is very explicit and gay, but ultimately samey—no matter who or what the protagonist is having gay sex with, the order of the sex tends to be the same, they do this act and then this act and then this act, but I suppose we all have our likes and dislikes in that way. That’s not the point of the pieces, though. Because everything else is different. From each story but also from anything else you’ve ever read. So, you know, who gives a shit.

That’s not to say the explicit, gay sex is boring. There are orgies and facials and blow jobs and anal and double penetration. It’s just often, a similar dance. One, two, three, blowie, one, two three, anal, one, two, three, facial…

A couple of the stories feature Bigfeet. (That’s the plural of Bigfoot.) Because in the world of Chuck Tingle, Bigfeet have been assimilated into human culture and have jobs and things. There are some prejudices, just as you’d expect, but, some people are cool and some people find them super sexy. Ahem.

And, you know, a human man and a male Bigfoot isn’t gay. Ahem.

Unicorns are also a thing. Big, sexy, masculine unicorns. And the ghosts of unicorns that were generals during the Civil War. A lot of this takes place in an alternate universe that I’m kinda into. I don’t know if it has a name. The Tingleverse?

Before you go into one of Chuck’s books you have to know that anything can happen. Except maybe hetero sex.
Body parts get haunted in two stories. A Bigfoot pirate haunts his balls in one and his dead unicorn lover haunts his ass in another. This is accepted as something that can happen in the Tingleverse—there is no, ‘Are you off your meds, where is your data for that?’ Which, I have to say, is a fucking blast.

‘Yup, your testicles are haunted by the most fearsome Bigfoot pirate ghost in all the land.’

‘Well, okay. Now what, doc?’

‘Shrug. Ghosts generally want to finish some unfinished business. Good luck.’

Another type of story Tingle likes to write are about inanimate objects that … are animate. The second story is ‘Vampire Night Bus Pounds My Butt’.

It’s about the Night Bus (there are sentient buses and, you know, that’s cool, but someone says this one is a vampire and the narrator is all, ‘vampires don’t exist!’ Because be serious.)

He has to stay late at work one night, though, and, wouldn’t you know… winds up on the vampire night bus. They have the wild gay sex—that’s not really a spoiler, I don’t think,—but I won’t tell you what else happens.

You might need to read the title of this next one a couple times to parse it. Ready?

‘Angry Man Pounded by the Fear of His Latent Gayness Over a Dinosaur Transitioning into a Unicorn’.

Oh yeah, dinosaurs are still a thing in the Tingleverse, too.

It’s about this ‘straight’ guy who is checking out a total babe of a unicorn and it turns out that unicorn used to be a well-known athletic dinosaur. He runs out to a unicorn strip club to watch a bunch of (male) unicorn strippers—they’re still unicorns so it’s not gay—and has a whole mental breakdown that turns into… something absolutely incredible.

No matter what you think happens—you’re wrong. I’ll say that. If anyone is attempting to copy this man they are failing. I feel confident that his mind is unique in the best ways.

Sometimes you just have to go with the flow… don’t ask ‘but how…’ questions. Another story is ‘The State of California Stalks My Gay Butthole’.

The entire state. Of California. Moves to another state to stalk a dude. You know what? It works in the story. You just have to trust the guy.

Then, there’s a super meta one called ‘Reamed by My Reaction to the Title of This Book’ which is about… I’m not sure how to describe it, but I loved it. It’d make a great Black Mirror episode… Well, an extremely NSFW Black Mirror episode. I can’t tell you anything about it without ruining it, so, sorry, but it was very cinematic. And it addresses the one complaint I have about his writing, which are the spelling errors or typos. There are numerous. But at this point, it’s just a feature. It’s probably part of him publishing so much.

The book has a bonus story ‘Space Raptor Butt Invasion’, which is a genuinely-creepy-for-a-moment space story. Then it’s just gay sex everywhere again. Between a human and a Raptor. A space raptor. It makes sense in the story.

No one can write a Chuck Tingle book but Chuck Tingle.

And the dialogue! Sweet heavens, the dialogue. Everything about the writing is singular.

If you’re looking for anything resembling realism, keep moving. If you are looking for creativity like you’ve perhaps not seen before, well, here you go. I can’t even take off a point for the typos because it sort of became part of the appeal. If you’re into what I’ve described—this is unmissable. If graphic gay sex and… complete unpredictability aren’t your bag then this won’t work for you.

I gave it a 5/5, but it will be highly subjective.

Episode 066: Scary Stories to Tingle Your Butt

Episode the sixty-sixth; wherein the Pageist learns about all the things she’s not interested in, becomes increasingly weary over censorship and catches up on a few weeks of announcements. The book reviewed is Scary Stories to Tingle Your Butt: 7 Tales of Gay Terror by Chuck Tingle.

.44 Intro and Announcements:

  • Thank you to everyone who’s reached out and asked after Walter’s health! It means a lot and we both thank you.
  • Thank you so much to JT, for our first PayPal donation! It brightened my month, let me tell you.
  • Big thank yous to my Patreon supporters and welcome to the newest supporter.
  • The show how now been heard in Zimbabwe.
  • One survey response–thank you! You can take the survey here (it’s anonymous and makes my day).
  • Someone rated the show on iTunes!! WOW! Thank you!
  • The show will be in the next update of the SwingsetFM Podcast Network app for Android (available through GooglePlay)

5.53 My Submissive Life:

16.21 Book Review:

(source)

  • This episode’s book is Scary Stories to Tingle Your Butt: 7 Tales of Gay Terror by Chuck Tingle. It’s… something else. In a genre of its own. A mix of comedy, meta-fiction, erotica, all in a universe where unicorns, dinosaurs and Bigfeet (that’s the plural of Bigfoot) live amongst the rest of us. Oh yeah, there are also sentient buses. Like, the ones you ride around. Anything can happen. Anything. States can stalk people. The state of California, for example. And it makes sense in the context of the story.
  • Hilarious, utterly unique, filthy, with the occasional cutting social commentary, no one else writes like Chuck Tingle.
  • And the dialogue! Everything about it is singular.

29.08 Closing Remarks:

Episode 065: Kitty Chambliss

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

.44 Intro and Announcements:

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

4.11 Interview:

41.05 Closing Remarks:

Four Star Turds; On Being Constantly Disappointed by Humanity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Long term experience has made me not trust anyone.

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

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

Them: ‘I’m sorry?’

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

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

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

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

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

‘Hey! Your simple existence makes me unhappy!’

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

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

Why do you give a shit what other people do?

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

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

Stop being Four Star Turds.

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

Witches, Princesses, and Women at Arms by Sacchi Green

(source)

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

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

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

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

From the Introduction:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Episode 064: AliceinBondageLand on Chastity

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

.45 Intro and Announcements:

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

3.29 Interview:

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

1.37.56 Closing Remarks:

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

Episode 063: Witches, Princesses and Women at Arms

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

.45 Intro and Announcements:

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

8.32 My Submissive Life:

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

13.31 Book Review:

(source)

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

22.36 Closing Remarks:

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

What the Pageist Did in September 2017

Podcast Episodes

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

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

Writing

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

Patreon Rewards

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

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

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

Other News

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

Episode 062: Sinclair Sexsmith

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

.43 Intro and Announcements:

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

2.27 Interview:

photo by Bill Wadman

43.07 Closing Remarks:

Sweet and Rough: Queer Smut by Sinclair Sexsmith

(source)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It doesn’t ruin the book.

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

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

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

Indeed. In. Deed.

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

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

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

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

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

Yes. That is true.

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

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

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

Episode 61: Sweet and Rough

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

.44 Intro and Announcements:

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

4.09 My Submissive Life:

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

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

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

9.48 Book Review:

  • (source)

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

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

16.35 Sexy Section:

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

19.45 Closing Remarks:

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

What the Pageist Did in August 2017

Great strides were made in upgrading the recording booth.

Podcast Episodes

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

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

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

Writing

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

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

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

Patreon Rewards

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

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

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

Website

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

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

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

The Support page has a new look.

Gynecologist Appointments and Sexual Assault

[CW: sexual assault]

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

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

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

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

Dr. Guy

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nurse Doesn’t Listen

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

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

Fine. Sure.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nurse Doesn’t Listen Round Two

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

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

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

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

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

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

Doctor This Is How You Do It

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

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

It was the most pleasant unpleasant experience you could have.

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

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

Doctor Stunningly Beautiful but Cruel

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

Him: I was just thinking that!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trauma Doesn’t Vanish in the Exam Room

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

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

[Update: Post-appointment]

Nurse NHS FTW

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

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

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

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