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.

[This piece was also shared on Medium–if you’re a member there, please consider giving it some love.]

Anxiety, Indecision and the Looming Spectre of Death

[CW: suicide, depression]

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

How It Started

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

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

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

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

I worry…

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

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

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

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

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

How These Worries Manifest Themselves

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How I’m Trying to Combat This

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Episode 056: Brain Tumours and Real Artists

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

.45 Intro and Announcements:

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

2.53 My Submissive Life:

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

6.50 Book Review:

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

11.04 Closing Remarks:

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

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.

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.]

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.

Mwah!

—Paige

Con Drop and Cough Drops

I have returned from Eroticon (which was enormous fun) with some sort of illness (not any amount of fun). Walter had it as we arrived in London on Friday and it began for me as we returned Sunday evening or Monday morning. I can’t recall now, as I’m pretty zapped.

I have a cough and sore throat and generally no energy or will to move. I’ll be posting some photos left over from the conference that I didn’t post at the time, but mostly I’ll be reading this week’s book and sleeping.

The poetry for patrons and Romance of Lust readings will be late, due to the bleurgy, as will, probably, the podcast episode this week, considering how frequently I have to keep checking what day it is, between long periods of staring at nothing. Time has acquired an oddly fluid quality that I don’t care for.

Thank you for your patience. As a reward (I guess, I hope) have this:

I was saving up for a new computer so I didn’t have a budget for much, but I did buy a toy from Godemiche (pronounced god-mee-SHAY).

The Apprentice–it’s for your butt.

In case you can’t tell what it looks like… for size comparison:

The mug was a freebie from girlonthenet, who is wonderful.

I’ve wanted a smoother, thinner toy for awhile now, since penetration isn’t my thing but I need to learn to deal/cope with or, perhaps, enjoy it, one day, since I have to have regular pap smears, thanks to having HPV.

The plan was to have something smaller and frictionless to use to begin working up to a more ‘typical’ size during my medicinal play sessions.

I’m a basic sort of person–if something is available in black, that’s what I’m going for. Shoes, underwear, coats, bags, sex toys.

But Godemiche has some incredible colours–they’re pretty on their site, but I’ve seen them in person and can attest to their beauty up close.

The owners of the company were there and they’re both passionate about what they do–they clearly love it. We chatted for a bit and their enthusiasm was infectious.

I haven’t tried mine yet because nothing is less sexy than feeling sick, but I plan to write a review at some point, so you’ll hear about it eventually.

Eroticon 2017 Post

(source)

If you’re reading this, I must be at Eroticon 2017.

I’ve already written a virtual introduction post for fellow attendees, but for those of you not in Londontown this weekend, Eroticon is a gathering of people who write about sex (sex bloggers, erotica writers and so on) to learn how to improve their craft. Both from a practical stand-point, like learning about the impact obscenity laws have on their work or how to come up with enough ideas for blog posts, to creative classes—how to write scenes that are more dynamic and not run-of-the-mill.

Wordy people who talk and write about sex. I’m so happy. Nerds! Words! Sex! People who get what I do is an actual job that’s hard but rewarding! MY PEOPLE!

Some of the people presenting are Kate Lister (Whores of Yore) and Girl on the Net. Fangirl gasping is happening. (I reviewed Girl on the Net’s memoir in this episode of the show–it was dreadful.)

Kink Craft is doing workshops and I am there. I’m looking forward to meeting Pixie and Andrew in person, as well and making a couple things to bring back with me. (I’ve reviewed their shop, podcast and their DIY mini-flogger. And had them on the show. They’re okay people, I suppose.)

I’ll be taking pictures all weekend, which you can find on the Instagram account (no faces, unless a particular person says it’s okay, but the plan is no faces at all at the moment.) If you’re not on Instagram, the most recent four photos are always in the side bar (on the desktop version of the site).

I’ll also be hitting up the vendor area, which has a book stall(!!) run by Victoria Blisse of SmutUK. I mean, of course it has a book stall, but I’m very happy about this. Hopefully they’ll let me drop off some bookmarks for any and everyone to avail themselves of.

I must admit, I’m proud of the bookmarks. Walter made them.

Other vendors include several sex toy manufacturers (including Doxy—someone hold my wallet) and Freedoms Shop, which is a condom and lube supplier run by the NHS. They buy such large numbers of product they can offer quite good deals on everything they sell, which includes home STI testing kits.

There’s a vendor called Hot Octopuss that makes a sex toy for penises that’s so interesting it makes me wish I had a dick so I could try it.

Other sponsors of the conference are listed here—check them out. Some are providing snacks or lunch or helped fund tickets for people. If you like quality sex writing (and sex toys and other things) consider patronising these fine people.

I’ve already ordered the Eroticon Anthology, which includes writing from speakers and attendees, both fiction and non-fiction. My goal is to have something of my own included in the one next year. We’ll see if that comes to fruition. I’m sure I’ll wind up reviewing this year’s anthology on the show at some point and discover all sorts of new writers.

My schedule for the conference is packed, but I tire easily so here’s hoping I can push through and attend everything I’d like. This means next week’s schedule on the site will probably be light, as I don’t know how long I’ll need to recover from all the traveling and intense peopling. I’ve scheduled a post for this Sunday and next Tuesday, but I have a feeling I’ll be face down in bed for a couple days solid once I return.

If you try to contact me between now and next Tuesday, I’m not ignoring you, I’m just in people-overload and am doling out spoons with care.

The Roles We Are: Complexity in Kink Identities

My submission towards a certain sort of woman has been present since I was twelve or so—by that, I mean the desire to make life a bit easier by doing chores and errands and so on for women I admire and respect has been present since that time.

Once I had the words ‘submissive’, ‘Dominant’ and ‘service-oriented’ in my vocabulary, the world made much more sense. It explained why I reacted the way I did to the women I did, when other people in my peer group were reacting very differently to radically different sorts of people. They were interested in people our own age and seemed keen to do things with their genitals for two examples. Whereas my attention has always been more towards women a decade (or three) older, who showed their appreciation for all of my help by patting me on the head and allowing me to sit at their feet.

After I had the language to describe the entire way I related to the world, I thought that was it. I was a service-oriented submissive—frabjous day! Having a name not only meant there were others out there, but also that there was a chance I could have the sort of relationship that would work best for me—that would meet needs I hadn’t realised I had because I didn’t have a name for them.

Labels: It was the Best of Times; It was the Worst of Times

We live in a label-obsessed culture, for the good and ill. Binary labels are particularly popular and nefarious.

And we all know a person can’t be two things at once. Because humans are very simple organisms. [/sarcasm]

For example—a person can’t be submissive and want to top people. Submissives are only allowed to top someone if it’s in service or to entertain their Dominant.

‘Real’ submissives aren’t tops, though.

So it took awhile to work out I wanted to top men. In one of those ‘Well, that was obvious the entire time’ moments I realised I’d probably excel as a sadistic top to men. Women don’t inspire that in me. (Or I haven’t met one that has yet, anyway.)

Let Me Vanilla-It For You

Everyone inhabits several roles: sibling, parent, child, teacher, writer, spouse, etc. Your parent says your first and middle names and you’re instantly twelve again. But your significant other wears that thing you like and you’re anything but twelve. The roles you are lie quietly inside you until something triggers them. Your child crying, your boss moving your deadline—whatever it is.

Kink-related roles work similarly. It’s not a role like a theatre role—you’re not pretending—they’re always part of you. Different roles are brought to the fore by certain circumstances or people. Or, sometimes, inanimate objects.

There are people who think you can’t be a submissive and a top, but that’s like saying, ‘Well, you can’t be a sister and a mother.’ They’re two different things. A person always has the capacity to be the roles that make up who they are and being one role doesn’t make you less of any other role. Becoming an aunt doesn’t make you less of a CEO.

‘Real’ landscape gardeners aren’t brothers, though. (See how ridiculous that sounds?)

Being One Thing Would Be So HARD

It’s not about being a switch for me—I don’t vacillate from submissive to Dominant depending upon the circumstances. I just want to do stuff to dudes who are okay with me doing stuff to them. (Non-sexual stuff. I’m still an asexual lesbian.) What interests me is the trust and communication and creativity involved.

What draws me to women (and what I want from those women) is quite different to what I’d look for in a guy to play with, which is one of the best things about BDSM—being allowed, and even encouraged—to learn about yourself and explore the manifold ways there are to connect with others. Rather than being forced to choose the one role that is most who you are (as though everyone isn’t a number of things simultaneously all the time) and only being permitted to change that title if you’re prepared to only be that new thing now, like serial monogamy will roles in life. Humans are complicated enough to be several things at once.

Thank pete for that—I’d hate to have to decide which one specific role I wanted to inhabit in life. If I only wanted to be a writer I supposed I’d have to divorce my husband and murder my entire family, because there are far too many ways to relate to people happening there.

Then I’d be a murderer, too, though. So that would be my new role forever—no more writing for me!

It’d be more difficult trying to be one role than it would allowing yourself to occupy the various roles natural to you.

Not to mention that being one thing is a fast train to crazytown. Ask any stay-at-home parent who hasn’t had a conversation with an actual adult in months. They may love being a parent, but other parts of the mind need to be exercised or they’ll turn to mush.

The desire to watch something other than cartoons, eat grown up food in a restaurant and talk about current events doesn’t make a person a terrible parent or mean they dislike their child. Being allowed to have some time away—to step into other roles for awhile—gives a person a fresh appreciation for the more primary roles in their lives, as well as renewed energy that can be used in approaching them.

[This writing was adapted and expanded from the My Submissive Life section of episode twenty-three.]

Statement of Purpose 2017-18

Statement of Purpose: Traditional vs Kinky

In the vanilla world, a statement of purpose is something graduate schools ask applicants to write to demonstrate their aptitude, interest and suitability for the programme to which they are applying.

In the world of power exchange, a Statement of Purpose is a document an s-type engaged in self-training creates as a way to define their aims in training. The concept comes from Training with Miss Abernathy: A Workbook for Erotic Slaves and Their Owners.

According to the book, in the Statement of Purpose, the s-type should make:

…a personal commitment to work through the training program. Since you are essentially both trainer and trainee, be sure to specify the responsibilities you have toward yourself: excellent self-care, sufficient food, sleep, exercise, and recreation, and most of all, compassion.

There wasn’t a written example in the book, though, so I adapted her guidelines for my own purposes and have included it below. If it’s useful to you, feel free to use it as a basis to make your own.

Sections

Start Date and Date of Review

Start and end dates were not recommended for a Statement of Purpose, probably as it’s meant to be a commitment to complete the training in the book and that will take however long it takes. If you’ve designed your own training regimen or would like to make your document feel more like a contract you’re holding yourself to, you can add a start date and a date of review, when you can evaluate your progress and perhaps redefine your needs and goals.

Intention

This was also my addition—it’s a brief section on why you’ve chosen to write a Statement of Purpose. What does submission bring into your life? What do you want to get out of the training you’re committing yourself to? Why have you set the goals you’ve set?

Philosophy of Submission

The most challenging part for me was writing down my Philosophy of Submission, the idea for which came from the guidelines on making a training contract between a D-type and s-type.

The suggestion of both members engaging in a training contract including their philosophy of Dominance and submission appealed greatly to me. It makes sense to have it articulated at the start so if your theories of how power exchange is supposed to be clashes you’ll know immediately.

I wanted to include my philosophy in my Statement as a way of keeping in mind what I enjoy about being submissive/get from Dominance. It took awhile to formulate into words exactly what submission meant to me and my philosophy of it, though, so that exercise proved to be useful. Once I found the words they felt like a foundation—like part of my core, as though they had been sitting there, waiting for me to write them down.

At the very least I’ll have an answer if a D-type asks me what I think the point of submission is. Prior to this exercise my response would have been, ‘Um. I must have an opinion on it. Can I get back to you on that?’

(My philosophy of submission is not the only way. My personal philosophy may seem overly strict or too service-oriented for some people, just as other people’s philosophies would be overly lax or based in sexuality to work for me. What’s important is that your philosophy complements the person’s you’re with.)

Goals of Training

According to Training with Miss Abernathy, this section of a training contract:

…may be as simple as ‘the training of a slave to our mutual satisfaction’ or a list of skills to be acquired

I am an advocate of measurable results, so set mine up with a baseline of where I am currently on whatever habit or activity so, at the end of the year, I won’t have to try to recall where I was a year before.

Also, make a plan that can be implemented immediately—small steps—to start on whatever task is being undertaken.

Responsibilities

Following Miss Abernathy’s guidelines—as you are your own trainer, you must look after your property properly. Lay out your responsibilities here and how you will uphold your responsibilities to care for yourself.

Benefits and Further Thoughts

Having your goals, intentions and philosophy written down with a plan and a set time to review it can help get (and keep) you focused on your training.

This can also be a useful addition to your submissive resume, if you have one. Or even a way to start one.

Don’t overwhelm yourself by taking on too much—one thing at a time is plenty if you have a job and family and other responsibilities. If you discover an aspect of your training isn’t working for you, that doesn’t mean you’re a bad submissive; take some time—work out why it isn’t working for you. Break it into smaller steps or work on something else for awhile.

I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions, but a yearly Statement of Purpose on my kinkiversary with measurable results is more meaningful than an arbitrary day on the calendar when everyone else is trying to magically become a new person overnight.

If you have a paperwork fetish like I do, you may check out Ignixia’s site—she teaches a class on contracts, Letters of Intent and other such gloriousness called ‘Let’s Make it Official’. I have a handout from the class she taught at Power Exchange Summit that I treasure. If she’s teaching it near you—or you can get her to teach it somewhere for you—attend.

[The Miss Abernathy books are out of print separately, but are available in an omnibus called Erotic Slavehood—this is the edition I’m reading and loving to bits.]

________________________________________

Statement of Purpose

Starting Date: 14/02/17 Date of Review: 14/02/18

Introduction

Over the previous two years I have kept a submissive journal and made weekly goals and daily assignments in order to improve as a person and submissive. This year will begin my third year and I feel I’m becoming better at some things while I have slipped in others. Though, overall, I have improved as a person since discovering and developing my submission. This year, I intend to intentionally focus on the habits below, as I feel they are important to becoming a more balanced person and better submissive.

Philosophy of Submission

A submissive should enjoy making their Dominant’s life easier. A submissive should know exactly who and what they’re about and why they enjoy what they do, as well as what they need from a power exchange. They should be forthright but polite about their needs and desires. A submissive is a representative of their Dominant at all times—even when in the presence of people unaware of their dynamic—and must be a credit to said Dominant.

Goals of Training

1. Adopting a regular exercise routine.
Current routine: None.
Plan: Begin doing stretches and light cardio at least a couple times a week and work up from there. Hope it helps me feel better soon, which helps me stick with it.

2. Adopting a regular work routine that allows for recreation
Current routine: Rather scattered and not something I stick to.
Plan: Pay attention to how I’m spending time and where I have extra time. Also, how long it actually takes to do various things (as opposed to how long I think it takes) then make a new schedule.

3. Learning to attend to one task at a time.
Current success: Middling. Scale of 0/5 I’d give myself a 3.
Plan: If I have an idea for something that needs to be seen to whilst in the middle of something else, make a note of the new thing and keep going with what I was doing.

4. Being more aware of unproductive behaviour and eradicating it.
Current success: Awful: 0 of 5.
Plan: Go to bed when I’m tired. Keep from checking social media for more than five minutes at a time. Don’t check social media ‘just one more time’ before bed, as that always turns into 1.5 hours. Don’t fall for click bait articles. Pay attention to what I’m doing in general.

5. Listening more than speaking
Current success: Less than Brilliant 1 of 5.
Plan: Start with being more aware of what I’m about to say—think before I speak. Does it need to be said?

Responsibilities

Responsibilities to myself whilst training include:

1. Getting adequate sleep, without allowing myself to sleep too much.
Plan: As a life-long insomniac, this is always going to be a challenge, but perhaps regular exercise and a healthier diet will help. I’ve also been practicing breathing techniques at night.

2. Eating healthily and drinking enough water.
Plan: I’ve been eating healthier than ever over the last couple of months and have been making an effort to drink fluids that aren’t tea or coffee. It’s a matter of keeping to that.

3. Keeping myself to the high standards the Ma’am I would like would keep me to, whilst also being as kind to myself as the Ma’am I would like would do.
Plan: The first part shouldn’t be difficult, it’s the second bit that will be the hard part. I have to remind myself that giving myself a nervous breakdown is no way to improve as a submissive.

4. Fitting in recreation—even if it’s forced into the schedule.
Plan: Scheduling in downtime on Sundays, at least, to do something just for me.

Kinkiversary Number Two

Today is my kinkiversary (yes, it happens to be February 14th–I am not a romantic person so the irony is not lost on me).

Two years ago everything changed (for the better). For more on my kinky beginnings, you can read this post.

For the first time I have something to look forward to. I went from just getting through the day to enjoying my life. From being the sort of person who did the bare minimum at whatever job I had to being happiest working.

Because I’m trying to make reading, writing, thinking, listening to and talking about kink and sex education my job. I want everyone to have the opportunity to find their happiness the way I have.

Realising I was kinky has not only made me more comfortable with myself and helped me figure out what I’m supposed to be doing with my life, but it’s also introduced me to some of the nicest, most giving, hilarious human beings you could hope to know. The sort of people who make you want to be a better person and whom you genuinely want to see success and you know they want the same for you.

The professional kink community (that I’ve met thus far, anyway) is a great bunch of humans.

It’s been two years of incredible experiences I couldn’t have imagined two years and two weeks ago, and I am so excited to see what’s around the corner both personally and professionally.

Sub Journal 007: Revelations of the Past Year

007. What have you learned about yourself in the past year that surprises you?

I’ve learned that I can be committed and passionate about something if it means a great deal to me. The website and podcast are what have shown me this.

Previously, I’ve lost interest in other projects or hobbies after a few weeks or months, and thought the same thing would happen with the site and podcast. Instead, I’ve only become more committed and passionate about providing resources for people who are not traditional in their sexual or relationship desires.

I attribute this to having found something profound within myself—chiefly service-oriented submission—that has been there all along but I didn’t have words for. Experiencing that relief and (in a way) homecoming, I want to help other people along their own journeys. Whether that’s by recommending various sorts of media the Outsiders may connect with and find themselves in or by reading about my own life. No one should feel like they’re alone. Because no one is. No matter what you’re into or what speaks to your innermost self there are plenty of people out there who are equally interested and some probably have more experience and can guide you on your way.

I like to say, ‘Everything is a thing.’ If a dynamic, fetish or activity can be a profound experience for a person then someone is into it. You’re not the first, you won’t be the last and there’s no reason to feel badly about your natural inclinations.

I’ve got on a tangent—this is supposed to be about what I’ve learned about myself.

In my reading and studying I’ve confronted some of my own prejudices and worked out why I felt the way I did and worked to eradicate them from my worldview. Some were easier than others.

In the Things That Were Blatant But I Was Too Blind to See category: I’ve also realised I have a definite Little side, figured out what sort of power exchange I’m most interested in, and that I believe I would enjoy topping men.

That last one was the most surprising, even though it made complete sense once I realised it.

Also, I thought I would be fairly boring in my kink interests, but over the year, several things that were on my hard limits list have moved to either the ‘I’d try that with the right person to see if I’d enjoy it’ or ‘Yes, I would very much like to try this, thank you, please.’

A note about being ‘boring’–I never felt I should try my boundaries, as I subscribe to the ‘find your level’ philosophy of kink. Whatever feels natural to you is your level and there are no awards for doing more (or less) than that.

This prompt is from SubmissiveGuide.

Avoidance Behaviour

Today a Twitter friend posted a great tweet that was about how sometimes we use helping people do what they need/want to as a way of avoiding improving our own lives.

Real friends attack you when you need attacking.

She was referring to herself, but it was exactly what I needed to see to admit something I half knew but didn’t want to admit to myself.

I’ve been using this site and podcast as a way to avoid growing in my own submission or getting out there and exploring more, even though I want to.

The point of The Pageist (both site and podcast) are to help people know they’re not alone and to find and accept their true selves. I can’t think of anything more important. You can’t improve the world if you hate yourself for who you are. Realising I was kinky helped me immensely and I wanted to put that back out there. It saved my life and I only wish I had made the connection sooner.

This feels like a calling—a thing I would have never thought I’d have and words usually applied to doctors or firefighters. (I’m not comparing myself to those people—I just didn’t realise it was possible to be compelled to help people in a way that wasn’t…sanctioned by society. That’s a topic for another essay, though.)

All the Things

I’ve not had a purpose in life before—I’ve had depression, anxiety and ennui in abundance, however—but an actual desire to do something is like being able to see a new colour spectrum and wanting to look at everything. Now I want to do everything at once. In the rush to catch up and accomplish something with my life—to help all the people and make all the difference—for the 38 years I wasn’t doing those things, I’ve let basic self-care and a focus on my own submission slide.

Until a few months ago I had been doing exercises in a couple workbooks for s-types* and working on my submissive resume. I was learning so much about myself and what I wanted/needed. Some of which was surprising. You can think you know yourself, but upon reflection and contemplation will find surprises. Some pleasant, some not so much.

Then other people seemed more important.

This is classic problem for service-oriented submissives, I suppose.

But I’m of no use to anyone if I’m burnt out, which is one thing that happens when you’re trying to do everything.

I try to live by the motto: Be the sort of submissive your ideal Dominant would want to own.

My ideal Dominant would want me to be constantly growing in my submission. She would want me to be honest if I had too much on my plate and needed to rearrange my schedule or take a break.

Working on the show and site includes learning a great deal—I feel like I’m enrolled in one of those create-your-own-degree courses some hippie universities offer. But it doesn’t include growing in my submission.

Avoidance Behaviour

How is this avoidance behaviour? Well, I dislike change and I’m terrified of failure. Going to events would disrupt my schedule, of which I am quite fond and which makes me feel safe. And looking for a D/s relationship… what if I suck at it? What if I’m am abject failure as a submissive?

(Cognitively, I know this is who I’ve been since I was twelve, at least, and any decent Dominant isn’t going to expect perfection the first day, but I will. That doesn’t matter when your brain is used to telling you you’re a failure at everything you do.)

What if I can’t find someone who wants the type of D/s relationship I do?

Welcome to reality—and you can’t know until you look. What if you found what you wanted. Ponder that, Miss Always-Expects-to-Be-Disappointed.

So I’ve been pushing myself to do all the things while telling myself I’m ‘helping other people’ (true) and ‘getting a business off the ground’ (trying, hopefully true) and it’s normal for that to require an ‘unholy amount of work’ (true). And we don’t have the funds for me to go to events (true, but writing prompts don’t require money). So ‘it’s fine if I allow my own personal goals to suffer’ (brain, we need to have a talk).

Anyway, I’m taking a week off to figure out a new schedule so I can do the things I want for the site/show while still making time for personal growth. There’s a way to do it—I just haven’t made the time to sit and work it out.

The podcast will return next Thursday with a review of The Academy by Laura Antoniou then the site will be back on schedule with all sorts of reviews of various types of media, as described here.

If you’re a fan of the The Pageist and would like to show your support, this page has suggestions for free and non-free options.

Thank you so much for reading/listening,

Paige

*Erotic Slavehood: A Miss Abernathy Omnibus by Christina Abernathy and Where I am Led: A Service Exploration Workbook by Christina Parker

Discovering My Inner Victorian

Power exchange is the most important aspect of kink for me. I’ve known this from the start. But trying to work out what type of power exchange I was looking for had me fairly baffled.

Then I read Paradigms of Power, which is a collection of essays about various styles of power exchange edited by Raven Kaldera.

In the book there are several mentions of power exchanges based on English-style hierarchy, be it Victorian, Edwardian, early 20th century, or as far back as the Renaissance.

In retrospect, what I wanted was blazingly obvious.

It turns out I’ve been a Victorian all this time. If you knew me, this wouldn’t be a surprise.

I like my antique furniture and chamber music, my Pre-Raphaelites and Dickens, Collins and Conan Doyle novels.

(Don’t get me wrong, I also like indoor plumbing, vaccines and civil rights. I don’t romanticize the period. Corsets are for fun—not permanent organ damage.)

Prior to the obvious hitting me in the face, I knew I wanted to be a sort of personal assistant to my D-type. Someone who took care of her clothing and dressed her and did secretarial things and ran errands, got drinks and was a general companion, who was valued and reflected well on her, etc. I had a list that was sort of specific but didn’t describe a contemporary job.

I knew what a lady’s maid was, of course, but being oblivious was very time-consuming and I hadn’t taken the time to sit down and work it out for myself.

Behold, the character I was most jealous of in this film (not Professor McGonagall--the other one). (source)

Behold, the character I was most jealous of in this film (not Professor McGonagall–the other one). (source)

The tone in the relationship I was looking for was warm or affectionate, though it wouldn’t necessarily have to be romantic in nature. It could be, but that wasn’t a necessity.

As I was reading Paradigms of Power, there were various essays (and portions of essays) about the dynamic I was looking for.

In an essay entitled ‘The Victorian M/s Household’ by Sir Stephen (of the Household of Sir Stephen), he talks about the sort of visual media useful for learning about good service.

He includes Upstairs Downstairs and Jeeves and Wooster, and has this to say about the latter:

Although there are wonderful moments of service woven into the comedy, it is a little bit dangerous for slaves to be allowed to view this, as it encourages subtle forms of smart-assery.

Remains of the Day is also recommended, as is Gosford Park. Where we’re meant to look out for this line:

“What gift do you think a good servant has that separates them from the others? It’s the gift of anticipation And I’m a good servant. I’m better than good, I’m the best; I’m the perfect servant. I know when they’ll be hungry, and the food is ready. I know when they’ll be tired, and the bed is turned down. I know it before they know it themselves.”

There’s another line Helen Mirren (Mrs Wilson in the film) says that I remember clearly, which was, ‘I’m the perfect servant—I have no life.’ because when I saw this in the cinema I leaned over to the person sitting next to me and whispered, ‘What do you know, I’m the perfect servant.’

As I was looking through the Gosford Park quotes on IMDb, I came across this one:

Robert Parks: Here we go again.
Mary Maceachran: That’s just it. I’ve never done a real house party before. Not properly anyway.
Elsie (Head Housemaid): How come you got taken on as a countess lady’s maid if you’ve got no experience?
Mary Maceachran: She wants to train me. She said she didn’t care about experience.

Training, you say? Tell me more about that.

For those of you playing along at home: I’ve seen all of Jeeves and Wooster (love them!) and owned Remains of the Day on VHS and have Gosford Park on DVD.

Denser than a dying sun, me.

The second essay in the Victorians section is ‘The Naughty Victorians’ by Sir John of Cawdor and slave girl yoni

He says this:

Lace and the necklaces and earrings of that era replace leather boots and clothing; Victorian deportment replaces leather protocols.

Posture and carriage were important to Victorian ladies, and they were trained to carry themselves well, to have poise, and to gesture gently and elegantly. My slave-girls know to carry themselves with pride and to keep their heads up—never to look down at the ground.

However, her dress must always be carefully thought out; even when it is deliberately provocative, it must be in a mode which I call “elegantly slutty”.

Our cultural dynamic draws its elegance from another era, but we do live in this one, and we modify it to “pass” easily. We are not trying for flashiness and “look at us”; only those who are in the know can discern who and what we are. We wish to blend in in all contexts. We hide in plain sight.

I’d written a piece of erotica/description of a dream I’d had to a friend on Fet and she said she liked how ‘demanding but respectful’ the women was towards me. I hadn’t thought of it in those terms, but all of my fantasies have that tone. And that’s the sort of power exchange I would flourish in. It’s also the way Ladies would treat their maids. They’d expect proper service and respect in return for their own respect.

In a later section of the book, which focused on power exchanges that consisted of a mix of styles, both essays included English-style PE.

In ‘Building a Household Style’ by Master James, the household in question employs Edwardian manners.

I was uncomfortable, early on, with the idea of snapping orders at a “slave”. Growing up in the 1970s, I’d watched Upstairs Downstairs, and The Duchess of Duke Street, both of which shaped my idea on how people of quality speak to people serving them. I also had a distinct opinion that people who were rude or impolite to service people—including their own—were uncouth.

Indeed! And that adds The Duchess of Duke Street to my list of media, which I haven’t watched. I’ve started a page of Victorian resources. It’s rather scant, at the moment, but suggestions are welcome and I’m sure it will grow with time.

Another quote from that essay:

Over time, however, through events, cultural reference, and my influence, an Edwardian manner has become a part of our household ethic. Orders and demurrals should be polite, allowing for an interchange and correction or new information, so that the process of orders is never a source of embarrassment on either end.

The concept of barking orders, in addition to being bad manners, always seemed comical to me, reminding me of Yul Brynner in The Ten Commandments intoning gravely “So it shall be written. So it shall be done!” To me, “I’ll endeavor to do my best, Sir,” “Was that a priority, Sir?” and “I’m afraid that may be impossible with the resources at hand, Sir,” were all perfectly reasonable responses.

I do like ‘Was that a priority?’

Then I'm like: Here I am, just being ready to help. (source)

No worries, I’ll wait until you’ve decided if it is. (source)

The final essay—for my purposes and in the book—was ‘Our Archetypal Array’ by Raven Kaldera, Joshua Tenpenny and Brandon Hardy.

One of their archetypes is Renaissance Manservant, which Raven describes thusly:

Actually, this archetype extends itself well into the eighteenth century, although it had changed a great deal by Victorian times. Wealthy medieval households had many servants of varying ranks, but personal attendants really came into their own during the Renaissance, with the rise of a middle class that couldn’t afford a whole household, but could pay one well-trained servant to cover all but the menial tasks. By Renaissance England, the personal attendant was sometimes referred to as a valet (the word is first found in writing in 1567), sometimes as a “serving-gentleman” or “waiting-gentleman”, and sometimes just “my man” (e.g. Shakespeare’s line “Romeo came not home last night; I spoke with his man…”). The female equivalent was the “serving-gentlewoman”, “waiting-gentlewoman”, or “maid”, not to be confused with the later position of housemaid. Their jobs did include dressing their superior and looking after clothing, but they also encompassed being a traveling companion, carrying bags, taking messages, digging up dirt, making sure that their superior got fed, and many other tasks. Most importantly, their biggest job was to be “in waiting”—waiting for the next order, whatever that might be. They were a plucky, resourceful, respectful, and entertaining (if desired) sidekick who stuck to the side of their master or mistress, no matter where that road led.

Of course, to my mind, desired ‘entertainment’ could be some sort of nefarious kinkiness, if that’s how the power exchange had been designed.

Raven goes on to say:

Long ago, while browsing Life In Elizabethan England: A Compendium of Common Knowledge, written as a handbook for reenactors by Maggie Pierce Secara, I ran across her advice for those playing this specific kind of servant. She wrote: “A servant and master strive to do each other credit. As a lady of quality, it is unbecoming to your dignity to carry your own shopping basket. As that lady’s servant, it is unbecoming to your dignity to let her.” She then went on to write: “The good servant, like a good waiter, is attentive. The best servant is a little bit psychic. He is there when you need him but never hovers. He finds some virtuous occupation when you disappear. He is neither lewd nor vain, but maintains a respectable countenance, to the credit of his master. He is modest but never craven, humble but never base, candid but not insolent.”

I like the ‘doing one another credit’ bit. Both people strive to be worthy of the other just like a good power exchange. Of course, the ‘little bit psychic’ part goes perfectly with the Gosford Park quote (much) earlier in this piece. I’ve always wanted to be one of those secretaries who had a report ready before my boss asked for it and, Bugs Bunny-like, produced the file out of nowhere. Or: ‘It’s on your desk, ma’am.’

Also, the phrase ‘virtuous occupation’ appeals to me greatly, though it makes me think of someone darning socks in a corner. (I’ve tried to learn to darn socks. You know what? We’re buying new socks.)

Back to the essay. Raven goes into what is required of him in order to live up to his side of the equation:

I also absorbed her words about my side of the dynamic as well: “The good master is proud but never despotic. He is patient, governing his household with fatherly care. He does not twist your sincere desire to serve into a sincere desire to punch him out. He lets you do your job. He maintains his superior station, as God has given it him, by honourable behavior, not by argument.”

In practice, this means that my boys are expected to be able to manage the “charming companion” job on top of the “resourceful servant” job. Our public protocol is less formal but more subtle—less about being a silent servant and more about being exactly the companion I want, in exactly the specific ways I want it.

And finally:

Which brings us to my end of the deal. Noblesse oblige literally means “the obligations of the nobility”, and as I understand it, this is honorable behavior. If one believes one’s self to be superior, one should evince public behavior that is better than those one feels superior to. All the time. No exceptions. And, by the way, “public” means “where any other human being can see you, or will find out about it”. The peasants get to be jerks to each other. I don’t. I sometimes fail, but it is never acceptable, and I am always striving to hold to that goal. That’s part of how I earn that special regard. It’s also important to my servants that I show consistently better judgment in important matters than they do, so I’d better stay on my game and make sure I’m thinking deeply enough on each issue to make that happen.

This is the sort of person I want to serve. If I’m being held to a high standard, then there’d better be a good reason and you’d better be spectacular. I see it as a cycle where we feed into one another. I get something out of serving someone outstanding (and being allowed to serve and meeting goals and growing), but that person has to be someone worth serving. The more admirable of a person you are, the better of a servant I’ll want to be. If you’re not living up to your potential as a D-type, I’m not going to get anything out of serving you.

Episode 013 Paradigms of Power

Episode the Thirteenth; Wherein The Pageist discusses power exchange, what it means to her and even figures out what style makes the most sense for her life. (It was extremely obvious–the Pageist can be oblivious.)

00.40 Intro

This episode is all about power exchange. What part it plays in my life and the book reviewed is about various styles other people practice, as well.

00.55 My Submissive Life

7.35 Book Review

  • The this episode is Paradigms of Power: Styles of Master/slave Relationships edited by Raven Kaldera, which is a collection of essays by people in a variety of power exchange relationships.
  • It features writing from people on both sides of the slash of relationships that take the shape of: Leather, 1950s style, Victorian, Ancient Roman, Executive, Spiritual and several other types of authority transfers.
  • Erotic Awakening interview with Dr Robert Rubel episode 348

29.55 Closing Remarks

  • Thank you for tuning in!
  • In the next episode I’ll be interviewing Dr Gloria Brame, author of Different Loving and Different Loving Too, as well as many other books on BDSM and sexuality.
  • Like on Facebook, follow on Twitter, Tumblr, Goodreads and join the Fetlife group.
  • You can also subscribe to this 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!
  • All episodes are listed and playable from this page.

Making Myself Believe It: Rage Like a Living Thing

[Trigger Warning: Rape, Molestation]

I’ve written about having HPV before. Twice. Once about being baffled by the diagnosis and another about working out it was from an unconsensual experience twenty years ago.

And then I was done. I’m a Stoic (head nod to my guy Marcus Aurelius, sup, Marco!) and I was just going to deal with it in my silent, proper, non-emotive way.

I haven’t been saying ‘why me’—I haven’t said it once, because people who say that have always struck me as naïve. Or uninformed about statistics and science.

If you say ‘why me’, well, why not you? The belief that you don’t deserve something bad means someone else does. Or that you believe fate exists. Which means children deserve to starve to death or people in India are fated to handle human feces based on their caste.

During the Chechen Wars of the 90s the women living in the areas of contention said they didn’t care who was winning because it only meant the uniforms of the soldiers raping them changed.

People who say ‘if you send out positive vibes you get positivity back’ make me laugh.

That only works if you live in certain places, look a certain way, and have a certain set of circumstances helping you along to begin with. All the positive thinking in the world won’t help the people with no food or those who live in war zones.

Fate and positive vibes are for the already fortunate.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I’ve been thinking about the factors in place that facilitated my winding up with this thing that could give me cancer. Several things worked together starting with my parents and their sincere need for parenting skills and military-grade AA.

Then there’s this rage. Fury, really. It swells in my chest sometimes like a living thing and I don’t know what to do with it. I’ve written before about how emotions weren’t to be expressed in our house. To the point where I don’t know how to express them now.

Of course, like an idiot, I went to the man of the hour’s Facebook page. He died a few years ago, but his friends and family continue to post messages to him about how they know he’s in Heaven with God and how they know he’d be proud of his son today because he did this or that. Or how they sure wish he’d’ve been there for whatever moment.

Because what a Swell Guy he was. And he was Taken Too Soon.

And the rage swells in my chest like a living thing and I don’t know what to do with it. And I flip back through each moment that had to happen for us to end up where we did, and I end up back at my parents.

Why didn’t I stop things there? Or there? Or there?

Why didn’t my mother ask why I was spending so much time with someone twice my age?

Why did I trust him when I had just been betrayed by someone else so terribly? I had gone to him for help dealing with a man who’d been putting his hands on me for months.

I know the answers to all of the questions. I can play them forward like a Choose Your Own Adventure story and see why I made the decisions I did, but looking back so much would have been so different if my parents hadn’t been alcoholics.

Maybe I’d be one of those people who thinks putting positivity out there brings it back to you. Maybe I wouldn’t know that if someone sees someone who can’t properly defend themselves, they’ll take advantage no matter how well you think of them.

Because I trusted him. We were friends.

I trusted him so much I didn’t believe anything bad had happened for years. Even after reading articles about how rape survivors often act after rape over the long-term and recognizing myself in all of the points.

Not until I got this diagnosis—twenty years later—did I have to admit that it really did happen and I knew I didn’t want it and, oh yeah, all those articles said you’d been acting like a rape survivor…

I certainly I can’t deny it now.

But I still don’t believe it. Not really. Maybe it’s because I don’t look or feel any differently, as there are no outward symptoms. I had a different name then—I changed it after I moved away. I don’t see or speak to anyone I knew then.

And I feel stunted and angry and baffled and stupid.

My anger is a many-pronged thing. At myself for not being more insular and withdrawn, which I would become later, but if I had been from the start none of this would have happened. For trusting someone so quickly because I didn’t want to be a distrustful person.

At my parents for being more interested in drinking (my father) and staying with someone who drinks rather than moving out, while also drinking herself to sleep every night (my mother) than paying attention to who their daughter was spending time with or for how long or how late.

At the men who were older than I was, who, over months, said things to me that chipped away at what self esteem I had, or did what we’d now call ‘grooming’ or made sure no one would believe me—and who would? I did completely illogical things—that I now know are very common for victims of molestation and rape. I read those articles and said, ‘Huh,’ and kept on moving. I didn’t know what to do so I did nothing. I was a blank slate of a human for a long time. My interior world was the snow of an improperly tuned television.

At the way the world treats perpetrators versus victims and how I still blame myself because the world would blame me if I told them.

Then I remembered something… I had tried to tell someone. A couple of people. One had said I needed to ‘get over it’. And the other had shouted, ‘I’m sorry for what happened to you!’ and that was the end of it. You’re not supposed to talk about it because it makes men feel badly about themselves.

I had forgotten about that until very recently. The years of my life around that time are a blur—I don’t remember when what happened but I must have known something and tried to tell someone something because I recall learning that people didn’t want to know. So I suppose my brain decided that if I couldn’t tell anyone about it I wouldn’t know, either.

But I have to know it now. And I know another thing:

Someone doing something bad to you is all on them.

If an arsonist sets your house on fire—it’s on them. Not you for having a flammable house.

If someone steals your car—it’s on them. Not you for owning a car.

I had a body that someone (two someones) wanted to do things to. I didn’t want them to but they did those things. It’s all on them.

I just can’t seem to make myself believe it.

One Year of Kinky Blogging

Happy anniversary to me! (source)

Happy anniversary to me! (source)

A year ago—May 10, 2015—I started this site roughly three months after the light bulb came on and I realized I was kinky. (My kinkiversary is February 14, which I can’t believe I didn’t post an essay about. I did talk about it in episode six of the podcast.)

I learn about new topics by consuming various sorts of media pertaining to that subject, and wanted to have a place for reviews of what I was consuming and essays about the myriad thoughts whirling through my head. A blog seemed a good idea.

It wasn’t long before I stumbled across something called the 30 Days of Kink Blog Challenge somewhere else on the internet. Never excellent at keeping to a schedule, I knew trying to do one a day wouldn’t be possible. September had thirty days, though, and if I started early I could do a few a month and have those scheduled for when I was on vacation.

And I wanted to focus on my vacation on vacation, you know? (source)

And I wanted to focus on my vacation on vacation, you know? (source)

That was in June, though, and I worried I might lose interest in the intervening months. I pictured May and June being full of posts, then nothing in July and August, then September having a post every day followed by nothing, as I went on my merry way—something else having captured my interest.

I had not counted on how vast the kink world is. A person can become as involved (or uninvolved) as they’d like. There are endless topics to learn about—and I don’t mean practicals like flogging or needle play or even power exchange—but working with NCSF (National Coalition for Sexual Freedom) to educate law enforcement and government officials about kink. People teach and write and advocate.

The world of BDSM is Narnia once you push through the initial layers of fetish gear. It’s expansive and only grows weirder and more wonderful the further in you go.

Though perhaps not as weird as this. (source)

Though perhaps not as weird as this. (source)

There’s all sorts of information to absorb, synthesize and share.

And I am an information whore. Give me all your data. Some people go through subfrenzy and want to experience all of the types of play available. I want to read everything. And take notes. It’s like some kinky version of subfrenzy. Nerdfrenzy.

The more I learn about myself the more comfortable I feel and the more I want to help others find that sort of comfort within themselves. Kink has moved me forward in life in ways therapy couldn’t begin to.

What began as a personal journey is becoming a more public and political one.

Last week I applied for a small business license and became the sole proprietor of a business that currently runs a podcast, but will one day, hopefully, include other facets like teaching or publishing or voice work for audio books.

I'm looking forward to doing my taxes this year... (source)

I’m looking forward to doing my taxes this year… (source)

It’s nice to look forward to getting up in the morning. Even if some things I learn some days—about the ways sex workers or people doing consensual things with one another are discriminated against—make me frustrated with the way the world works. I have more purpose now. I have a community and a cause, though I’m not wild about that word, that’s important. There’s something worthwhile to work for that matters and that can change individual’s lives even if it can’t change the world.

And I have a place to share (and meticulously index) personal stories, writings, reviews and all manner of other information for what promises to be happy years of nerdfrenzy.

Thank you to the people who’ve been here during the first year and here’s to the next.

White people are good dancers, what? (source)

White people are good dancers, what? (source)

[Images from Black Books. If you haven’t seen the show I cannot recommend it enough.]

Guided by Books

A friend of mine, who I’ll call Ethel, recently sent me this message:

I became interested in anthropology after reading Clan of the Cave Bear, which is incredibly gratuitously porny, at age 12.
As a kid with no interest in sex I hated the sex scenes, but was FASCINATED by the idea of speculative fiction based on paleoarchaeological information.
In college, studying archaeology, I learned that several of my fellow students had the same story. They too sheepishly traced their first interest to Clan of the Cave Bear.
1, I’d love for you to review Clan of the Cave Bear.
2, I’d love for you to share the above as a conversation starter. Do you have any listeners with the same experience? Anyone else have a similar experience with a dirty book that ended up guiding, or at least foreshadowing, a direction in their nonsexual life?

So I will be reviewing Clan of the Cave Bear, but I also thought that was an interesting question.

I didn’t really read straight up ‘sexy’ books when I was younger. When I read erotica it was collections of short stories and those didn’t lend themselves to developing an interest in the surrounding world or profession of the characters.

Have you read any sexy books that led you to pursue vanilla hobbies?

You may leave a comment below or the Fetlife Group discussion for that particular topic is here: Sexy Books That Inspired Your Non-Sexy Life.

That Sleeping Beauty book just made me want to be a mattress tester... wearing a chastity belt. (source)

That Sleeping Beauty book just made me want to be a mattress tester… wearing a chastity belt. (source)

That got me thinking, though, about the sexier books–or sexier scenes in books–and how they informed who we are sexually or kinkily. Even in books that aren’t supposed to be about kink things can happen that will set a kinkster’s senses tingling.

A person can fetishize a particular item of clothing worn by a particular sort of person and if that’s mentioned in a book that passage will become imprinted on the reader’s brain. And that can happen long before they know anything about their kink or sexuality.

So I’m also curious about books that informed your sexuality or that you look back on and think, ‘Well, it’s obvious now.’

I always relished being teacher’s pet and since service and power exchange have always been more important than anything else I had a crush on Professor McGonagall. She’d make an excellent Mistress.

I also had a thing for Lady Dedlock in Bleak House. Stately women do it for me.

It was never about sex, though, because it never is with me, I just wanted to be special to them and to fetch and carry and make their lives easier.

So, looking back, what books (explicitly sexy/kinky or not) made you into the upstanding individual you are? What books or scenes or moments foreshadowed your salacious interests?

Feel free to respond here or in the Fet group discussion on the topic. Which is here: Books That Inspired Your Sexual/Kinky Self.

Medicinal Masturbation

I’ve written before about how I have HPV and how I’m an asexual lesbian.

In order to keep an eye on the cells on my cervix, I’ll be having a pap smear every six months for the next year and a half to three years. (70% of cases clear on their own in a year and 90% clear in three years.)

Being that nothing other than the ladies’ hygiene products are usually in my no-no zone, pap smears are a tremendous joy for me. I often get light-headed and nauseated.

Maybe I should take my little squeaky Spooky with me on my next visit. (source)

Maybe I should take my little squeaky Spooky with me on my next visit. (source)

But if this is going to be a very regular thing I have to deal with then I’ve decided I’m going to instate some masturbation for medicinal purposes.

Now, I know that sounds like those people in old movies when they talk about ‘medicinal’ brandy, but I genuinely don’t grope myself very frequently and, though I have the accoutrements for this project, they’re employed even less frequently.

I don’t know what to say. I’m simply not interested in myself that way. I’d really rather sit down with myself and read a book or write a story than put the moves on. If I am feeling a bit frisky, I just want to use my little vibrator and go to sleep. That happens every other or every third month.

Have I ever mentioned kink is not about sex for me?

But pap smears are horrible. Nothing should be that unpleasant. So I’m just going to view it the way the Victorians did female hysteria. (One of my all-time favorite nonsense diseases.)

There’s a fairly amusing film (called Hysteria) that covers some of the historical background. Victorian women were out of sorts because of womanly problems and they just needed to be ‘manipulated’ (jerked off) by doctors. It’s how vibrators were invented. Vibrators used to be terrifying, by the way.

Their husbands could have saved themselves some money by paying more attention in the bedroom, is what I’m thinking.

[Or so I thought until I started doing research for this post. Everything I know is a lie!]

Another film I enjoy that touches on masturbation (heh heh) is The Road to Wellville. The book is far better, but the movie is fun. And it’s based on real events.

As I’ve been working on this project of mine I’ve learned that it’s more difficult to put a condom on an uncircumcised dildo than it is on a circumcised one. I made a video about it.

Of course, doing it in the bright living room with dry hands was easy. Try doing it in the dark with lube everywhere. Sheesh.

Fiddling with myself on the regular isn’t the worst thing to have to do, but I’m going to have to schedule it in, because otherwise I just won’t do it. Then after my next doctor’s appointment in September they’ll be bringing me soft drinks and a snack so I don’t pass out. Again.

Episode 010 Coming Out Like a Porn Star

Episode the Tenth; wherein the Pageist invites everyone to her Fetlife group, meets her first human puppy and rethinks her entire philosophy of coming out.

00.50 Intro & Announcements:

  • The show now has a Fetlife group! The Pageist Podcast. You can discuss the show with other listeners or recommend books to me or one another.
  • One of the people who responded to the Listener Survey (which you can still take, please and thank you) said the theme music was a little grating. New music is on its way. I’m not sure when, but it’s in the works.
  • I recently guest-hosted an episode of The People of Kink and interviewed bodhi of RopeSpace about his kink journey and his love of rope.
  • I have a sponsor for this episode! The Cage, which is a new social media/forum for kinky people.
  • Power Exchange Summit is coming up in less than two months! If you’re curious about it or want to improve your relationship goooooo.

5.20 My Submissive Life:

  • While listening to a recent episode of Erotic Awakening (Episode 391 Daddy Grrl) I learned about the difference between sensual domination and sensual humiliation. They also discussed regular ol’ humiliation and degradation, which I knew I wasn’t into. But, um, … sensual humiliation sounded kinda okay and stuff.
  • I also talked about my first play party and how well that went (really well) and how awkward I am in social situations (really awkward).
  • But! I also met my first human puppy! It was great! And I knew how to behave and what to expect because some time ago I had heard Erotic Awakening Episode 376 Puppy Play with Sir Justin.

9.50 Book Review

35.10 Closing Remarks

  • Thank you for tuning in!
  • In the next episode I’ll be talking about lesbian porn and BDSM porn and ‘porn for men’, as a sort of follow up to this episode. No book review, as I’m working on a review of two books by Dr Gloria Brame that will take some time to do properly.
  • If you’re only interested in book reviews or find porn boring or offensive, no worries, see you in episode 12 for reviews of Different Loving and Different Loving, Too. That’ll probably be in three weeks to a month.
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  • All episodes are listed and playable from this page.