We are spending the weekend away to celebrate both Master’s birthday and mother’s day. This morning we enjoyed a relaxing naked birthday breakfast in our room. Later, we’ll throw some clothes on and have lunch with my mum.
This is a catch up post for the Erotic Journal Challenge. Meme overload and a busy social life has meant I’ve missed a few posts. Sex education is as important as any other topic of education, but it is also vast and complex. What’s more it isn’t something that can just be learnt at school and it isn’t something that you learn once and then move on. Sex education is part of life long learning.
When I was a child
I don’t think my parents really ever spoke to me about sex in any constructive way. It was something that was for adults and they didn’t really talk to us about it. I think it was assumed we’d learn it at school.
Sex education in school was mainly instructional. The physical aspects of how vaginal penetration happens and how a woman gets pregnant, for example. We did learn about menstruation and periods, but the boys were excluded from that one. I don’t think there was much about relationships, and certainly nothing about gender or sexual preference. It was assumed we were all heterosexual. We did cover other topics as part of the same syllabus for example drug taking, particularly heroin. That felt so removed from my own life though we saw an interesting film that has stuck with me.
I really knew very little about my own body when I went off to train to be a nurse at 18. While we didn’t receive sex education as part of our course, we did learn about anatomy. Probably the most useful thing I learnt, which helped me understand the female body was catheterisation. This is a very intimate procedure and one that can be very embarrassing for the recipient. As a nurse you really do have to examine the woman’s vulval area to ensure the catheter goes into the bladder and not the vagina. The urethra has a very small opening, so it is easily missed.
I also had the ‘pleasure’ of having to hold a few men’s penises so they could pee. It wasn’t until I was qualified that I catheterised a man.
While there is nothing sexual about this work, it did prove to be invaluable in understanding more about the human body. After all I was still a virgin at the time. Although I had a boyfriend we didn’t have sex until I was at least 18 and had left home, though we did everything but penetrate.
There was also a requirement to talk to people about their own sex lives and this was challenging. Both in terms of my own lack of experience, but also embarrassment on both sides. Sex really wasn’t discussed much in the early 1980s.
I think that HIV and AIDS changed things beyond recognition. I was working in a London teaching hospital and began to care for people who we later discovered had AIDS. This required new procedures around infection control, but also new conversations about safe sex. Nurse and sex education of children and the public changed, slowly, but change it did.
Unlike my own experience I talked to my son about sex and relationships a lot. From a young age he had a book called: The Body Book. It was functional, but it did enable us to have conversations about other elements of sex education.
This approach meant he had a good working knowledge of the body. This slightly backfired when at age 5 he told everyone on our holiday beach that he knew how babies were made and how they came out of a mummy’s body. I wanted to jump into one of the holes he was digging in the sand and disappear.
On the way to school one morning, it was announced on the radio that David Beckham and Posh Spice were to have a baby. He turned to me and said: “but they aren’t married” Oops! I seemed to have failed to cover that aspect of relationships, but it provided the opportunity to cover that one off.
Children are inquisitive beasts and they ask a lot of questions. I tried never to be scared to answer those questions and where possible (and when we had time and the place was right) to expand on the topics. I’m not sure if his school sex education was much better than mine, though it certainly covered more topics. But at least he was able to come home and discuss what had been taught at school. That is something I never really felt I could do when I was a child.
Lifelong learning and sex education
Of course my own sex education has continued. Sex positivity isn’t something I really even considered until I was in my 40s. What’s more I have learnt more about actually having sex in the past 10 years than the previous 20. Reading and participating in our community has helped me understand more about sexual identity and preference.
Luckily my nurse education focused heavily on treating people with dignity and respect. This allowed me to muddle through the stuff I really knew little about. Things like transgender, non-binary and even being gay. I can understand why people are nervous about teaching children about sex positivity when they have had little education themselves. Talking about sex still seems to be a taboo subject, something to be frightened of rather than embracing. Change has got to come through better sex education and a realisation that you never stop needing to learn.
I won’t deny that my last post was rather negative. I hadn’t intended to write in that way, but as is often the case it felt right in the moment. Having one tit really does suck. However there is much to celebrate about myself, my body and my situation.
I really do intend to post more photos of myself as I am now. I don’t intend to hid behind lingerie or just post photos of my backside (though as the guru of sexy photography Exposing 40 advises they often come out looking fabulous). Instead, I plan to celebrate and be body positive. Then when I get my reconstruction, well hopefully I’ll be ready to share even more.
At the end of Eroticon Hy from A Dissolute Life Means…. organised a special Boob Day photo. 20 something of us got together and bared our breasts and Missy took some amazing photos. Although she doesn’t appear she was topless thought and so was definitely one of the group.
I think this photo sums up what is so good about Eroticon and why you should attend if you can. Ok, it is a conference for writers and bloggers, but honestly there is something for everyone who is kink minded.
This week’s food for thought Friday is about loss and asks: what is your most significant loss?
This presents me with a conundrum. What is my most significant loss? Is it the loss of trust I experienced when my husband cheated on me early in my marriage? Is it the loss of my grandmother 20 years ago this year. After all she was a massive influence on me as a person. Indeed she still is. Is it the loss of my father in 2014, after all the loss of a parent is a significant thing for anyone as they travel through life. Losing a parent makes you face your own mortality. As I head towards 60 (only 3 years to go), I do think about death more. Mainly because I want to pack so much in before that happens.
Those things are all massive milestones in my life. But I guess they feel inevitable, even betrayal. You have to be lucky to get through to the end of your life without someone doing the dirty on you.
No, the most significant loss is that of my right breast. Look up at the picture above this text. At the voluptuous cleavage, that woman is me. The loss of that part of my body does not get any easier, no matter what kind of brave face I put on it.
I can no longer wear whatever I want
Walk down any bra aisle in a department store and only a small proportion are suitable for me. I love beautiful lingerie and while there are specialist providers of beautiful post mastectomy products, they aren’t what I want to buy. I long for plunging necklines or balcony bras. If I wear one of my many low cut tops or dresses with one of my current bras you see lots of lace. That is fine, but I want to show off my cleavage.
Loss of feeling
Since my surgery last year my body doesn’t feel the same. Not only is there a large piece of me missing but what is there is numb. Around the scar line the sensation is reduced and under my arm it is absolutely absent. Strangely I can’t feel if I pinch myself, but I can feel hot water as it runs down my body. These days I spend longer in the shower because of this.
All is not lost of course
I am alive and I don’t have cancer. The chance of me dying of breast cancer in the future is miniscule. I am also going to see the surgeon soon about reconstruction surgery. So there is every chance that I will get my cleavage back and be able to wear low cut clothes again. It is likely that my new breast will be smaller than the old one, and I may need a reduction on the left side. But hopefully it will help me to feel whole again.
So many people have commented on my bravery, (which I acknowledge but don’t really see), when I think I was just coping as best I could. In truth I am still angry and upset this has happened. I feel guilty for these feelings because so many people are worse off than me. After all I have fully recovered.
I am ready to share photos of me as I am now, starting with this week’s Boobday (link to follow). The photo was taken at the end of Eroticon with (I think) 26 other people. I am used to how I look and I accept it. But I am beyond sad about what I have lost and that feeling won’t go away. Even after I have a new boob made of fat from my abdomen.
Bondage has been part of my BDSM / kink experience since the beginning. Both of my dominants have enjoyed restraining me in one way or another and from the start I knew it was something I liked too. Their techniques, materials used and locations may have differed, but the experience for me is the same. I find restraint relaxing and freeing, so much so that I rarely find the need to struggle against it.
First experiences of bondage
S was into homemade equipment. Indeed he was into homemade everything, he was somewhat careful with his money. However that doesn’t detract from his skill and imagination. He loved being outdoors and was a keen hiker and cyclist, and a day out with him was always interesting. Along with the all weather picnic he carried rope, scarves and other equipment in his backpack. I can’t deny that I had some extremely fun times with him. It is a shame that there is no photographic evidence so show for those times.
A number of times, I found myself tied to a tree while he used my body or had me give him a blowjob. Back at home he had a fabulous bed with a frame that lent itself perfectly to tying me to it. Then he would use ties, of which he had a large often garish supply.
Even on the day he dumped me I had been tied up and used. Long time readers will know that there was a part two to that relationship. Even though the D/s ended, the kinky sex and restraint didn’t. We enjoyed that right until the last time we met.
Reflections on my experiences of bondage with Master
The very first time we played, I was restrained in a spreader bar, that was tied to the bed. My wrists were cuffed and restrained to the bed above my head. I was blindfolded and gagged. For the first time in a long time I allowed myself (if I had any control) to drift into sub space. Since then, I can honestly say I haven’t looked back.
At the beginning of our relationship I called Master gadget man. This is because he had a lot of equipment; restraints, vibrators, dildos, impact toys. Over the years his repertoire has continued to grow. One of the best experiences ever, was when we went to a private dungeon for an overnight stay. The equipment there was fantastic and took things to another level. This is an experience we will be repeating in a couple of weeks time.
But it isn’t all about equipment, whether high or low tech. There is more to bondage than that. At a club I might lean over, or lie on a bench unrestrained. But, even though Master is hitting me with floggers and canes, I don’t more (much). There is something about the situation that keeps me in position and prevents me from moving out of reach. I love the way that I am able to get into my submissive space even without physical restraint.
Finally I am tied to Master by the collar and cuff I wear and by my piercings. To me these are physical symbols of emotional bondage. I agreed to be his slave and in return I wear those signs. In the main they are noticeable only by us, especially the piercings. But they are there to tell the world that I am his. The knowledge that I am his slave helps me through each day, including the decisions I make. One of the rules of our relationship is that I consider what he would think when I make a decision. Am I doing what he would want, how will it affect us and our relationship, will it make him proud of me? I believe that this is the most important element of our M/s relationship.
Play is important, as is the type of kinky sex we have. But more important is that I stay true to myself and to him. That I am bonded to him in the way I am. Even though others can’t see those invisible restraints, they are there. They make me feel safe, loved and needed.
2014 was an amazing year. Master and I got together and started our journey together. It was also a very difficult year as when we met Master had another slave. She lived in the US and was planning to join him at some point in the future. The full story can be found here. 2014 is also the year my father died and at the time life at home was stressful. My ex was still living at home for part of the week. Thankfully that was also the year that I met Destiny, online and then in person. For a while Destiny was my mentor.
The dictionary definition of mentor is: an experienced or trusted advisor, Destiny was certainly that. We met online in the same chat room I had met Master, interestingly he was providing some mentorship to her too. Very quickly we started to chat through messenger and then moved to Skype. She has many years of experience within M/s relationships and at the time I was a novice submissive. I had already realised that my time with S had been about play and sex, while my new one with Master felt different. To begin with I had thought I could get to know K, Master’s LDR slave. But very soon it became clear she was not only jealous of me but also very insecure in her life and relationship. 3 months into our relationship, Master went over to the US for a 3 week holiday to see K. This was when my friendship with Destiny really took off and she became my advisor and mentor too.
Spending time together online
The time distance between UK and Florida versus UK and Oregon is much easier to manage. Plus Master was often out of contact for days whereas Destiny wasn’t. She was also in a long distance relationship with a guy in the UK, but somehow we still managed to fit in long Skype chats. My anxiety levels about K were already high, there had been some unpleasant messages and emails and now she was with my Sir (as he was then). Destiny was the one who talked me through my most anxious times, and offered me reassurance. We were able to discuss my feelings about him and them. Her previous experience in a polyamorous relationship was invaluable. She reads taro cards and did so for me, I still have the email she sent me with my reading. She always believed Master and I would end up together, though at the time I found it difficult to believe.
When he returned from the US the situation with K deteriorated both for me and for Master. His visit had been a challenging one and she took her anger out on me. Luckily I had Destiny to turn to for support.
Meeting face to face
During the summer my friend Destiny came over to the UK to visit her own Master. We were lucky enough to meet in person twice. Unfortunately our Masters didn’t hit it off in the same we had. But we had a lovely afternoon together and I have photographic evidence of that time. We also met up for a drink without Master on another occasion. I treasure those times very much.
The value of having a mentor
Our online and Skype friendship continued once Destiny had returned to Florida and she helped me through the last few months before Master ended his relationship with K. It was a challenging time for us both, but having someone who understood helped so much. She was also able to support me when my dad was dying, she too had gone through a similar situation with her own parents.
But it wasn’t all one way traffic. Her own relationship his difficult times and then he suddenly announced he was letting her go. Thankfully I was able to provide an ear to listen, though sadly not a shoulder to cry on, given the distance.
Soon after we lost contact for a while. she entered a relationship where outside involvement wasn’t welcome. I was left feeling upset and a little lonely when my messages went unanswered. We have since re-established communication, but sadly the special relationship is gone. I will always treasure those months though and the hours we spent together online and in person. I will always value the help Destiny gave me and know that the fact Master and I are still together is in part due to her.
After a busy, fun and somewhat tiring Eroticon weekend we managed to grab a lie in on Monday. That extra night was definitely worth it. So, feeling much more refreshed I headed for the shower. But not before being instructed to sit in front of the window. Our view was of the street and opposite a chain coffee shop. While I sat there, I was thinking of breakfast. I suspect Master though had thoughts of breakfast of a different type.
Master, who took these photos has edited them two different ways.
I’ve had a week to reflect on the events of last weekend and it feels like time to write about our Eroticon experience. It’s a while since I wrote a SoSS post, so why not combine the two. A Share our Shit Saturday, Eroticon Special.
For me, the experience of attending this marvellous sex writing and blogging conference gets better each year. The first year was great, but I was nervous and somewhat anxious about speaking to people. Last year I knew a few people, but still struggled to immerse myself into the experience. This year though, I was at maximum socialising. I have also come to terms with the fact that while I will take some new ideas away, I won’t necessarily learn tons of stuff. For me now, this is about getting better at what I do rather than trying to become something I am not. This makes it easier to chose which sessions to attend. For this review I’m going to cover the conference proper and then write about the social aspects.
For once we were up bright, early and on time for the start of the conference. We sat at the front for the opening session, because being in previous years Master had struggled to hear. Fortunately though, Molly was ‘miked up’ for the first session, so there was no need to worry.
Our first session proper was Eleanor Janega’s talk about women and desire in medieval Europe. I am a sucker for anything historical and in the main found the session fascinating. Unfortunately there were problems with her slides – too much text and am problem with being able to see what was written. I later realised this was more of an AV equipment problem than the slides. I was fascinated to learn that sodomy actually refers to any sex that isn’t for the purpose of producing children. This is something I will research a little more myself.
Next up was Zebra Rose’s session on human rights which was extremely thought provoking. It’s a topic Master and I have subsequently discussed at length. The key issue seems to be about how we maintain our own anonymity while preserving that of visitors to the blog. I was reassured to know that public sector workers can’t be sacked for sex blogging. Although I am not currently working, I will in the future.
Emily Jacob’s session on consent in fiction, particularly in relation to rape scenes was equally thought provoking. Rape isn’t something I write about, but consent especially in the context of Master / slave relationships is.
After lunch was Jaime Mortimer’s excellent talk on the history of BDSM. If I’m honest, I enjoyed this more than Eleanors. Mainly because his slides were clear and his passion about the topic shone though. What’s more, I think it was Master’s favourite of the day.
Wrapped and Vacced
After last year’s mattress bed experience, I was keen to try some more of Mactire’s wares. In the room, others were in the process of being wrapped in vet tape and Master felt it would be fun to wrap me. The fact that he started at the bottom rather than the top caused much hilarity. For me it meant I had to be helped to lie down before I fell.
As my Sinful Sunday post shows, I also went into the Vac bed. Take a look if you haven’t seen how stunning I looked.
Despite putting away rather too much wine on Saturday evening (see below), we were feeling remarkably lively on Sunday morning. Thankfully a later start plus much needed coffee (Cafe Nero) helped. I had been very much looking forward to Exposing 40’s session on photography, and it didn’t disappoint. I am so impressed that she manages to take such wonderful photos without the aid of a tripod. Also that most of her shots are taken on her phone. I came away will lots of great tips. She showed us some examples of erotic photographers that have been an influence. Again, there is more to explore here.
Next was the Anxious Writers club. A session led by Cara Theron who was joined for a panel discussion by Girl on the Net and Kayla Lords. It is reassuring that these talented writers experience times of doubt and anxiety, just like the rest of us. Mental ill health can play a part, but equally so can imposter syndrome, or just having too many draft posts that never make it to publish. I don’t suffer from the latter, but Cara ended with a Draft Folder Challenge to those who do.
I heard Miles Jackman speak at Eroticon 2 years ago. While the government still seem hell bent on restricting the freedom of sex writing and photography, they clearly don’t have their act together. Age Verification still seems confusing, but there was good news about some of the topics we write about. BDSM, so long as it involves consenting adults is ok. He advised us to wait and do nothing while age verification is brought in.
The final two sessions involved 3 of my very favourite people. Molly and Michael held a session about looking at your blog with a critical eye. Then Sarah (GOTN) presented one on how to build traffic. Both were extremely good, partly because all 3 were so enthusiastic and know their stuff. But also because I came away with a list of practical things I can do to make my blog better. On balance, Sunday was the best day for me and confirmed in my mind that we’ll be back next year.
The best bit!
Finally this year I was able to enjoy the social side of Eroticon to its full potential. I was overwhelmed at the Friday Meet and Greet when so many people came up to me, to hug and ask how I was. At last I managed to sit down with Marie Rebelle and Bridget Delaney on Saturday night and Kayla Lords on Sunday afternoon. We spent time with Little Switch Bitch and her partner, and had quite a laugh with them. I also met and chatted to Floss and Bakji and was so pleased to have been mentioned in their podcast which I listened to yesterday. It was great to meet the Barefoot Sub, if a little scary that she was so pleased to meet me.
Friday was Eye’s birthday and it felt as if we were all part of a huge birthday party. Saturday was great fun too. While I was chatting to my wonderful people, Master was sharing Shelley quotes with Jaime Mortimer (I kid you not).
The weekend was wonderful but it was full on, busy and tiring. Con drop for me was more that I was absolutely exhausted. Now though I am sad it’s over but also looking forward to next year. Yep, I’ll be back a fourth time and I really need to spend more time chatting to the sponsors. There’s always a reason to return!
During the course of this relationship I and we have had some amazing times. It is definitely the case that I have had more sex during the past 5 years than I had during the previous 30. But we have had some lean periods during that time, when my, his or our mind and body don’t work together. Sometimes the body is willing and able but for emotional or psychological reasons sex doesn’t happen. More frequently though, the problem has been physical.
Emotional and psychological health
We are in the fortunate position that we live together and neither of us are working. This wasn’t always the case and certainly until last summer tiredness was a major factor for me. I had spent a couple of years juggling a demanding job, preparing to move and care for my widowed mum. On top of that were the not to be underestimated effects of the menopause. Feeling exhausted doesn’t necessarily mean sleep comes easily and even if you fall asleep hot flashes and night sweats make you wake again. Additionally, anxiety about the end of my marriage and decisions about the house often caused me to lie awake at night.
Master tends not to be troubled by an inability to sleep. Though from time to time he struggles to get enough sleep, he certainly needs far more of it than me.
Tiredness has interfered with my sexual appetite and for a long time I felt I could take or leave sex. Luckily, Master often wanted to take it and has some ingenious ways of getting me in the mood. Being his slave means that I rarely say no to him, even if I don’t feel much like it. Not because I can’t refuse him, but because I have made a commitment with him which I want to honour. In the past I might have said no and turned over. But now I wait to see how my body responds first. Often, I start to become aroused even if my brain is saying no and when that happens, who am I to deny my body?
There is no doubt that physical health problems have got in the way of our ability to enjoy an active sex and kinky life. The first issue we encountered was Master’s frozen shoulder. This made it difficult for him to find a comfortable position on top of me . It also made impact play painful for him. We had to adapt our favoured positions, which led to the purchase of the swing. But really it wasn’t until he recovered that things returned to normal.
A physical effect of the menopause was pain during PIV sex. Luckily this didn’t coincide with the frozen shoulder, when I was often on top. There were times when my vagina would go into spasm as soon as his cock came anywhere near me. This caused pain and a lot of upset. I am so luck that Master is a patient man, who happens to love touching me with his fingers and mouth. Also of course there is plenty I can do with my mouth too. Thankfully those, I think menopause related issues have disappeared and sex is pain free.
Strangely my mastectomy and subsequent treatment have had limited effect on us. Within a couple of weeks of the operation we were able to have sex again, though he was scared of causing me pain. For me, position was an issue and I couldn’t lie on my right side of lean on my right arm. These have mostly resolved, though I still can’t lie on my right side for any length of time.
Our ability to play has probably been affected, partly because we haven’t wanted to go to events while treatment was ongoing. But also because I have been very tired over the past months. Daily trips to the hospital and lack of sunlight over the winter months have affected him too.
We intend to grow older together and we now know some of the things we might encounter. His ability to ejaculate frequently is already something that happens. I can come many many times for his once and so we make that one time meaningful. Our bodies take time to recover from exercise and activity. We don’t always have the energy that we think we should.
But recognising the effect of mind and body over our ability to have a fulfilling sex life and relationship bode well for the future. We’ll certainly keep going in whatever way we can for as long as we can.
There is something very special about holding hands with someone you love and care for. It is a way of being intimate with them, of feeling close to them but in a way that is conforms and is acceptable within social norms. What I mean is, holding a lovers hand while in the street is acceptable, while grabbing their tit isn’t. Equally we will hold the hand of a child for safety and protection as much as anything else. This topic has me thinking about the people whose hands I have held during my life.
Being a child
I distinctly remember that I wasn’t the kind of child that wanted to be cuddled or held. I am pretty sure I would have been a nightmare to keep safe when out and about. Except in those days, our parents put reins on us. This was a kind of leather harness that went around the chest, with a strap for a parent to hold. Either that or I was probably holding onto a pram or push chair since I was the eldest of 3. The middle of us was born when I was 18 months and my younger brother when I was 5. I guess I must have held hands with a parent, but don’t remember. However I do remember holding the hand of my little brother.
He and I were very close, I often liked to mother him being the big sister. He loved to hold my hand, or sit on my lap or generally be close. I guess that told me that one day hand holding would become a thing for me.
Getting a boyfriend
As a teenager, nothing informed people about the fact you had got yourself an actual boyfriend quite like being seen in public holding hands. Except being seen snogging (as we called it), that is. In the early days my ex and I held hands a lot. We also sat together on the sofa when at either parents and even when we got our own place. Holding hands when out was definitely about possession, but also closeness and intimacy. Somewhere along the way that diminished over time. We also of course acquired a child who often walked between us.
Being a mother
To begin with they grasp your finger in their hand and then later you take their little hand as they begin to take their first faltering steps. I loved it when my little boy grabbed my hand, when he needed reassurance or to feel safe. He was a different child to the one I had been, more like my brother. I was his mum though and so keeping him safe, providing care and love was my job. Sometimes of course he clung to me to stop me leaving him and I know that within minutes he was holding the hand of another adult – a carer, teacher, his dad. I can’t deny though that I loved the fact that he wanted to be with me, to hold my hand. That he would climb on my lap and settle down and then take my hand. For anyone reading this who has small children, relish those days. Because suddenly they are grown up and instead are holding the hand of another.
The last touch
During the final days of my dads life we cared for him at home. I took time off of work to be with he and my mum as well as other family members. For the last week or so, I stayed over too. I spent many hours holding his hand as he lay in bed growing weaker and weaker. I guess I held his hand more then, than I ever had as a child. But it was important to let him know that I was there even when he was unable to communicate to us verbally. Those memories stay with me and I am grateful for them.
We hold hands on the sofa watching tv and we hold hands when we are at the theatre or a concert. We probably held hands while at Eroticon last weekend. Less frequently though, we hold hands when we are out. Master has the habit of seeming to be in a hurry even when he isn’t. He can’t bare people dawdling in front of us, getting in the way. So he tends to walk more quickly and then have to wait for me to catch up.
Late at night though, when there are fewer people and we are heading home from somewhere, then we will often hold hands.
I am 56 now, not 16 so I really don’t mind. It is often difficult to walk along holding hands when people around you are looking at their phones rather than the path. When there are obstacles in the way. Anyway I don’t need to be holding his hands to know that I am his, and that he is mine. These days though, I do love to hold hands.