Shame and Sexuality

What do you know of great love? Have you ever loved a woman until milk leaked from her as though she had just given birth to love itself, and now must feed it or burst? Have you ever tasted a woman until she believed that she could be satisfied only by consuming the tongue that had devoured her? Have you ever loved a woman so completely that the sound of your voice in her ear could cause her body to shudder and explode with such intense pleasure that only weeping could bring her full release?
~ from the movie Don Juan DeMarco, 1994

I’m taking part in a workshop called The Good Girl Recovery Program. It’s run by a woman called Marcia, who came highly recommended to me by some dear friends who are poly and kinky and have made great personal breakthroughs with her support. I’m finding this course amazing. It is challenging me, inspiring me, and getting me to unpack some of the old stuff that I had buried and forgotten about.


We can’t just sweep all the dirt under the carpet and forget about it.

The central theme to my personal journey- in the last few months, in the last couple of years, and arguably the central theme in my narrative as an adult- has been embracing my sexuality. I was given many messages in my childhood that told me sex was something bad, something to be ashamed of, something to be hidden and not talked about. My mother described it to me in ways that made it sound disgusting, painful, and something that would detract from my evolution as a spiritual and conscious being. And the surroundings I grew up in were resoundingly not sex- positive (I was at a private all girls school for four years, at a catholic school for two years, and spent my adolescence living in a country where kissing someone in public who wasn’t your lawful spouse could have you jailed, and being gay could land you far harsher punishment).

When I was about six or seven years old, my school had a visit from a charity that worked to prevent cruelty to children. They were a well known charity, fierce advocates of children’s rights, and had very well thought out ways of reaching out to kids who may have experienced trauma and abuse in the home. Unfortunately for me, one of their excercises had the side effect of kindling shame around my sexual expression.

It was quite a simple excercise. We had activity sheets given to us that had three sillhouettes of ginger-bread-men like figures. One had a green outline. In that one, we were asked to color in areas where we liked to be touched. The next one was red- that was for where we didn’t like to be touched. And then there was a third, I think it was orange, and that was for where people touch us.

Now, I loved riding my bike. Why? Cos it felt so good in my crotch. It felt better than good- it was amazing! And I also loved jumping on my space hopper. So my crotch was colored in quite intensely for the green figure. And, since it was somewhere I liked to touch myself, I colored it in very strongly on the orange figure.

My parents were called in to the school. I was questioned by the principal separately from my parents. After i explained that it was me who did the touching of my vagina, my parents were sent home with the message that their daughter might be sexually aware too young. My mother- who I later learned had experienced sexual abuse from a family member- was already very protective of me, and became even more protective after that. I wasn’t allowed to touch myself, not even to scratch. The first time a boy asked me out, my mother said I wasn’t allowed to go out with him unless I had a chaperone (that boy dumped me as a result). She watched my first high school boyfriend like a hawk and terrified him. And the first time I was out later than midnight with a boy, when I was sixteen, I came home to my mother sitting on the staircase, brooding and fuming, and received a lecture about staying out late that still, to this day, brings up feelings of terror and fear within me. She was very effective at making me feel ashamed of my body, and of my sexuality.

Shame around sexuality is something institutionalized and ingrained at the very core of current day society. I’m not blind to the fact that I now live in a delightful bubble of sex-positive, open minded, accepting, and pretty rad people. Sadly, the majority of the world is not like this. For the majority of people alive today, there are many mixed messages about sex, that it is sinful and dirty, that it is something to use as a tool for power and control, that it makes it okay to objectify the human form, that it should be hidden and hushed, that it is something we are all supposed to do eventually and then be ashamed of immediately afterwards.

I sometimes wonder if my mother has ever had an orgasm, if the trauma of her own abuse has stood in the way of her ever experiencing sexual pleasure. I know my grandmother, on the other hand, was a very sexually astute woman- and she may have been bisexual. She taught me about what all the parts of my vagina were for when I was a kid (“And this is where special honey comes from, for the boy you marry”) She was prescribed the use of a WAHL personal massager by her physician as part of the treatment for her hysteria when she entered menopause. I have a foggy memory of my mother and grandmother arguing about the presence of this WAHL vibrator on my grandmother’s dressing table.


I came close to loosing my virginity a few times as a teenager, but held off. I was shy and afraid and had no idea what to do. I masturbated by myself plenty, and enjoyed it a lot, but had no idea how to share that experience with another person. My first attempt at penetrative sex was when I was 20, with my ex boyfriend Tony who I’d dated when I was thirteen and trusted immensely. It was awkward and weird (we both agree, looking back with the hindsight of experience) and I remember thinking “Is this it? Maybe my mother was right.”

And then I ended up marrying the next guy I slept with. He knew how to play with my body and would let me masturbate to orgasm before we had sex, and that was a mind-blowing revelation for me. But, during my relationship with Finn, sex was often an obligation. “We should have more sex, we’re married,” was the line I often heard.  And so sex became a thing I’d do begrudgingly. Even when I didn’t want to. And I slowly began to close up my sexual expression.

The truth was, I was having fantasies I couldn’t fulfill with him. I was watching lesbian porn. I was watching kinky porn. I had desires to be tied up and to do the tying up. I wanted to experience giving another woman an orgasm, and to have sex with other men- and maybe several of them at once. Since adolescence I’d held fantasies of crazy group orgies, of being both the instigator of such events, and also the recipient of attention from multiple people simultaneously.

And Finn just wasn’t in to all that kinky stuff. Kinky for him was buying a “sensual cocoa butter massage bar” which did one thing only: stain our sheets.

The first time I experienced a squirting orgasm, it was using my vibrator externally. It was about six months after I’d been living by myself, and I hadn’t had sex in a long time. I think I’d been going for about an hour, and thought I might never orgasm. I’d edged close to that precipice but each time my body shut down- something mental was going on for me, some sort of shame about sex would kick in and take me back a few notches. But then- then something magical happened.
Maybe it was that the music I was playing shifted, perhaps it was my body reaching a point where my mind couldn’t fight with my body any more. My mind let go, and my body convulsed in a crescendo of joy and deep moans of pleasure for a split second- and then I began to cry and scream and yell, like some old pain within me was being released.  I lay in stillness. The sheets and pillows around me were soaked with sweat, cum, and tears. Was the pain from the years of repressed sexual joy? The hurt I felt inside from my two miscarriages? The restriction of my full sexual expression?


This mental block thing still happens to me when I get near orgasm. It has made it really challenging for me to orgasm with someone else unless I can trust them and open up about the most vulnerable parts of myself- and if I feel shut down, dismissed, or judged for any part of that, I can’t continue. Orion has helped me immensely in moving through the many aspects of the shame I feel around this. We’ve been exploring together ways to use elements of BDSM play to accentuate the experience of being trapped- taking it from a mental limitation into a physical limitation, and seeing how both my body and mind react in different ways. It has been immensely liberating to discover that I can have earth-shaking orgasms with other people on a consistent basis, that there is indeed a method to the madness.

I’m learning to be more articulate about what I want and don’t want. Over the last few weeks I have been developing a new relationship with a man who, for the purposes of the blog, we’ll call Gerard. He has been with women before who have had sexual trauma, and is incredibly aware about communicating proactively about what’s happening in the moment if he has a concern. And he has absolutely listened to all my “no”s. He’s been keen to learn my body, to figure out the little subtleties of what works, and is always keen to make sure I have satisfying orgasms. For a while, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to have sex with him- but after a great date zero and a fun date one, we chatted online and talked about kissing. And the next time we hung out, we kissed. Just, kissed. We made out for a few hours. And then we talked about sex, but didn’t have sex. But we talked about it, and so when it came down to peeling off our clothes two dates later, we already knew where we were going, and were not fumbling around in the dark, so to speak.

Between my recent experiences with Orion, and the new experiences with Gerard, I’m feeling far more confident in being able to talk about and express my sexuality. I’m realizing that I’ve been limited by labels of things, and that at my core, sexuality is something I enjoy being creative with when I share it with others, and that I don’t like to go at half-arsed. I can’t do quickies. I want to take my time to explore- and to be explored. I’m broadening my horizons. I’m daring to be out as sex-positive. ElkFeather posted something to facebook recently, about the word “pomosexuality“, a word that seems to describe transcending the ideas of clear cut orientation labels that might limit us (gay, straight, male, female etc) and that’s very appealing to me.  I value the ways that people choose to identify, and at the same time, it’s not the labels that matter to me. It’s what someone has beating in their heart, the longing in their chest and their loins, and desires and the potential for mutual exploration where chemistry exists and inspiration strikes. That’s what matters to me.

My mother turned up in town a few weeks ago. Since I have now made it very clear on several occasions that I don’t want to have her in my life as long as she continues to believe that “gays are mentally ill” and that her attempts to send me “love and blessings” in the form of condescending sex-negative conversations are not welcome, I did my best to keep a low profile while she was around. After I found out she had tried to stalk me at work (unsuccessfully) I strategized where to could go on my day off where I could guarantee I wouldn’t run in to her. As it so happened, there’s an amazing store not far from where I live that specializes in celebrating and empowering women’s sexuality. And, as luck would have it, they had a sale on. I spent a good hour and a half in the store, picking up toys, asking questions, chatting with the sales associates about the pros and cons of different lubes for different uses, and even managed to learn about some things you can do with power drills that don’t involve construction or carpentry work.

I left the store with my proud purchase of a stainless steel butt plug. A milestone in the ongoing evolution of my sexual un-shaming.

The njoy surgical-grade stainless steel plug comes complete with tasteful gift box.

As I release the hold that shame around sexuality has had on me, as I stop letting myself shrink away (so beautifully described in this video going viral), and really embrace this process of blossoming in to the full expression of all who I am, I’m also beginning to embrace my dominant side. Asserting my boundaries in the bedroom, articulating with openness and honesty about intimacy ahead of time, and a genuine desire to help others fulfill their fantasies and release their own sexual shame, is leading me quite naturally to learn more about how to take control- with consent- and create positive experiences for others where I’m in charge.

Orion’s been teaching me a lot with this, and has half-teasingly called me a ‘shamanatrix’, because I keep referring to being a dominatrix as a potential extension of my existing work in the wellness industry. Not that I think I would ever do it professionally- though I can’t absolutely discount the possibility.

I like being sex-positive. I like being kink-positive. I like not letting judgmental attitudes about alternative lifestyles get the better of me. I like that I am now navigating sexuality not by what someone else has told me is okay and not okay for my body, but by what my body tells me feels good, and doesn’t feel good. I’m learning how to ask others about their body, their desires, their fantasies- and to never assume. And I am discovering that we are- all of us- delightfully creative, each of us ‘freaky’ in our own right, and that there is so much diversity- a diversity that is liberating.

There is still a lot that I’m working on. But, I feel like the cap has been lifted. The waters have broken, and this new, assertive, sexually empowered and knowledgeable, goddess-version of me is birthing her way in to the world and learning how to grow and flourish. I don’t know how this would have been possible had I stayed married, or if I had embraced monogamy. I’m committed to expanding the definition of who I am, and every single intimate relationship I’ve enjoyed in the past few years has revealed new aspects of myself to me and invited me to stretch beyond the squishy limits of my comfort zone.

comfort zone

Orgasmic Odyssey

The female orgasm is a fascinating thing.

I find there is so much diversity to orgasms. They can range from small tremors, to full body tectonic shifting earthquakes, to explosive eruptions that ripple through the landscape. And this diversity really fascinates me. Whilst I have been able to give myself those planetary-scale gushing orgasms, very rarely has someone else been able to give them to me. ElkFeather did. Noel did. Often times I have come close, only for it to give way into a cascade of what I term ‘laugh-gasms’ and those are still plenty enjoyable in their own way. Still, I’ve gotten used to the fact full on polar-shifts might happen, or not, and even if they don’t, I’m still having fun. Mentally holding on to the idea that I want to experience one of those full-body shockwaves seems to get in the way of actually experiencing it. Which brings me to the catalyst for this article, because in the course of 24 hours, I had two separate tsunamis, with two different people.

I had a very interesting experience with a guy who, for the sake of the blog, we’ll call Haru. I’ve met him twice before, once last summer, and then again at a social event a few weeks ago. We’d connected over some common interests, and I found him quite fascinating. Glancing over his profile on Fetlife once, I remember feeling that unavoidable eyebrow raise of hrm, this could be interesting to explore.

Well, explore we did.
nakednessAfter seeing each other at this social event, we arranged to hang out for the evening, trading some massage. Amongst the many things I know in life, I know a thing or two about massage, as does he. The very platonic connection developed into something quite more than that very quickly. Something about the shared ability of being present to one another’s bodies. See, giving massage, touching another person’s skin from a massage point of view, requires a lot of ‘listening’ to the body. You have to tune in to understand some of the subtleties going on underneath the surface. This gave a beautiful foundation for a more powerful, trusting connection to evolve.

There are many ways in which what we shared was incredibly lovely, but one thing that stands out for me in the uniqueness of the experience, and as key to how I opened up to the full orgasm, is the loving affection he gave my belly. I have experienced a lot of trauma around my abdomen. Many years of painful ovarian cysts, two miscarriages, upsetting medical procedures and diagnostic tests, and the psychosomatic holding of emotions in my core that have related strongly to my mother and all the pain of her judgements against me: that subtle unseen umbilical chord that I have been seeking to sever in my quest for the full expression of my independent self.

I cannot emphasize enough just how healing it felt to have so much nurturing and sensual attention paid to my belly. It was incredibly profound, and there was a beautiful sense of joy and ecstasy that came from being ‘seen’ in that moment- being seen and experienced, not for the scars and wounding I have held, but for the light and potential within me.

I felt empowered to take charge more than I have done with new partners before, and, in a balanced expression of myself as a switch, got to explore a little more of my dominant side, taking charge whilst staying in tune with Haru’s body too.

Like Orion, Haru chooses to abstain from intercourse, a choice I find incredibly fascinating, and enjoyable for all the creativity it opens me up to. The foreplay is no longer foreplay. It’s just play. And play can go on for ever, and constantly evolve.

There’s a lot of fun to be had when the more obvious source of physical satisfaction isn’t available to you.

SUZ_3793I’ve been musing for a while about how I feel some orgasms through different parts of my nervous system- the nerve plexuses along the spine seem to ‘fire’ off in different ways with different orgasms. In the past few months I had been slowly progressing- in my own orgasmic practice as well as with partners- from a ‘root’ centered experience, to sacral, and then, in my night with Haru, I finally felt the orgasm travel all the way to the solar plexus nerve centre for the first time. It was really very incredible. There was a huge release of emotions, and joy. The synergy of that moment was incredibly lovely, and very special. In my exploration of my more polysexual side, my connection with him is something that I think will have room to be explored again- and in the meantime, I have opened myself up to a new and very nourishing friendship. We spooned and cuddled and sighed all night.

The following evening I had a date and sleepover at Orion’s.

Now, Orion and I haven’t had sex since last December. In fact, we haven’t been very sexual with one another for a few months. Partly due to physical energy, mental distractions, space, and just not feeling that either of us wanted to force something if we didn’t feel it was natural.

Exploring the possibilities of a relationship with no attachment to expectations, we’ve both been growing into a new level of comfort with the ‘unknowing’ of what might happen when we hang out. A date with Orion could mean anything: geeking out over sci-fi, sharing mongolian barbecue, a deep conversation about spirituality and/or polyamory and/or the nature of the universe. It could be soft warm cuddles, or hot sexy makeouts. Dessert could be gelato- or, it could be me. Neither of us holds one another to an expectation or obligation of things, and the way we have developed of communicating about it is quite neat.

Well, on this occasion, right from when I arrived at his place, we couldn’t keep our hands or mouths off each other  It was hot. Orion likes the image of lions pouncing on one another, and I think this is really accurate. It is playful, and because there’s no expectation or feeling of obligation to one another, it becomes a very freeing and liberating experience to not actually know where this is leading, or of how far we will be ready to go from moment to moment.

I told him about my experience the night before and how amazing I felt afterwards. As Orion gets to know me more, and gets to interact with my other partners, he’s been enjoying the experience of compersion more, and he seemed incredibly happy to hear about the fun night I had had. Cooling things down a bit with dinner and watching a movie together, we transitioned into conversation about life, the universe, and everything, before moving seamlessly back into a passionate flow of things. Then came that moment of ‘Is it bedtime, or do we keep making out?’ to which the answer seemed obvious.

We pulled shirts off. We pulled pants off. We kissed softly. We kissed roughly. We played with that rhythm of building anticipation and then cooling off just enough that the rush back into things built up the excitement and anticipation even further than it was before. It was fun, creative, without any agenda. We communicated playfully about what we were doing. Does it feel better at Warp 10, or Warp 5? God that communication is powerful when it can happen with ease. When you trust your own body and trust your partner, when you experience the liberating power of being seen and heard for who you are and what you love at that core, primal level of your being… few experiences  in life, that I know of, can compare to that.

Erotic lingerie

Orion was playful, commanding, respectful, exciting, calm, and gleeful as he explored me anew. He approached my body from this beautiful space of wanting to know more about it, wanting to understand it- not in an intellectual way- but in a kinaesthetic and tactile way. It was incredibly hot.

There’s a phenomena that I can only describe as a pre-orgasmic possession: the moments where my brain totally shuts off, and I am fully and wholly in my body. My body moves of its own accord, naturally. Squirming, sighing with my whole breath, reverberating spontaneous sound through every part of me. There’s no more thinking in that state. There’s just doing. And I’ve been asked questions in that state and, though I hear them, and as hot as it is to communicate back and forth about what’s happening, when that moment comes along, I can’t think to answer with any intellectual capacity. Yet, my body speaks the answer. My body responds. My body communicates. I become fully present to the moment at hand.

Of course, all human beings are wired slightly differently. The female anatomy can vary greatly from one woman to the next. Naomi Wolf talks at length in her book Vagina: A New Biography about this. We really are all unique and fascinating creatures. I say this with a fair bit of experience in giving women orgasms myself. We are delightfully complicated. And, never underestimate the significance of the head space someone is in, the stress they may be experiencing, how hydrated they are, how healthy they are, how their hormones are functioning.

556040_360662704040340_1319064682_nI wonder how the experience of orgasm may be similar or different for men. I’ve certainly noticed amongst men I have been with who identify closer to bisexual or gender queer, they seem to experience orgasms differently from men who identify as more straight or as purely masculine. I want to explore this more and develop a better understanding of it.

Is there a formula for the female orgasm?


Keep exploring. Keep communicating. Keep sharing. Build trust. Share love and affection. Be creative. Don’t think of your partner as obligated to give you anything, and don’t obligate yourself to give them anything either. Be healthy. Take your time. Listen. Nurture a perspective that can stay in the moment. And then, where it goes, is where it goes.

O Brave New World!

I’m sitting here, waiting for the bath to run, listening to the pitter-patter of rain and the exploding Halloween fireworks outside, and I am feeling so incredibly lonely and alone.

I question my life choices far more than I should.

What if my mom was right? What if ‘sexually deviant’ people can never be happy? What if there really is no silver lining in all this. Have I been foolish? My heart yearns so badly to have connection with one person, let alone multiple people, and at every turn I find myself feeling disillusioned, disappointed, distracted, defeated.

I want to love with every pore of my being. And I don’t want to limit it. And I’m tired of feeling the connections of love that I build cut short.

WordPress says that the writing assignment this week is to write on the theme “I wish I were”.

Some days, I wish I were monogamous and straight.

I wish I could have had a more ‘traditional’ life. That I could be like the happy housewives, starting their families, looking after their homes, their babies, their husbands; preparing large festive meals for their family and friends; attending community functions and being a productive member of their society. I wish I were able to fathom what that life could be like with me in it.

I wish I were able to stay focussed and devoted to just one person in an intimate monogamous relationship. That I were content with one man and one man only.

However, that isn’t my reality. I tried the mono-hetero thing. 8 years. I was miserable, unhappy, and only began to find joy in my life again when I started to see the possibilities of a poly and bisexual lifestyle.

I spent some time today hanging out with my ex-husband, Finn. People are sometimes surprised that we are still friends, that we still talk, and share with each other what’s going on in our lives. Our separation was so entirely mutually amicable that there’s not really any ‘bad-blood’ between us, and for that I’m grateful. I do miss his company some times. Not the pot-smoking, or his body odor, or boring sex, or frustrating way of doing things, but I do miss his company.

We used to cuddle up on the couch almost every night and watch a tv series, usually sci-fi. We went through Stargate, Farscape, Battlestar Gallactica, Fringe… sometimes we would watch comedy movies, like Blades of Glory, or epic action adventure superhero movies like The Watchmen. He knew my ups and downs, understood my frustrations with my mother, and over the years he learnt how to read when I was just tired versus really depressed. Out of every one who is a regular feature in my life today, he has known me the longest. And so it really hit home this afternoon when he shared with me that he’d had a dream a couple of weeks ago that we were sitting on the couch, cuddled up, watching a movie just like we used to do, and that he missed that- because I miss that too.

Not that we are going to get back together. That’d be a most resounding “no”. We’ve had a good laugh at the very divergent relationship paths we have taken. He’s in a really beautiful, loving, monogamous relationship with a woman who I think is a perfect match for him. They compliment each other in wonderful ways, and I’ve seen that she brings out some of his best qualities, qualities I never saw come out when he and I were together. And I, on the other hand, have been a wild child- this summer especially- diving into the deep end, in many ways, to a world that I had for so long yearned to experience, and yet, never had, till now.

I miss the companionship. The comfort of that reliable relationship.
When I have longed so much for the freedom that this poly lifestyle affords me, when I have spent so many years with my real self pent up, why is it I feel so discontent and unhappy now?

I wish I could have more emotional detachment in my poly relationships. It’s a common misconception that poly people have some kind of immunity to feeling hurt, jealousy, anger, or any of those more shadowy-side of the emotional spectrum. Well, I can’t speak for everyone, I just know that I most certainly feel all of those, as equally as I feel the happier things like love, adoration, joy and contentment.

I can’t help but love someone. And love them completely. And want to share that love all-the-time. And maybe its the impatience in me that causes me so much grief, perhaps I want things so immediately that I rush into things with a wild abandon, only to grind to a halt when I realise I’m moving too fast and should stop to think things through.

What on earth do regular, normal people do? You know, those straight and monogamous ones? Is there some massive chapter in life skills, covering patience and virtue, self restraint and thoughtful consideration, and maintaining one’s emotional well being that I somehow missed out on entirely? Are there bi and poly people who have those skills too? If they do, how on earth did they learn them, and where can I sign up for the next course please?

I wish I were able to take a peek into the future. To look at myself in 10, 20, 50 years from now, and see what I’m doing. My hope would be that I’m happy, and content. Surrounded by people I adore and share mutual bonds of affection and love with. It would be so consoling to know that, despite the momentary ripples and tremors I experience day-to-day in my here and now, somewhere down the road there’s equilibrium waiting for me.

So much of my self-work the last few months has been about receptivity and my inability to be open to receiving. This has manifested in many ways- even down to my ability to let someone else give me an orgasm. Somewhere in my subconscious lies a pattern of diving into connections and then shutting down when they might be reciprocated fully, of refusing help from people who love me lest I seem weak, of stubbornly persisting in courses of action that I know will lead me nowhere and/or could cause me harm, a pattern of lashing out in anger at the people I care about the most when I feel my most vulnerable and scared.

In that preview of the future, I’d hope to see a me who is able to receive: who can trust the people she meets, rather than treat them as enemies first and friends later; a me who has forgiven all wrongs, including the mistakes I myself have made; a woman who can really walk-the-walk and talk-the-talk, and fully embody the core values she believes in and espouses. A me who is gentle with herself, and with others.

Interesting to note that in expressing that future vision, I don’t seem to care if I have a life-partner or not, or whether I have children of my own or not. I think I’ve trained myself to be unattached from the notion of either, even though deep down in my core, I know I still want both. It won’t look like anything that I had in my marriage with Finn. I honestly doubt, if it happens, that it will resemble any other relationship model I’ve known. But, there’s that fantasy lurking in the subtext of my mind- of the perfect picket-fence partnership, with plenty of poly playfulness- that needs to be acknowledged.

Yes, I am still looking for a life partner. Eventually. Not right now, though some long-term security and stability would be quite welcome. Can I do this while still being poly and singleish? I wish I were certain that I could. I’m not. I’d like to believe it’s possible. Only time- and a heck of a lot of patience- will reveal if it really is.