Nah, Bro.

We’re talking about burlesque. He says he’s never been.I fill him in on some of the acts around town, show him a particularly creative costume.

“Wanna ask her for a threesome?” I’m jarred. Neither of us has expressed any kind of attraction to the other. It seems out of nowhere.

“She and I are just two. Sad story. And sweetie, when I sleep with straight boys they don’t get to jump straight to the boss levels. They gotta earn it.”

“Oh god I’m kind of afraid”

“Right answer.”

“Didn’t say I wasn’t interested”

“Damning with faint praise.”

“Just saying. I do think you’re really attractive ūüôā and I think you’d be fun!”

“Thank you, and yes, quite.” (Modesty? What’s that?)

“I’d try anything at least once.”

“See, that shows lack of imagination.”

“Want to share some imagination with me?”

We have a mutual friend who knows–well, I don’t know how much about my proclivities, but enough. (He can read this. I don’t ask whether he does.) Maybe this kid knows what he’s asking to get into, but I doubt it. So I tell him I’m into kinky stuff, that I don’t mean fuzzy handcuffs and 50 Shades of Grey. I’m not impressed with anything about his approach, but I’d be willing to at least have a frank discussion of compatibilities with a large subset of my social group.

“I kind of want to try it..” So much for frank discussion. Bear in mind that my phrase of choice was “I’m into kinky stuff.” I have no damn idea what he kind of wants to try, and I suspect he doesn’t either.

“Why?”

“Just sounds like something different. I want to see what it’s like.
I’m really interested.”

“…in you’re not sure what. For you’re not sure why. I hope you understand my skepticism.”

This approach annoys me for a few reasons. “I’ll try anything once” means “it doesn’t occur to me that you might want to try something I’m not into.”It focuses on his willingness to peruse a free sample tray of anything I can think of, and doesn’t acknowledge that creating those samples involves my time and energy and emotional labor, plus some degree of vulnerability. A person absolutely has the right to reject scenes and revoke consent, I’m not saying that planning kinky play obligates someone to go through anything with me. I am saying I’m not going to get my hopes up or waste my time and effort when I don’t see any likelihood of appreciation for any of it. I’m not in the mood to be told I’m a disgusting freak for playing with electricity, bruises, tears. I’m well past willing to deal with young men recoiling from the idea of strap-on play because they think it’s gay. He says he’ll try anything once…but that’s obvious and utter bullshit.

His vague, ill-conceived interest is 100% about using me to fulfill a curiosity. Not once does he say anything that acknowledges my enjoyment might be a factor. Sex and kink are about shared experience. Feeding off of each other, mutual enjoyment. I want to get my partners off. I expect them to want to get me off. I look for collaboration and intensity with partners. He seems to be hoping I’ll provide a service.

Last week I had pretty much completely vanilla sex…and it was good. I’d rather fuck someone with no hint of sadism or masochism or power exchange who’s clearly invested in getting me off and savoring the experience than play tour guide to the land of kink for some bro who really just hopes I’ll stop talking and get naked already.

So nah, bro. I’m good.

First

We didn’t have a plan.

I hate that.

It’s the afternoon of my last day in my hometown. I’m spending it with a very old friend, someone about whom I could easily say “we have nothing in common,” but we’re both here and I’m glad for it.

It’s a shock to see him drinking, though I know it’s not new. He laughs at that. Drinking isn’t all: apparently he’d decided–planned, even–to have sex outside of marriage. Plans fell through, but still, it was within the realm of possibilities. I ask about it–what changed, why he hadn’t sought other opportunities.

He says “It’s a lot easier for a pretty girl to just decide to have sex than for someone like me,” I know he’s turned down women before, so that isn’t all of it.

“Well, I’m right here, if you want to change that.”

His body language closes, tilts away. For a moment I’m not sure if he’s going to ask me to leave. “I can’t tell if you mean that seriously or not.”

“Yes, it’s a serious offer. I’m available, I wouldn’t want any kind of relationship–I’m driving four states away first thing in the morning.”

“What would you get out of it?”

“I like being responsible for people’s firsts–I don’t just mean sex. They look at you like you’re magic.”¬† Well, that, and I’d get laid, same as you.

He’s undecided. I don’t want to push (well, I do want to, because “maybe”s drive me nuts, but I know better). So we talk about other things.¬† Fail to decide what to do about dinner, drink too much to go get anything.

His roommate texts “Almost fifteen years of this, just have sex with her already.” It should annoy me, because fifteen years ago we had zero sexual tension. Hell, last year we had zero sexual tension. But today it is on the table and I can’t help but laugh.

Eventually it’s late enough I need to think about driving home. I ask if he’s hoping he won’t have to decide, just default to “no” when I leave. He says that’s not the case. Doesn’t say what is.

“Come here.” I pull him up next to me to kiss him. This is not how I kiss. This is a shadow, not a storm. I am giving him space, asking if it’s okay without a hint of teeth or claws (yet). This is not the storm but I can feel it, am greedy for it, there is something of thunder in every moment he says yes to.

Afterwards, I worry. Was I too pressuring? Might there be psychosocial effects he wouldn’t have predicted? I’ve had a lot of partners. (He didn’t ask how many, and I’m glad, because I don’t know.) Sex is something I enjoy, and yes, it’s a big deal but there’s nothing more attached to it than that. For him, it was a first, and I’m a little unsure why he said yes to it at all, least of all to me.

Turns out he was willing to answer that in a lot of detail:

Okay, why I said yes to you.¬† Honestly, part of it was that I had already said yes to somebody else.¬† Even though that didn’t happen, the fact was that I had already made the decision that it was something I was willing to do.¬† When I agreed to it with [redacted]’s ex, it was for a few reasons.¬† I found her attractive, yes, but much more important was how we’d had such an intimate relationship for so long that I wasn’t afraid of being embarrassed with her, and we were also in no danger of either one of us falling for the other and thus complicating things.

By complete coincidence, you just happen to meet those precise criteria as well, making you exactly the one other person in my life with whom I could imagine having sex with outside a committed relationship.¬† I didn’t realize that until you made the offer.¬† In fact, it hadn’t even occurred to me before that, though it seemed immediately obvious as soon as you said something.

I wanted to quell your fears over this, too.¬† I don’t want you to worry at all about leading me to do anything I was not prepared to do.¬† I’ve said that I’m responsible for my actions and I mean it; even had you come over with the express purpose of sleeping with me and you went into full seduction mode to get what you wanted, it still would have been my decision whether or not I’d do so.¬† Girls have done that, so I know I’m capable of saying no.

What I didn’t tell you at the time is that I’d been seriously considering it since you first offered, and I decided to go through with it the moment you pulled me onto the bed.¬† The whole time you thought I was afraid to take the next step was really just me stalling for my own sake.¬† I’d made my decision, but I wanted to give myself time to see if I’d get freaked out while I still had the chance to back out.¬† I’m sorry you had to put up with my insurance plan, but I wanted to be sure I wasn’t getting into something I’d regret.¬† When I finally said yes, that wasn’t me deciding I was ready to actually have sex.¬† That was me deciding I’d had enough time to change my mind on the decision I’d already come to.¬† No second guessing ever came up, no moments of serious trepidation in the hours since saying yes in my head, so I went ahead and said yes outside my head too.¬† I don’t want you to think I got caught up in the moment.¬† I decided long before the moment, then gave myself all that pre-moment time just in case.

And even though I’d never have thought of you as someone to have my first time with, in a way I’m glad that it was you.¬† You were always there for me all those years ago, even while you were going through far worse than I was.¬† Even if we’ve obviously drifted apart in the intervening years, you were probably the first person I was ever truly–albeit not physically–intimate with.¬† Somehow it feels appropriate that you were the first I was fully physically intimate with as well.¬† Perhaps that’s silly of me.

I know it wasn’t a big deal for you and I’m perfectly okay with that, but obviously it was kind of a big deal for me.¬† [Redacted] asked me today if I was happy I did it.¬† Happy is not the right word; it did not make me happy.¬† Neither did it make me unhappy.¬† Instead, I’d say I’m content with it.¬† It wasn’t some huge life-changing event or anything. I still feel like the same person, and I’m glad for that.¬† But I’m also relieved.¬† I’ve spent the last few years growing increasingly doubtful about my decision to wait, and now all that pressure, all that doubt and worry that’s been weighing on me is gone.

And that’s not even including long-familiar worries about my potential performance.¬† I know I was far from amazing, but unless you were merely an incredibly convincing actress, I feel okay about what I managed for a first time.¬† Perhaps with practice I can eventually become truly decent, though I imagine that day is still long in coming.

Whether I should have done it or not I cannot conclusively say (though I certainly don’t regret it now), but in the end that almost doesn’t matter.¬† The decision was made, it’s over, and there’s no sense worrying about it anymore.¬† So for helping me with that, I am genuinely grateful.

Oh, and it was really fun too.

All that said, I don’t want this to change our relationship because I value it greatly (yes, even despite the infrequent contact).¬† I’m fine with referencing it or joking about it or whatever; I feel no need to hide from what we did, but I also don’t want it to define our relationship.¬† I realize you probably weren’t worried about that, but I tend to overthink things.¬† I was thrilled to see you and I would have been entirely happy about that day even had we not slept together, and I’ll be just as happy to see you or talk to you again even with no expectation that it will ever happen again.

Okay, I think I’m done with this painfully long and meandering text.¬† TL;DR:¬† I loved seeing you, and I thoroughly enjoyed having sex with you.¬† I’m glad you came, and I’m glad you came.

Not by Halves

New Orleans Pride is this weekend. I’m attending. I’m volunteering, for part of it. Event updates and memos are coming at me through facebook and e-mail and text, and with every one I remember, a little more, that Pride is not for me.

“New Orleans Pride creates not only an atmosphere where everyone can be proud of their sexual orientation and gender identity, but unity within the heterosexual and homosexual communities.”

I’m told we’re “fighting homophobia and transphobia [but not biphobia] through visibility and education.” Stonewall is referred to as “lesbian and gay men [why mention queer trans women of color?] who decided spontaneously and for the very first time to fight police harassment.”

“The Gay community” is referred to over and over, and “Gay Pride” is used as a stand-in for LGBT, LGBTQ+, or queer.

The flyers say “Gay Pride Weekend,” across the top, in case the LBTQ+ parts of the our community were still under the mistaken impression that this weekend included us.

I correct, when I can. “Not, ‘gay,’ ‘LGBT.'” I’m told I’m splitting hairs. Bi and trans people are welcome, ‘gay’ is just an umbrella term. Lighten up. (There is, this year, an event specifically focused on the trans community. Good. As there should be.)

There is no mention of bisexuality in local pride events outside of the LGBT acronym.

And yes, it matters. It matters because we’re reminded that the gay community doesn’t see us as whole people. If bi folk exist (and many of them don’t think we do), we’re half gay, half straight. Pride is for our gay half. The other side? The one the gay community codes as straight? Well, just for Pride, can’t it stay in the closet?

I know the arguments. We confuse things. We confound the assertion that being gay or straight is a simple on/off either/or state. And besides, when we’re with a different-gender partner, aren’t we really just allies in a straight relationship?

Except we’re not straight. I’m not straight. I’m a bi woman whether my partner is a woman or a man or a nonbinary person. I’m a bi woman during the straightest-looking sex with the strictest Kinsey-zero straight man alive, and because I’m queer it’s still (for me at least) queer sex. That needs to be visible at Pride, too: that sometimes queer people in relationships don’t look it, that you can’t tell by looking at us even in a sexual context, and that even a cis woman and a cis man in a relationship may not fit heteronormative assumptions.

Pride is supposed to be about LGBT authenticity, not for half of our selves or half of our experiences but for all. It’s no place to be in the closet. We’re not here to be convenient any more than anyone else. We’re there because we have a right to be. It’s tiring to see, again and again, that event organizers and promoters don’t see us.

 

 

Swing (or “‘Merica, Fuck Yeah!”)

Two women and a man walk into a Walgreens for condoms and rum. The Chef and I are¬†giggling arm in arm. Chi looks back at us to ask if we want anything else. Whiskey? Champagne? I shake my head. I won’t be drinking at all: I prefer strange nights sober. I’m half-monitoring dirty looks coming our way. We’re not being obvious, not really, but we’re too familiar to be friends and it’s clear we’re not sisters.

Two women and a man get a stern glare from the cashier. She says she can’t sell us alcohol–three sober adults over twenty-one. She can’t refuse to sell the condoms. It isn’t worth an argument. Chi can run in to another store for liquor.

The Chef and I wait in the car this time. She twists around to talk to me. “So Chi’s never had a threesome before. I thought it might be fun to give that to him, before I go home.”

“Yeah? I could go for that.”

“Sure? I know you’re going through some shit, if you’re not down it’s cool.”

“I haven’t had sex in ages. We’re talking once in the last four months. I am more than down.”

“Well awesome. Let’s see if we can make this work.”


I’ve never been to a swinger’s club before. I’m not sure what to expect. We pile onto a couch and watch a woman in jeans and pink stilettos dance. I’m taking it in: low light, music, people milling around. The Chef speaks first. “Okay, we should negotiate things. Game plan, everybody’s limits..?”

“Well, you pretty much know what you can do with me by now. Um. No penetration without a condom–”

“Wait, does that include oral?”

“No, unless you want it to.” He makes a face. Clearly not. I turn back to the Chef. “I should have asked, is the stuff we do okay here?”

She turns to Chi. “This one’s a masochist.”

“So…like…spanking?”

“Punching, slapping, hitting generally.” The Chef and I are grinning at each other.

“Punching? How hard are you talking about?”

I can’t help it. I burst out laughing. The Chef giggles, too. “However hard you think is too much, she’s gonna say harder.”

He looks at me, quizzical.

“Yeah, pretty much.”

Chi and I keep looking to her, deferring. “These things are easier if one person takes charge. Like a facilitator. Do you mind–? That’s usually me.”

I don’t mind and neither does he. She sends us upstairs (“Get acquainted!”) so she can have a cigarette first. We both offer to join her. She shoos us off. “I don’t want to be rushed.”

We find a couch. I’m suddenly shy, looking at the video on the wall, at my hands, anywhere but at this boy I plan to fuck but haven’t touched. He laughs, and it brings my eyes to his face. “Hm?”

“No, just…Lucky me. You have no idea. I have a thing for redheads.”

I shake my head, try not to laugh. Everyone in this town has a thing for redheads. He’s put out a hand, but doesn’t touch. I’m not sure if he’s reaching to push my hair out of my face or pull me closer and I don’t wait to find out. I lean in to kiss him.

For an instant I wish I hadn’t. I ache, suddenly, everywhere. I’m raw from too long without physical contact. This isn’t enough. I love the way he’s kissing me, fierce and open, but it isn’t enough. His hands slide up my legs. Suddenly every inch of clothing is an offense, an affront. I can’t stand the thought of an inch that can’t be touched.

I help him peel off my dress, then everything else. There’s a pause–he’s never seen piercings like mine in real life, is staring with something like awe. Then his hands are on me, and his mouth. I am not clawing at him, not pulling his hair. I am too overwhelmed in this moment to trust myself. This is a fucking stranger and I want to tear him apart.

Then there are three of us. Another room. They joke that I’m a doll. It’s true. I don’t move, they move me. I am flipped, pulled, turned. Chi is hesitant. The Chef isn’t. Her manipulations push me into him. I’m gagging¬† on his cock. He pulls away. “It’s okay. Choking is okay.” I’m still gasping around the words.

His knees shift. “What?”

The Chef answers: “She says you’re good.”

I am scrambling for purchase, and for focus. I’m balanced on the exquisite edge of I need this and it’s too much, and it holds. I don’t know how but it holds. My throat is raw from failing to keep quiet. He’s fucking me, asking if it hurts, and yes, it does, and yes, I want it to.

A moment. The Chef is out of reach. I can’t breathe, the room spins. “I need a minute.” I roll away, try to breathe. They focus on each other. I’m in awe of their intensity, a little humbled that two people as strong as they are would include me at all.

They bring me back. I reach for her, am pushed onto him instead. I laugh. “You’re not letting me do anything!”

“Nope.” The Chef is grinning. “You’re our doll, remember?”

“Not a puppet?”

“Do you want a whole hand in you?” She pauses. “I have pretty large hands.”

Of course I want. A corner of me remembers that her hands are cut and burned. That there are gloves in my purse, lube in her bag. But mostly I don’t care. I’m willing to let her make this call. I like the roughness of it. She’s talking. Taunting. Telling me about my body, measuring the movement of her hands. She has words for both of us, all I can do is cover my mouth to hold back a scream.

She pauses. “Don’t let her do that again.”

Chi’s hands cover my wrists, but he doesn’t grip. He’s looking down at me, so I nod and twist to fit his hands more easily. He holds me down while she adds pressure. Shaking. Screaming. We’ve left lube across the room. “Right up to the last knuckles, but not past them.”

We need water. I need caffeine. We’re there for hours and most of a box of condoms more. Too much sensation for one night, and exactly what I needed.

‘Merica. Fuck yeah.