Category Archives: Life of Nic

Need To

I’m a lover of lists, and plans. Every week I open my day planner, draw in the outlines of each day’s schedule–the meetings planned long in advance, the deadlines. I add in errands, reminders. Monday, groceries. Wednesday, make spare keys. Friday, play games. As things come up, the sketch of my day is fleshed out, filled in. Have lunch with this friend. Drop into that colleague’s office. Sew the button back on to these pants.

Crossing items off is soothing. Satisfying. Affirming, even: I said I would do this thing (if only to myself), and I did it. I’ve fulfilled my duties, gotten through what I need to do, earned the blank hours of time my day planner doesn’t presume to chart.

The last month has not, in day planner terms, gone well at all. Items pushed to the next day, and the next, then the next week. I send apologies, trim all but the bones from my projects, but still every line of every day is filled. Still so many lines are going uncrossed. I need to write that paper. Need to stop ignoring this blog. Need to do laundry. Need to sew that button back on to these fucking pants, the ones I’m wearing right now that are driving me up the wall.

The need-to list crowds out the rest. The uncharted hours don’t feel earned. Maybe I’ll try to poke at work or catch up on chores. More likely I’ll sit, text, feel too much guilt over being unproductive to allow myself a book or a night out, knowing that not-relaxing is just going to make tomorrow more stressful. Knowing that if I can not-relax, I will.

So I drove twelve hours and change to fuck a friend for a weekend before turning around and driving back home.

I had a psychiatrist once who suggested I manage anxiety with casual sex. Call a friend with benefits, go to a swinger’s club, be safe of course but unwind. It was a good suggestion: sex is an outlet for all that nervous energy. It was a good suggestion but I’m not taking it much lately. Used to be a week without sex felt like an unbearably long time. (All right, it still feels that way.) Lately six weeks or more isn’t unusual. No partners in the state. It’s something I could change: I’m frequently reminded that there are about a million apps for that, but frankly it feels like just adding another stressor to the need-to list: find a partner.

I don’t have time for that. God, especially after indulging in last weekend. I need to write that paper. Need to do laundry. Need to sew that button back on to these pants.

There’s a chance the burden at work will decrease in a few weeks. (Honestly I’ll probably quit if it doesn’t.) Now I’ve moved and unpacked, things at home are starting to calm down. There’s a hope of getting back to days that are filled with lines I can actually cross off.

Until then, it would be nice if I could fill the prescription for casual sex alongside all my other meds.

“But why did you get divorced?”

Apparently a year and a half after I moved out, people still feel the need to ask why my ex-spouse and I got divorced. So here goes:


We didn’t heed the warnings that Netrunner ends marriages.

We amassed more than the 84 bottles of nail polish legally permitted in a single household, and so were required to separate.

I’m a cylon. They found out.

Their girlfriend cut butter perpendicular to the end of the stick like an absolute barbarian.

They didn’t eat onions.

I didn’t eat shellfish.

I stole their favorite pair of boxers and refused to let them wear them anymore.

We had a profound disagreement over what constitutes proper board game storage.

I was emotionally devastated by envy of their perfect hair.

They were rude to my cat.

Their cat was rude to my cat.

I was taller than them, and I wore heels anyway like an absolute barbarian.

They felt I was not sufficiently enthralled by David Bowie’s bulge in Labyrinth.

I prefer showers. They prefer baths.

I kept finding their socks all over the apartment. Socks everywhere. Following me. Watching me. Fucking socks.

One time in 2009 they left the toilet seat up and I never really got over it.

One time I ate all the Reese’s cups in the house and they never really got over it.

They thought Matt Smith was a better Doctor than David Tennant.

We had far exceeded the number of years in a committed relationship that bisexuals are capable of, and could no longer afford to pay the fine for challenging stereotypes.

and most of all:

Sometimes their sleep-talking sounded an awful lot like trying to awaken Cthulhu to revel across the world.


 

Now that all the scandals and secrets are revealed, everyone can stop asking, right?

Winnowing

There’s an art to hearing input from confidantes, on private things. It’s a challenge to hear past familiar thought patterns and feelings to accept what wisdom they can add. It takes a fair bit of finesse to tease out the words that come from their own histories, experiences no less valid than your own but perhaps not relevant when spun into advice for you. I…won’t pretend to be an expert.

The Chef and Chi have plenty to say. I told them I’ve only had a couple of dates in the last several months. Felt no excitement after either. “I don’t think I’m looking to start any Relationships right now. Something, sex for sure, but the thought of dating exhausts me.” While we’re together, I let conversation flow, save the critical part for later. There’s a winnowing process, which for me takes some time and quiet.

Wheat. “You should keep in mind what you will want, when you are feeling it. Every now and then evaluate whether you still aren’t interested in a relationship, or you’re just avoiding taking any risks.” Anxiety does tell me to keep myself curled up, treat any hint of intimacy as a threat. My gut is unreliable. I have to untangle the thoughts and feelings I’ve generated whole cloth, or out of association with a past that has nothing to do with now, from the ones that match current experience. I’m not always good at it. I don’t always–ever, really–feel that it’s fair to ask someone new to understand. So much easier to spin a cocoon that never admits someone new. I know better than that, but still, it does help to be reminded.

Wheat. “You have some good friends. You sleep with some of them, it works, maybe don’t be afraid to feel out whether that’s an option.” After I’ve known someone a while, if we haven’t had sex, I tend to assume it’s not on the table. I might be down for it but 95% of the time I’ll assume they aren’t. Of course, the most recent exception has become a particularly excellent (if infrequent) source of sexy fun times. There are tiring things about this–friends-with-benefits situations with monogamous people put me in the tenuous position of playing side-chick with people who are single, knowing I’ll be set aside when they find a partner. I accept this at the outset and I’ve chosen it more than once because I’m avoiding risk of intimacy, but it does get hard not to feel disposable at times.

Chaff. “People cheat. They just do, if you don’t keep them interested. You can’t expect that people will tell you who they’re screwing, I don’t care how open the relationship is.” I can. I do. I will. I have no interest in being lied to, and refuse to just accept that this is The Way People Are.

Wheat. “It’s not about what you need. Fuck that, you don’t need anything. What makes you happy?” I can’t answer that. It’s probably the best indicator that I don’t need to be pursuing anything right now, the fact that I can’t answer that. What makes me happy? Fuck, I don’t know, ice cream? Ask me again when I feel like my housing/income/job situation is a little more solid under my feet. It’ll probably be a while.

Chaff. “You can’t tell men what you want. They won’t believe you. Drop hints. Let them think they figured it out. Otherwise they won’t believe it’s real.” This is too often true. I have no patience for it. I say what I mean. I expect to be believed. It’s not a standard I’m willing to lower.

Chaff…I think.  “Jealousy means they care. You always want to work through jealousy, soothe it away, but you should try cultivating it sometime. the right kind. I got jealous as fuck when he made you scream, but it just made me want to do it to you, too.” I don’t trust jealousy to stay in the realm of healthy competition. Maybe she knows how to keep it there, maybe it works for her, but I’ve seen it get ugly too many times. I don’t know. It’s hard, this one. I don’t know.

Wheat. “Date your friends. Date your lovers. We’re not the same people we were three years ago. I still think of you as my girlfriend but that means something different now, doesn’t it?” It does and I’m flattered and she’s right. Relationships, friendships, all of it stays fluid. People stay fluid. We entwine first branches, then roots. Grow closer some places, have to draw back where we damage each other in other. Sometimes we grow apart. The Chef and I have–there’s so much distance, neither of us reaches out often enough to keep us close–but so far we learn each other again and fall into a new pattern that works. I like this. I like that I don’t feel any pressure to expect that it’ll work out again next time.

It was a long evening of talk, most of it simply sweet and fun. We don’t always agree. It’s something I love about them both, that we can feel safe that not-agreeing won’t devolve into fights. Only more to process. I’m still processing some of it.

Mirage

It’s the first hot day, the first day of skin baking as soon as you step outside, of air that scalds your lungs when you breathe deep. I’m lying in the grass eating apricots that she won’t touch. Too warm, she says. Like eating small furred creatures alive. (She says “souris”–mice, not “creatures,” but it’s small, burrowing things she calls to mind). The heat makes my scalp itch. She’s pacing like a tiger in a cage. We’re alone as far as we can see: shimmering air, our picnic bag, Mad, and me.

“You are going to burn.” She’s pouting.

“So are you. Should we find some shade?”

“Too hot. We will die here, all burned up and blistered.”

“Oh. In that case you should kiss me.”

“Tu es folle?”

“You won’t give me a dying wish?”

“Tu veux un baiser?” She’s smiling, finally, looking down at me.

“Yes. No. Je veux…baise moi?”

“I knew you would say that.” She’s grinning. It wouldn’t be the first time we fucked outside. There’s no one here. I hold my breath. She shakes her head. “How can you think like that, it’s so hot.”

She isn’t touching me, and I don’t think she will. It’s too hot. My hair is shifting in the grass. I stifle a shudder at the image of fire ants marching through it. I’m sweating, my shirt stuck to my skin. I am trying to remember that she is delicate. Under this sun, she wilts. Under her, I turn cracked and hard. I want to kiss her–yes, even sticky with apricots. Even with sweat drying salt on my skin. I want her hands creeping under my clothes, clawing, burrowing for cooler earth straight through me. I am wishing her poise would melt along with her makeup, am comforted that it does not. I crave her something vicious and irritable. I want to kiss her like a cottonmouth strikes, again, and again, long after my venom runs out. I want to lick the shimmer from her skin. I want her to make me forget the redness blooming across my skin.

But she is waiting for me to stand, and when I do her kiss is soothing. “Let’s go.” I let myself be soothed.

We leave apricots and dented grass behind.

Bareback

I carry a pile of condoms in my purse. I like to have a variety. “Classic,” large, non-latex, internal. There’s one specially shaped to improve sensation for uncircumcised penises. One in black latex with a raised design that I honestly can barely feel, but the size and shape work for a variety of penises and when you roll it onto a dick it looks like a fuckable work of art, so on balance I’m a fan.

I carry condoms even though in Louisiana doing so can be considered enough evidence of prostitution to arrest. I hand them out by the thousands, literally (I work in sexual health). I’ve even stuck a couple to the fridge in case my roommates find themselves in need of one. I do this because as a prevention tool, condoms are versatile and effective.

I do not use condoms consistently.

Choosing not to use them is a big deal for me. Working in public health drills a very specific message into you, and that message is WEAR A CONDOM! Every act, every time, even for oral sex, unless you’re in a 100% mutually monogamous long term relationship and you’re 300% sure your partner isn’t cheating and even then…maybe wear a condom.

It’s not advice that works for everyone. To be perfectly honest, it’s not advice that works for most people. It doesn’t always work for me.

I’m not monogamous. (I know, you’re shocked. I’ll let that sink in.) Currently, I don’t even have any long-term relationship type partners. I have a couple of friends with benefits who live out of state, and another lover even farther away. Visits with any of them are infrequent.

The lover is a woman I’ve written about before (and whom I haven’t seen in a year, but I’m hoping to soon). We don’t use barriers for fucking with hands, and I can’t remember the last time I used one for oral sex with anyone. When we fucked the same man, we insisted on a new condom every time he switched between us. He didn’t understand why, but he didn’t argue.

One friend with benefits is married/poly. He doesn’t use condoms with his wife, does with everyone else. We still let each other know when we get STI screening (twice a year, for me)–condoms aren’t always effective against all the things.

The other is a boy who hadn’t had sex with anyone before me, and still hasn’t with anyone else. The first time, and the next visit, we used condoms. A lot of them–it’s not often I find someone willing to try to keep up with me when I’m in the mood for an all-weekend sex marathon. (Aside: this poor man, when he starts seeing someone not me…)

Before the following visit I asked if he wanted me to stock up on condoms. Neither of us was having condomless sex with anyone else. I hadn’t been with anyone else, period, since months before my last STI panel. I use a copper IUD for birth control, and while any birth control method can fail, the IUD has effectiveness similar to tubal ligation; I don’t really worry. And I like the mess of fluids, maybe partly because they’re taboo. He didn’t have a preference either way, so we decided to go without, at least until/unless one of us wanted to pick them back up again.

It’s not as straightforward, for me, as being fluid bonded with this person/those two, not with anyone else. It’s a topic that has to be revisited, fairly often, and I’ve definitely had partners (including my ex-spouse) bristle at the conversation. It’s not what works for everyone, but it seems to be what works best for me.

Rejection, or why I took six hours to say “no, thank you.”

9:12 AM: “Would you like to play sometime?”

Not really, no.

9:26 AM: “Sorry, but–”

Why did I type that? I’m not sorry.

9:31 AM: “I’m not looking for that right now.”

What the hell? Yes I am. I’m in full predator mode. I want to tear someone apart with my teeth. I want them sobbing with desperation. I want to fuck until I’m too exhausted and overwhelmed to move. I am 100% looking for that. I’m not looking for it with him.

9:34 AM: “I don’t think it’s a good idea, because–”

Why the fuck am I implying I want this? If I give a reason it can be rebutted. It looks like it could mean “I’m interested, but–” when in fact I am not interested. It looks like maybe I’m hoping to be convinced. I really, really don’t want to deal with that.

I’m just not going to look at my phone for a while.

12:47 PM: ”                                  ”

Well, shit, now I just look like an asshole.

Okay, I don’t just look like an asshole, I am an asshole.

1:13 PM “I’m sorry–”

I’m still not fucking sorry.

1:17 PM: “Augh why did you have to ask me that I’m supposed to be fucking working”

Yeah, that’s not fair.

I’m pretty sure I lost the chance to even make a diplomacy check after twenty minutes of silence. May as well get it over with.

1:19 PM: “No, thank you.”

Cold.

I mean, it’s not cold, not really, not any more than any other “no.” It’s honest. Makes no excuses. But I feel the ire of every man who’s ever said “fine, you don’t have to be such a bitch about it,” and I hesitate. How do I say no without making it awkward? Without a late night phone call months from now angrily demanding that I Just Give Him A Chance (which is what the last man I went on exactly one date with did).

Maybe if I don’t answer he’ll miraculously un-ask.

Maybe I should stop being a fucking coward and just say no.

Maybe managing his reaction isn’t my job, and anyway maybe I’m being unfair, assuming he’ll react badly. Maybe I should just get it the hell over with.

Maybe if he knew how goddamn much I cuss he’d want to rescind the invitation on his own.

2:36 PM: “No, thank you.”

Hesitate.

This is ridiculous. I’ve rejected plenty of people. Hit send already. Do it.

He’s going to ask why, you know that, right?

Fuck me, brain, why you gotta say that? None of his business is why.

Okay but he’s going to ask.

I’m just not feeling it.

Weak.

So?

So how are you going to deal with it?

Apparently by not responding to his text for all day, that’s how.

Dick move.

I know! *deep breath* Okay.

2:40 PM: “Sorry for leaving you hanging. I was looking for a less disappointing way to phrase “no, thank you” but I suppose they all come out about the same.”

Send.

Tick Tock (a rant)

“I can just see you counting the days until you have one of your own.”

I’ve just carried a giggle-shrieking goblin child back to its mother. I groan inwardly, but the man who spoke is clearly waiting for an answer. I smile as politely as I can. “No, I’m not having kids.”

“Oh, wait til you get married. You’ll have one within a year.”

“I’m divorced, actually. Anyway I’ve never wanted them.”

“Oh… well, you’re young. When you’re older–”

“I’m thirty.” The man speaking to me can’t be over thirty-five.

He shakes his head. “You say that now. But tick tock! That biological clock will get ya.”

Tick tock. Apparently one day I will wake up in the morning and slap my forehead in sudden realization of the obvious: of course I must want children! What other possible purpose in life could a woman have?

I don’t want children. I have never, ever, ever wanted children. I have never–not even when holding the sweetest, not-screamingest baby or playing make-believe with the most imaginative young person–thought “someday I might want this.” When I watch friends’ kids, I’m grateful as hell when they come home and I can get back to my regularly scheduled ice cream and nudity and cussing as much as I want. I do not want kids.

People want to argue. I’ll regret not having children when I’m old, they say. No one ever wants to talk about what it would mean to have a child and regret it. To raise a whole person that I do not want and be responsible for the survival and love and support and some degree of not fucking them up while also not fucking myself up even worse…yeah. There is no way this could end badly.

Except that’s the wrong thing to say. I can’t start explaining the myriad reasons that it would be a bad idea for me to have a child–the sometimes-debilitating mental illness that runs in my family, the poor vision and bad teeth they’d certainly inherit, my general lack of patience and uncompromising nature. I could go on. But any of that, all of it, I could find a way to overcome if I wanted kids. The real issue is that I do not want them.

I don’t hate children. They’re cute and the young ones’ unfiltered honestly delights me. I don’t think it ruins lunch if a friend brings her son along. If I’m honest, I kind of like them.

In small doses.

As long as they aren’t coming home with me.

I get that kids bring something magical and shiny to some people’s lives. That they can’t imagine enjoying life without that experience any more than I can imagine enjoying life with it. But the fact that I smile at kids and have fun taking them to play sometimes doesn’t mean I want one of my own. I like going to the zoo and no one thinks that’s incontrovertible proof that I want a giraffe. Same with small DIY humans.

People aren’t so adamant about telling me I’m wrong about what I want with most things. “I don’t like mushrooms” is rarely met with more than momentary incredulity. “I want to see x happen at work” is met with questions and brainstorming and support. “I want a tattoo” is accepted by most people who are not my mother (she knows it’s true but she Does Not Like It). But anything that has to do with sex–and children do have to do with sex–if I don’t conform to most people’s expectations of how a woman should relate to sex, I clearly don’t know my own mind. I need to be corrected, for my own good. Of course I couldn’t be bi, and I don’t like sex as much as or more than most men, and I definitely, DEFINITELY will want to have kids.

At this point I’m going to have to have “yes, I’m sure I don’t want kids” inscribed on my tombstone before it’s taken seriously. I know what I want. I don’t want kids.

And if I were wrong? If I am woefully incapable of making the “right” decision on the spawning front without correction from others? Why on earth would anyone who doesn’t trust that I know what I want trust me to be responsible for a whole helpless human being?

 

Three Days (in moments)

This is how to fit months of sexual tension into three days:

My stilettos threaten to slip between cracks on the deck. I have to stop kissing him to take them off. I have to stop kissing him and his hand draws back from under my skirt and I can’t stand it, not even for a second. I’ve been too long without kissing. I need more.


I’d forgotten how messy sex without condoms can be. I’d forgotten how much I love it. I’m forgetting words other than “yes” and “more” and “please.” He’s still looking at me like I’m performing miracles every time I come. I don’t know why. I don’t want it to stop.


He says “I need to fuck you” but it only makes me moan. I have his cock in my mouth. His hand is trembling in my hair. It almost feels like hes pushing me away, apologizing as he thrusts into my throat. I’m struggling not to gag, but the struggle makes me want this more. This is what I’m greedy for: feeling him tremble, hearing him gasp. I want to be solid while he quakes. I don’t want to stop.

He stops me. I’m pulled up his body into kisses that are all hunger and teeth. He says “I need to fuck you.”

I tell him “no.” Our bodies are pressed together. I writhe. He shakes.

“I need to fuck you.”

“No.”

He’s pleading, between kisses, for anything more than kissing. I tell him “no” as I slide two fingers into my cunt. I try to keep kissing him though I’m struggling for balance and for breath. He’s making a face like he’s in pain. I want to draw this out, seeing him this desperate, but it’s too much. I make myself come, far too quickly.

He insists it went on for hours.


Kissing, every moment I can steal one. In my hammock. Through the walls of a grave. In the passenger seat of my car, my knees around his hips, hoping my skirt drapes over his hands. I can’t get enough. He doesn’t try to stop me.


I fall asleep, or into something spinning and dark that might be sleep. He wakes up to ask if I’m okay, more than once. I’m okay, nervous about being not-okay but not uncomfortable being touched. We don’t sleep late, up near sunrise and unable to keep our hands off of each other.


I’m half-growling at him to fuck me. He knows I’m sore already. I know neither of us really cares. He pauses anyway. Asks if I’m sure. I’m more than sure. Demanding. He says “yes, ma’am,” and I don’t know whether it’s the words or finally feeling him inside me that makes me moan. His mouth is everywhere. On my mouth, holding me quiet. Teeth on my breast, making my body arch up into his. I keep asking for more. He keeps giving it to me.


We need to leave for the airport. He’s complaining that my underwear’s teasing, that he can see too much through the mesh, so I take it off. He reaches under my dress as we kiss goodbye, briefly slips his fingers into me before getting out of the car.

Wake Up

I wake up badly.

I sleep badly, too: long hours of failing to lose consciousness, interrupted with a start at every sound. But when sleep does come it is a dreamless black, and I am grateful for it.

I do not wake up gradually. There is no softness to it. I wake up gasping, startled, terrified until I can see that there is no threat imminent. No one strange in the room. No sign of fire. Nothing broken. No one hurt.  Or worse, in sleep I feel or hear something that could be a threat, and I wake up screaming.

A friend is coming to visit for the weekend. I’m looking forward to seeing him, and looking forward to the sex. But it’s near enough now that I’m thinking about sleeping, and I’m worried. Last time he was here, I didn’t sleep the first night. Problem solved. The second night I did, and within an hour of drifting off felt movement and warmth next to me. Woke up screaming. Woke up instantly aware of anxiety-brain’s error but unable, for a few moments, to get it to shut up.

It isn’t fair to him and it isn’t fair to my roommates, that I can frighten them all when absolutely nothing’s wrong. When they haven’t done anything wrong. I have meds that help–that work during bad days, anyway, and have worked on nights alone, but I can’t help but worry.

I am afraid of waking up. I am afraid I will wake up badly.

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 🙂 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.