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Sadie Says … That night

Tuesday, May 21, 2013 AT 07:05 PM5 comments

Are you monogamous? Poly? Open? Weighing your options? Going with the flow?

The way to structure one’s relationship has become a choice, hasn’t it?

Not too long ago, Monogamy was the assumed structure of relationships. It is still the default structure, meaning most people in committed relationships are monogamous (or at least claim to be,) but now there is more awareness about the existence of open relationships and responsible non-monogamy. Responsible non-monogamy, or ethical non-monogamy for those who don’t know is where romantic partners openly practice non-monogamy (meaning sex and intimacy with other people) and they do it with honesty and integrity and within the best interest of everyone involved. And while it can be difficult to practice this, since people are complex, sex is complex, and relationships are complex, it can be done. I know many people who are successful at it, and those that are successful have to work VERY hard in order to maintain that success, so to them I say Rock the Fuck On.

That’s not to say that monogamy doesn’t present its own set of challenges. Relationships in general are challenging. But we negotiate them anyway because it’s our biological imperative.

Plus, they make us feel good.

I know a little bit about non-monogamy and open relationships. I am a polyamory consultant, I consult with people in open relationships about how to navigate them ethically and responsibly. I wrote a memoir called “Open all the way” about the open relationship I had with my now ex-husband. And for 5 years I wrote about the subject extensively, so much so that I was once referred to as the “most prolific writer on the subject of open relationships on the internet today” which sounds quite nice but probably just means that sometimes I don’t know when to shut up.

But despite my history of non-monogamy, these days I am practicing monogamy.

When I tell people I am doing monogamy they always go … WHAT? You?

Yes, me.

I get that probably most people don’t feel compelled to emphasize the fact that they are monogamous – “Hi, this is my boyfriend and we only have sex with each other”… but that’s just because, as I said, monogamy is the default structure of relationships. It’s pretty much assumed that couples that are together are monogamous. But when you have done non-monogamy for a long time, and have been quite vocal about it like I have, then the expectation gets re-set. And so it was assumed that I would continue to have open relationships. Assumed by friends, family, co-workers … and even to an extent, it was assumed by me.

This is the story of how I challenged that assumption ….

I peered at him across the table. Our waiter had brought us an offering of crostini with roasted tomatoes. He hated tomatoes, I had just learned, but he sampled it anyway, careful to contain his disdain for the texture, the taste. He looked so damned cute over there, but he felt too far from me; the table was a sea, it seemed. A long, vast expanse where too much could get lost between us, could become swallowed by waves of misunderstanding.

With my hands in my lap, fingers folded over knuckles for assurance, I pleaded with him, “Please, please don‘t assume that just because of my history with open relationships that an open relationship is something I need. Or want. I would actually do monogamy for the right person.”

I surprised myself with this announcement. I hadn’t pre-meditated this proclamation, wasn’t exactly sure where it came from; but I was certain that, regardless of its genesis, it was as true as anything I’d ever believed.

Before this date, we’d had a pre-date (you know the pre-date, the let’s meet for coffee and check each other out date?) On this pre-date we had determined that we were steadfastly in sync in important areas – like religion and politics … but here on our date-date we just had found a place of divergence. In the realm of relationships, he is traditional. And, traditionally …. I am not so traditional.

And so I felt like I was asking a lot when I pleaded with him not to make assumptions about me based upon my previous relationship history. He had not googled me (in fact, he never has.) He didn’t know much at all about what I do at BedPost Confessions. All he knew up to that point was what I had just told him – which was that I had an open marriage and wrote a book about it.

Perceptions, such as the one that I was worried he was crafting about me upon hearing this information, are difficult to break free from. And I have, quite admittedly, painted a pretty specific (and sometimes salacious) picture of myself by being so outspoken about my relationships on the interwebs. And because I wrote about open relationships I understood that I was, by default, perceived as an open relationship advocate. But I am actually not an advocate for open relationships. I am an advocate for honesty, always. And more specifically, I am an advocate for designing the relationship of your choosing – be it monogamous or non-monogamous – I advocate for people creating the relationship that is right for them and their partner (or partners) and whatever that looks like, irrespective of what anyone else expects it to look like.

So there I sat, at a table with this adorable man I had met on OK Cupid (because contrary to what seems to be another perception, I don’t get asked out very often) … and I was asking him to not make assumptions about me based upon my either my past relationship history or my present work (because I tell ya, I have said to people “I co-produce a show called BedPost Confessions where we tell sex stories on stage” and they have run away from me, literally run away from me like I had Leprocy or a Billy Ray Cryus mullet.)

Yes, I asked this man to instead craft an opinion about Sadie the person, regardless of all the sex-related stuff, but without blocking it out completely because talking frankly about sex and relationships is a part of who I am after all.

So, basically, I said, “Here, juggle all of this!”

And it is difficult to do that, isn’t it? Juggle the different pieces of who people are? When we begin to see someone we see all that they have allowed us access to. Shit like their job, their interactions with their children if they have them, their previous relationships and how they were impacted by them, we see their social skills, their bathing habits, how their parents treated them, the way they dress, what their ideals are …. the faces they make when they come if we’re lucky … and after we have viewed them for a while we discover whether or not they match us to enough of a degree that they will fit into our lives.

And ultimately it is difficult to find someone that fits snugly next to us in that way. Someone who can meet our rough edges with corresponding ones, whose intentions can’t help but smooth the contours of who we are; where we connect so viscerally, it is as if they were always there.

I was pretty damned sure that the pieces of who I was would be a difficult fit for just about anyone.

But there I sat, hopeful and pleading, as I threw my pieces out on the table between us … along with a piece I would be willing to construct – monogamy for the right person.

And the sweet, sweet man sitting across from me agreed not to make assumptions. And I imagine that took a little bit of work.

But I had some work of my own to do. I had to re-evaluate my own perceptions of monogamy, which had been adjusted to accommodate my own choice to be non-monogamous. I had lived in an open marriage. But I wrote about it in order for others to understand the concept … in the hopes that one day it will be a relationship structure that is accepted instead of condemned, or even better, celebrated as a choice arrived at by consenting people.

Condemning people for their relationship choices is so passé.

But doing non-monogamy and writing about it meant that I had to kinda rebuff the concept of monogamy as a possibility for myself.

A quick aside here — My ex and I had lots of reasons for choosing to have an open marriage – too many to go into in this context – but I will say that we designed our relationship together, the way we wanted it to be, and I take fierce pride in that. And because we did it our way, committed to its success while understanding the risks and defining our own expectations of the outcome, we bonded in ways that would not have been possible had we not taken that particular journey together. And I feel very strongly that creating our very own custom-designed relationship template served to unite us so that when it came time, we could part ways as friends. Which is what we are today.

But back to my recalibrating my attitude about monogamy – I had previously viewed monogamy as limiting. But in reconciling it (or perhaps rationalizing it to support a new choice) I saw that open relationships/responsible non-monogamy can be limiting as well, since people who are willing to engage in open relationships are a much smaller segment of the population and are often difficult to find because they are closeted (and that’s due in large part to the lack of awareness and understanding about them, and thus subsequent judgment.) And, sorry to all the poly folks out there because I know you are all spectacularly wonderful at poly, but the people who do non-monogamy really well are an even smaller segment of the sample who practice it – although this will likely change as more people open up and learn to do it ethically. Also, open relationship drama can be HIGH drama, lemme tell ya.

Yeah, you know.

And then I had to think about what monogamy is actually about.

Is monogamy about sex? Is it about commitment, about respect, about upholding a social obligation, creating emotional safety, implementing boundaries? Is it simply about making a promise not to fuck other people?

I think it is probably some or all of these depending on the couple … but ultimately it should be a choice, an honest choice – not a default choice – that feels right for both of the people involved.

And for me? If I am gonna do monogamy for the right person … the sex has gotta be really good with the potential for it to be even really gooder. Because while sex might not be the entire component of monogamy, it is a BIG piece of it.

And if I am being truthful, there at the table that night, a seascape of lonely between us, I had an inkling that this man who I had yet to even see naked might be the right person, the one for whom I’d do monogamy, which I know now is why I announced it in the first place … but I wasn’t quite ready to fully indulge that notion. It was a first date-date after all and I was busy pleading.

Even if I had known that night that he was the right person, what I could NOT have intuited was how open-minded this traditional man would be about us designing a relationship of our choosing, together, the way that works for both of us, even if it doesn’t follow the traditional long-term relationship trajectory of date, fall in love, move in, get married. That night I could not foresee how great a listener he would be, or discern the sincerity and thoughtfulness he would willingly, excitedly extend toward the people he cares about. That night I didn’t know he’d want to see Sadie the woman who sometimes feels like a little girl instead of Sadie the sex lady who stands up on stage and says cock and pussy and throws coy looks at the audience for effect.

That night I had yet to discover that navigating our many differences and divergent viewpoints would be easy peasy lemon squeezy compared to every single one of the relationships of my past.

Yep, maturity, kindness, reciprocity and the ability to not take shit personally – I would later discover – makes being in a relationship exactly what it I think it should be … fulfilling and fun. And it turns out that each of these beautiful, captivating characteristics along with my own aching, abiding intuition, is what determined that the right person had indeed, been sitting in front of me that night.

And that is when it stopped being about “me doing monogamy” and became instead a choice that we arrived at together; a place where we can both feel safe, comfortable, and stabilized inside of it.

The table between us that night might have charted my jagged relationship journey. And looking back it was a critical point, a juncture, where a decision to ride the same old wave I’d been riding just might throw me off course. It was time for me push up and over my own attitudes and limitations. And so I did. And charting a brand new passage with this man feels exactly right … right now.

And ya know, it is truly comforting to know that it’s only the two of us at the helm.

And ever since that night, whenever we go out, we sit right next to each other at the table rather than across from each other so that there is nothing between us to block our way. And so that my hand can drift up slowly, from the small of his back and up over his shoulder to find the soft place on the back of his neck, while his hand finds the place on my leg just above my knee, and together we grasp each other lightly yet securely … for safety, for comfort, and stability.

And we hold on.

Sadie Says … Watch Me.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013 AT 11:02 PM0 comments

No, I really mean “watch me” … But only if ya wanna.

This is me reading a chapter from my book, Open All the Way at the last BedPost Confessions -

 

 

 

Sadie Says … CLIMAX.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012 AT 04:10 PM3 comments

It was day three of Burning Man – it was a typically hot, desert day, the sense of anticipation about what might happen next hung in the afternoon air as intently as playa dust clung to our bodies. Several of my campmates and I had spent a good chunk of the afternoon lounging around doing mostly nothing, or at least I had done mostly nothing. That was until Ben, my beloved Australian buddy, presented me with a gift.

I thought you needed this Sadie, he said to me with a smile, and with that he placed a small, rectangular piece of silver steel in my hand. I pulled this off an old fan that I found in my attic he told me. I looked at it, it had – etched into it – the word “Climax”.

Ben knows me very well.

I squealed and hugged him and remembered I’d seen a length of gold chain in the costume yurt the day before. (We have a very pretty camp, with amenities such as a shipping container that, when it’s not storing all of our stuff between burns, acts as a full functional kitchen. We have an oven, where we bake bread for the hungry masses each morning, we have a shower – which is pretty much a fucking necessity – a public lounge area where people who are passing by can rest their weary bodies, and a huge yurt full of costumes where we all get dressed to go out to play). In that yurt I found the gold chain under a stack of bright green eyelashes, grabbed it, and sat down with a pair of needle nosed pliers; a few minutes later I had a necklace.

The necklace gave me a power I didn’t have just a few minutes before. It propelled me to get my lazy ass off the cushions that I’d been lounging on all day and get out and see what was happening in our beautiful Black Rock city. So, with this newfound energy, I gathered my stuff and headed towards my bike, which was parked in front of the camp. But I never actually made it there. I got derailed from my mission, because standing in front of my bike was a man – a beautiful man with a very short mohawk and tattoos, the likes of which might rival that of Jenn Motherfucking Tran’s – and he looked like he might pass right the fuck out.

I am so hungry, he said to me desperately. Do you have anything to eat?

Yes, yes I do. I have lots to eat, I told him. He followed me back through the camp to the kitchen and I pulled out some things for him to munch on – chips and hummus, some slices of cheese, an orange. I peeled the orange and handed him a few slices; he devoured them. I found some granola bars and stuffed them into the satchel he had slung across his back, and as I did I took a moment to admire his bare back imbued with ink. I joined him in hummus. We chatted. He looked at my boobs. Or at least I thought it was my boobs. I think, now, in retrospect, that he saw my necklace.

Climax.

Do you want to take a walk with me? He said. I can show you my camp, it’s really cool, it’s a yoga camp, we’ve got 150 members over there. Its a great set up.

Sure, why not?

We walked the several blocks to the camp, which was dotted with lots of small tents, large silver yurts and geodesic domes. He showed me the covered dance floor where they practiced yoga in the mornings and held workshops in the evenings. There was no one in sight. They were all out doing their thing – whatever that was.  At Burning Man, just about anything can happen, and does. He pointed towards a huge dome in the center of their camp , That’s what we call “the sensual dome” he said. Wanna check it out?

Sure, why not?

The dome was pretty, swathed in flowy fabrics of bright pinks and purples and muted reds. Futons and air mattresses covered in colored sheets lined the perimeter while an alter sat in the back, an homage to the erotic, with granite dildos, candles, incense and a native statue of a princess straddling her king.

We sat down on the futon and began to kiss. It was fumbly, but nice. After a few minutes, we became more comfortable with each other as hands began to explore landscapes, breaths quickened, eyes shut, boots came off. He pulled back and peered at me through anxious, aroused eyes. I think I’m going to get a condom, he announced.

Okay.

With my agreement to his proposal, his excitement escalated exponentially. Really? I mean really? Really? Okay. It was the surprise of a child who gets the rare treat of chocolate chip cookies right before dinner.

Yes, I said. Go get it.

He was stupefied. OhMY GOD, oh my god, this is really happening, this, um… okay, OKAY.  He quickly pulled on his boots and I think he might have done a happy dance. He looked at me. Are you sure, I mean, are we really going to do this? He asked.

Stop talking and go get the condom, I replied, attempting not to sound too terribly terse.

He stumbled quickly out of the dome – a giddy schoolboy preparing for a field trip.

While he was gone I looked around the room. I spotted a bowl of condoms on the alter. I was relieved . What self-respecting sensual dome would be without one, really? He had obviously not spent enough time in there to know that its creators had the concept of safer sex covered. I leaned back on the futon, pulled off my panties and laid them next to my things. I considered taking off my dress but then decided fuck it, that’s just too much effort. It was so hot outside that it was sticking to me. Leaving it on seemed the path of least resistance.

Upon his return he was even more excited. We are really going to do this! Ohmygod! How exciting! This is great!

How old are you? I asked. I’m 26, he told me. How old are you?

It doesn’t matter.

He pulled off his pants, rolled on the condom and clamored into me. We were off to an accelerated start, he had thrust maybe five perhaps six times before he came, and very hard… at which point he offered,  “Oh, yeah, I always blow my load early when I’m excited like this. But don’t worry, I can keep going!”

Alrighty. Let’s keep going then. He pulled off the used condom, put on a fresh one and climbed back into me… he was right, he could definitely keep going. But it was hot, and I was still mostly clothed, so me with my dress hiked up, sprawled out on a futon with a big dusty dude on top of me just wasn’t working for me. I was horny, yes. The sweat, the dust, the heat, the dildo-laden alter, the sheer excitement of this cute guy whose eyes were smiling blissfully and whose name I didn’t know – it was all extremely erotic to me – and I was surprised by that. I had never before had anonymous sex with someone I had just met. I was accustomed to vetting my partners beforehand, to sharing things about ourselves on the pretense of getting at least somewhat acquainted before getting at least somewhat naked. I always knew their name, the vicinity in which they lived, how they paid their bills. All I knew about this dude was that he was at Burning Man, just like I was. In any other context, he would be a stranger, but something about Burning Man bonds people; an implicit kinship forms simply by virtue of being there. Of sharing a simple moment over hummus.

Let’s move over there, I pointed towards a large cushion in the middle of the room. I want to be on top.

He laid down, cock still erect, smile still sitting sweetly on his face. I sat down on him … hard. It felt so good, and in that moment I lost myself. I was everywhere and nowhere at once. The heat, the dust, the sweat, the thumping dubstep from a nearby camp, it all faded into quiet corners of erotic oblivion. I began to move, my hips thrust rhythmically towards him. I leaned down to kiss his parched lips, and that movement, I realized in my salacious stupor, situated my clit on his pelvis in such the perfect way, I knew that staying right there, with my face a little above his, was going to work really, really well for me. So I did. I rocked on him, back and forth. And as I rocked, the necklace, the one that read CLIMAX, began to sway back and forth with me, and each forward motion of mine sent the necklace swinging right into his face.

CLIMAX

CLIMAX

CLIMAX

It was as if the necklace was instructing me. Get off, Sadie. That’s why we’re here, after all. CLIMAX. NOW.

And I did.

I did.

I DID.

It was one of the most forceful, elongated, evangelical orgasms I had had in a very long time. It was one of those orgasms in which the word RELEASE is actually an understatement. Where you really come to understand that your body has its own mind, and can and will take initiative. Where you learn something important about yourself, and where you give yourself permission to access that liberation, not only because you wanted to -and yes you wanted to- but because you needed to.

Yeah, It lasted what seemed like forever, that orgasm. And when I’d come back down to earth, I looked at this man, whose name I didn’t know, whose temporary Burning Man residence was the only one I was privy to, and said, That was great!

And now it is time for me to go.

He would have liked to have kept going, but I didn’t. We both got what we came for, after all.

And so I put my panties and boots back on and he got dressed. We sat chatting for a few minutes and then I gathered my things. He invited me to stop back by any time during the week but I never did. I don’t like to make plans while I am at Burning Man, I prefer to see where the dusty wind blows me.

And I was content and certainly satisfied to have been blown that hot afternoon towards a massive climax with a dusty stranger in the sensual dome.

Because, really? Why not?

Sadie Says… Make Some Noise

Wednesday, July 25, 2012 AT 05:07 PM4 comments

Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re not strong enough

Don’t give up

There’s nothing wrong with just being yourself

That’s more than enough

So come on and raise your voice

Speak your mind

make some noise

And sing – Hey! Hey! Make some noise

Use your voice. Make some noise

So in case you couldn’t tell, that was a song lyric. Not a terribly sophisticated song lyric but a song lyric nonetheless. But it’s a pop song that is sung by a chick whose audience is primarily teens and tweens, so there you go. And yes, it does sound somewhat trite. But its context has, I believe, some intrinsic social value. The message in this lyric is, to me anyway – Don’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe in” and its directive is, essentially this –  “Be vocal about what you believe in as you cultivate authenticity within yourself and extrapolate sources of meaning as to why you are who you are while intently searching for fundamental links between yourself and others as you remain loyally committed to your core beliefs, and develop your individuality, as you pursue social harmony devoid of intolerance.

But that’s not as easy to sing along to as “Hey, hey. Use your voice, Make some noise.”

It just doesn’t have quite the same ring.

Do you recognize these lyrics?  Well… I would forgive you if not. It is from a song that was recorded by Disney’s Hanna Montana.

Miley Cyrus, who once played Hanna Montana, has caused a bit of ruckus lately because she is 19 and recently engaged. The media uproar to her engagement is compounded by the fact that Miley succumbed to that inevitable post-pubescent biological imperative … she had the audacity to grow up and grow into her sexuality.

How dare she?

Miley’s influence on her impressionable demographic – the tween set – has been called into question by the conservative media. How can she possibly continue to be a role model in her current manifestation as a pole dancing, pot smoking, cleavage-baring slut?

When she recorded the song whose lyrics I just quoted, which is called Make Some Noise, she was but a tween herself, and no doubt had to grapple with many of the same issues that other tweens contend with. Having to find the answer to questions like –

  • How to get lip-gloss to stay on until at least third period.
  • And what the hell do I do now that I have …. My period?
  • And what color to paint the dollhouse.
  • And whose house will I live in after my parents split up?
  • Or what to be for Halloween.
  • And how do I learn to be comfortable inside my own skin?

And I discovered that some of Miley’s music, as poppy and prosaic as it appeared on the very slick and stylized surface of it, actually reflected some social issues.

Whether or not Miley is or was a role model is not an assumption I care to challenge, but I will say that her music has had some personal influence.

By the way, this story is not about Miley Cyrus ….

I was deluged by the tween torrent that is Hannah Montana exactly the way any woman is – I have a daughter. And for the better part of her 7th year, my daughter was positively obsessed with Hanna Montana. We’d get in the car – What do you want to listen to baby? I’d ask. Hanna Montana! she’d announce. We listened to her music constantly in the car, at home, and as such, I learned all her songs. We sang them together as we drove around town or made dinner. She had Hanna Montana dolls. Hanna Montana Hairpieces. Hanna Montana lunchboxes and backpacks and notebooks. Pajamas.

On my daughter’s birthday I created a large framed picture of the lyrics to the song and presented it to her, regally in fact … as if she were my queen and it was The Sovereign’s Sceptre. I might have even kneeled and bowed before her with it –

For your majesty.

And I even signed up for guitar lessons with the express purpose of learning this song so that I could sing it with her. Yeah, I was a little obsessed too.

Here’s a little back-story – My daughter was once painfully shy. She couldn’t talk on the phone to relatives, she was unable to place an order with a waiter at a restaurant, she had difficulty just making eye contact with anyone in a presumed position of power outside of her immediate sphere – which meant most anyone over four feet tall was deemed threatening. But, despite this shyness, from a parenting perspective, she was an easy kid. She still is. She’s laid back, super sensitive yet strong willed, whip-smart, and extremely creative. She also is very tuned in to others, feels what they feel – empathic to her very core.

In addition to her shyness, when she was little she had a very difficult time expressing herself with words – when she became overwhelmed, she’d clam up; she wouldn’t cry but she couldn’t say how she felt. So whenever that happened (and anyone who has kids knows how much inner turmoil they contend with) I could practically see the disturbance inside of her, whirling around with no outlet, no avenue for expression, no container in which to put it. When she was five or six, I gave her a sketch-pad that I told her was to be her “Feeling Book.” In it she could draw pictures or whatever she wanted to – a place to safely express her emotions. And she did. She filled it up with pictures of butterflies and wind blown flowers when she was happy, and fire breathing dragons and big grey scratchy monsters when she wasn’t. She wrote poems and songs, and drew self-portraits that had big bulbous speech bubbles hovering above, filled with sentiments like,

 “I’m angry but why?”

and

“I don’t like feeling sad”

And since then, I’ve witnessed some steadily dramatic shifts inside of her. Slowly she’s opened up, and as she has she has started speaking up.

She has learned to use her voice.

So, while she once had difficulty looking authority in the eye, now she challenges it. And she doesn’t accept complex concepts at face value. She asks questions, and more questions and then she comes to her own conclusions … and she is vocal about what she believes to be true.

So I guess that Hannah and I did a pretty decent job? Because even if it might take her a few minutes to feel comfortable doing so, my daughter will almost always speak up and speak her mind.

And she has a lot on her mind these days – she is having to confront that inevitable shift from childhood into womanhood and the change which accompanies it – periods. And she has had to adjust to the divorce of her parents and having her home be divided into two separate places.

But she’s still just a kid, she turned twelve last week and since it’s summer, everything is really good in her world; or, according to her, it’s majestic. Majestic is, apparently, the descriptor that is replacing awesome; at least in her circle of friends.

Like, OMG, This donut is Majestic, mom.

And,  Gah, I really I loved that movie, it was so sweet. Totes majestic!

About a month ago, she came to me intent upon speaking her mind. I could tell by the way she tapped her fingers along her thigh that it was …. important. And it was. It was so important, in fact, that she temporarily tabled the label majestic.

Mom? I have something to tell you.

She stared at me for just a moment and then sat down on the couch, back straight, hands on knees. I fell in beside her, kinda casually, attempting to announce with my relaxed demeanor that she could be easy with me back. Our legs were touching, and I could tell she was slightly nervous; and because she’s my little girl and I pretty much feel what she is feeling, I began to get a little nervous too. In fact, the entire room began to feel rather weighted with a dark forboding; my overactive mother-mind’s almanac flipped quickly through its vast index of alarmingly fatalistic stories while she just sat there staring ahead, eyes wide, unable to speak. The longer she took to reveal what it was she had to say, the more I thought I might jump right out of my fucking skin.

But I didn’t. Instead, I rubbed her hand, then her arm. Kissed her head, reassured her that she could tell me anything. Anything at all. I resisted the natural urge to pull her into my lap and rock her. It’s good, though, that I didn’t, because I think that she needed to stay disconnected from me so that she could have a place to reach towards.

I love you, I said. I know, she replied softly.

Then, after a moment, she found her words ….

“Okay, (exhale) …. I’m bisexual.”

I just looked at my sweet, darling daughter and, after exhaling a MAJESTIC sigh of relief at this news that was nowhere close to fatalistic, I said

“Goddam, I love you so much! I know that was hard to say. How do you feel?”

“I feel really good!” And she did, I could tell. She was glowing.

And so we sat and talked. I asked her if there were any particular circumstances that lead to her identifying as bi and she told me that she had been having some strong erotic feelings towards a girl at school. I remember being her age and feeling the very same way about a girl at my school. But I didn’t have either the language or the self-awareness to identify myself as bisexual – which, honestly, would have helped me navigate my own erotic feelings so much better. I was convinced that I was some sort of freak because I felt the exact same way for both Jackie and Craig. I wanted to sneak them both into the art closet and get busy among the tempera paints and the butcher paper. But I was ashamed of this desire, simply because I didn’t know not to be. But my daughter, at twelve years old, knew better than I had at her age. And because she knew better, she had successfully bypassed this torturous self-condemnation … by coming out and coming into herself all at once. And this filled me with such transcendent joy that, as I was writing this story, I was totally unable to string together a sentence that could accurately describe it.

Believe me, I tried. Respect, Fulfillment, and Peace are all words that I might have used, though. And words like Adulation. Adoration. Shiny. Reverence.

And maybe even majestic.

Later on that night when I tucked her in bed I asked her if she thought I’d be angry at her, or love her less, or react otherwise negatively. She said – “Nah, I know what you’re about mom…” and then she continued, “But isn’t it really awful that there are parents who don’t accept their children’s sexuality? I’d like to see that change.”

And there they were …. The tiny buds of activism beginning to bloom inside the residence of her 12 year-old psyche.

Now that was majestic.

Throughout the following weeks my daughter periodically asked me things pertaining to my bisexuality (she’s known for a very long time that I am bi) –

Does your mother know you are bisexual, mom?

Yep, she sure does.

Do you talk about it?

Yes, sometimes we do. But not very often.

What about your dad, does he know?

No, I don’t think so. If he did, we definitely wouldn’t talk about it.

She got pretty clear on why he and I wouldn’t discuss my sexual identity, as we were leaving a restaurant with him recently. It was mid-afternoon in Dallas, concrete-jungle, hot as hell outside. My dad asked her if she had a boyfriend. No, she replied readily, while looking at me for moral support. I reminded my dad that she goes to an all-girls school and so she doesn’t see boys very often.

This news registered and then tripped one of my dad’s circuit breakers, his wiring can be dodgy sometimes – Oh, right. That school goes through high school, doesn’t it? Well, I hope that doesn’t mean that you are going to have … girlfriends. And then he said, as if to affirm his stance … Nah, you wouldn’t do that.

Yeah.

I looked at my kid, suddenly feeling extremely protective … I put my arm around her neck and pulled her in to me, and we walked through the warm Texas air that had begun to feel much hotter at the sudden confrontation with my own father’s passive aggressive intolerance.

We had both, she and I – in an instant – lost our voices.

And there are other people, open-minded, forward thinking people that I have told about this who have exhibited their own brand of … not necessarily intolerance …. but ignorance.

With this question – Well, how can she know she’s bisexual at her age?

I think this question stems from the inability for to people to grasp the fact that children are sexual creatures. Which I don’t get. Weren’t we all kids once? I know I was horny all the time when I was her age. Kids are little bubbling cauldrons of sexuality; completely capable of having erotic feelings and sexual desires for other people. They can even have orgasms.

Hmmm, maybe I shouldn’t say that out loud. We wouldn’t want anyone to know.

But my answer to that question, how does she know that she is bisexual, is this -

She knows she is bisexual the same way you knew you were heterosexual when you were 12 years-old.

But that is easy for a straight person to know, because heterosexuality is (according to some feminist theory) the default sexual identity. We have been cultured to possess ingrained assumptions that we are all straight until those of us who aren’t “figure it out”.

Which is, in my opinion, bullshit. We are who we are, regardless of whether or not we’ve acknowledged it. What we have to “figure out” is how to navigate the cultural minefields of ignorance and shame and determine how to speak up about who we are – how to speak up to ourselves and how to speak up to others. One day my daughter will be able to speak up to my father.

One day maybe I will too.

Back when I was12 years old and I fantasized about kissing Jackie in the art closet? I was bi then. But it wasn’t until I was 18 and in college watching Patrice Pike play that I finally started to pay attention to the twinge in my cunt when she sang and I finally acknowledged the urge to introduce my tongue to the side of her neck after I’d thrown her up against a bathroom stall (apparently I have a kink for confined spaces) … it was then that I could accurately identify as bisexual. But it took me that long to reconcile these embedded expectation of straightness against my natural inclination to desire both boys and girls. It wasn’t a phase. And it wasn’t a stopover on the way to being all the way gay like it may be for some.

But who knows if it is a phase or a sexual identity waystation for my daughter (as Dan Savage suggests it may be.) Only she will know the answer to that, and the truth is that it doesn’t really matter so much.

What matters is that my child has the audacity to grow up and grow into her sexuality. And that she is strong enough, at twelve, to be simply, herself.

And I have to say, I can hear her voice right this very minute …  she knew I was going to be telling you this story and she wanted to make sure that I let you know that while Miley Cyrus’ music was fun back then when she was young … she’s totes outgrown her now.

Now she’s obsessed with majestic music of the band Gorillaz, and their animated characters; specifically Noodle, the badass tomboy guitar player with the cyborg clone.

Yep, my little girl is growing up.

Time to make some noise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sadie Says … Love Forever.

Friday, July 6, 2012 AT 02:07 PM9 comments

My daughter and I were watching a program recently where one of the characters pledged to love the current object of her affection, her partner, forever. My daughter inexplicably paused the television and turned to me to ask, “But you can’t commit to an emotion for the rest of your life, can you? I mean, it’s an emotion. You can’t control your emotions like that, can you?”

She’s not quite twelve and the girl is already questioning the dynamics of love, the language surrounding it and the meanings that such language creates. And I have to say that I adore her for her capacity to challenge such established notions.

The characters on TV -who were perhaps 20ish- symbolize the cultural narrative (in which monogamy is the prevailing precept, which is, I dare say, subtly inferred inside the statement I will love you forever,) and their love-pledge illustrates the concept of everlasting love and the assumption that it exists for most, regardless of the level of its participants’ emotional intelligence, which I think informs the possibility of everlasting love. Emotional intelligence is grown, acquired, through relationship experience, and by questioning relationship dynamics and learning various ways of operating inside of them. I also believe that acknowledging the very real truth that most relationships end or at the very least change/shift/morph into something else is part and parcel of acquiring it. One learns through experience exactly what love means inside of long-term relationships – in all of their beauty; tinged with adversity, jealousy, longing, tension and communication mishaps that are sure to make even the most passionate of us ask, What is all of this love business for, anyway? But that is the nature of love, isn’t it? It makes us question who we are. What we want. Provokes us to procure a value system with this particular notion firmly embedded - I truly believe I will love you forever. Therefore I will.

But on some level she’s right, my daughter. We cannot know with absolute, unfettered certainty who we will love tomorrow, just as we cannot now with certainty that Magic Mike will do well at the box office. My guess is that it will, simply because the opportunity for women to objectify men in such blatant regard doesn’t present itself often enough – and we ladies, yes, we have sex drives too – we wouldn’t dare miss the opportunity to objectify a hot guy in our patriarchal society. Especially when the simple observance of Channing Tatum’s abs is the equivalent of eating two pints of Cookies and Cream, but without those pesky calories. Deliciousness.

I digress.

But she’s also not quite correct. Because the truth is that we do have the capacity for long-term love. I hope anyway. I posed this question the other day on Facebook and was inundated with many thought-provoking responses. My question was this,

Do you believe one can sincerely, authentically commit, in real-world application, not metaphor, to loving someone else for the rest of their lives? Is futuristic love predictable? Or is the phrase “I will love you forever,” simply a symbolic statement we use to convey the emotional weight that we feel presently?

I entered into the conversation with an admittedly cynical attitude. I know, personally, that my own emotions are, or at least can be, fleeting feelings. They are part of my body’s machine, integral to its mechanical process, but not something that has to drive me. I possess them, endure them if I have to, revel in them when I feel so inclined, and perhaps I occasionally avoid them. But can I commit to the emotion I feel at any given time? Can I predict its occurrence? Can I say, I am going to be mad as hell next Thursday at 1:15. Whoooo, My ass is going to be chapped right then.

No, of course not. So can I say with certainty, I will love you next Thursday at 1:15 ?

Of course it’s not quite so black and white. Generally, anger requires provocation in order to manifest. But what about love? Does it need to be cultivated? I thought it did. But I learned -or was perhaps reminded- through my interaction with my Facebook friends … that love is different that way.

Love is a choice.

And it is inside of that choice that makes love have a power, a power that other emotions do not possess, and never will. Love is acceptance, in every sense of the word. It does not require reciprocity, nor does it need to be redacted as an act of vengeance or ego-preservation. Like choosing to love, taking love away is a choice made by the person who has offered it. It is my choice to love someone. And within that space of loving, truly and honestly loving someone without ego or expectation … I am given a gift.

Sounds new-agey, I know.

Because really? Love? That is a power that resides in me. It’s free, it doesn’t cost a thing – not my self-respect, not my self-worth, nor my vitality, well-being, satisfaction, fulfillment or by ability to self-express. In it, with love, I sacrifice nothing. It is unlimited. And it gives back immeasurably. Fills me up, nourishes my spirit. Reminds me that I am not alone in this world. To give love is to get it in return. Even if the object of my love does not grant his or her love back to me, I will still get it in return – from someone else. I believe that.

I have to believe that.

I tell my daughter I will love her forever, and I am certain that I will. I cannot imagine not loving her, you see, and this is where the idea of loving forever, and the sentiment attached to it, might very well originate. The sheer unfathomable-ness of such a scenario is so weighted, so impossible to construe, that I avoid even contemplating it. I see that this is where the power lies – in loves ineffable nature.

This is how big love is.

So big that we don’t ever want it to stop.

I certainly would never say to my daughter, I think I will love you forever, although don’t quote me on that, because I don’t know how I will feel in the future. That would just be mean. And inaccurate. And it would do nothing to help her cultivate the emotional intelligence I know she has the capacity for, and it would leave her muddled to the possibilities that loving can create.

We want to be loved. We need to be loved.

And we need to love.

So, to my daughter I say this – “No, Babygirl, you can’t predict your emotions or where and how they will show up down the line. But love? Love is different, which I guess is why it is so very special. And I promise you, I PROMISE you, my darling love, that love is something you can count on me for …

Forever.”

“It isn’t possible to love and part. You will wish that it was. You can transmute love, ignore it, muddle it, but you can never pull it out of you. I know by experience that the poets are right: love is eternal.” ~E.M Forster

 

 

 

 

Sadie Asks… Have you ever?

Thursday, January 26, 2012 AT 09:01 AMoff

Have you ever…

Been in the San Francisco Bay area visiting old friends and you had a little time to kill so you went to see the Iron Lady, wherein you concurred with the widely held belief that Meryl Streep is most definitely genius incarnate, and afterward you pulled up Facebook on your iPhone to see what the members of your social network were up to and you discovered a complimentary and persuasive message sitting right there in your message box from a supercute, 25 year-old law student who just so happened to live in the area you were visiting and wanted nothing more than to occupy you for one evening, and so after a short text exchange and requisite expectation management, you set up a time to meet him later that night, and so you met him, and he met you, and even your friends met him, and together you all vetted him and deemed him ostensibly genuine, and worthy of your time and attention, and sweet in the way that young men can be, and yes indeed he was most definitely cute…

and so you and the law student decided together the following night he would procure a hotel room downtown, and so he picked you up the next night, where he appeared clearly nervous, and was therefore chatty and apologetic that he was late since his roommate’s dog needed to be rushed to the vet and he was the one elected to do so, and when you arrived at the hotel, the two of you wasted no time at all getting down to business, and the business you engaged in together was nice, it was tender yet rough and it was easy yet awkward – as first encounters with virtual strangers often are – and you repeated these sex sessions a few times, taking breaks in between your salacious interludes to talk (or actually, you mostly listened to him talk… and talk, and talk and talk some fucking more – so much so that you learned about his maladaptive relationship with his parents, his cum laude college graduate credentials, the tragic misadventures of his alcoholic sister, the fact that he had locked himself out of the house the night before, and more, much much more than you could have ever continued to feign interest in) and then…. just when you thought you might both drift off to sleep, this man – or boy rather – who had exhibited such neuroses during your brief time together as 1) a fear of city buses and 2) abject anxiety inside the hotel’s elevator…

this boy began to have an allergic reaction to the fucking sheets on the bed, allergies of such compulsive proportions (replete with coughing and supposedly swollen eyes, although it was dark and so you weren’t completely convinced of this particular symptom) that you offered the boy an OUT – why don’t you go home young law student… please don’t feel like you need to stay here all night, to which the student replied assuredly, no, no, no… I really want to stay, I will be fine, and so you rolled over thinking that sleep would greet you both very soon, but instead he announced loudly – much too loudly given the lack of light in the room and the fact that you were trying to sleep right next to him, not to mention the time (3:30 am) – oh, I totally forgot to check in on my roommate’s dog, how thoughtless of me, and so the law boy picked up his phone, sent a text, put the phone down and one minute later that phone rang, he answered it and you could just barely make out a voice on the other line that sounded fakely frantic and after a few seconds of back and forth this law student hung up the phone and tried, unsuccessfully – because after all he is NO Meryl Streep – to tell you that his roommate, the one with the sick dog, had locked himself out of the house…

and you didn’t buy it, not for one minute, and because you are who you are (someone who really dislikes bullshit of such childish proportions) you suggested directly that he was totally full of shit and had orchestrated the scenario so that he would have an excuse to leave (even though you had already given him the opportunity to take off) he had only this to say, “I really wish that I was that smart, to have come up with such a scheme” and you watched as he flailed around the room collecting his stuff in the darkness that wasn’t so dark that you couldn’t clearly discern the fact that he was very nervous, shaking in fact, shaking so hard that he could not get the zipper on his jacket engaged and so he left it open, and said goodbye, but not before first suggesting he’d come back to the dark room after he had rescued his roommate in order to prove that he wasn’t lying…

and of course you never heard from him again?

Has that ever happened to you?

Me too.

 

Sadie says… Confessing. And Strap-Ons

Monday, December 12, 2011 AT 06:12 PM2 comments

I don’t have anything to confess!

I hear this sentiment regularly -often delivered with a whimper, a shrug or a shy smile- on the nights I ask people to share their anonymous secrets at the show I co-produce, BedPost Confessions, where we read the audience confessions onstage. I always reply, Oh, I bet you do! We all have something to confess, even if we think we don’t.

It is a hard thing to ask people to do, confess. And I imagine it’s even more difficult for people who are generally private folks to agree to doing so. But we ask regardless because it spurs people to consider their past experiences and ultimately allows them a space to let their secrets go, gives them a momentary release of memory, after we’ve brought it alive once again in front of an audience and the confessor himself. The confessions we tell might procure the nodding of collective heads in mutual understanding, or a burst of laughter for it’s seemingly outlandish detail meaning that it must be true! And what is more important than the truth… anyone’s truth?

A confession, too, may spark a discussion from those of us onstage. The other night we did a mini-show for a fundraising event for ABC Vagina Supply (which launches next summer) and one of the confessions intimated that the confessor had their first sexual experience with a group, and now, years later, they can only get off to images involving gang bangs and other group-sex practices. This person also confessed that they sometimes wonder if this predilection means they are asexual. After reading this confession I looked keenly at the audience and addressed the person who wrote it, whoever he or she was – You are most certainly sexual. You are simply… kinky.

Our kinks live -sometimes deeply- inside of us where we may not even know they exist. They are wired within; programmed by experience some may say but truly we don’t know. It’s helpful to give them credence, allow them a comfortable place within our psyches and our lives where they may flourish – without shame or guilt. The problem with shame and guilt? They make us believe shit about ourselves that are just not true. There are loads of people who get off to images of gang-bangs and group sex.

I confess that I am one of them. I also confess to belonging to the school of thought that says, If it’s in your mind and it gets you off, it ain’t hurtin’ nobody and since it helps you get off, might as well roll with it.

There is so much more I could say on the subject of kink, but I’ve got a brand new, not even out of the box dildo and strap-on harness that I’ve been dying to make sure fits, so back for now to the subject of confessing so that I can get to trying it on ….

I do a lot of confessing. It’s what I do. I am certain it puts some people off, unnerves them perhaps, or causes discomfort for them in some way, especially if the confessing is of a sexual nature. But confessing is self-disclosure, and isn’t that how connections are formed, how bonds are built? There are numerous theories on disclosure (and I won’t get too academic here, because well, I don’t have the capacity to – I am blonde after all,) but one of my favorites is the Johari Window~

The open pane (Arena) is what we know about ourselves and what others know, too (for instance y’all know I like gay black gangster porn, I know I like gay black gangster porn). The Facade pane is what we know about ourselves but hide from others (okay, I am a pretty full disclosure girl but I am sure I have something I keep to myself. Let me think about that for a moment). The Blind Spot pane is what others know about us that we don’t know about ourselves (Hehe, we don’t like thinking about that one much, do we?) The Unknown pane is what no one knows about us, not even ourselves. And it is inside that window where the opportunity for growth lies – in finding out what we didn’t know we knew.

Like the confessions we don’t know we have. They are there, we just don’t know they are. The more information we disclose about ourselves rather than hiding them from the world or even ourselves, the bigger our Arena window gets and the smaller our Facade window becomes. Likewise, the more we come to understand how others perceive us, the bigger the Arena pane becomes and our Blind Spot window shrinks. It is through our openness that encourages mutual self-disclosure.

For example, I might tell you this – I had so many mind-blowing orgasms the other night that I thought I might need resuscitating afterward!

And you tell me something - I pegged my boyfriend for the first time and now he’s an official ass-play convert!

Bonding ensues. Connections are formed.

And I become jealous as hell that you have a boyfriend to peg, because, see? I have this strap-on that I just got…

Oh right… confessions.

Of course, there is the possibility of causing discomfort to the recipient of the confession, or of betrayal of the secret and even ostracism as a result. So confessing is more than a feel-good remedy, untethered to consequence; it requires trust and a relinquishment of any fear attached to its disclosure. But releasing that fear and bequeathing trust can be wonderfully cathartic in its own way.

Trust me. I know.

I don’t press anyone to confess with us unless I can tell that they really want to but they are simply feeling shy. I judge this by reading their facial expressions, noting the tone of their voice and analyzing their body language. I have walked away from many a person who said, I got nothin’ with a warm smile and friendly appeal to enjoy the show. And more than a few have come up to me afterward and said, Oh, I remembered something! and proceeded to tell me to my happy little face exactly what their confession, the one that they previously didn’t know they knew, was.

And isn’t it always good to remember, re-learn, or discover for the first time what we didn’t know we knew?

Yes indeed.

And with that, it is my turn. Time to go discover if that strap-on fits.

And no, there will be no pics!

Looks like there’s something behind that Facade window after all.