Category Archives: General

What a terminally ill cat taught me about love

I saw a post one year ago today on the Dutchess County SPCA facebook page –

Hey Dutchess County, we need your help for a very special kitty. Sara Belle is a sweet young cat, probably around 4 years old who recently arrived at the Dutchess County SPCA. Unfortunately this affectionate, spunky girl had developed breast cancer, likely due to remaining unspayed. At this time, she has wonderful quality of life and we are looking for a compassionate hospice foster to help her live out the rest of her life in someone’s home where she can be a pet rather than a patient. We can’t know right now how much time Sara Bell has left, but we would love if she had quality time with a family of her very own.

I asked my partner if we could take her in. He said, “it’ll be hard, you know?”

I picked her up the next day.

sara first picture

This morning, she will celebrate one year in our home by waking me up [as she does every day] by politely tapping me to encourage me to pet her. She will then leap off of the bed at the first hint that I’m rising, and race into the kitchen to be waiting by her bowl for breakfast. Shortly after, she will join me in my usual chair in the living room as I drink coffee and check email, by crawling back and forth over my lap, smashing her face all over me, before finally settling into whatever crevice has formed between my legs and the blankets and throw pillows. She will not leave until I invariably have to pull myself away, or until one of the other two cats that rule our home encourage her to chase them.

Here are the lessons I have learned falling in love with a terminally ill cat.

Love hurts, and that’s ok

I have three cats, all of whom were adopted into our home as adults. I am keenly aware that cats have an average life span of about 15 years. Jack is estimated to be about 5 [same age as Sara Belle], Kaylee is currently about 4. I am 37. I will, in all likelihood, outlive them. These creatures that I adore, I will one day live a day without them. The thought of that, even as I sit here with all three of them within reach, saddens me deeply. Whenever you love a living creature, you risk the pain of losing them. Your options are to avoid that risk, or lean into that love, to experience it fully, every second you are able to.

Joy is frightening, because it’s worth it

Are we living a life that is safe from harm?

Of course not. We never are. But that’s not the right question. The question is are we living a life that is worth the harm?

Welcome to Nightvale, episode 46, "Parade Day"

Brene Brown posits that we fear joy, because in those moments when we might experience it, we know it can vanish. But we disallow ourselves joy when we prevent all vulnerability to that risk.

My partner said, “it’ll be hard”, because we know the odds of a female cat with breast cancer. We know her time would be short, and it would hurt. “I know, ” I said, “but, I think it’s worth it.” It’s ok to be scared, just don’t let that stop you.

When you love, love every single day, completely.

I love many, and I am cognizant that life is short. I am also cognizant, that it’s often unfair, unjust, and unpredictable. Each day you don’t say something you should say to someone you love could end up being the last opportunity you had to do so.

I had to pause while typing, Sara stood on hind legs to tap my elbow. She wanted entrance into my lap. She rubbed her face against arms and hand, burrowing into me. Every time Sara Belle comes near, she presents an opportunity to enjoy her companionship. Every opportunity we have to express and experience our love could either become the memories of joy, or regrets.

I will always stop typing for that. Love is either a priority, or it isn’t love at all.




“Dear Alistair”: A Brief Thank You Note From A Survivor

*Trigger Warning: the contents of this blog entry contain recollections of sexual abuse, intimate partner violence, mutilation, substance abuse and PTSD.

Dear Alistair,

Thank you for loving me. You always say that there’s no need to say thank you for loving someone, and that it’s unconditional, but you don’t understand. I would never want you to understand why a person says “thank you” for what I thank you for: loving me, treating me with respect, and creating a safe environment for me.

I say thank you after we hug sometimes, and kiss. And after you say, “I love you, Joni”. And after we make love, or if we tried to and had to stop because of a flashback I’m experiencing. I say thank you because I’ve never known love like this before—and I never thought I would.

I was trained to be grateful for what I got in my past relationship. To be grateful for the drunken gropes at parties, for the sloppy, inconsiderate making out, and for the rape. To say “thank you” after a torn hymen, tears, blood, and screaming. “Do you love me yet?” I would ask, a very common question. “Maybe after,” he would say, a very common answer. “If you do something for me, I’ll think about it.”

And I said “thank you”.

But you took me in and said it’s not okay. My being coerced into sex is not something to be grateful for. For being held down when I objected because my rapist was drunk and he didn’t care about me is not something to be grateful for. I shouldn’t have to be in pain and shed blood for love. My organs shouldn’t be torn and my brain shouldn’t be traumatized for love.

Instead, you taught me, my body should be okay. My body should be cherished, adored, and kissed. My body should be treated with great care, for it holds a beautiful soul inside of it. My brain should be soothed and my heart should be at ease. Sex is not an act of violence. For us, it is an act of love. It is selfless and sweet. It is tingly and exciting. It is new each time.

And when I can’t, because my mind and my body are stuck in the past, you protect me. When my legs and arms twitch, you whisper “I’m right here”. When I hallucinate the pain of ripped skin and scream, you hold my hands and keep me focused.

“Joni, I’m not him. It’s me, Alistair. You’re safe, I promise.”

So I thank you, with everything I have, for your endless humanity. Even if we weren’t romantic, you said you still think I deserved to be free. Even if we never spoke to each other again, you wanted to break me free. Unlike the claims of my rapist, you did not want to “convince me to leave so you could use me”. It was the most difficult thing I’ve ever dealt with. I am sleeping with little to no nightmares, hardly any hallucinations, and I am slowly learning that it was not my fault. That I deserve love and happiness.

So Alistair, when I say “thank you”, I mean: “you saved me”. You tell me I saved myself, but I swear, you helped.

Thanks again,


To Label or Not to Label: What is your interpretation?

Do you believe we should be labeled as individuals? Do you believe labeling makes life simpler or more complexed? Or do you believe it depends on what exactly is being labeled?

Why do labels exist?

Labels are supposed to help us with understanding objects/ subjects in which we then put into categories. According to Philosopher William Occam [nominalist scholar] the world is a Verbal Label, he stated that our experiences have elements that share similarities in which it then gives us the opportunity for general labeling (Hergenhahn, 2014). But sometimes individuals take labeling to the next level in which individuals feel governed to that particular label, and then become affected by it, or tend to affect others. However, labeling doesn’t mean we must see things the same as others may see it. Plato said himself, “Our purest idea and essence is nothing more than our abstract mind.” (Hergenhahn, 2014).

How do I view labeling?

With me it depends when it comes to describing personal traits and objects, I think labeling is then important. But to label subjects, that’s when it becomes challenging. People often label us through our gender, race, and/or sex in which sometimes leads to misconceptions of ideas, beliefs and interest. However, labels can also allow those who are labeled the ability to find others of similar labels by creating communities and safe-spaces. E.g someone who puts their-self into the LGBTQIAP+ category can seek out other individuals of their best interest making it easier to connect. So with me it depends on how it is being used.



Hergenhahn, B. R. (2014). An introduction to the history of

          psychology (7th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Pub.







Let’s turn Sexism into Positivism

Sexism is typically negative views and remarks that are usually towards females. It consists of discrimination, being prejudice and/ or highly stereotypical. Being that sexism is usually towards women, that is what this article will discuss.
Women have been looked down upon for centuries and it is time to make a stand. It is 2016 and women can hold their own, as well as changing the views of others perceptions. Few of the current issues in America, concerning the degradation of women pertains to the Patriarchal System, and Benevolent Sexism.

The Patriarchal System

Well a Patriarchy is a male dominant society in which women have been living in. Where men have authority over women (See reference sheet for citation). It is my opinion that the patriarchal system is not as bad as how it was centuries ago but it does still exist. There still has not been a woman president. My view on this is that there are a lot of men that are scared and doubtful of a woman running America. I believe this should be an Egalitarian Society which means that there are no dominance pertaining to gender or race. “Egalitarianism it’s a political doctrine that holds that all people should be treated as equals from birth, usually meaning held equal under the law and in society at large” – this has been quoted from Mastin, L. (2008). Women have shown men that they can work, be just as educated or smarter, as well as the “women” of the house hold. We have jobs as police officers, bus drivers, firefighters, and garbage “men–>woman”.
The world is viewed for genders to have their own “specific roles” and that is the problem with a patriarchal/ matriarchal (women dominant society) system. Gender roles shouldn’t matter but unfortunately they do in this world. This system has a lot of women believing that they should act or be treated in a certain way. “But truth of the matter is I believe that women should act the way they want to act and be treated the way they prefer to be treated since everyone has their own preference.” Instead, of men feeling as if they have to run everything, make decisions towards financial matters and/ or oppression that women are not allowed to rise up to leadership levels and that we should be dependent of man. This leads to men and their benevolent sexist perceptions of women.

The Benevolent Sexism

What is Benevolent Sexism? It is a chivalry attitude towards women that are sexist in terms of viewing but is portrayed to be subjectively positive. The thing is, not every woman agrees with chivalrous behavior it views women as being “warm and incompetent,” Shnabel, N., Bar-Anan, Y., Kende, A., Bareket, O., & Lazar, Y. (2016), and well not every woman follows this stereotypical role. The problem with this form of sexism is that it makes some women feel as if they are perceived as weak individuals. And, truth of the matter is it has been found to undermine women’s collective action and interfere with their cognitive performances, Shnabel, N., Bar-Anan, Y., Kende, A., Bareket, O., & Lazar, Y. (2016). “Ladies if that is how a man shows his kindness and respect towards you and you like that, awesome but make sure that he sees you as an individual that can achieve things on her own, that you are capable of doing anything he does.

Having problems stopping Benevolent Sexist remarks and actions:

• Open the door for a man sometimes, it’s ok to show chivalry back- if you’re into that.
• If they make a rude comment like the typical “here let me get that I don’t want, you to break a nail” show them what you are capable of who knows you might be better at it than they are also inform them of their rude comment.
• When they view us as “motherly,” women are not the only ones with motherly persona men can be nurturing too. “Stop believing your gender makes your sex. You are your own person follow your own way of life, not societies.”
• Don’t have a man or anyone, thinking that you can’t or shouldn’t do certain things. We can do whatever we want. Here watch this clip maybe this will help in responding to a sexist comment.
• Please ladies always inform the man of their rude sexist remarks as some of them are just not well educated.


Mastin, L. (2008). Egalitarianism – By Branch / Doctrine – The Basics of Philosophy. Retrieved March 01, 2016, from
Shnabel, N., Bar-Anan, Y., Kende, A., Bareket, O., & Lazar, Y. (2016). Help to perpetuate traditional gender roles: Benevolent sexism increases engagement in dependency-oriented cross-gender helping. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 110, 55-75. Retrieved from

There was a Female Sexual Revolution? When?

To understand what a sexual revolution is the question that must be initially examined is, “What is a revolution?” A revolution by definition is “a sudden, extreme, or complete change in the way people live, work, etc,“.  For example the American Revolution, which was a complete overthrow of the traditional government and way of life in America, started in 1775 and ended in 1783. The clear intention of the revolution was becoming free from their mother country, Great Britain. After many years and battles, freedom was finally obtained. Furthermore, in order to call the Female Sexual Revolution an actual accomplished revolution, wouldn’t the breakdown of it be similar to most other resolutions like, The American Revolution? Wouldn’t sexual freedom have to be obtained in order to call it a revolution? Was sexual freedom ever truly obtained for women?

The phrase, “women’s sexual revolution” seems to be used a lot in news interviews, college discussions, textbooks, books in general, etc. The term is also usually spoke of as an event that happened that consisted with the popularization of The Birth Control Pill in the 1960’s (Cohen). Women were said to be sexually liberated at last. In regards to this sexual revolution of the sixties a man by the name of Allan David Bloom, an American professor, philosopher and author, once wrote,

The sexual revolution’s celebration of physical gratification and rejection of cultural inhibitions led young people, girls especially, to engage in sexual activity outside the context of familial relations. The feminist movement championed a woman’s right to choose her sexual partners freely and to put career ahead of family as an affirmation of equality between the sexes.

A substantially decent amount scholars and historians would probably agree with Bloom’s statement about the sexual “liberation” women became a part of. The problem with this type of view about the so called “sexual liberation” women experienced then and still have is the liberation part and the “woman’s right to choose her sexual partners freely”(Bloom) part. On the surface, this view seems legitimate because The Pill does make it possible for women to have some control over their own bodies and in theory would allow woman to have more sex because of the lower risk of pregnancy. But that doesn’t mean women were completely liberated or didn’t have other things holding them back from truly becoming sexually liberated beings.

In most societies, cultural norms and social judgements, shape the type of behaviors that the majority of the society follow, so when it comes to female expression of sexuality and sexual desire this same concept applies. The word for the cultural and social bias placed on the sexual expression of woman is the “double standard”. Most women and men would probably agree that a double standard does still exist and controls how women behave and excuse the way men do. But in support of the common presumption, there is some concrete evidence of an existing double standard found in an experiment entitled, “Has the Double Standard Disappeared?” The subjects of the study were given information about the first sexual experience a given male or female person, from the ages sixteen or twenty one, the experience was either casual or steady relationship. Then each individual was asked to give feedback and answer questions about each subject he or she was told about. The results of the study showed, “More negative evaluations were made of the female if the first time she had sexual intercourse was in a casual rather than in a steady relationship or as a teenager (16) rather than as a young adult (21). On the other hand, stage of the relationship and age at first coitus did not affect, to the same degree, the evaluations made about a male” (Sprecher). The study proves there is a clear cultural double standard that frowns upon women engaging in sexual acts that would be okay if they were males.  That is the basis for the idea that women have been sexually freed doesn’t hold up because just like this study says society has an obvious standard that if a woman acts out on her sexuality there will be subject to judgement. The double standard puts moral chastity belts on women but yet society seems to think that women aren’t still repressed when it comes the ability to express their sexuality, or sexual thoughts or desires.

Social judgement isn’t the only limitation the freedom to express oneself sexually or have total control of her body sexuality a woman has, there’s also rape. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) Website, one of most sexual degrading things that could happen to any individual, rape, happens to one in every five women at some point in their life and one in every twenty when it comes to sexual assault. For men when it comes to rape it is one in every seventy one men are raped and for sexual assault it is about the same as the woman’s ratio. Therefore, when it comes to rape and sexual assault, as a woman, an individual would be more at risk. The fact that at any given time an individual sits in a normal size classroom of people at least one to six women in that room have been raped illuminates how big of an issue this is. Rape and sexual assault are another reason why the notation that women are sexually free isn’t completely valid. If women were free to be sexual beings and in control of their own body when it comes to sex there wouldn’t be an exasperating amount of women that are being forced to perform sexual acts or forced down to be raped against their will.

Along with rape and sexual assault comes the fear of these things happening. Therefore, society comes up with ways to limit the sexuality and expression of it by women to make sense of rape and sexual assault and to try and put an end to it. From a young age we are all taught, men and women alike, the “buddy system”. The only difference between the buddy system for males is that after elementary school, it goes away. For females, the buddy system is taught to follow them into adulthood. As a society we teach our daughters to never go anywhere without a friend, or to never leave a girlfriend at the bar, or to never set a drink down. We also teach our daughters to dress appropriately and not to be too provocative because “putting on the wrong impression to a guy” isn’t what young women should be doing.  All of the things we teach the women of this country are taught to lower their chances of being raped or sexually assaulted. But in end, it limits women in their sexual expressiveness. Ayres Boswell and Joan Spade’s excerpt from Gender and Society, entitled “Fraternities and Collegiate Rape Culture: Why Are Some Fraternities More Dangerous Places for Women,” gives an explanation of this phenomenon. The excerpt states, “ Because men’s sexuality is seen as more natural, acceptable, and uncontrollable than women’s sexuality, many men and women excuse acquaintance rape by affirming that men cannot control their natural urges”(134) so instead we blame the female of being too sexually expressive or willing. This rape culture our country, and basically every other country in the world has, is and will continue to be the glass ceiling on the sexual equality of women.

In terms of historical events, a revolution is period of time where usually some type of freedom was accomplished whether it be political, social, or economical. Therefore, to refer to what happened in the 1960’s a sexual revolution for women is hardly accurate. If sexual freedom did occur women wouldn’t be so limited in the acceptability of full sexual expression and society would perceive women as equal sexual beings as men. There also wouldn’t such a problem with society understanding that root of the rape and sexual assault issue isn’t women’s misuse of their sexuality. The real cause of sexual violence is the rapists and the culture that excuses the behavior of men who rape but blame women who are raped. If societies, domestic and foreign, could show greater strides in possibly getting to a mindset like the description of a true sexual revolution for women, full gender equality wouldn’t be very far off.


Cohen, Nancy “How the Sexual Revolution Changed America Forever.” Alternet. Counterpoint Press, 5 Feb. 2012. pg. 1-8.Web.1 Dec.2014

“Sexual Violence: Data Sources.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2 Jan. 2014. Web. 2 Dec. 2014. 



A BDSM Couple’s View [part 2 of 2]

Below is an excerpt from Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey, reprinted with permission from the authors. Part one can be found here, what follows is part two, in which the contributors delineate a scene.

By ChrisMarks and Lia Leto

Our Scene

Chris: One of our favorite scenes begins with my tying or chaining Lia to a St. Andrews cross in preparation for a flogging. It may begin with her wearing some clothing, but frequently I will tell her to strip. Sometimes I will undress her. I use the former strategy to build tension and uncertainty, which of course also builds Lia’s excitement. If my goal is to increase our romantic connection, I will undress Lia myself while gazing at her and caressing her body.

Once Lia is secured facing the cross, I check to see that she is relatively comfortable and, most of all, safe, making sure she does not have any restrictions that could end the scene prematurely. It will be my intention to hurt her but not to harm her. When I am feeling more romantic, I may begin with some kisses to her shoulders, whispering tender words, or sensuously caressing and teasing her. If I have begun the scene in a more brutish manner, I may be rough with Lia but will give her one or two loving touches to reassure her that I am caring for her.

I begin Lia’s flogging by draping my matched set of floggers over her shoulders and letting the tips rest on her breasts. I watch as she leans her face into the leather to inhale their sweet, musky scent. I drag the floggers slowly toward me and trail them down her back. I caress her body softly several times with each flogger. This warm introduction often brings goose bumps to Lia’s skin and even the occasional shudder. The sensuous dance of leather on skin begins. Starting slowly, I bring the floggers down on her body. I am focused on two things: where I land each blow and how she reacts to the impact. I watch to see if she flinches or tenses, stretches into the sensations or shies away from them. I can vary the blows, the timing between them, and the locations, changing the quality of the impacts by increasing the intensity, the rhythm, and the duration with which the floggers land on her skin. I render sharp stings by grazing Lia’s body with just the tips of the flogger. Laying on more length of the leather results in heavy thud impacts. My ritual of flogging follows a pattern that is fairly traditional, with milder blows leading to heavier ones followed by a pause during which I reconnect with my lover before I begin again. With each pause I will do something soft and tender; I might trickle a feather-touch of my fingers from the nape of her neck down her spine, or offer an encouraging word or a kiss. In that moment I gauge Lia’s breathing and ascertain how well she is experiencing the scene thus far. Each series of impacts brings forth a biochemical response in Lia’s body, especially endorphins, which are her body’s natural painkillers. By playing with the timing of each series of blows, I am able to effectively give Lia a natural high, which not only feels good to her but also makes it possible for her to accept more severe sensations with increasing pleasure. After twenty to forty minutes I will often switch to using either my long singletail whip or two of my Dragon’s Tongue whips. I begin as gently as the whips allow. The sensations are sharp and sting Lia even when I am stroking her softly.

Watching Lia is a pleasure; she is my lovely goddess. I thrill to see her body respond to my floggers and whips. And then there are her sounds. Her whimpers make me smile as they remind me of the sounds she makes when we make love. Our dance, the dance of the Dominant and submissive, continues for an hour or more. I have never timed one of our scenes, as I am so focused on throwing my floggers and whips on Lia, on how she looks and reacts, and the wonderful sounds she makes. I lose all sense of time; I am deep in a state of flow; my intention and attention on Lia is palpable, my energy is loving and challenging and deeply committed to bringing her all manner of sensation and pleasure. In our scene, I am the conductor of the orchestra, the leading man, and the choreographer of a spontaneous ballet that builds to a glorious crescendo for us both.


Lia: The beginning of a scene sets the tone for our activities to come, and all my senses are on high alert. Chris will usually speak softly but firmly to me as he secures my body to a cross, table, or other equipment. With my arms and legs in ropes or chains, I realize that escape is futile and begin my dreamy descent into “sub-space,” a state of mental and physical being wherein my mind and body experience waves of release by way of a vast spectrum of hard and soft sensations.

Chris usually starts our scenes by flogging me. The gentle brushes of the long, leather strips against my back and shoulders at first feel like a soothing massage. I relax and sway to the rhythm of his strokes. He frequently stops to caress me, to kiss my face and my neck, and I feel his love in this attention. He continues the flogging, combining both hard and gentle impact on my back, buttocks and legs, and I sense the heat rising in my skin. My muscles pulse with energy and I find myself craving equally the heavy thudding of Chris’ floggers and the pillow softness of his kisses. When he steps away from me, I miss his breath on my back and gird myself in anticipation of the next round of blows.

Suddenly I writhe at the first crack of a sweet new pain as he uses one of his whips. And then another. Back and forth the blows rein, and I writhe uncontrollably beneath two whips. The pain slices and flares reliably, then dissipates, echoing throughout my body. From excruciation to relaxation, tides of intensity wash over me again and again. I can hear my blood pounding as it courses through my veins. My cries and whimpers erupt in counterpoint to the cracks of the whips and I am an instrument in the symphony of sounds around me.

Throughout it all, I feel Chris’ laser-sharp focus on me. Once he has turned me around to face him, I suffer his lashing on my breasts, belly, and thighs. My eyes are riveted on him and I marvel at his artistry, in awe of the swirling arcs he creates with his whips. I want to please him; to outlast the pain of the stings, to make him proud of me. The intensity of the lashes rises and falls with my breath. Seconds could be minutes or hours, as I’ve lost all sense of time and place. When finally my legs quiver beneath me and my knees give way, Chris comes to me and embraces me. He kisses my face and my neck. He is smiling at me as he quickly frees me from my bonds and wraps me in his strong arms.



Our post-scene process of reconnecting is very important to us. In the afterglow of our shared delight, we admire the resulting marks on Lia’s skin, both of us pleased that the crimson evidence of our play will remain on her for several days. Reveling in a natural high that will last for hours, we snuggle and share our feelings about the scene and our love for each other.
Our Hopes

We are grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the national conversation sparked by the trilogy. The current mainstreaming of BDSM sexuality encourages us that the general public’s curiosity will lead to greater acceptance of alternative styles of loving. While Fifty Shades is arguably not great literature or even great BDSM, it does feature several aspects of BDSM that are important: consent, negotiation, and BDSM as components of a caring and loving relationship.

We feel blessed to have found in each other a partner that honors and nurtures all the aspects of our lives: the professional, the mundane, and the intimate. We hope that those who enjoyed reading Fifty Shades are equally blessed and inspired to find fun and creative ways to live and love.

A BDSM Couple’s View [part 1 of 2]

Below is an excerpt from Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey, reprinted with permission from the authors. Part two, Our Scene, will be available at the conclusion of our week on “kink”.

By ChrisMarks and Lia Leto

As two people who have individually and as a couple been involved with BDSM and D/s for many years, we find it encouraging that the Fifty Shades trilogy has become such a cultural phenomenon. E.L. James’ books seem to have created an expanding space wherein the general public can participate in an evolving conversation about creative sexual dynamics.

Ironically, we met on a popular “vanilla” dating website. We each hinted in our profiles about our dark predilections, which were often overlooked by our prospective matches. Our initial emails revealed that we each desired a partner who sought a relationship involving Dominance and submission. In contrast to the trilogy’s main characters, we brought to our relationship over twenty years of BDSM experiences between us.

Once we met it became evident that we shared incredible chemistry, and we soon fell in love. Three months later, I offered Lia my collar and we signed a contract acknowledging our devotion and commitment to our respective roles. For us, our relationship is an unfolding journey that nurtures our vanilla lives and allows us to explore our deepest passions and darkest desires.


About Chris: College educated and a professional in the marketing field for many years, I was aware of my interests in certain BDSM practices from a young age. Thinking that my interests were strange, I suppressed my desires for activities like spanking for most of my life, only trying out a little here and there. About fifteen years ago I became curious about flogging and bought my first flogger. Flogging is something that many readers of the trilogy have reacted to with horror, some even suggesting that it was abuse. I use leather suede floggers similar to the ones described in Fifty Shades of Grey to elicit a wide range of pleasurable sensations. I began attending classes in the BDSM community and learned how to use various toys and tools with care and skill. I now lead workshops to share what I have gleaned along the way with others seeking to explore this aspect of their natures.

About Lia: An over-educated alpha in the vanilla world, I identify as a bisexual Switch, meaning that I am as comfortable as a Dominant as I am as a submissive. Aware of this duality early in my life, I was as happy dominating others as I was fantasizing about being Wendy Darling, tied to Captain Hook’s mizzenmast, at the mercy of the pirates. For most of my adult life, I have been dominant in my personal relationships. Ten years ago, I realized that in order to create balance in my life I needed to explore the depths of my submissive self, so I began the search for my ideal, worthy Dominant. In Chris, I have found a partner of remarkable honesty and power. I am honored to be his submissive. We are creating our journey as a couple in love by exploring a power-sharing relationship and sharing what we learn with others.

Our intentions and experience stand in sharp contrast to the characters in Fifty Shades. The BDSM scenes in the trilogy are fairly brief and do not reflect the forethought and preparation that we and many others in the community practice. We thought it would be useful to elaborate on how one of our scenes comes together and share our individual perspectives as Dominant and submissive as we prepare for and play out a scene. Chris will discuss how he envisions and plans a scene, stages it, and moves through it. Lia will discuss how she prepares her body and mind for the physical and psychological rigors she experiences during a scene.

Contemplation and Preparation

Chris: Lia and I share a wonderful vanilla sex life although I often physically dominate her by grabbing her hair and being more controlling in our lovemaking. We have a very dynamic range of sexy and loving behaviors that we bring to our intimate moments.

However, there are times when I plan for a more elaborate BDSM scene. These times are extra special, and I dedicate more time and energy to thinking about what elements of BDSM I will bring to our next encounter. I may purchase something special to make that happen. One day Lia commented about chains making fun sounds, so a few weeks later I purchased some metal chains, some locks, and cuffs, which I use to secure her to a St. Andrews cross. As we previously negotiated our respective limits for play, Lia no longer has a say in what will happen to her. I have the control to make the scene follow my plan, and in this way I reinforce our Dominant and submissive roles.

Lia: From the moment I know that Chris and I will be having a scene together, a myriad of feelings and thoughts begin to swirl in me. On the practical side, there are certain rituals I practice in order to be fully prepared for whatever Chris may want to do with me. I ask him how he would like me to dress and then choose my attire carefully. For some scenes he insists that I am naked, which arouses me and sets my nerves on edge. Sometimes he suggests a color scheme for my lingerie. Often he gives me permission to surprise him, which I love to do.

I consider the preparation of my body a crucial way to express my devotion and love for Chris. An hour or so before our scene, I undertake my ritual cleansing, shaving, and oiling. It is then, in the intimacy of the shower, that I feel my all senses rising in anticipation of what is to come. I take care to not let my hands linger on my tender parts, for they are for Chris’ pleasure, and I know that they will undoubtedly receive intense attention during our scene. I dress with deliberateness. My pulse quickens ever so slightly as I put on my makeup and signature scent. Before I present myself to Chris, I check myself carefully in the mirror from all angles. Throughout my preparation I smile expectantly, wondering how Chris will test my limits and what new sensations I’ll be experiencing at his hands.


What is Sex Positivism?

By Taylor M.

What is sex positivism?

Sex positive thinking starts with sex, and begins to morph into a whole view of life.

This blog, The Institute of Sex Education Research, calls for the defining, conceptualizing, and critiquing of sex positivism. What is sex positivism? Many people from various communities of activism and feminist circles seem to understand the concept of sex positivism, but can one precisely explain what sex positivism is?

Since sex positivism includes the word “positive” which clearly infers to a bias and subjectivity, the term “sex positivism” can involve a host of subjects which can be positive for one person but negative for the next. Unfortunately, for many of these schools of discourse, there needs to be some type of objectivity in subjectivity. With any of these types of schools of thought, schisms are created.

Now, going back to defining what sex positivism, what should it involve? Well first, the term itself suggests that one should think critically and for a lack of words “positive” about sex. Sex positivism ushers in a radical way of thinking of sex. One of the primary points of sex positivism is to understand that, sex is sex. Sex should not be equated with someone’s morals, or lack there of. The act of sex is not only for married straight couples in hopes to conceive, this is only one of the many forms that sexual activity can assume.

Furthermore, when thinking of sex, consent needs to be discussed. In the aspect of sex, consent is verbally asking before engaging in sexual activity, and allowing the other partner(s) to agree or disagree. People engaging in sex acts need to be able to fully express what another person wants during sex, and the other partner(s) need to be able to communicate if they are able to give that request.Consent should be understood and well practiced in order to be sex positive. Consent is deeper than “asking for tea”, it is a part of our culture that we desperately need and how we communicate about sex. When our culture thinks negatively about sex it directly correlates as to why consent is a taboo topic to talk about with our sex partners. Consent and communication during sex and sexual acts is a key of being sex positive.

Furthermore, sex positivism holds a conviction of realizing that there are multiple sex styles. Sex is not always penetration, sex is not always between two people and lastly sex may involve pain (consensual always).  To only think of sex as penetration is very limiting, and dismissing of various groups of people when penetration is not the main part of sex. Two people who have vaginas are not going to explain sex with a phallus. Furthermore, people who do have a phallus at their disposal may not go about sex in any type of penetration. Secondly sex can be between more than two people. However the alternative is not just the steamy threesome between the monogamous straight couple and the girl has a hot friend, but this sex is still valid. Sex between 3 women is still sex. An orgy is still sex and while difficult to plan they are not just done in porn. Sex is always valid if it is consensual and enjoyable by all parties. Lastly kinky sex is sex. Kink in itself is a complex, evolving, and very big topic to break down in one paragraph, but just know that it is not in anyone’s right to kink shame another person. Kink shame comes from a very ugly place of believing that kink is only performed in the way that Fifty Shades of Grey portrays it, which was a not an accurate portrayal of healthy BDSM.To dismantle our way of thinking of sex as only heternormative is step two of sex positive thinking, we’re almost there.

As sex positivism comes with standards of understanding sex, there is the same understanding of sexuality as well. Sexuality affects everyone that is breathing, or living, whether a person identifies with sexuality or not. Sexuality is highly important to everyone, especially with people whose sexuality is not heterosexual, due to their oppression from societal standards. So for one to understand the weird and icky inner battle one who is queer, or identifies in the LGBTQ+ spectrum, and dismiss them, in extremely toxic. Yes one can have questions, but questions can also be answered by google, not by any queer person one sees. Sex positive thinking is to fully acknowledge and respect another person’s sexuality, without judgment, or “I love you but…”.  It is fully embracing, never dismissing, and always supporting.

It would be inappropriate to say “finally” because there is no end to sex positive thinking, but I guess “lastly”, sex positivism holds the position to acknowledge the fact that gender is more than biological. Gender is a social construct with also a mix of other unidentifiable aspects that people come to understand our world. A penis does not mean man, and a vagina does not mean a woman.  There are also ambiguous body parts that many people have, and please do not justify a parent forcing their child to have “correct” body parts. They are simply parts, and we create our own meaning to our body parts, and how we identify or not identify with them. Biology is just one part of our gender experience. For most of the world, we identify ourselves, (or the world identifies us) as man or woman, and that identity comes with a host of acts, behaviors and different thought processes, that lead the creating a dichotomy of gender. The people who identify with these “alternative” genders are not messed up, they are not confused, and they are not sick and in need of hospitalization. Simply, they do not identify with the binary that is created when society says “man” and “woman”. People’s experiences are not our call to judge them.

Lastly, and this time it might be lastly, I would like to note that one does not have to be a kinky queer polyarmous trans person in order to be sex positive. Sex positivism is creating a space where these marginalized narratives can be heard. The goal of sex positivism is to  acknowledge these various identities and types of sex and be respectful of that. Anyone, and I mean anyone, can be sex positive. Your grandmother can be sex positive, and she does not have to change her actions at all, except maybe not watch Fox News. Sex positivism does not exclude people who are in monogamous heterosexual relationships who have not kinky sex, although one would be surprised as to how many actions people do that are considered a little kinky. Sex positivism calls for the ushering in of a new way to think of sex. Sex should not be a negative thought in one’s head (unless one is sex repulsed),  it should not be a conquest, and it should not tagged with terms such as slutty and whore like (unless you’re into that). Sexuality should not be “too hard to grasp” that has “too many letters now”. These “letters”  are people’s lives and identities and they demand to be able to live without the scrutiny . Sex positive thinking forces people to critique gender,  while still acknowledging and allow non normative genders to exist. Sex positive thinking challenges our assumed idea that gender and biology are interchangeable. Sex positivism is definitely revolutionary, and creating this discourse will allow people to fully and truthfully.