May 2008

“When we’re in bed,” I say, “I feel like I’ve know you for three thousand years.”

“I know,” he says. His voice is rich, loving. Then it turns flip. “But what are you gonna do with that?”

“What do you mean?” I say. (I think: Base my life plans on it.)

“Oh, you know, clearly, we’ve been through all kinds of incarnations together and we have the fucking thing down. It’s the rest of it we need to work on.”

He has an excellent point.

“There are supposed to be 1600 iterations of the spirit,” he says. “Next time I figure I’ll come back as a cricket or a duck, something kind of easy, low-key.”

I’m thinking, next time I’ll come back as whatever he is and try this again, until we get the rest of it right, too.

Naayika, the Heroine” by Jamini Roy.

“Okay okay okay,” my best friend said, tossing her head and flashing her eyes at us. “Listen up. There are four steps to giving a good blowjob.” The rest of us sat rapt in the sunlight filtering down from the street. It was that nameless hour between afternoon and evening, the one before sunset, where all the light turns golden and time stands still. My favorite time of day.

“Number one: Kiss and tease. You start kissing his chest, licking his nipples, kissing down his belly, touching his thighs—everything but his dick. Do not touch his dick. Do this for as long as you can. It will drive him crazy. Lick his inner thighs, lick right up next to his cock—but don’t lick his cock.”

Three heads nodded at what she said. We sat in a tight circle around a pitcher of cheap beer and four plastic cups, gigglingly nervous and predator-serious. Everyone in the circle had applied tongue to cock before, but our friend was the acknowledged expert.

“When he can’t stand it anymore, grip his penis at the base, like this.” She demonstrated a solid thumb-and-forefingers cock ring. “Do whatever you want, whatever feels good. Kisskisskiss it up and down, swirl your tongue around the head like it’s an ice cream cone, dart all along the length . . . “

Blowjob 101

“There’s that vein . . . “ the blonde interjected.

“Yep, you can run your tongue along that vein. Just, you know, whatever feels good.” She spread her hands wide—she talked with her hands as much as with her words.

“Okay, now you’re gonna start going down on him for real. You want to make sure that you have your teeth covered up.”

“How do you . . . ?” I started.

Two or three of my friends started talking at once. “You cover them with your lips.” “Put your lips over your teeth.”

The speaker took over again. “Look, Sera, like this.” And she showed me, her perfectly lipsticked mouth curving into an “o”, then an oval. “You can do it a couple of ways. You guys—everyone do it.” We all practiced blowjob embouchure. We all drank.

“Alright, step three. Put your mouth on him and move up and down the shaft, slowly. DO NOT SUCK! You’re gonna tire yourself out waaay before he comes if you start sucking right off the bat. You don’t want to start sucking until he’s almost there.”

The other two nodded sagely. They had clearly been there, been tired.

“So you’re moving up and down. You want to try to feel his rhythm—but do not. let. any guy. put his hand on your head.”

We nodded, a little less confidently this time. She was so in control as she told us how to keep things in control. Her level of cool and confidence set a high standard, even as it reassured.

“So, step four. You’re probably going to start going faster and he’s going to get harder, and when you feel that happen, THEN you suck. Still no teeth, just make a vacuum in your mouth like you do when you’re sucking a straw. Suck HARD. And then he’ll come. And that’s it.” She sat back in her chair, smiled a cat-like smile, stopped short of licking her lips, and drank again.

The blonde and the raven-haired girl started peppering her with questions about cum—how to swallow it, how to avoid swallowing it, the swallowing debate of centuries. I didn’t, not that I remember. I was busy memorizing the steps. One. Two. Three. Four. And when next opportunity came, a mere seven months later, I remembered them to perfection, which is, possibly, a story for another time.

* * *

I have had trouble finishing this post, and have been sitting on it for days now. I want to say something about my friend—but I don’t know what I want to say yet. That’s okay. Often we write to find out what we think.

There is something I want to say about my friend, something to do with who we were then and who we are now. It is hard to say it without explaining everything that happened in time that has passed, in hectic changes and slow growth.


She has done more life adventuring than many people, so when I first began exploring kinkiness with Robbie, I called her often–to ask for advice, to brag, to compare notes, to get consolation when things felt odd or strange. Almost two decades after we first met, more than fifteen years since that introduction to blowjobs in a tacky bar that doesn’t exist anymore, my friend is still my guide on matters sexual. The authority, experience, and candor she showed then have mellowed, become graciousness, self-knowledge, and a compassionate openness. My own woeful insecurity and inexperience have softened—especially since knowing Robbie—into the beginnings of comfort and, I gather from talking to Robbie, a lingering wholesomeness, despite his unceasing efforts to corrupt me.

For the past year, aside from my immediate family, these two people have been unstintingly generous with me. I keep learning from both of them that lessons about sex are often lessons in love, too. And that is not a bad thing to have learned.

Photograph of couple by Samantha Wolov, whose work is also here. Illustration of girls with headphones by Yuko Shimizu, recolored and otherwise photoshopped on seraglioletters premises.


The birds are back and I just can’t keep from feeling happy these days. I don’t know what it is.

And this is a piece of fluff post with pretty pictures that doesn’t say anything insightful about me or sex. It’s just a little non-Twitter tweet. I like this graphic and website designer, Kamil Katarba, who seems to be one of several Polish artists I am obsessing over lately. I might have to learn the language.

It’s the end of May and things feel bright. Robbie and I had a couple of good conversations over the weekend. I’ve been writing and reading. I’m sleepy, but in a good way. That’s my news.

Absolutely New

John Peri Brunette

Advice, please?

I want to dye my hair. I’m not old enough to be going as gray as I am going. Robbie wants me to dye my hair as per his instructions, which I find hawt. (Actually, he says he wants control over the “cut, color, and style of your hair”. When I told him he already had control over the cut and style, he said, “I do?!” like an eight-year-old who’d just been given permission to shop for a new bicycle.)

The problem is, neither one of us knows anything about dying hair. I realize I may be making this overly complex, but the whole thing seems challenging, especially after midnight and a bottle of beer. Can I do it myself? Do I need to get highlights or lowlights if I don’t want it to look like shoe-polish? Meep.

mia, I’m talkin’ to you here . . .

My own hair is ash-brown with lots of blonde highlights in the summer and increasing strands of gray. You can, if desired, click here for a peek at my mane, in all its grayness. (These are my not-naked-non-Thursday pictures.)

Here is the hair (and face?) I would like to have. A “chestnut brown” is what Robbie (and I) settled on.

Oh, and just for comparison purposes–this is the picture of the chestnut color that Robbie has in mind. He sent it to me when I asked. Remeber, boys and girls: this is why it’s important not to bother Master or Mistress with silly questions. (*Snort*)

I love Robbie enormously. But everyone, Robbie especially, agrees that I ought to spend time with myself right now.

Hard CandyThis means cleaning house, organizing things, earning money, rediscovering real life friends, and all the other things people with full existences do. It also means “cultivating laziness”, as I persist in believing that the writer Robert Penn Warren once said despite a total lack of evidence that he did. It means silliness and time with my cats and grandiose projects and free rein to my curiosity. It absolutely means downloading Madonna’s Hard Candy.

And it means something deeper. For the last two years I have devoted at least half of every conversation to talk of Robbie. (This might be why I am short on friends, by the way.) He takes up a tremendous amount of my mental space. He is my best friend. But for quite a while it has felt like there’s no one in here, inside me.

June Miller untitledBuried in work and frittering away my spare time, I infrequently noticed my increasing sense of emptiness; when I did, I expressed it as feeling either tired or busy. All the things I might have done for myself when I was down got pushed to the side—not because of D/s or because of distance or because of anything else between us, but because I was letting my relationship with him take up the place where my relationship with myself used to be. I haven’t had true leisure in my life apart from the time we spent together. I was counting on him, funny, exuberant, and adventurous as he can be, to provide relaxation and sunshine as well as many of the other kinds of support we expect partners will cough up for each other.

I suppose this is common enough; I certainly don’t want to make it sound tragic. The tragedy for me will be if my failure to balance my needs and our needs has torpedoed us (though believe me, there were plenty of other missiles in the water).

The point is that for the moment, instead of focusing on Robbie, I’m mostly trying to date myself.

June Miller Pink Dress

* * *

June Miller BliznietaMyself and I have only been dating for a week, so any predictions I might make about myself would be totally out of line and probably disrespectful to me, as well. On the other hand, I’ve dated me before—we are one of those on-again, off-again couples that end up together in the end, no matter how rough the ride may be. I mean, I went for years in college and after graduation not really being very close to me. I’m sure the fact that I didn’t treat me right didn’t help, but the larger problem was that I wasn’t sure how much I cared for me. Looking back I see I loved me all along, though neither I nor myself saw that at the time.

Of course, many relationships later, I realize it takes more than caring and closeness to make a good couple. It takes commitment, for one thing. I haven’t really been there for myself lately, and vice versa. And then there’s compatibility. There are lots of times where I honestly can’t stand what myself is doing. Myself can be a real bitch, and me says I can be uptight.

June Miller Roxanne

But this week, I’m diggin’ me. Mind you, I haven’t had sex with myself yet. Oh, yeah, I’ve done it with me—tons of times. I’ve had a rocking, rolicking sex life June Miller Sukubuswith myself. And I could get busy with me–sure I could. But I just don’t have the urge, and me hasn’t been sending out any feelers either. I’m guessing its awkwardness, nerves, shyness– plus the fact that myself and I haven’t been back together long. Maybe this weekend we’ll feel like getting it on. I bought some stuff for cocktails just in case, and I think I’m going to give me a nice, long, steamy shower tomorrow night—that should spice things up for me, I think.

Until then, I and me have just been hanging out. I’ve made myself lots of meals, which me really appreciates—I can neglect feeding myself well, and me understandably resents that I’m not willing to put in that effort for myself. I’ve taken myself on walks, made efforts to dress up for me—those little things that really count. I even bought a few books for myself today; me seemed pretty touched by it, although me thinks me might return them because me knows I can get them cheaper on Amazon.

The one thing I stress about is how Robbie will deal with things between me and I. Like I said, I want me in my life and I want him, but me doesn’t feel that way. Myself is kinda possessive, I have to say. Sometimes, listening to me, I think that I could happily spend the rest of my life just with myself. Most of the time, though, I see clearly that I need all kinds of relationships besides my relationship with myself to feel fulfilled. Me gets pissed off then and says I’ve been reading the Ethical Slut too much—me really doesn’t have a lot of time for poly. The important thing for myself and I though is that we’re talking. Communication, communication, communication. I feel good about where I and me are going these days.

Miss Fly

Irresistible portraits by June Miller, via fluffy Lychees. More irresistibility at her blog.

The first time I gave head was with my first college boyfriend. His roommate was out of town, and we had made plans for me to stay over. I remember how tentative we had both been when he asked whether, I, y’know, wanted to, well, stay if I liked, y’know–

I felt like sleeping together meant, y’know, sleeping together . . . or at least something close to it. So as I lay astride him, we comfortably made out and dry humped and went through all the other moves we’d rehearsed together before, effortlessly and easily. But my mind was turned in on itself, focused on fretful questions: “When? When do we get naked? Do I? Does he? How does this happen?” The boyfriend gave no hint of what should come next, so I decided that I should take control. After all, I was the older woman, by eleven months.

Losing It, by Katie West

I managed to unbutton his jeans while maintaining eye contact and what I hoped was an alluring smile. I managed to get the zipper down without too much furrowing of my brow. And then I was stuck. An expanse of white fruit-of-the-loom packed tightly inside his jeans gave no hint of how to continue.

I looked at him and put on my game face again. “Here, let’s get you out of those,” I purred—or tried to. I eased the jeans over his hips with a reasonable amount of participation from him—enough to encourage me—and pulled with what I thought was a smooth motion. The jeans stuck at his upper-calf. I decided to plough ahead; his briefs ended up there too. I fought back a sinking feeling as I bent my head to his penis.

From where I lay, at his hip, it seemed huge: engorged, purple, stiff. I had no idea what to do with it, there and then. If I’d had my druthers, I’d have looked at it–privately, in my own time, playing with it and seeing how it worked without his presence to distract me or make me self-conscious. (Come to think of it, I still want that. I never seem to have enough time and freedom to simply experiment with cock. I wish I could treat a man’s body as Robbie does mine, at times—as though I am entirely absent from it.)

But I didn’t gaze, rapt, at my college boyfriend’s penis. I wanted to please him, and fast, so I began to lick it, in long licks, and to swallow it whole, sucking up and down the shaft. It fell out of my mouth. Fuck. How the hell did this work?

“I’m afraid I’m not very experienced,” I murmured to his crotch. “Can you tell me what you want?” I felt my face flush almost as deeply as his sex; felt something suspiciously lump-like start to form in my throat–the harbinger of tears. Being the Last American Virgin was getting less and less bearable with each passing month.

“I think . . .” he said. “It’s . . . “ he tried again. Finally he finished a sentence. “I think this would be going a little better if I had had less to drink.”

What did the . . . oh. That. I thought back to the party we’d just attended. He’d had two, maybe three drinks as I recalled it–not enough, I would have thought, to seriously affect performance. But I had to admit–something wasn’t working here, and it was probably time to stop pushing the issue.

I lay my head on his chest and he kissed me. I felt ignorant and thoughtless, for manhandling him, jeans, briefs, and all; for not knowing how to touch him; for pushing us both past our comfort levels when there was no need, no rush. Katie West, \At the same time, some part of me knew even then—and knows far more strongly now—that he must have been as puzzled and embarrassed, as eager and as nervous as I was. The eternity of awkwardness that I felt lasted less than five minutes, my baptism in the vulnerability that is the heart of physical intimacy.

“Come here,” he whispered to me, hugging me close. I felt safe in his embrace, knew that whatever mistake I had just made, it was okay now, smoothed out for both of us—we were back in synch. I slept there that night, as we’d planned, curled back-to-back with him, dozing fitfully, awed at the reality of being that close to another human.

He was a nice, thoughtful boy. We broke up when school ended a month later, and I didn’t try to date someone that kind for another two years. By then, although I had learned almost nothing more about the meaning of sex, I knew a great deal more about its mechanics, thanks to my best friend.

* * *

Thinking about my beginner blowjob bumbles reminds me of something I love about submission, something I rarely see discussed. When I submit, I don’t have to get things “right”. I am relieved of the burden of figuring out “When?” and “How does this work?” If I’m doing something badly or inadequately, I hear about it–usually gently, directly, and with an eye towards improving my technique.

All that falls under the general label of “control”, but it also relates to responsibilty. It’s less about me being unwilling to take responsbility for my sexual choices–at this point, I can (mostly) admit that I like pain, anal sex, and a half-dozen other things that I would never have imagined embracing two years ago. But I don’t feel responsible for ensuring that either of us has a good time. I know that the more I follow Robbie’s lead, the more pliable and “biddable” (his word) I am, the more we enjoy each other.

I consider myself a switch, but I will only top when I feel confident in what I am doing: when I know that I can make sure that my partner at least will have fun and that I might have a chance at getting some of the things I need. Submission lets me please in so many more ways. And since Robbie says domination gives him the freedom to please, things work out very well between us when we can let go of everything else and play our parts.

Photos by Katie West, via unscathedcorpse.

Whenever I get back from time away I need time to catch up.  Whenever busy times wind down, I have a feeling of starting my life from scratch.  Combine the two and I feel like a newborn plopped into the middle of a thirty-something’s life.   I feel glued to my computer screen, scared to do grown-up things.

So for now I’m cleaning house–online and in real life.

Thanks to kinkerbelle for getting Vargas’ name to scroll to the top of my mental Rolodex.

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