Sunday, October 7, 2012

Using my vagina.

(Yes, I have a modular hacked vibrator in my bedroom.
I don't know why you'd imagine for an instant that I wouldn't.)
I can be very good at standing back and using my body instrumentally.  When I have to do something disgusting at work, I can dissociate from my hands.  I can still feel them (obviously), but I don't invest any emotion in it and I don't expect to enjoy it.  Washing out a wound or emptying a bedpan isn't about how my hands feel, and that's okay.

And I can do the same thing with my vagina.  When intercourse doesn't feel good to me, or even if it outright hurts, but my partner seems about to orgasm or he's just really emotionally invested and I can't bear to let him down, I can make that disconnect from my vagina.  I'm up here, stuff's happening down there; unless it's unbearably painful or pleasurable, I can decide not to put much of my consciousness down there.  I can stop living in my pussy, and just use it.



It'd be facile to say "so when you notice yourself doing this, it's bad and you should stop everything."  The truth is, there are times when creating a little space between your self and your body is a valuable skill.  It's a means to exercise self-control over your sexuality.  And it's okay to make the adult, uncoerced decision to use your body to please your partner and not yourself--whether because of a D/s dynamic, for sex work, to cope with genital dysfunction, or simply because that's your deal.

The problem comes when it's not your deal. I've caught myself tuning out my vagina when the sex was supposed to be all about pleasuring me.  For whatever Mysterious Vagina Reason, it wasn't going well, and instead of saying something, I just hit the off switch. In a sex act that began as "let's relax and have some fun", I quietly slid into "let's tolerate it and get through this." That's a crappy, unsexy, scary situation when you're not planning for it.

So: when you notice yourself doing this, notice it, question it, and if you decide to keep doing it, make it a conscious decision.




It's hard to say "this doesn't feel good to me" to a partner.  When you've done all your consent and communication just right--when the sex is exactly what you asked for and your partner is trying hard to do it just the way you like--it's tough to turn around and go "er... it's not working."  You feel like you're being infuriatingly fussy.

But when your body's being fussy, you're just the messenger.  I have a generally reliable orgasm machine in my pants, and even so, there are some days it's like trying to feed a cat.  "You liked this sex last week. You liked it so much that I went out and got a whole case of it.  And now you won't touch it?  You're impossible."

So my choice isn't really "be a flawless fuck" or "be a demanding fuck."  "Flawless" just isn't an option open to me.  It's down to "risk conflict but avoid discomfort" or "avoid conflict but endure discomfort."  Well, when you put it like that... it's not necessarily a foregone conclusion, but at least I know what choice I'm making.  (And if I'm willing to suffer pain to avoid conflict with a partner, it's not proof I need to leave the relationship immediately, but it's definitely information about the relationship that I need to compare with my expectations.)



All this, besides dealing with a specific vagina-issue, pretty much sums up my current take on sex-positivity.  Saying "all sex should be good happy orgasm fun sex!" doesn't work for me any more.  It sounds nice, but there are legitimate circumstances where someone can't or doesn't want to have happy orgasm fun sex, and I don't want to deny their agency with cheery platitudes and dancing vibrators.  You have the choice to have "bad" sex.  All I'd hope is that it's a freely made and fully aware choice.

What I want is not a world of good sex.  What I want is a world of chosen and considered sex.  I don't think no one should ever have pleasureless sex.  I think no one should ever have pleasureless sex unless  they've thought about it and decided they really want to.

64 comments:


  1. All this, besides dealing with a specific vagina-issue, pretty much sums up my current take on sex-positivity. Saying "all sex should be good happy orgasm fun sex!" doesn't work for me any more. It sounds nice, but there are legitimate circumstances where someone can't or doesn't want to have happy orgasm fun sex, and I don't want to deny their agency with cheery platitudes and dancing vibrators. You have the choice to have "bad" sex. All I'd hope is that it's a freely made and fully aware choice.

    - This is where I am too. I'm gonna ramble about just Typical Het Marriage cause I've had little sleep and that's where my brain is at the moment - Too often women especially get the "lie back and think of england/it's not much work, what's the harm/etc." spiel, and there's this notion that women at best have some vague amorphous desire that can morph to what their man wants if they really try that's beyond creepy - but really, the imposition of YOU MUST BE HAVING THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE AND FULFILLING YOUR EVERY DESIRE WITH YOUR PARTNER isn't actually an improvement when it comes to realistic relationship standards. What compromises people make in their relationships for whatever reason, if they're making them as adults and they know there are options, well...


    There's a version of that comment that makes a lot more sense somewhere in my brain. Anyway, good post.

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    1. but really, the imposition of YOU MUST BE HAVING THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE AND FULFILLING YOUR EVERY DESIRE WITH YOUR PARTNER isn't actually an improvement when it comes to realistic relationship standards.

      Yes, this exactly. In fact it makes sex feel like a chore for me, or like somebody's watching me and keeps asking, "Are you having the time of your life yet? Well, are you?" I feel much better if I deliberately push all of the well-intentioned cheerleading out of the room, so to speak, and close the door on it.

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    2. I think this is a symptom of a bigger problem... Often people start questioning a certain norm that should absolutely be questioned, but instead of a message along the lines of "respect yourself and everyone involved and go from there" they invent a new norm which is just a mirror of the old one.

      One example of that is how easy it is to exchange "sex act X is dirty and WRONG" for "you gotta do sex act X! It's not okay to just not feel like it!".

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    3. Well, that might just be the whole dialectic process -- thesis, antithesis, synthesis. But damn, for something so simple it's almost impossible to catch yourself before you engage in it!

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  2. The hacked vibrator is awesome! If you travel with it in on a plane, they will surely think it's a bomb and explode your suitcase just in case!

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  3. This resonates with me, but what if the mind-vagina disconnect happens every time you have sex? Even when you wanted to have sex? And were enjoying it a minute ago? And you want to enjoy it again, but the mind-vagina disconnect road has no U-turns allowed and it almost always means ending what was intended to be and had otherwise been an enjoyable encounter with a great partner? If this is a pattern, I think it can be a problem. In that it becomes hard to become positive about sex at all. I guess my larger, less specific to me question is, how can sex positive feminists talk about sexual dysfunction or problems? Make sense?

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    1. This was what I was thinking about. I dig the mind/ body cutting off thing - and have got fairly good about this as a way of managing pain and coping with other icky bodily events.

      But my only experience of this disconnect in sex is disassociation. I didn't know that it was anything odd until I found my first boundary-respecting loving partner, with whom I can be having earth-shattering soul-amalgamating sex, and everything is truly amazing when I'm suddenly... elsewhere. Occasionally, to begin with, there were flashbacks, but most of the time I would simply disconnect. And this is maddening - massively frustrating - but also very upsetting for all parties. My beau can always tell.

      It's getting a lot better now, but one answer - our answer - is that you can decide that you don't want to have sex once you're off the hook. It's okay to pause and cuddle and trial a redial a few minutes later. My chap and I take the same approach to physical events like spasms, cramps and the other joys of our quirky bodies.

      However, the nature of sex positivity is that it's still cool if some folk can disconnect on a voluntary basis, because you want to, and because you are enjoying what is going on on one level (e.g. partner's pleasure) but not another. In the same way that it's cool not to want to have sex ever, or whatever.

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  4. I'm thinking of the enthusiastic-consent model as like, a starter-sex model? If that makes sense. It's a very important corrective to the "boys cajole and convince until she agrees to give it up and suffer the consequences" commodity model. I really, really wish I had had more of that when I was young and in my first sexual relationship, eagerly exploring, yes, but also accepting some coercion and a lot of thinking-of-England as normal.

    And now from the late-30's, experienced, LTR, parent view, I say absolutely to everything you've been saying about this. There are so many reasons to decide to have sex, not just one valid one that trumps everything else. What matters is agency.

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    1. I agree with this. I think of this vagina-disconnect thing as something you could do for your partner when you're sexually experienced, and when you know what "yay great!" sex is like. If you START having sex with the intent of pleasuring your partner and just doing it because he likes it, it's probably going to be tricky to learn what YOU like eventually.

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  5. Whoa, can we please have a followup post on what is going on in that vibrator rig? What does that capacitor do? What would happen if you used a different capacitor in the same point in the circuit?

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    1. Yes! I just got a learn-to-solder kit and now I want to know about people's sex nerdiness/nerdy sex.

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    2. Yes! I want to know about the vibrator and the breadboard. What's up with that?

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    3. This is the part where I blush and admit it currently doesn't do what I want, so... no details until it works.

      It's supposed to run the vibrator but shut off if the volume in the microphone goes above a certain threshhold. But it doesn't do that very well right now. :(

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  6. That dissociation thing sounds like an amazing thing to be able to do. I really wish I could do that during a pelvic exam. I find them very painful and emotionally crippling. Even 5 months after my surgery consult (with an unfamiliar doc naturally), there are still moments when the memory of the exam is so strong it's all I can do not to curl in on myself in the corner. It's nothing the doctor did, but my sensory and emotional response is there all the same.

    This doesn't have much to do with sex... or maybe it does, given what I like and don't like. It does leave me wondering what kind of emotional/sensory memory the surgery is going to leave me with. There have been plenty of times when I wish my vagina had the same sensory/emotional resonance as my elbow.

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    1. Maybe you and your doctor can sit down and have a discussion of ways to make this a more bearable experience for you? I work hard at this kind of dissociation at the dentist's office (because I really don't want to accidentally bite off my very nice dentist's fingers if he startles me). Having my ipod playing music (I have to have the earbud in one ear only so I can hear my dentist asking me to "open wider please") or putting a CD in his office stereo has helped. I'm still very aware of everything going on in my mouth, but the music helps distract me a bit.

      I hope your surgery goes well.

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    2. Dissociation is kind of a double-edged sword. I used it for years to get through painful medical crap and similar, and unfortunately, the trauma WILL come back up to bite you. It just comes up months or years later over something innocuous and then you don't know WHY you're suddenly freaking out about brushing your teeth or whatever.

      My advice would be on stuff like those pelvic exams would be NOT to rely on dissociation. It's just a delay, not a solution.

      --Rogan

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  7. It's down to "risk conflict but avoid discomfort" or "avoid conflict but endure discomfort." Well, when you put it like that... it's not necessarily a foregone conclusion, but at least I know what choice I'm making.

    I guess the answer depends broadly on the nature of the conflict, the nature of the discomfort, and the nature of the relationship.

    Obviously there's no one answer that's applicable every time, but -- and I'm expanding, not arguing -- I don't even think there's any one answer that's appropriate for next time. Because you don't know what the circumstances will be next time.

    Saying "all sex should be good happy orgasm fun sex!" doesn't work for me any more. It sounds nice, but there are legitimate circumstances where someone can't or doesn't want to have happy orgasm fun sex, and I don't want to deny their agency with cheery platitudes and dancing vibrators.

    How about "if you're having sex that isn't good happy orgasm fun sex, it should be a decision you've made because you're getting something else out of it." Where that something else may or may not be emotional, may or may not be tangible.

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  8. I don't think no one should ever have pleasureless sex. I think no one should ever have pleasureless sex unless they've thought about it and decided they really want to.

    Besides this, women can experience pleasure in places other than their vaginas, even during sex. Sex that doesn't bring pleasure to my genitals isn't necessarily totally pleasureless sex: for instance, I might take pleasure in seeing my partner's satisfaction, even from an act that doesn't physically feel that good to me. So there's another reason why it can be okay to make the mind-vagina disconnect and keep going - because you're getting other kinds of pleasure out of it.

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  10. I really appreciate this post. There's a lot of stress in my life, right now, and I don't like the implication that if I don't necessarily feel like an orgasm would be worth the work to me, at the moment, that I don't get to lie back and watch my partner get naked and do his thing and look all hot doin' it. (And, ya know, help out a bit, too.) Sometimes the pleasure of watching his pleasure and feeling our skin pressed together is plenty of motivation.
    And, to restate your point, I don't think it's less valid than other motivations and it bugs me when people imply that it is.

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  11. Ok,

    A) "You liked this sex last week. You liked it so much that I went out and got a whole case of it. And now you won't touch it? You're impossible." Is HILARIOUS. Also "orgasm machine." Very excellent.

    B) This just helped me crystalize some stuff I've been working on for YEARS. My partner early in our relationship was much more sexual than he is now, and we both know that the reason he doesn't want sex with me (at all) right now is because of his PTSD, and I've been trying to respect that now for the past couple years but on some level I've been feeling like "dude, can't you just put your own lack of desire on hold and fuck me" (like you're saying sometimes people choose to do/you might choose to do). But reading this helped me realize HELL NO. His whole problem for most of his childhood and now into his adulthood is not feeling connected with his body. He doesn't even really feel *hunger*. I'm not going to ask him to on purpose disconnect so that I can have sex when I can find it elsewhere/do it myself. If his PTSD had come from some sort of sexual abuse or something like that this would have been HELLA obvious to me, but it didn't so it took reading this to realize it.

    So thanks, for making me feel more ok with having a loving but (currently) sexless relationship. Which is not what the post was about, but

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  12. Hmmm... I can see a microphone, an IC and two transistors on that picture... sound level controlled intensity for that vibe?

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    1. The reverse, actually. Sound-de-activated vibrator--clip the mic onto someone and if they get above a certain sound level it shuts off.

      ...at least that's the concept. It's not working super great right now. But I hold out hope.

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    2. To force the user to experience orgasms in silence, or not at all? That's actually really hot.

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    3. I was actually thinking that you could tell the vibrator to stop when you were having an orgasm. I may well not be typical, but I absolutely can't stand any more fiddling around once I start coming, which might be one of the reasons I don't care much for vibrators.

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  13. As may have been mentioned by other people, what happens when you make one choice for yourself, but your body makes another? How I wish I had the ability to use my body as a tool! But here I am making the decision to have sex, but my vagina says no. Not even when its good, not when its bad or un-stimulating. Never. Sigh. Complaining about my body aside, I'd also like to add that vaginas, unlike hands, come with a huge amount of unreasonable stigma that makes "using" them in any manner subject to scrutiny and shame. If it weren't for that stigma, this entire blog post and argument would be irrelevant, as nobody passes judgement on people for using their nose to smell unpleasant things, using their mouths to taste stuff that they don't necessarily love tasting, or touching sticky or unwanted objects. They just don't. Unfair stigma for sure.

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    1. This is a nice point. Most days, I have little to no sense of smell, so when people ask me to "smell this!", a lot of the time I have to say sorry, I can't smell anything. My nose isn't working right today.

      And there's no shame or stigma involved in that. So why should there be shame or stigma involved when I have to say "look, this orgasm just isn't gonna happen right now, no matter how much I'd like it to."

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  14. I see you've been breadboarding! Yay Nerdyness!

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  15. I agree with every word of this post. Beautifully put, thank you! Because of reasons, it often hurts like hell for me to have sex, but I do it anyway because it's either important for me or for my partner, and my vagina is just going to have to cope. Only problem is that I'm starting to forget what it's like not to have to force my ladybits into cooperation.... :-(

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    1. But... that doesn't sound good at all. I'm no expert on vagina problems, but wouldn't this just make the physical problems worse and worse until you're one of those people who can't go to the toilet or ride a bike without screaming in pain?

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    2. Thanks for your concern! Yes, it's important not to be reckless. But if you're one of those people who is going to end up screaming in pain no matter how sensible you are, it's sometimes useful to employ a little disassociation and get your body to give you what you need to make life better in other ways.

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  16. Sorry for the off-topic post, but how does the "modular hacked vibrator" work? Could you show the electronic scheme?

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  17. I like this post. Considering that seemingly all the other blogs I read are written by women who are having ecstatic be-all-end-all experiences every time they have sex, and I've never had that, even back when intercourse wasn't uncomfortable.

    Now it's always uncomfortable, so I get no vaginal pleasure out of it. But I want to keep my man in my life because his presence in it makes my life more enjoyable. It's actually kind of bizarre that it turned out that way, since our relationship is supposed to only be about sex.

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  18. It's worth noting that you can have an awful lot of sex without involving the vagina at all. If PIV is not working maybe the answer isn't "don't have sex" or "have uncomfortable PIV sex" but "have different sex".

    I was 47 when I first had an orgasm from vaginal stimulation. And boy, was that a struggle.... (A bit ludicrous actually, as it required a sudden repositioning at a tricky moment. And my partner got cramps in his arms and legs. Too much work, really.) But there are things that reliably get me off, and things that reliably get my partner off, so (up until recent family unheavals meant no privacy and no energy, argh) we had lots of sexy fun together.

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  19. Cliff, I just wanted to thank you for writing this post! I read your blog constantly and I've also become extremely good at disassociating myself during sex, and you're completely right about needing to analyze where that desire comes from and for what goal. I think in my previous relationships sex has been more of something for my partner and I did the whole think of england thing, and then with a more recent previous partner just turned into well none of this is working for me so lets just focus on him having his fun.

    I love all your posts! This one specifically hit home! Cheers!

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  20. Thank you for writing this, so so much. For me, I dissociate every single time I have sex. I don't really know when it started, but I haven't had an orgasm since I was 16. It's good in some ways- I haven't been with anyone in more than a year, and I can tolerate it. But in other ways I find it devastating. I want to be able to enjoy sex! And I'm afraid to try again because I'm worried it will just lead down the same path...I'm glad to know other people can do that too. Honestly, it's part of the reason I've become really interested in kink. I have this feeling that if I'm tied up and blind folded I might be able to re-forge that link. Thank you, I know what I said isn't 100% on topic, but I just really needed to get that out there. If anyone has any tips, they will be gratefully received.

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    1. Everyone is different, but for me, kink-play *definitely* helps keep me present in the moment. If you can feel safe being tied up & blindfolded with someone you trust, that might possibly be an amazing experience. I find it very hard for my mind to wander or start chattering at me about something unrelated, at least not for more than a second or so, during BDSM. Explore safely!

      best,
      flightless

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  21. Thank you so much for this. I'm a trans man with PTSD, so as you can imagine, I spend of a lot of sex dissociated. Although my girlfriend is much less experienced, she is much more sexually confident, as she is also trans but post-op and (thank all that is holy) was not abused.

    So I definitely enjoy our sexual encounters, I'm just not there in the sense that most people are. I'm working with the wrong hormones, the wrong parts, and a brain that is prone to giving me a triple bolus of adrenaline at exactly the wrong time. But I still thought something was wrong with me when I hardly ever fully undressed for sex, or made most of sex about getting my girlfriend off, and still thought of myself as having a satisfying sex life.

    Just thanks, Cliff :).

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  22. I also like the idea of enthusiastic consent being a very basic idea, I acknowledge that situations where consent is no less true and honest but hardly enthusiastic and still kind of.. want people to be enthusiastic in general? Like when you're a kid and you whiiinnnneee people into playing ball with you because you really want to, and they don't want to but grudgingly do to make you happy, and you whiiinnee at them to try harder because it isn't fun? But sometimes you need to play ball when you're not that enthused because it is raining and cold but the state championships are coming up? And it is okay to not play ball at all when it always feels like it is cold and raining. I don't want people to approach sexuality as miserable obligation, or even 'well it isn't that great, but not the worst' as the default setting. At least "this is something I like!" Doesn't have to be ZOMG-YES! enthusiastic consent, I'd settle for a "why yes, I do like having sex! And model airplanes! And baking! We should one of the above hobbies together sometime."

    I get weird about the unequal pleasure thing, because on one hand I still have fun if not mind-blowing-fun-or-orgasms with my husband when it is just focused on his pleasure. It is still likable! But if it were even regularly that way, and my orgasms were only occasionally, I would be pissed. And have been, I remember once early on in dating we both enjoying ourselves, he orgasmed, then we fell ended up taking a nap for awhile and once we woke up he just left. Then texted later to say he was watching a boring movie. Very angry that my pleasure wasn't even a passing thought! (And he apologized profusely and made up for it 'n stuff) Which is different from "tried and didn't orgasm." And then there have been occasions where I'll have an awesome orgasm and it just isn't working for him that day/hour/whatever, and I'll feel ugly/awful in bed/what did I do wrrorong?? And I realize how much pressure that is, and how he must feel, and geez it isn't like there isn't enough evidence that sexytimes are generally great but that time! So srs! It isn't like generally you have tons of chances to try again/something new, nooo it has to be most amazingest experience EVERY TIME! I don't get this focused on the magic of masturbating EVERY TIME, why would I do that with sex? With my partner I'm planning on being with another 70 years-ish? It is such nonsense.

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    1. I think a lot of people hear about enthusiastic consent and envision something really performance-based, and if it was possible to shake that off, it'd be much easier to make it work as a basic model. Because a lot of people do hear it as an obligation to be all "ZOMG-YES!" at all times during sex, which is really intimidating, but "Generally, the goal of sex is for everyone involved to enjoy it in some sense, whether that's screaming orgasms, the pleasure of being wrapped in their arms, feeling good that you made your partner feel so good, or something else" is much less scary.

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  23. That has some funny timing. Last week my girlfriend and I had sex where she (in her words) "let [me] use [her] as a breathing blowup doll." I wasn't sure I was comfortable with it until she read this post, then had me read it, sort of as a way of saying, look, it was ok. I'm still not sure I was crazy about it, as I really enjoy sex where she enjoys it too. I'm not sure what I'm saying, except nice timing on the post.

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  24. I like this post. From my end, a lot of the enthusiastic consent stuff is frustrating and intimidating. I'm not very vocal during sex, and if I'm not making sounds to please the other person, there's likely to be a lot of fairly quiet pleasurable squirming, which is genuinely enjoyable for me, but not what most people think of when they hear the word enthusiastic. (I'm like that about a lot of things I truly enjoy, especially things with a significant physical/sensory aspect. When I'm most into it, and the magic happens, I don't want to say thing or make much noise.) And there's a certain amount of "Doing this isn't particularly pleasurable, but it's not actually unpleasant, and it makes the other person happy", which I think can be a healthy choice. (If it was all, or even mostly "Doing stuff that doesn't thrill me for the other person's pleasure" I'd have a problem with that, but "I'll occasionally give some You-focused attention that isn't toe-curlingly exciting for me" doesn't bother me.)

    And now that I know more about things, I think most people who are big on enthusiastic consent wouldn't tell me there was anything wrong with that, if it came down to an actual conversation, but for ages, I thought enthusiastic consent meant "You better be screaming 'Yes! Yes! Yes!' or you're doing it wrong!" Which, of course, was another source of guilt.

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  25. This resonated with me in similar ways to what Larabee discussed above. I have an extremely difficult time (read: can almost never achieve) orgasming with partners, and I think this issue of mind-vagina/mind-body disconnect is a huge part of it. I formed habits of disconnecting as a kid when dealing with a lot of somewhat traumatic medical stuff, and I've never found a way to reliably or consistently reconnect during sex. I can orgasm through masturbation, sometimes, but it's not through a mind-vagina connection as much as even more of a disconnect, in which both are doing sort of unrelated pleasurable things.

    With partners, it's a dilema because it's not always an issue of my mind disconnecting from the sex, which I still find engaging and fulfilling on the level of enjoying pleasing a partner, and a way of being close to a partner. But I think I disconnect my mind's participation in the interaction from my body's participation, if that makes sense? And it can sometimes be really hard to keep my mind participating in the interaction past the mind-vagina disconnect.

    It's actually been a very difficult thing for me in relating to the pro-erotic discourse, because there are a lot of things that sex does in my life, but almost none of it is 'the causing of physical pleasure to my body for the purpose of achieving orgasm', even when that is how a partner would like to focus our sex. It's been extremely difficult for me to figure out the balance and the communication of 'I enjoy sex, but not in the way most people do', or to figure out when it is healthy to try to overcome that disconnect and when it turns into self-shaming and only adds stress to my relationships.

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    1. Totally this for me too. "There are a lot of things that sex does in my life, but almost none of it is the causing of physical pleasure to my body for the purpose of achieving orgasm."

      I've never had an orgasm from intercourse. There is nothing inside my vagina that provides a pleasure that would ever lead to an orgasm. So if I'm having intercourse, it's to feel close to my man and to give him pleasure. If I want an orgasm I use my vibrator. I can do it with my hand but it takes far too long and gives a very unsatisfying release.

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  26. Liking to see a partner orgasm, choosing to continue as part of D/s dynamic, getting something emotional out of the act, I get those reasons for having "bad" sex in an otherwise good/healthy/non-abusive relationship, but that sentence about "avoiding conflict but enduring discomfort" (what kind of "conflict" are we talking about here?) has seriously pushed my trigger buttons and made me want to cry. Need to close the window now...

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  27. What is the number of that IC there? Are those transistors BJTs or MOSFETs? Or are they some other 3-pin semiconductor device entirely?

    First rule of breadboarding is to use multi-colored wire and to cut them as short as possible. Monochrome spaghetti loops are pure evil, and are the nastiest things to debug even on a small circuit like this. It becomes an abomination straight from hell when you start adding more components.

    I want to know more. You can't just post a hacky DIY vibe project like this and then hide the juiciest details. Mostly because now I'm curious about why it doesn't work and I want to try and fix it. :D

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    1. I AM DELETING YOU FOR TROLLING. >:(

      (No, you're completely right, and the answer is that it was my first non-kit project and I made a lot of mistakes. Honestly, the whole thing's been taken apart now and remade into a theremin. Which works, so HAH.

      The theremin, btw, is based on http://www.popsci.com/diy/article/2008-04/build-pocket-theremin-cheap but modified so that it can output to either a speaker or a 1/4 inch RCA jack.)

      (The IC is a dual op amp, and the transistors are BJTs. But now I'm just embarrassed because I know the whole project was a bad idea. I still have a hacked-up vibrator for other purposes, though!)

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  28. Pretty much what blowjobs are to me. I don't personally like it; I find it uncomfortable, but I give them freely nonetheless because my partner likes them, and I like to please him.

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  29. Okay, this is going to make feeding our cat a hell of a lot more amusing from now on.

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  30. I do this all the time...and I wouldn't call it "pleasureless." It's not entirely pleasureless. It's not mindblowingly awesome, but I still enjoy pleasing my partner. But everyone, myself included, has their limits. Some days I'm just not up for going there. I think it's very important that you and your partner can be in a place where you can say "this just isn't working for me" without fear of negative consequences, other than "Let's try something else" or "Let's just watch a movie instead?" I don't think it should be a matter of conflict vs. comfort....because if you're worried about causing conflict because you're in pain...there is a whooooole other issue going on there.

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  31. I don't think anyone ever "really wants" to have unpleasurable sex, it would still be something you endure for your partner's sake. I think the distinctions to be made are 1. do you endure it out of love or a sense of compulsion? and 2. Is your partner trying to make it pleasurable for you and it just isn't working or do they not care at all?

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  32. I just had a funny thought -- occasionally it's the opposite, you know? It's like, I want to do something else but my body gets really turned on and just really wants sex. So you wind up pushing away all the other things you were thinking about or enjoying, to go and deal with your horny body, lol. It's a different sort of disconnect...where I am enjoying the sensations on one level, while on another I'm still thinking about those other things I want/have to do. Does anyone else do this??

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  33. I think guys do this all the time. We have to disassociate ourselves from our cherished member so that we can fuck long enough to get the woman thoroughly and completely off. Once she is entirely exhausted with pleasure, we have to then quickly associate ourselves back with our penises and cum before it begins to 'outright hurt' her.

    We have only that small window of time, before which would be premature and after which would be either boring or just outright painful for her. It's an art ;)

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    1. oh god I just read your blog,

      http://sexylittleideas.com/lets-go-get-raped/

      *barfs*

      You are the last person that should be giving sex advice.....

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  34. You make it sound like there is only one way to have sex :P My friend, there are many more ways than this. If this is how you do it, and it works for you that's great...but I don't know if all guys will want to be lumped into the same category! For example, this scenario actually rarely happens for my partner and I. Just sayin :P

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  35. I dunno, this entry has me a little concerned. Part of what I cherish about my relationships is that, even if they're doing the exact same thing that got me off the last few times, if it's just... not jiving for me, or causing me discomfort, or whatever, I can pause and go, "this isn't really working this time, can we talk/try something else/take a break?"

    "It's down to "risk conflict but avoid discomfort" or "avoid conflict but endure discomfort." Well, when you put it like that... it's not necessarily a foregone conclusion, but at least I know what choice I'm making."

    The idea that communicating that something doesn't necessarily work or feel nice is causing conflict is one thing in particular that makes this entry a little uncomfortable for me. The idea that just voicing my feelings is conflict would make me question how well my partner and I are able to communicate. Obviously I don't know your relationship and can only speak to my personal experiences.

    "It'd be facile to say "so when you notice yourself doing this, it's bad and you should stop everything.""

    Yes and no, I think. I don't think it's facile to notice something possibly problematic (not necessarily bad, just not the intended outcome) is happening, and want to stop and at least re-evaluate the situation. 'Stop everything' doesn't have to mean 'welp the whole night/sex experience is over' so much as, 'we need to communicate a little and find something that works, or maybe even just call it a draw and have cuddletimes' or something similar.

    "It's hard to say "this doesn't feel good to me" to a partner. When you've done all your consent and communication just right--when the sex is exactly what you asked for and your partner is trying hard to do it just the way you like--it's tough to turn around and go "er... it's not working." You feel like you're being infuriatingly fussy."

    Having been in this position for the first six years of my sex life, yeah. It's really hard. However, I feel the best thing to do is just keep communicating with your partner. If they're trying hard to do it just the way you like, and they want to please you, generally they want to please you, not have you enduring some discomfort instead for the sake of not causing conflict. I had a lot of guilt for a long time because my first partner, I found out after we broke up, hadn't been communicating their needs to me, and as a result didn't fully enjoy at least a few of the times we had sex. Having been on both the giving and receiving end of this (getting me off can be a fussy process for certain, and my first partner had similar things going on), I just really feel like it's better to be able to at least talk about this stuff first. If y'all talk about it and decide you do want to just ride it out and such, as you stated? That's fine and totally cool. It's even fine if you just decide that on your own, so long as it's not for the sake of avoiding conflict. That phrase just strikes me as really problematic and brings back a lot of uncomfortable memories that make me worry.

    I dunno. It just concerns me because when I was first introduced to this blog, I powered through it in about a day and loved every article, and really love your site overall. So seeing this kind of subject matter was very startling. I do agree with parts of it, but those have already been addressed in other comments and it puzzled me that no one else commenting so far seemed to notice this.

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    1. I could be wrong, but I think part of the point is that although the best thing is to keep communicating with your partner, we don't always have to censure people for making a not-so-great decision, because, you know, it's their body. It's just vastly preferable that they *know* it's a not-so-great decision, and that they are making it of their own free will, and don't feel coerced into making that decision.

      And like Cliff said, if someone chooses to endure discomfort to avoid conflict, that is information they should be paying close attention to.

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    2. I understood that part and even acknowledged it here: " If y'all talk about it and decide you do want to just ride it out and such, as you stated? That's fine and totally cool. It's even fine if you just decide that on your own, so long as it's not for the sake of avoiding conflict."

      I take issue with the idea of communicating with one's partner being cause for worry that it may incite conflict. Like I said, if one wants to ride out that discomfort of their own will and such, fine, it's their call. Saying or implying otherwise would be policing a person's actions regarding their own body, which isn't good at all. But if it's only for the sake of avoiding the conflict that pausing to talk to one's partner apparently may cause, I worry about that a lot.

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  36. I want a modular hacked vibrator! Brilliant.

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  37. I'm actually more surprised that the vibrator-gizmo doesn't have more attachments. I distinctly recall Rowdy being exceedingly engineer-y at the Awkward Army meetup. He lit up like a Christmas tree when someone said the word 'robot'. Are you sure he isn't scheming to build some sort of exoskeleton for the thing and surprise you with it for your birthday or something?

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    1. Oh, that's because this is my personal project. He has his own personal projects. ;)

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  38. Thanks for this post. I too disassociate my vagina at times and feel a bit like I've failed sex. But sex is hard sometimes. Sometimes I have amazing orgasms and everything is rainbows and explosions, sometimes it's incredibly painful and we stop, and other times it's uncomfortable but the choice to just "endure" is better for both of us emotionally.

    I'm mildly allergic to semen and most lubes, so even the most pleasurable sex can end with burning. I'm lucky to have a partner who is understanding, but he's still disappointed that I frequently don't want sex. I "reject" him frequently enough that if I'm not going to end up in pain I'm happy to have non orgasm sex. Sometimes while reading previous posts on this blog I've felt like I've failed at finding equal footing. Thanks again. I like what you write.

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  39. I have no idea why I'm here or what this is about.

    Carry on, folks.

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