BDSM Test

A friend of mine posted this link on a private Facebook group that I’m a part of. At the link you take a test with a series of questions that try to align you with your appropriate kinky labels. While I don’t consider myself particularly kinky I found the test fun and interesting, if for no other reason it is a glimpse into the bedroom activities of other people.

My results are below. They really didn’t surprise me much but I had some thoughts…

Things like public sex and nudity don’t bother me, in fact I think they should be encouraged. We live in a rare time when sex is a super private activity. Before the industrial age most families shared one bedroom, which means children were around when their parents had sex. I actually think it is beneficial to see people have sex outside of porn. While there can be some discomfort or nervousness you soon realize that there is nothing to be embarrassed about. We all have “imperfect” bodies that jiggle and have scars and make noises. Sex should be fun and it isn’t shameful. One of the ways I have overcome some of my body issues and hangups around sex is to be in situations where I see other bodies in all their glory, and see other people having sex. Places like nude beaches, the Orgy Dome at Burning Man, and being naked with my friends helped me immensely.

The non-monogamist isn’t a surprise either, depending on how you define it. I think it is a mistake to define monogamy as being both sexual and emotional. I am emotionally monogamous, but sexually things are more fluid. And experimentalist is spot on, I like trying new things. Even if they don’t work out like I fantasized or expected it is usually an experience that I learn from.

I would say I am slightly dominant and particularly enjoy tying people up, which this test found. I don’t like complete control (like having a slave) but there is certainly a streak in me where I like to be in control in the bedroom. It depends on the partner a lot though. I think that is the most important thing… consent. Any activity between consenting adults is fine. Some people like age play or pretending to be animals or cutting or playing with feces… that kind of squicks me out but as long as all parties consent then they should enjoy it. There is a huge variety of sexual desires and interests, and thanks to the internet it is easier than ever to find people who have similar desires and interests. Hopefully, everyone is able to find a partner with whom they can be honest with about what they like or are interested in trying and can have a sexually fulfilling life.

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Labor Day Libertine

Over Labor Day weekend my partner and I had a wonderful time at an event in Indiana, Labor Day Libertine. This is actually the first weekend we have had to relax since leaving Missoula in May. Sure, we have days where we aren’t cycling, but we are always working or planning or making repairs. I think a lot of people assume that just because we are biking around the country that means we are relaxing or vacationing. We definitely see some awesome things and I wouldn’t change my life for anything, but it isn’t easy spending every day wondering where you will sleep at night, how you will find WiFi, what you will do when it storms on you, etc etc etc. It was so nice to spend an entire weekend with our phones turned off and just enjoying ourselves.

Labor Day Libertine is a festival put on in Indiana to celebrate polyamory, BDSM, and spiritual hedonism. While my partner and I don’t really fit strictly into any of those categories I knew we would have a good time because of the community involved. This is a group of people whom I met years ago on my bike ride across the US and they are, by far, the most loving and accepting people I’ve ever met. They truly support any lifestyle as long as you aren’t hurting anyone else. To be honest, it is probably more accepting than Burning Man.

Our first day into the festival (for lack of a better word) was pretty relaxed. We set up our tent, went to one of the classes, and then hung out around the bonfire while people danced played drums. We were our normal introverted selves and just kind of sat their and enjoyed the environment. Most of the participants seemed to know each other a little bit and spent the evening catching up, we were a little bit on the outside but it didn’t feel bad. We went to bed around 11pm to recover from the fairly tough bike ride of the day that involved hills, humidity, and heat.

Saturday, after a long night’s sleep, we got up and went to the BDSM 101 class. We aren’t particularly kinky but we do enjoy some unconventional sex from time to time and have an interest in BDSM. The class was good and showed us a wide variety of toys and implements that can be used for pleasure. The rest of the day was kind of relaxed, we chatted with some people, took naps, and recovered from life. That night we were much more social around the fire (thanks Molly) and had our first threesome.

The threesome was an incredible experience. Of course, we have discussed our kinks, fantasies, and interests before Libertine. Communication in the area of sex is absolutely necessary for exploration and satisfaction. Bringing another person into our sex life was something we had a logical interest in but recognized that there could be some jealousy or negative feelings. So, we moved slowly and communicated a lot when this opportunity presented itself. We ended up not having any jealousy or discomfort, it was actually a really good experience where everyone had a good time and looked after each other’s feelings. I think it was a great step for my partner and I, it was a physical example of the words we have often shared… that we love each other, that each other’s comfort comes first, and that neither of us would do something if it could hurt the other. While we aren’t going to actively look for more experiences like this we are open to other multi-partner experiences, a foursome is particularly appealing to even out the numbers. Maybe some day some coupled friends of ours or random strangers will have a mutual interest in exploring.

After the threesome my partner and I felt stronger than ever and we went into the woods to have some more amazing sex under the stars. It was a truly magical night and we feel stronger than ever. The next day, Sunday, we slept in and lounged around a lot. It was quite hot and the Molly hangover had us feeling lazy. At lunch we chatted with a guy who makes his own BDSM toys and he gifted us a flogger. It was incredibly nice of him, though the reason he was in Indiana at all is kind of ridiculous. He was arrested for marijuana possession and sentenced to 2-years probation where he can’t leave the state (he is from California). The police took his care and all of his personal items and sold them, so now he is stuck in Indiana without the means to work and all his family and friends are on the coast. Pretty damn stupid.

Sunday evening we did end up going to a Orgasm Control demo, which was pretty fascinating. We accidentally went to bed after that, we had planned on just taking a nap to rally before another night of partying but we didn’t set an alarm and just slept. Monday morning was mostly just packing and cleaning up. I wish we would have had the energy to go to more demos and workshops, and to party more, but our bodies and mind were beat from months of travel and stress. We will definitely be back though, either to a future Libertine or one of the other festivals put on by this wonderful community. I miss them already.

Self Reflection – Introduction

The nature of my lifestyle means I have a lot of time to think. 4-6 hours of constant bike riding daily kind of demands it, your mind tends to wander and you can only focus on podcasts for so long before you ignore them outright. I guess most of my adult life I have spent a lot of time thinking about what I believe and why I believe it. The stability of my Christian, conservative, white middle-class view on the world was another tower that fell on 9/11. After that attack I joined the military, saw some of the world, met lots of people, and realized my upbringing was not the “end all, be all” of the good life. In fact, I found it quite wanting.

This penchant for self-analysis and a recent post on the app “Secret”* inspired this upcoming series of blog posts. I think it is important to constantly question what you believe, why you believe it, and how people perceive you. There are many labels that people apply to themselves (myself included) but rarely can a person’s perspective and history be defined by a few grunted syllables. In addition, I think it will be fun to provide a permanent record of what I believe for future me to look back on. It is likely that 5, 10, 15, 20 years from now I will not have the same points of view. I actually hope I don’t, because that means I have likely stopped growing and learning.

So, in no particular order, here are the subjects, roles, and views I plan on exploring in the coming months, both my current views and how I got to them. I hope to get 1-2 out per week but that depends on logistics for my ride.

  • Libertarian Anarchist
  • Pansexual
  • Nudity and Body Positivity
  • Pagan Atheist
  • Transhumanist
  • Sex Positive
  • Open Relationships and My Current Monogamish Relationship
  • Veganism
  • Minimalist
  • BDSM and Kink
  • Drug Use

*Recently someone posted on “Secret” that my life is basically childish, hedonistic, and that I’m afraid of adulthood. I responded on Facebook and it doesn’t need to be rehashed here, but that perception of me did get my brain moving and was part of the catalyst for this series.

Popping Sweet Oregon Cherries (with our mouths)

It is always kind of bittersweet when we leave a place that we love. We may be nomads right now but that doesn’t mean we are immune to the pull of a place to set down our roots. Someday we may return to Eugene… it is our type of place and having a college in town with an applicable Master’s program certainly doesn’t help. Alas, we had to get moving so we swung by Voodoo Doughnuts for a few more vegan noms and headed north to Corvallis.

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The ride was a long one for us (about 50 miles) but with a slight downhill the whole way it was not incredibly difficult, just a little long. We arrived at around 6:30pm and met our Couchsurfing hosts. Our hosts (Ebba and John) had a beautiful little farm house with a few acres. After getting settled in we helped get the potatoes, berries, and other vegetables out of the garden for dinner. The meal was delicious and our hosts were incredibly warm and fun to chat with, it is just a shame we were all pretty tired. They even shared some homemade mead with us. After dinner and some chatting we hit the sack.

On our way out of Corvallis we swung by our 19th Brewery for a beer. We had some time to kill with only 20ish miles planned that day. We took our time riding up to Independence where we had a tour schedule at the Rogue Farm, we arrived early to have a few drinks before the tour got started. It was pretty cool hearing the history of the area, seeing hops growing on the vines, and touring the facility where hops are processed to give beer that glorious taste. We did have to leave early because we didn’t have a place to camp yet and the sun was quickly going down.

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We did meet a cool couple of people at the Rogue Farm (Brewery 20*) but one of the comments they made kind of stuck with me. One woman said we must be “trust fund” babies. It made me wonder how many people that we talked to were under the impression that our adventure was somehow funded by our parents… the implication being that it is unearned by us. The truth is, this trip is one of the results of decades of decisions, risk-taking, and following our hearts. If I hadn’t joined the army, went to college, took an incredibly low-paying job in DC because I loved the organization, and left DC when I was no longer happy there I would not be here now. Anna and Hans have similar stories, they took risks by moving when they were unhappy, we all saved money by living minimally, and we all got out of relationships that were no longer in line with our goals. We very intentionally have not had children because we properly use birth control, knowing that there is not really a rush. If we want kids in 10 years or more that is very possible. Anna’s job is a big part of why we can do this and not tap into our savings, but she is not our sugar-momma or anything… more like an employer where she pays us to do things like shopping, blogging, pictures, arrange housing, laundry, etc. She is basically our boss.

None of us were willing to settle for “what if”. We left homes, changed states, and leveraged opportunities as they came. We aren’t “trust fund” kids. Our families provide no financial support. There are things that benefited us that we had no control over (such as place and time of birth) but this ride is a result of our hard work. Maybe it is our age (though I’m in my early 30′s… hardly a child) that sparks this type of comment, maybe it is because we have ignored social requirements that we live where we grew up, marry early, have kids, take a shitty office job that we hate, and decide on security over liberty at every turn.

Anyway, end rant. We ended up finding an RV park that technically didn’t allow tent campers. They had some extra RV spots (and nobody on duty) so we paid the fee and set up. As is usually the case things went without any problems. The park was clean, had showers, and nobody bothered us. The only thing peculiar was the RV across from us that had an original 13-colony American flag flying on it. It reminded me of the Confederate flag that we saw flying over a house in southern Oregon a couple weeks ago. Last I checked Oregon didn’t really have any connection to the civil war… but I might be wrong. Regardless, it seems stupid to me

Living in the south for half a decade means I am pretty used to seeing the “stars and bars” flying. Part of me understands that there is some history there, but I still think it is a bad idea to hold onto that symbol. In fact, I find the whole “states rights” movement to be filled with poor judgement. States do not have rights, they may have powers vested to them by the Constitution but they do not have some sort of human rights that can be violated. Even those people (like myself) who believe in smaller, more local government shouldn’t hold on to the civil war or the Confederacy as something positive. Any institution that decides owning humans is okay is not one we should look back on for any moral guidance, even if they were right about other things. It is like trying to reclaim the swastika or quoting Hitler, no matter how noble your cause is it is a PR nightmare to bed yourself with that type of imagery. This is a lesson some libertarians should learn, no matter how economically correct or politically efficient it might be to back someone if they are a racist or sexist we should distance ourselves completely from them. If we want to change hearts and minds it is better to support good people who might not be philosophically pure over racist assholes who are correct in their ivory tower.

The next day (Saturday, June 21) we had our longest day scheduled, 56 miles. The route wasn’t too bad with only a couple 400ft hills but we didn’t want to take chances so we left early. Things went pretty smoothly as we took breaks every 10 miles or so to let the dog out and get food. There wasn’t a lot of population or stores on the road, it was essentially just a highway over the Coastal Range to Lincoln City. The sparse population of our ride ended up working well for us.

At one stop we had a big field behind us with a couple of trees blocking us from the highway. Anna and I decided to bang. It is important to keep the passion alive with trying new things and exploring interests with each other. You gotta be GGG. If one of your partners has an interest in trying something new you should be on the lookout for opportunities to explore that. I think very few things are so extreme that an immediate “no” is allowed (like anything involving feces for me). You should be able to babystep up to basically any interest or kink, as long as there is plenty of communication and respect for each other it is incredibly beneficial to experiment. Life is too short for just missionary position. I should also note how fucking awesome Hans is for acting as a look-out whenever play happens in public, true friends encourage and help you get orgasms whenever possible.

The ride continued to be smooth as we left the farmlands and found ourselves in the green hills and mountains again. As we got to the top of one of the hills I noticed the girls had stopped about 100 ft behind me. I thought they were peeing on the side of the road, but after about 20 minutes I thought maybe something else was up. It turns out they found some cherry trees and were picking them clean. So now we have some freaking awesome wild(?) cherries. They are delicious.

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We arrived in Lincoln City (motto: A Great Place to Try New Things) with a couple of hours of sun left which gave us plenty of time to get some food (and beer), find our campground, and get set up. We will be here for three nights so Anna can catch up on some work and then north to the Washington border and east to my family in Portland.

 

*Brewery List

  1. Highway 1 Brewing Company (outside Pescadero, CA)
  2. Firestone Walker (Paso Robles, CA)
  3. Russian River (Santa Rosa, CA)
  4. Lagunitas (Petaluma, CA)
  5. Bear Republic (Healdsburg, CA)
  6. Ruth McGowan’s (Cloverdale, CA)
  7. Anderson Valley Brewing (Boonville, CA)
  8. North Coast Brewing (Fort Bragg, CA)
  9. Eel River Brewing (Fortuna, CA)
  10. Redwood Curtain Brewing (Arcata, CA)
  11. Standing Stone Brewing (Ashland, OR)
  12. Oakshire Brewing (Eugene, OR)
  13. 10 Barrel (Bend, OR)
  14. Deschutes (Bend, OR)
  15. Boneyard Brewing (Bend, OR)
  16. Crux Fermentation Project (Bend, OR)
  17. Ninkasi Brewing (Eugene, OR)
  18. Hop Valley Brewing (Eugene, OR)
  19. Block 15 Restaurant & Brewery (Corvallis, OR)
  20. Rogue Farms (Independence, OR)

Who’s Been Sleeping in Your Head? The Secret World of Sexual Fantasies

As is often the case on road trips and long flights I was able to get some good reading and writing done… maybe I need to find a way to do this more. Anyway, I finished reading “Who’s Been Sleeping in Your Head?” by Brett Kahr. This 400-page book is the culmination of a multi-year study conducted primarily in the UK (though there are some US participants) about people’s sexual fantasies. These fantasies are what goes through a person’s head during masturbation and sex with a partner. The research was conducted through online surveys completed by over 23,000 people and 122 intensive face-to-face interviews with volunteers. It appears to be the most comprehensive attempt to catalog and interpret human sexual fantasies that anyone has ever done.

While I found the intentions of the study and premise of the book fascinating my feelings towards the book are bitter-sweet. As a Freudian psychotherapist Kahr spent much of his time focusing, analyzing, and, in my opinion, unjustifiably fishing or hoping for childhood trauma to explain sexual fantasies that people had. He mentions alternative approaches like evolutionary psychology only twice and only in passing. I understand that he is a Freudian but if his attempt was to objectively or comprehensively attempt to look into sexual fantasies and their foundation (if one exists) he should have brought in some alternative view points. To him humans seem to be born as a blank slate with no genetic predispositions or tendencies in place from evolution.

Kahr often at times come off as a bit judgemental and sex-negative, and even a bit LGBTphobic. He focuses several times on homosexuality possibly being linked to childhood trauma and child rearing but little acknowledgement of a biological aspect. He also seems to see all cross-dressers as “transvestites”. It also seemed like a negative judgement when he penned the term “intra-marital affair” to describe thinking about someone other than your spouse, as if thinking of another is a form of cheating. Some may agree that fantasies are cheating (but if they really are based in trauma or evolution it is cheating we have little to no control over) not everyone does and I think it weakens the betrayal of true affairs if we attach that phrase to a passing thought during masturbation.

Clearly, I have some problems with Kahr’s approach, but I want to give him some benefit of the doubt, it is possible that there is a generational gap and cultural one between he and I. He is British and a bit older than I, while Americans and our friends across the pond are similar in many ways I can’t help but wonder if the stereotypes about prudish non-sexual Brits might have some truth to it. It has also been almost a decade since this project started and a lot has changed in sexual research and views on fantasies in the last 10 years, particularly with the exponential growth of internet access and the pornography that comes with it.

There were also some wonderful things within the book though, and I actually very highly recommend it. Kahr’s analysis later in the book provides a lot of great information and provides some support to his hypothesis in some of the cases. There clearly can be a trauma at the foundation of sexual fantasies, and many of these trauma fantasies are causing great distress and harm to the individuals. In cases where people can’t live the lives they want or have the relationships they desire it is a problem, such as the case of “Julius” who has only been able to masturbate to mental images of a girl who tormented him in his adolescence and he has not had a long-term relationship in nearly 50 years.

I would have loved to see more research and questions about the ramifications of opening up about your fantasies to your significant others. Kahr mentions a few in one chapter but for the most part glosses over any potential benefits and instead focuses on trauma and harm. In my experience being open and honest with your partner about desires and what goes on in your head can have a bonding effect and open the door for new real life experiences. If we decide to enter into a partnership something as intimate and important as sex should not be a taboo subject. Much of the negative aspects seem to come from our social stigmas against sexuality as much as childhood events. As a culture if we can admit that sex is a healthy and enjoyable part of the human experience we can reduce the pain, suffering, and shame that seems to accompany so many fantasies.

Kahr does admit that this is just a beginning, and like a good scientist he hopes others will dive into the data, conduct their own studies, and come up with alternative hypothesis. I would love to see a larger sample size of humans from more diverse backgrounds. What is true for Brits (and in this case a few Americans) may not be true for Australians, Italians, Russians, Kenyans, Colombians, Thai, Egyptians, etc. The more information the better and it looks like this is a field ripe for research and exploration.

I definitely recommend this book for many different people. If you just have an interest in sexuality there is a lot to love about this book, as well if you are interested in seeing how a Freudian interprets things, though I would recommend skipping or skimming Section II if you get bored with it. You can only read poorly written erotica for pages and pages for so long before it becomes a blur. It is also a good resource for people who have anxiety about what goes on in their own heads. It will become quickly clear that “normal” fantasies don’t exist, and because of that there is really nothing that is “weird” or “abnormal”. Some people don’t fantasize at all, some think only about their spouse, some focus more on feelings while others have elaborate situations they play in their head, some people think of college professors, siblings, strangers, movie stars, and inanimate objects. Some people like to be raped, piss on people while they are shitting, or change genders. Some like to be whipped while others like to be bought a nice romantic dinner followed by a massage and some cunnilingus. The limits to human sexual fantasies are only restricted by the combined imagination of billions of people.

5 Discussions For Intimate Moments

My partner and I have gone to a local BDSM club a couple of times now to enjoy cheap drinks, a drag king show, and just the general sexually charged atmosphere. This particular club has several play rooms filled with equipment that people are free to use if they wish. I’ve never actually seen anyone having sex (I don’t even know if that is allowed to be honest) but I have seen several scenes where people are being flogged, whipped, tied up, and in various other kinky situations. While the club and situations are awesome they themselves actually attract a fairly niche audience, what isn’t unique is the rules that are announced and plastered all over the venue. Kinksters are very good at communicating and this particular venue has five rules for scenes that I think should be explicitly discussed for all intimate sessions whether they are kinky, vanilla, monogamous, swingers, polyamorous, orgies, or whatever.

Discussion 1: What are you into?
Sadly most people do not openly discuss with their partner(s) what they are into. This can be anything from something you know works for you or can be something you are just curious about. If you are comfortable enough to put your penis in someone, rub on or against someone sexually, or have a penis placed inside of you then you should be comfortable enough to talk about what you enjoy first. If you can’t talk about what you like and enjoy the experience then what is the point?

Discussion 2: What don’t you like?
Which brings us to the next discussion, what don’t you like? This can be full on “hell no I would never allow that to happen” to “hmm, maybe under the right circumstances”. Having this discussion helps remove any type of confusion that can happen in the middle of fun. Sometimes body language can be misinterpreted but if hard no’s are discussed ahead of time it can prevent discomfort and confusion.

Discussion 3: Are there any health issues?
It may not be the most comfortable subject but health issues should be discussed in any intimate environment. This can be everything from HIV status to what form of barrier or birth control is going to used. The last thing anyone would want to happen is one person to think condoms are going to be used and the other person has a latex allergy that wasn’t discussed ahead of time. It is much better to be aware and prepare for health issues before the clothes come off.

Discussion 4: Safe Words.
Sometimes the action needs to slow down or stop, even during vanilla relationships. Having key words or signals that can work to signal to your partner is incredibly important. Red (stop everything) and Yellow (slow it down a bit) are commonly used in kink play. Some people also prefer words like “banana” that can be a little funny and really can’t be confused with any other word. If you are in a situation where you can’t talk for some reason it is important to develop a non-verbal signal, like holding onto an item that you drop if things need to stop.

Discussion 5: Aftercare.
This is probably the least discussed but it is incredibly important to prevent post-coital discomfort or confusion. Some people need cuddling while some need to be alone. We all operate differently and establishing aftercare expectations allows everyone to know what is coming… which allows for increased comfort between partners and better future experiences.

So, I hope that no matter what type of relationships you have you are open and communicate your needs from start to finish. Have fun out there everyone! 🙂

KinK

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I recently started watching the show “KinK” on Netflix. “KinK” is a Canadian documentary series that follows and interviews people who have lifestyles and fetishes that tend to run outside the mainstream. BDSM, cross-dressing, and polyamory are all highlighted in a realistic and oftentimes fascinating way.

While I’ve never been involved in much non-vanilla sex I do have an interest in it, just like I have an interest in everything, and this show has been a wonderful introduction. As a documentary the people involved are not actors, they are real people with bodies, minds, and emotions that are a fresh break from the choreographed sexuality of pornography and romantic comedies. You get to see real scenes in an informative way and come to understand the bond that is shared between the people who participate. There are many themes that run through the show (at least so far, I’m only on Season 1), but the primary ones seem to be hurting and harming are different, it is immoral to do anything without consent and immoral to prevent consenting adults from enjoying themselves, and the responsibility for communication and support does not end at the bedroom. Three things that I think all people can learn from.

I’m still not sure if the kinky lifestyle is for me but the people involved seem to be good people focused on communication, love, and safety. I’ve been to one BDSM club and in my natural introverted fashion I stayed on the edge and didn’t really do much, but I hope to explore a little more and find out what the world has to offer. I once had a pastor preach that being comfortable isn’t good or bad, it is neutral because you are being static and not challenging yourself. Being comfortable is necessary to refuel from time to time but I want more to life than refueling, and that means getting out there and figuring out where my limits are.

Anyway, if you have Netflix and are curious I recommend checking out the show. You just might learn something or a new experience might appeal to you.