Kink– sex that deviates from the traditional (and potentially boring) missionary position. Okay, so it’s really more than that, but you get my gist.
Like a little ass slapping and hear pulling with your doggie style? There are those that would call that kink.
Like to take charge in the bedroom? Control the play? Make someone beg? Submit to your dark, carnal desires? Yeah, that’s kink, too.
Enjoy a partner in crime in your seduction? Prefer 3 or more people with your seductions?
Preoccupied with anal sex? Seduced by feet?
Heck, there are so many more kinks out there it’s easy to lose track. But one thing is for certain… in the fetish world, there’s an acceptance, understanding, and camaraderie. No judgments.
Which reminds me…. I have always had a thing for bondage, but I’m dying to try my hand at learning rope bondage. I think it’s sexy as hell. Time to start looking for someone to give me rigging lessons. 🙂
It’s actually through my love of kink that I made some of my coolest online friendships…that have blossomed into relationships that I cherish.
It was through our mutual love of kinky books (and sex) that I met the ultra fabulous, Ande Lyons. Thanks to shared interests and conversations, she invited me to guest on her Bring Back Desire site. Here’s one I wrote for her on Exploring Sensual Pleasure With Common Household Items. Through our shared interests, we’ve built a friendship for the ages.
Through blogging I discovered fellow blogger, author, and sexual empowerment advocate extraordinaire, August McLaughlin of Girl Boner. Her passion and desire to educate and help drew me in. Our mutual desire to empower and battle sexual shaming made us pretty much instant friends. One of my biggest thrills was guesting on her Girl Boner radio. If you haven’t checked her out yet, you don’t know what you’re missing! She’s sweet, smart, and savvy.
It was through a mutual friend who noted my love of the “kink and taboo” that I was introduced to one of my dear friends, the ever interesting and intellectual Professor Taboo. It took no time at all for me to become very intrigued with his blog posts. Due to our common ground and mutual love of dialogue, it was no time at all before we were very active in responding to one another’s posts. He’s one of those guys who calls it like he sees it, keeps it real, and lives his life unapologetically. The fact that we joke about what kind of clash for dominance would ever occur is just icing on the cake. 😉
Between Twitter, Facebook, blogging, and writing it was only a matter of time before Anna of Herding Cats and Burning Soup blog and I became friendly. In fact, despite the fact that we had connected through social media, it wasn’t until a mutual friend told me about her shared Facebook group, The Kinkery, that we really interacted with any sense of frequency. She’s a woman with a reading fetish for pierced cock, great dialogue, and sexy book covers. And then there’s the fact that she’s pretty no holds barred about what she’ll welcome on her blog. Is it any wonder I think she rocks? By the way, she’s also the one who talked me into this A-Z challenge.
Yep! There’s a distinct kinship that is created when mutually open minded and adventurous people come together. What things have you found bond you together with fellow bloggers or internet friends? What kinks do you enjoy? Is there something your dying to learn more about? Share! Who knows? I may even be able to help point you in the right direction…
As many of you know by now, sex positive discussions is intensely important to me. So many people have their sexual growth and understanding inhibited due to upbringing, religion, and worse, traumatic sexual experiences. Being closed away from one’s sexuality due to whatever reason stifles and inhibits personal, emotional growth and well being and can destroy otherwise healthy personal relationships.
Recently, when I discovered my pal, Jessi Gage, had launched her first ever holiday book, I reached out and asked if I could help her pimp it. I was thrilled when she mentioned that there was a sensitive topic of a sexual nature she’d wanted to address and thought my blog would be the perfect forum. When she gave me the specifics, I was honored. This subject is near and dear to so many hearts. (Don’t believe me? Check out my other pal, Bridget Blackwood’s post.)
Take it away, Jessi! (And please, guys, as always….share your stories, thoughts, and/or experiences because we’d love to hear from you!)
Thank you, Kitt, for hosting me today. I’m a huge fan of you as a person and as a blogger. You are one of my favorite advocates for women’s sexuality. Your voice and the voices of August McLaughlin and Ande Lyons are desperately needed and greatly appreciated by many.
I thought your blog would be a good place to confess my insecurity over a recent first for me. I’ve got a new release out, Cole in My Stocking. It’s my first holiday romance, and it’s the first time I’ve tackled sexual assault in a book. I’m not going to lie, I was nervous about this.
In a romance, you want conflict and tension, yes, but you don’t want to disturb the readers, at least I don’t. That’s not my thing as a writer. I like to leave readers with a serious case of the warm-fuzzies. If people put down my book with a happy sigh, that’s my idea of success. So I wasn’t sure how to handle it when my heroine, Mandy, insisted she had survived a very traumatic situation in her past, a situation in which all her control was taken away: a sexual assault.
Fortunately, Mandy assured me her trauma was well past. It doesn’t appear on the pages of Cole in My Stocking other than as brief flashes of memory that still haunt her. But Mandy needed to spend time in this book working through issues that resulted from her assault. And Cole needed to be the man to help her do it.
See, Mandy has not been able to have a physical relationship with anyone since her assault. She has PTSD. As a counselor, she knows this about herself, but clinical knowledge doesn’t necessarily translate into being able to overcome the emotional scars of her past.
Fortunately for Mandy, Cole is up to the challenge of helping her tackle her physical and psychological issues. He does it by loving her, showing her he is trustworthy, and most of all, through his unwavering patience with her physical limitations.
To get this dynamic right (I hope I got it right!), I consulted my beautiful and generous sister-in-law, Kate, who has a counseling degree and has a heart for helping people. She helped me shape Mandy’s memories and reactions and encouraged me not to hold back when naming the horror that happened to her: rape.
Mandy’s story has a happy ending—of course, since I will never write anything that doesn’t end happily. But it might be a painful read for a woman who has experienced anything like what Mandy experienced. Then again, it might be helpful. Early reviews are indicating that Mandy’s journey is touching and realistic.
Learning about what sweet Mandy has been through was tough. It was emotional, and for anyone that has been in a situation where their control, their power, their self worth has been stripped from them…just know that this book can be extremely difficult to read. Mandy’s reactions to what happened and how she handles intimacy after were very realistic. I’m not sure what Jessi Gage did to write this type of story in such a believable manner, but what I can say is that I appreciate the way she wrote this story. It means a lot to me that she managed to write a sweet love story (which I will talk about in a bit) while fitting in details that may help people who have never dealt with assault understand. I felt that it was written in a way that shed light on the way victims of assault think. The way they deal with what others see as a simple situation.
Reviews like this certainly help me feel less nervous about Mandy’s story. I’m so glad I wrote it and I hope lots of people find some holiday hope and cheer in it. I want to leave you with some words from Kate and some resources on sexual assault. Here’s Kate:
Sexual assault is an almost scientific term for a vomit-inducing nightmare. Alas, we are forced to contend with the term, so let’s be clear on its definition. According to the Justice Department’s website, sexual assault is defined as “any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient… forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape.”
50% of victims are raped by their intimate partner.
There are a ton of implications in these stats, but I’ll highlight just a couple. What strikes me most about these stats is that rape is so common. We encounter women who have survived sexual assault every day. Eighteen percent of US women have gone through this. You are friends with rape victims. You are family of rape victims. Let that sink in for a minute.
Next, most rape is being done by guys we know. That is actually a pretty scary statistic. Think about it. Women are more likely to get raped by a man they know than by that ominous lurking predator in black, looming in the dark behind that bush. And to top it off, rapes are underreported. In other words, the bad guy is getting off way more often than not.
Sexual assault clearly affects our culture and us personally more than we realize, because it is happening all the time. I encourage you to ask questions and have conversations. Educate yourself on why and how sexual assault is so prevalent in our society. (I’ll give you a hint: It’s not because men are uncontrollable animals.)
Mandy never planned to return to Newburgh, New Hampshire, the hometown that unfairly branded her a slut, but she has no choice. Her father has died, and she’ll be spending Christmas settling his affairs. She hopes to get in and out of town without attracting the looks of disgust that drove her away, but when a certain Oakley-wearing, Harley-riding cop starts hanging around, an old crush is revived and the rumor mill restarts with a vengeance.
Cole has always been attracted to Mandy, but he has never acted on it. Besides being sixteen years older than her, he was friends with her father. The rumors people in town spread about her were bad enough without an inappropriate relationship adding fuel to the fire. But when Mandy returns to Newburgh fully adult and looking more gorgeous than ever, he can’t keep his distance, especially when an old secret of her father’s surfaces and puts her in danger. He’ll stop at nothing to protect her, but convincing her to stay in Newburgh, with him, will take a Christmas miracle.
Reader Advisory: Contains references to a past sexual assault
He cupped her chin and made her look at him, even if they couldn’t see each other in the dark. “What did he do after?”
“What do you mean?”
“When you freaked out. What did your boyfriend do after that?”
Tension straightened her shoulders. “What any decent guy would do. We stopped. He stopped. He was a perfect gentleman.”
“What? He was. I was a total spaz and he was cool about it.”
“He was cool about it?”
“What? What’s that superior tone for?” She was getting angry. He loved that about her. She’d stood up to Tooley a few days ago. She was standing up to him now. If she didn’t like something, she let you know about it. Now that was a characteristic he could believe she’d gotten from Gripper.
“You said you freaked like always when things get to a certain point, that you always blow it. You think you blew it with that guy because a single attempt at second base went poorly. I meant what happened afterwards? Was there a conversation? A second attempt after you had some time to process what happened? A third?”
“What guy would want to try again after something like that?”
“This guy would.”
Jessi Gage bio: Jessi lives with her husband and children in the Seattle area. She’s a passionate reader of all genres of romance, especially anything involving the paranormal. Ghosts, demons, vampires, witches, weres, faeries…you name it, she’ll read it. As for writing, she’s sticking to Highlanders and contemporaries with a paranormal twist (for now). The last time she imagined a world without romance novels, her husband found her crouched in the corner, rocking.
Many of you may not know this, but my “real world” career outside of writing is actually within the wireless electronics industry.
Yes, that means I’m a pro with smart phones, tablets, etc. It also means I keep up with a lot of the trends…and have usually tried them before they became the cool thing to do. 😉
Selfies? Yeah…I think I started doing that 8 years or so ago.
Sexting? It was a think long before the Favre scandal or Anthony’s Weiner was exposed… 😉
So when Ande Lyons, the Passion Curator for Bring Back Desire, invited me to write a post about relationships and sexting, I jumped at the opportunity. I think it gets a bad rap….and you guys know how I can be when I’m discussing a topic I’m passionate about. Ya’ll have got to stop on over and check it out. Your support or thoughts would be greatly appreciated!
Are there any new trends in technology that have wowed or intrigued you? Anything you’ve heard people talk about surrounding technology that you were afraid to ask about because you didn’t want to sound stupid? Share with me….I’ll try to explain as best as I can…or maybe one of the other folks on here will dive on in.
In the meantime, I’ll share a little snippet from my book, Four One Night, with you guys where my heroine, Dani, definitely uses her cell phone to bring on the fun…
Shaking my head and smiling at our antics, I dialed Michael, glad her mood had lightened with my playful distraction. With the receiver to my ear, the muted strains of “My Cherie Amour” floated through instead of a ring. The frigid air whipped through the thin cotton of my shirt causing a shudder to ripple through my curvy frame. I grabbed for my key fob and quickly pressed the unlock button.
“Hey babe,” his dark, raspy voice came on the line. “What’s up?”
“Well, that all depends on you,” I purred as my hands motioned Candace to get in the car. “Work was nuts and Candace and I need to blow off some steam. We’re headed over to Club Heat for ladies night. Will you join us or do we need to find some other sexy men to play with?”
“Ooh, someone’s feeling feisty.” I could practically see his smile through the rumble in his voice. “I love it when Miss Dani comes out to play.”
“Then you’re gonna love me tonight.” Grabbing the handle, I tugged my door open. Finally out of the chilled air and in the driver’s seat, I slammed the door shut and shoved my key in the ignition.
“Two wild women looking to unleash themselves after a bad day?” The little beep of his car alarm being released sounded through the receiver followed by the slam of the door. “That may be more than I can handle alone.”
Tipping my head against my shoulder to cradle the phone, I turned the key in the ignition, quickly followed by the heater. “Michael Gallo! Afraid you might need reinforcements?”
Music flared in the background as he started his car. “Afraid is such a strong word. I prefer to think of it as being prepared for any eventuality.”
“Well, you know how I feel. The more, the merrier. Hot men and alcohol make everything better!” With one last look in my rear view mirror, I shifted into drive, leaving our bad day in the dust.
His rich laughter slid through me, warming me from the inside. “Good. I’ll give James a call and we’ll see you soon.”
I’m fortunate to be surrounded both in real life and online by an amazing group of friends. We laugh together, support one another, and cheer each other on. In fact, my awesome buddy, Ande Lyons, of Bring Back Desire, was kind enough make me this!
This was the quote August McLaughlin featured on her blog, announcing the winners from her Beauty of a Woman (Girl Boner edition) Blogfest! What’s even cooler? I’m one of those winners! I will be reading my post, then hanging out for a little bit to chat on the one and only GirlBoner radio! Yes, I’ll share more when the time comes, but guys…seriously. If you haven’t checked her show out yet, you need to do it NOW! You won’t regret it, I promise!
As if this isn’t already an abundance of friendship and support, there’s more! My dear friend, Stephanie, invited me to do a guest post and GIVEAWAY on her blog!
We actually met at Authors After Dark in Savannah (Steph, how did we not wind up taking a pic together then???). We sat together during the Vampire Ball and we started chatting. Afterward, we became friends on Facebook and Twitter and I followed her blog, so when she found out she’d be headed to my neck of the woods for a little while she reached out and asked if I’d like to meet her for coffee or wine.
COFFEE? WINE? I was IN! Well, truthfully, it was Steph, so she could’ve mentioned a walk on the beach and I’d have still been good to go. She’s pretty awesome.
She’d welcomed me to write a guest post for her blog, which thrilled me to death. I love her blog! But I wanted to do something special. Something unique for my friend. So, since my tastes vary and I’ll write whatever comes to mind anyway, I asked her if there was something specific she would like me to cover. The task she gave me proved to be not only fun, but right up my alley!
Stop by, show her some love (and me some support)…because, like I said….she’s awesome and I’m giving something away! Plus, we’re talking BDSM terms, fantasies and Four One Night!
And because it wouldn’t be The Sweetest Thing without a clip from one of my favorite movies of the same title…(And it’s a shout out to my favorite “kinkery” book club and their love of cock rings)…here’s a little something/something.
And my shout out to all my gal pals and our crazy ass sense of humor? (Because my BFF and I would totally do something like this.)
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, despite hubby’s accident yesterday (he was unharmed), it’s been a great week for me. Are you celebrating anything you want to share with the class? 😉
I’m pretty sure you can guess where my brain went. Could. Not. Help. It. Self control in the face of innuendo and naughty thoughts is just asking too much of me.
Then there’s this one…
As many of you know, I’m a die hard Cowboy fan, so the irony that an Eagles fan in a commercial cracks me up is not lost on me… Maybe it’s the fact that my step-dad is a celiac and this is pretty much a staple and he badly mispronounces it… Or maybe it’s the fact that some equally ignorant eagle fan thinks it might be a loofah, but regardless…I giggle every time.
Then there’s the SEXY/FUNNY combo….
This one is a bit older for me, but I loved how these military men who were stationed in Afghanistan decided to show their appreciation to the Miami Dolphin cheerleaders for their Call Me Maybe video. The guys look like they’re having fun…and some of them are not only hot, they know how to shake it! Why don’t you be the judge? Do you have a favorite?
If you haven’t liked Bring Back Desire on facebook yet, why not? I figured since it’s also Breast Cancer Awareness Monthit was the perfect time to share this message. Check out this breast screening reminder that was posted on her page! Watch till the end or you’ll miss when the real fun begins.
For Empowerment and Natural Beauty….
I found this particular post on Where’s My Sammich to be totally fantastic… How to draw b00bies. I spotted my set right away. 😉
Marcia Richards wrote a post about Mothers and Daughters that had one of the best analogies I’ve ever seen…and some awesome life lessons she hopes she instilled in her daughter. I have a funny feeling she succeeded. 🙂
The song stuck in my head….
Just a warning…this song is stuck in both me and hubby’s heads…and it’s the unrated version, so it’s got some lady parts showing. I don’t care what people say… Robin Thicke may be a bit of a dirty boy…and on the naughty side, but there’s no doubt in my mind that he’s probably fun to hang out with. He looks so much like his dad, Alan Thicke, doesn’t he? (maybe a smidge hotter, but definitely…great genes)
My Soapbox Moment…
Okay. I can’t even believe I’m going to there, but I’m going to weigh in on the whole Miley Cyrus drama. Yeah, yeah…I’m not a huge fan of her twerking. I wasn’t a huge fan of “Who Let The Dogs Out”, either, but no one said anything about hacks guys who became famous for barking. In fact, everyone went around barking.
Of course they were one hit wonders, so maybe Akon is a better example. After the minor and initial uproar about Akon making the unwise choice to dry hump a minor onstage at one of his concerts, all was forgiven and not much more was said. I won’t even get into all the things R Kelly has done and how although people gossip and titter behind their hands, no one is calling him talentless or a hack. These instances seem to be treated with a dismissive shrug and a “boys will be boys” mentality.
Miley dances provocatively and everyone is in an uproar because she used to be a Disney kid. She wasn’t doing much more than what either of the two above guys did. She was dancing some lame dance that the kids today are acting like they invented (when really, it’s been around forever, just never named…that I know of). So because of that she’s got mental issues? She’s vilified? She’s on the edge? On drugs?
A commentator on one of the college football pregame shows a couple weeks ago asserted that she was basically a talentless hack… My bet is his only exposure to her or her music was with the recent music award debacle and what he’s heard through the scandal rags. I saw another article where she expressed her admiration for her godmother,Dolly Parton. In the comments, folks said things about her not even being fit to say Dolly’s name. Really?
Personally, I’m starting to feel sorry for this kid. Growing up in the spotlight is not easy. I’m not going to judge. She hasn’t done anything many people her age do, spotlight or not! How many young people do you know that danced provocatively? I WAS one of those kids. How many young people cut their hair into wild styles and color it? I knew folks that colored their hair purple, blue and green!
In fact, I’ll hope this is a phase she’s going through…much like many child stars. Heck, Alyssa Milano & Tiffany posed for Playboy. Elizabeth Berkeley did Showgirls. Hillary Duff kissed a girl on Gossip Girl. The list could go on and on…. Personally, I don’t think any of us should be casting any stones. Very few of us haven’t done anything in our youth that we look back on with regret….and regardless of how you may feel about her personally, there’s no question that she’s chock full of talent. She even comes by it honestly. She inherited it!
Check this song out and then try to tell me this girl has no talent… By the way, this is both acoustic and outdoors…
So what about you guys? Any soap boxes you want to step on? Any songs stuck in your head? Anything that’s gotten you hot under the collar or empowered you? Maybe there’s something that made you laugh this week…. Tell me all about it!
Unlike Justin Timberlake, I feel no need to bring sexy back…mostly because I never thought it was lost.
Sexy is something intangible that lives inside each and every one of us…. Often, all it really takes is tapping into our innermost thoughts and fantasies.
Desire is another story all together. Sometimes we need some poking and prodding…and some good directions to help us Bring Back Desire…. Today, Ande Lyons has invited me to share some of my thoughts on ways to make this happen by repurposing a post I wrote a little while back…with a bit of a Bring Back Desire twist.
Stop by and say hi! We’d love the company…and to hear your thoughts on our chosen subject for the day. You guys aren’t the slightest bit shy, so I’m sure you’ll have plenty to contribute. I, for one, can’t wait to get your thoughts.
In the meantime…. (And I’d love to hear about when this happened to you) Ever found yourself in a situation where you were in denial about what was really going on?
Ladies (or maybe guys, too)…ever found yourself dating a guy and wondering how that happened? You guys were just hanging out…ALL THE TIME…and he paid… But you kind of thought you were just friends until someone said something?
Guys…ever had a friend make a comment about how he didn’t realize you and your girlfriend had moved in together and you said he was wrong…only to look around and realize her toothbrush was next to yours in the bathroom, that she had a couple of drawers in your bureau and clothes in your closet…her shampoo in your shower…and she really didn’t go “home” much anymore?
Then you’ll really appreciate the humor in this video… and don’t forget to check out my guest post at Bring Back Desire!
Got the very sad news the other day that a family who we’d been friendly with in our youth lost a brother/son. As if loss isn’t enough, it was due to a self inflicted gun shot wound. There’s some talk of it being accidental v. suicide. Like they’re not dealing with enough. Some of you may shake your head and be thinking…but Kitt, how could a self inflicted GSW be accidental? Well, I’m not privy to the details. I don’t know where he was shot, nor do I care. After having known of someone who accidentally shot himself cleaning his gun…in a major artery, I’m not going to go there. That guy lived because someone happened to be there who knew what to do and got an ambulance to him on time.
What struck me was that it had been a long time since I’d even talked to this family. In fact, as I sat here thinking about them I realized it had been nearly 14 years. The beauty in humanity is that even through all that time and distance we’re still able to feel empathy and wish to comfort. It also occurred to me that things change. I’ll be keeping that family in my thoughts and prayers. Loss is never easy. It is one of the few constants in life, though.
Instead of more maudlin thoughts, though, I’d like to share a few things with you that have inspired me….
One of the women in my writers group is a lady named Susan Davis. I find her to be very daring and exciting. This summer she took a bicycle trip from Florida up to Maine, then on to Canada! Can you imagine? She also introduced me to a process commonly known as “Tapping”. The technical name is EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques). At it’s simplest it’s a combination of acupuncture points and verbal affirmations that help create positive change and growth in people. I found the whole process fascinating. She’s new to blogging and has documented her trip and how EFT impacted her personally. I’d really love it if you’d check her out… It really is pretty awesome and I know she’d love to hear from you. Her goal is to help change lives by helping people overcome the stumbling blocks to chasing their dreams through this method. Check out her post Tapping’s Not Just A Song and Dance and give her some love!
Yup! In Hot New Releases under the Marriage category, it hit #1. But that’s not all! It also hit #25 in Best Sellers under the Marriage category AND #79 in Best Sellers under the Love and Romance category. Just goes to show people ARE interested in how to make relationships last and keep things hot and spicy in the bedroom! Anything that helps perpetrate change positively gets my two very enthusiastic thumbs up.
Another example of humor and embracing change was a guest post on LeAnne Shirtliffe’s Ironic Mom blog. If you’re not left laughing and shaking your head a little, you’ve forgotten how important a sense of adventure is when change heads your way. I love the parenting advice, too, by the way. I truly believe that a sense of adventure helps people adjust better to change and helps them develop coaching skills when things go awry (something that seems to be significantly lacking in many people these days).
Finally, you have to check out Renee Schuls-Jacobson’s post where she selects a winner to the “send my son a letter while he’s at camp” contest. Yeah, I know that wasn’t the actual name of the contest, but I’d been following this one because there were such sweet, funny, thoughtful posts made on Renee’s behalf so she wouldn’t feel bad for not having time to write daily letters to her 14 year old son while he was away. And then there was Don Of All Trades’ letter. His won…no surprise once you read it… It was definitely different than what everyone else came up with. You guys just have to check it for yourself. If you don’t find yourself thinking back to your youth with a bit of nostalgia and realizing how much things have changed, I’d be surprised.
Although so many of you have inspired me in so many ways…these are the folks who’ve impacted me this week and helped make me laugh. I’d love for you to check these folks out and tell me which of the blog posts I shared was your favorite or touched you most and why….
Please, I’m beggin’ here….Leave comments…make me smile…or share the blogs that have made your week this week!
I’m a lucky woman. I have people in my life who are passionate about the things that matter to them. In fact, they are so passionate that they know, to the depths of their souls, that they can change the world one person at a time. And I believe they’ll do it. How could I not? Recently I had the opportunity to be at August McLaughlin’s Facebook party where she candidly discussed her eating disorder and the ties to self esteem. She shared two powerful videos. One was about her journey to healing and the other centered on education and insight on a parent’s impact on their child. Check it out!
Another great friend is Ande Lyons from Bring Back Desire. Her mission to help educate women on the beauty and joy of accepting yourself. She is a huge proponent of exploring your sexuality and discovering your inner diva. She believes that self discovery is the key to personal happiness and lasting relationships. She’s creating a safe environment where women are welcome to go for tips, pointers and to ask the questions they may be too afraid or intimidated to ask elsewhere. She understands the struggle on a very personal level, and through hard work, love and dedication has managed to keep her love with her darling alive. In fact, they just celebrated their 25th anniversary!
They’re not the only ones, either. I’m extremely fortunate to be surrounded online by people who have such strong senses of self. People who’ve taken the things that have personally impacted their lives and converted them from areas of weaknesses into platforms of strength. It’s great to know I’m not alone.
Most of you know that self esteem and words are near and dear to my heart. Today I thought I’d share with you a bit about how I chose the causes that most impacted my life. Oddly enough, it wasn’t until recently that I connected what happened to me my first two years of high school with bullying. The below is the story of how it impacted me.
Many of you know that my brother died right before my freshman year in high school. What you may not know is that after my brother died, I transferred schools and our family moved. It was too painful living so close to the site of my brother’s accident and there were just too many ghosts (memories, not literal) in our apartment. Fortunately, the hospital my mom worked at offered employee housing at a discount in a great neighborhood. Our church also approached my mom about giving my sister and I scholarships to go to their private school. They thought our faith and positive attitudes might be a good influence and would allow us to continue education in a “Christian” environment.
A couple of itsy, bitsy problems with their plan. That particular private school went from preschool through 10th grade, then the kids went on to boarding school. What did that mean? These kids all grew up together in a very sheltered environment. Many of them grew up in neighborhoods surrounded by people of the same religion, went to church school, then off to private colleges within that denomination. Once they graduated some would go into the secular world, but most would work either in teaching in that denomination, working in hospitals of that denomination…and a spare few would venture out into the “real” world. The other problem? As if their being sheltered wasn’t problem enough, my coming in from the outside made me “fresh meat”.
On my first day of school there were a total of 2 new students in my class. Pretty much all the girls within my general age range hated me on sight because they knew that a new girl coming in was going to draw male attention. Oddly enough, I understood that and wasn’t overly bothered. It only took a couple of weeks for most of the guys to follow suit.
This had never happened to me before. Raised by a mother who told me I could do and be whomever I wanted to be, I was a very confident young lady. In fact, the above picture of me was during this time. After hearing how ugly, stupid and untalented I was over and over again, cracks began to appear. Within one month of starting at this school I was told by a kid I’d gone to church with since I’d moved to this country that he’d heard I’d already been through about 20 boyfriends. Apparently I was also the biggest slut in the school despite the fact that I was “ugly”. It didn’t matter that I hadn’t really dated anyone because I was too busy grieving my kid brother’s loss (we were best of friends despite the 4 year age difference). When I did choose to date, I selected guys I knew from my old world…in public schools. I still remember hearing my schoolmates tell me that I was lying about my boyfriends because there was no way a “public school boy” would be interested in someone like me.
One thing to know about me? Even then I had pride in spades. I realized two things pretty quickly. First, though my instinct was to fight (and yes, I’d done it before…heck, I’m part Spanish and Chinese–pretty much guarantees a temper). I quickly realized this would not be a viable option. Not only could I not afford to get into trouble, my mother did not need more stress. Second, there was no way in heck I would let these people see the body blows their words were causing.
I still remember one particularly painful Friday night when one of my male sophomore schoolmates came by my house before our church youth group meeting. That night I learned just how bad my reputation was. As we were walking in he told me, “I don’t believe it now, but I thought you should know. —- told me that if I asked you out on a date I could get laid by the end of it.” I was so furious that though it was snowing and the dead of winter, I stepped outside with no coat on in an attempt to cool off once the guy who told him that (yes, despite it all, I am still choosing not to name him to protect the not so innocent) arrived. I didn’t even feel the cold.
It was my choir and voice teacher that want in, got my coat, put it around me and sat on the step beside me. She wrapped a comforting arm around me and told me this:
“It’s hard to be where you are right now. The problem is you’ve been through too much. Seen too much. So despite the similarity in years, you’re decades older than your classmates. I’ve been where you are. They’re hurtful. Immature. And they have no idea how badly what they’re doing hurts. As unfair as it is, you will find that despite the fact that they pick on you and are mean to you, when the chips are down…you’re the first person they come to for advice. They know you’ve been there. That you know how to cope. Chances are you also won’t date guys your own age. Eventually they catch up. They grow up. Eventually. But hang in there. You’re tougher than they are and they need you.”
Oddly enough, she was right. Even stranger…I didn’t know the full extent of the damage their body blows caused by words had inflicted until springtime. There was one upperclassman guy that I’d become friends with. He had never quite comfortably fit in with his group…and most of his friends, like mine were outside of this small community. He also lived in my old neighborhood, so one day he invited me to come with him after school. I was elated. That’s when I blew myself away and realized that when you hear something often enough you start to believe it. Words can be insidious. I don’t even remember what we were talking about initially…just the explosion.
Me: Well I’m ugly, so what does it matter? Friend:(Stopped car in the middle of rush hour traffic on busy street, turns and looks at me, shocked.) Excuuuuse me, What did you just say??? Me:You heard me. Friend:You know that’s not true. The girls only say it because they’re jealous. Me:(shrugged) Whatever. I could understand if it was just the girls. Most girls haven’t liked me very much anyway, but it’s the guys, too. Friend:(Stared me in the eye as if willing me to believe him) The guys are just saying it because they’re pissed. Most of them have asked you out and you’ve completely blown them off. Not interested. This is their way of getting even. Me: Well, it sucks. Friend:I know. Ignore them. Don’t let it get to you. You know what they’re saying’s not true. Me:I thought I was. Guess it’s easier said than done.
The funny thing was that I didn’t realize how closely the teaching staff had been paying attention to what had been happening. Back then, it would have been labeled “growing pains” or a part of growing up. People got picked on. The trick was to survive it. The word Bullying in conjunction to what happened to me…well that’s a recent bit of connecting the dots as I’ve watched all these poor young kids going through their heartaches…made that much easier by the internet.
It wasn’t until one of my female classmates who had a tendency to be a bit cruel and gossipy bore the brunt of some teasing that I found out that the teachers had been watching and cheering me on. You see, this young lady was tall, but not at all endowed in the bosom department. She also had the misfortune of having the last name Chestnut. Typical of boys, they began to use the word “Chest Not” rather than her actual last name. Considering she could dish it out, I’m sure you’re not at all shocked to hear that being the target, she didn’t handle it very well at all.
She walked up to our homeroom teacher and whined to him about the fact that the boys were “making fun” of her. His response shocked the heck out of me. Instead of sympathy, here’s what he said:
“You’ve been going through this for a few days. Imagine how it must feel to be some of your classmates. There are people, one person in particular, in your class who have had to deal with you guys treating her like this for over a year and she hasn’t said anything once. Imagine how hurt she must feel.”
That same young lady who’d been whining came looking for me to give me a hug and to apologize for ever making me feel the way she was feeling right then. I thanked her for her apology and dropped the discussion.
When sophomore year ended I begged my mom not to send me to boarding academy and she concurred. That summer I got very sick. In one month’s time I lost over 10 lbs. Considering I only weighed 105 lbs to begin with, my family became concerned. I’d completely lost my appetite. Most foods made me nauseous on sight or by smell. I would get nauseous and shaky at the idea of leaving the house (now I recognize I was probably having anxiety attacks). While at my grandparents that summer there was only one thing I could eat that would not make me sick. Plain cake doughnuts. I only drank Sprite or water and I discovered the healing properties of mint (by way of mint flavored gum). It was the only way to keep me from dry heaving.
The moment I got back home my mom made me see a doctor. He asked me if I was pregnant. He didn’t believe me when I told him I was a virgin until he did tests and they came back negative for pregnancy. What he did discover was that I had an “unrealized depression caused by lack of vitamin B-12”.
It took me months of forcing myself to eat, of bringing water and mint gum with me everywhere…of forcing myself to go out, but I began to recover during my junior year. The carefree wild child I used to be was gone forever. She was replaced by someone who became very controlled. Careful with both words and temper….and I realized something else. That “unrealized depression”? Technically, maybe that’s what it was…but in reality it was simply relief. My body and my mind had, for two years, stayed strong for me. Blocked tears and fears and protected me from people out to hurt me. They’d been on the defensive…”Never give them the power of letting them know they’ve hurt you”. Finally, once I knew I wasn’t going back…I was safe. Once my body knew everything would be okay…it gave itself permission to crash, to feel.
For me, the trauma became a physical manifestation, not emotional. In fact, concerned about how the kids were tearing themselves and each other apart…and fully aware of the damage words could inflict, I went back to that school and found my English teacher. I asked her if I could come back and talk to her class about my experience and the damage… maybe prevent someone else from going through what had happened to me. She asked me to speak to 4 classes from 7th grade to 10th grade. I did. Honestly, I don’t know if it did any good, but I had to try. If it made a difference to even one person, it was worth it.
Since that time building up peoples’ self esteem and helping folks realize the power (both good and bad) that words hold have been passions for me. It comes from a very personal place. I was fortunate. I had a mother who’d already built a core of strength within me by giving me both faith in myself and God. Yes, it was shaken….but my foundation was firm. A little focus and I was back…and stronger than I’d been before. Not everyone has that.
Not everyone has the courage to speak up or speak out. Those of us who do have an obligation to do so. Be the strength for someone else when they run out of their own. Be their belief when they lose sight of themselves. Be the friend to hold them close and build them up when they need it…because as strong as you are…there will be a day you’ll need it, too. I guarantee you, when that day comes…they’ll be there for you as well.
Have you ever been made to feel like less than you are? Do you have a cause that’s near and dear to your heart based on personal experiences? Do you have a poem, quote or thought or song to share that makes you feel strong or confident…or can help build someone up? Please share it… You never know what simple act you may have done that could help strengthen a soul or change a life. Look at those little moments that did it for me!
This last weekend was a busy one for yours truly. My sister and her guy were in town to throw a “Milestone Celebration” aka 40th birthday party for moi. Now technically, Kitt Crescendo was born on the 4th of July, but for celebratory purposes for my out-of-towner sib, this last weekend worked best.
Above is the sexy goblet she bought, especially for me…that had been filled multiple times with a lovely sangria.
She did a fabulous job with the event and a good time was had by all.
Oddly enough, mine wasn’t the only birthday party I went to that day…though mine was the only one with jello shots, etc. My next door neighbors are good friends…and their 3 year old also had his party earlier that day, so I stopped by.
At the party, I got into a conversation with Julie, grandma of the birthday boy, in town from Georgia. She’s in her late 50’s, recently widowed. During our talk, she found out that I’m a writer, and as often happens, 50 Shades got mentioned. Seriously, I’m going to start calling it “The Gateway Book”. Well, most of us view it that way anyway, but….for this woman, it truly was.
It was a gateway to rediscovering her libido.
Recently widowed, what she said struck me as a bit sad, but not all that uncommon.
“If my husband were alive today he’d be like ‘sure, now you find your sex drive. Why couldn’t you have done that sooner?”
As my dear friend Ande Lyons and I have talked about often, this is one of the many reasons that prompted her to create Bring Back Desire. So, of course, I mentioned the website to my new friend and encouraged her to check it out. Seriously, between Bring Back Desire and GirlBoner even the most inhibited person can find ways and means to embrace their ‘innerwildkats’…;-)
Her story is not so uncommon. She married young, had children, raised them. Fairly conservative upbringing. She’d given up many of her outside hobbies to raise the kids. When it came to doing things for fun, he was the more dominant personality, so she went along with what he liked to do and put her passions aside. No one had really talked to her about speaking up or doing her own thing.
She was content in her marriage. She loved her husband, but “didn’t have much time or energy for sex”. It wasn’t until the “Gateway Book” that she started feeling her sex drive rev back to life, but by then her husband had passed away. Now she’s on this voyage of self discovery and making up for all the lost time of hobbies and passions set aside. She’s an outgoing, vivacious woman, so why not?
But as I considered her exploring (which has definitely included sexting, men, etc), one thought popped out at me.
I hope she’s being safe!
I mean, when we think about ‘the sex talk‘ we’re usually thinking either teenagers or the basic talk you have with small children. Why on EARTHwould we need to have this talk with someone who has grandkids? Seriously. Isn’t the horse already out of that barn? Maybe. But think about this. The last time she’d probably been given the sex talk, the only thing she had to worry about were these:
STD’s treatable by Penicillin
What do we know? She’s past childbearing age, so pregnancy is no longer a concern. She’s older and widowed, and she’s not so concerned with reputation anymore… But now there’s more then just herpes, gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis. HIV and AIDS are nothing to scoff at. Age doesn’t make you immune.
Does she know to talk safety with her potential partners? Does she realize that condoms protect her from more than just pregnancy? Have her partners been tested? Has she? Somehow I couldn’t picture her daughter bringing this topic up with mom, the way mom may have with her daughter years ago.
When I’d mentioned my general thoughts to my brother-in-law, an ER doc, he commented on the fact that STD awareness discussions seemed to stop once people got out of their twenties and thirties as if the libido disappeared during that time as well. He mentioned that retirement communities and assisted living facilities still had the occasional outbreak of an STD that required treatment among their residents, and when it spread, it was usually pretty rampant.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m thrilled to death to hear that the sex drive is thriving with the 50+ set (in fact, this Podcast is faboulous proof that life does not end at 50)… I just hope and pray that those folks rediscovering themselves and their sexiness remember to be safe while enjoying life. In fact, if someone you love may be at this place, talk to them about it. Nothing says love like looking out for someone else’s health while they rediscover the joy of living sexy!
And for those of you who are wondering how I feel about turning 40? I Feel GREAT!!!!
As always, I’d love to hear from you guys, so feel free to share your thoughts, insights or questions…
Has anyone else noticed the erosion of the middle ground?
While thinking about what I wanted to say today, my thoughts were initially on sex (I know, shocker, right?) and how there are moments when I feel like I’ve stepped back into the Victorian era. But the more I thought about it, the more it dawned on me. It’s not that we’ve gone back completely to the days where chastity belts were used (and not for kink) and sex was not done in polite society for any purpose but procreation. No. I have too many friends who know how to let their freak flag fly for that to be the case. The problem is that there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of middle ground anymore. Maybe E.L. James’ title, 50 Shades Of Grey, was more apropos than she realized…or maybe she’s a lot more savvy than we give her credit for.
A little while back a friend and I got to talking about how sex questions seem to find a way into my lap. Some of you may even remember that I did a blog post detailing a few of the questions that have floated my way over the years. Somehow we jumped from that to my penchant for pleasure parties. I casually mentioned that it had been a while since I’d hosted such an event and that it might be fun to revisit. Those parties tended to be a blast and the antics that often followed made for some hilarious storytelling amongst friends! Her reaction surprised me.
Me: It has been a while since I’ve hosted a toy party. Maybe I should do it again once I have some free time. Her: Uh… If you have one of those parties, don’t bother inviting me, ok? Trust me, my feelings won’t be hurt. Me: Huh? Her: (Scrunches her nose) That’s not my kind of thing. Me: Pleasure parties? They’re a ton of fun, but okay. No big deal. Have you ever been to one? Her: No. I don’t need that kind of thing. Me: What kind of thing? Her: Sex toys. My man is all I need, right hon? (Rubbing his forearm) Me: (blinking) Okay. Does that mean you’ve never used a sex toy? Her: No. I don’t need to. They just seem unnatural. Me: (biting tongue) Everybody’s different.
Yes, that was a big eye blink moment for me. It never occurred to me that I might have a friend who was completely closed minded about the topic of pleasure enhancers.
My friend is a sweetheart. She really is. It really surprised me that she bought into the misconceptions about sex toys. I dropped the conversation so she wouldn’t get uncomfortable, but I couldn’t help but notice her man’s face. He was kind of digging the idea of her going to a party and maybe bringing something home for them to play with. In fact, you could tell he thought it was a very cool concept (not that I would ever point that out to her–it’s just not my place).
Before you misunderstand, I’m not judging my friend. There’s no right or wrong. Her choices are her own. What did take me aback was that there is still the perception out there that adult toys were somehow designed to replace the need for a real, live partner. Considering how unhappy she’d been in her first marriage and our talks about her dissatisfaction with the physical aspect, it never occurred to me that she hadn’t forayed into the world of assisted self pleasure. It also never occurred to me that she’d be so adamantly opposed to the idea as to be mildly judgmental as to why their used. Thankfully, I’m past the point where I feel the need to defend my every choice or explain their purposes in my own bedroom. Our choices, our lives, our consequences.
So you may be thinking to yourself…those are sex toys. That’s not exactly a mild topic. Okay….let’s go a little more tame. How about erotic romance books? As many of you know, erotic romances are near and dear to my heart for obvious reasons… It’s the genre that holds my passion for writing. In fact, it wasn’t very long ago that Bring Back Desire asked me to write a post about why I enjoy erotic romance from a writer’s perspective and how I believe it can enhance a woman’s life.
It was while I prepared this piece that I remembered a chat I’d been involved in regarding love and marriage. The topic of erotic romances was introduced with the following question: “Do you feel that 50 Shades Of Grey and other erotic romances have changed the way women approach sex? If so, how?” It was a fair question. Personally, as many of you know, the book wasn’t my cup of tea, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s been very popular and has opened the doors for many very talented authors to finally get the attention they deserve. Most women said that such books have given them the courage to ask for what they want from their partners in the bedroom. Others said that it’s opened the doors to their imagination to exploration in areas they’ve never considered before. Still more mentioned opened their eyes to more than just “missionary” sex. All those things are great pluses for maintaining strong, healthy relationships.
What did surprise me? The responses of a few women. Some felt it necessary to criticize those who read such “garbage”. Others turned their noses down at the books and said things like “I don’t know how people can read books like that without laughing hilariously. That stuff isn’t real.” or “Those books are unrealistic and a waste of people’s hard earned money.” Okay, let’s be honest for a second. There are definitely some bad writers out there. That could be the cause of such condescending remarks, right? Were they just talking about the overall storyline? Because I can tell you from practical knowledge, most of those “dirty parts” are quite doable and usually pretty dead on. Was it wrong of me to wonder what their sex lives must be like?
The funny thing for those of us who’ve loved the genre for years (both as readers and writers)…we’ve heard it all…and have probably referred to our beloved books by those same nicknames. You know, trashy romance novels, smut books, that sort of thing. It doesn’t really offend us because we love it!
I also realize that reading erotic romances isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s okay. But to criticize other people because they derive pleasure from it? Come on.
So why did I mention “gray area” in the beginning? Maybe partially because I can be a person of intense emotions. I’ve been told that there isn’t much of a middle ground within my personal spectrum. But it’s more than that. When dealing with sex, it seems that somehow our society has created two sides. Those that are very open to exploration, new concepts, “alternative lifestyles”. They often have a “wild” side (even if it’s hidden way back in their closet, only to be taken out with their trusted partner). Or those that are practically puritanical in their beliefs. They believe that sex isn’t something that should be discussed openly and definitely not in mixed company…and you get the rest.
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m way off base. What do you guys think? Are there other places where you’ve noticed the lack of gray area? Because I’ll be honest with you…I don’t think the lack of gray is limited to just sex…. I won’t even touch politics because that just gets downright nasty!
So, like Salt ‘n’ Pepa said… Let’s Talk About Sex. You know I love it when you share what you’re thinking!
So, I've been spanked, hard! I have spanked myself hard, I have spanked others even harder! I'm now heading for a different road, one that still includes all the best bits of me, all the naughty bits, all the hot steamy bits, and plenty of spanking still to be had! But this time I'm creating characters to play out my delightful erotic fantasies, I hope you enjoy the new ride as much as the previous one...