Sunday, January 31, 2010

Where I Fall Short

I have been thinking about the community a lot the last couple of days. There has been a discussion at the Imps Yahoo Group about social status, cliques, and potentials of real or perceived inclusion and exclusion in the community. I have found myself feeling defensive when faced with the idea that anyone may feel excluded from our community or think that we are an exclusive club. I realize my defensiveness is based in sadness - heartbreak that there are people in our community experiencing isolation and loneliness, feelings that they don’t belong and that somehow they aren’t “enough” of one thing or too much of another to be included. I know those feelings too well, which is why I try so incredibly hard to create an atmosphere of acceptance while holding ourselves to standards of healthy interaction (we love you, we want to know you, but we do ask that you at least try to interact with us in a healthy, uplifting way; we'll help you back up when you fall down and hope you'll do the same for us).

We make big effort towards letting people know that our mission is to accept, embrace, and hold space for anyone and everyone who seeks a safe space for their healthy creative and sexual expression. We train our staff in inclusivity. We make decisions all the time that are based on principles of inclusivity rather than our own feelings about individuals and we ask others to do the same. It’s not easy, but it’s incredibly rewarding to watch people who are visibly struggling with insecurity and unconscious/unhealthy social behaviors integrate into the community because we seek out their light, we practice forgiveness, we are willing to risk awkwardness, and we are learning open and healthy communication together.

But the reality is that I can recognize all this and also recognize my own falling short of being an example of the openness I desire the community to practice. The thread about ageism and single older men being perceived as creeps makes me aware that I suffer from judgments about people that keep me from interacting with them. I also struggle with typical insecurities that I will not be liked or that no one is interested in what I have to say. And I struggle with light-hearted social interactions. What we call “small-talk” is an ability that I do not naturally possess in most situations. I am wired to talk about how I feel rather than what I think or what I do, which is usually a more honest and complicated conversation than most people want to have at a social event. So I struggle both with not knowing what to say to people when I have a chance to interact, and fearing that if I talk about what comes into my mind (heart) that they won’t want to interact with me. In most opportunities I have to start or continue a conversation, I choose to just stay quiet.

As I wonder about what contributes to a person’s perception that there is an exclusive clique(s) in the Imps community, I wonder what people perceive in me and my quiet. I know in high school, when I was painfully shy, some people thought I was snobby because I didn’t interact and that maybe I thought I was better than other people. Does my quiet make people think I’m not interested in them or think that I am better than them? Is this compounded by being at the center of the community as a Hostess? Any position of leadership is accompanied by some negative perceptions, whether deserved or not. I had a staff member tell me a few months ago that people are intimidated by us because of our position. I can’t comprehend being perceived as intimidating when I’m sitting here so damn afraid that you won’t like me, and yet I fear my quiet is much of what may make me intimidating.

I’ve realized that if I don’t give people a story, a context for my behavior, then they are going to make up their own story about me and what my actions mean. So here I am, telling you my story...that I am experiencing the same things that many of you are when you come to our events. I’m scared and I don’t really know how to be myself around you. I am fighting “to be nobody but myself.” I am learning how to express myself, what matters to me. Despite the quiet you see, what matters to me most is connecting with YOU. You have no idea how much I love you, how much I think about you, how much I want to witness the stories of your unfolding. My desire is to break free from the fear of being myself with you and in doing so, to help you break free from your fear, too. My desire is to create a space, a community, where everyone can absolutely be accepted for who they are from the moment they walk in the door. Is that an unrealistic Utopian dream? Maybe, but does that make it any less worth striving for?

“Wanting and desire are potent, and they lie latent, dormant, silenced for so long – sometimes our entire life. Other voices (religion, family of origin, partners, work, culture) tell us in no uncertain terms that to want or desire, is selfish, dangerous, and a huge set-up for disappointment. Those voices are lying. They are the voices that keep us from being ourselves; that keep us from being “nobody but myself.”

Acknowledging that we have desire(s) – that we want, is what awakens everything that makes us who we truly are, “nobody but myself.” It’s the best weapon in e. e. cumming’s fight and mine. I’m betting yours, as well...Have faith that what you want and desire is inspired, beautiful, powerful, and worthy. Have faith that your truest voice, your inside voice, is the one that the rest of us most need to hear.
Ronna Detrik

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Penis Passion

I just read this lovely article on Penis Passion by bell hooks.

"Returning to a blissful sense of the sacredness of the body, of sexual pleasure, we acknowledge the penis as a positive symbol of life. Whether erect or still, the penis can always be a marvel, a wonder, a magic wand."

I have had a complicated relationship with cocks over the years. I was sexually violated in my early teens and early 20's, as well as a survivor of domestic violence. I experienced a lot of unhealthy relationships and sexual interactions with men. I discovered my love for women in my early 20's as well and often wondered, especially after every bad relationship with a man, if I was really lesbian. While I loved sex with men, I really had no interest in sucking or touching their cock, or giving it any more direct attention than was asked for (whereas I have always adored pussies...which is why I dedicated an art project to them). As a feminist who participated in Take Back the Night marches and other women's empowerment activities, I found it difficult to separate the men I personally loved from the greater patriarchy that still oppresses women. I found it difficult to be comfortable with their blatant sexuality and desire, even if it was expressed without aggression. Based both in cultural and personal experiences, I got caught up in judgments about how men are obsessed with their cocks, which made me desire them even less.

And then last year I met my guy and his cock. I haven't just fallen head over heels in love with him, but with his cock, too. Yes, this is the healthiest and most loving relationship I have ever participated in, which inspires my tremendous sexual interest in him. Yes, we resonate intellectually, emotionally and sexually, which arouses my mind, my heart and my body. But there is something more to this cock love I have discovered.

As sensitive and wonderful as my guy is, he is still "obsessed" with his cock. He touches it and plays with it and talks about it all the time. He masturbates nearly every day that we don't have sex. And yet instead of being bothered by this, I find it endearing and fun.

"I believe we still need to see more visual images of the penis in everyday life."

Like bell hooks, I have formed a loving and arousing relationship with his cock that goes beyond erection and penetration. I love his cock when it is soft, laying against his belly when in bed, or nested against his balls when he stands. I find myself looking at it whenever it is exposed, wondering at its various states of being. I hold it often without erotic intent -- during our morning cuddle time or over his jeans when we're in the car or watching a movie. I kiss it often. I kiss it good morning or sometimes just kiss it hello for no reason at all.

"We could go down between male legs, abandon ourselves to mystery, and rise up satisfied and pleased with the knowledge that we could give and receive sexual delight. We could express our annoyance at expressions like blow jobs, which implied that anytime we sucked dick it was service work we did to pleasure men. The pretense was over. Females who enjoyed sucking dick could express that joy, could name it as an act of power which required males to trust in the sexual integrity of the female — to trust that at his most vulnerable moment she would give pleasure and not pain."

Oh, how I love sucking his cock. I have evolved from giving passive, dispassionate blow jobs that felt like work, to developing a repertoire of cock kissing, licking and sucking techniques for his pleasure. I have also learned how to give him a good handjob, something I had never done before him. I haven't learned and given these things just to please him, but because I get pleasure both from arousing him and from the acts themselves. It turns me on to suck his cock, most especially when he grabs a fist-full of my hair and fucks my mouth because he is so incredibly turned on.

"In a context of mutual sexual pleasure rooted in equality of desire, there is room for a politics of sexuality that is varied, that can include hard dicks, rough sex, and penetration as gesture of power and submission, because these acts are not intended to reinforce male domination."

My guy and I also have a developing D/s relationship. I find that I am having to work through shame and concern that I am turned on by being dominated by a man, that I desire to worship his cock, that I am so deeply aroused by rough sex and by being taken at his pleasure by mouth, pussy and ass. I am a service submissive by nature and you can see it in nearly all of my relationships, especially my relationship to the Imps. I have no issue with being submissive. It's been sexually aroused by acts that are considered demeaning to women that my inner feminist is reconciling with (and he is too I think). Having someone I admire, like hooks, give it a context of "mutual sexual pleasure rooted in equality of desire" is incredibly helpful. When we play rough, it is absolutely from a place of equal desire and mutual pleasure.

"...those of us who enjoy penis passion often find ourselves silenced by the assumption that mere naming of our pleasure is traitorous and supports the tyranny of patriarchy. This is simply faulty logic. Submitting to silencing makes us complicit. Naming how we sexually engage male bodies, and most particularly the penis, in ways that affirm gender equality and further feminist liberation of males and females is the essential act of sexual freedom."

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Censoring the Dictionary

"A school district in Riverside County has pulled the Merriam-Webster's 10th edition dictionary from school shelves because it includes the term oral sex. The Menifee Union School District took the action last week after a parent complained about the dictionary.

'It's just not age-appropriate,' said school spokeswoman Betti Cadmus told the newspaper. 'It's hard to sit and read the dictionary, but we'll be looking to find other things of a graphic nature.'

The school board will decide later whether to return the dictionaries to the classrooms. One board member told the Press-Enterprise that there are probably more objectionable terms in the dictionary."
Los Angeles Times Blog

Wow, really? We are going to start censoring dictionaries because they contain sexual language? This is an entire school district, not just an elementary school. I am flabbergasted that people are this uptight about providing information to school-age children about the most natural thing in the world.

If a child has the notion to find the definition for oral sex in a dictionary, then it's likely time they learn what it is...because they are already thinking about it! Besides, it's not as if they can't ask a fellow schoolmate or look it up on the Internet. When are people going to realize they can't "protect" their children from learning about sex? And learning from a dictionary and their parents in an appropriate context is a hell of a lot better than learning from their peers with the misinformation that abounds? Take it from someone whose mom kept her out of sex ed and got pregnant at age 16 because she didn't know anything about birth is never a matter of keeping children from learning about sex, it's a matter of who they learn about sex from!

Here's a more comprehensive report on the issue.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Retreat and Renew

The Hostesses of the Impropriety Society had a two day retreat last weekend to discuss the future of the organization and reflect on our accomplishments of the past two years (can you believe it's been two years!?!). We have produced 5 large parties, 7 socials, and several workshops. We have operated in the black financially since the beginning, which is unusual for an organization/business of any kind, whether or not there are paid staff. We have had many, many people tell us that their lives have changed because of their participation in our events and community. And the biggest success of all for us personally: we have worked well together, processed through our conflicts and shadow behaviors with a commitment to healthy communication, and grown our love for each other as we evolve into better leaders and better people.

I have been involved in leadership for 10 years and have seen organizations struggle as politics, shadow behaviors and unhealthy communication destroy professional and personal relationships (and the organizations themselves in some instances). It is remarkable to see how the Imps volunteers have successfully navigated our relationships, deepening our friendship and intimacy rather than tearing each other apart, especially when sex is involved in such a prominent way (consider how most businesses officially discourage relationships between staff because of the problems that can arise!).

It turns out that we do far more than produce sexy parties. While we could have remained focused on managing the logistics alone, the Society is more than a sequence of erotic events. The Imps are a thriving community revolutionizing our cultural approach to sex, relationship and love. Because of our commitment to healthy communication, consent, negotiation, privacy and safety (both physical and emotional), the Hostesses have found ourselves having to take on an expanded leadership role by nurturing the community relationship.

Honestly, we were not prepared for the emotional stamina required for this kind of leadership. We did not consider that we would have to be role models for healthy relating with our staff, our friends and our lovers, holding ourselves to higher standards than we ever have before. We didn't realize that we would have to guide ourselves and others through the process of changing unhealthy communication and relationship habits -- whether public or private. We weren't aware that we would have to mirror people's shadows to them when their behavior becomes harmful to the community and face the heartache of people we love turning away from us. We did not know that community members would come to us for guidance on a whole variety of personal and relationship issues. We were not expecting having to navigate complicated relationships as the lines blur between volunteer staff and personal tribe. We have seen relationships begin and end, conflicts arise and resolve in forgiveness, and amazing love bloom in greater abundance than any of us could have wished for.

We have realized recently that the logistical demands for parties are more than we three hostesses can continue to manage with our full time jobs, families and social lives. The vision of a community center dances in our hearts, but we wonder about the resources needed to make it a reality. When we add the time and energy needed to nurture the volunteer staff and greater community, it's impossible for us to consider growth without growing the circle of leadership. We struggled this last year with maintaining the Society's regular activities. If we are to grow as an organization, or even continue thriving in what we do now, we need to expand the circle of responsibility.

We have decided to implement a new level of leadership in the organization called the Impresarios. This group will include event Crew Heads, as well as a few other new leadership positions that will both help us with the event planning logistics and with nurturing the community relationship. This team will meet monthly and participate in the decision making process. We are excited about the possibilities. We are excited about expanding our vision of what is possible by embracing the deeper involvement of others.

It's a new year and we are headed in a new direction. It feels good. I feel re-energized and re-committed to the evolution of this amazing community that brings so much love, fun and sexy goodness into my life. I hope to find that others feel the same way.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Help With Sexuality Preferences Research

Beiter Sexuality Preference Indicator Results

Partner Orientation
Submissive: You indicated that you are most comfortable with being the submissive partner, which typically means you are waiting for your partner to initiate sexual activity with you to confirm their desire for you.

Arousal Method
Touch: You indicated that you are usually aroused through being touched by your partner.

Emotional: You indicated that you more often experience your sexual pleasure through your emotional feelings.

Sexual Encounters
Adventuresome: You indicated that you feel most comfortable in your sexual encounters where there are experiences of variety and creativity.

Sensitive, sensual and kind. Enjoys the present moment and prefers not to rush pleasure, achieving orgasm within their own time frame. Loyal and committed to their sexual partner. Not likely to introduce new ideas but is receptive to them and adopts a willingness to try anything at least once.

* * * * *

From the website: "The BSPI© was developed as a communications tool to help individuals understand their own sexual preferences in their sexual relationships and provide a comfortable means for openly discussing one’s sexuality.

While the BSPI© is an easy, fun and thought provoking exercise, you are also taking part in a world-wide data collection project. Once you begin the BSPI©, you will be asked to voluntarily submit some general, anonymous demographic information that will be critical in the writing of my book – The Psychology of Your Sexuality. I am collecting the data to learn about differences and similarities in how we experience our sexuality. My hope is to use the information gathered to promote a healthier, wholesome sexuality that has its basis in pleasure and not mechanical performance and that does not pathologize any particular person because of the way they chose to express their sexuality."

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Significant Piece of the Puzzle

where you came from
(poem for my daughter)

the words came home today
unexpected, though i knew
they were inevitable

they didn’t knock at the door
they stumbled in
awkward and young

“I want to know about my dad,”
you said , six years old
unable to know what you are really asking

i tell you...

the thin but short legs
the round little butt
the Buddha belly

they are his

the rosebud lips
the soft brown hair
the swirl of ear

they are mine

the golden skin
the gray-blue eyes
the spirals of curls

they are yours

i tell you...

the remarkable temper
the bug-eyed glare
the exaggerated sins against you

they are his

the need to please
the easy tears
the ability to lie with a smile

they are mine

the screechy whine
the hypochondria
the desire to be center stage

they are yours

i tell you...

the charm
the leadership
the ability to inspire

they are his

the intelligence
the fierce independence
the obsession to learn and create

they are mine

the natural comedy
the gymnast tendencies
the touch that can heal

they are yours

i do not tell you...

the prison walls
the ability to rape
and to murder

they are his
and he will not give them to you

the invisible scar
the gun against forehead
on the night you were made

they are mine
and i will not give them to you

the innocent smile
the easy laughter
the life free of violence

they are yours
and we will not take them from you

* * *

I wrote this poem as a hypothetical rather than literal handling of the situation. I told her what was age appropriate at the time, knowing that I would tell her the full truth one day. She is 14 now, has seen this poem and is aware. She is secure in knowing that I have no negative feelings about her presence in my life.

I will tell more of this story, and how it has influenced my evolution towards the Imps, in the near future.

Autobiography by Poetry

I Know (For Virginia Woolf)


“Five hundred a year stands for the power to contemplate,…”

when you grow up
eating white beans
and ham-hocks,
peeing off the back porch
of a condemned house
without plumbing,
and wearing your mother’s
wedding dress
for eighth grade graduation,
self confidence
is as unattainable
as your own room

when you birth
your first child
at the age of seventeen,
learn neither friendship
nor romance will
play in your sandbox,
and survive on three hundred
a month and food stamps
to earn your diploma,
the dream of composing poetry
is as impractical
as a prom date

when madness
creeps in to take
your wits hostage,
a naïve choice in a lover
leads to his gun
in your bedroom,
and your second child
is conceived in rape
rather than love,
freedom of mind
is as hopeless
as a safe place to sleep

when your days become
blurred snapshots,
writing research papers
while nursing at midnight,
picking lice from your
daughter’s corkscrew curls,
and crumpling into bed
alone and weeping,
the power to contemplate
is as unlikely
as finding a devoted father
for your children

when winning bread
means struggling
to keep poverty
from possessing your family,
success entices you
to give up your imagination,
and the american dream
attempts corporate
conquest of your heart,
your greatest power
lies in your courage
to pick up a pen and write


“…a lock on the door means the power to think for oneself.”

my stories are not
hidden behind wiggling
door handles,
my insights strut between
silly songs and giggles
with my babies

my stories are not
opened with brass keys
tinkling on a silver ring,
my brainstorms swirl and burst
among homemade bubbles
in the back yard

my stories are not
bound by scrawls on paper
or pixels on a computer screen,
my tragedies bleed from
tiny fingers with splinters
and paper cuts

my stories do not
wait for a quiet room
to reveal themselves,
they run naked through
my house and office
when least expected

my stories learn with me
that privacy is a luxury
a mother must demand
after so many years of interrupted
movies, meals, showers,
and sexual tanglings

my stories gather in my lap
each day as the sun sets,
where I kiss them one by one,
tuck them in a pocket
of my heart and whisper,
“Our time will come."

* * *

This poem was written as part of a submission to a competition for a writing grant for women, in response to Virginia Woolf's quote about a woman needing a room of her own and an independent income in order to be able to write.

More Brave, More Real

"i know i’m inspired when i read super-intimate tweets by friends & other artists, when i read interviews with diamanda galas talking about her extreme personal details. i feel less alone, more human, more brave, more real. in the end, it’s not about the ass-pimple. in the end, it’s about the humanity, about people willing to share their imperfections & strange little habits so that we don’t feel alone." Amanda Palmer

I came across this quote the other day on Amanda Palmer’s blog and am grateful for the reminder that people respond to deeply intimate sharings. It’s a way of building connection, one of the most important activities of my life.

It’s a new year, a marking of time that lends itself well toward manifesting new intentions...or reviving old ones that need re-commitment. Like telling my story. I am feeling the call to write again, to start telling my story again, as raw and open as I used to when I was blogging to people I didn’t know, people who didn’t live in my local community. I don’t post here as often as I would like because I’ve been afraid to be open here. I have to see the people who will read what I write. I can’t hide behind anonymity here. But I am deciding that’s ok. I am taking my next step in open-heartedeness.

This blog was meant to be a diary of an erotic hostess. How can it be a diary if I don’t write my most personal thoughts about this journey that I am on? And where better to start than by telling the story of what led me here, why I give everything I have to nurturing the Imps community? It’s a compelling story. I have experienced many miracles and traumas in my life. I have been through the school of hard knocks more than once. And out of that I have created a life rich in love and acceptance of who I am...emotionally intense, incredibly vulnerable, long-winded writer and all. :)

I now have a job where I have quite a bit of free time and no one is monitoring what I do with it. I think the wise thing to do with some of that time is write. I miss writing, both the personal sharing of it and the art of crafting thoughts into compelling sentences and paragraphs. I miss processing my life through writing. I miss sharing my evolutionary process with others through the written word.

And the truth is that I want to transition to making a living from something I love, like writing and facilitating evolutionary experiences for others, whether through coaching or producing erotic parties or other transformational activities that I haven’t even imagined yet. I am hoping that by dedicating some time to practicing writing again through my blog, it will lead me to writing articles and/or a book, which will lead to new opportunities for my career.

So the coming weeks will not only become a more consistent documentation of my life now, but I will also start telling the story of what led me here. I think I will begin tonight by sharing a couple of poems I’ve written about my past.