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7 Not-So-Deadly Myths About STDs

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STDs can be scary – if you don’t know the facts.

condoms

Due to the highly stigmatized nature of sexually transmitted diseases and infections, it’s no wonder everything from STD prevention to transmission gets cloaked in confusion and misconception. STDs rarely get talked about without a hidden agenda: fear. Fair enough. STDs can be scary – if you don’t know the facts.

Lucky for you, we do.

Not only are STDs either treatable or manageable these days, but they’re rarely deadly. Bet you didn’t know that, right? We’ve gathered seven other not-so-deadly myths about STDs: explained, decrypted and vetted for your educational benefit.

You’re welcome.

Envy – If You Have an STD, You are Alone

There are more than 30 sexually transmitted infections and diseases. Of the STDs that are diagnosed annually, only some (gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, hepatitis A and B, and HIV) are required to be reported to state health departments and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).The CDC reports that more than 19 million documented new infections occur annually – some curable, some not. Couple that information with the number of cases not getting documented (the other 24 or so STDs), and it’s plain to see that if you are diagnosed with an STD, you are not alone – at all. (What’s it like to have an STD? Read more in Honey, I Have Herpes.)

Sloth – People with STDs Are Dirty

STDs are transmitted through skin-to-skin contact, genital fluids and blood by way of intimate contact, oral sex, vaginal sex and anal sex. Unless you think sex is inherently dirty, STDs are anything but. Washing, douching and genital hygiene methods do not prevent STDs; in fact, genital washing practices after exposure can even increase transmission risk.Clean and dirty are terms of the past. Now, it’s safer sex (or lack thereof) that determines risk.

Gluttony – People with STDs are Promiscuous

That someone has ever contracted an STD or is living with an STD now is not an indicator of that person’s sexual proclivity. Yup, cue the gasp.

In order to contract an STD, a person must engage in one of the aforementioned sexual activities at least once. But once is all it takes. I work both with people who contracted an STD during their very first sexual encounter and those who’ve had a number of sexual forays but have never contracted an STD because they’ve been diligent in their safer-sex practices.

Whether it’s your first or 30th sexual encounter, the risk of contracting an STD is based on the activity you’re enjoying and the measures you take to protect yourself.

Lust – If You Have an STD, Your Sex-Life is Over

If you have an STD, your sex life might change, but you will definitely be able to have one. As someone who’s lived with an STD for 14 years, I can attest to the ability to have an enjoyable and healthy sex life regardless of living with an STD. Quite frankly, my STD has never precluded a partner from wanting to engage in sexual activities with me.

While I’ve had to be more conscientious of risk and transmission – not only to others, but to myself as well (having an STD increases the risk of contracting new STDs), my sex life has hummed along quite nicely. After you bridge the initial challenge of when to tell a new partner about your STD – and how – yours will too.

Wrath – People with STDs Infect People on Purpose

More than half of all people will contract an STD at some point in their lifetime – most won’t know it.Sure, I’ve heard of those horror stories where someone was sleeping with as many people as possible in order to spread their infection, but those situations are not the norm. Most transmissions occur because people are unaware they have an infection at all, and/or people are not engaging in comprehensive safer-sex.

Pride – I Don’t Need to Get Tested

The most common symptom for all STDs is no symptom, which is also why most people are unaware they have contracted an STD. Subsequently, without getting tested, there’s no way to know for sure. 

Think you’ve been tested during your pap smear? Think again. Certain types of pap smears may include HPV testing, and it is also possible that swelling or damage from other STDs could show up on your pap smear. However, that is not the same as undergoing comprehensive STD screening.

Keep in mind that an untreated or asymptomatic STD can still be transmitted to others, and can cause serious health problems for the carrier as well. For example, at least 15 percent of all cases of infertility among American women can be attributed to tubal damage caused by an untreated STD.

Greed – It Costs Too Much to Practice Safer Sex

Safer sex is actually easier and less expensive than you might think. Only two out of four steps in a comprehensive safer-sex practice involve monetary items to begin with, and even those are often attainable at a low-cost or for free. These include:

  1. Talking to a partner about safer sex before engaging in activities with them.
  2. Having a full STD screenings and sexual health exam at least once a year and more often if you have new or multiple partners.
  3. Using barriers consistently and correctly.
  4. Making safer lifestyle choices to reduce risk, such as having mutually exclusive relationships, limiting drugs and alcohol, or reducing the number of sexual partners you have at one time.

Now that you know a little more about STDs, you may need to get tested. Use this handy-dandy testing finder to locate your nearest provider. (Get more facts about sexual health in The Shocking Truth About STDs.)

Complete Article HERE!

8 Steps for Choosing a Strap-On Harness for Men

By Mistress Kay

Strap-on fun isn’t just for women. Men can have fun, too. Use these 8 steps to choose the best strap-on harness for your needs.

Deuce02

Did you know that even if you have a penis that you can still wear a strap-on harness? Yes, manufacturers make strap-on harnesses for the male-bodied as well as the female-bodied. While males can definitely wear strap-on harnesses designed for women, some find that the pressure it places on the penis and testicles to be uncomfortable. Strap-on harnesses for male bodies are designed with a penis in mind, providing much better comfort.

Strap-ons for people who have a penis can be used for a variety of play times. Some people like to use them as an alternative to penetrative sex (or in kinky contexts, as a “punishment” where the wearer doesn’t get to be directly involved in stimulation). Other people like to strap them on to continue the penetrative action after the penis has gotten soft (due to orgasm or other reasons). Yet others like to explore the idea of double penetration.

While some aspects are different, a lot of the things you’ll want to look for in your strap-on harness are going to be the same, whether you have a penis or not. There are a few key differences, but for the most part, any helpful suggestions you can find (like the ones below!) about finding a good-fitting strap-on harness are going to apply no matter what you have behind your fly.

Interested in trying a strap-on? Here we’ll take a look at this unique sex toy and provide some tips for choosing one for yourself.

Materials

Material can be an important concern for your harness. Material choice will affect the cost of your harness, how easy it is to clean, how comfortable it is for you to wear, how long it will last, and more. While leather tends to be the “premium” material for sex toy harnesses, it also is usually the most expensive and requires careful maintenance after use. Neoprene materials have picked up in recent years because of their ability to be tossed in the washing machine after use. Other materials may include nylon, velvet, cotton, spandex, and more. Much like buying a pair of underwear online, think about what materials have the properties you enjoy and try to find a harness in similar materials.

Double-Penetration or Single

DeuceSome harnesses for males are specifically designed to work well for single penetration. For people who want to continue having sex with a partner after they lose their erection (whether due to orgasm or other reasons), a harness designed for single penetration will hold the entire penis in a comfortable manner while the person can use the dildo that they’ve strapped on to the harness. In some cases, these harnesses may be designed for the penis to slip through the D-ring into the interior of a hollow strap-on dildo to make you “part” of the action.

For harnesses designed for double-penetration, your harness will help you take advantage of the penis you already have – while adding the ability to wield another one. These types of harnesses will have a spot where your biological penis sticks through and an O-ring where a dildo can be attached for easy double penetration.

Built-In Dildos

Some harnesses will include a built-in dildo. This dildo may be able to be removed to be cleaned. In most instances, it will include a hollow interior so that the wearer’s own penis can slide inside the dildo for a more comfortable wearing experience. However, if the harness was built for a specific dildo, the O-ring or the design may not allow the use of any other toys. When purchasing a dildo and harness set designed for use with one another, ensure you can use other toys with the harness down the line in case you decide to change up your toys.

Adjustment Points

Depending on how often you take it on and off and whether you’ll be sharing it with other people, you may have a preference to where the adjustment points for your harness are located and what they use. Nylon strap systems may be easier for you to use than buckle systems. Most people, however, agree that the easiest system is a Velcro fastening system, but some people find those to be unattractive for their personal preferences. Adjustment points that are available on your hip are going to be easier to adjust than ones that are located underneath the butt. While it can be hard to judge how easy the harness will be to adjust before you purchase it, try checking out reviews to see what other reviewers have to say about the usability of your potential harness.

Sizes

Unlike many other types of clothing, strap-on harnesses usually only come in a single, maximum size. Due to the adjustment system, this single size can usually be modified to fit a wide range of hip sizes, but it still has a maximum size. If you’re a plus-sized person, you’re going to want to pay attention to the maximum size measurement of your harness. Many harnesses will maximize at a size around 44″. Some harnesses will go up to 60″, and a few harnesses (usually designed for plus-size bodies) will go up to 72″ and above. If you have wider hips, you’ll want to pay attention to these measurements to ensure your harness will fit once you receive it. (Get some great sex positions to use too in 6 Sex Positions for Big, Beautiful Bodies.)

Strap Styles Deuce03

How the harness fastens onto your body will vary. The two most-popular styles include a “single strap” and a “double strap.” While both styles will include a waistband strap that goes around the hips, in a single-strap variation, there is a single strap that goes between the legs (similar to a “thong” style underwear) that holds the harness onto the body.

In a double-strap harness, there are two straps that slip between the thighs and go underneath the cheeks of the butt (similar to a jock strap). Depending on what you plan to do, you may prefer one style over another; but it’s all personal preference. If you plan on doing any anal play while wearing the harness, however, a double-strap style leaves the butt open for experimentation. At the same time, a single-strap style would put pressure on the anal area to help keep a butt plug in while using the harness. Think about what you’d also like to do while wearing the harness and purchase a harness that supports that.

Washability

Different strap-on harnesses will require different methods of care. If you’re okay with gently hand-washing your harness, materials like leather might be a good option. If you’d prefer the effortless method, you might want a neoprene material that can be tossed into the washing machine after use. Decide what type of harness works best for you. Of course, you should pay attention to the manufacturer’s recommendation for cleaning when you purchase it.

Special Features

While most male strap-on harnesses are pretty straight-forward, some do come equipped with special features. Some can use an optional “butt plug attachment” that attaches to the harness itself to hold a butt plug in for the wearer. Others may come equipped with special pouches that hold vibrators to add vibrations to the dildo that the wearer is using. Some may be waterproof or specifically designed for aquatic adventures. If you have something specific in mind, see if you can find a harness that works with your adventurous ideas.

Experimenting with the enjoyable world of strap-on harnesses for males can be full of exciting and enjoyable pleasure. With the above suggestions, you will hopefully have better luck finding that perfect harness to take you on that adventure. Don’t give up if your first harness isn’t your first love! Sometimes, it may take a couple tries to find that perfect one for you. Enjoy the ride!

Complete Article HERE!

Worried About Weight? How to Have Spectacular Sex Anyway

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Spectacular sex – at any size – is really all about putting mind over body mass.

Fat man holding a measurement tape against white background

I was in my 20s the first time I heard the term BBW and learned that it stood for Big Beautiful Women. I had access to magazines, TV, books, movies and a host of other media, all without ever hearing of someone who thought fat bodies (like mine) could be sexy. I’m like a lot of fat people. (And yeah, I’m using the word fat even though some people still cringe when they hear it. Nothing about it is inherently insulting, negative, or worthy of scorn. I promise, getting used to hearing it will take the sting out.)

Anyway, like a lot of fat people, I was raised on a steady diet of disdain for my body, predicated on the idea that I could never be happily partnered with anyone if I “stayed fat.” Many people of size are resigned to the idea that they should settle for boring, intermittent, unsatisfying sex, or worse -that they should forgo sexy times altogether until they lose weight. Given the stats on successful weight loss, roughly 95 percent of those people will be waiting a very long time. I’m sure geriatric sex is awesome, but why wait decades to have the awesome giggity you could be having right now? Let’s take a look at what keeps some Big Beautiful Women (and yes, Big Handsome Men too) from the big, big love they could be enjoying now.

Problem: Logistics

Trying new sex positions can be daunting for anyone. But when you or your partner look nothing like the Kama Sutra pictures, sex becomes a mystery wrapped in a riddle wrapped in a condom. Can you believe there’s no such thing as a fat Kama Sutra? Existing books on sexual positions all focus on a specific body type that excludes not just fat people, but anyone below 5 feet or above 6 feet tall.
Solution: In the 1980s Dr. Ruth Westheimer encouraged the use of pillows for propping and leverage, making sex positions easier to achieve. Since then, people have been talking about sex more openly and more honestly, leading to a flood of products designed to help people of all sizes have great sex. The Liberator ramp is my personal fave. It’s a bit of an investment but honestly, how much is too much to spend if the result is even more incredible sex? (Get more tips on sex positions in 9 Sex Moves to Rock a Woman’s World.)

Problem: Dressing the Part

Finding sexy bras, garters, teddies and other lingerie in plus-sizes has always been a hassle. Even if you find a reasonably priced store that carries large sizes, they almost never have large models. A size 22 shouldn’t have to guess what something will look like from seeing it on a size six model.
Solution: Fat-shion! More (mostly online) stores than ever carry plus-size lingerie of all types from modest to bold. Fat people demanded bustiers, thigh-high fishnets, silk boxer shorts, teddies and naughty nighties of all kinds. Torrid and Hips & Curves are good places to begin. (You can also check out plus-size lingerie at our affiliate, Adam & Eve.)

There are also crafting websites where talented seamstresses line up to create custom clothing for all sizes. Adventurous DIY types can add sparkle to boring bras with fabric paints, or even a bedazzler. Finally, you can network with other fatshionistas online to ask questions, get opinions and advice, and see pics of heavy people looking super cute in fancy duds. You might even see me over there!

Problem: “It Doesn’t Look Right”

The concept of confirmation bias means that our brains tend to favor information of imagery if it conforms to something we already believe. Most of us have been taught that, for example, full breasts above a small waist is very sexy. Anything that deviates from this, like fat, must not be sexy, right? Wrong! Sexy is always in the eye of the beholder. Luckily, the solution here is an easy one, since we always have the option to broaden our idea of what sexy looks like.
Solution: In the real world, preferences are as varied and changeable as the people who have them. Find some of the many wonderful images out there of people of all sizes playing sports, dancing, eating cupcakes, and getting the most out of life, and put them someplace you’ll see them often. Whether it’s on your refrigerator, your desktop wallpaper, or stuck on a bulletin board, surround yourself with images of people who look like you (or are you) doing wonderful things. Get used to looking at them until you remember that beauty can be found in a multitude of sizes -especially yours.

Problem: Negative Body Image

I’m certainly not suggesting that fat people are the only ones with body image issues, but fat people are often told how unacceptable they are by parents, siblings, teachers, doctors, classmates, friends, enemies and even total strangers. Whether it’s done in the course of bullying or out of feigned concern, being told that your body is unhealthy, ugly, or wrong can make anyone feel decidedly unsexy. Because we don’t tend to take good care of things we hate, bad body image can become a self-fulfilling prophesy.
Solution No.1: Pampering. Stress and negative body image go hand-in-hand. We tend to be less patient and accepting with ourselves when we’re under stress. The first step in feeling better about yourself is to relax. Whether this means deep cleansing breaths, a few minutes of Mozart, or a nice foot massage, less stress leads to better body image. (Sex is also a great stress reliever. Read more in Skip the Gym, Get In Bed: 7 Health Benefits of Sex.)

Solution No.2: Realism. Everybody knows someone who hates to be photographed because they never like how the pictures turn out. But being fat isn’t like having a zit on your nose. You can’t hide it. What’s more, everyone with working eyes can already see what you look like. So who exactly are you hiding from? Whoever they are, they can already see you. And they’re wondering why you’re trying to disguise curvy hips under a giant T-shirt, or hide a double chin behind a carefully placed thumb-and forefinger.

Problem: Nudity

Aside from all the puritanical attitudes people have about nudity in general, fatties have an even bigger problem. They’ve been told that no one wants to see them naked. If you grew up believing that everyone thinks fat is ugly, taking your clothes off in front of another person is not so much sexy as it is heart-stoppingly terrifying.
Solution: Befriend your body. If you don’t already do this, spend some alone time walking around your home naked. Do the things you’d normally do. Make some tea, read, fold laundry or just take a nap. Take a few minutes to really look at yourself in a full-length mirror and marvel at just how amazing your body is. Being naked with yourself will help you be more comfortable being naked with a friend. Befriending your body also means being honest about what it looks like. Fat women in particular are more likely to engage in fat-denying gymnastics during sex. They keep their arms tight at their sides or twist their backs like a pretzel doing yoga, all in the hope that they’ll look a little slimmer, their stomachs a little flatter. Your partner can see you, and he totally wants to have sex with you. Accepting that upfront makes it easier to relax and have fun.

Problem: Shyness

There are different types of shyness. The shyness I refer to here has to do with not speaking up about your needs, fears, likes and dislikes, or generally being too nervous to discuss things openly with your partner. This type of shyness doesn’t just lead to bad sex; it can be crippling to the whole relationship. While shyness can seem daunting, it can also be overcome.
Solution: Talk it out. Many of us have been taught that it’s romantic for our partner to magically understand our needs without being told. Unless you’re dating a wizard, that’s probably not possible. You don’t have to wait until you’re in the throes of passion to discuss sex. In fact, many couples find it less awkward to talk specifics at non-sexy times, while doing the dishes or relaxing in front of the TV, for example. The timing is less important than the openness. If your fear of crushing your partner (not a realistic worry, say the experts) makes you not want to avoid being on top, say so. If you burst into uncontrollable giggles at the sight of a glow-in-the-dark condom, say that too. Levity is great for diffusing awkwardness. (Get some tips on how to communicate better in Talk Dirty to Me: The Why and How of Hot Aural Sex.)

Focusing on fat can leave fatties feeling so ugly that we develop our own confirmation bias. But come one. Plenty of other things that come in all shapes, sizes and colors are called beautiful every day. Is a sunflower less beautiful than a peony because it’s so much bigger? Of course not. Why should it be any different with human beings? It shouldn’t, especially when you consider that the most powerful sex organ in humans is the brain. That means that spectacular sex – at any size – is really all about putting mind over body mass. (For more great info, check out “Big, Big Love: A Sex and Relationship Guide for People of Size.”)

Complete Article HERE!

Nipple Play

BY A submissives journey

nipples

Nipple play or nipple torture as it is also called, with the acronym, NT, or even, Tit Torture, is intriguing and exciting for just about anyone, in one form or another!  Many women and men alike, enjoy the stimulation of their breast area during sexual contact or during BDSM play activities. Each person prefers different types of stimulation of their nipples/breast area, obviously. Some like pain, others like gentle licking and others like non-painful, varying pressure. Some like only the nipple being worked on, others like the entire area around the nipple being played with, and others like manipulation of the entire chest or breasts being cupped and fondled. There are some who like to be licked, bitten, chewed, sucked, nursed (a combination of extended sucking and chewing), massaged, pulled, twisted, clamped, slapped, whipped, poked, punched, pierced or, of course, any combination of these done within an infinite variety of intensities. The best approach is trying out various techniques, toys and sensations and go from there… Always start out with a warm-up period, first. Start lightly, then gradually, with fingers, tongue, and teeth. Then add more intensity with clamps or suction or wax.

Nipple Clamps

3-Speed Vibrating Nipple ClampsQuite simply, nipple clamps are items that pinch the nipples. Some have adjustable settings so the pressure can be customized or varied. Others work only by a single spring mechanism and do not allow for pressure adjustment. Nipple clamps can also be used on other areas of the body, such as the labia lips, ball sack, ear lobes… well you get the idea… It’s a good idea to test the clamps on the skin of the inner wrist or the webbing between the thumb and forefinger, to get an accurate “reading” of the level of intensity. If it’s bearable and  tolerable within that threshold of pain/pleasure, they should be fine for the nipples or labia or balls!

One of the best clamps is the  “Japanese” clover clamps. Clover clamps are intricately curved spring mechanisms, which closes when released from being squeezed open. The tips which make the direct contact on the nipple have rubber coverings. The pressure they yield is quite intense and cannot be adjusted. They do, however, tend to close and clamp even tighter when the chain attached to the clamps is pulled. Many find them extremely exciting for exactly those reasons! They have a very attractive look , which makes them even more popular, hence their nickname, “Japanese Nipple Clamps“, since they are used quite frequently in Japanese bondage films. They also work overtime as labia or ball sack clamps!

Another popular style of nipple clamp is the Tweezers Clamps, which comprises of matchstick-thin tweezers with small rubber coverings on the tips and a sliding ring allowing adjustment of the tightness. They work very well for many nipple sizes and types, as well as the labia and balls. The chains that attach to this style of nipple clamps  (and the Clover Clamps above) have a variety of uses. They can be pulled, weights can be hung from them, or they can be used to lead the “patient” around or tie them off!

If your fingers need an especially good grip on the nipples because you’ll be pulling and twisting exceptionally hard, clean the nipples with rubbing alcohol, which removes any oily substances that might make your fingers slip. Or just grasp the nipple with a cloth or tissue rather than with your bare fingers.

Rubber tipped forceps, tight squeezing tweezers and other medical devices which squeeze or clamp are great nipple play toys, too. Just let your imagination run wild…

When clamping, seat the clamp on the tit before pulling on it. Allowing it to squeeze into the tit helps it to get a firm grip. Place the clamp toward the back of the tit, away from the tip. A clamp on the tip can easily slide off when it is pulled.

Nipple clamps, like other tight binding, reduce circulation. The rule of thumb is no more than ten or fifteen minutes of use at a time.  Coldness, numbness, and discoloration are signals that it is time to release the clamp. Releasing the clamp often brings more pain than placing the clamp on in the first place because of the sudden inflow of circulation to the blood vessels. If you want to reduce the sudden pain, you can press  your warm palm or squeeze the tips of your fingers on the clamped area as you release the clamps. The pressure slows the blood return, which eases the sudden fierceness of the pain. Of course, sudden pain may be the goal, but it is always nice to have options.

Nipple Suction

Another great way to do nipple play is with suction… and cupping sets work just perfectly! The

Gripper Nipple Suckers by Atomic Jock

Gripper Nipple Suckers by Atomic Jock

plastic cups in the sets with a vacuum pump device are very handy and easy to use. And many seeking a more dramatic flair to their BDSM play, will use the Fire Cups, which add a certain ritualistic effect to the scene, since it incorporates the use of fire to heat the air inside the globe, before covering the nipple and breast area with the cup!
Using suction on nipples pulls the blood to the surface very rapidly, thus making the nipple tissue sensitive and swollen. With repeated use, many have enlarged their nipples with this technique. Always be safe and sane… leave the suction on only for a few (10-15 minutes) minutes at a time. Light bruising may occur, which is normal. Remember, though the area where cups are applied need to be hair- free! Otherwise the hair leaves pockets of air space which breaks the seal for the vacuum!

And More Nipple Play….

nipple rubTying or placing small rubber bands around the base of the nipple to force its protrusion, is another form of BDSM tit torture! One  method for doing this, is to first use the suction on the nipple to make it erect, then tie and thin string around the base of the nipple. This will keep it erect and is very stimulating to the “patient” as the nipple is so sensitive at this point. Another method is to use a device called the Elastrator (used on animals…), which stretches a small, thick rubber band wide open and allows it to be put on the base of the nipple, then releases, and the rubber band is left in place. This is a technique many use for “training” the nipple to stay firm and erect or protruding.

Another sensual nipple play scene is hot wax. Candles without perfumes are the best. Again, test the “heat” of the melted wax before applying any to sensitive nipple areas! If it is so hot that it is burning the skin on the back of the hand, just think how hot that will be on the soft tissue of a nipple or breast! If the melted wax is a very hot type of wax (there are different variations of wax, and thus the temperatures at which they melt also vary and the resulting melted wax may hold the higher temperature longer) just hold candle higher over the area and it will cool a bit as it falls. Dripping is the best way… Try dripping an inch or so of wax over the tit, which makes a cast of the nipple when you peel it off. Use ice to harden the wax quickly which also adds another sensation! Some, who are more experienced with playing with hot wax, like to let votive candles build a small pool of wax and then pour it all at once, but this too can burn, so it is not recommended unless one is experienced with this sort of “waxing” method. Be safe… practice first!

Complete Article HERE!

How Mindfulness Killed My Sex Life

The spiritual path will burn away all illusions, including the sexual kind. The good news is that something better is reborn in the ashes.

by Jessica Graham

How-Mindfulness-Killed-My-Sex-Life

Mel was tall and lanky with short dark hair, good tattoos, and a black motorcycle. I wanted her bad. Lucky for me I was in an open relationship with my partner and he was all for it. It had been a long time since I had gone for a bad girl like Mel. I figured since it was just going to be a fling, it didn’t matter that a truck full of red flags were dropped on the first date, the biggest of which was the dopamine rush coming on hard and fast like a fat line of cocaine after a long time sober. I knew I was in trouble the first time I smelled her salty skin and felt her nicotine stained fingertips on my throat.

I wasn’t practicing polyamory, per se, and my partner was my top priority. I’ve always been fluid when it comes to monogamy, depending on the relationship I’m in and how I’m currently feeling. I’m sure my poly friends probably cringe and call me a swinger. I prefer to think of myself as a free spirit. Since I wasn’t looking for another serious relationship, I needed to keep my feelings in check for the sexy butch I was drooling over. This meant getting mindful about lust.

You know the way it goes. Constantly checking your phone, even on the freeway, thinking you see the object of your desire everywhere you go, dreaming about them, the extreme highs and lows that come with seeing or not seeing them. The throes of a new relationship make most of us temporary drug addicts looking for the next fix. I didn’t want to get carried away with this culturally acceptable insanity. Lucky for me, as a meditation practitioner, I had all the tools to observe this crazy ride without climbing on it.

So I let the affair run its course (trust me, it burnt out quick—I’m not a kid anymore), while I deconstructed and carefully explored the activity of my body and mind. At first I fell into the lust trap and caused some trouble with my partner. But soon I was able to ride the wave of new relationship energy like a pro. It was absolutely comical how the chemicals would flood my system and my mind would start to swirl when I got a text from her. Pretty soon the experience became something I could just watch without getting involved in. Those sensations and thoughts were just impermanent activity and they were certainly not me. How could they be if I was witnessing them?

This wasn’t the first time I’d had the insight that I am not my mind or my emotions. Each time that insight deepens, I experience a period of disillusionment. It had happened with my career, with habits, and so on. Basically I see the emptiness in the experience and I “lose” it. That’s to say I lose my attachment to it and my ability to get a fix from it. When I saw through the self who viewed herself as an actor, my acting career crumbled. Once I knew that my enjoyment of a film or a big piece of chocolate cake was simply a collection of thoughts and emotions, I lost my taste for them as well.

This can be a painful and scary part of spiritual development. It can feel like nothing is enjoyable or meaningful. I often have meditation students report that they feel depressed and apathetic during this stage. My first meditation teacher sat me down after few classes and told me, “Meditation is going to ruin your life.” He wasn’t joking. The cost of waking up is everything. With each awakening I’ve “lost’ a little more, but I wouldn’t want to give any of it back.

So here I was getting mindful about the off-the-hook sexual attraction I had for Mel. I didn’t really consider that I was in the process of screwing up my sex life, just like I had once screwed up my career, and my love of cake. The road to hell is paved with good intentions I suppose. By the time my bad girl fling had run out of steam, my sex drive was plummeting overall. Sex just didn’t seem that important anymore. Thanks to good old mindfulness, sexual disillusionment had kicked in.

Now, let me be clear, up until this point my sex drive couldn’t get any higher. I had never had a partner male or female who wanted as much sex as I did. I was insatiable. One might say that I used sex to get “high,” to ease stress, to encourage creativity, and to feel more connected to myself and others. I had been told that one day I’d have to let my attachment to sex go too, just like everything else. But let me tell you I was hanging on tight to this last frontier. Little did I know the romp with Mel was my last hurrah.

My partner and I had always had a phenomenal sex life. It was never less than great, even after three years together. But my merciless dissection of my obsession with Mel launched us into an awkward period. I just didn’t care about sex anymore. Plus we were going through some relationship growing pains (due mostly to my actions in the early days of Mel), and not being able to use sex as a way to connect created a huge sense of separation.

It was incredibly strange for me to feel sexually removed. My sexuality was something I felt so identified with. I was Jessica, the girl who loves to fuck. Meditation has the side effect of tearing your identities from you piece by piece, and this one was no exception. That part of me had vanished. I could no longer use sex as a salve for whatever ailed me. It didn’t work anymore.

As you can imagine, my partner was none too fond of this development and honestly neither was I. I trusted it would shift, but who knew how long that would take? My desire and drive to be an actor took years to come back. But I knew that when my sex drive returned sex would be better than ever. That’s what happened with my creative work. When I lost my attachment to being an actor I became a better actor and started to have a lot more fun doing it. I just hoped my new and improved sex life would materialize before my partner walked out the door.

We had sex every once in awhile, but it wasn’t great or even always good. We didn’t open up the “sex cabinet” next to our bed even once. It started to get a little dark at the homestead so my partner and I decided to keep the focus on having fun and enjoying each other’s company. It was kind of like a lovingkindness meditation for our relationship. I practiced something I call the “Just Be Nice Campaign.” It’s just what it sounds like. I was just nice. When I got annoyed, scared, frustrated, felt not heard, got triggered—I was just nice. Sometimes that meant leaving the room for a moment, but no matter what, I was just nice. I focused on being the best partner I could be and took any focus off of what I thought he was doing wrong. I kept my side of the street clean. I still spoke to someone and/or wrote about my feelings, but I didn’t take problems or negativity to my partner. I also got more clarity on what was actually a problem versus me simply being reactive.

I kept using my mindfulness practice to work with the thoughts and emotions that came up about my lack of interest in sex. People can get stuck in the meaningless trap that can arise along the spiritual path. In reality the self that thinks everything is meaningless is just another self that can be deconstructed. So, I just continued to peel back the layers, keeping my eyes and heart open as I woke up to new truths. Spiritual development is neverending. There is no graduation date. As I learned to be without my nympho identity I found new ways to ease tension and connect with others. I also found I didn’t need sex to be creative.

Not having sex to fall back on also gave my partner and I the opportunity to work through some issues that had been hiding under the surface up until then. A new kind of love and trust bloomed between us, and we started laughing a lot more. We spoke openly about the lack of sex and the challenges that it brought. We don’t lose hope. We figured it could only go on that way for so long. And then one day a few months later, as quickly as it had vanished, my sex drive reappeared. And the angels of carnal joy sang Hallelujah!

When I say it came back I don’t mean that it was recognizable. My relationship to sex had been transformed. It felt fresh, clean, and fluid. It no longer gave me a fix. Without the attachment sex became more fun, more connected, and way more pleasurable. I had been grasping at the pleasure, and now I just let it run through me, unimpeded by my mind. My partner and I dove into a whole new kind of connection during sex. I felt a deeper freedom to let loose. I was no longer limited to a fixed sense of self when it came to my sexuality. I let my sexual self die in the fire of awakening and it had reemerged shining and alive.

So yes, mindfulness essentially screwed up my sex life. But then it was reconstructed into something I never imagined possible. The self that needed to have sex all the time hasn’t returned. Previously I would pass up a good night’s sleep or a social engagement for sex. Now my priorities are a little different. Life feels fuller now, less uneven. My sexuality will continue to evolve as I evolve, and I’m willing to lose it again if need be. I’m also fully willing to embrace a period of non-stop sex. Whatever it takes. Anything to keep waking up.

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