Finding My Footing At CatalystCon

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Long, long ago in a city far, far away…

Oh yeah, so I went to CatalystCon West in September. This was my 2.5th Catalyst (only partially counting East where I was so sick I only made it to half of the talks and nothing else).

So aside from starting to get a more confident footing at this conference and not being there with the large crew I had been with in the past, I told myself that I’d get out of my comfort zone and do more with my weekend. It really worked out well I’m happy to say.
My other big goal was to survive/succeed at my first time speaking at ANY conference!

I guess I’ll run through some highlights in no particular order then:

The biggest moment obviously, was the panel I was on (you can find the audio on the GentlePerverts Social Club Episode #7)
Despite some serious anxiety running up to it and a lack of sleep, it went surprisingly well! I had only done a couple of podcasts with the lovely crew
but we gelled quite well. And I think it was not only informative but hopefully a bit fun too.
I’m happy to say we will be reprising my role on the panel at the next Catalyst Midwest!

Another big moment was finally pinning Reid Mihalko down for a few minutes to do a quick interview on his origins for GPSC (see Episode #7 linked above)! That was really fun and he’s always an awesome person to chat with.
Speaking of Reid, the networking event that he ran easily eclipsed any that I’d been to at a professional event, ever. It was made into a sort of game but it really made me not only synthesize my self promotion down to a brief, digestable few sentences, but got me talking to a lot more people than I would have gone up to on my own.
I can’t wait to see all of these new people more…

I also met the lovely Erin Kennedy and found out all about her ventures and path that brought her to Catalyst. Definitely check out her site, sexfortherest.com!
And thanks to meeting Erin, she gave me the heads up and a group of us found ourselves at Bawdy Storytelling on Sunday night! I had heard clips from the RISK! podcast many times and really wanted to see it. I was pumped Dixie was doing one in LA after the end of the conference.

Oh and it goes without saying that a weekend full of sex educators may have included some sexy times, too…

In the end, I was very glad that I spent the extra night on Sunday to decompress with people. It’s a really emotionally and socially intense weekend and that time to be more relaxed around friends is a great way to prepare going back into the post-con world.

I’ve mentioned that my goal was to get a better vibe of the direction I wanted to go in the educator realm. I had been somewhat seriously looking at MPH and Sex Therapist programs/routes but the Sex Educator Bootcamp with Tristan Taromino really opened my mind in terms of going my own route. I’ve settled on bulking up on some small bits of education while I relaunch my site with a new direction soon. Depending on how that goes, I’ll consider a masters program further down the line…

Anyway, Catalyst Con is coming to Chicago in April! I’m trying my best to get everyone I know who is local to check it out…not just to see me but also to see all of the other awesome panels and meet some great educators.

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Breaking Out of Sickness Paralysis

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It’s been a rough month…

I had my wisdom teeth out about a month ago. All four, so I knew it was going to set me back for a couple weeks.

There were warnings that I could have a higher risk of complications due to my age, particularly nerve damage.

I didn’t get that…but I did get a hole between my mouth and sinuses that didn’t heal. And has resulted in a sinus infection that I’m still dealing with.

My ENT says that it looks like the hole has finally closed on its own just recently. But, I’ve been on antibiotics for over a month now, switched twice, and on a course of steroids. This sinus infection just isn’t going away.

It hasn’t gotten much worse since the initial round of it which left me in intense pain, weak, and feverish. Now its just some constant dull pain. And the side effects of the drugs I’m taking.

November/December is typically a tough time for me, being the darkest time of the year also with the least sunlight. My sun lamp helped a little but it’s still an anxiety inducing time, even when I am healthy. So this was a beast that has put me through some serious bouts of crippling anxiety. Worst period of all was the week of Christmas. It also coincided with my primary partner being out of town which made it even more excruciating. I was sure at times I had imminently dangerous/deadly side effects (oh yeah, I’m a bit of a hypochondriac). It was really great to be poly though and have another partner I could see a couple times during that week.

But it still was brutal. Shook my confidence in my supposedly healthy body. I developed twitches and more jaw clenching than my usual TMJ. Some of which still hasn’t completely subsided.

All the while, I’m really not feeling that terrible. But, of course, that week I went off antibiotics hoping I was better and the symptoms came back. This is all a very new experience for me…extended sickness, my first surgery, first time with anesthesia…

So I’ve got a few more weeks of this bullshit until I go back to the doctor for another scan. I can already tell that it doesn’t feel like anything has changed. Which means I may have to get sinus surgery to clean it out next month.

It’s really a challenge to get myself to go out. To say, okay, you’ve got a little pain and some of the usual side effects, but you’re okay. Nothing is going to disastrously happen, you’re not going to suddenly have a turn for the worse.

I went on a first date this week and, honestly, it went pretty poorly. Maybe there wasn’t a connection. But I also felt distracted, worrying about myself.

But try I shall to get back to normal. I’ve been absent from the kink scene, twitter, hanging with friends. And I think that may be as detrimental to my state as the sickness itself.

So, tomorrow night we’re going on a date with another couple. I still can’t drink to help relax and take my mind off my worries but maybe we’ll have a fun enough time in a laid back hang out that I’ll feel like my normal self again.

And good lord I can’t wait to have this all sorted.

Another party? Another good one…

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A few weeks ago, my second party went down. And holy crap, I was nervous about the size of the party expanding by 5 people.

It’s a lot when you live in a 1 bedroom apartment!

But, due to cancellations, it ended up being the same size as the last one. Phew.

Anyway, we had a number of new people, all of whom said they probably wouldn’t be playing that evening but came to watch.

All of whom ended up playing to varying degrees. So this formula seems to be working…

No “never have I ever” this time. We tried out Clusterfuck (from the makers of Cards Against Humanity). Which was interesting because it involves trying to set up a theoretical threesome or hooking up with people. Some seemed confused as to whether this was a binding contract for later during the party or just a game. But it was hilarious. Especially since everyone kept trying to (unsuccessfully) set up threesomes. No points were scored until the final round when the only points scored were by a successful threesome. Who knew it’d be such a hard game to get points!

The introductions were paired with all saying what our “mildest and wildest” things we considered doing that evening were. I was shocked that everyone felt comfortable enough to play along and be open about it.

We also tried out a beta card game from the Sex is Fun folks. This led to some fun interactions and challenging the group to start stepping out of their comfort zones. Though the cards did start to escalate a little too quickly, things fizzled out once a good chunk of the table was off in the other rooms playing due to their card choices. So it made for a very natural transition that worked.

Not much else to say other than some wonderful sexy times followed!

Though, the question is, now that I have too many people for one party, do I try having more people come or have smaller parties more frequently?

But, really, this is not a bad problem to have, just logistics. 😉

The First of (Hopefully) Many Play Parties

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So New Years didn’t work out…

I had to give it another shot. And this time, no putting things off until late in the night.

What a great idea 🙂

I set a start time of 7:30 and a cutoff doors closed time of 9:00. The first guest arrived at 7:31. The last at 8:56. Given people usually show up for parties a couple of hours late, this was miraculous and really worked well. That way, we were all together at the same time to do introductions and break the ice together.

Which was well served by a game of Never Have I Ever…Which, incidentally, I had never played. Naturally, the topics stayed all sexual. But we lost steam after going around the group twice.

It was a great group, small, but mixed. Veteran swingers, kinksters, poly folks, people with more party experience, people with no party experience. This variety kept everyone on their toes to differing experience levels and interests. But also made for awesome interaction and discussion!

I was most delighted that while there was no obligation to stay for play time, everyone chose to. Not only that, everyone got naked and did some sort of play at one point or many!

A girlfriend was the first one naked, demoing some toys and squirting all over the place. It was a great way to get everyone into the idea that yes, it is okay, nobody is going to judge you no matter what you decide to do.

My other girlfriend found a friend and spent the next FIVE hours playing with some awesome neon wand electrical toys. The endless shocking each other all night was incredibly entertaining.

Watching everyone come up with awesome fun was just the best. I had a grin on all night! I even jumped in here and there too. Though being my first time hosting, I found myself hesitant to receive anything.

This hesitance was not unfounded, my house play party experience was limited to two experiences, one where my girlfriend at the time and I didn’t connect with everyone else and one where we arrived far too late and the bonding had begun already. Both of these experiences were short and incredibly awkward. So I had no experience being at a party from start to finish!

It was an incredibly intense and intimate experience for the group as a whole. Even if we weren’t physically intimate with everyone, I credit this to the small group size and limited amount of space. Sure, it kept people from getting into any elaborate kinky scenes, but I think the closeness really made it a special experience.

So when can I do the next one?? 😀

A Poly Journey Begins

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New Years Eve. I knew something was different. That it was the start of something very new.

During the fall I had some wonderful partners enter my life. All of them.

Around the end of the year I had begun to work through some of the odd partitioning I had done in my brain when I was in my last LTR. With the habit of keeping romantic/emotional feelings separated and this notion that in order to succeed at improving myself, I had to somehow stay single.
While it is true, I have for the better part of the last ten years, bounced from monogamous relationship to monogamous relationship. My last one did open up somewhat. But it was restricted, particularly in that the possibility of polyamory was off the table. Which worked fine for what it was, but it did require a certain amount of distance. So in my connections with others, I built up some artificial walls to keep a certain amount of distance, thus avoiding any potential depth that may cause serious feelings to build.

So I was feeling that I had a bad serial monogamy streak and the solution was to stay single. But this began to break down around the holidays when I saw all of my partners in the weeks leading up to that busy family/friends break. I came back from that having been out with these two new partners only a couple of times each. But seeing them again, it really started to make me realize I had done some serious reflecting during the winter break and found that I could try relaxing my boundaries and see where things led. And that despite the connections being new (okay, not quite new with Esperanza), I felt something different with these two. It made my heart flutter to see them again.

So I had two midnight kisses on New Years. I didn’t know if it was indicative of anything with them at the time, but I knew it sure as hell marked the start of a new year and new possibilities.

I began to see these two more. Due to circumstances, I’ve seen one more than the other. So naturally things took on different paces, which was all good. Either way, I think I can pretty safely say I am exploring polyamory with both at this point. They both have other partners. And I’m good with that. Because my time with each has been fantastic.

Jealousy is a bitch

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I’m pretty rational about when I have a bout of jealousy. I have to say I’m pretty good at finding what the cause is (what I’m lacking instead of being frustrated at something a partner is doing). And I’m pretty good at finding why I shouldn’t be jealous because I get other wonderful times and feelings from partners.
But damn if it isn’t hard sometimes to just make that green monster go away.

One toy per month

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So I’ve put myself on a not strict one toy purchase per month diet…I realized after my last breakup that despite a toy bag with lots of things in it, I didn’t have much in the way of kink toys.

Had to fix that! Here’s the breakdown.

1. Nipple clamps, blindfold, silicone gag, pinwheel – okay, clearly not one but just a few inexpensive ones to get started…An inexpensive leather flogger too. GARBAGE. Seriously, I thought I had found a deal from all of the positive Amazon reviews but I won’t link it here because it’s so bad. Stingy but so poorly made and with small tassles…

2. Leather cuffs (oh and they’re fleece lined).

I also picked up some Kimono brand condoms since I had heard them recently raved about. Not sure but I don’t think they’re my thing…

3. A riding crop. I was in Milwaukee so I stopped in the lovely Tool Shed and picked up that little fun thing. Also ordered some female condoms as I was getting low and have found them to be quite good on occasion.

4. Suede flogger. A large, well weighted one. Nice satisfying thud feeling.

Also picked up a cock ring as I’ve been curious for awhile and Extreme Restraints had them on sale 🙂 Can’t speak to it yet…we shall see!

Taking suggestions for future months! I am very curious about a violet wand though they can be quite pricey…

 

That said, there is a bigger issue at hand…my new toys don’t fit in my bag! I don’t need something significantly bigger, BUT the big issue is fitting long things in, particularly the two foot long crop! I guess I want something not too big but long enough to fit that…golf bag?!