Cross Post: My Weekend With A HIV Scare

Standard

I wanted to get this out there, especially at the insistence of several folks I met at Catalyst Con. When I was going through this, being the web-induced hypochondriac I am, I was googling to find out about the rate of false positives in HIV tests. The easily accessible data is scarce as many sites like to try and highlight how accurate the tests are and don’t break it down to the individual types of tests and the false positives for each. While it’s great that they’re so sensitive they can pick up relatively new infections, when you make a test more sensitive, you introduce more chance for false positives caused by natural body fluctuations.

And there were a couple of anecdotes out there, but none that really related to my situation.

So if you are in a panic after what seems like an unlikely result from a first round of testing, here is my story.

And good luck to you!

Life on the Swingset: My Weekend With An HIV Scare

A Catalyst Con Non-Review

Standard

I had an amazing time at Catalyst. But it’s not really a story. There were some great presentations, and amazing people. I really enjoyed meeting so many folks working in different ways towards the goal of a more sex-positive world!

I even managed to hand out a handful of business cards. Which was always exciting and fun.

And the conversations were incredibly interesting! Some great insights and experiences shared.

But, to what my prior post was about: Figuring out some direction.

I’ve got really two at this point: non-professional adult education or going for a Masters in Public Health.

The former was a direction I had been considering all along. But the MPH was inspired by some fantastic talks and discussions with folks working in that field. It’s something I had never considered before. I figured oh, maybe social work or some other form of direct therapy. But, I’m a VERY political person and after seeing the talk (first one of the con, mind you) How to be a Sex Positive Warrior in Public Health, I was floored.

Shout out to Kaitlyn Scalisi, Maria Quinn, and Rick Aguilar for putting on this panel!

I really am considering going this route. While it’s the more challenging one, I feel like getting into public health to help try and turn the ship, not just arrange a cabin, could be the best use of my energy and interest. I still don’t know a ton about what’s involved in the degree, but between those fabulous presenters and some friends I know that are working on their MPH’s right now, I will be investigating further!

It’s Aliiiive…And Prepping For Catalyst.

Standard

It’s been far too long since I last posted. What’s up with that?

Well.

Summer. It’s a busy time with a lot going on. So I’ve been enjoying it and not musing at home as much.

I did have a third play party. Which was the first one that had a lot more guys than women. Fun times still and the women certainly weren’t complaining about the ratio. :3 But then I took a little break from hosting until the end of this month…hoping for a big party and good times!

And that brings me up to September, which will be Catalyst Con. I may not have much to say leading up to it, but will likely have a lot to unpack afterwards. 

Catalyst Con is a sexuality and relationship conference being held in LA this time. My plan is to talk to as many people as I can and find out two things: 1) What does your job relating to the conference topics involve, and 2) how did you get here? I really want to break into the sex education or related therapy industry but the question is what route to take to get where I want to be. I’ve got ideas of what some people do and how they got there through podcasts, but I know I’m not getting the whole story and need to learn more!

And meet some really awesome sex-positive people!

Another party? Another good one…

Standard

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. 😉

Being a Better Advocate for Myself (or how I’m not currently)

Standard

I went to an awesome party with lots of great people last night.

And I had a really fun time helping my primary achieve some major fantasies of hers. I have some fun bite marks to prove it, even.

But I came to the party really excited to meet new people and play with someone(s). And I did meet people, as per the usual. And as per the usual, I did not play. I’m realizing I’m just really bad at asking people for what I want.

Maybe out of fear of rejection? But in a setting like that, even a rejection will be respectful and light because I’m not going to be a douche in how I approach someone.

And. It’s not even necessarily an issue of asking someone at a party. I think my inability to really clearly answer the “what do you like?” question easily to a play partner (especially if being dominated) points to a bigger issue of knowing what I definitely want and being a good advocate for those desires.

What did I want?

Asking myself this, I came into the weekend very much looking forward to playing with one or multiple people. Having only hosted a party before, I didn’t feel super comfortable to play there due to hosting duties. But in this case, I shouldn’t have any of that.

Early on in the evening, I wanted all sorts of things. I came into the weekend with the idea in mind that I had not fisted anyone in quite some time and wanted to rectify that. I wanted to eat someone out, I wanted to maybe even fuck them. I wanted to flog or paddle them. I wanted to try some fun toys on them.

As the evening went on and I fucked and flogged my primary, my interests shifted. I still really wanted to fist someone but I was just dying to eat some pussy. And I really had some opportunities and people I could have asked. But I didn’t.

Some of it was legitimately bad timing. But I also erred on the side of approaching it like someone far less experienced than myself should approach it. Instead of saying hey, I would really like to play with you but I’m going to have to jump in and make this a threesome in a minute here, I shut down, stopped talking, and she even mentioned she was going to wander, possibly as an open invite. But I had closed any interaction opportunities.

I honestly feel quite bad about this. It totally would have been kosher to ask that of her. And I really know better that it is okay to ask these things.

Similarly, my partner and I met someone at a recent party and we found out each other was open. There was some attraction there but I had settled on just waiting it out until the next time bumping into each other to broach anything. But, she messaged me and asked if I/we were interested in her. I said oh totally, I didn’t realize you were interested or that I could just have asked.

I’m not doing myself any favors by not advocating for myself and my desires. And nobody is going to read my mind. Or make things happen for me. Especially being so lucky to be surrounded by some really awesome sex positive people, it’s silly for me to not ask!

Up next: a working list of things I know I want.

 

The First of (Hopefully) Many Play Parties

Standard

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

Standard

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

Standard

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.

A New Year’s Eve play party that wasn’t…

Standard

I’ve hosted a NYE party the past five years at my apartment and invited a variety of friends over. It’s mostly been an evolution of my current friends at the time but was also a mix of old ones that would pop up and join the festivities. But, I was a bit tired of hosting every year so I was going to take the year off…

Until everyone badgered me into it again 😉

But there was a twist. I made a little Google Docs survey to poll friends on their interest in a play party. I soon realized I had definitely reached the critical mass needed to pull one off. So why not NYE?

Part of the survey results

Part of the survey results

Two problems. One, finding enough of them that didn’t already have plans and getting them to come to mine. Two, I didn’t want to leave all of my (for lack of an easier term) vanilla friends out of the festivities. So, I made a second invite to the people I thought would be interested in the play party, telling them about the rules and that they would have to appear vanilla until after midnight or whenever the other people left.

Things went great. Well, for a typical party…of course, an 8pm start meant people started arriving at 9:30pm. But that’s how it goes…

About 8 vanilla friends showed up and we had 19 people total. But four of the vanilla folks hopped to another party for the ball drop. And the remaining four left shortly after. So here we were, just 12:30, and free to break out the sexy fun. Except, everyone was just hitting a great buzz from the champagne right then and were busy chatting!

So as things went along, the mood mellowed out and turned into a circle discussion about the protocols and drawbacks of the kink and swinger scenes (with some poly discussion as well). Fascinating conversation and enlightening to all. It was a wonderful time. For various reasons the energy level dipped and play started to seem like it wasn’t going to happen. It ended up being a wonderful party with great and sexy people, even though there was no play party.

That said! I’m totally stocked up for hosting one in the future. Play parties aren’t cheap to throw but most of the stuff you buy you can reuse so it’s an investment…