One of my guiltiest pleasures is my addiction to the CBS series The Mentalist. I’ve had a girlie crush on Simon Baker for 20 years, and there’s something about a smart, cynical, fun-loving, light-hearted genius crimesolver that taps into my childhood passion for Encyclopedia Brown and the Hardy Boys. (We’ll get you yet, Bugs Meany.)
And you thought you knew me.
Somewhere deep in the caverns of my dust-ridden closet sits a box of past-life mementos that may, in fact, hold the “Police Kid” ID cards and badges my brother and I made when we were 7 & 9, in an effort to keep the order in our very boring white little verge-of-’80s suburban ‘hood.
Ahh, me in my seven-year-old lisp: “Thtop, sthpeeding car!”
If I was a detective, I’d totally be a chill, happy, funny brainiac like Patrick Jane, not a coke-addled-and-moody one like Sherlock Holmes.
So, this morning I found myself wrapped in thought as my TiVoed episode closed out. Backstory? Baker’s character “Jane” turned to crime-solving after his wife and daughter were killed. This week is the first time they’ve opened the possibility of him moving on after his wife, when he finally feels the nebulous sparks of chemistry for a mysterious smart chick involved in the crime-solving.
Oh, how dramatic! That’d make an excellent TV show, huh? I know, it’s cliché. But I can’t be smart all the time, dude.
Naturally, the episode got me thinking about the idea of “moving on” in general.
Me, I’ve had me a little of that this month. In fact, my entire last 6 weeks has been nothing but movin’ on.
I’m never going to be able to make you or anyone understand how 2006 affected me, and on so many levels. God knows I’ll try.
To go from just being some chick trying to figure shit out to being a loudly lauded new sex-blogging voice and getting so much attention was the most surreal thing ever. And I was not my own woman. I was not strong enough to have the sense of self one needs when people start latching onto you for guru-like input into their lives.
It was fucking weird. I can’t possibly tell you. I’m totally fucked up, and you’re turning to me for insight? Yo, WTF?
Walking away when the shit got weird was the only thing I could do. The landscape of my life was more explosive than a wartime minefield. A girl makes her choices, a girl keeps on keepin’ on. That’s what to do when the going gets weird.
When the beginnings of success come so easily to you the first time, though, there SHOULD be this little seed of confidence that grows deep down inside. I did that. Me. I worked. I got results. Me.
I had the confidence but I also knew my life was a fucking mess.
When they tell you life doesn’t give second chances, they’re right. It doesn’t. We create them.
Sooner or later, I knew I’d have to take that second chance. But I had to have my shit together and feel comfortable with life before I got there… because, well, third chances? Good luck with that, chump. This ain’t baseball, there’s no three strikes.
Moral of that story? Don’t fuck up again, bub.
So, I spent the last year just treading water and enjoying a delightfully boring life after I finally got on a somewhat even keel again.
Then I lost my job.
And it made me happy. Worried, but happy.
And I figured, “Hey, well, if ever there was a time to get in the game…”
But getting in the game would require one major thing:
Finally owning that this meek little Mom-approved chick — raised uberCatholic, with Dad & family following on the wide web — had to come out and be public with sex-blogging identity, and use my real name. And, worse, my face. And, like, speak publicly. And stuff.
Moving on, for me, means swallowing whatever I once defined as “pride” and coming up with a whole new brand of it. For me, it means shutting up that meekness and stop my apologies for being blunt, honest, and irrepressible.
It’s all about putting my money where my mouth has long been.
It’s been a really tough and soul-searching move. Scary as all get-out, man.
Oh, I’ve been terrified. It’s the “real, whole life” version of jumping off that zip-line or standing in front of 150 people and saying, “Yeah, so, I’m a sex blogger and, like, I kinda nailed writing one of the best oral sex guides you’ll read online… and…”
But I did it. And I did the zip-line. And the speaking.
However hard it’s been… I’m real goddamned glad.
Open, honest, in-your-face living is easier once you get the hang of it. It means fewer apologies, more shared grins, and it instantly repels all the twats and asshats you used to secretly wish would fuck off.
Moving on from anything is hard.
The fear of the unknown and the infinite chance to fuck up is what daunts us all before taking on new phases, projects, or relationships in our life.
By moving on, we’re officially closing the door on that past, accepting it’s done, and embracing the future.
“The devil you know,” though, right?
Whatever the hurts and failings and stupidities of the past, at least you know it and know you’ve faced/survived it. The future? Whew. Do ya got that in ya, punk? Well, do ya?
I remember my great friend Jon writing to say he was getting married, the big question got popped, she said yes, and, dagnabbit, they was gonna wed. I wrote him back, “Geez, Jon… that’s awfully optimistic of you.”
Because it is.
Moving on, stepping forward, it’s all about optimism. Or at least the dream of it. The hope of possibility. It’s what we all want, right? The unscripted to get written with a side of awesomesauce?
But it needs that proverbial leap of faith, the big chance, the trip into the great unknown.
Maybe, just maybe, you’ll fail.
At least you’ll keep yourself warm with the smug satisfaction of being the one with the guts to make the play in the first place, while the pussies who won’t make that leap sit on the sidelines and jealously watch.
Do it. Move on.
For everything I’ve published this week, four have gone into the depths, filed under lock and key, not fit for sharing. Too personal, too exploratory, too unconnected, too any-number-of-things.
A lot of what I batted around regards my relationship with sex: Where it’s been, where it went, why it changed, why it matters, what it means, why my voice is relevant, and why I feel I need to re-enter that sexual fray.
Back in the day, when I was tapping sex blogging regularly, I was really onto something.
I’ve really enjoyed revisiting all my work. I see where I went wrong. But seeing where I went right? Empowering. I know my perspective has grown. Exploring that’ll be quite the ride.
Last night, I wrote something, then hid it from you– a bold, in-your-face statement of what I think I bring to the sex-blogging world and why I feel relevant.
There’s a time and a place for that, but it’s not today. I need to update my sexual manifesto some day soon.
My first year of sex-blogging, I’d hit nearly a million page views, had ridiculous stats on Technorati and Alexa, and landed myself with raves from everyone from Nerve.com to Salon.com, with frequent spots on Gawker’s Fleshbot, and more.
Part of that appeal was the flavour I brought sex-writing.
I brought social anger, for instance. Defiance.
I was outraged I had to defend my sexuality after a lifetime spent in private schools and in semi-religious surroundings. This was 2006 & the peak of George Bush Administration’s attempt to divert scrutiny from the Iraq War by turning the country into a religious-morality battleground. Ideologies and politics clashed constantly. Church and state, indeed.
It was the time of Terry Schiavo, of adultery becoming punishable by life in prison in Massachusetts, of sex toys being made completely illegal in Mississippi, and of academic blackballing against professors who showed liberal sexual views privately while teaching in post-secondary institutions.
It was a time of growing fear, all because of what it took consenting adults to reach orgasm because of how THEY were hardwired, in that horribly socially-susceptible spot: private bedrooms.
I was outraged. I channeled that, and I channeled it well.
But I think another area that really cemented why my voice was (and is) relevant in the white noise of the web was pretty simple.
In a supposedly sex-positive online world, the industry keeps talking about wide, wide issues under the larger “sex rights” umbrella. And everything’s about the extremes of black and white. All the time. Like, rights for sex trade workers.
While I support sex trade workers, the reality is, the average person isn’t one, they’ve likely never used one or known one on a first-name real-life basis. The AVERAGE person.
And who decides the cultural, ethical, political, and sexual future of our society? The AVERAGE person.
How are you going to draw that “average” audience in if every message immediately identifies its author with extreme kinks, or really wide-ranging BDSM life-styling, or has them aggressively advocating rights for sex trade workers?
Where’s the in-between? We shades-of-greys want our sex, too. Where’s the eroticism and issues-exploring for the not-so-big-in-Japan crowd?
Just because the average person might not want THAT much edge doesn’t mean we need to be churning out Cosmo-level copy on sex.
The average person, from 20 – 45, is more savvy, open-minded, and curious than ever. They’re open to aggressive debate. They like subjective commentary. This is The Daily Show generation, whether they’re into vanilla sex or not.
We can hit topics harder, push more intellectual agendas, and even open the door into kink by taking the intimidation out of it.
Until you soften the “heavy” agenda and temper its frequency, and until you realize that extreme kink and “core” lifestyles daunt and unnerve some who might consider dipping a toe in less-deep-and-scary kink-waters, then there’s a whole audience looking for sex insight that might just balk at your all-or-nothing approach.
I don’t want to shrug and say “Well, that’s their problem” because I was one of those people, and I’ve since bought the ticket to ride.
The odds of me ever going out and buying a ball-gag are pretty unlikely, okay? A riding crop, though? Giddyap.
The line between a ball-gag and a riding crop is a bigger ideological chasm than most seem to realize, I fear.
There’s a limit to what I’m willing to try to cross, and I’m not alone.
There are insecurities I’ve had to rise above, and I’m not alone.
There are apprehensions I have had and do have about behaviours, and I’m not alone.
Being sex-positive doesn’t mean everything suits my tastes, and I don’t/won’t apologize for it.
I write about what interests, angers, and inspires me. That doesn’t include the entire world of d-i-r-t-y sex, and never will. If I’m not interested in it, I’m not gonna lie.
I write posts that say “that’s not MY thing, but go ahead. ” When I say that, every reader has permission to not only like it, but to NOT like it.
Like with this not-so-lifestyle posting, where I confess that blowjobs aren’t my idea of a good time.
But… I wrote the GUIDE on blowjobs! I wrote an INTERNET CLASSIC on how to give mindblowing blowjobs, a posting that’s been plagiarized more than a high-school hall-pass!
Uh, yeah. Yeah, and I’m still saying I can think of better things to do than saying, “HEY! It’s FRIDAY! I need a cock in my mouth!”
Do I then fail as a sex writer? Fuck, no.
I’m strong, passionate chick who knows what she needs to do — and wants to do — to make a man happy. That’s when it’s not about the act itself, but about what it causes, what it leads to, and since happiness and satisfaction are beautiful things, why not? It’s an exchange, trade, barter. It’s wonderful.
But it’s not just about having a cock in a mouth, and that’s what gets me when I see simplistic sex writers breaking things down to only the barbaric and the basic.
Sex is so much more.
For all of history, arts and passion are born because of what makes our hearts swell and break. Wars and uprisings and cultural revolutions wage because of matters of the heart.
But little sister over there wants a cock in her mouth.
Oh, sorry, she wants a hard, dripping cock in her mouth. Much better.
Yeah. Fucking right my voice needs to be in the mix.
We need more than just the academics on one side and the rock-n-roll pornstars on the other.
We need people in the middle who aren’t your meek, mild-mannered “average” people. We need strong, unapologetic voices that are willing to own their “vanilla” or not-so-vanilla ways and stand up for biology wanting what biology wants.
Sex shouldn’t be some social status card like it is now.
I don’t need be a fan of burlesque in order to be sex-positive. It doesn’t require me to be bicurious, kiss a girl, love swinging parties, be polyamorous, or even be promiscuous, in order to be a really big fan of orgasms and being dirty and having fun with a lover.
I enjoy what gets me off. That’s never been my problem. And I’ve closed the door on nothing sexual-taste-wise. Sex should lead where sex wants to lead — so long as precautions are taken, consent is given, and consequential ignorance isn’t a factor.
That’s the voice I want to have.
I want it to be okay to like it however way you want to like it. I want to be the voice that gently-but-bluntly encourages people to embrace surprise and take chances with new pursuits. I want to employ brutal truth and stand for what I feel is right when others would quash freedoms based on narrow world-views.
That’s my voice. Here’s where you’ll find it.
PHOTO: From chagrin.tumblr.com, no photographer or originating site listed.
As a so-called sex writer, I went off the reservation a long, long time ago.
As a writer, I’m writing a book, and it means revisiting all my work from the last few years. In the process, I’m tagging & categorizing all my posts so you’ll have an easier time to search relevant topics.
But, boy, is it interesting taking a look at all the passion I wrote about sex with in The Old Days of this blog.
It’s important, too, because I’m remembering why I used to write about sex.
For example, I came across one of my first postings on this blog, Shut Up and Screw, in which I wrote “During sex, when I’m not using my mouth for pleasure, I keep it shut.”
And, it’s funny, like the addendum note at the top of the posting said in 2008, I’d drastically revisited that position about liking quiet lovers.
Ahem, I probably revisited the position in probably more ways than we should be counting, but there was a moment later that year with a certain lover in which I made the jump from quiet to vocal, and it was a profound jump in a lot of other sexual ways, too… and maybe even in some inner-life ways.
I realized that there was this psychological place that you get past when you no longer care if someone hears you climaxing. It’s like that great philosopher George Michael sings, “Sex is natural, sex is good, not everybody does it, but everybody should.”
Unfortunately, I’m one of those that doesn’t do it these days — I’ve been celibate for an embarrassing length of time now, despite the occasional date, the men who’ve propositioned me, and so forth. I got to that place where I finally had no libido, and life was simpler not pushing it. If my libido was active, my social life would be a whole ‘nother story. Then, I mean. Now’s getting to be a different story.
She’s in there, the feisty one. And she’s starting to emerge, now that life’s moving past the always-be-surviving mode I’ve been stuck in for so long. Now that I don’t have to just focus on getting through this week, this month, etc, I really want to start playing outside my sandbox again.
Back then, when I wrote that silly little posting, was when I probably entered into the best two years of my dating life. I was dating often, getting tons of interest, and keeping very satisfied sexually, thanks to a couple partners over that time.
One of whom was later that year, the one who made me vocal in ways I never assumed I’d be. Oh, wouldn’t you like to know more. Tsk. Good thing you’ve got your healthy imagination.
That orgasm? Pretty life-changing. What? An orgasm? Life-changing?
Yup. And why not? When you finally get to that place after a lifetime of hangups, where you can loudly and proudly hit a climax and not feel like you should be ashamed and silent about it… yeah, it’s a big shift of self.
And that’s why I write this blog.
Or why I did.
And why I want to again.
Because everyone needs to take that journey.
Everyone needs to think more about how small things — whether it’s saying what you really think, expressing how you really feel, or just screaming out with a little sexual pleasure — can redefine who and what we are.
I believe in the examined life. I believe in accepting & appreciating that the little things do add up, that they profoundly change the landscape of our lives.
It’s like the rah-rah speech Pacino gives in Any Given Sunday.
“You find out that life is just a game of inches. So is football. Because, in either game, life or football, the margin for error is so small. I mean, one half step too late or too early, you don’t quite make it. One half second too slow or too fast, and you don’t quite catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They are in every break of the game — every minute, every second.”
If, in every moment in life, we milk just a little bit more — from that kitchen you’re cleaning through to the kiss you want to deliver — the payout is so greater than “just a little bit more”. It’s the difference between surviving and thriving, liking and loving, and the difference between mere enjoyment and ecstasy.
I think, in some ways, my battle to make people see that has been successful, but more so in the earlier days of these writings.
I’m not satisfied with “more so in the early days”.
And this inspires me to somehow bridge the gap between the writer I’ve become and the writer I was — a reminder on the importance of spreading the word about sex in a non-porn way, while also continuing the exploration of outside-of-sex selves that I’ve been trying to journey through over the years.
It’s kind of awesome, this little walk through memory lane. Creatively and personally.
If you haven’t read a lot of the content over 2005 to 2006, and you think I’m a good writer, you really might want to take a read through those times. It’s probably the best creative period of my life. But I know it’s not the last.
If you’ve been around a long time? Thanks for your support, readers.
If you haven’t been around for much of those 5 years? I hope you will be around for the future.
‘Cos I plan to be here — in ever-changing and ever-growing ways.
It’s funny, this whole “sex blogger community” thing. I’m all for it, but I don’t feel part of it at all. Not because people don’t include me, they do. It’s just… it’s complicated.
I’ve always felt this way, but in the recent months my feelings have been given a boost and now I feel sort of even more isolated and unsexblogger. What’s been the recent impetus for that?
Twitter. Flat-out. See, I’ve got a little over 400 followers or so now, and I follow about 160 people or so. In the beginning, I tapped the people I recognized from blogging, they tapped me back, and I guess as I began yammering all the whacked shit I do, and what with the moniker “SmuttySteff“, my sex following grew, but thanks to my always-weird Twitter feed, also began growing past the mostly sex-blog writing-and-reading community.
Real-time comments from others in the community, about their sexual hijinks, who they’re screwing, what dates they have lined up, chronicles of their masturbation, what new toys they’ve received, how they’re dressing for X, their social interactions, and so forth, juxtaposed against the very vanilla-like-me feeds of others, just all has served to remind me that there’s a very big distinction between being a fan of sex and having really healthy attitudes about it versus being an enthusiast who seeks to keep it present in their life at all times, some of whom might be defined as “lifestylers”.
Debauched Domestic Diva wrote an interesting post this week in which she speaks of “The Lifestyle” and how she feels there seems to be this almost clique-ish attitude in the BDSM community about whether you’re a “lifestyler” or not.
I don’t mean to offend or insult anyone who uses that phrase in their lives and I am sorry if I do, but it confuses the hell out of me because I don’t really understand what it exactly means other than that judgemental feeling I get when I see or hear it. I don’t know if it means you are poly, kinky or what.
I have such a wide range of people in my life these days who all seem to be into something different. Which one of their lives if the correct lifestyle? Maybe someone can explain better to me and help me understand it because I know that right now all I am trying to do these days is just live my life.
I agree with DDD. I don’t have a “lifestyle”. Likely never will. I’m just this girl who got tired of feeling like a “slut” just because she wanted to have a little better sex. I’m 35 now, I’ve never been the type to sleep around. I don’t have multiple partners, ever. I don’t have someone lined up for a filler-shag in between relationships, and have never had someone there in that capacity. I don’t go to sex parties. I don’t really use or look for or even have porn, it’s just not my thing. I prefer my photography erotic, and certainly seek it out at times. On top of that, I have opinions on sex work that run contrary to what most of the active sex blog community believes.
I like sex. I make no apologies for the sex I like. And I sure as hell don’t judge others for having the sex THEY like. Because THAT is what it is all about. But, when I don’t have sex in my life, that’s just fine with me. I’m all right with that. I’m not a lifestyler. It’s not even a hobby for me.
But one of the problems with the sex blog community is, when I’m opting out of the sex race and dating chaos, I feel like I somehow should apologize for it. Like, “how can I like sex if I’m not raving about it daily?” I don’t think anyone’s ever made me FEEL that way, but just stacked up against the oh-so-public exploits I hear, I’m often left feeling like someone let the kindergarten kids into the grade seven class again. I’m just left feeling like I’m somehow out of my league because I don’t do it LIKE THAT.
Which is bullshit.
Because the sex I have is the sex that’s right for me. It gets me hot, keeps me hot, tends to keep me indoors, and keeps me very, very satiated — when I go there. The life I lead is the life I need to be leading right now. The lifestyle I have suits MY style for the time being. I don’t have a lifestyle. I have mystyle. I don’t need to be in relationships. I don’t need approval from anyone else. I don’t have to be sexually engaged to feel a part of my world, or even on top of it.
Not that anyone else in the community does feel they need to lead the life they do, or that they need to do so publicly for any kind of approval. I’m just saying, from my perspective, how I sometimes feel about my own exploits or the glaring lack thereof — probably mostly because I’m fully aware in a first-person kinda way of how plain and unglamourous my little existence is.
But it’s MY life. I’m doing what I need to be doing for ME. Is that really not right? Is it not “good enough” to be a part of the community? Is it just not in keeping with what’s going on out there? Or does it even matter at all?
Judging by the fact that I feel welcomed and appreciated by the community, even if I don’t really feel as if *I* belong there, it doesn’t look like it matters much at all. And that’s very nice.
Yet the fact remains. Here I am, leading a pretty “vanilla” life comparatively, and day-in, day-out, I’m reminded of that fact because I can vicariously experience some of these others’ exploits in real-time through the social world of Twitter. Let’s face it. I’m just that old-school good-girl who’s only as bad as she needs to be to have a good time. How’d I ever get running with this crowd anyhow? It’s a weird, weird world, friends. Still, it’s a fun ride.
I’ve had an email or two that has asked what I think about bloggers getting outted and shit like that.
I got outted last year. My name is Steffani Cameron, all right? I really don’t give a fuck who knows, ‘cos anyone with a nickel and half a brain can run my handle through Google and tap into an interview I did last fall in which the bonehead ran my name and unwittingly destroyed any chance for anonymity that I might’ve had. Jesus, if you have half an iota of ingenuity you could probably even find a photo of me, ‘cos there’s at least three of them accessible. Besides, back to the “my name is known” thing — when I did Sex with Emily on FreeFM, I gave ’em permission to use my name. And the CBC used my name in promoing my blog on Zed in February.
I recently did a job search in which I know for a fact at least one of the employers knew of my blog and its content. I almost know for certain that one of those employers sent me a sexually explicit (and very creepy) email to an uber-private email that is NOT in any way associated with this blog, and which no one who has ever contacted me through this blog has ever had the privilege of knowing. That’s the only time I’ve ever been creeped out about my lack of anonymity.
Both my last employer and my present employer, and every parent of every student I’ve ever taught, has known that I write sexual content. My father, brother, and every friend, family member, and longtime acquaintance knows about this blog.
As far as being a public blogger of sex goes, I’m ALL that, baby.
And that ain’t about to change.
My phone number, however, is unlisted. I have caller ID blocking on my phone as well. And that ain’t gonna fuckin’ change either. Last thing I need is anyone deliberately reaching out and touching me.
What do I think of the recent spate of bloggers that I’ve heard about who have up and vanished in the night because someone leaked who they were? It’s too bad. It’s really a shame we live in a society where people can be judged on these bases, but the fact is, we do. I’m doing my part to fight the fuckin’ power, ‘cos I think it’s flat-out wrong. I’m doing my part to prove that a good person can like getting shagged senseless. Sex is a sin if you want it to be. Sex is a shame if you allow it to be. Sex is a stigma if you let it be.
Sometimes people are powerless about the bigotry and the judgmental POV that peppers our society. That’s reality, baby, and it’s the cold fuckin’ light o’ day.
I was having this discussion with my coworkers last week, since I work with highly political people who are well-connected and who have political aspirations that will build on their political histories, and I jokingly said, “Yeah, well, politics is likely out for me.” The web designer guy was commenting how he thought that might not necessarily be the case. He commented to the effect that we’re on the cusp of this era where everyone’s dirty little secret is about to stop being so secret. Just look at PostSecret.com and how hauntingly real all those unthinkable sentiments are. Suddenly we know people’s dirty little thoughts. Suddenly we understand that our own dark and cobwebby little corners aren’t as unspeakable as we might’ve thought, because they beat us to the punch and said it first.
The information age makes everyone Googleable, and the fact is, those skeletons YOU think are in YOUR closet might just be behind far more transparent doors than you suspect.
One day, and that day’s coming soon, we’re going to realize that everyone has moments of shame and degradation. Everyone’s done something they’d rather not have exposed. Everyone’s cozied up a little too close for comfort with shame. We’re all fallible, we’re all products of the same erroneous genetics, but a lot of folks just haven’t the a) balls or b) fortitude to admit their dubious pasts.
Me, I’m honest to a fault, always have been. Why hide my shit? I’ve fucked up, damn right I have, and yeah, I like my sex with a side of dirt, but so what? Who the fuck are YOU to judge me? No one perfect, that’s who you are, so let it go, man. Let it all go. I’ve never met a person I couldn’t find a fault in, so I’ve given up my quest for perfection. Good is good enough. Bad is good enough. I’ll take what I got, man. It is what it is.
So, to those beloved bloggers who’ve been outted and don’t feel they’re in a place where they can be honest and be who they are without retribution, well, I don’t feel their pain, but I understand their reservations. We’re on the cusp of a new era of honesty, but for now we’re still mired in lies, and I understand. Hopefully more people like me’ll come out of the woodwork and be what they gotta be to get this show on the road, but in the meantime…
You got me, baby. You got me.
It’s weird being honest about this shit. It’s odd meeting new people and having them be clued in, either by yours truly, or just because they just know. It’s a little surreal. I get fun grins out of people, but you know what? No one has ever recoiled. No one has ever judged me. Most of the people are impressed, actually, and they’re usually taken quite by surprise, something I really enjoy. They’re amused, they want to know more. It’s awesome. Honesty’s freeing. They may say it’s the best policy, but, dude, it’s one hell of a ride, too, y’know?