Macrophilia 200 Series
- Giants in Popular Media
- Female Socialization, Male Gaze, and Paraphilia
- Asexuality, Paraphilia, and Identity
- On “Reverse Pedophilia”, GT vs SW, and Other Tangents
204: Asexuality, Paraphilia, and Identity
The intersection of asexuality and paraphilia is a tricky one, and they’re not things that most folks, aces and paraphiles alike, can even imagine come close to intersecting. It’s a difficult to explain, there’s been no organized effort to discuss the subject among other aces, let alone any academic inquiry (despite a strong tradition of studying us like animals within sexual psychology and the related fields).
This is going to be my official proposal for the introduction of paraphilic attraction to the attractions model as most commonly understood among GSRM circles.
WHY: This isn’t relevant to just me, or to just aces. Many fetishists (of the banal and inoffensive variety) are strongly attracted to traits, actions, scenarios, objects, and sensations that are otherwise inexplicable and cannot easily be reduced to a simple preference in aesthetics, just as gender cannot easily be reduced to the ownership of/desire to have certain body parts. It is informed by romantic, emotional, intellectual, aesthetic, sexual and sensual orientations, but is not them. It’s another piece to the puzzle that I feel the current model lacks and which proved to be a hurdle over the course of my own self-discovery. I imagine that introducing this term might help others who struggle with their conception of and relationship with intimacy, sexuality, and/or asexuality because of incongruities with their own lived experience with the accepted definitions.
HOW paraphilic attraction works: To speak in terms of fire-fighting, an attraction can be both an accelerant or a fuel, depending on how they mix with the others. Paraphilic attraction functions in the same way. A foot fetishist experiences paraphilic attraction to an object, which may or may not also mean sexual attraction. A physical masochist is primarily attracted to the sensation of pain, with less importance given to who is inflicting it, and may or may not be sexually stimulating to them on its own. But they are also usually capable of augmenting other kinds of relationships and orientations. Someone who enjoys seeing people wearing latex will probably be even more fulfilled if their partner (someone who they experience other kinds of attractions toward) is interested in wearing it. Someone who enjoys orgasms will enjoy them all the more if the orgasm is achieved with the inclusion of their fetish focus. Aaand so on.
A FETISH FOR SEX?
This is an idea that I saw get alluded to on a few occasions back when I still made use of the AVEN forums: having a fetish for the sex act itself. As in, the sensations aren’t pleasurable enough on their own to merit pursuing, you don’t experience sexual attraction, but you’re still having sex for more than just pleasing your partner. It’s still enjoyable in a both cerebral and primal sort of way despite the feeling of being disinterested in the actions being performed in and of themselves.
A lot of aces still watch, read, write, and draw porn. According to an AVEN poll, ~53% of aces still watch porn at least sometimes. And according to this poll, ~30% of aces who have and enjoy sex like it for reasons that don’t include pleasure or partner satisfaction. (The “other” option for question #8 might be inflated because the poll was unclear, however.)
I think I can say that I’ve got a sex fetish. I don’t have sex just because my husband wants to. I don’t have it because a libidinous itch needs to be scratched. (Not the world’s biggest fan of orgasms; I can take em or leave em for the most part.) Sex is fun, and I’m drawn to it for reasons that are mostly as inexplicable as my attraction to dudes of impossible proportions. It’s a completely cerebral relationship that I have with it, and like with everything else about the way I do intimacy, it probably comes down to abstracted and symbolic violence for me – mememto mori – and reinforcing feelings of ownership. It can be appealing along other axes of attraction as well; aesthetic, romantic, whatever.
It’s probably useful for me to define “sex” here also, since it’s so… meaningless in discussions like these. And especially since I don’t believe that sex is even remotely the only way for bodies to engage in physical intimacy of the ecstatic variety. So I guess in this context, “sex” is going to refer to oral, anal, or vaginal penetration and/or actions that result in erotic pleasure that are at least intended to build toward orgasm. That’s not exactly the definition that I use in my own personal relations, but it’s useful enough I think.
PARAPHILIA WITHOUT LIBIDO
Do you feel the urge to masturbate whenever you see someone pretty walk down the street? When you get a hug from a friend? When your crush tells you about their day? No? Well, if those kinds of attractions can exist independently from sex drive, then so can paraphilic attraction. Not all pleasure is erotic pleasure – things can be pleasurable to the touch, to the ears, to the tastebuds, and even to the brain. Wikipedia describes pleasure like so:
Pleasure describes the broad class of mental states that humans and other animals experience as positive, enjoyable, or worth seeking. It includes more specific mental states such as happiness, entertainment, enjoyment,ecstasy, and euphoria. The early psychological account of pleasure, the pleasure principle, describes it as a positive feedback mechanism, motivating the organism to recreate in the future the situation which it has just found pleasurable and to avoid situations that have caused pain in the past.
Duh, right? Of course, laid out like that it’s obvious – yet how often in our casual interactions do we equate all forms of pleasure with sex and eroticism? The Asexuals Involved in BDSM blog has recently wrapped up a week of guest posts about what being ace and/or non-libidinous is like, and I highly recommend it for folks having a hard time wrapping their head around the fact that paraphilia does not preclude libido or sexuality.
BUT WHAT DOES THIS ALL HAVE TO DO WITH MACROPHILIA
Well, it should come as no surprise to you, having read all of the essay up until now, that the fantasy of being in the presence of giants or tiny people need not be sexual in order to be thrilling in a deeply-felt way. Just as children can form obsessions that end up becoming foundational to their identity as developing human beings, sometimes these obsessions carry over into adulthood and continue to produce that same awe-inspired fascination. Being exposed to the focus of the paraphilia produces a knee-jerk reaction the same as being addressed by name.
Which brings me to…
PARAPHILIA AS IDENTITY
If concepts like “homemaker” or “bread-winner” or “husband” or “wife” are sources of very real identity for people who participate in the wider Western overculture, then concepts like “giant” and “tiny” accomplish the very same for those of us within the comparatively small, sub- sub- sub-culture of macrophilia.
To use myself as an example, imprinting happened around 5 or 6 years of age: I caught a vintage Disney short, The Brave Little Tailor, on TV, and unknown to me, a switch went off. Movies like Thumbelina and Fern Gully fast become favorites, but the identity forming in my psyche didn’t become apparent until I started having major growth spurts. Being able to reach things on high shelves seemed distantly unsettling; I felt a sense of loss when my parents and other family members couldn’t pick me up anymore; rooms and furniture I once remembered as being enormous eventually grew smaller and plainer; and as soon as I started to outgrow my twin bed, I knew I’d lost something very important to me and was never going to get it back, even though I didn’t really know what that something was.
For me, approaching puberty didn’t just mean slowly developing secondary sex characteristics and the onset of menstruation (none of which I was thrilled about either), but in a way, I was also undergoing a “slow growth” transformation not unlike what can be found in growth process fetish material. Do a google search for “slow growth GTS” and you’ll know what I mean. They key here, though, is the feeling of growing past what was reasonable and normal to me, resulting in a feeling of “overcompleteness” once I was done, which is how sufferers of Body Integrity Identity Disorder/xenomelia explain their feelings of not needing a full set of limbs. Needless to say, I feel that those of us who “identify” with a smaller size might fall under the BIID umbrella.
Having a fetish identity need not always translate into body issues, though. As identities of every sort are socially constructed (from orientation, to gender, to race, etc.), it’s important to remember that an identity simply functions to situate you in relation to others. To use myself as an example again, I feel that “small and cute” more adequately conveys my gender and orientations than almost any other label available to me, and I have never been able to put into words how this is. (I have tried, though.) In terms of the kink and leather community, the fetish identity often functions to fix one’s place along a constructed hierarchy; usually this translates to an hierarchy of two partners, but sometimes it can be successfully situated within larger groups, whether temporarily during events, or more permanently, like within a leather household.
Next up, the last piece of the essay: “Reverse Pedophilia”, GT vs. SW, Alice in Wonderland Syndrome, and a few other things.
(Wow, I’m actually going to finish this, it looks like. Neat.)
I’m trying to come up with an idea for a macrophilia tattoo that might be recognizable to another macrophile should they see me with it. I’m also trying to come up with a symbol that the rest of the community might find useful to use, seeing as how it’s exploded in size and activity over the past 4-5 years for reasons that are beyond me.
I want the symbol to be simple, versatile, and visually striking, and I want it to be able to play well with other symbols, like the LGBT rainbow or BDSM triskele do. And in reacquainting myself with the various pride flags so that I can do up some comps and make sure that it really will work just as well with the ace pride colors as it would with the trans pride ones (because there are a lot of aces in the “G/t fandom”, as folks are calling it), I do a little googling. And of course googling “pride flags” will invariably bring you to tumblr.
Specifically, tumblr blogs like this.
And it’s sort of vaguely interesting to me at first – I’m fascinating by worldbuilding in fictional storytelling, and I see a lot of parallels here. The thought that Tolkien put into designing his heraldic devices and war banners is eerily similar to the thesis-quality trains of thought that go into picking a specifically avocado green over an apple green.
But then the fascination turns to apathy, turns to morbid curiosity – I’ve moved from having one foot in that world to having none, now suddenly an outsider – and I wonder just what is it that people do with this glut of pride flags? Abstract representations for the way you lose interest in someone after getting to know them; for the inexplicable way you’ve been conditioned to want to kiss people who wear make-up and whose underwear never tent; for why you gravitate toward toward commodified, airbrushed, sex-on-demand instead of other people. I’ve even seen countless requests for pride flags signifying confusion and indecision. (How about this: use a goddamn question mark.)
What purpose do pride flags actually serve in a world coked up on advertisements, capitalism, identity-as-iPhone-color, identity-as-operating-system, identity-as-tumblr-aesthetic, identity-as-who-am-I-in-this-cartoon-that-exists-to-sell-me-shit?
If pride flags are born on tumblr, then etsy is where they go to die.
Etsy pride peddlers have knick-knacks (whose constituent parts are made by near-slave labor overseas – what colors is the sweatshopsexual pride flag?) of the likes you didn’t even know you needed. Here’s a greeting card that will do the coming out for you if you’re genderqueer. Here are some sexuality pride blobs made of environmentally irresponsible plastic nurdles if you happen to want them in the shape of a computer mouse. (Talk about capitalizing on a niche market.) Here’s some resin in a bottle done up to look like the aromantic flag. Here’s a beanie made from oil so that you can tell the world that you’ve pinned down your otherwise difficult-to-pin-down sexuality. Here’s a bar of soap that will make you smell like a straight ally. (C’mon people, allies are a totally untapped market here – straights have money too! Get on it!)
Me? I’ve actually given up with trying to figure out “what gender am I”. Somewhere along the line I became vaguely aware of what I was really trying to do: I was trying to brand myself, adopt an aesthetic, and turn myself into a commodity. I was setting myself up for something pretty spectacularly depressing: an identity and lifestyle propped up entirely by the clothes that I wore, the media I consumed, what fictional representations I saw when I looked in the mirror (“am I more BMO or Salem the Cat today?”), how I walked, talked, and even occupied a chair while sitting. I was looking into a pattern of behavior and trying to project forward from it, into the future. I called it ‘being descriptive’, but I was being prescriptive instead. And once I realized that my sexuality could be played like a fiddle depending on what medications I was taking, that my gender could change depending on how much I liked myself that day and how much money I had in the bank, when I started recognizing myself in a number of definitions of “different” “genders”, I didn’t want another label to slap on it like duct tape holding together something rapidly falling apart. I was sick and tired of trying to find a neat, tidy, abstract representation of my lived experience. I was done.
Crimethinc. has a booklet out what serves as a pretty decent introduction to anarchism, called To Change Everything. And it has a really nice section outlining why representation in all its myriad forms – whether governmental representation in the form of laws or elected officials, or media representation – does no service to autonomy and the project of liberation:
You can only have power by wielding it; you can only learn what your interests are by acting on them. When every effort to exert leverage on the world must be channeled through the mediation of representatives or translated into the protocol of institutions, we become alienated from each other and our own potential. Every aspect of our agency that we yield reappears as something unrecognizable and hostile to us. The politicians who always disappoint us only show how much power we have given up over our own lives; the violence of the police is the dark consequence of our desire to avoid personal responsibility for what happens in our neighborhoods.
In the digital age, when every person must continually serve as his own secretary to manage his public image, our very reputations have become external, like vampires feeding on us. If we weren’t isolated from each other, competing to sell ourselves on so many professional and social markets, would we invest so much time and energy in these profiles, golden calves made in our own image?
We are irreducible. Neither delegates nor abstractions can stand in for us. In reducing human beings to demographics and raw experience to data, we lose sight of everything that is precious and unique in the world. We need presence, immediacy, direct contact with each other, direct control over our lives—things no representative or representation can deliver.
Is it really any surprise that the ancients had no real words for homosexuality, for asexuality, for non-cis identities, but we do now? We have nothing else but capitalism and the Enlightenment to thank for that. And I don’t know about you, but that’s not a legacy I want to reinforce when I get dressed every morning.
I had my hysterectomy: it’s what I needed, though even now language fails to explain how and why that is, fails to convey the peace I feel now. But it’s really not my responsibility to explain, is it? Or language’s responsibility to be adequate enough, abstract enough, to neatly convey my innermost thoughts and emotions? I don’t want a word for how it makes me feel to not have a uterus or cervix. Words are cheap.
And pride flags are too.
So let’s not forget what they really are: branding. Commodification. They’re no different than wearing a Star Wars shirt or a pair of Nikes. The desire to wear these things is the desire to be acknowledged as a demographic and a market. Someone to be sold and sold to.
And that’s exactly what I’m doing with the macrophilia symbol. I would say that we’re unmarketable, like most of BDSM or polyamory or any number of other forms of expressing intimacy that our current system has no means to capitalize on, but I’d be flat-out lying if I said that. Macrophilia is almost entirely a product of capitalism: the early-childhood imprinting that most of us have experienced came from some piece of media or another – from television or a video game. Sometimes it comes from a book, and even rarer still does it come from an actual, physical experience. Either way, it all has the same effect: we crave the impossible, the fantastic. We crave something in the abstract, and that’s something only capitalism can really deliver.
So for now, I’ll make the pride symbols. Because why not? We’re all already far down the rabbit hole, and we might as well try and make the best of it.
But in the meantime I will continue to envision a world without pride symbols, without gracelessly strung-together Greek words to try and describe something that maybe doesn’t need describing. That maybe only contributes to the world in the same way as clean needles contribute to the well-being of a drug addict. In other words: I’m interested in people who recognize that the drugs, the glut of genders and orientations, are a reactionary symptom and not in any way a meaningful solution to the bigger problem of mass misery and alienation.
Content warning for: frank talk of risky sexual practices, rough sex, edge play
Well, I touched my second dick ever yesterday.
It was nice.
Underwhelming and overwhelming at the same time, somehow? Overwhelming in that this guy was an expert at manhandling, and I suspect that he has a sadistic streak wider than he thinks he does. I asked him to hit hard and grab hard, and ay dios mio did he. 24 hours later and my scalp still stings; I was practically seeing stars when he was grabbing fistfuls of hair near the end there. He explained – and very kindly demonstrated – the difference between safe and unsafe choking. And he introduced me to face slapping and body punching like a true gentleman.
As a masochist, I was in heaven, riding an extremely powerful endorphin high not 15 minutes in. In fact, I was so blissed out that orgasm was pretty low on my list of priorities the entire morning! I could have laid there with him wailing on me for hours, it felt like.
But at the same time it was underwhelming. I think that can pretty easily be chalked up to the nature of casual sex? as in, it takes time to establish a rapport. Also was a good confirmation that my erogenous zones are finicky – probably less than 10% of the time do I even perceive touch in those areas as being pleasurable in a climax-fueling way. The other 90%+ of the time it either just feels good in a more general way, or something about my nerve-endings makes it feel like white noise: where it’s just physical contact and could barely be even thought of as a “touch”. For most of the time, honestly, his un-painful, “smaller” touching was more in the white-noise category. I’ve honestly yet to figure out why this is, but I just generally respond much better to “bigger” sensations, even though they tend towards being painful or constricting.
The other thing that happened was that, while my outsides can take a beating with style, my insides, apparently cannot still. I don’t know if it’s that he was too big, or that my hysterectomy and vaginal cuff makes it so that the vaginal canal doesn’t lengthen as much as it might normally. For those of you not in the know, vaginas not only self-lubricate in the anticipation of penetration, but they also lengthen/deepen; sometimes upwards of 2 inches; this is called vaginal tenting. According to the summary of this study which is too expensive for me to purchase and read in full, transvaginal hysterectomies (vs. transabdominal ones) do have a tendency to shorten the length of the vagina, so I may be out of luck there.
So word of advice to younger people reading this: bigger is definitely not always better when it comes to penetration. If you’ve lubed up, done adequate foreplay, and it still hurts to have a dick in there, trust me, there’s nothing wrong with you. (Of course, unless there is. Talk to your doctor if this pain is new, accompanied by bleeding, or more than just your basic aching.) Sometimes, though, dicks are just too stupidly big, and vaginas are too frustratingly small or shallow. Either way, it’s not the end of the world. There are plenty of other ways to have fun.
Me though? I wound up spotting after he had a particularly rough go at me, and in all honesty I probably should have been as worried as he was. (I can tell that I’m fucked up in a truly unhealthy way when I find the look on a guy’s face after he’s genuinely caused some sort of tissue damage to be hot. No, self, it is not hot that I shed a few drops of blood from what was probably the scar tissue that I have now instead of a cervix. It’s not hot when someone hurts you when they don’t want to. He did not find it hot. And neither would someone who values their health over their masochism. Stahp.) But! But. It didn’t hurt anything like the first time I had penetrative sex after the surgery – which was more like 6 months post-op than the recommended 6 weeks – which tells me that my long-term recovery is coming along nicely. Assuming, you know, I don’t seriously injure myself because I’m a sick fuck with a weak sense of self-preservation.
The last thing that made it underwhelming was his idea of dirty talk: basically he’s a huge fan of orgies, (legal) public sex, and exhibitionism, so most of what he said revolved around those things. I wasn’t turned off, per se, but I’m really quite ambivalent about that kind of kink and would never do it myself. What I really wanted was shit like death threats; references to the fact that he’s much bigger and stronger than me; maybe tell me how pretty I’d look with my throat slit, or how disappointed he is that he wouldn’t be able to eat me in one bite, or how easy it’d be for him to break all of my ribs with just the right amount of pressure from a knee on one of his huge-ass legs. Compared to a dance with death? Being put on display at a sex club just sounds so rote.
In fact, his idea of kinky dirty talk made him feel smaller than 6’5″. It made him feel no bigger than myself, strangely enough. Without him playing up the “lording over you” thing, I actually lost my sense of scale, and my oldest, foundational kink, my paraphilia, went unsated even though, standing next to him, he could still put his chin on my head. It was really bizarre – I never would have thought that my husband, who’s a hair shorter than me, could feel just as big as this guy in the sack. It really is all about presence, about mind games and teasing and little details, when it comes to macrophilia.
Speaking of the husband, he actually took it really well, if I’m to take things at face value. He didn’t shy away from me when he got home, he didn’t seem anxious or brooding with the knowledge that I’d been with another man that day. In fact, I was the one that changed! I was clingy and cuddly, and being with somebody else somehow made me appreciate what I have with him even more.
Or, Cliche Title is Cliche
S and I have been talking about the possibility of opening up since last year. Originally it came up as something for him to do, since for years I was on libido-killing, vaginal-canal-drying medications that just made the whole thing more trouble than it was worth. We talked extensively about the world of possibilities that non-sexual kink has to offer, like kitten play, service, and so on. And then at some point about 6-8 weeks ago, around the same time that I’d ever-so-slowly, ever-so-painfully weaned myself off of anti-depressants without the help of a medical professional partly so that I could try giving my libido a go again, he came to the realization that his previous 5 years of attempting to be anything more than a light top in bed didn’t come naturally. And just like that, our kink life was over.
It wasn’t all that surprising – the writing was on the wall for a while. What may have felt like us being adventurous was more like us desperately trying to find something for him to call his own, something to make a D/s dynamic click and make sense. At the end of the day, though, I would almost always have to ask for everything I liked, verbally remind him that I really enjoyed, and sometimes needed these things: hair-pulling, spanking, telling me what to do in the sack. Catharsis. And those are just the basics. I knew that if he didn’t already get some kind of thrill from seeing bruises, or tears, or uttering threats and calling names, then it was never going to happen.
The open marriage thing was initially for him, though. I was on antidepressants, and a strict regimen of birth control that I was only able to stop once I’d had my hysterectomy. Together, these things made me feel that sex was boring, un-fun, and sometimes, depending on my mood and endocrine profile for that day, repulsive. As somebody on the aro/ace spectrums, this was actually a pretty good way to go… if I were single. Knowing that I had once enjoyed sex quite a bit, coming off the medications and letting my natural hormone profile return for the sake of my sex life became just a matter of logistics. I could flip it on and off like a switch if I wanted to, which, in some respects, is pretty neat.
And then things got trying when my relationship with my husband started getting a little less blissful. He became oddly distant, took up smoking pot a lot more, and stopped initiating sex altogether. Eventually, he comes to me and says that he’s seen a description of autochorissexuality and thinks he identifies with it. So wow, that’s both of us who have been shaped by an imposed approximate sexuality.
Turns out, he’s not actually all that sure what an open relationship would do for him just as I start to talk about how I might benefit from seeing someone on the side to get my kink needs met.
So in less than a year, we completely switch roles – I go from having zero desire for sex and scared of letting him get what he needs from someone else, to him doing the same. (Needless to say, he’s having a really hard time remembering that I was exactly in his position not long ago, wrestling with the same demons, the same feelings of insecurity and swallowing my ego so that he could be happy.) He’s not dealing with jealousy to my knowledge, but anxiety, loss, and inadequacy. And I know deep down in his heart he wants me to say to hell with all of this, but I can’t unless he forcibly closes the door, because this has the potential to be a tremendously good thing for me. And he won’t do that.
So yesterday, I met with a guy from OKCupid.
He’s a soft-spoken nerd for the hour we talk in the cafe, chatting about everything from his kid to his involvement with Burning Man to my precarious immigration status. But things take on a different tone when he notices that I’m just about done with my drink and says “Let’s go for a walk”.
For the next half hour he’s talking boundaries, limits, needs, scenes, checking in with me practically every few minutes to ask how I’m feeling since I made it clear that I get nervous easily. There’s joking, oohing and ahhing at cute babies in strollers as they pass us in the park, but the rest is business. He asks permission for every single instance of physical contact after I first reached out to shake his hand. He puts his arm around my shoulder and does a little stroking with his fingers, and asks me how it feels, how my anxiety is doing.
And even in spite of the fact that I’m a macrophile and he’s one of the tallest men I’ve ever met, giving my 5’8″ a run for its money, I can’t help but think that I’ve somehow won the jackpot. He’s patient, he’s understanding, and he can read me like an open book. He’s also been poly for almost all of his adult life, currently with a primary girlfriend and a second on the side, so I would be the third person in his life. He gets that gender is fluid and is perfectly comfortable with the idea that my innie-junk is not inherently feminine. He doesn’t mind meeting my husband to help assuage some fears, and he wanted to make sure that our relationship is happy and healthy before he gets involved with me.
Hopefully I can help S figure out what, exactly, he’s scared of before the three of us get together this weekend, so that he and I can work on dismantling those fears.
I think, though, that this is the situation of my dreams. Something cool and casual, intimate but not romantic by any stretch of the imagination. I want this guy to know how to push my buttons, not how much cream to put in my perfect cup of coffee. Not what’s in my medicine cabinet or my bank account. It’s like how I told the both of them: “When I used to get crushes as a teenager, it wasn’t like how everyone else described it. Instead of holding hands and watching movies together, I wanted my crush to give me tasks to do. And then, when I completed them, I wanted them to pull me into their lap and pet me and tell me how good I was.”
Love and romance have never been what I’m about. To me, intimacy = hierarchy. (Which is probably why I found myself rebelling against authority in all of the other non-comforting, non-intimate aspects of my life. Every time a stranger or someone who I felt didn’t know me tried to tell me what to do, it was like being groped on the bus. Enraging.)
But the polyamory label doesn’t feel like it fits, mostly because of the “-amory” part. I’m not in this to love anybody else in a way that I don’t already love most people just by virtue of existing. (How’s that for “love has no limits”? I don’t just one two or three people, I probably love millions.) This relationship is goal-oriented: to create exciting scenes and mindscapes, to make really pretty bruises on my skin, to tell me what to do and for me to gain satisfaction from doing it, to slake my macrophilia, to give in to catharsis and powerlessness, to achieve subspace. I don’t want to spend the night, I don’t want to cuddle, I don’t want kisses that aren’t loaded with the implications of our power differential, I don’t want to go to his place if D/s isn’t happening. (That’s not to say that I don’t intend on being friends with him in some capacity too. All that talk of Burning Man and his involvement in the local art scene makes him, believe it or not, a really interesting guy outside of sex.)
So what does that make me? (Confused.) What does that make this situation? (Complicated.) For all intents and purposes, this is an open marriage; I’ve got a QP life partner on one hand, and a burgeoning sexual and D/s relationship on the other. When I think about it like that, it somehow makes a lot of sense to me. Like… duh, of course the primary source of sex would come from outside the LTR! In no other aspect of life is it considered sound to put all your eggs in one basket and expect it to work out.
At any rate, because I have more free time than my husband does, I told him that I’d help him do some research on dealing with anxiety and jealousy when opening up for the first time. Here are some links I’ve gathered so far:
- Jealous of what? Solving polyamory’s jealousy problem
- How to Stop Feeling Jealous (the opposite approach to the above; I personally like it a lot less, but it might be more up S’s alley)
- Unmasking the Green-Eyed Monster
- More Than Two: Jealousy and insecurity portal
If anyone has any pointers, let’s hear em!
Seeing as how I’m probably one of the few NB folks who have had a hysterectomy and wish to continue to have PIV intercourse, it’s really no wonder I haven’t seen this addressed at all in the transosphere. (Granted, it’s not like I’ve really gone looking all that hard either.) But after you have a hysterectomy, and probably especially with a complete one (removal of uterus, tubes, and cervix), the vagina can narrow, shorten, and/or atrophy.
And, as I discovered a couple of weeks/months ago, that is exactly what mine has done.
Penetration, as brief and slow as it was, was so painful for me that I was sore to the point of cramping for the rest of the day. Now, I probably would have been warned about this had I not lost my insurance right after the surgery and couldn’t afford to go to my follow-up appointment, so I had to find out the hard way. Please don’t find out the hard way. If, for some reason, you can’t make your follow-up and everything else about your recovery seemed to go just fine, a word to the wise: check to see if your vag has changed since the surgery. Do it with your fingers, because honestly, even just one might be too much anymore.
There are a few remedies for this, and it’s definitely not an unsolvable issue. If you do go to your doctor, they might do either or both of these things: put you on vaginal hormone therapy, or tell you to get a set of dilators. The hormone therapy is basically a cream and/or pill that you insert into the vagina that will help change the thickness and elasticity of the tissue, and as far as I can tell, it’s almost always used in conjunction with dilator therapy. Dilators, as I’m sure you guessed, are exactly what they say on the tin – a series of plastic tubes with rounded ends, that you insert into the vagina for a few minutes each day to help retrain your muscles. You start with the largest one that can be inserted without pain, and work your way up from there.
For some reason, dilator sets are ridiculously fucking expensive for what they are: 4-10, sometimes hollow, pieces of plastic. And that’s it. What’ll this run you if your insurance doesn’t cover it? Oh, anywhere from $50-100. Another bit of proof that the medical industry doesn’t give a shit about vaginas. Here’s a set that costs $90 for no good reason:
Like seriously, they’re little more than silicone tinker toys. I guess you’re paying for the box.
At any rate, because of this, and because I’m too broke to be able to afford even the cheaper sets and not get angry about it, I’ll be using fingers. (Though on second thought, there’s really no reason that you couldn’t use veggies or another similarly-shaped household object if you also have access to condoms. Just be sure that the thickness doesn’t vary, and that the end is ROUNDED. If it’s tapered, I imagine that it could be pretty painful if that tapered end hits the end of the vag where the cervix used to be.)
Oh! And one more thing: I read something about taking vitamin D supplements while doing the retraining/dilation therapy, as it has something to do with improving the strength and sensitivity of the vaginal walls.
At any rate, none of this is in any way ideal. But I can’t possibly be the only NB kid who has been left high and dry after a surgery, so here’s some thoughts and advice in that case from a very-not-medical professional. Oh, and good fucking luck.
Majorly, majorly doubting my OB who, for several years, maintained that I had perfectly normal hormone levels for an AFAB. I had my hysto, so without periods or endometriosis to contend with, I stopped my birth control regimen because I was sort of getting sick of the pseudo-menopause symptoms I was getting from not giving my body a break every month like most other folks do.
Then, as you may or may not remember, the monthly surges of incessant sex drive came back, driving me up the wall. In the past few months I’ve gone off of my anti-depressants too, and I still hope that I can manage my illness without them. (I do not like the feeling of been held “hostage” by potential side-effects and withdrawal symptoms, especially since I was practically hallucinating when I had that stint of being unable to secure a refill when I needed it. It’s humiliating, demoralizing, and just downright scary to feel like a pill runs your life like that. Especially one that fucks with your head more than anything else.)
So then I was back to wanting to crawl into a hole and die every day that I had to deal with my libido, since I’ve also been cursed with the inability to ever really have my unorthodox sexual-interests-bordering-on-orientation satisfied. I quickly became reacquainted with what it’s like to feel that all of my sexual problems would disappear if I could just be dead. Not necessarily suicide, but close; if I could just not be alive when I needed to, that would be ideal.
And because I had a hysterectomy while leaving my ovaries intact, I still have the PCOS to deal with; which, granted, isn’t nearly as painful as the endometriosis ever was, and can be only just slightly uncomfortable at times. But that’s the thing: I still have PCOS.
And then it occurred to me, when noticing that my face and neck was beginning to bubble up with acne like it hasn’t done since puberty, that maybe, maybe, I have too much testosterone in my body, and this is why I used to feel like such utter pathetic shit every month before going on the birth control.
But I like having a little bit of a libido. I think. (Y’know, so long as my husband has an interest in trying to satisfy my dire need for sensory play rather than just orgasm. Which, tbh, I don’t know. He’s going through some sexual soul-searching right now too.) So what could I do about the acne and the hormone shit-feelings without completely killing my sex drive (assuming that keeping it will add to my life)?
When I’m back in the states, I think I’ll pay a visit to Planned Parenthood or something and see about what my options are. One of them, interestingly enough, though, is spiro.
Apparently spiro can be prescribed to AFAB-types with PCOS to manage their acne, hirsutism, hair loss, or all of the above. Also apparently, because it’s not a hormone, but a blocker, the side effects are different, and for me personally, they seem less frustrating.
This is interesting to me, though, as someone who mostly identifies as nonbinary (if I have to identify as anything); I have a chemical cocktail naturally occurring in my body that other AFAB NBs go out of their way to achieve with HRT. And this chemical cocktail has been with me since I hit puberty, really; I likely experienced a small, but noticeable, amount of development from my elevated androgen levels. My broad shoulders, my naturally toned arms and back, my jawline, my body hair. In a way, I got many of the traits my siblings are artificially trying to achieve, and for a long time I hated how ambiguous I looked. I hated that I felt like a “man” whenever I put on a dress.
Of course now I couldn’t give less of a fuck, but still. It’s interesting to think about.
I do give a fuck about this goddamned acne, though.