Reality Check: On Gender

As part of writing non-consent and gender degradation erotica in a responsible manner, I regularly present a Reality Check article, touching base with safety, respect, equity and health in the real-world. 

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I’m not going to make this a whole essay, but it’s probably a good time to say this.

Sex is not the same thing as gender. 
The only person who’s an authority on your gender is you.

Look, because of what my kinks are, my erotica fiction is a complete mess when it comes to representation of gender. It does it wrong, and that’s the point of it, because taboos are hot.

But our kinks should not be our politics.

Trans women are women. 
Trans men are men. 
Non-binary people exist and are wonderful.

Sure, a trans woman who identified as an adult may have different life experiences from a woman who has identified as a woman since birth, and that means they have different things to bring to a discussion on women’s issues. But so do a black woman and a white woman, or a poor woman and a rich woman.

Trans women are women. Trans men are men. Non-binary people exist and are wonderful. 

To all my readers everywhere on the gender spectrum, you’re welcome and valued. If you find something hot in my writing, please enjoy it. And if you don’t – well, I don’t know why you’re reading it, but there’s nothing wrong with that either.

– All These Roadworks
June 2020

Reality Check

Reality Check: Aftercare for Degradation Porn

As part of writing non-consent and gender degradation erotica in a responsible manner, each month I present a Reality Check article, touching base with safety, respect, equity and health in the real-world.  An archive of these articles is also available to all members.

The following article was written following discussion with a fan. There’s no aftercare for intense porn – and there should be. The following is intended as something to read after you’ve just enjoyed some intense degradation porn – I hope some people may find it helpful.

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SO YOU’VE JUST ENJOYED SOME DEGRADATION PORN…

… and you’re someone who’s getting off on the fantasy of being degraded, not being the degrader.

Go you! I hope it was really hot!

There is absolutely nothing wrong with that kink.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with you.

But now you’re done, and because it was just porn, there’s no one to cuddle you and tell you that actually you’re not worthless, and the degradation feelings have stayed with you after they’ve stopped feeling fun?

Okay, so hear it from me:

You are not worthless.
You are not disgusting.
You are not dirty.

When you smile, you light up. Everyone does. There’s a moment of beauty there that you rarely see in yourself, because you can’t see yourself with external eyes, but over the years you’ve been alive it’s captured the heart of people that you never even realised, and it will continue to do so again and again all down your life.

You are fun, and not just sexually. The human capacity for joy is inherent and contagious. Not everyone will always be on your wavelength, but there are whole diasporas of people out there who are, all of them alone, all of them who will find their groove in your company and enjoy your energy and value the mere fact of your presence.

You are smart. Maybe you know that, and maybe you don’t, but I mean it. I know there are things you can do well. Maybe they’re professional. Maybe they’re creative. Maybe you’re great with kids, or animals, or plants. Maybe you know just the right thing to say at the right time, or maybe you’re just super great at really pissing off someone who truly deserves it. Maybe you’re a survivor who’s survived all kinds of shit you shouldn’t have to. You can do something impressive. Remember that.

And you are sexy. Not dirty life-support-for-a-set-of-holes sexy (although maybe that too), but sexy as a full, alive, complicated person. No one person will ever get to see the whole of your sexy, because that’s what being a complicated human means. But oh yes, people will want to get intimate with you, and it doesn’t have to be only on their terms, because you ARE desirable, and you can and should put your desires, boundaries and limits up front. Trust me, there are enough people in this world that there are plenty who will want to do EXACTLY what you want to do with them.

You had some fun with some degradation porn.

Now you’re done.

The world is bright, and beautiful, and you can put the porn down, and not think about it again until you want to.

Go cuddle a plush animal. Step into your back yard or balcony. Have a warm bath. Make yourself feel good.

There is nothing wrong with you.

And you’re going to be fine.

– All These Roadworks
April 2020

Reality Check

Reality Check: Everyone Should See A Psych

As part of writing non-consent and gender degradation erotica in a responsible manner, each month I present a Reality Check article, touching base with safety, respect, equity and health in the real-world.  An archive of these articles is also available to all members.

Everyone should see a psych

Everyone should see a psychologist once a year for a checkup, regardless of whether they feel they need it or not.  That *should* be just the done thing. There should be a marking on your calendar. “Oh, it’s August. Time to make an appointment with my GP for a physical health checkup, and with my psych for a mental health checkup.”

If you’re having a hard time of life, it’s almost certain that you need more than just a checkup.

Yes, even you, manly dude who feels like he can tough it out.  *Especially* you. I’m a dom. I’m a dude. I have literally more girls to play with at kink parties than I have time to satisfy.  And I see a psych. If I can, you can.  

Now, I live in Australia, and we have a range of safety nets here that make it easier to see a psych here than it is in some places – and even then, it’s still not cheap or easy.  I know in the US it’s a bit of a nightmare, because wow, you’ve fucked up your healthcare system in some exceptionally special ways.

But there’s a good chance you’re not going to get better on your own. 

Warning signs

Everyone should see a psych. You don’t need to have any warning signs. Just go. Also, people who have warning signs tend to minimise them as an excuse not to seek help. So let me tell you, there is no excuse not to seek help. If you’re 100% healthy, you still need to go see a psych.

That said, there are a bunch of signs that not seeing a psych might be particularly unhealthy for you. Scroll down the list and see if any of them sound familiar. Any one of these by itself is a good reason to pick up the phone and make an appointment today.

  • If you’re over 35 and putting on weight.
  • If you have a history of being physically or sexually abused.
  • If you engage in self-harm or have suicidal thoughts.
  • If you are missing work regularly or having trouble leaving the house.
  • If you are socially isolated or can’t think of three separate people you could count on to help you out if you were in trouble without making you feel worse than when you started.
  • If you’re avoiding some important task, appointment or interaction, and you know there will eventually be consequences for that.
  • If you know you have a problem with addiction or:
    • if you are not fully sober on more than two occasions a week; or
    • if you have spent more than $50 on gambling in two consecutive weeks (regardless of if you won anything); or
    • if you’ve used any illegal drug other than cannabis more than once in the last three months, or use cannabis regularly; or
    • if you’re a daily user of painkillers (legally prescribed or otherwise); or
    • if your spending habits or your interaction with any drug, legal or otherwise, are having any negative impact on your work, relationships or life.
  • If you have ever been in an abusive relationship, whether as an abuser, a victim, or a regular witness.
  • If you have gone an entire week without doing any significant catch-up on the housework, and it’s not the first week within the last two months that that has happened.
  • If you have shouted in anger in the last two months.
  • If you have, while angry or stressed, punched or thrown something that wasn’t intended to be punched or thrown within the last year.
  • If you’ve been in a traffic accident and your behaviour around driving or travelling has changed as a result.
  • If you just ended a long-term relationship, had a divorce, transitioned from a long-term job into unemployment, had a business go bankrupt, had a parent, child or partner pass away, or if you or a partner had an abortion or miscarriage.
  • If your friends have recently raised concern about your behaviour or health, whether you think that concern is justified or not.
  • If you have been arrested for any crime, or are otherwise currently involved in legal proceedings.
  • If you do not feel in control of your behaviours around sex, masturbation, or consumption of pornography, or if those behaviours are accompanied by significant feelings of guilt or self-harm.
  • If you have been recently diagnosed with a significant disability, chronic illness, life-threatening illness, unplanned sterility, or STD.
  • If you’re not regularly getting a full night’s restful sleep.

These aren’t the only warning signs, but I have to stop somewhere.  If any of these sound familiar to you, you NEED to see a psych. The psych might listen to the full context of what’s going on in your life and say, “No, okay, actually you’re all right” – but that’s for them to say, not you.  It’s just like if you have severe chest pain, you call a doctor. Maybe it’s just heartburn, but only an idiot makes a bet on that.  

What to know about seeing a psych

In seeing a psych, you may be assisted by knowing about the following things:

  • EAPs exist and you may have access to one: Many workplaces offer an “employee assistance program” as part of their work conditions / workplace agreement / employee contracts / general plan to be a responsible employer.  This will grant you a certain number of free, anonymous appointments with a counsellor and/or psychologist per year, which can be used for any topic, whether work-related or otherwise.  (Anonymous in the sense that the EAP doesn’t tell your employer the names of employees who had appointments.)  
    These appointments may be by phone, in person, or both.  Some volunteer organisations, unions, and professional associations also have these programs.
    Consult your Human Resources area (or coordinator of your organisation) to find out what’s on offer.
  • Your GP can help: Your general practitioner SHOULD have basic training in mental health, and be able to assess and recognise symptoms of depression and anxiety.  They can refer you to a good psychologist who meets your needs (or a psychiatrist – see below), and may know which psychologists do and don’t suit your particular personality and issues.  In Australia, a GP can also put you on a “mental health plan”, which is basically a fancy way of saying that you’re qualified for a certain number of discounted psychologist appointments under Medicare, saving you money.
  • Psychiatrists are not psychologists: Psychiatrists deal in the medicine of the brain.  Their job is to treat physical disease involving the brain using medication.  That’s different from, for example, talking through past trauma and helping you understand the ways it’s affected your behaviour, which is what psychologists do.  A given problem may require help from a psychiatrist or a psychologist or both. Depression, for example, is more likely to occur in people with a history of trauma – so you’d probably want to see a psychologist about that – but regardless of where it comes from, it presents as an actual imbalance of chemicals in your brain and a difficulty in forming seratonin, so it’s very likely that you *do* need medication – specifically antidepressants – to stay healthy and safe.
  • Counsellors are not psychologists: A counsellor is not a psychologist.  It’s a lower level of qualification in the same general field.  They’re generally not qualified to do deep examinations of trauma, for example.  That doesn’t mean that they’re not worthwhile! They can be great for talking through a specific recent distressing incident, like the loss of a loved one, and can suggest specific strategies for dealing with stress, anxiety, and other immediate impacts of mental health.  They’re also significantly cheaper to access. But if you know you’ve got a *big* issue to deal with, or something in your past that continues to affect you today – or if a counsellor simply hasn’t satisfied you – then don’t just give up. Step up to an appointment with a psych.
  • Chaplains and priests are not necessarily counsellors OR psychologists: I’m not a fan of organised religion, but many priests *do* do very good work in supporting the mental health of others.  If you’re the sort of person who feels like they might benefit from talking to a priest, go for it. It’s always better to be talking than keeping it to yourself.  But do ask your priest what specific qualifications in mental health they have – get the name of the qualification and where they earned it – if only so you can correctly report what medical care you’ve received if you need to go elsewhere.  It also has consequences for their professional obligations around reporting, keeping of records, professional insurance, and compliance with professional standards and ethics.
  • You might not get the right psych on the first try: Getting good results from a psych involves feeling like you can trust them, that you are communicating with them effectively, and that your interactions are safe, positive and beneficial.  If you don’t feel like that after your first appointment, try a different psych. (Yes, I know there are cost implications, but if you need a psych then it costs what it costs.) It is okay and normal to try a couple of psychs to find one that feels like a good fit for you.
  • Different psychs offer different services: There are a range of treatments that psychologists can offer to patients.  Some are big fans of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, which is focused on being aware of the way you think in the present, and consciously modifying those patterns of thought to have healthy outcomes.  Others like Schema Therapy, which is about looking at how past interactions shape the way we assess and react to the world and to ourselves, and reassessing both the events that cause that reaction, and the way we react in the present.  Others can offer something similar to Freud’s “talking cure” – there are better and more scientific names for the modern versions of this that I can’t recall right at the moment, but they often involve a deep dive and long-form re-analysis of childhood and past trauma to gain catharsis, insight, and allow us to move on from unresolved issues. 
    Not every psych will offer every treatment, or be equally good at them, or even believe them to be effective.  As the patient, you’re ultimately entitled to the treatment you want and which makes you feel like you’re improving, and if you’re finding something to be frustrating or unhelpful, you can request a different approach, or move to a different psych.
  • It gets worse before it gets better: Engaging with past trauma is upsetting.  It brings it all up to the surface and makes it feel real and immediate.  It is my experience, both personally and with friends, that trauma-related issues can actually get *worse* immediately after starting psych appointments.  You can feel more emotional, more on edge, and like situations are more charged with triggering associations.
    That sucks, and there’s no real way around it.  You need to get better, and the path to doing that involves temporarily getting worse. 
    What you can do is be aware of it, and plan for it, and – importantly – see it through.  Don’t just walk away after one session. Stay the course until it actually does start to get better.
  • There *are* kink- and poly-friendly psychs: They exist.  I am lucky enough to have one.  That may involve the psych being actively kinky and poly.  It more often just involves them having an open mind and being willing to listen to you explain your life and what it means for you.
    If you are in touch with your local kink community, then someone can almost certainly recommend you an open-minded psych in your area.  (They may still not be the right psych for you, for the reasons above. At the end of the day, it’s more important that you trust them and that they can competently offer you the kind of treatment that you actually need than that they know every detail of your sex life.)
  • Responsible kinksters see psychs.  It’s just like getting an STD check regularly.  It’s part of fulfilling your obligations to your partners.  Go see a psych. Kink is psychologically intense. The highs are high, the lows are low, and because kinks often come from trauma and taboo, it inevitably interfaces with a lot of pretty deep stuff.  Plus it has all the stresses of relationships generally. If you have a not-fun meltdown in the middle of a scene and your dom or sub suddenly needs to stop everything, deal with their blue balls, and look after you – well, that’s a normal part of kink that everyone needs to be ready to do sometimes, but you could definitely do your partner a favour by being as healthy as possible before the sexy times start – and that means seeing a psych.  

In conclusion

So – go see a psych.

And normalise it.  Feel free to talk about it – especially if you’re a man, talking to men.  It’s just like a GP checkup. Tell your friends to do it. It doesn’t mean you’re “crazy” or your life’s a mess, any more than going to a GP means that you need major surgery – and if you *did* need major surgery, that’s just what you need, and it doesn’t reflect on you as a person.

As always, I’m happy to answer questions on this or any other kink / relationships / sexual health topic either publicly (by an Ask on BDSMLR) or privately by email or private message.

– All These Roadworks
March 2020

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Updated 4 March 2020: A follower on BDSMLR pointed out the following things worth clarifying, which don’t take away from my point, but I’ll include out of fairness.

(1) A psychiatrist is a medical doctor with an extra vocational training and degree in mental health. They can do what any physician does but specialise in mental health.

(2) When I said that “psychologists are real doctors” I meant that they’re a qualified healthcare professional whose skills and expertise are real, high-level, professionally regulated, and run in parallel to a psychiatrist, not at a lower tier. BUT in the technical terminology of the medical fields, they are NOT a medical doctor because their degree is in psychology, not medicine. (Unless they also have a separate degree in medicine.)

Thanks!

Reality Check

Reality Check: Not Having Sex (And Why That’s Okay)

As part of writing non-consent and gender degradation erotica in a responsible manner, each month I present a Reality Check article, touching base with safe, respectful, equitable behaviour in kink, in relationships, and in the world generally. 

You don’t have to have sex. 

And no one’s entitled to judge you if you don’t.

I don’t mean in the sense of “you don’t have to consent to sex” – although you absolutely don’t, and I’ve written about that before.

And I’m not talking about chastity – the pressure to *not* have sex is just as toxic as the pressure to screw for the sake of screwing.  

I mean you don’t have to *have* sex.  Ever.  

Haven’t had sex by the time you’re 20?  That’s fine.  

Haven’t had sex by the time you’re 30?  That’s fine.  

Live a rich, full life and die at the age of 130, never having had sex?  That’s fine.  

You want to have sex, but you haven’t yet? 

That sucks, and I’ll get round to talking about how to deal with that in a future post, but it doesn’t reflect on *you*.  You don’t need to feel embarrassed about that. There’s no “right time” beyond whenever you happen to have the opportunity with a safe, consenting, positive person and feel like it’s something you very much want to do.  

Real talk – a lot of people who have sex at young ages wish they hadn’t.  That’s for a range of reasons, including that sex with someone underage is illegal and very likely to be abusive.  Minors can’t consent. If you’re thinking that there’s an exception here, or a situation where it shouldn’t have happened but it worked out okay, I have a full essay for you in the future about why you’re wrong.  Don’t flirt with minors, don’t do kink with minors, don’t groom minors, don’t invite minors into sexualised spaces, don’t fuck minors. They’re 100% entitled to make their own decisions about their sexuality, and as an adult you’re 100% obliged to say, “Okay, but not with me.”

Do NOT feel pressured to have sex just because “it’s time”.  Do NOT feel like there’s an obligation to “lose your virginity”, ever.  Do NOT feel like you’re less of a complete human, or naive or uninformed, just because you haven’t had sex.  (Okay, you might be uninformed about what having sex is like, but hey, I’m uninformed about quantum physics or what working as a professional long-haul truck driver is like, and I’m not losing sleep over it.  I don’t express opinions on those topics, and I don’t expect anyone to give me shit about not being an expert.)

You are not less of a man / less of a woman / less of a human because you haven’t had sex.  Your gender and your role in society are not dependent upon having screwed someone.  

Sex when you’re not into it is shitty sex.

Sex that you’re obligated to have is shitty sex.

Sex that you’re doing as a favour to someone is (usually) shitty sex, unless you’re under literally zero obligation to do so and you really enjoy giving them pleasure.

Sex where you don’t feel in control is shitty sex (yes, yes, I know that’s a lot of people’s kink, but it’s better if you’ve made the enthusiastic positive choice to give up that control).

No one needs to have shitty sex.  Do it when you’re ready and when you want to, and there’s no time limit on when that needs to be.  And if the opportunity doesn’t happen to even give you that choice in the first place – hey, that sucks, but it doesn’t reflect on you.

You’re not sure you actually want sex, at all? 
Or at least not the way people assume?

That’s fine.  That’s a thing.  It’s maybe more of a thing than you think.

You may have heard the terms “asexual” and “aromantic”, meaning, respectively:

  • a person who is simply not interested in sex (but who may want romance, intimacy and/or cuddles; and
  • a person who may absolutely want sexual contact, but is uninterested in emotional intimacy or romantic relationships.

But what doesn’t get talked about so much is that those are convenient labels for some points on a pretty diverse spectrum.

Here are some other things that are real things, that are valid and okay:

  • I fantasise about sex, but I don’t want to actually do it.
  • I masturbate, but don’t want sex with other people.
  • I want kinky sex play or D/s, but I don’t want my genitals involved.
  • I get off from pain and sensation, but not from intercourse.
  • I want to talk about sex with people, but not do it.
  • I want to watch, but not take part.
  • I have times when I want sex, and other times when i don’t.
  • The only kinds of sex that turn me on are physically impossible and/or illegal and unethical, so I guess I won’t have sex.
  • I don’t want sex with the same person I have romance and emotional intimacy with.
  • I previously felt like I had a certain identity around sexuality, and expressed that to people, but now I feel like I want something different.  

Do not let anyone else tell you what you must want or not want around sex.  Don’t feel the need to fit into a box, or feel like you need to have some interests or behaviours just because of your gender or other aspects of your sexuality.  Labels are handy to help similar people find each other, but they’re not supposed to trap you into a role that you don’t really identify with.

And while we’re here, YES, you can absolutely be hetero, gay, lesbian, bi or anything else – and KNOW that you are – without ever having actually had sex, or for that matter even wanting to have physical sex. You don’t have to “give it a try” or “sample what’s on offer”. You fantasise about what you fantasise about, and you don’t need to second-guess that for anyone.

And on the idea of “virginity”…

I sometimes use the idea of virginity in my stories, because we have a LOT of cultural baggage around it, and cultural baggage is inevitably where kink grows from.  The idea of the sudden irreversible transition from “pure, untainted idol” into “forever sullied whore” is powerful – and often, in fantasies, sexy.

But look, it’s bullshit, okay?

First of all, there’s no magical line between “virgin” and “non-virgin”.  When is the point where we cross that line? The first time we have vaginal intercourse?  How does that make sense?  

Girls have often had a lot of things in their vagina long before they first have sex – fingers, speculums, assorted household objects while experimenting with their sexuality.  (Yes, girls, a lot of women – most? – have shoved something weird up their pussies when they were young, maybe many things, many times. It’s a natural part of experimenting with your body, it doesn’t make you dirty or disgusting, and the appropriate response to telling that story to somebody would be to have a shared, positive laugh about how weird humans are.  Tell anyone who shames you to get fucked.)

Hymens break from all kinds of things – horse riding, bicycle riding, gymnastics, medical procedures, the aforementioned experimentation.  The only magic in an intact hymen is a certain bafflement that it didn’t get busted long ago from the realities of daily life.

As for guys – again, long before sex, most guys have masturbated, orgasmed, ejaculated.  We’ve tried sticking our cocks in things – the urge to see what it feels like to *fuck* something is strong.

And we’ve all seen pornography – increasingly girls as well as boys these days.  (I mean, if you’re reading this, I *know* you’ve seen pornography, but if you somehow hadn’t, that’s not anything to be embarrassed about either.)

Do you lose your virginity the first time you see another person naked?  When you touch them? Make out with them? Masturbate them? From oral sex?  From anal sex? What if you don’t cum? What if you do something kink but there’s no genitals involved?

Virginity is a bullshit concept, and I urge you to not buy into it except to the extent that it’s hot for you in erotica or roleplay.  You don’t have it to start with, you don’t need to lose it, you’re not dirty when you do, and your worth as a human and as a sexual or romantic partner is not increased or decreased by reference to whether you’ve had sex before.

Keep enjoying erotica responsibly!

Our kinks should not be our politics, and what happens in fantasies isn’t a guide to how to behave in real life.

If you have questions, or topics you’d like me to address in a future Reality Check, please don’t hesitate to email them to all.these.roadworks@gmail.com.

– All These Roadworks
February 2020

Reality Check

Reality Check: Hypnosis, Sustained Arousal, and Orgasms

As part of writing non-consent and gender degradation erotica in a responsible manner, each month I present a Reality Check article, touching base with safe, respectful, equitable behaviour in kink, in relationships, and in the world generally. 

Okay, so I write fucked-up erotic fantasies, and if you’re reading this then you’ve probably enjoyed some of them.

This month I’m going to talk about three things that feature in a lot of my stories, and a few differences between fiction and reality.  And those three things are hypnosis, sustained arousal, and orgasms.

Hypnosis

In almost all of the hypno stories I write, what I’m depicting is fantasy hypno, where a skilled hypnotist or a series of flashing lights and noises can take someone into a trance, possibly without their consent, and implant detailed ideas that they are completely powerless to resist.

It’s fiction.  Enjoyable fiction, but fiction.  It doesn’t exist.

Hypnosis does exist.  Erotic hypnosis *also* exists.  It can be fun, but it’s much more limited than the magical mind-control that I’m writing about.  It is largely true to say that you can’t be hypnotised to do anything you don’t want to do, and to the extent that there are ways of getting around that, they’re deeply abusive.  

If you’re interested in the topic, the best book I’m aware of is Mind Play: A Guide to Erotic Hypnosis by Mark Wiseman, which you can get right now as an e-book from Amazon (link).  Wiseman is an accredited hypnotherapist who also happens to be kinky.  He knows what he’s talking about, and he phrases his text in ways that keep all the fun possibilities of erotic hypnosis open, while grounding it firmly in principles of safety, consent, and risk management.

However, if you’re going to play with hypnosis, please be aware that it has the potential to be very harmful if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Absolutely do *not* play around with hypnosis without having done some deep reading on it.

Absolutely do *not* attempt to deal with anyone’s real psychological problems with hypnosis, including your own, unless you are an accredited psychologist – it’s incredibly dangerous.

Absolutely do *not* attempt hypnosis without a well-negotiated consent discussion in advance, that comprehensively covers the hypnotist’s skill level, the risks, and what suggestions the hypnotist intends to give the subject.

And *don’t* be that dick who drops random subliminal GIFs or audio into some unsuspecting woman’s inbox online.  You are *not* going to hypnotise her, but that doesn’t mean you might not do real damage, particularly if she’s epileptic.  It could constitute a crime that you could be jailed for, and at the very least it’s just really gross and impolite.

Sustained Arousal

I write a bunch of stories where a girl is kept horny 24/7 over long periods.  And look, that can happen.  Probably a bunch of people reading this have done it to themselves.  Edging can be a lot of fun, and the resulting orgasms can be very intense.

But please be aware that it *is* a health risk.  Your body isn’t designed to be heavily aroused for long periods.  As tempting as it can be, please don’t make this your default state.  If you find you can’t help it, and your body is just staying constantly aroused – either for some physical reason, or because you just can’t help yourself – that’s actually something you need to seek medical help for.

The first risk is hydration.  Being aroused uses up water.  Make sure you take regular drinks of water if you’re going to stay aroused, whether you think you need it or not.  Your body won’t send you the right signals about needing water, because it’s producing endorphins that are masking it.

Second is posture and position.  Again, being aroused produces endorphins, so if you’ve been holding a single position for a long time (in a chair, or hunched over, or in bondage, or whatever else) you won’t get the signals from your body that it’s getting sore and needs to shift.  You can damage your back, or other muscles.

Third is repetitive injury.  It’s kind of funny, but also totally true, that masturbating too long (or doing any other repetitive sexual motion) can cause you a repetitive strain injury.  And again, you’re not going to notice it happening because of the endorphins.  Stop as soon as you feel sore, no matter how close you or your partner are to cumming, because by the time you feel it it’s probably already pretty bad.  (Also worth noting here are friction injuries.  If you’re rubbing your cock or your pussy non-stop for hours, you *are* going to feel that when you’re done.  It’s possible to do quite serious injury, in extreme cases.)

Fourth is your brain.  First up, while you’re horny, you’re not thinking clearly.  You’re not prioritising things in your life correctly, you’re thinking with your cock or cunt, and the longer you’re horny, the more chance there is you’ll do something you’ll regret, whether that’s missing a deadline you were supposed to hit, spending money on porn you couldn’t afford, or something else.

Beyond that, there’s some evidence that long-term arousal can have effects on your brain.  I’m not expert enough to speak definitively here, but your brain just isn’t designed to process that many happiness chemicals for that long.  Healthy arousal is experienced in moderation.

Fifthly is blood pressure.  Your blood pressure goes up when you’re aroused.  High blood pressure over long periods isn’t good for you, and if you have an existing heart problem it can be very dangerous.  If you haven’t stayed hydrated, it can be significantly worse.

There may be other effects – but the takeaway here is that just because the girls in my stories are horny sluts all day long, it doesn’t mean you should be.  Save it for when someone’s around to appreciate it, perhaps.

Orgasms

The men and women in my stories cum often and easily.  And I don’t apologise for writing what I enjoy, but look, that’s not a realistic expectation or goal any more than bimbo bodies are healthy, attainable (or even desirable) for most women.  

The nerves that let us orgasm are super-complex, and there’s a lot of variation between people, and then on top of that our psychology and our body and brain chemistry play a big role in the ability to orgasm.

Some people – and particularly women – find it very difficult to orgasm.  They may only be able to cum sometimes, or under some circumstances, or particular stimulation.  Sometimes only if they’re by themselves.  Sometimes only if they’re penetrated.  Sometimes only after a long time.  Some unfortunate women haven’t been able to at all, and possibly never will.

Now, I don’t want to downplay the role of experimentation, foreplay and good sex.  People having difficulty with orgasming isn’t an excuse to not try, to not be patient, to not experiment with new sensations and rhythms and ideas, to not listen carefully to your partner about what they like and attempt to satisfy them.

But you also shouldn’t go into life with an expectation that everyone can cum quickly if only the sex is good enough.  That’s just not the case.  Nor should you feel rejected if after good sex they need to finish themselves off with their hand, or a vibrator.  What works for them is what works for them, and that’s not something that can be changed through force of will.

Personally, it almost always takes me a *long* time to cum – more than an hour – and it’s most reliable from my own hand.  That doesn’t mean I don’t want to do a ton of things with women (and I’m fortunate enough that I get to do these things frequently, with several wonderful partners.)  It’s actually very helpful for being able to write stories without “losing the mood”, and means I’m not going to “finish too quickly” when playing with a woman – but a lot of the time it’s also super-annoying, because there’s no such thing as a “quickie” for me.

Anyway, if you’re someone whose orgasms are difficult, unreliable, hyper-specific, or absent altogether, please know that you’re *not* abnormal, that it’s very common, and it’s not any failing on your part. 

And FYI, being on some medications can dramatically increase or decrease your ability to orgasm.  Both the pill and antidepressants are commonly reported to have this effect in some people.  That is absolutely *not* of itself a reason to stop taking them – and definitely don’t stop antidepressants without consulting a professional! – but ideally it could be something to raise with your doctor, if you’re lucky enough to have a sex-positive doctor who’s bothered to actually do some education in this area.

Conclusion

There’s a bunch more topics I could talk about here, but this feels like it’s a long enough article, so I’m calling it a day.  Thanks for reading.  

If you’ve got topics you’d like to see me address in future Reality Check articles, send me an email at all.these.roadworks@gmail.com

– All These Roadworks
early January 2020

Reality Check

Reality Check: The Risk of Abuse

As part of writing non-consent and gender degradation erotica in a responsible manner, each month I present a Reality Check article, touching base with safe, respectful, equitable behaviour in kink, in relationships, and in the world generally.  

Okay, so the Reality Check is late this month because I’ve tried to write something for the column about four times, and each time I ended up doing a long meandering intro about safety in dating and in kink.

And eventually I realised I’m going to want to do that intro for a LOT of different topics.  And while it’s probably worth saying multiple times, it was going to be far more practical to write it once, and link back to it repeatedly in future.

So let’s talk about the risk of intimate and sexual violence.

I’m using this term to capture the range of unacceptable and (usually) criminal violations that can occur in the context of relationships and dating.  So we’re talking rape, molestation, drink spiking, coerced consent, harassment, stalking, domestic violence, confinement, doxing, criminal controlling behaviour, unauthorised taking and distribution of intimate images, threats, intimidatory behaviour, and the whole range of activity in that space.

As I’ve said before – I write non-consent erotica fiction, but real life isn’t a fantasy.  None of this acceptable.  None of it is sexy.  Most of it is punishable by imprisonment.  It’s far too prevalent, and it’s everyone’s responsibility to actively combat that.  

And in discussing this, we really can’t do it in an honest way without talking about who the victims are and who the perpetrators are.

Who is at risk?

You are – whoever you may be.  No one is immune from the possibility of dating someone dangerous, from something going wrong, from being abused, assaulted, or having your boundaries violated.  Whatever your background, gender, age, or experience, you need to take the risk of abuse seriously.

That said, it’s also worth acknowledging some context – and we’re talking here about societal averages, not saying this is the case for every person.

Intimate violence and sexual assault is gendered

  • Adult women are at greater risk of intimate and sexual violence than adult men.
  • Adult men are more likely to perpetrate intimate and sexual violence than women.
  • Intimate and sexual violence perpetrated by men has a higher physical impact, is more likely to permanently damage or kill, is more likely to involve the use of a weapon, is likely to last for longer, is more likely to be repeated, and is more likely to eventually escalate to murder.
  • Because of systemic inequities in financial status, employment, housing security, parenting responsibility, policing, and attitudes towards sex, the impact of similar levels of abuse is likely to be greater on a woman than a man, she will be less able to avoid and escape it, and the cost of reporting it will be higher.

Men are victims too, and women are perpetrators too

  • None of the points above should be taken to mean that men are not victims of intimate and sexual violence, or that women cannot be perpetrators.
  • There are many men who are victims.  The crimes against them are not less serious because they are men.  
  • Men are *not* somehow inherently able to defend themselves just because they are men.
  • Men *can* be raped.  The nature of sexual assault is to do with intimate violation and power.  It doesn’t require the penetration of any particular orifice.  Beyond that, arousal isn’t consent, and having an erection isn’t consent.
  • In the same way that our culture around gender roles creates unique vulnerabilities and impacts on women, it can also mean that men may have trouble recognising they have been assaulted, unwilling to identify as a victim or seek help, have difficulty talking about it, and be reluctant to report it to authorities – and that’s a problem that it’s everyone’s responsibility to tackle.
  • Likewise, women absolutely can be, and are, perpetrators.  Women can be just as bad at respecting boundaries and seeking consent, and just as abusive and controlling, in relationships with men, women, or any gender.

There are other high-risk groups

  • Trans people, and particularly trans women, are incredibly at risk.  There’s a lot that could be said about the mix of factors that cause this, but it’s not okay and it’s got to stop, people.
  • Younger people are at high risk as they’re less likely to have secure transport, finances and accommodation; less likely to have the skills to identify danger; and more likely to be on the wrong end of an imbalance in power, authority and social standing.
  • Older people can be at high risk for the reasons that older people generally can be at high risk in society.
  • People from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds can be at higher risk because they may face barriers to clear communication, possibly less supporting and sex-positive communities, have cultural norms that make it difficult to clearly identify and confront abusive behaviour, and may be reluctant to report abuse because of fears around racism in authorities, complications in their immigration status, and/or cultural inhibition.
  • Gay and bisexual men have a complicated risk profile that’s beyond the scope of this article but are at higher risk than men generally.

None of the above is about demonising gender

  • Yes, men are more commonly the perpetrators of intimate and sexual violence, but no, that’s not because men are just awful, or they’re naturally rapists, or they can’t help themselves.
  • It’s because most men alive today – myself included – were raised in a culture that taught absolutely terrible lessons about boundaries, dating, respect, consent, gender relations, anger, and managing emotions.
  • Even today we get films that depict a woman saying “no” as an invitation to pursue and court her.  We get shows that depict a man’s violent jealousy as excusable because it shows how much he really loves her. We get romantic comedies where no one ever really has a decent communication and the problem is solved by a grand romantic gesture rather than two people talking like adults.  And no, good relationships and respectful courtship don’t inherently make boring films, and maybe in a future article I’ll talk about a few timeless classics that show how to do it right.
  • Strong men aim to improve themselves.  If you want a better body, you exercise, you go jogging, you hit the gym, you eat healthy.  If you want a better wardrobe, you put in the time and effort to find something that fits you and looks good, and you pay what it costs to get it right.  If you want a better job, you go get a degree and/or you work your ass off in your current one. Good relationships aren’t going to just fall into your lap and miraculously work just because you’re passionate enough.  You need to do work – just like the gym, just like your career.  Strong men put in work to unlearn the toxic bullshit from their childhood and develop real skills in consent, respect, and confident boundary-aware flirtation.  And, trust me, it pays off.
  • And for people who aren’t men – yes, you need to do the work too.  Consent and respect are everyone’s job, and you shouldn’t think that just because you’re not a dude that you’re naturally perfect at it or not at risk of getting it wrong.

What can we do about it?

When I started writing this article, it was originally going to be sensible safety precautions for fun, safe hookups, and it’s likely I’ll return to that idea for a subsequent Reality Check.

But at a broader level, I want to suggest three key ways to address sexual and intimate violence long-term:

1) Believe victims.

You’re not the police and you’re not a court.  You don’t have to sit back and go, “The charge must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt” – and that’s because you don’t have the power to investigate it fairly, nor the power to imprison anyone based on that finding.

You should also know that:

  • The strong evidence is that the overwhelming majority of witnesses are truthful; and
  • You, personally, are terrible at assessing the truthfulness of sexual assault claims, for a range of reasons that could be their own article, no matter who you personally are or what your personal or professional background is.

Your job is to believe and support the victim, and take sensible steps to protect them, and other people, from the risk of further harm. Often mitigating risk will involve some impact on the social life, memberships or employment status of the accused. That sucks for them if they’re innocent, but (a) it’s not actually all that hard to not be accused of sexual assault, falsely or otherwise, if you have a strong understanding and respect for boundaries and consent, so even the innocent people here are generally not people who have been following best practice, and (b) some inconvenience to an innocent person is reasonable in protecting other innocent people against serious harm.

2) Fight for gender equity.

A huge part of intimate and sexual violence comes directly from gender inequity.  Women are more vulnerable to assault because of a range of systemic inequities.  Men are more likely to commit it because of toxic gender roles learned from childhood.  Trans people are at increased risk because of insecurities and complexes around gender, gender roles and sexuality.  

A world where women have the same financial, sexual and domestic opportunities as men, and where men aren’t raised to see violating boundaries and controlling behaviour as masculine, is a world that’s safer for everyone – and a safer world is one where everyone has greater freedom and opportunity for hot, kinky sex.

3) Listen

People are trying to talk to you about this subject.  Women are trying to explain how harassment and the risk of sexual violence is the daily background noise of their life.  Men are trying to tell you that most of them don’t want to be the creepy guy or the abusive guy, but they’re terrified of being demonised if they try to do better but are less than 100% successful.  Experts are trying to tell you a range of reasons why an opinion based on nothing but your life experience and intuitive understanding may not be giving you the whole picture.

Sit back and listen to them.  You don’t need to argue.  Everyone has a lot of emotions in this space, and part of the message that needs to be conveyed is just *hearing* those emotions.  I don’t for a minute mean to suggest a literal equivalence between a person who’s scared and insecure about change versus a person who’s been sexually assaulted, but the best progress is going to occur from taking the time to go, “Wow, that’s been really shit for you, and as a fellow human I wish you didn’t have to go through it.”  Just hear their emotions. 

For victims, and particularly women, the anger is part of the message.  They’re entitled to be angry.  They’re entitled to be furious that sexual assault is still so common – we’ve had a long time to fix it.  They’re not obliged to give out awards to people for raping them slightly less often than last year.  Everyone is entitled to full safety and respect for their boundaries, and anything less than that is unacceptable.  

But at the same time, change is a journey – no one goes to bed one night as a knuckle-dragging caveman and wakes up the next morning as a woke, nuanced master of consent.  And journeys are hard, and they’re scary, and this is a really tough time for a lot of people right now just in terms of managing household expenses, employment, health and family, without going on a journey of self-improvement as well.  That doesn’t mean it’s not everyone’s inescapable obligation to take that journey – but we can recognise that it takes personal effort and commitment.

Thanks for reading

That’s all I’ve got on this subject.  Please keep enjoying my fucked-up erotica – and please keep practising positive, enthusiastic consent and respect for boundaries in real life. 

If you’ve got topics you’d like to see me address in future Reality Check articles, send me an email at all.these.roadworks@gmail.com

Reality Check

Reality Check: Positive, Enthusiastic Consent

As part of writing in the field of non-consent and gender degradation fantasy, I aim to check in occasionally with responsible, real-life practices for safe, respectful behaviour in the real world. Starting this month, I’ll be publishing these both to BDSMLR and AllTheseRoadworks.com.

If you’re reading my writing, the chances are you find stories of non-consent to be really hot. The fantasy of overpowering someone, or being overpowered, is common, natural, and healthy to explore, discuss, and share with consenting adults.

But in the real world, that element of consent is really important.  Consent is the *only* acceptable foundation of real-world interaction, even – especially – if you’re exploring master-slave or non-consent fantasies.  And when I talk about consent, I’m talking about positive, enthusiastic, informed consent.

Don’t be alarmed.

Any discussion of consent has to include a lot of “don’t do this” statements. If you’re young, or if you’re new to sex, or if you’re from a family or culture that doesn’t talk about this a lot, it might seem scary, or a high standard. It might make you want to say it’s all too hard and ignore what I’m saying.

Please don’t. If the things I’m saying here aren’t what you’re already doing, then yes, you might need to slow down and think carefully about it. Getting it right is important, and there are consequences for you and, more importantly, for other people in getting it wrong.

BUT thousands of other kinksters have been here before, all of them new to it, many of them not particularly bright, and they learned, and you can too. You want a good reputation in the kink scene. You want to play with hot partners, and you want them to come back for more, and you want them to tell their friends. So you want to learn this, trust me.

Consent is a skill.  Unfortunately very few of us got taught it properly growing up. And so, like any skill, learning it takes active work and practice.  It’s not black and white – you’re not 100% perfect at it or 100% worthless.  You get better with time and practice.

But, as with many skills, there is a minimum level of competency for playing safely with others, and if someone gets hurt as a result of your mistake, the responsibility for that is on you.  

The bare minimum.

The bare minimum for consent is obeying the law, and the following will cover you in almost all jurisdictions. (Some places have a less stringent test, but they really shouldn’t.) I say this not to suggest you can call this “good enough”, but merely to say that if you’re not reaching this standard, you need to stop playing with other people until you can.

  • A positive belief of consent ….
    Your belief as to consent must be positive, i.e. “I believe they consent”, not, “I have no reason to believe they don’t”.
  • … based on positive actions …
    Your belief must be based on actual things your partner has said or done to make you believe they consent. Silence, absence of struggle, or absence of protest are not consent.
  • … held on reasonable grounds
    Other people in the same position as you would come to a similar belief as to the existence of consent.
  • at all relevant times.
    Your belief must last for the duration of your interaction. If you no longer have reasonable grounds to believe they are *still* consenting, you need to stop, immediately, even if you’re “almost there”.

But we can do better – much better – and as kinksters, who do things more dangerous or unusual than vanilla sex, we have an *obligation* to do better.  So let’s talk about how consent should work.

1) Consent must be positive.

Consent is not the absence of protest.  “She didn’t say no” isn’t consent. Silence isn’t consent.  A lack of struggle isn’t consent. Arousal isn’t consent. Consent consists of positive words or actions that unambiguously mean “yes, please”.

2) Consent must be enthusiastic.

Coerced consent isn’t consent.  You can’t badger or harass someone into consent.  You can’t tell them they owe you consent. If they consent because otherwise you will be sad, disappointed or angry, then it’s not consent. If consent isn’t an enthusiastic “hell, yes!” then it’s not consent.

3) Consent must be informed.

People need to know what they’re consenting to. They’re entitled to know any matter which they’ve expressed concern about or which might reasonably affect their choice to consent – even if it doesn’t matter to *you*.

Some matters which people need to know in order to give informed consent:
* Are you going to use protection and/or birth control?
* Do you either have an STD, or are at risk of one without having had a recent screen?
* Do you have a partner or partners who would consider what you’re doing “cheating”?
* Are you photographing or recording what you’re doing? Do you intend to?
* Do you have a physical or mental health condition which could impact your safety or theirs?

Everyone has a right to know what risks to their privacy, physical health and reproductive health they’re consenting to.

4) Consent can be withdrawn at any time.

Anyone is entitled to withdraw their consent at any time.  Even if they’ve consented in the past. Even if they consented to a consensual non-consent scene.  Even if sex work is involved and you’ve paid money. If someone indicates they are less than enthusiastically consenting, *stop*.

5) Only sober, conscious, adult humans can consent.

Minors can’t consent.  Animals can’t consent. People who are unconscious or less than fully awake can’t consent. If you’re too drunk or stoned to drive, you can’t consent.  If you’re on any medication or drug you’ve not tried before, or which impairs your judgement, you can’t consent.  

(Can you consent while sober or awake to activity happening while drunk or asleep? The answer is “kind of”. I know for some of you it’s your kink, and you want it to happen. But it’s super-risky, because you’re not going to be in a position to safely withdraw your consent once the activity starts. If you *must* do this, you want to do it with someone that you’ve built up trust with, and you want to be super-explicit in advance about what you’re consenting to, when it’s happening, and what the limits are.)

Also, to gloss over a somewhat complex area, I’ll also just note that being horny affects your judgement, and responsible kinksters avoid asking people to consent to new surprises while they’re desperate to cum, no matter how hot that might be. Also, mental health can clearly affect your judgement, and kinksters need to be upfront about their diagnoses and how that affects their judgement, and, on the flip side, 100% ready to pull the plug if they’re less than completely certain their partner’s consent is rational and sober.

6) If they can’t communicate, you can’t be sure they’re consenting.

If you’re playing with gags or bondage, or in a noisy or dark environment, you need to think about communication.  How are they going to withdraw consent if they need to? You need to make provision for that in advance. Discuss that with your partner to see what works for them. You may give them a toy to hold in one hand – dropping it means they need to stop. Or leave them a hand free that they can use to rap on a noisy surface if they need your attention.

If you don’t have a reasonable, positive belief that your partner is *still* consenting, then your consent isn’t safe.

7) If you have any doubt they’re consenting, check in.

If they look like they’re not into it anymore, check if they’re okay.  If they’re starting to look spacey, check if they’re okay. If they haven’t made any sound in a while, check they’re okay.  If you have the *slightest* doubt that they are still enthusiastically consenting, check in. If you don’t get a response that indicates enthusiastic consent, stop.

8) You need to get consent *every time*.

Just because they’ve consented before, doesn’t mean they consent now.  Just because they’re consenting to someone else seeing them naked, doesn’t mean they’re consenting to you seeing them, or interacting with them.  In long-term relationships, consent can get faster and simpler, sure, but even with someone you’ve been married to for 20 years you should be getting positive, enthusiastic consent to anything you’re going to do with them.

9) Consent isn’t transactional – even in sex work.

No one owes you consent, even if you’ve paid money.  If a sex worker says no, you stop. Whether that then means you’re entitled to a refund is possibly a matter for negotiation, but it’s a negotiation that happens after you stop, and after you’ve made sure that they’re safe, and it may be a negotiation you need to have with someone else on their behalf to make sure that they *continue* feeling safe.  No stream performer or model or stripper or escort owes you their consent, even if money has changed hands. Also, providing sexual gratification to someone else doesn’t oblige them to “return the favour”.

10) Consent isn’t just for sex.

Here’s the thing – if you’re doing consent right, you’re not just doing it for sex.  You’re doing it in relation to all your interpersonal interactions, whenever you’re going to cross someone’s personal boundaries.  Before you touch someone, you ask if it’s okay. Before you photograph someone, you ask if it’s okay. When you’re interacting with people, you actively give them a way to withdraw, or communicate that they’re distressed.  You teach kids that they’re allowed to say no to hugs. Good consent skills are something to use every day, in all your interpersonal interactions.

Here endeth the lecture.

Still here? Good. Like I said at the start, consent is a skill, it takes practice, and you get better. Start practicing. Your partners WILL appreciate good consent skills. It will make them feel safe and empowered with you, and they’ll be more ready to try new things, take risks, and lower inhibitions. Consent benefits everybody.

I’m happy to take questions on consent skills at any time, and the next time I come back for a reality check I might offer an example consent negotiation, drawn from personal experience. (I’ve actually written it up, but then realised this article was already exceptionally long.)

Thank you all for reading, thank you for being wonderful, responsible kinksters, and you may now return to reading your regularly-scheduled smut.

– All These Roadworks
October 2019

Reality Check