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The Interdisciplinary Work of Lyss England

Posts tagged sex

Check out this very cool live podcast recorded LIVE in front of an audience at Masterbate Festival: Threesome on October 20, 2018 in Port Hope, Ontario.

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This show features:

– Live improvised music by Marko Lipovsek and Nelson Denis
– Interviews with a whole pile of audience members where they tell us their favourite sex tips
– A live performance of her original song “Don’t Send it to Me” (about receiving dick pics) by Amelia Merhar
– A live interview between myself and event host, Miranda Lukaniuk Lipovsek
– A live performance of her original song “Wanna Screw Ya” by Bella Muerta
– Interviews with all of the performers and crew from Masterbate this year who share their favourite sex tips with us

WARNING: This episode contains explicitly sexual content. It’s probably not appropriate for people who aren’t adults.

BIG THANKS to my friends at Two Blue Shirts Productions for gifting me the excellent quality recordings of the live performance pieces!

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I’m considering applying for a fellowship with a magazine I’ve been reading since I was fifteen, trying to figure out which category to apply under. I generally write about feelings and relationships and mental health and other emo stuff like that. The closest category I can apply under is “Pop-culture Criticism”. I say to the group of people sitting in my living room, “I need a topic to write about. Think ‘Pop-culture Criticism’”.  
“Why don’t you write about us?” she says.
I say she, because I don’t know what to refer to her as. We’ve jokingly referred to each other as our “girlfriend”, but is she my girlfriend? I’ve had sex with her twice, we talk every day and hang out almost every day. She comes over and makes me dinner while I’m at a fundraising committee meeting, and then sits close to me. She told her mom about “us”. She refers to “us”.
“That’s actually a really good idea,” my partner says, after a three second moment of silence.
My partner and I have been together for almost eight years- literally my entire adult life. We have a punk rock love story for the ages, and there’s not a doubt in my mind that this dude is the love of my life. We’ve grown together, and we want the same things for our future. I don’t feel held back, instead, I feel safe and grounded in our relationship. 
I think about it: I could write something about romantic/platonic/intimate relationships that differ from typical monogamous (and polyamorous, for that matter) relationships. I could write something about consent and communication in relationships in the context of this…thing we have going on. I could write about navigating jealousy. I could write about the body feels or gender feels this has brought up for me. I could write about feeling like I’m living the bisexual dream- and about feeling conflicted about the fact that I even feel that way. I could write about exploring my sexuality for the first time in my adult life. I could write about how vulnerable I’m making myself by writing about this whole Thing.
And then I realized that I don’t even know what to refer to her as. Maybe I better stick to writing about the whole process and touching on each of those things for now. This whole Thing is still so fresh, and, worst case, what if I screw it all up because of something I write and it puts an end to it all!?

Two years ago, I met a girl through community theatre who I thought was a total babe. We became close friends and periodically flirted, even sexted. I shared the sexts with my partner, and we flirted in front of him. He was into it. I also made sure that she realized that I was sharing our flirtation with my partner. She was into that. I tried to hint that I’d like to sleep with her, but when she found out that the deal my partner and I had established was that I could have sex with other women when he was involved, she never acted on anything.

Then, one night, she and I went for a walk to catch Pokemon (don’t judge us), and we found ourselves down by the beach. We walked along the beach, and just as we were about to head back into town, she said, “I want to talk to you about something. I’ve been having feelings for you…” and then she kissed me. Right there, under the stars, on the beach. I followed that with something like, “hold on, I need a smoke”.

I lit a cigarette, and she told me that she had discussed her feelings with my partner, who had told her that he thought I would likely be receptive to her initiating something between us. He was right. He also told her that she and I could discuss what capacity we were comfortable with having him involved in. We discussed some specific boundaries and what we were both looking for, as we walked back towards my apartment. I texted my partner: “hey, are you down to have sex with _____ with me?”. He texted back: “hell yeah”. We got back to my place, and the three of us discussed our specific boundaries and committed to open communication, regardless of what happened from there. Then, I said, “sooo are we gonna go to the bedroom or not?”, and we all got up and practically ran to the bedroom.

It felt like being 14 in that I was nervous but SO excited. I’ll spare you the details, but it was awesome. After, we checked in,  smoked a couple joints, and she went home. Since then, we’ve spent almost every day together, and had sex a second time. It was even better the second time, and it’s looking like this is going to be an ongoing thing. She and my partner are friends, but, believe it not, they’re both really into ME. How freakin’ neat is that!?

The things that have come up because of this Thing are interesting, and even a little bit surprising for me. First of all, I never thought I would feel comfortable having a third person share the intimacy that my partner and I share. I guess I’m lightening up… learning to enjoy myself for the sake of enjoying myself. Feel good for the sake of feeling good. She makes me feel good, and so does my partner.

It feels really good to take things slow and redefine a friend relationship into something that doesn’t even really have a name. It feels really good to share this experience with my partner, and bring a whole new level of communication, trust, and intimacy to our relationship. It feels really good to explore my gender and my sexuality. It feels really good to feel queer (not that I haven’t always been queer, but it feels different to be in an intimate relationship with another woman after being exclusively with a cis man for so long). It feels really good to confront body image issues I have. It feels really good to confront the way that my gender is tied in with those body image issues, and that those body image issues are just the tip of the gender-shit iceberg. It feels really good to heal alongside another woman- one who I think is beautiful, and caring, and fun. It feels really good to let my partner witness and engage with this entire process. This Thing feels really good in general.

I can’t wait to continue exploring this process, and to find the language to describe this Thing. I’m also looking forward to navigating the bridges we will, inevitably have to cross, such as: to what extent are each of us/will each of us become emotionally involved? How sustainable is this Thing? What happens when she meets someone and wants to be in a relationship with them? How will this change our friendship in the long run? How will this change the way each of us are in relationships moving forward?

I think that, as long as we all remain committed to communicating honestly and openly, the possibilities are endless. And, if nothing else, this is a Thing that feels good.

This is a survivor’s love letter to my (current) sex life and how i got there and it contains discussion around consent, sexual assault, death of a parent, compulsive sexuality, self-objectification, sex work, and my healing process around sex. 
When I was growing up, my mom was, like, the pioneer of sex positivity. She was always straight up with me about sex. She told me that she had always enjoyed it, and that, one day, I probably would too. She was right. Two weeks before my sixteenth birthday, I had slow, clumsy, missionary sex with my boyfriend and I thought it was the most incredible thing in the entire world. It satisfied all of the things I craved: passion/intensity/being in the moment/being the centre of attention.

I kept waiting for mom to be well enough so that I could tell her about it and have her actually comprehend. She died 4 days before I turned sixteen: January 1, 2007. I spent the next couple of years feeling pretty fucked up and using sex as a distraction. If you were in a band, I was going to fuck you. It was compulsive. It wasn’t a healthy coping mechanism.

I had this friend who was very emotionally manipulative. He was also a pretty good distraction. I was making out with him one day and he took off my clothes. We were naked, and he was on top of me. I said, “wait, I’m not ready for this” and he didn’t stop. I didn’t say “no”. I remember thinking: holy shit, he’s inside of me and I don’t want him inside of me. Time froze. I was watching myself from outside of my body. I couldn’t move. All I could think of was: I need this to be over now. I finished him off. It was over. I smoked a cigarette. Frozen. 

It wasn’t the first time I wished that I (and the boys I was surrounded by) had a better understanding of consent. There was the time when I was fourteen and the cutest boy whose brother was on my brother’s hockey team told me he wanted to tell me something to took me outside and pushed me up against the wall and stuck his tongue in my mouth. He thought it was passionate and romantic. I felt violated because I had thought that he had actually wanted to talk to me. There was the time I was fifteen and my boyfriend told me that all of his friends girlfriends suck their boyfriends dicks and that I should do that too because its just what peoples’ girlfriends did. And I wanted him to like me, so I did. There was the time that I was three and my grandfather took me to the fire station where he worked and one of the men there…well, you get the point.

I told you this part because I want you to understand how I got to where I am, and why it is something that feels so significant to me. 

When I met my partner, I was legitimately shocked when he waited until I said, “you know, you can kiss me if you want to” to make a move. It felt like… I didn’t know what sex was until I fucked him. I felt safe, and in that safety, I felt capable of genuinely exploring my sexuality. Lucky for me, he was very excited at that prospect. When he made a bunch of money off a movie he was in, he took me to a feminist sex shop and spoiled me with toys I didn’t even know how to use. We did shit that made his “pervy” promiscuous bandmates squirm when they heard about it. And I felt safe.

Almost eight years later, our sex life is still going strong.

One thing I should probably tell you, if we’re gonna talk about me and sex, is that nothing gets me off more than objectifying myself. This is different than being objectified, because it’s something that I consent to. I want to the be the desired object in the context of my lover and anyone else who I choose to let observe. On my terms.

For a while, I moderated a blog of nudes selfie-style photos. I always took them myself, I chose what was posted, and I moderated the response from behind my computer. I was able to be intentional in the way I chose to display my body as a sexual object. It turns me on to feel desired, but it turned me on even more knowing that I was the one who had the power to display it the way I wanted to. And I felt safe.

In the last couple of years, I’ve also delved into camming. Again, I liked being able to objectify myself on my own terms. However, the men (yes, specifically the men) who choose to interact with people in that context have a tendency to be pushy about what they want to see, and seem to feel as though they’re entitled to act this way because they’re paying to watch. I don’t like that part, so my involvement with camming is limited for that reason.

Most recently, my partner and I have expanded our sex life to include a beautiful woman who I both love to play with, and love to spend time with. Our relationship is very different than me and my partner’s relationship, but it’s significant to me. And significant to my sex life. With her, it’s a whole different kind of pleasure. And I feel safe.

I feel blessed to have multiple relationships in my life now where I have power over how I experience my sexuality in a way that allows me to fulfill my deepest desires. I am grateful to work through these kinds of relationships with people who are committed to being honest and open and communicating every step of the way.

But the reality of the situation is that too many people, especially young people, do not communicate consent verbally. Too often consent is implicit. Just because I got naked with that boy when I was seventeen, doesn’t mean I wanted to have sex with him, but he thought that’s what it meant. And I should acknowledge that there are complex gendered components to all of his that I could talk about for days, but that’s a whole other essay.

I’ve found, in all of my various sexploits, that, aside from being straight-up fucking mandatory, communicating wants and needs and desires and boundaries is incredibly sexy. What better way to get what you want out of your sex life than telling someone exactly what you want them to do to you or what you want to do them and receiving explicit confirmation that that’s pleasurable and satisfying for them too?

I’m grateful for the perspective I have, the way I’ve experienced different power dynamics in relation to my sex life- even the ones that have fucked me up. Because it got me here, to this incredible place where I feel so good in relation to my sex life. And feeling good in the moment is enough on it’s own.