My vagina functions like a perfectly tuned machine. Kiss me once and I’m good to go. If you’re after dry sex, you have to sneak up on me while I’m putting the chicken in the oven because as soon as I see you looking at me through those slitty eyes, I’m as lubed up as a government condom.
I don’t have a clue what it’s like to have malfunctioning parts, and for that I’m eternally grateful. I’ll never have to deal with an unreliable erection, and if I did, I would have performance anxiety 24/7. Thank The FSM my sexy bits are tucked away where they can do their business sans too much observation.
Women’s bodies come with a far better benefit than that, though: orgasms. We can have them over and over. We can have more or longer, and if we want better, we can have that, too. Stronger Kegels bear down on each other harder, which means turbo-charged orgasms. We can create a self-fulfilling hyper-orgasmic cycle just by working our Kegels the fun way: with more orgasms. I accept thanks in the form of chocolate.
I’ve been writing about rape, depression, abuse, and anorexia on Fetlife for a year so my inbox has seen more than its share of messages from survivors. Some were men, some women. Some were partners of survivors, others were survivors. Some were recovered, others desperate. Some were young, others, beyond 60. There was only one thing they had in common:
They all felt isolated… isolated by the judgment of this community or by their own silence because they’d seen how others like them had been treated. They felt lonely in their darkest moments because we exist in a community that criticises people at the most harrowing point of their lives.
We’re cruel to one another.
But something else happens when survivors share their stories: other survivors start doing the same. They break the isolation of those who are still struggling. They connect with one another. Telling our stories is a potent way to cut through the loneliness of living with a disorder or in the wake of abuse. We have the power to create isolation but we also have the power to end it…
I remember him in the same way I remember the day I climbed one of the highest mountains in the Drakensberg—the spring I had to swim through was cold enough to make my body ache. I remember the view from the top, but I don’t remember what the exhaustion was like. I can’t remember if I ran out of water or if I had blisters on my feet.
Memories rarely tell the truth.
I remember him in the same way I remember arriving at the highest peak smelling of Chanel Number 5. I remember him in the same way I remember the water in my bottle staying at just-below-freezing temperature even though it was the hottest day of summer. I remember him in the same way I remember arriving home with enough energy to spare on a game of table tennis, as though 30 kilometres were easy enough to leave me unspent.
I remember him in the same way I remember no pathway overgrown, no loose rocks, no fear before abseiling down that cliff.
I remember that mountain in the same way I remember him loving me unconditionally, in the same way I remember arriving at the end of our relationship without relief at the fact that the man who followed was a stickler for consent. I remember that mountain in the same way I remember him always waiting for my ‘yes’, always hearing my ‘no’, always riding my ‘maybes’ long enough for them to turn into a ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
When I was an infant, my mother accidentally dropped me into a dam. A near drowning scarred my brain, and I’ve dealt with intractable epilepsy ever since. There have been years of challenges and weeks of self-pity, but I have always readjusted my weight to compensate so that I wouldn’t fall over.
For the last decade, I’ve dealt with an array of medication side effects that were almost fatal. In April 2015, I started recovering from a year of being bedridden. It was utter hell. These days, when my illness is well controlled, I still don’t get to go a week without seeing a doctor of some description. Being poked, prodded, and assessed for terrifying surgeries is not my idea of a good time.
When I use the words ‘chronic illness’, it’s because I know what that means. I know what it means because I live it every single day.
I’ve written at length about ableism because I live that, too. It’s often been harder to cope with than the illness itself: cognitive problems are hardly the kind of thing people tend to be tolerant of. They’re okay with my having seizures, but the cognitive consequences? I don’t get a lot of understanding on that score.
If I were to create a universal list of kinks that applies in all relationships, it would go a little something like this:
That about sums it up because I’ve never had a relationship that was a repeat of the one before. H was a toppy vanilla type occasionally prone to dominant mind fucks and control. E was the de rigueur of exhibitionism and degradation. S was sadistic in every way, and R’s kink was “more” and “everything.” My kinks carry a ‘do not travel sign’. They stay in the relationship when I leave it behind.
Relationships are as inimitable as the sex that brings them to life. The idea of creating a perfect mock-up of what has gone before bores me beyond measure. I want new. I want more. I want better, but most of all, I want all of that to be unique, or what’s the point of leaving relationships behind?