Now seems like a good time expand upon the topic of Pleasure Research. This was mentioned in my last post and is a key tenet on this exploration. The word research may seem a little stuffy in this context, but when the result is pleasure, it’s quite perfect. And Pleasure Research certainly has a stronger, sexier, connotation than just research!
When Jeannie and I embarked on this journey, we focused on the most important item for us: communication. Meanwhile, there was also this undercurrent of exploration; we both knew that certain experiences would turn us on, but we most definitely didn’t know everything about our kink or fantasies. Then our friend Gigi reminded us that Mama Gena treats this exploration as (pleasure) research and I think this makes perfect sense. On the one hand, to explore pleasure, one needs to let go and simply enjoy. On the other, evaluating fully the response to said pleasure is key.
Take spanking, for example. For those that enjoy it fully, there needs to be an element of surprise (when is the next slap coming? how hard will it be? how much will it hurt?) to fully arouse those deep pleasures. However, what if a line is crossed? And, as can often be the case, what if that line was unknown to the individual until after it was crossed? Or, what if in the moment it was all awesome, but the next morning there is a sense of regret? All of these responses need to be considered, and embraced, in finding the perfect pleasure.
Leaving the topics of trust and aftercare for another time, the example above highlights a key point of why research is both important, and fun! I mean, how can you know what you don’t know? You can’t possibly know (with any certainty) that you will enjoy something until you experience at least some version of it. Using the spanking example, an individual may explore and quickly say, “nope, not my thing!” And that’s, of course, totally cool. Another may find deep. guttural, moans escaping with each slap, even though they were unaware that they might like this. Still another may begin screaming for more until they have a lobster red bottom and are truly in pain afterwards. Not for everyone, but some relish in this. And for those, why not be free to explore?
So who am I sexually? What is it I really, REALLY, want?
First, let’s acknowledge that everyone’s erotic creature is evolving over time. Open a new door, dislike what’s behind it, close it tight. Open another, love something you didn’t know you might, find more doors like it. Maybe even return to a previously closed door at another time and in a new setting. As long as the individual (and in our case, couple) can unpack the things they didn’t enjoy and learn from them, the journey will be wonderful.
So where am I at this point in our journey?
The lesson I most learned from the House of Love party is both complicated and simple. Before we left for the party, Jeannie, Gigi, and I, expressed our desires for the evening. Mine weren’t as specific as theirs and that was a little problematic. It’s hard to focus on a desire and take action to make it happen without knowing what it is. In the future, I intend to set specific desires in order to better focus and act.
I also learned that I am way more voyeuristic than I ever imagined. I always knew that I like to watch, but the scene at House of Love took this to a new level. Interestingly, years ago when Jeannie and I first discussed the possibility of a threesome, I truly desired for Jeannie and another woman be intimate with one another both for their physical pleasure and my viewing pleasure. I’d love to get involved, too… but I wanted it to first be about Jeannie’s experience with that woman. And I knew I would absolutely love just being there.
Also learned – I need to be bold. I didn’t initiate enough conversations with others at the party when I truly did crave that interaction. I still have an inherent fear of rejection, and it’s time to use these parties, these deliberately safe spaces, to challenge and overcome this fear.
As a follow on point: Act, and act quickly. Maybe “quickly” isn’t the best word choice, but the point is not to say to myself, “oh, it’s too early,” or, “I’m sure I’ll see them later.” There were at least three people that I passed in the first 30-minutes that I wanted to interact with, so why not do it then? I found at least one of them later, very much engaged with another and very clearly not wanting a third. Opportunity lost. Whether I had a chance or not is moot, I never even tried to find out!
(Interesting side note… One of the three people above turned out to be the 12am-2am DJ! I mean, how cool would it have been if I engaged with her before her set, and we hit it off, only for me to learn that she’s also an awesome DJ?!? See? That would be a story!)
While I fear rejection, I fear something else even more: abandonment. At my low point at the party, I felt a bit abandoned; by Jeannie, by the crowd, by the event. And this is the devil’s game that we play in our minds at these moments. Not only wasn’t I abandoned, but there was a lot of love and energy for me in the room and especially from Jeannie. We had agreed that the one absolute rule in our open marriage was that either of us could pull the plug at any time as our bond to one another comes first. And while I didn’t ask to pull the plug that night, Jeannie didn’t question me in any way when I asked for her time away from her new playmate.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I learned that the loving bond between Jeannie and me is both paramount and growing with each new experience, good or bad. While I can still recall the low point from the party, it’s a moment in my mind that has been blunted. Meanwhile, the highlights have grown more powerful in my memory. Had Jeannie not given me the love and care I needed, my personal demon would have fed on the feelings of abandonment. I’ve let this happen in the past and it goes nowhere good. It leads to terrible feelings and even worse actions. And, trust me, this demon within me is strong; perhaps one day I’ll share one of the more painful memories of this demon with you, too. But with Jeannie’s love, care, and guidance, that demon lives somewhere deep these days and cannot resurface.
So, to say it again and be really, really clear… this is a journey that requires both of us to be open, honest, vulnerable, raw, and even willing to hurt a little along the way. And this can only be achieved with a true, powerful, loving bond like the one I have with Jeannie. I cannot thank her enough for being my incredible and strong partner on this journey. Oh, and for being totally fucking sexy to boot!