E-Cigs: An initial Review

April 17, 2013

Danielle asked about the electronic cigarrettes and when I started a reply I quickly realized this probably needed to be a post of its own.

I did not start smoking until the ripe old age of 25, and it was a way to self-medicate depression.  Then it became a a habit and an addiction.  The topography of a smoking addiction is complex because it is behavioral, physiological and emotional.  The nicotine goes straight to the pleasure center of your brain causing the nerves to light up and gives that feeling of euphoria and relaxation.  Unfortunately it is a short-lived feeling and over time that feeling lasts less and less long causing a light smoker to become a heavier one.

Over the past decade, smoking has become one of the most shameful and heavily taxed habits ever.  It is now outlawed in almost all public places, both indoors and outdoors.  The designated smoking areas are few and far between, always outside and always far away.  While people hate smoking for a lot of reasons, they seem to like smokers who tend to have more animated personalities in general.  I’ve noticed this often during breaks between classes or breaks during a job, the smokers would congregate in the designated area and lo and behold non smokers would also hang around there.  And often complain.

For my part, I have quit before, more than once.  The first time, my weight ballooned until I was morbidly obese.  So I started again, but also got serious about weight loss.  After I got down to my goal, I quit again.  I did regain a lot of weight, but not nearly as much and it was manageable for about 3 years.  And then I was unemployed and started again about a year ago.  Which continued right up until I burned my house down.

Soon after, I saw a Facebook post from a friend who used to smoke over a carton per week and was trying electronic cigarettes.  So I started to do some research and they seemed like they might be just the thing.  No fire, no ash, no smoke, no smell.  So I decided to give them a try.

The first obstacle at the moment is where to buy them.  While you can order them online that was not an option for me since…well..my house burned down!

Fortunately we have a relatively new Walgreens where they sell a couple different brands.  I just went with the Finity for no particular reason and got the disposable at first.  And then once I decided they were going to work, I went and got the kit, that includes refills, 2 battery units and a recharger pack.

I would highly recommend the e-cigs for a lot of reasons.    First, of course, no fire, ash or smell to contend with, which makes them more socially acceptable.  You can smoke anywhere. Second is that they don’t seem to impact health as much.  I breathe better and do not have the persistent cough I had when smoking the regular ones.  As far as cost, it is about the same though there are claims they save money.  I think they cost slightly more, but the benefits make up for any extra cost.

I happened to stumble upon Dr. Vapor who nicely explains the basics of e-cigs:

Keeping it Real

December 28, 2012

Hehe…thank you Xi for that inspiration!

My return here is sort of predicated on the idea that this has been an enormous source of support in the past, as we had a rather lively and diverse group who were all sort of struggling with something similar at a particular point in time.

The times, they have changed.  And for a lot of the old gang, it hasn’t been for the better.  In fact, I do not know of a single one in my old blogroll who managed to pull out the proverbial miracle.  The ones who are happiest seem to be the ones who have gotten out of their old situations and started completely over.  But that is no guarantee either.  I occasionally hear from a few, and have heard a few of their heartbreaking stories.  Maybe they are the only ones who check back in.  The ones who don’t are too busy having fun and sex and good times and sex!

As I’ve aged, the sex part has decreased in importance, but it still remains a very real predictor of intimacy for me.  There should be room for some naked fun between a real husband and wife.  Now certainly there are a few who are perfectly happy leading celibate lives.  For those of you where that is true, you are reading the wrong blog.  You can go now…Go shop at Katie’s Etsy store!

For everyone else, the reality is that endorphin depletion and deprivation leads to things like clinical depression which leads to all sorts of dark places mentally and emotionally.  I’ll never forget a low libido commenter who once said “No one ever dies from lack of sex.”  That is actually untrue.  Lots of people die from it, but they die so agonizingly slow and so ensconced in loneliness that no one ever sees or notices that they are slipping away.  It’s not the sex alone, it is the intimacy and connection that goes with it.  This is a package deal.  Your car runs just fine without air conditioning, but if you live in Georgia you will spend most of the year looking forward to November and then dreading March.  And you will suffer mightily for what might be considered nonessential.

I basically have a marriage that is like the car with no AC, vinyl seats and an old AM radio.  It sort of functions, but it’s not something I look forward to spending any time with at all.

Secondlife has been my escape from a relationship that is simply hostile.  I find other reasons to get up and carry on and one of those is logging on.  And through that I rediscivered the joy of having someone who wanted to spend time around me, be with me for who I was beyond the wallet.  It’s true…I have an avatar that makes the ladies drool.  I also have another avatar that makes the guys drool!  Haha!  I know what it takes to look good in SL, where it isn’t about genetics.  And then, when you get to hang out with someone enough you get past the looks and see what’s underneath…where it counts.

In a perfect world, there wouldn’t even be a need for games, TV, sports or diversions.  We could just be with our mates in the garden of Eden.  But we don’t live in that world at all.  If I want anything resembling a sex life or even a decent friendship, it isn’t going to be with Arwyn.  She’s not even that good a roommate!   So I develop connections and relationships elsewhere.  Which is what a lot of my other blog friends did and have done.  I’m not saying they are any better off, but neither are they any worse.

Blue is the new White This Christmas

December 25, 2012

Wow…some of y’all are STILL reading!

Merry Christmas and Happy Happy New Year, everyone!

I do have stuff on my mind, but not sure how to get it out there.  Fortunately, my last post served as a nice way of getting you all up to speed on my Second Life.  That is still where the action is.  But I might as well a few things about RL as well.

Last night I went with my wife and the kids to their church for Christmas eve services.  I know I have written before about the differences between the Methodist church I attend and her choice in going to a more contemporary church.  It’s not that anyone is bad there.  In fact, they are good and loving people.  They seem to accept my oldest son, even though he says the darndest things.  Autism has a way of bringing out certain truths in certain people.  One thing they are used to is him wearing headphones to protect his ears.  And at the beginning of the service, one of the fellows there actually passed him some ear plugs, seeing he had forgotten to bring his ear protection.  And before the end of the service, I know I was probably not the only one who wished we had brought several sets.  Once they cut loose on the drum kit, my teeth were rattling inside my head!  It had been over a year since I attended a service with this church and within 25 minutes remembered exactly why.  A religious service can be heart warming and sometimes even soul-jarring.  But if the volume is the defining characteristic of the service and the lingering memory is a headache and ringing ears…these are issues in my mind.  Apparently the folks there are used to it, and they were singing and clapping along quite happily.  My oldest was more or less indifferent, quite content with his earplugs.

In our household, we bypassed the whole Santa bit from the very beginning, a fact for which I am richly grateful.  I may have pathologically poor judgement in many areas, but this was one decision that has paid dividends over the long run, even though it kinda horrified the grandparents and other relatives at first.  OH!  I love how this person went after the subject!   Basically we always open our gifts on Christmas eve after church and dinner.  And our kids were always perfectly happy with that arrangement.  Plus we had the added dividend of being able to sleep in, as the kids could wake up whenever they wanted and play with their new toys.

What a great opportunity for morning sex!  HAHAHAHAHAHA!

Not in this house.  Not in this lifetime.  And anyone thinking any different merely has to read the other 450+ posts on this blog.

Arwyn has basically moved out of our bedroom.  Longtime readers will remember that she always slept under separate blanket with her head at the other end of the bed for about the last 10 years.  When I got this new job, I set up a small space in the corner of the bedroom and she started sleeping on the couch as I sometimes did work late nights.  This has become the standard, now.  And I am uber cool with that.  I LOVE having my own space!  It really is like having my own apartment or dorm except I can’t bring in any real girls.  Virtual ones…that’s a different story altogether.

In the last update, My fae and I had a brief respite from SL as we were each starting new jobs.  But we still kept in contact with email anf FB accounts devoted to our SL selves.  We eventually both got back in, together, and had a good story going.  We got to a point where we relied so much on each other for support.  And she was truly incredible.  Unlike the first fae, this one was always ready fir a pixel grind.  So my needs were being met on several levels.

While we did know of eacher’s RL info, we never much communicated on that level, stivcking mostly yo our avatars and characters.  But she was a real arractive young women, making those fantasies even more real.   But alas.  Some dreams are not made for coming true in this life.  I was not going to leave my wife and kids to be with her half way across the country.  She did have a BF who was kind of a douche bag so I never really got too concerned about him.  But a couple of weeks ago, she finally fell for one of her coworkers.  This changed everything.

Last Saturday, we were supposed to meet inworld for a virtual date.  She had let me know she was spending the night with this other fellow the night before.  Whaereas the old BF never bothered me much this new one did.  The jealousy bug bit me HARD, especially Friday night.  I just knew he was wearing her out.  and he was.  Saturday night came….and went…I hadn’t heard anything from her since the Thursday morning before.  I tried everything I knew to reach her inwarold, FB, email and even texted her just asking if she was okay.  In all of our 2 years together, she had never stood me up and if she was even going to be late she would let me know.  Through power outages and hurricanes, she always found a way.

She eventually did get back to me.  Turns out she was exhausted, laid down for a nap and simply slept through what would have been our date.  she woke up at 2, but never checked her phone or turned on her machine.  Finally she woke up in the morning and checked her phone (which would not be the first place she would check for me, since we only texted when the internet went down) and finally…only then….had an “OH SHIT” moment.

This told me several things, most of which things had radically changed.  I was not her main guy anymore.  I was her number 2.  And really….who wants to be number 2?

The emotions are really mixed.  First off, I am happy FOR her, even though I was not happy WITH her.  As she got more involved with this guy, I could feel the change coming.  And I truly encouraged her to go for it.  I loved her enough that I wanted her to be happy.  Everyone deserves their shot at happiness and true love and this was hers; something she has waited her whole life for. I was just an option and an obstacle in the face of this new reality.  It kinda leaves me with an empty space, but I knew a long time ago that this would happen eventually.  It’s kinda moved fast, but she’s an adult.

We haven’t dissolved the partnership or anything and she has expressed a desire to sort of keep me as an option.  But there are two problems with this.  One is that it leaves me hanging and waiting around for something that may never happen which would be for her relationship to collapse.  What an awful thing!  This is akin to her waiting for me to divorce my wife and leave my kids.  Which isn’t likely.  So she grabbed at her chance and I do not blame her for that.  The other problem is that I KNOW how important it is to get things right from the beginning.  I screwed up that way in my own marriage and would not wish that on anyone else.

I do love this girl…alot.  When I did not hear from her for 4 days, I had a bit of an anxiety attack and was mentally trying to think of how I might get plane tickets and get to her if it came to that.  If she was in a hospital or in a coma on life support.  She feels like an asshole and feels like shit about standing me up on our date.  But this is indicative of a new reality….something not virtual.  But something real for her…a REAL chance at her own happiness.  She really is in love and feeling it, and just isn’t thinking about me so much anymore.

I REALLY am going to miss that regular, almost daily contact with someone who cares about me and can relate to what happens inworld.  I can talk about people and stories and things that happen there and she knows about them all. I already miss it.  I miss having that special someone who is thinking about me and wants to spend time thinking about me.

Nothing against y’all, but this blog is kind of a poor substitute.  However, even in just writing and explaining here it has kinda helped shed some insight on what I need to do.  I DO need to let her go for her own sake.  I’ll survive and get through it.  It’s kind of a heart ache.  A REAL heart ache.

I do miss the old blogging days and connecting with you all and having some really insightful and intense conversations.  You guys were a very real and important part of my support network and I’d like to think I was there to help support some of you.  In my own mind, that is the best way to deal with heartache and loss; to reach out to other people going through some of the same crap.  Even if we’re not always helpful at least we are not going through it alone.  I collected a blogroll of other people struggling because it DID give me some comfort in knowing I was not the only one struggling so hard and suffering.  **Hugs** to everyone!



Replies to Comments

June 28, 2012

I’m in the mood to write but since I’m not sure what to write, this is what you’re stuck with!  Thanks y’all who commented and inspired me and poked my muse awake for a minute.

2am, I’m sure that things would look different if we were both single and it was time to see about attracting a new mate.  For both of us. I could see her perhaps giving racier things a chance and getting her buttons pushed a bit.  It’s not happening with me at the moment and I am at a point where if she got  hot and bothered for someone else…I wouldn’t like it but neither would it be such a personal affront to me like it would have in ’07.

HEY!  Things HAVE gotten better in one respect…I just today saved a BUNDLE on my car insurance!  HAHAHAHA!  I’m a commercial and a cliche!  Seriously, it is embarassing how much I saved, meaning at how the other company was gouging us so totally and completely.  Yikes.  But a year’s insurance was costing us almost a months salary.  And both our vehicles are over 10 years old.  When we got married my wife convinced me to switch to her insurance and there was a couple of times I actually did make out on it.  Like the time I totalled the old clunker 5 days before my new one came in from the factory.  No injuries at all.   The dealer was only going to give me $500 to haul it off and instead I got $5,000 from my insurance.  That was kinda sweet.  But we’re going back to the car insurance company I had before I got married.  It’s a little company that in 2am fashion I will cleverly nickname Little Lizard Insurance.

So Gone, I remember my mother once saying “The second wife is the one that gets the new house and the trip around the world.”  As men age, we do get smarter and more sensitive.  And nothing can teach a body about marriage more than actually being married.  So you are benefiting from his introspection, when he began to lie awake at night and think about what he really wanted, what was important to him and why things went wrong.   DO keep in touch and let us know how things keep going well.  Or when they don’t go well.  You know I followed you when I did because I love a good train wreck!  Especially if she looks hawt.

No Dave, I haven’t actually read the books and have heard mixed reviews from people who did.  My general feeling is that people who are not used to reading this stuff and are seeing it for the first time are hit so hard by the subject and the graphic aspects of something new to them, that they overlook things like whether or not it is actually well-written.”50 Shades” could well do for BDSM what Twilight did for vampires.  And I’ll leave that for what it is.

Vaxier!  Erm….Xavier!  I see you are still gardening!  I got stuff that I freeze (peaches, blackberries, blueberries) but all of those are suffering cause of our drought.  And we are just now kicking into the 100 degree temps.  I have one good patch of tomatoes because I tun a hose from my AC condensor which gives them all the water they need.  So other than that, everything is about dried out and done.  Kinda like my sex life!  HAHA!

tAJA!  Hehe…too much sex?   Has motherhod taken the spark from your fires?  I suppose in your situation, that might not be a bad thing.  Oddly enough, the book was written from a series of blog posts and it got me thinking about turning my own blog into a book.  But then there would be that awkward moment when it became totally famous and the publisher would say “Who do we make the check out to?”  And then when I got on Ellen (who seems to have replaced Oprah) and all my wife’s friends, who read the book, would suddenly be texting her.  Unlike Adele’s exboyfriend, she would have a harder time staying anonymous.  BUT since she would be entitled to a lot of the royalties…I think that would be a worthwhile trade off.  If royalties would keep her comfortable enough or would she have the need to dig into all future earnings?

Hiya FTN!  I’m kind of amazed that I even remember my old password to this place.  And if you emailed me, I probably did get them but I am notoriously poor about answering fan email.  Or any email for that matter.  Therese emailed me back in February and I never did get back with her.   And I have another blog that is nominated for some “Most Interesting” award which sort of looks like one of those Who’s Who type things where they get 20,000 entries and guarantee 20,000 book sales.  In this case it is a link from every nominated blog.  I think I’ll pass at the moment simply because I know that blog has not been very interesting for a couple of years.  Perhaps it will be again but I have a feeling this one will be the first to perk back to life simply because it IS my first love.  And it pulls, beckons and calls me, trying to seduce me.

Slutty blog!

APHRON!  Nice to see you still around, even though things are not in the best of spots for either of us.  If you take a minute and think about if I turned your question back on you: What if you told Sybil SHE was sinning?  And then quoted a bit of scripture to back it up?  The fact that you are absolutely right really has no bearing on the actual circumstance because as you know all too well, reason has scarce purchase in a place where emotions reign supreme.  While Arwyn is not as cantakerous as your Sybil, she is every bit as ruled by her emotions.  Reason, fact, rationality … what do THEY have to do with anything?

I have to admit, following your advice and visiting the follow your recommended link DID sort of stir me to writing a bit more, as well as the old blogging nostalgia. Is Athol even his real name?

MMSL’s demographic is a lot like what mine was when I first started blogging: young kids, and a partner who was not interested in having sex. I wonder if I ran across him in some Usenet blogs?  A lot of what he talks about as far as sexual value smacks of the speed daters talk of SMV or Sexual Market Value.  There is just enough there to make a bit of sense, but the exceptions are legion, which he may be discovering right this moment.  He suddenly realized he had more female readers than male readers, and soon he’ll realize that the fastest growing demographic is actually sexually deprived women.  I’m not saying there are more of them, I’m just saying they are more voracious readers.  I loved my female readers, but took a lot of pains to talk to, link to and stay focused on the story of guys…mostly.  That meant linking to some racy gals, Like Always Aroused Girl and Chelsea Girl.  A girl like Therese, who was apparently pretty smoking hawt, kinda kicks the legs out from under the SMV argument that says the one with the higher SMV rules.

SO…it occurs to me that I might just have a few more things to say about things.  I have no idea what things, but when I get the urge, I’m going to go there.   I get that most of my old bloggy friends are busy with RL…so am I!

I remember writing and the joy of venting and being creative and being a part of such a smart, witty, friendly community.   And the charge we gave each other with comments and links and trackbacks.  We can’t go back to those days, because the world has moved on to Twitter and Facebook and other better forms of networking, but I still think there is a place for thoughts and discussions that are longer than 140 characters.


Same Old Same Old and Complacency

September 4, 2011

Thank you all, whoever commented on my last V-day post!  I have no idea what prompts a post today except perhaps boredom or maybe just wanting to share a thought or two.  Labor Day Weekend for us U.S. folks.

OH…now I know what prompted me.  On a whim I was reading a few blogs in my blog feeds on a Google.  I don’t read much anymore at all, but caught a few from old friends who have published recently.  Always Aroused Girl is as prolific as she ever was, in more ways than one, although she recently complained of a 5 month sexual dry spell.  Ha!  I could do that on my head!  And have many times over…well…not all on my head.  That might be painful.

Gotta hand it to Xavier who keeps on plugging away with some pretty funny things. You have to laugh sometimes, because crying all the time just gets boring.

And finally, FADKOG, who continues to be regularly entertaining and funny.  These are the only three out f all the folks I once had in my google reader who showed up the past month.  Of course if the address or the feed changed, then I would lose people from that.  Or if you went and made it password protected.

Last entry I wrote spawned a number of comments about how complacency has set in for those in sexless marriages.  I think complacency might be something that many who have struggled with this situation would actually sort of hope to attain.  I mean we have moved past the fighting and the struggling and the bitterness, right?  Right?

Yeah, I am pretty complacent.  But I would not say that the bitterness is something that will ever completely go away.  I spent the best years of my life being absolutely sexless and hating it.  I’m bitter about both the sexless part and the hating it part.  I might have spared myself a lot of heartache if I could have discovered complacency a lot sooner!  But then…this blog would never have existed either.  Frustration and bitterness seems to be a rather powerful artistic muse.  Many of us have spent countless hours banging our frustrations away on the keyboard and publishing thoughts for the amusement of others.  And I have no regrets about that.  All that frustration sort of brought together a community of awesome people.

I know there are tons of people in the same boat as me.  So many, in fact, that I am a bit surprised when I come across someone who has been married for over 10 years with a couple of children who actually have full, satisfying and interesting sex lives.  THEY are the freaks, not me. *I* am one of the normal ones!  I always root for the youngsters getting married, but wait long enough and the old song begins to play again.  One of them loses interest and so the bed becomes a fairly cold and lonely place.  Many fights, quarrels and battles ensue as tension and discord runs high.  A power struggle ensues as each desperately tries to ‘win’.  At some point, the struggle gets so fierce that it tears a couple apart.  They go their separate ways.  And some will remarry and the struggle might start all over again.

But for the rest of us, Complacency sets in.  Complacency becomes a higher state of being that allows us to go through the motions and find joy in other things.  Complacency allows me to enjoy my children instead of resenting them for all the energy they took away from the marriage.  Besides, all that was just a bullshit excuse…it was NEVER their fault.  Arwyn just used them as convenient shields for her selfish lazy-ass behavior.  If it wasn’t them, it would be some allergy, sickness, tiredness, project…whatever the hell latest stress.

Complacency allows us to exist in a passionless space without a lot of fighting, arguing and drama.  As long as I am willing to forgo any illusion of passion, we can get along just fine.  In fact we get along better because I don’t have to listen to her bullshit excuses anymore.  In fact, I sorta quit listening to her complaints in general.  Complacency gives me permission to tune her out and not be bothered by whatever paranoid fear might be driving her at the moment.  I don’t feel like I have to fix anything because I accept that she is unfixable by any intervention that I might possibly conceive.  If she is unwilling to fix herself, it sorta saves me the bother of having to support her self-improvement efforts!  And she returns the favor, totally.  She never supported my efforts to stop smoking in any meaningful way, so my recovery is not dependent upon anything she may or may not do.  Complacency is pretty convenient and useful that way.

The main problem with Complacency is that while it allows you to live, it sorta sucks out any real internal drive to do anything beyond living.  Complacency is a rather passionless state of existence, being neither painless nor painful.  It is just sorta there, and numbs the pain of whatever one might be lacking so there is little incentive to strive for anything better and richer.  In a sense, it is settling for what you have without the better and happier relative of Contentment.  Complacency is sort of the gray boring area between Contentment and Discontent.

You don’t actually have to DO anything if you are Complacent, which is a good thing since it seems to occupy a space of extremely low energy.  To be anything other than complacent would require more energy.  Even happiness and contentment require some energy to protect and maintain them.  Complacency demands very little and gives very little in return.  But it has the virtue of being a very low-risk proposition, in that you pretty much know what you are getting once you reach this ultimate state of mediocrity.

Unlike apathy, complacency engenders more of a loss.  In apathy, nothing ventured nothing gained and who cares.  In Complacency, there is a capacity for caring and feeling, it is just choosing not to invest the energy to do anything about it.  I actually DO have a preference if given a choice but I seem to be in a state where nothing I like is on the menu so eat whatever is served.  What *I* like is not even offered and going somewhere else involves more of a battle than I am willing to fight.  So complacency allows me to swallow the the daily mushy gruel without throwing up.

Cheers to complacency!  I would toast with something stronger than sweet tea but just got over a hangover from last night’s indulgence.  Yes, Complacency allows me to indulge in other vices.  In fact, those vices sort of help attain and maintain this higher level of tolerance and acceptance.

Happy Blogiversary!

June 28, 2009

Yeah, I thought I would at least make mention of it and noodle out my various thoughts on this blog and blogging in general. I’ve done it before, but it’s good to revisit the topic from time to time, just for introspection and reflection.

Thanks for indulging my narcissism.

It was 2004 when I first heard the word “blog.” Unbeknownst to me, I had actually done some blogging for a year or so after my oldest son was born, but it was before the term was invented. I had a website designed to inform relatives of the progress of my new baby boy in 1999. And there were updates, pictures, narratives and drama galore. It wasn’t until I had been doing it over a year that I discovered that my website was being visited by half the town we were living in. Back then, 12 hits per day was pretty awesome. While I had the little mailbox for comments, no one really left much for comments and I gave up the website after about a year.

In 2004, I began thinking about starting my own place. I had been active on usenet for years, so this was a natural next step. In addition, while I was active on iVillage I was on the brink of being TOSs’ed. It was then that I decided to open my own place in June of that year, just months before “Rathergate” put blogging on the map. My first blog was called Sensual Dementia, and as you can see I was able to recently reclaim that address from the former crackhouse owner. More on that in a second.

When I first started, I basically continued my story from what it is that I had posting in iVillage. Only this time, it was MY space, without draconian iVillage rules. I could say “fuck” whenever I wanted, as often as I wanted. Of course, I rarely wanted to, but it’s always liberating to have that sort of option. My first readers were people from iVillage, very few of whom exist in the blogiverse anymore. Tajalude is probably the last of the readers left on my blogroll from the Sensual Dementia days.

After only a year, I felt the need to yank the blog down and go dark. It was probably a gross over reaction on my part, but I was under a legal investigation and didn’t want to have anything at all to be discovered in case things got out of control. That was scary, and I’m still not getting into specifics, except to say that I was totally cleared. I then decided to re-enter blogging with my current title and motiff. Reality and Redemption was borne out of a lot of fear and pain. I needed a place to work things out. It also offered up a sort of support system that I learned to lean on for moral support, advice and guidance. there were times when I might have careened off the deep end without timely perspective by my often vocal readers who helped shape this blog.

Let’s talk about some them/you in alphabetical order:

  1. 2amsomewhere – My overall motif has been to collect other blogs about relationships that are/were trainwrecks. I discovered 2am (or he discovered me) while his was in the midst of totally running off the track. The addition of him to the blogroll was as natural as gravity, as I have a bias toward a guy’s perspective. Generally speaking, it’s always been harder finding guys in the “relationship” genre of blog writing. Plus, we’re both nerds so there was instant connection.
  2. Always Aroused Girl – For the longest time, we have totally been kindred spirits. For a long time, we were both two of the most popular sex bloggers who were not actually having sex. We wrote all about sex and about what we needed and weren’t getting and people loved reading about it. My 3rd most popular post of all time was when she became my keyholder for my chastity cage. It was my most popular month of blogging ever, as many of her fans flocked over to see what the deal was. My most popular post of all time? Again, lots of kinship with AAG there, it’s the one where I wrote about sticking something up my butt. It doubles on my 2nd most popular post ever, where she was the first to comment. Her popularity has continued to soar, and she deserves the recognition as she works harder at it than anyone else I know. Plus she’s more interesting to read now that she’s actually having sex regularly.
  3. Aphron was a another natural blogger I would read in our little community. He appeared on my radar when he linked to me in one of his earliest posts after I reappeared. Taja probably had him blogrolled before I did, and we borrowed heavily from each other in those days. Back then, I only had two blogs and it felt like plenty. FWIW, I would not trade wives with him, and I’m still amazed that he has stuck with it like he has.
  4. I’m skipping a bunch of people, because they are either inactive or I’m not too active in reading them (and they might not be too actively reading me). I’m treatiung people who I’ve shared a fair amount of virtual love with, on whatever level. But I should make a mention of Christian Husband, who did help drive a lot of the religious discussions around our part of the neighborhood. We disagree sharply on so many things, but when it came to sex and relationship and how faith intersects those themes, we found a lot more agreement.
  5. Emily started out as a non-blogger who left large and insightful comments on my blog. Her comments were so large and so insightful, I highly encouraged her to get her own blog. It’s not that i resented the realestate she occupied in my comments as much as I knew she had a story that was apart from what i was writing at the time. She finally took my advice, and I was right. Our space/community is a lot richer for her contributions.
  6. FADKOG is not a relationship blogger, per se, She’s not exactly a mommy blogger, either. I probably would never have read her at all if it weren’t for our time together in the Real Blogger House. I would link there, but since FTN went underground, it’s sort of pointless. But I did have fun getting her in a chastity belt, even if was for only a few minutes. she’s the only reader, as far as I know who is an avid DRR fan and her comments on my dance videos always make me smile.
  7. FTN. As I said, he’s gone underground and I’m tempted to not mention him at all. But since I have spent a lot of space in the past linking to him and his posts, I feel comfortable in saying that he is responsible for fucking up my blog by making all those links dead. So there’s that. But the guy did manage to inspire a lot of posts from my end and ended up being a sort of “community organizer” for a lot of other blogs mentioned here. The sexual conflict, tension, discussion as well as his willingness to dive into how it related to Chriostian belief help drive traffic both ways.
  8. Katie Fleck is an odd one to have in my blogroll which is precisely why she’s there. I wanted a SAHM on my blogroll and she is the penultimate SAHM. She is insufferably perfect, smart and cute. That’s why it was a hoot leaving comments in her blog knowing that her family members might follow back here to my sex posts leading to interesting discussions at the holiday dinner table. “Who is that guy and how do you know him?”
  9. Cat regularly comments here while I somehow rarely seem to be able to return the favor. But her blog appeals to me on a variety of levels. Aside from the regular relationship drama, there’s the autism connection and the kinkster connection.
  10. Xavier/Xi Summit or whoever he is at the moment is a relative newcomer to my blogroll. I think he might have migrated from iVillage, but I’m not sure. What I do know is that he’s the only one on my blogroll who still has a fair amount of “country boy” in him, and it comes through in his writing. He hits on a variety of levels including the religious and nerdy as well as the gardening and relationship themes.
  11. Therese – I’ll never forget those earliest exchanges where Therese came ’round in comments, addressing me as “Mr. Jones.” At that time, her marriage had been through the proverbial train crash, and she was doubtlessly looking for kindred spirits with which to commiserate. I followed her back to her own brand new blog, and pretty quickly grew fond of her and her writing. And so did most of you. She somehow keeps things relatively modest while also injecting a healthy helping of hotness.
  12. Taja already got a mention above, but I’ll mention her again as the longest-running member of my blogroll across blogging time periods. When she started blogging, her marriage really did look like an Amtrak derailment waiting to happen, but the sexual conflict seems to have taken a backseat to trying-for-baby issues. Some her posts were the absolute hottest, and the HNT’s she posted were also stunning.
  13. Tom at The Edge of Vanilla – The initial commonality here would be the chastity theme that dominated a lot of my thinking early in the blog’s life. I still think about it alot and when I’m hankering for some kink, Tom’s place always has something interesting. However there have also been common interests with fitness anfd technology and relationship issues that go deeper than just the plastic cages and padlock. A lot of the material I had read until I discovered his site was so outlandish that it was really refreshing to see someone bring in some realism along with the hot stories.
  14. Trueself joined me fairly early on as one of many RSS reads. I had her blog as well as another blog by someone who was some sort of avid Illini fan and took me about 3 months to figure out that this was the same person with two different blogs! Trueself certainly fit my genre of a marriage that was skidding toward disaster, but she also had a very dark and raw flavor that has suited my own mood at various times. There is no sugar coating or spin in the way she tells her story. It is very primal but very well told. And very, very prolific. I absolutely can not keep up as she uses her writing to decompress and purge her deepest darkest thoughts. And she has a lot of them!
  15. Desmond – Another commenter-turned-blogger-turnedcommenter-turned-blogger-turned… well , you can get up to speed in his own words. At some point I quit trying to keep my blogroll current and simply put him in my RSS reader. I’m still unsure why he gravitated toward our corner of blogspace. Okay, he was looking for sex talk (I had lots of that) but he also like the fact that a few of us were bringing our Christian beliefs into our struggles and writings. Not many sex bloggers were doing that in 2005, but there were apparently a lot of people who were looking for some Christian sex talk. Even as a commenter, Desmond was more of a provider of content than a consumer; he definitely added a lot of depth to the discussions, no matter which direction they took. He’s simply got a lot more life experiences to share.

Okay, I know that I’ve missed some people and overlooked others. I’m going through a sort of sex/relationship blogging contraction at the moment. One thing that I learned about being a relationship blogger is the it is sometimes easy to eastablish relationships of a sort but it is much, much harder maintaining them. The first few years I had gobs to say and devoted tons of time saying it. Now I don’t have as much to say, I have less time to say it and too many blogs to say it on!

But thanks for those who have stuck with me over the years and the bumps and grinds. Of course the second I say I’m going on hiatus, is the second I decide I have more to say! But I’ll just keep at it at whatever speed I can for the moment.


The Two Choice Dilemma, Marital Sadism and the Mercy Fuck

January 13, 2008

Some of you will love this and some of you won’t.  This is the part where we finally weigh in on the cost of being an avoider.


Basically in life we tend to not like making the hard choices.  We like making choices where it is win-win.  The lose-lose propositions require a certain amount of pain.  So we avoid making those choices, hoping that a more favorable option eventually comes around.  Sometimes it does.  But in the area of sexual disparity, it mostly won’t, at least without making a choice.


To quote Schnarch:


“Pop psychology tells us what we want to hear: you should expect your partner to accept, understand and validate your position even if he doesn’t agree– he should even say you make sense!  That strategy works as long as there’s enough room for everyone to have his or her own feelings and act upon them.  But many marital therapy approaches don’t work in the bedroom because they try to avoid two-choice dilemmas.  We can agree to disagree as long as we are focused on feelings and perceptions.  When the issue is behavior, however, flexibility is reduced significantly.  You can’t agree to disagree about sex.  When your spouse says he or she is never doing a sexual behavior– or never having sex again– you don’t feel like saying, “Thanks for sharing!”


When we say we have no choice, what we’re really saying is that there is no choice we want.  There is always a choice, but it is often a choice that we don’t want.  What we really want to do is make a choice that suits us at the expense of the other person.  Some people think monogamy is a great thing…for the other person.  The choice to not have sex is based on the assumption that the other person will not exercise their choice to have sex.


In the ’60’s and ’70’s it was popular to say that it was unrealistic to expect one person to meet all of your needs.  The have-it-all saying was based on avoiding the 2 choice dilemma.  In fact, that’s at the crux of the “Have-it-all” mentality.  It pretty much avoids the whole reality of making hard choices and the economic reality of the principle of scarcity.


So we have this couple who we can call Digger and Arwyn.  Schnarch names them Audrey and Peter.  Arwyn seems to care less about sex while Digger is frustrated at the lack of sex. 


Arwyn’s gambit is based on the idea that she can not have sex because there is too much pressure.  She says that if there wasn’t so much pressure, she might be more open to sex.  Plus, with Digger initiating she never has a chance to initiate.  So Digger agrees not to initiate and thus not to pressure Arwyn.  So a week goes by and Arwyn does not initiate because then she would simply be responding to the pressure of the agreement.  Another week goes by and she does not initiate.  As time passes, Digger’s frustration grows and Arwyn knows it but does not initiate because she is feeling pressured by her own thoughts of having to do what she does not want to do.  She doesn’t want to want Digger while she does want him to want her.  New “if only’s” surface as she continues to try to hold out just enough hope to keep the marriage intact.  She may even try to improve in other areas in order to compensate for this one marital lack.


So where does that leave Digger?  Anything he possibly does will increase pressure.  Damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t.  So now he faces a 2 choice dilemma.  No sex or force growth through making a choice whether or not to have sex.


2amsomewhere referred to this a bit earlier in a comment about those bloggers who choose to have affairs.  They essentially take the choice away from their partner while trying to have their cake and eat it too.  Two choice dilemmas are a pathway to growth and an affair essentially robs themselves of that opportunity as well as that of their partner.


So I get that I’ve helped enable this sad state of affairs in perpetuating a sexless marriage.  Arwyn holds all the cards, sexually speaking.  What little sex we’ve had over the past few years has been not so good so I’m not really wanting it too badly from her at the moment.  I’d like to be in a monogamous sexually-fulfilling marriage but it remains to be seen whether I’m willing to pay the freight in order to get there. 


The scenario described in chapter 11 perfectly matches where I’m at with Arwyn more or less.  It’s irritating that I had to read through so many other chapters to get here, but here I am. 


What really drove me mad getting to this chapter was the section on marital sadism.  I know I have a very thick red line of sadism running through me.  A very bad nastiness that has nothing to do with the good nastiness of sex.  It’s in all of us and it occurs in pretty much every marriage.  Deep down, in our heart of hearts we hate our spouse.  That bit was hard to grapple with as I read it, but the realization of it lead me right into that old saying: the opposite of love isn’t hate, it is apathy.  Hate seems like maybe we’re putting it more strongly than it really is, but our squeamishness about that is a result of some false beliefs.  Namely we think that love and hate can not coexist.  Where hate is, love can not be and where love is, hate must be absent.  This belief leads us into denial which pretty much guarantees that we’re going to behave worse towards our chosen spouse.  The fact is, hate exists in the world of love and love exists in the world of hate.  We have to confront that evil nasty side before we can move on.  The whole idea behind the reflected sense of self is so that other people won’t make a fuss about the nastiness we have inside of us.  We want to be loved by others so that we can love ourselves.  By focusing on how great we are (through listening to what our itching ears want to hear) we can deny our evil nasty side.


Differentiation comes from confronting our evil side and truly repenting.  That’s my take, not Schnarch’s but this is a dot that he left to be connected.  We get all self-righteous and inflict cruelty on others to justify ourselves.  We elevate ourselves by depressing others which isn’t exactly a recipe for self-respect.  On the other side, we constantly compromise our integrity by accepting the bullshit of others.  The perpetrator/victim mentality has gotten me no where. 


In this section we encounter the mercy fuck and the mind fuck.  I’m willing to wager that most of you know exactly what I mean, at least if you’re married.  This is not to be confused with the pity fuck that Chelsea Summers wrote about recently. 


The mercy fuck is the penultimate of marital sadism.  Basically the mercy fucker says, “Okay, I don’t want to have sex with you but I’m going to allow you to mount me and I’ll do the minimum to get you off.  You’d bloody well better appreciate it, too!”


This is followed by the mind fuck, where the mercy fucker doesn’t respect the fuckee because he is so willing to accept such poor sex.  “See?  This only proves that all you want is to use my body!” when that is all that is ever offered.


The person who is offered the mercy fuck is basically given a choice between sex even a hooker would be ashamed of giving or no sex at all.  The only real way of dealing with the mercy fucker is to stop doing it.


Then we have the woman who fakes orgasms and then resents her husband for feeling so good about the job he’s doing.  That’s a mind fuck.  “Yes dear” is a mind fuck because we all know that it means “Yes, but don’t complain if it’s not done with enthusiasm.”


Basically, marital sadism allows partners to screw each other two ways at once.  Lousy oral sex technique while feigning ignorance and other passive-aggressive war mongering techniques are all part of “normal” marital sadism.


We hate our partners, but that is a reflection of how much we loathe ourselves.  We need to deal with our self loathing in order to get along with each other.  We need to confront our hate and deal with it.  Notice I’m not saying make it go away, I’m saying deal.  Stop blaming and start standing.


What that means for Arwyn and I remains to be seen.  But I’m digesting this and thinking about it.  I’m sure you all might have something to add to this discussion in the way of experiences.  You can read pretty big chunks of that chapter here, if you want.