Reunion

Have you ever just fallen into someone and held onto them as if you would drown if you let go? That’s how it felt to me when I saw my secondary partner[1] for the first time in sixteen months this last weekend. Throughout the 30 hours or so we spent together, I had to keep touching them just to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.

The last year has not been kind to many people, including us. We’ve survived many things in the four and a half years we’ve been together, from a terrifying car accident to my mental breakdown in 2019. But a pandemic that separated us for almost a year and a half was a different beast entirely.

Of course, our relationship wasn’t on hold during all this time. We couldn’t see each other physically, but we kept in touch with Skype calls and sexting and app-controlled sex toys and online theatre and movie dates. But it’s not the same. Sometimes I wanted to hug them so badly it hurt. Often, actually.

Even so, I went into our reunion not really knowing how it would go. So much has changed in the last year. Life is not the same. I am not the same. I’ve changed not just my hair and my body, but also my career and my relationship with myself in the past year. In some ways, I am far better. My self-esteem and my relationship to my work are both hugely improved. But in other ways, I am carrying the inevitable scars of the last year. I am jumpy and scared of things I was never scared of before. I don’t always know how to people any more, after almost a year in such isolation.

So no, I wasn’t sure if we would still fit. Because when people and circumstances change, relationships do, too. I think it’s fair to say they were more sure than I was, but I think they also had their doubts. How could we not, after all this time?

The doubt dissolved the moment I saw them, the moment we clung to each other and I buried my face in their shoulder and I remembered all the ways we fit together. Every time I looked at them, I wanted to laugh and cry all at the same time. Because yes, it still works. The love is still there. Our connection was tested but never severed. Our hearts and our bodies remember each other, and that matters more than days or months or distance.

Sometimes, in the sea of everything changing, you just need something that still feels right. You just need someone who will hold you as though they felt every damn second of all the months you were apart.

__________________________________________________

[1] We use “secondary” as a descriptive term, not as any kind of pejorative, and we love each other deeply and fiercely despite not being on the relationship escalator with each other.

Four Post-Pandemic Fears

Very slowly but surely, we’re starting to emerge from the pandemic. At time of writing, over 30 million people in the UK have had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. This is amazing news and all the credit goes to the scientists who developed the vaccines and the amazing healthcare professionals who have been delivering it.

But now that “when all this is over” is starting to look like a real possibility rather than a distant dream, I find myself feeling… scared. Excited, yes. Hopeful, definitely. Relieved in the extreme. But, yes, also scared.

I wanted to share four of my big post-pandemic fears. If you share any of them, or have your own that I haven’t included here, know that you’re not alone. It’s easy to feel as though, among the unbridalled joy at the idea of getting our freedom back, you’re the only one feeling apprehensive. I promise you’re not.

So here’s what I’m afraid of.

Getting COVID

Yes, I’m still going to be nervous about getting COVID (or, worse, passing it to someone more vulnerable.) We know that the vaccines are highly effective but do not provide 100% immunity. Therefore it is still at least theoretically possible to contract the virus.

I know it’s unlikely and that this is largely irrational. The huge drop in infection rates has already proven that the vaccines work. But yeah, I’m still going to be afraid of contracting the virus for a while.

Not Knowing How to People Any More

Lengthy social isolation takes a toll, and it is going to take some time for us to relearn how to be around one another in physical space again. I find myself wondering if I’ll remember how to socialise in a way that doesn’t happen through a screen. If I’ll still know how to chat, how to read body-language, how to flirt.

I’ve got pretty good at being insular over the last year. I think many of us have had to, in order to get through this without losing our minds. But how hard is it going to be to unlearn that again, to become the social butterfly I used to be? I fear it might be very hard.

Touch Remaining Taboo

I’m a tactile person. I like to hug, snuggle, kiss, and share easy physical affection with my loved ones. I’m afraid that casual touch is going to remain taboo in the post-COVID world.

Will I be able to throw my arms around friends when I see them again? Will I be able to dance with strangers, kiss people I’ve just met, hold hands or cuddle casually? Are we ever going to get back to the point where “may I hug you?” is a simple request for consent, not something with potentially life-and-death consequences to consider.

I think it’s going to be some time before we stop flinching at the idea of a person not in our “bubble” getting too close. I just hope we can collectively move past it with time.

My Communities Being Scapegoated

I’m furious at the people who have held large kink events and swing gatherings during COVID. The recklessness, selfishness, and sheer stupidity takes my breath away.

But I’m also afraid that once the restrictions are over, non-monogamous communities are going to become scapegoats when surges in infections inevitably pop up again.

If people go to a regular nightclub, a gig, or the theatre and get infected, that’s unfortunate but ultimately no-one will be scandalised. If someone goes to a swing club or sex party and spreads the virus, though? That’s a fucking Daily Mail headline waiting to happen. Every attendee and community organiser will probably have this reality sitting in the backs of their minds for at least the next couple of years.

What are you afraid of when it comes to life after the pandemic? There are no easy answers to any of this, but at least we can be there for one another and remind ourselves that we are not alone.

A Love Letter to the Art of Sexting

I don’t know if anyone has done any actual studies on this, but my totally unscientific hypothesis is that people have been sexting more than ever over the last year. With much of the world forced into lockdown (fuck you COVID), we’ve had to resort to virtual methods for everything from our work to our friendships… so why not our sex lives, too?

I’ve said before that I believe that sexting can, in and of itself, constitute a real sexual relationship. It’s one of the first ways that Mr CK and I connected before we ever had physical sex. And it’s certainly one of the ways that The Artist and I have kept our connection alive over the last year of not being able to see each other (again: fuck you, COVID.)

It probably isn’t a surprise to anyone that I am a very wordy person. I am a writer, after all. Words of affirmation are my primary love language. And I fucking love sexting.

I won’t say that it’s as good as in-person sex. It’s not. Nothing can beat the touch and smell and warmth of a lover’s body against mine. But when we can’t have that, for reasons of distance or illness or the plague, it’s the next best thing.

There’s an art to good sexting, though. I’m lucky in that my current partners are amazing at it. But I’ve certainly had more than my fair share of bad sexting in the past. The worst sexting tends to be overly dick-focused, one-sided, and

No, good sexting isn’t as simple as typing a bunch of increasingly flowery euphemisms. Like good physical sex, it’s a conversation, a dance, a push and pull between two (or more) people who are deeply attuned to one another. It involves listening and responding. A good sexter can make me drip without ever touching me. A truly great sexter can make me submit with just words.

At its best, sexting can be a way to explore fantasies and even discover new ones. Many times over the years, a partner has said something to me in a sexting session that has left me like “well I didn’t know I was into that, but oof!” Sexting can build a connection, maintain it over distance and time, and be a deeply intimate bonding experience.

Thanks to technology, virtual sexual connections are easier than ever. We no longer have to stick with just words on a screen (though that can be fun, too.) We can now trade pictures, video chat, and even control a lover’s sex toy over tens or hundreds or thousands of miles.

It’s been hard to be a slut over the last year. So many of the things I love, from regular dates with my secondary partner to outings to sex clubs and dungeons, have been impossible.

(Yes, I know perspective is important and not being able to slut it up on the regular is a very trivial concern compared to *waves wildly at everything.* I’m still allowed to miss it.)

For many of us slutty types, sexting has been one of the things that has kept us at least somewhat connected with our slutty selves. It’s a reminder that the world is still out there, and brimming with sexy adventures waiting to be had when it’s safe to do so. And I think that’s something to celebrate.

“Give me words that make my mind curl before my toes.”
– Rachel Wolchin

Quote Quest badge, for a post about making amends when you fuck up

I wrote this post as part of Quote Quest, a fun blogging meme by Little Switch Bitch. Each week there’s a new quote for inspiration. Click the logo to see what everyone else is writing this week! Oh, and if you enjoy my work, please consider buying me a coffee.