Operation Orgasm: The Student Becomes The Master

I’ve never been a rule person. Breaking any and all guidelines for being a good kid was my thing. Screw conformity. I’m scaling the fence as my brain registers the “No Trespassing” sign. Unabashedly. Tell me I’m not allowed to go there, and I’m doing everything in my power to figure out why, and then do it. Not always a good system in the real world, but sometimes, it’s the perfect mindset that allows us to experience things we never thought possible within the space of freedom in our mind.

Ever since I learned the difference between pink and blue booties, I’ve been curious about my sexuality. Not in such a way that at the tender age of sand boxes and jungle gyms I was dry humping my living room pillows, this was more of a conscious effort to learn all I could about every inch of my body.

Long before my b-cupped funbags made their first appearance in 1988 (I have since removed my implants in 2001), as a preteen I began to explore my other female lady goods. I was fascinated. The fact that I had actual baby-making equipment inside me was a trip. Using a hand mirror to investigate every inch of myself, I was in awe of that place – that sacred part of womanhood that no one talked about  – my personal No Trespassing place.

Orgasm

A product of Catholic school and a bat-shit crazy mom of her own, my mother made painstaking efforts to never discuss down there, and if she ever did, she always gave it a cartoon name like Fuffy, or Pee Pee. I didn’t get it. It’s my body and I wasn’t allowed to ask questions or even acknowledge its existence?

This is bullshit.

By the time I was in high school, my body and me were dialed in with one another. And thanks to a perfect storm of personal curiosity, longing to connect with this incredible flesh vessel of mine and one share-everything-with friend, my life changed forever one summer.

Leah and I were both seventeen and had way too much fun breaking rules together. She was also the kind of friend you wanted to hang with after too many wine coolers. We’d spend hours gabbing about sex, sharing our limited experience, and thinking that just because we boned a couple of dudes, we were the shit.

“The kissing part is fun, but I don’t get the big deal about sex.” I confessed with the shrug of my shoulders.

“So, you didn’t… come?” The look on Leah’s face was priceless. Far removed from judgment, plastered with excitement. She was bursting out of her ESPRIT Sweatshirt, actually squealing.

“I thought just the guys…” My face tilted to one side, my voice turned up. “…you mean we can, too?”

“YES! We can too! You just gotta know your body!” She squealed.

Our conversation dove further into the complexities of penis vs. vagina (like we knew anything about joy-sticks). And when I woke up the next day, I flew into the bathroom, ready for my first assignment.

You just gotta know your body.

When you don’t know what you’re missing, it’s kinda weird to be so pumped in your quest to find it. But after hearing Leah’s declaration of how awesome having a Lady O was, I was dying to go there as quickly as possible.

BathTub

The stream of water was foreplay. My ass scooted under the faucet and directly on top on the drain, head gently resting on the floor of the tub, feet pointed to the sky, knees slightly bent. Operation Orgasm was underway. As the warm water trickled on to my sweet spot, I began to feel silly – not to mention anxious with the water slowly rising. But this new feeling of warm water in new places had me optimistic that I would finish long before the water reached my ears.

Remembering what Leah said about relaxing and being in tune with how good it would feel, I closed my eyes and went there. My mind wandered to Mickey Rourke in my [then] favorite movie, 9 ½ Weeks (still does sometimes) and it was ON. Fifteen minutes later it was on again. And again. And, well, you know where this is going.

The next time I had sex with my guy, I knew exactly what I needed to do in order to make my body quiver with pleasure. More importantly, I knew how to communicate with my partner so he could take me back to land of ‘Oh!’. Most teenage boys could give two shits about their gal finishing – they’re just happy someone else is in the room. But I got lucky. My fella was into me getting off as much as he did. We even got to a point where we could ride the wave together (Hey Brett, if you’re reading, call me).

They say things get better with time, and when it comes to rubbing one out – how true, how true.

But first, we need to climb our fences of inhibition. Face the uncomfortable, awkwardness of touching ourselves – alone – in the privacy of our personal space.

For some women masturbating is forbidden to do, much less discuss. Others are completely comfortable talking about and regularly going at it. There’s a scene in Sex and the City (television series, not movie) when Samantha asks Charlotte if she’s ever seen her vagina up close with a hand-mirror, which got me thinking, I wonder how many of us have?

Thanks to my friend Leah and her wonderful friendship and encouragement, I was able to explore and take myself to my pleasure zone. In many ways, and in record-breaking numbers (I never left my room that summer). This inevitably led to mind-blowing sexscapades with a handful of fabulous partners through the years. And all because I dared trespass the one place so many of us women feel ashamed to explore.

woman-in-the-tub-5749

We are all a product of our upbringing. And with no disrespect to religious practices, beliefs, or parental rules – when you get to a certain age in your young adult life, as a woman especially, it’s so important to blaze your own trail, tear down that “No Trespassing” sign, grab your mental magic marker and write “Welcome” all over it.

And if you’re lucky enough to have a friend to share your personal experience with, call her up immediately. Chances are, she’s got a story for you too.

Christine Macdonald

A Valentine’s for Singles

bar_chicks_anti_valentine_single-459669It’s February. You’re single. Unless you’ve held yourself hostage by way of Netflix and Domino’s since New Year’s Eve, you’ve been exposed. At first glance, the damage is nominal. You enter the grocery store for paper towels and toilet paper and catch a glimpse. Petite floral displays, nestled underneath shiny birthday balloons have replaced holiday wreathes and pine cones. Each bouquet of red and pink roses is surrounded with babies-breath, stretching out from a tiny frosted glass vase, painted white. There are chocolates housed in heart-shaped boxes on the display shelf, framing the display.

Whether you’re picking up cough syrup or navigating your grocery cart, there’s no avoiding the piles of love on display in the form of chocolate hearts, cupid dolls and bossy stalker candy. Be yours? Kiss you? Bite me, I’m single.

With my charming disposition and balls out vibe I can’t imagine why some dashing lad hasn’t swept me away from my miserable single life yet, either.

But here’s the thing. I’m not miserable.

Make no mistake. I love love. I’ve been blissfully lost on a cloud of multiple orgasms, pillow talk and naked spoons with the best of ’em. I’ve strolled on white sand beaches at dusk, our laced fingers swaying with the beat of crashing waves. I’ve been led to an impromptu cheek-to-cheek slow dance, stayed up all night watching black and white movies with a post-coitus makeshift picnic of cheese and crackers on the bed. I’ve exhaled along with my lover, and taken great comfort in allowing our bellies to breathe – simply being human. An imperfect physical reminder that there is something to be said for not pretending we are anyone we think the other wishes us to be.

Even when I’m not in love, I’m a big fan of: “Say, I’m not in love with you, but I do love you and your company is rad, so kick off your shoes, stay a while.”  Life is even lonelier without the company of people you truly connect with on all cylinders (which is rare).

You don’t need to be in love to feel love, laugh your asses off and have deviant adventures bordering on salacious.

On the flip side, when actually being in love, I’ve been cared for in ways I never thought possible. Anyone who has taken care of a sick loved one knows all too well, the depths of murky waters people who truly love one another will dive into. Happily.

Being genuinely in love goes beyond the flesh-colored glasses of hormones and heat. Once our dopamine and oxytocin receptors in our brain level back from fireworks to normalcy, when we are in love, this is where it really shows. There’s nothing we won’t do for our partner. It’s all about support, love, patience, and respect. You are best friends, lovers, teachers, caregivers and most trusted confidant. A union that feels unbreakable.

And then, time.

As the months and years pass and we allow ourselves to grow, sometimes our sweethearts don’t evolve with us. Their paths turn in a different direction. They simply can’t serve our happiness any longer (the term “growing pains” cannot be more appropriate here). This is when we must dive deep into our memory banks and use those precious moments like a patchwork quilt of hope, keeping us from thinking we will never be loveable to anyone else again. A favorite quote comes to mind:

Just because the rose died on the vine, doesn’t mean it lied to you while it was in bloom*

For singles, Valentine’s Day is the welcome mat of I am unlovable. It lies there waiting. Ready for us to wipe our lonely all over its face. But guess what – It doesn’t need to be. We can just as easily be wiping awesome all over this day, leaving a trail of “I’m not settling” billowing in the air. The fragrance, one of pure joy and insight permeates with each wipe of our feet. It’s the kind of pheromones one releases only after making it to the other side of anguish born from heartbreak.

It’s better to be alone than with the wrong person. Even – especially on Valentine’s Day.

Feeling alone while being with the wrong person is like treading water in a crowded pool of strangers who all swim better than you and no one will hand you a life raft. You have to save yourself.

Sticking with a partner because you’re afraid to be alone, or worse, because you think one of you will change to fit your expectations of who you both want the other to be, is far more tragic than actually being solo.

Maybe you’re not attracted to your “plus one” any longer; you’ve outgrown them, or you simply were never in love with them, (and you know they were with you). You’re paralyzed with guilt for fear of breaking their heart, so you stay, cutting their chance of ever finding true love with the one who is right for them. Is there a Hallmark card for selfish coward?

I’ve been that woman in the water in search of her life raft before – and I’ve definitely given myself the proverbial selfish coward card a few times. Whatever our story, when it comes to love not being right for both partners – it’s never easy. Ever. Breakup casualties are everywhere – people who feel like they are mere shells of who they used to be. If we can survive that kind of pain – the very best thing to do is remind ourselves just how loveable we actually are.

We love ourselves enough to know when it’s time to let go.

We know the pain. We do it anyway. Why? Because somewhere past the self-loathing and woe-is-me, I’m gonna be alone the rest of my life bullshit – we know. We deserve to be with the one person who will make us realize why it didn’t work with anyone else.

200509-omag-leave-relationship-600x411

Valentine’s Day when you’re single feels like a trap.

So many of us define ourselves by our relationship status. It’s not only sad, it’s dangerous. Our mental health is not designed for withstanding self-sabotage.

How many of us feel “less than”, when we find ourselves single on Valentine’s Day? Why do we feel that if we were just with someone – anyone – the planets would miraculously align, and we’d snap into happy? So what does that mean – if we aren’t in a couple, we don’t get to be happy? It’s a scary maze of self-doubt and loathing that can be totally avoided. And by the way, even married people can fall victim to this trap (they stay for the kids living in misery, which is a whole different topic I wrote about here).

Personally, it’s taken me years to get it. Countless failed attempts of shoving squares into circles. Totally unfair to the person you’re trying to mold into your idea of The One, by the way.

I’ll always be the romantic, the dreamer. No one can reenact The Way We Were and Sex and The City like me. Carrie and K-K-K-Katie are my girls. But now, I’m finally on board with the reality that I’m responsible for my own happiness – and whether or not I’m sitting solo, or in a cozy booth for two this Valentine’s Day – it doesn’t affect my sense of self.

I have nothing personal against V-Day – I actually think it’s sweet (pun intended). But for those of us who are single, we don’t need to feel like shit, which is what usually happens this time of year.

It’s natural to feel left out and personally, I think there’s an untapped marketing goldmine for the flower shop, candy and greeting card companies. Where’s the bouquet that congratulates us for not settling? I want a heart-shaped box of candies with affirmation lettering. You deserve better, Atta girl, You Rock .

Whenever I’ve been single on February 14, I’ve always called it “Victory Day” – makes more sense. I don’t care who you are, when you survive emotional land mines of true love’s demise, you are victorious.

Still feel like shit? Read this list of love lessons – and remember – you’re worth more than what some candy-filled display wants you to believe.

~ ~ ~

  1. If someone wants you, nothing can keep them away. If they don’t, nothing can make them stay.
  2. Stop making excuses for anyone’s behavior.
  3. If you have ANY doubt in your mind about someone’s character, leave ’em alone.EatngSolo
  4. Allow your intuition (or spirit) to save you from heartache.
  5. Stop trying to change yourself for a relationship that’s not meant to be.
  6. Don’t force an attraction. And remember – sex isn’t love.
  7. Never live your life for anyone.
  8. If you feel like you’re being strung along, you probably are.
  9. There is nothing wrong with dining out alone. It’s sexy, even.
  10. Don’t stay because you think “it will get better.” You’ll be mad at yourself a year later for staying when things are not better.
  11. Actions speak louder than words,
  12. Never let anyone define who you are.
  13. Don’t knock masturbation (it’s sex with someone you love).

Here’s the part where you tell me: what are you doing for V-Day?

 

* Quote source: Izzy Huffstodt (played by Blythe Danner) from the Emmy Award winning series Huff (Showtime 2004-2006).

Christine Macdonald

Fantasy vs. Reality: Where do you live?

I live in two worlds. Most of the time when I’m not working, I marinate in fantasy. Denial and self-sabotage rule the roost, but the excitement and chaos serve as a fair trade.

Fantasy Land is fun. Until it isn’t. But the pain of realty is short lived because I find a way to slip back in to the land of make believe as quickly as possible.

FIR

Reality? BO-RING. Why anyone would want to spend their time being responsible and accountable is a mystery to me.

Welcome to the textbook addict hard wiring in my brain. I’m convinced that having a “normal” life with a “normal” man (one who isn’t a fellow addict, narcissist – and has their shit together) would be the beginning of the end of happiness.

And don’t get me started on sex. I keep hearing that falling in love with a nice guy won’t equate to a vanilla sex life, but it’s so hard to imagine swinging from the chandeliers with a man who pays his bills on time and actually digs monogamy.

The problem with fantasy living is – shocker – it’s not real. Those of us who spend most of our time living in denial and chaos know this all too well when we get the shit kicked out of us from reality.

RDThe person we love reveals themself to be anyone but the person we pretended (or tried to change) them to be. The calories we pretend don’t exist find their way to our waistline. Money we pretend to have transforms into credit card bills we can’t believe can reach that high.

The golden rule for the fantasy-loving part of my brain is simple: If I have to ask, the answer is no.

Can I afford it? Will this serve my health goal? Is he going to be different from the others? If I keep living in my fantasy – No. No. And Hell-to-the no.

Here’s the thing about “no.” It’s actually a “yes” to something else. Something better.

Having just turned 46 recently and exhausted with dusting myself off from fallout I’ve essentially created on my own – I’ve decided to make a change. I’m choosing to say yes to the flip side of chaos. Yes to a healthy body, relationship and bank account. Yes to having break-the-furniture sex with a good guy who digs monogamy, pays his bills on time, inspires me, makes me laugh and laughs with me at myself.

I’m going to spend more time in realty and see what she has to offer. There’s nothing I love more than a challenge; and when I’m proven wrong? Bring it.

Christine Macdonald