The Link Between Sex and Happiness via happiness.org

This is a topic that’s always a struggle for me, sex and happiness. As much as I love sexual actions, intercourse itself can be tricky for me. It was both healing and rewarding to be able to research and write this article below. Enjoy!

The Link Between Sex and Happiness

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https://www.happiness.org/link-sex-and-happiness/

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Thoughts About Claiming Power

Lovely post on power.

Satyros Phil Brucato

Our world does not want us to be heroes. Heroes make folks nervous. They challenge us by standing out. While society shows us what we can buy, heroes show us what we are not. And that display makes folks profoundly uncomfortable. As a result, I believe, most people shortchange their potential and smother the hero within.

First, let’s clarify what “hero” means. It does not mean “nice person.” The Greek root haeros means “to sing of,” and while the Greek heroes were so “sung of” that we remember them 2500 years later, they were not “nice people.” Quite the contrary: Theseus was a rapist, Odysseus a liar, Herakles, a hot-tempered murderer, and Achilles a psychopath. Not a Boy Scout in the bunch! The gods may smile on the meek, but they don’t remember them.

Heroes, by definition, are memorable.

I got to thinking about this a few…

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Up and Up

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Thriving takes courage. Living the life I’ve wanted so badly to live has taken courage. And here I am. Living it. This past weekend was wonderful. Amazing. Inspiring.

Over the weekend, I taught a class on writing erotic fiction and nonfiction. The attendees were perfect. Open, confident, and there because they were serious about their craft and desired to improve. I had a great time teaching and certainly want to do more of that.

Then today, I started a new job. It’s taken a bit to finally be able to start and I can’t give much detail, but I already love it. So rewarding…

I look back five years and think about how much has changed. Then, I thought it would be cool to help out a nonprofit writing org one day. Never realizing that soon enough, I’d be running one. Then I looked at my author friends–then more acquaintances–and I couldn’t wait until I found people that wanted to read what I wrote too. Now, people do want to read what I write. Then I assisted a small press and thought, “How cool would it be to run my own?” Now, I am.

I also knew people living the poly, kinky lifestyle I wanted to live and I kept thinking one day. Now, I live it. And far above and beyond any wonderfulness I’d imagined.

I wanted to go back to school and elevate my level of education so I could work with people in ways I can’t currently, and I’m registered for school again.

All these things came from not letting my fear of failure stop me from forward motion. I don’t give in to fear, I face it. I had and still have the courage to push through. To move Up and Up.

So here I am. Living. Thriving. And enjoying all the goodness that living a life in the light brings me.

I’ve had a great couple of days. I look forward to more. ❤

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Interview with Leland Carina via fetish.com

Hello, lovely readers! I wanted to share my recent interview with Leland Carina on Leather Families for fetish.com. After meeting her at The Mystery Box Show, I was instantly impressed by her knowledge, confidence, and kind demeanor. And, of course, her strength in owning who she is in every aspect of her kink and sexuality. A truly inspiring person!

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If you’d like to read the interview on Leather Families via fetish.com, here is that link.

Here is the amazing show I saw at The Mystery Box Show where I met Leland.

Leland also produces a monthly video interview for The Mystery Box Show. Here is the most recent one.

For more on Leland, please see her latest article on Leatherati.com or follow her on Twitter @LelandCarina.

Thank you, Leland!

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Trauma Sensitive Yoga via Happiness.org

My article on Trauma Sensitive Yoga. Still near and dear to my heart. 🙂 

https://www.happiness.org/trauma-sensitive-yoga-personal/

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Shifting Rape Culture, We Are the Lightning

Today was a beautiful day. I’ve been working so hard these last few weeks with pretty much no rest, so I took a self-care day today and it was wonderful. Of course, by self-care day I mean taking two naps and working on my publishing company, but these are both things I quite enjoy.

When I started SinCyr Publishing, my focus was to get good content to people around sexuality and BDSM. To show healthy sexual encounters, healing through sexuality, clear consent, and more. My intent is to “Shift rape culture one sexy story at a time.”

I’ve recently opened to romance as well, but with the requirement that there be healthy communication in relationships, characters with agency, and healthy boundaries. And of course, sex scenes must still include consent even if the relationship is established.

This has been the most rewarding job I’ve done so far. While writing enables me to share my thoughts, reading all the submissions has been amazing–and hot. It’s also shown me how differently we all see consent and how it works. And of course, there are different ways of showing consent. With sex, for example, there can be a conversation about what the characters want, for BDSM, there can be the same talk but also the talk of safewords.

One thing that I’ve found with reading all of the submissions is that not only do people see consent differently, and sometimes drastically different, but some people that knew that was a requirement still didn’t include it. And not on purpose. People are so used to consent being implied by a coy smile or blush or giggle, that they neglect the talking portion. This is reflective of real life too, which is why I’m working to shift how we see consent, especially around sex.

As a twist, most submissions have included safewords during BDSM scenes. Which makes me very happy!

The reason why safewords are so important is that they are not instinct type words, so the use of one illustrates conscious awareness for both sub and Dom/Domme/Top of what’s transpiring. Unicorn doesn’t equate in the brain to stop or no. So having that negotiation where this safeword is discussed, then having the submissive repeat it back and what it means, and even better, a sub using it and being rewarded for it, is what I want to show readers. Because if a submissive can use a safeword to stop an action, that shows that person is conscious and rewarding the character for their agency is icing on the cake!

Now that I’ve read so many submissions, I’m beginning to see an interesting pattern unfold (which touches a lot, not just the submissions but movies and television shows as well), sex seems to include a lot more implied consent, while BDSM includes a lot more conscious consent. I have to wonder if some of this discrepancy is coming from the fact that societally, spouses are expected to have sex with their partner. Couples, in general, are expected to do that too. And when there’s expectation, it’s harder to have that conscious level of consent. It’s harder to have enthusiastic consent.

Couples are not expected to bend over a bench and get spanked before a decent fucking, so to explore that there has to be a much more conscious level of awareness and permission given. And with D/s couples, even if they are not engaging in a BDSM scene, there is still a level of expected agency and awareness in sexual areas too that seems to be coming through in the submissions.

The inconsistency between sexual consent and BDSM consent has shown me that having a small press with the intent of shifting rape culture is exactly the right move. I’m so thankful for the authors submitting their work and allowing me to publish them. I’ve gotten email after email about people passionate about this same topic and I know that together, we will shift rape culture one sexy story at a time.

Shifting something so massive is a tall order. But I’m not alone. The amazingly talented authors and editors working with me, the readers, and all those helping to promote sex-positive, body-positive stories with clear consent and healthy sexual relationships are making a difference. Thank you. ❤

We are the lightning before the thunder…

Who knew work could be so damn fun?

For those that can’t see the video above, the song is Thunder by Imagine Dragons. The important lyrics are these:

I was dreaming of bigger things
And wanna leave my own life behind
Not a yes sir, not a follower
Fit the box, fit the mold
Have a seat in the foyer, take a number
I was lightning before the thunder

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Mental Health and Validation

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Life can be strange sometimes. Oh hell, who am I kidding? Life is pretty strange all the time. For instance, I never thought that I’d have a conversation about mentally unstable people with my kid, nor did I think that doing so would change the way I looked at mental health so much. But as it turns out, it has.

What spawned the conversation was that my son and another youngish person in his life began researching mental health when someone they know had a meltdown recently. They decided to look up some mental issues to see how they could be a support.

To his surprise, as he went down the list of mental illnesses and personality disorders, he came across a lot of terms I’d never discussed with him before. Terms and explanations of behaviors that he was quickly able to say, “Hey, that’s like so and so. And this is like so and so…” As he went down the list, he was able to pinpoint each person in our lives—both diagnosed and those that are likely ill but refuse to be evaluated—and their specific issues. The part that I found intriguing, was that each time he was right (or likely right for those refusing help). All without being guided by anyone. If I was going around saying, “So and so is a borderline,” then it would be easy for him to make that conclusion. But I don’t do that. His observations were based solely off of what he’s heard from these people or witnessed with their behavior.

What I found the most beautiful about his observations is that he had no judgment. He simply saw the illness and was able to pull himself back from it enough that he didn’t take certain behaviors personally. He did admit that for some people, he wouldn’t feel safe being alone with them. But that still wasn’t a judgment. Just smart thinking.

This led him to wanting to know how to deal with these sorts of people. Whether it’s a mental illness and minor, or a much more complex personality disorder, he didn’t want to know how to avoid but instead how to deal. We did discuss that some people are just unsafe. Period. And those reasons vary depending on who the person is and what their issue is. But he really wanted to focus on this person he knew that was needing support.

What we did was go down a list of options. Methods. Because he certainly didn’t want to feed someone’s delusion. To avoid using a situation with someone else, I’ll use a thing that happened to me.

About five years ago I was driving down the freeway when I looked to the car to my right and saw a Klingon. Yes… A Klingon driving a convertible. Since traffic had stopped, I got a good look at the alien driving and my head kept racing with, “Holy shit! Klingons are real!”

Of course, I also knew this wasn’t true at all. But it caught me so off guard that it took me a couple minutes to realize it was a man dressed as Klingon. Once I realized, I laughed hard over it. But my brain still went where it went, and that was, aliens are real!

While that was all good fun, imagine if that Klingon wasn’t actually a human dressed up as a Klingon? What if it was a woman heading to work, but my brain saw a Klingon? Then, what if that Klingon terrified me? My heart would race, my temperature would fluctuate, and I’d be going into a state of shock.

The Klingon wouldn’t have to actually be there. All that would matter is that I thought the Klingon was there. I’d be reacting to what I thought was transpiring. And even though it’s not real, my feelings around seeing this alien would be real in that I’d be in a state of reaction.

What talking about this did for kiddo and I was allowed us to see that even if something didn’t happen, if the person thought it did, their feelings would still be painful. Unless they thought something good happened, in which case the feelings may reflect that. But all in all, feelings do not mean fact. Feelings do not mean what we think happened actually happened.

There are many things that play into how we feel. No matter what mental issues we may or may not have. This is something that affects everyone.

After we talked a bit more, we decided that what might be really helpful is if we validated the person’s feelings without validating or saying that we agreed with what they think happened (or is happening). That way no one is feeding a delusion, but the feelings that come with the delusion are being addressed and acknowledged without judgment.

I can’t stress enough how important I feel this last part is. Especially for people that do have mental issues/challenges because so often those folks respond from a place of past trauma or a lack of being able to process and understand what’s actually transpiring.

Judging people when it comes to mental health—in anyway—is about as low as someone can go. Be upset if someone’s mental issues have hurt you, sure. Be angry. Be sad. You might even be afraid of the person. I certainly have felt all of these emotions around others’ mental health affecting me negatively. But what I don’t do is judge them. Because most of the time—even for the ones refusing help and denying they have issues—the person can’t help it. If they could, they’d probably not be mentally ill.

It’s illness for a reason.

And this includes things that seem lesser on the scale. Like depression. High anxiety. PTSD…

It was such a beautiful thing to be talking to my kid about all of this and not have him be judgmental toward any of the people he’d connected to mental issues. It was also wonderful to be able to discuss how validating the way someone feels isn’t the same as validating that their perceived slight actually happened. And after talking, I think I’m going to apply this to everyone no matter what’s happened.

Because our feelings matter, even if they are based on things that didn’t happen how we think they did.

And this has been a hard understanding to come to because when someone abuses me or someone I love because of their mental illness, it’s still abuse. When I wrote the other day about people screaming in my face, well, sometimes that’s happened in my own living room. And when I asked for that behavior to stop, the person got even louder and more aggressive.

I had every right to be angry and hurt. Because that treatment was wrong. But I didn’t need to judge the behavior or the person. And that’s where validating feelings and having healthy boundaries is helpful. Not validating lies or delusions, but the feelings themselves. “I understand how you might feel afraid right now,” but not, “Yes, you are being sabotaged by the entire community and you should be afraid.”

I think by validating feelings we create a scenario that enables us to talk through issues rather than have the person jump to the defense.

When I was a much more paranoid person, I used to think everyone was gossiping about me. I didn’t really have a reason why I thought that. I was simply paranoid. And when I’d share that fear and someone said, “No one is doing that. Get over it.” Or the like, I’d think they were part of it. But when the person (the very few times this happened) said, “Wow, thinking everyone is talking about you must feel awful.” In fact, these were exact words used with me. And notice there’s no, “This is happening…” The word used was thinking. Then a validation of my feelings around it. This method helps.

I share because I see so many people passing judgment on mental health issues. If someone is in therapy, there’s often an assumption that there’s something wrong with that person. When they may just like having an outside person to bounce ideas off of. Judging anyone for their mental health is pretty fucking low. Just as judging because of physical issues is too.

This isn’t a difficult concept here.

Once the kiddo and I talked, he felt good about how to help his friend. And all it took was him thinking about how terrified he used to be of the doctor. He didn’t have a conscious understanding or reason. It didn’t make sense to him. But he knew his fear was real. Even at his young age, I validated that he was afraid but didn’t validate that doctors were scary, terrifying people. Only that he felt that way and that I wanted to help him to get around that fear so he could get a checkup.

Going forward, I’m going to work on my approach with others that have mental health challenges. And this includes those that constantly project. Because in their minds, if they’re doing it, surely you are too. Validating the fear that person is dealing with isn’t acknowledging it’s happening.

I wish I’d realized this many years ago. It would have saved me a lot of anger and hurt. And who knows, maybe part of why people get so paranoid is because too often their feelings aren’t validated. It’s a slippery slope when you don’t want to validate an experience the person has imagined. But the feelings have to stay separated because feelings are feelings and don’t often make sense or align with reality. Unless, of course, you’re a gazelle about to be eaten by a lion. Then, your fear may be valid! But since we aren’t gazelles, we are humans, this isn’t really an issue.

From now on, I am going to work on methods of validating how someone feels without validating what they perceived happened. This isn’t always going to be easy, but life isn’t easy. Seeing others, I mean truly seeing them, is a beautiful thing.

I’m thankful for the lovely and unexpected conversation with my child. It helped me see a lot about how I respond to those around me and how I can choose different responses in the future.

Mental health, seeking help, acknowledging that someone has mental issues, should never…ever…be shamed.

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