Monday, January 19, 2015

Cuddles and Snuggles and Anal Play Workshops (SPLA)

Man and woman having anal sex. Ceramic, Moche ...
Man and woman having anal sex. Ceramic, Moche Culture. 300 C.E. Larco Museum Collection (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
So, I'm deep into exploring the world of Sex Positive Los Angeles, both for myself, as a sexual human being, AND because there's so much more variety to learn, as a writer of romantic and sexual fiction, to understand and express, than just Penis-In-Vagina sex.

Not that there's anything wrong with PIV sex. I am a huge fan of PIV sex. (Just ask anybody.)

Many sex scenes, in fiction and in p0rn, dive into penetrative sex, including anal, all too soon. Meanwhile, there's this whole, wide, wonderful world of sexuality and sensuality that goes overlooked and underwritten.

Not always. Take the incredibly arousing frottage scene between Minerva and Colin in Tessa Dare's A Week to be Wicked. Part A never gets inserted into Slot B, but if you can read that chapter without getting OMG-where's-my-boyfriend-or-vibrator HAWT, there's something wrong with you. Just saying.

So, because I'm the research as procrastination self-sacrificing kind of writer y'all know and love, I'm sharing with you the results of my weekend explorations.

Not About the Butthurt

When I dragged myself in to the SPLA workshop on Awesome Anal by Charlie Glickman, I came in  with a whole world of buts.
  • Anal sex might be fun, eventually, BUT I hate how it's always so painful at first. (And sometimes, it never gets better.)  Or, sometimes, it's just meh, I-could've-had-a-V-8  - okay, but not particularly memorable sex.
  • I guess I should learn about this, because many guys seem to be into it, and I need to be able to write scenes that include it, BUT it's not something I will ever want to do, much.
  • Receiving anal play can be intensely pleasurable for men, BUT many of them are afraid admitting any interest will "mark" them as being gay or bi. (This particular myth is true, at least for now. Not that there is anything wrong with being gay or bi.)
But that other stuff? Totally wrong.

If It Hurts, You're Not Doing It Right

Using an anatomical chart, Dr. Glickman explained with words, and sometimes using sex toys, exactly what is going on with penile or toy penetration in both males and females (swapping out the prostate for the G-spot). Also, in women, care must be taken to prevent fluids from trickling into the vagina.  Bouncing from A directly to V with a penis, fingers, or a toy that hasn't been thoroughly washed? Monistat might thank you, but the V will NOT.

There was also an amazing live demo with a volunteer. AMAZING.

I can't cover everything in a short blog post, and anyway, trust me, you want to take this class in person, and buy the book.

But (that word again!) a few highlights:

  • PIA (Penis-In-Anus) makes up only a very, very small part of anal play.  If you're going to play that way, you want to warm up for at least 45-50 minutes. The idea is to invite, not force, anything.
  • There are all kinds of pleasurable strokes and touches and caresses that take place both on the outside, and on the inside.
  • If you're the prep-with-an-enema type, commercial enemas that contain laxatives are not the best solution.
  • Nitrile gloves and other barriers are a damn smart idea and do not inhibit sensation.
  • Because of the way the body works, and because lube is slippery, it is a terrible idea to use any toys, vegetables, or other objects that do not have a built-in "stopper" at the end.
  • If you do, don't try to bullshit the paramedics or emergency room about how you were dusting the ceiling, naked, and just happened to fall on the object that's now lodged inside your rectum.

I am definitely going to be buying this book, AND incorporating fun anal play into my writing and my life.

Cuddling, Some of the Most Fun You Can Have with Your Clothes On

So the other eye-opening event was I attended an SPLA Cuddling and Snuggling party.  Like the anal workshop, I went in a little apprehensive and nervous.

I know, on paper, that cuddles are good for us - for the immune system, for the oxytocin high, for pain relief, and many other healthy things. But... cuddling with a stranger, or people with whom I'm barely acquainted, but not normally that intimate? Have to admit, it kind of squicked me out.

And I was afraid I would do something wrong, or fart or something.

For starters, since this was an SPLA Level 2 event, no one was present who hadn't attended at least one orientation, and was familiar with rules of active consent, with the responsibility of self-care, with saying no, with negotiation, and understood there was freedom to disengage at any time, and where to go physically if we needed to take a break from the cuddle and snuggle area.

We started with verbal introductions, then did stretches to loosen up. Then our facilitator grouped us in sets of three, and used a timer to have each of us, in turn, request some kid of touch from our two partners. I've been having issues with with a tight neck/shoulder muscle, so I asked for massage work in that area. Others asked for foot massages, or arm stroking, or hair brushing, or whatever THEY needed. Everybody was free to ask, everybody was free to say no. Soft music played in the background (and, sometimes, the sounds of dogs barking was heard).

After we each got a turn, one of my three partners wanted some spooning. I ended up being part of several different spoon configurations, sometimes sandwiched, sometimes on the inside, sometimes on the outside. Sometimes there was handholding, arm or face or breast stroking, sometimes just holding.  Sensual, not sexual.

All along the way there was continual checking in, "Is it okay I am touching you like this? Are you comfortable? What would you like?" I found myself humming along to the music sometimes, or almost purring.

The purring, I come by naturally.