Category Archives: Best of Steff

Having a Blog vs. Using It: Some Thoughts

I don’t follow analytics much with my blog. You’re reading it. That’s all I give a shit about. Following the traffic, I don’t do much of that.

I’ll check once or twice a month, see if my daily visits are holding up, and if there are massive spikes, I see what posts were near that day. Pretty chill, but I’ve done this for enough years to actually have a grasp on who you, my reader, often is. Or the readers I care about, anyhow.

And while my old sex posts drive my traffic the most, it was actually politics and current events that became my stratospheric posts over the years. When I get pissed, it seems to resonate. Apparently my anger reflects the frustration we feel both in Canada and the USA, and even England, because most of us are living in a classist divide that’s becoming increasingly religious.

So, over the weekend at the Pride events here in town, I chatted with friends about social media conferences, and how, for me, it seems more about selling tools than encouraging propagation of debate and discussion.

When it comes to blogging, I feel it can, and does, change the world. I don’t wanna talk about WordPress, metrics, and all that shit. The message is the message, for me, not the medium.

I feel an obligation to put ideas and content first, design and discussion-tracking last. I believe my voice matters. (And so does yours; whether you choose to use it is your drama.) I don’t really need to host the discussion here, I just need you to leave this page with a few thoughts percolating in your brain, and then I’ve done my job — that’s always been my take on things.

Sunday’s conversation kind of ended with my thinking that I’ve betrayed my ability to write, my strong beliefs on where we’re going wrong today, and my desire to see the world live according to my ethos (since I’m super-inclusive and secular), all by failing to continue blogging in a more frequent way.

I give good debate, baby. And I’ve been letting myself and my readers down at a time when I think we need more discussion, because if anyone can be the spark to a good fire, it’s me.

The Past’s Shadow is Long

Part of the reason I don’t watch my traffic today is because I don’t want to feel beholden to numbers. I’m cranking out some 1,500 unique visitors a day, and without doing a lot of work to sustain it. It’s what I call “legacy traffic.” Google had lost me for a long time, but now it points anyone looking for sex tips and smart writing here. Good job, Google!

Still, it bothers me a little, because I haven’t been writing about sex for about 3-4 years.

To have so many of you still turning up, with questions arriving in my inbox (which I’ve been ignoring in my life chaos), it tells me there’s a dearth of great information out there, and that mine’s standing the test of time on the web, a hard thing to do.

These days, I’m a-thinking. I don’t want to be writing about sex and relationships, because I’ve more or less been celibate since all the trouble began with my back, except for, you know, a dalliance or two. My head’s not there right now, and I haven’t wanted it to be, either.

Maybe I underestimated the voice I bring to the sex discussion, and maybe I need to rethink my role and the validity of my place in the fight for a smarter world that’s sex-positive in a way that doesn’t mean we have to jump the “taste” shark. Maybe I also underestimated how much we have devolved into an orthodox society with increasing hangups about sex and sexuality.

Maybe, maybe, maybe.

But if the Shoe Fits…

I’ll be doing a lot more thinking about this. I’ve avoided talking about sex or sex news because I was tired of being pigeon-holed as a “sex writer,” since I feel that’s about 8% of what I’m comprised of, but if it’s not getting done properly by others, maybe it’s time I dust that conversation off. Just something I’m considering, and not a promise. Your thoughts are relevant to my thinkin’, so feel free to persuade me on this.

Maybe combining sex and politics in this same post is indicative of who I am/have been as a blogger and a person.

I think sex and love are basic human rights. I believe who we are as a society is something that shifts and changes through the ages, like a river carving a canyon. Change and evolution is constant, but often only visible on a wide, long view, and while I see the massive changes we’ve had for the better, I see how far there is to go.

Born Under A Bad Moon Risin’

I’m of that generation that came of age in the analog times but made the digital world our bitch. I was my college’s last journalism class to lay out a newspaper with glue and paper, and the first to do so on the computer. I was born at a crossroads, with one foot in old-world news, and the other kicking toward the future. My head of journalism was a former editor who ran political campaigns, so I learned about the press from both sides.

I’ve blogged since 2004, about sex since 2005, and I’ve been political since my teens. I live in borderlands and know more about America than most Americans will ever know about Canada, and I bleed maple syrup.

I was raised Catholic, rebelled against it after I learned of molestation scandals and cover-ups in my own Archdiocese and high school. I identify as a feminist but love men and deplore radical thought in any vein, especially if feminist.

The Alchemy of a Writer’s Voice

Somewhere, in the midst of all those qualities and attributes lies the reason why I too have a voice that’s important to the mix of who we are and where we’re going.

We have the ability to stand up and be counted, to leave our prints on the windowpane of the world, thanks to the internet.

For those of us who can do so, yet don’t do so, we’re betraying a gift of being born with talent in this time and space. We’re at a point in evolution where we have the means and the ability to project our lonely voice around the world, free of corporate interference, free of investment, and yet we’re mired in a complacency that sees our society devolving almost daily.

While the 1% keep getting richer, we applaud and watch the Bachelorette while reading TMZ, glorifying the division of our classes, because glamour is somehow more significant to us than protecting our dwindling average-citizen quality of life.

We belittle the intellectuals, want leaders we can have a beer with, and seem to do everything we can to avoid the realities of what’s going on as economies around the world teeter on the brink.

We delude ourselves into thinking change can’t come, that we’re just the little guys. We pretend that if we keep watching TV, shopping for “Made in America” products, and praying to the good God above that we’ll be just fine when that high-water mark of society gets overrun.

I don’t buy any of it.

In a span of three years, with no technology, no automatic weapons, no electricity, nothing, the working class of France brought down the nobility and monarchy, and modern democracy was born. Three years. By people with HOES and SHOVELS, with the occasional dagger for good measure, for crying out loud.

Shit started rolling last year, but I don’t respect the Occupy movement a lot because there are too many dumb-assed anarchist fucks in the mix. But they’re heading in the right direction, as long as they leave anarchy out of the debate.

They’re right, though. Anger, frustration, these aren’t things we should be feeling fleetingly. These should consume us.

There’s a disparity of income distribution that is a mockery of what the USA was founded under, what Canada should exemplify, and it all comes down to legislation by politicians who are bought and sold by the interests of those they mainly seek to protect, the upper-upper-class.

We deserve better.

And the only way we’re gonna get better is if we never, ever let the matter drop.

Me, I’ll never be that guy on the street with a placard, but I have this soapbox.

I think it’s time I start seeing this blog as an obligation, not a hobby, because I loathe the world we’re becoming, and I cannot respect myself if I don’t shout out loud about why I feel it’s all going so horribly awry.

And that’s what blogging can be. That’s what it should be.

If you want the latest scoop on TomKat’s Divorce, maybe it’s time to aim higher, expect more, and become a part of these discussions we really need to stop avoiding.

People are People: Good, Bad, and the Ugly

Come morning, everything always changes. New. Nice. No fuck-ups yet. Yesterday’s badness has fallen away, but it’s left me in thought — not surprising, given I dig thinkin’. And here’s the thinkin’ it produced on humanity in general.

Sometimes we get unfortunate reminders of just how far-ranging humanity is. Good people, bad people. Ugly-ass people.

It’s like that moment from the creepy ’50s sci-fi movie where the scared teen boy looks in the camera and whispers, voice shaking: “We are not alone.”

A popular poster of a reliable friendship.

People bring out the best and worst in each other. We feed or flounder off whatever is projected at us. Here on the interwebs? Hoo-whee! We get schooled but good on humanity here.

Anonymity is the greatest thing to ever happen to cowards.

Some people thrive from hurting others, get adrenaline from it. We shake our heads and mutter “I don’t understand.” But what’s there to understand? They’re nuts.

There’s crazy then there’s The Crazy, as my bi-polar friend says.

It happens. Hate happens. Shit happens. Life happens. It happens.

One of the haters from this past weekend sent a bunch of extremely personal emails to the presenters, using our open lives to launch their attack.

I won’t indulge the meglomaniacal jerk’s wish to get limelighted. There’s a reason I moderate comments, his will never be published.

Stupid fuck, as if. Waste yer time if you like, pal — no blogspace for your hate!

But, boy, it reinforces my thinking on people.

I’ve always been that person who knows, if I have five REAL friends when I die, I’m a lucky gal. Most folks just walk away. That’s reality.

Trust me. Wait until life gets hard. Most people will walk. The ones who don’t, they’re keepers.*

The best thing that can happen to you in adversity is to find out who’s real and who’s not. At least then you’re on sure footing. Look at the lemonade you’ve made from those lemons: Now you know who’ll take bullets for you.

And don’t kid yourself, you’ll be surprised when the sieve of life separates the real friends from your illusory ones. It’s often not who you think it’ll be that makes the cut.

Here’s what I know: Good people assume most people are good. Sure, they are. But, the bad, they take up more real estate in our lives.

Have you ever heard the saying about retail, that 80% of your customers take up 20% of your time, but the other 20% take up 80% of your time with their bullshit? That’s kinda like people in real life, too. That 20% of people really know how to dial up the angst, betrayal, lies, and fear.

That consumes us, it takes over. If we let it.

Most people in life have serious flaws. Just remember that. Remember your own imperfections.  Most don’t have it in them to give “true” friendship to more than a few people. Don’t be surprised if you don’t make their cut.

You’ll have a few real friends in your life. But not many.

Welcome to Realityville.

Hey, your dead-body-removal crew should never have more than 6 people in it anyhow. That would make it too difficult to kill those who know your secrets. Too many to bury in your average backyard. Hardy-har-har.

But, seriously, it’s true. There’s only so many people you can rely on. Everyone else, sooner or later, will fail you. Most fail in small, meaningless ways, but sometimes in huge ways. We dismiss the small failings, but they should serve as indicators for The Bigger Things, because some chances hurt too much to take.

That penchant for flaws is not some price we pay in modern life. People have always been flawed. We just like to dupe ourselves into believing everyone has our moral code.

But they don’t.

And we act all shocked when we see this. Really? You didn’t suspect dickheads roamed the planet? Nazis? Killers? ZOMBIES?

I’m really not surprised some asshole spewing vitriol has emerged from this weekend. I’m only surprised they’ve been sitting around making notes for months, trying to create a destructive picture of who we are out of snippets we’ve revealed. Oh, yeah, there’s a healthy life.

That’s what I’m surprised about. Takes a special knack to be this pathetic for this long.

The rest of it, it’s just life as usual. Like great writers say, betrayals come in love and war, and every other time of year.

I’ll smile and chat with most people, pass a few moments in their company, but when the crunch-time comes, I know they’re not who I’ll be calling.

When the word comes down, handshakes are exchanged, tallies added up, I remember: I never would’ve called them for that dead-body haul anyhow.

Would those you’d call still come when asked?

Then you’ll be just fine. Forget the rest. Seriously.

*And people walk for myriad reasons, not all of which deserve your judgment. Sometimes our own battles don’t allow us to be there for others. We have to make our choices. Don’t take it personally all the time. Take it for what it is: Revealing who WILL be there. Don’t judge too harshly those who can’t be.

The Challenge of Transitioning

I’m in zombieland.

Mono-focused. I know what I want. I’m after it. Period.

Brains. Nommy brains.

Mmkay, no.

I want life to be my bitch. That requires me being strong, fit, and healthy.

It requires me undoing bullshit that caused me to gain back 8 pounds — and probably several inches — of the 70 pounds I’d lost.

That shit’s done, yo.*

A small part of me was enjoying the summer before I destroyed my back, 2008. I was becoming a jock:  strong, powerful, and often making my “fit” friends feel like chumps because Fat Girl could work circles around ’em.

They loved it, I loved it. Good times and great laughs. What a change from them always having to slow up and check on me.

There’s nothing more important in my life to me right now than taking that back.

I fucking love the pride I feel when I know what I’m really getting done.

Nothing says empowered like being able to change a day that’s had me bent over and taking it by having a set of fitness goals and blowing that out of the water. Whatever else life did that day, it couldn’t stop me from killing that workout.

There’s something that comes from that place of knowing you scaled a mountain, rode 30 km, or did a crazy set of highrise stairs.

I love that place. I’ve owned that place.

Since May 11th, I have worked out on more days than I haven’t, usually five days a week. And, on most days, I’ve tried to really leave it all on the floor. I’m getting better at that, and intend to keep pushing boundaries.

Today, my whole body cries for release. This is the consequence of those actions.

All of me is so tight and sore. From my ankles to my jaw, I hurt.

There’s only one thing I know I can do to help it: Work out more, but differently. Like my chiro doc tells me, “Motion is lotion.”

Move it, or lose it. Two days slack is asking for a world of pain. Days off are harder than days on, when you get used to the workload, but there’s a point in between where everything you do’s an effort, and I’m there. So fucking spent.

It’s with weary resignation I know I can’t rest. I know I don’t want to go cycling later, and most of me would rather crawl in bed and die today, but… I know: I can’t.

My “rest day” will be tomorrow or Saturday. Maybe both, since much walking will be required tomorrow and anything else might overdo it.

I cancelled plans last night. Didn’t have it in me, and saw that coming from morning light. I’m sure feelings were hurt. They’ll understand someday.

I know what’s important to me right now, and it’s not parties and big crowds of people. It’s not about finding my contentment through others, or getting their validation, or needing their company.

It’s about rediscovering that place inside that gave me the power to change my world in such a dramatic fashion once already.

And I know what it takes.

It takes cancelling out on parties.

It takes that inevitable night at the end of the week where you’re just fucking DONE and all you can do is crash at 9:00 at night and sleep for 10 hours, waking with already-weary bones that know they’re in for more, and soon.

It takes vitamins, big healthy meals, water all day, planning food in advance, total time-management, prioritizing yourself before anyone else, and avoiding engagements that are too heavily centred around dining and drinking.

I know what it takes.

It takes a total life change.

And you know what else it takes?

It takes pissing off other people who don’t understand what it really takes, when you just can’t find it in you to go and be happy and fun with other people. You’d rather just die on the sofa with only one thing on your mind: You met the goal this week.

People don’t get how hard it is. You can’t POSSIBLY get it. If you think losing 10 pounds is hard, or 20, try 70.

Just fucking try it. I did it. I know. I did that. And it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. And I’ve kept 62 off for 18 months!

I know Biggest Loser’s the biggest cheese going on TV sometimes, with the sound editing and the seemingly simplified weight battles edited to fit a TV format, but the emotions those people feel — the breakdowns at the end of the season, of trying to juggle real life with friends and families and weightloss — and how it’s the people around them who always lose out, that’s all real.

Wanting to cry because you’re so fucking tired, but LOVING the joy you feel inside about what you’ve accomplished? That dichotomy is a weird place to live, and the tightrope one walks to sustain each is the toughest balance ever.

To be successful with a “180” health-wise, to take on a radically active life after years of sloth — the focus and drive they take are impossible to explain.

The pain with which your body screams at you after years of giving into gravity and laziness, after decades of shovelling processed food into it, after years of losing lung capacity… that isn’t a one-week adjustment.

And I’ve had a decade of injuries to overcome on top of all that pain.  For me, it means I have to spend hours stretching out the hours of working out, every single week.

That whole-body-fatigue keeps hurting — week after week, month after month — because every pound you lose means you need to work harder to remove the remainder.

It’s why 80% or more of people can’t lose weight and sustain it.

This is the HARDEST mental battle of your life. Win the weightloss headgame and no other game will out-think you in life. I guarantee it.

The resilience you need to get past 50 pounds of weightloss, and to sustain it, is something you can’t learn from a book or buy from a specialist. You create it and nurture it.

I may have gained 8 pounds back out of 70, but I don’t feel like that’s a failure at all. I think 10% gain back after 21 months spent with a life-altering injury, then caught in a year of burn-out, is fucking awesome.

I’m proud as hell of that. GO, ME.

And what a gift for getting back on path, being still so close to the goal I’ve wanted to achieve since I was 17: Being under 200 pounds.

I hope to reach that goal by Canada Day. Scared I won’t. But I’m gonna try real fuckin’ hard.

I won’t feel guilty for focusing on myself right now — be it meaning that I cancel plans, or whatever else it takes.

I’m not likely to cancel on one-on-one time with friends or small groups, but, parties? Yep. The full-body fatigue that comes from this doesn’t tend to always make one a real cheery camper to hang with when it comes to maintaining a “vibe” a host/hostess is trying to create. Can’t do it.

I’m tired. I’m sore.

I’m dreading how much further, harder, and heavier all this shit’s gonna get before I’m at where I want to be.

I’m not some 140-pound chick climbing those highrise stairs or cycling 35km, man, I’m 210-plus. I literally haul every pound of that on this frame — it’s actually there, it’s actually heavy. It’s real fuckin’ heavy.

Gravity finds every ounce of that weight when I’m fighting it, and, believe me, I feel like it after a week like I’ve had.

But I’m elated.

It has begun. I’m at the climax of where it gets real, real hard at the beginning, where every day is filled with hurt and fatigue, but, soon, I’ll hit my pace where it’s just about keeping the wheels spinning ‘cos momentum’s been found.

I’ll be one seriously weary girl for a while. My BEST friends understand it and WELCOME it.

Soon, it’ll just be a new normal, and the determination that emerges from meeting small success after small success is its own feeding frenzy.

And I’ll be Mojo Girl again.

I’ll get that cocky grin that makes people wonder what the fuck I’m on. I’ll get my twinkle in my eye, the smirk that says “Look out.”

Then it all gets very, very fun. Very.

Just you wait.

.

*I think I’ve lost the weight already, or close to it. But I’m waiting until one month in for weigh-day and that’s next Wednesday. It’s really about the feeling. I know the weight will come off gradually — it did before. It’s nice to see the numbers change, though. Rewarding. But not really what it’s about. It’s important to know that before you step on the scale. It’s important to believe it.

The Bucket List Shrinks

On Friday, I spoke at this year’s Northern Voice Blogging Conference at the University of British Columbia. I spoke on a panel Saturday, too, but that’s another story for another time.

The conference was great, but I’ll leave the recaps to others.

Speaking? Whew. I was fucking terrified of my speaking engagement.

Not because I think I can’t talk. I know I can. Just because I knew where it had to go.

In a nutshell?

I started “sex” blogging to discover where I really stood on my own sexuality. I went from 75 hits a day to 1,000 inside of my first three weeks, then as much as 5,000 within 7 months. I was getting raves all over the web in places most writers hope to get mentions — Nerve.com, Salon.com, Fleshbot, et al.

At the same time, in “real” life, in only a FOUR-MONTH period?

I ran out of unemployment insurance four months earlier than expected, came close to losing my home, started onto a birth control pill that would cause a massive chemical depression for two hard years and lead me to suicidal thoughts within 3 months of my blog’s peak, with a cry for help to a therapist when I thought I was gonna harm myself, lost a job for sex blogging, got laid off on my first day at another, had a relationship go horribly awry then end, and a few other little things.

I mentioned the whole going-completely-suicidally-nuts-with-chemically-induced-depression thing?

The gist of my talk?

Wanna write a blog and have people read your story as you figure out where your little blogging journey’s gonna take ya?

Careful what you wish for, honey. The worst thing that can happen to you is to have 30,000-plus people a week reading your figuring-shit-out journey every time you post something. Especially if you start the wrong meds a few months later and take a walk on the Dark Side.

What DIDN’T I get to say in the 30-minute speaking engagement?

That I would do it again — I’d walk away from a failing blog and say “Fuck it” and focus on my life. In a heartbeat.

I kept blogging, but I didn’t care about traffic, I didn’t try to get ads or advertising product, I stopped reading blogs so I wouldn’t be writing much about “hot-button issues” that might draw attention to me, I didn’t try to write great content or be relevant to any cause or way of life, I didn’t engage my audience anymore or even try to gain their loyalty.

I just… wrote. For me.

And I’d do that again. I’d walk and figure my shit out and use my writing for me and only me.

(But I’d share it still. We all need to do that more. We owe our truths to one another. Strength in numbers isn’t just a cliche.)

Know why I’d walk so casually again?

Because I wrote the content that made me a success in the first place. When I wrote that early content, my life was going much as it is now — fairly smoothly. I had time to write and a willingness to do so.

Now, though, I’m different. I don’t doubt I can write, I don’t doubt that was my “golden” period in writing. I don’t think I’m done for. I’m not really sure where I want this to go right now. I’m just… ready to give it a shot, ready to say something.

Ain’t worried at all. Because it’s about just being real, going where you need to go.

I have the guts to go there. It’s my THING. It’s what I DO. Truth is good. Knowledge is power. Like I said Friday, rip the fucking Band-aid off and just go.

I’m looking forward to the journey back into sometimes-sex-blogging. I know where I’m at in much of my life, and this is a path I’m willing to retake. It’ll be a fun ride. And I’m pretty confident my voice and what I have to say on the matter is relevant. I’ve got that part covered.

That’s one thing about having had the ticket to ride, getting that acclaim and that success so easily before — I know precisely how I got there. I think I can get there again. It’s about content. Period.

And how do I feel about my speech?

Fantastic. I’m loving how many people took the time to tell me how much they got out of it. I love that I got to talk to a lot of my audience over the two days, and how genuinely they seemed to dig what I had to contribute to the Northern Voice experience. People who pulled me aside to make  sure I heard what it meant to them really rocked my weekend, and I thank them for returning the sharing.

It was a big fear, getting up there and being raw and talking about my experience with mental illness and how it crushed my creative soul and killed my opportunity, and the price I paid to win that fight after I made all the horrendous decisions through which I killed my blog and walked away to quietly lick my wounds and return to figuring myself out.

I mean, that’s vulnerability, man.

“Hi. I’m a fuck-up who went a little nuts and wrote really hot shit about sex, got lauded in important publishing centres as an exciting new voice, and sorta became famous for five minutes and then pissed the opportunity away. LOVE ME. Hear me!”

For 30 minutes.

Ouch.

But I really, really, really wanted to go there.

And it was a fucking awesome ride for me. Awesome audience!

I knew it’d be scary — the first real time I’d addressed a crowd since I was 20, in college, in 1993. More importantly? First time I’d ever talked in person to a crowd about sex blogging, why I do it, what I wanted, how I fucked up, or how nuts I kinda went.

And I barely scratched the surface, but that’s why I want to write the book, I guess. Whew. There’s a wild ride, baby.

My only goal?

I wanted to tell the truth and be honest and raw. I wanted to make no excuses and pull no punches. I didn’t want my shame to get in the way of what I had to say, I didn’t want to hide behind my pride at the expense of not teaching others what to learn from my mistakes.

I know it’s powerful when people tell the truth, and I really wanted to be genuine and honest.

I told my two best friends Mark and Jon on separate occasions that all I wanted was to be like I was in our quietest, most real conversations. I wanted that conversational and open tone, the snarky humour and the quiet vulnerability that I get when I’m with a really good person I trust.

I just wasn’t sure I could conjure that side of myself for an audience of 125, plus standees.

That I’m told I did conjure her just blows my mind and makes me so happy. I loved it. I’m thrilled I’ve given people food for thought, and I look forward to speaking more often and being a part of a new dialogue on both mental health and healthy sex.

My engagement was probably as cathartic for me as some people in the room tell me it was for them, too.

It’s a really, really, really great gift of an experience on a weekend that, for 10 years, has usually sucked. I hate Mother’s Day thanks to the Dead Mom Factor. I miss my mother a little today. But for the first time in a long time, I’m not sad this Mother’s Day and I’m not angry.

Getting the fear of opening up in public speaking off my back? What a gift.

I’ll probably be writing about things this weekend has stirred up for a while.

It might not be the kind of conversation and end product Northern Voices normally results in, but I think it’s true to the life of the conference — the belief each of us needs to not only find our voices but sound them out.

It’s a message I’ve been on for years.

Speak up. Being heard is a beautiful thing.

Own who you are, live out loud.

The video will be aired on the web someplace and soon, when it is, I’ll post some linkage for those who are curious and couldn’t be at the engagement. Thank you to everyone who wished me well.

Add Another Voice to the Fray

For everything I’ve published this week, four have gone into the depths, filed under lock and key, not fit for sharing. Too personal, too exploratory, too unconnected, too any-number-of-things.

A lot of what I batted around regards my relationship with sex: Where it’s been, where it went, why it changed, why it matters, what it means,  why my voice is relevant, and why I feel I need to re-enter that sexual fray.

Back in the day, when I was tapping sex blogging regularly, I was really onto something.

I’ve really enjoyed revisiting all my work. I see where I went wrong. But seeing where I went right? Empowering. I know my perspective has grown. Exploring that’ll be quite the ride.

Last night, I wrote something, then hid it  from you– a bold, in-your-face statement of what I think I bring to the sex-blogging world and why I feel relevant.

There’s a time and a place for that, but it’s not today. I need to update my sexual manifesto some day soon.

My first year of sex-blogging, I’d hit nearly a million page views, had ridiculous stats on Technorati and Alexa, and landed myself with raves from everyone from Nerve.com to Salon.com, with frequent spots on Gawker’s Fleshbot, and more.

Part of that appeal was the flavour I brought sex-writing.

I brought social anger, for instance. Defiance.

I was outraged I had to defend my sexuality after a lifetime spent in private schools and in semi-religious surroundings. This was 2006  & the peak of George Bush Administration’s attempt to divert scrutiny from the Iraq War by turning the country into a religious-morality battleground. Ideologies and politics clashed constantly. Church and state, indeed.

It was the time of Terry Schiavo, of adultery becoming punishable by life in prison in Massachusetts, of sex toys being made completely illegal in Mississippi, and of academic blackballing against professors who showed liberal sexual views privately while teaching in post-secondary institutions.

It was a time of growing fear, all because of what it took consenting adults to reach orgasm because of how THEY were hardwired, in that horribly socially-susceptible spot: private bedrooms.

I was outraged. I channeled that, and I channeled it well.

But I think another area that really cemented why my voice was (and is) relevant in the white noise of the web was pretty simple.

In a supposedly sex-positive online world, the industry keeps talking about wide, wide issues under the larger “sex rights” umbrella. And everything’s about the extremes of black and white.  All the time. Like, rights for sex trade workers.

While I support sex trade workers, the reality is, the average person isn’t one, they’ve likely never used one or known one on a first-name real-life basis. The AVERAGE person.

And who decides the cultural, ethical, political, and sexual future of our society? The AVERAGE person.

How are you going to draw that “average” audience in if every message immediately identifies its author with extreme kinks, or really wide-ranging BDSM life-styling, or has them aggressively advocating rights for sex trade workers?

Where’s the in-between? We shades-of-greys want our sex, too. Where’s the eroticism and issues-exploring for the not-so-big-in-Japan crowd?

Just because the average person might not want THAT much edge doesn’t mean we need to be churning out Cosmo-level copy on sex.

The average person, from 20 – 45, is more savvy, open-minded, and curious than ever. They’re open to aggressive debate. They like subjective commentary. This is The Daily Show generation, whether they’re into vanilla sex or not.

We can hit topics harder, push more intellectual agendas, and even open the door into kink by taking the intimidation out of it.

Until you soften the “heavy” agenda and temper its frequency, and until you realize that extreme kink and “core” lifestyles daunt and unnerve some who might consider dipping a toe in less-deep-and-scary kink-waters, then there’s a whole audience looking for sex insight that might just balk at your all-or-nothing approach.

I don’t want to shrug and say “Well, that’s their problem” because I was one of those people, and I’ve since bought the ticket to ride.

The odds of me ever going out and buying a ball-gag are pretty unlikely, okay? A riding crop, though? Giddyap.

The line between a ball-gag and a riding crop is a bigger ideological chasm than most seem to realize, I fear.

There’s a limit to what I’m willing to try to cross, and I’m not alone.

There are insecurities I’ve had to rise above, and I’m not alone.

There are apprehensions I have had and do have about behaviours, and I’m not alone.

Being sex-positive doesn’t mean everything suits my tastes, and I don’t/won’t apologize for it.

I write about what interests, angers, and inspires me. That doesn’t include the entire world of d-i-r-t-y sex, and never will. If I’m not interested in it, I’m not gonna lie.

I write posts that say “that’s not MY thing, but go ahead. ” When I say that, every reader has permission to not only like it, but to NOT like it.

Like with this not-so-lifestyle posting, where I confess that blowjobs aren’t my idea of a good time.

But… I wrote the GUIDE on blowjobs! I wrote an INTERNET CLASSIC on how to give mindblowing blowjobs, a posting that’s been plagiarized more than a high-school hall-pass!

Uh, yeah. Yeah, and I’m still saying I can think of better things to do than saying, “HEY! It’s FRIDAY! I need a cock in my mouth!”

Do I then fail as a sex writer? Fuck, no.

I’m strong, passionate chick who knows what she needs to do — and wants to do — to make a man happy. That’s when it’s not about the act itself, but about what it causes, what it leads to, and since happiness and satisfaction are beautiful things, why not? It’s an exchange, trade, barter. It’s wonderful.

But it’s not just about having a cock in a mouth, and that’s what gets me when I see simplistic sex writers breaking things down to only the barbaric and the basic.

Sex is so much more.

For all of history, arts and passion are born because of what makes our hearts swell and break. Wars and uprisings and cultural revolutions wage because of matters of the heart.

But little sister over there wants a cock in her mouth.

Oh, sorry, she wants a hard, dripping cock in her mouth. Much better.

Yeah. Fucking right my voice needs to be in the mix.

We need more than just the academics on one side and the rock-n-roll pornstars on the other.

We need people in the middle who aren’t your meek, mild-mannered “average” people. We need strong, unapologetic voices that are willing to own their “vanilla” or not-so-vanilla ways and stand up for biology wanting what biology wants.

Sex shouldn’t be some social status card like it is now.

I don’t need be a fan of burlesque in order to be sex-positive. It doesn’t require me to be bicurious, kiss a girl, love  swinging parties, be polyamorous, or even be promiscuous, in order to be a really big fan of orgasms and being dirty and having fun with a lover.

I enjoy what gets me off. That’s never been my problem. And I’ve closed the door on nothing sexual-taste-wise. Sex should lead where sex wants to lead — so long as precautions are taken, consent is given, and consequential ignorance isn’t a factor.

That’s the voice I want to have.

I want it to be okay to like it however way you want to like it. I want to be the voice that gently-but-bluntly encourages people to embrace surprise and take chances with new pursuits. I want to employ brutal truth and stand for what I feel is right when others would quash freedoms based on narrow world-views.

That’s my voice. Here’s where you’ll find it.

PHOTO: From chagrin.tumblr.com, no photographer or originating site listed.

Ending, Meet Beginning

I’m sitting here in my panties, belting out George Michael songs, as sunlight spills in.

I’m absolutely comfortable in my own skin this morning, beaming and grooving.

It’s only fitting, then, that this should be the last-ever “Smut and Steff” posting. Yep. Done like dinner, baby. By the time you read this, likely, this will already be “The Cunting Linguist” again.

I’m home, baby. Back in black, back to myself.

Only home’ll never have felt so good, thanks to my new template that’ll be uploaded within the hour or two.

Everything I ever learned about believing in myself has been learned in the process of being stupid enough to switch from “The Cunting Linguist” to “Smut and Steff” back in the bad ol’ days of 2006.  More than I can probably ever explain to y’all.*

Coming back to my writing roots? Priceless. On every level.

The end of the mistaken-self is nigh. We bringin’ it back to where we from. Damn rights.

I underestimated the brand I created. I didn’t read the value in my vision right. I’ve been kicking myself since. But just because you recognize what you’ve lost doesn’t mean you’re ready to take it back. It’s been a long road.

I’m ready.

You don’t know the character points I’ve picked up along the way, and I don’t have to explain.

Like anything in life, you don’t need all that unfolding here, now. It’ll become apparent over time.

It’s a good day.

Seeya, Smut.

Meet the Cunt.

*But lord knows imma tryin’. If you’re in the audience for Friday’s talk at Northern Voice 2010, you can be there for my first-ever telling of the whole sordid tale. God help us all.