Blogging Hiatus

I’m putting this blog on hiatus while I start school. I need to focus on both my program and submitting to sites that actually pay me! It’s possible I’ll come back to it, or maybe I’ll start blogging somewhere else.

For now, enjoy the archives or visit my portfolio at jerabrown.com/portfolio for articles I’m writing across the web!

Thanks for reading.


My House!

I just finished up the last of the major remodeling I’m going to do on my house. Now it’s on the market! I’m selling it to have a fresh start when I move to Chicago.

I’m very proud of the work I and my peeps have done to this place, and I wanted to share.

Floors before and after downstairsbath upstairsbath


My book review on Kinsey Confidential

iPad cover of Erotic Memoir

The Surrender: An Erotic Memoir is author Toni Bentley’s personal account of finding fulfillment through the act of anal sex.

In some ways Bentley writes with a laudable honesty, exposing desires, fears, and habits that are deeper and/or darker than many authors dare go. I even found myself at times disliking her as she revealed disrespectful ways she thought of and treated others . . .

Read the rest on: Kinsey Confidential


The Ladies

Two girls kissing Image by Maya Kern: http://mayakern.tumblr.com

Recently I’ve gotten to spend quality time with two amazing women: Isha and Jess.

Isha and I have known each other for a little over a year. I’ve been dating her husband (Theo) since last February. I don’t talk about him much on the blog because he’s a doctoral student, hella busy, and I don’t always get to see much of him. Isha and I dated briefly last spring and have recently started again. I’ve been spending more time with the two of them over the past few months. I feel comfortable at their place, even hanging out on the couch while they do other things. We talk about everything; we cuddle; I feel so at peace being myself around them that I get chatty like a little kid.

Jess lives in North Carolina. She messaged me last fall on OKCupid. We have more in common than anyone I’ve ever met. She’s queer, polyamorous, kinky, a blogger, a hiker, and a Christian. Since we connect on so many levels, it feels like we’ve known each other for a long time. Here are a couple of Jess’s blogs: one about Polyamory and one about Faith.

I had big firsts with both women last month: my first sleepover with Isha (and our first time sleeping together), and the first time Jess and I met in person. Both experiences have me thinking about dating women and how I handle poly relationships.

My sleepover with Isha went wonderfully. We made dinner, watched August Osage County, cuddled, had sex, then spooned to sleep. (I’ll come back to this).

Meeting Jess was also wonderful, but the trip was tainted by health issues. Still poorly adjusting to sleeping alone and the stress of moving, I keep getting sick. The whole weekend I was coping with low energy, an upset stomach, and debilitating allergies. I just wasn’t completely myself.

Before the trip, Jess and I had flirted a bit, talked about doing some kink scenes together, but mostly just conversed like old friends. Once there, nothing physical happened besides some spooning, and I have to wonder whether things things would’ve been different if I’d been physically fit. As I was, congested and weak, I wasn’t about to start anything, and I’m guessing she felt the same.

In both situations I was nervous about the physical, because I’m still not as comfortable pursuing the physical or romantic with women. In the past I’ve more easily related to those of my gender platonically since I have years of experience being Louise to someone’s Thelma versus Portia to someone’s Ellen. Often, in spite of mutual attraction, my relationships gravitate toward the platonic. And it’s hard to tell whether this trend is because of clumsy flirting attempts and lack of an initiator due to nerves and fear of rejection, or just not having the right chemistry or spark.  (By the way, I wrote about this in more detail on misbehaved.com).

Wanting to explore relationships with women feels like wanting to learn to dance. Sometimes you just know that that would be something you’d really enjoy if you get past the learning curve. I’m attracted to women. I have all sorts of desires that can only be fulfilled with them – and not just physical.

Because of this, when I’m really attracted to a woman, stuff feels complicated. I’m nervous like someone who’s just starting to dance, and I’m also nervous like someone who’s attracted to someone else and putting herself out there.

I’ve made myself unnecessarily nervous about the physical and romantic aspects of my relationship with Isha. Touching her feels right – everything from kissing her cheek to more intimate things. Sometimes I feel clumsy about it, but when our bodies touch it feels so good and natural. I’m not all of a sudden going to feel like an Isle of Lesbo sex goddess, and it’s frankly in my nature to be anxious. But the fact that things continue to go well between us feels relieving. I desire her, she desires me and I’m grateful for that.

With Jess, I’m realizing that I’m overthinking everything. I’m not sure whether we’ll add a physical or romantic component to our relationship. I’ve been trying to figure out what I want from her and realized I’ve only met her once and it’s ok that I don’t know! Eventually we’ll talk about what we want from each other, and as all things tend to, I bet it changes over time. I think my tendency to analyze everything to death is a blessing and a curse. You know how if you stare at a word long enough, it can look like it’s misspelled? I think I tend to overthink many things to the point where nothing seems natural.

Mostly I want her to know that she’s sexy – both physically and intellectually. And whatever happens between us, I’m excited that she messaged me last fall and that she’s part of my life. And just so Isha doesn’t feel left out, I should report that she’s damn sexy too. Honestly folks, I feel so friggin’ lucky right now. I get to share some pretty amazing people’s hearts and sometimes their beds. I get to explore intimacy with quality people, and they make my life feel very rich.


Lunch with an atheist

A while back I had lunch with a friend who is an atheist. She wanted to meet up after my post about wanting to find a way to talk to those with more conservative faith. During lunch we shared where we find peace. I find peace in knowing that I’m not alone, that I believe there’s a higher power that guides me. She finds peace knowing that she is alone, and that she has a humble place in the universe that she is in charge of.

We come from different worldviews, but to me there’s a great solace in being able to understand where she comes from and respect it. She’s found her peace, and I’ve found mine. In this place of mutual respect, we can rise above our differences and find other places to connect and relate.


Manna

Me and Manna Manna and I are hanging out about once a week now, and I’m so grateful. You need those people in your life that know you so well that can prove even at your worst you’re still lovable.

We’re in a healthier place after our breakup. I think this is in part due to our open relationship. We both know there are many ways someone can fit into your life, and that knowledge has allowed us the opportunity to find what’s best for the two of us.

It’s an affectionate and loving place, but one where we understand there will be someone else out there for both of us that is perhaps more compatible as a primary partner.

I think, regardless, he’ll be a partner for life.


Food, solitude, sex and self-control

I have a couple habits that crop up when I’m alone for too long a stretch. I check my phone a lot, and my urge is to reach out to people. My other habit/desire is to eat. I’ve grown accustomed to using food to comfort myself when I’m lonely.

I took Wed and Thurs off from work and spent more time than usual in a nurturing form of solitude. I spent much of the time reading and journaling. Most of it was spent alone, and I noticed that I’d feel pangs of loneliness, but I still wanted to be by myself.

By bedtime Thursday, the loneliness was more acute. I really wanted company, and the desire manifested through arousal. I’ve learned lately that much of my sex drive is more driven by the desire for both acceptance and connection than by attraction or physical need (though attraction still has to be there).

I texted my newest tryst and sent him a picture, wanting him to come over without me asking. He didn’t bite, and in the end I’m glad. The more I submit to this solitude, the more comfortable it becomes, though it’s a slow process. That night, I masturbated three times. I’ll take that over binge eating ice cream.

I believe that learning to enjoy solitude requires a mix of self-control and acceptance -accepting my loneliness and whatever feelings crop up as a result. I know that the path to healthy eating habits is similar. On Wednesday, Professor X and I talked about both food and solitude. I relayed to him my insight that taking the shame out of overeating reduces the problems I have to solve. The same goes when I want company and maybe send a text or request that I know might not be the best idea. 

We talked about enjoyment without attachment. For example, when eating dessert is enjoyed because of the love of food without the accompanied baggage of shame or even self-comfort. Or when I enjoy someone’s company because that person is wonderful, not because I need to be wanted or accepted by them.

Ultimately, it is unrealistic to think that I will ever completely rid myself of all attachments or that all attachments are negative and unhealthy. But, a compromise is to accept that these attachments are there and be mindful of them. The more I accept that I’m lonely, the more I actually learn to enjoy my solitude. And when I can’t handle it anymore, I forgive myself for needy texts or other behaviors.

I guess what I’m learning is that I don’t have to view self-control as this nearly impossible feat. I don’t need to bully myself to work onself-control either. I can see it as a process and be patient.

I think sometimes we all have the tendency to think that once we are aware and sick of bad habits ( particularly related to food), we need to nip them in the bud or else we fail. But this leads to feeling like a failure when we lack the discipline to stop those habits! Or when we enjoy what we’re doing (eating too juch popcorn at a movie), that pleasure can feel like a betrayal.

Learning to be mindful to me means allowing myself certain pleasures and getting rid of the guilt. it means trying to make a healthy choice to balance my indulgence. And somewhere in this process I hope I’m learning a more nurturing self-control.

My goals are to enjoy my desserts and eat less non-dessert processed carbs, and to enjoy being alone, and more fully enjoy people when I’m with them.