Author Archives: Jessica Love

New edition soon

I’m putting the finishing touches on  “More Exposed.” It’s hard to describe the year that has gone into this.

The new book is an elaboration of the original, “Exposed.” It’s longer by about a third, with more detail, more editing, and much better, I think. You will be the judge. There is a new publisher, and here we have a new but temporary website. I’m going to post chapters, or parts of chapters, here.

Tell me what you think.

 

Nasty women

Walking through the airport a few days ago, I saw a very pretty woman walking the other way. She was trying to look as unattractive as she possibly could with a sloppy coat, her shoulders hunched against the world, a ball cap pulled low over her eyes.

Perhaps she had no ulterior motive and I was just reading intentions into it. But a friend of mine mentioned the other day that she wears her RBF (Resting Bitch Face) when in airports or restaurants where she does not want to be bothered by men.

Recent outrage over actions and words of the Angry Orange Troll for President is justified, but incomplete. Somewhere between “locker room talk” and physical assault (Troll accused of both) is a fundamental truth: the sexual drive of many men can make life very difficult for women.

We can talk all day long and half the night about the causes of this behavior and not get anywhere. It may be social, it may be individual, it may be biological, and is probably a blend of all three and many more influences. The answer will probably have to wait until we discover more about what it is to be human, and how the brain works.

It does seem to me that this behavior in some men has a direct correlation to their level of empathy, but that’s an observation not an explanation.

Nor does it give us an easy answer on how to avoid feeling like we have to hide ourselves in public to avoid being the target of meat seekers.

For now, I really like the approach of ownership. That is, I own my behavior, my looks, my attitudes, and my responses to people like the Orange Troll. If his advances had been met every time with scorn and rejection, and learned that he was shaming himself as a man, he may have learned his behavior had negative consequences. Instead, over the years it has worked for him often enough that he was confident in his approach.

His boorishness, to give it a nice name, is only one level of this type of assault, and in some ways not the most destructive. If we were to put it all on a scale, which can be a helpful if inaccurate abstraction, from physical rape to whining about not getting attention, there are many ways in which men make demands that range from frightening to tiresome. Biology or lack of social grace or lack of mother’s love, it does not matter. What matters is how I respond.

I am not responsible for their desire, nor required to make them happy if I’m not interested. I try to be polite if pressed, but wiling to be a “nasty woman” if pressed too hard.

I get to dress as I like and if I wear “come fuck me” shoes at the airport, I anticipate more attention. That does not give a man the right to ignore my right to say “no,” whether it’s because they are too old, too short, not the right hair color, just not my type or because I’d rather read a magazine.

You don’t know why, either.

Hi there!

Yes, its been a long while since I’ve written. Here.

In fact, I’ve been doing a lot of writing, lately. The second edition of “Exposed” is nearly complete. Oh my! What a project! When I embarked on a rewrite six months ago, I had NO IDEA what I was opening up. But, it’s worth it, and I hope you’ll agree. I’ll be sharing excerpts over the next few months as it goes through the editing process.

AND, the first draft of the second book is FINISHED! The working title is Dragonfly, and I’m excited to get back on that.

The reason I’m writing today is because I saw an article in the magazine “Science News” this morning. The upshot is that the microbes in our bodies may affect our moods, and hence our behavior.

“Though preliminary, such results suggest that the right bacteria in your gut could brighten mood and perhaps even combat pernicious mental disorders including anxiety and depression. The wrong microbes, however, might lead in a darker direction.”

Then there was a book review in the New York Times titled “Sext and the Single Girl” that wonders if women are getting the sex they want or need from their current lifestyles.

How do I tie these references together? Yeah, it’s a stretch, but here goes.

First, women will not get what they want or need out of sex until each determines exactly what that is, and it’s not easy to do so. It is even more difficult when there are conflicting demands: Blow job for a man who doesn’t want to return the favor? Eyes for the muscle bound gym-boy on the third week of this month but the CPA on the fourth? Etc.

If our microbiome is also at large in this process, in addition to our heredity and memories from a forgotten childhood, how the hell are we supposed to know what we want, and why?

The fact is, we often don’t until we’ve tried it, and even then it may change. We need to stop judging ourselves for how that goes down, or we do, if that’s what we feel like at the time.

Free will may not be our prerogative in the best of times, and certainly not when it comes to “the passions.” I don’t know. You don’t know, either. Don’t be too harsh, toward yourself or others.

That’s all.

It’s nice to be back.

~ Jessica

Where does desire go?

One of my favorite writers, Tom robbins, once asked, “Where does love go?” That one is too complicated for me. So I’ll just ask, where does desire go?

A long time ago (that’s relative, right?) I was told that “romantic love” or “passionate love” evolved to last about  18 months. Then it was to be replaced by something more lasting.

“The only way to hang on to the ‘in love’ feelings, as opposed to loving someone, is to create drama,” said my advisor. He was a wise and learned man, but I still resented the message.

I wanted to feel the rush of sexual tension whenever I saw my love. I wanted to want him as badly the 1000th time we went to bed as the first time. I wanted to crave his scent, the texture of his skin under my finger tips, the feel of his lips on my curves and hollows.

Where does that go?

When did brushing out my hair become more important than holding him in my arms? When did correcting an annoying mannerism become more important than protecting his feelings? When did judgement replace acceptance?

I can hold my tongue, but how do I refresh my feelings? I can fake anything I choose to fake, but how do I convince myself something is true when I don’t believe it is. If I am the problem, how do I get a handle on what I’ve lost, and give it back?

“You have to answer the question: is it better to accept what is, or better to wish for what can’t be? Is stability better than chaos? If you’re not satisfied with the relationship, can it become something else, or do you want to end it and go through this cycle again with someone new?”

It may be more mature to accept those options, but I didn’t like them when I heard them the first time and I don’t much like them now. Even more now, for some reason, as the holiday season draws near.

Looking for love in all the wrong places

“I don’t want to be always ready to move on after six months,” Melanie cried one afternoon.

Beautiful, high energy, and hurting, Melanie was trying to sort emotions after a recent break up that she had initiated. She was done with the man, who she had been slowly peeling out of her life for months anyway like removing shreds of skin after a bad sunburn.

The recently-booted man’s offense? Depends on who you ask, of course. He had become jealous and angry during the long process of being pushed aside. But it was clear Melanie no longer loved him and was ready to move on.

She didn’t really lament losing the man. She lamented losing one more chance.

“I’m getting older,” she said, which caused me to snort. She was barely into her thirties, though she had a four year-old daughter of whom she was fiercely protective. Melanie also self medicates, and is frequently offered drugs, money or “security” by men or women who want that quick mind, bright laugh and hard body in their life.

A psychologist once told me that infatuation lasts six to eighteen months, and love has to fill in from there, as a more satisfying, deeper relationship develops. But Melanie is a thrill-seeker: sexually adventurous, high energy, and possibly broken by a psychotic mother who left a trail of destruction through the childhoods of Melanie and her siblings.

“I am so afraid of being just like her,” Melanie cried.

“What do you want?” I asked about the relationship she envisioned.

“I want my best friend,” she said, very simply, but again started to weep. “But I haven’t been the woman the person I want to be with would be attracted to,” she said.

“There’s you answer,” I said. But that was much too glib. It will not be easy for Melanie. It’s not easy for any of us. She will have to forgo the offers of drugs or cars or marriage by men and women who want her to fill their fantasies, instead of making her dreams come true.

Though it’s easy to say she should be patient and discerning, it’s hard sometimes to hold out, or even know what’s real.

“Exposed” not available — for now.

We’re making some changes to Exposed by Jessica Love. Consequently, the book is no longer available for purchase. As of today, Amazon still lists the paperback for sale, but soon it will percolate through their system and the paperback will disappear as has the Kindle option. Used copies may still show up, I don’t know.

Changes to the book will not be huge, and are caused primarily by a redirection in marketing.

Exposed will be reissued quickly with a different cover, possibly a different number of pages in a different format, maybe a few paragraphs altered here and there. I don’t know, I may even stick in a new chapter or two!

One thing that won’t change is the attitude.

I will still be posting here, musings about love, sex and adventure, and will let you know when the book is relaunched. My hope is that will happen within a few weeks, less than a month.

I have to thank Green Darner Press. Exposed would never have seen the light of day were it not for their enthusiasm and support. I threw the manuscript at them a year and a half ago as I walked out the door to the jungles and sandy beaches of Costa Rica. I will forever remember the joy I felt sitting in a hammock in Samara when they wrote me, saying they wanted to be my partner in the project.

I’ll write more tonight. There’s heavy lifting to do now, to get this work done and the book into your hands.

~ J.

Sex, Love and Intimacy

It’s hard to sift the emotions we have around sex. Sarah lives where many of the contradictions are obvious.

“When you’re with your sugar daddy, doesn’t it feel ‘wrong’ to be so intimate? Doesn’t it feel odd, especially when you are in a relationship with someone else? Even in the polyamorous community, isn’t there jealousy?” I asked.

“Of course there’s jealousy,” Sarah says. “And it can get ugly. But in our group at least, there seems to be a deeper level of communication, openness and honesty.”

I thought about that for a while. If anyone can make love with anyone else, then I suppose much of the “possessiveness” within a relationship falls away. Or becomes obvious for the baggage it is.

“That’s exactly right,” said Sarah. “Even in ‘normal’ relationships, although our group thinks of monogamy as ‘abnormal,’ couples want to believe a partner is there because he or she wants to be there. We all recognize that being there only because of a wedding ring, or the children, or mutual dependence isn’t all that great. We all want our mate to want to be with us.

“It gets pretty clear quickly in our group if someone is bringing baggage, and it gets talked about. We see it for what it is, instead of what it pretends to be, all sorts of stuff about ‘you should do this’ or ‘you should not do that.’ It’s okay to say, ‘I feel…’  or ‘I need…’ ”

“But what about intimacy? Doesn’t the fact that you are having sex with your sugar daddy drive your boyfriend or girlfriend crazy?”

“The sex is easy. But I don’t lie close and all wrapped up all night with my sugar daddy. That’s an intimacy we won’t have. I don’t want to have that. I’m not going to fall in love with him, so there’s distance, there, too. Sex is not necessarily part of intimacy, or intimacy a part of sex, but intimacy is a part of love.”

“Doesn’t it become sex for money, then?”

“There is more to our relationship than sex. We are friends, he is a mentor, I offer whatever insights I have to questions he has, we do things together that we both enjoy. Why should the fact that we also have sex stain all of that?”

Sarah made me realize we often live our lives by rules, but rules can’t be a substitute for honesty and openness. Honesty makes us vulnerable, and can be difficult, but using rules to justify behavior, or find fault with the behavior of others, always fails the most important test.

We say “You broke the rules…” instead of saying “What you did doesn’t work for me…”

Instead of saying, “I want to be with you.”

Multiple lovers

More of my friend Sarah: She is also “polyamorous.” We’ll cut to the chase on this one: Per Wikipedia, Sarah has “intimate relationships that are not exclusive with respect to other sexual or intimate relationships.”

“I just don’t believe we were designed to be monogamous,” Sarah says. Her sugar daddy knows. So did her last boyfriend: He also was part of  “The Lifestyle” as it’s also known.

This is brought up by the recent hacking of “Ashley Madison,” an internet site for those seeking to have affairs, a site for adulterers, if you will. The hackers threatened to release information on “clients” unless the site shut down. To those who think adultery is sport, or that you won’t get caught, all I have to say is: “Seriously?”

Sarah is honest and open about her engagement with others. She speaks of dating a “couple,” both very attractive, “he is verity sweet, she’s really beautiful.” She likes them both, and they both like her. She wouldn’t participate with them “if they weren’t both completely good with it.”

“They” were her “date” to an event just this last weekend.

Another point of view: Alice called me this morning. Because it’s Sunday, I asked why she wasn’t in church.

“I’ve not been to church in a while. It’s a conscience thing.”

“You!?” I said. Alice is one of the more devout people I know, and one of the most truly moral, not one who just wears it on her sleeve.

“I struggle with hypocrisy. It’s probably a temporary state, but living a double life doesn’t suit me well,” she said. The “double life” is caused by a new relationship — Alice and her new boyfriend have sleepovers. “I enjoy sex, but the church says I should not until I’m married.”

“I think you are more ‘Christian’ than a third of the people in church who ‘sin’ but don’t think twice,” I said. “You walk your talk.”

Alice wasn’t prepared to judge, but in our discussion of morality when I mentioned Sarah’s point of view, Alice said, “I think you just made my head explode.

“For me, having sex with someone I love is the ultimate intimacy, the ultimate gift we give each other. We give and receive a piece of each other. I don’t know how you share that.”

“We are able to separate sex from love,” said Sarah in a later conversation. “Sex is just sex. Enjoyable, wonderful, erotic, intimate. But it’s not love.”

“No. To connect two lives into one, to commit mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, completely to one’s life mate is immeasurable by any word …” says Alice.

Sarah’s split with her recent boyfriend wasn’t about sex, it was about emotional boundaries, and it appears to me she still loves him. They are just like other couples, except when they run into each other at parties, they may be having sex with mutual friends.

Obviously, I don’t have Sarah and Alice over at the same time for tea. Maybe I should, because each has the same kind of emotional and intellectual honesty I respect. I think they might like each other.

But here’s my point. Many in the “poly” community have said that the openness of their marriage actually made it stronger. Certainly, many of those not of that point of view have had relationships shatter because of infidelity.

Many of us have made love with someone we are not with today, and been in love with someone who did not satisfy us sexually. I don’t know where the gain or loss might be. Do those who favor the poly lifestyle have more or less than others? More sex but less attachment? Or are the monogamous constantly fighting their biology, denying a perfectly natural excitement of multiple couplings?

I don’t know the answers. But I do know that the responses we have go deep to the core of our lives.

~ Jessica

Sex, Love and Money

My friend Sarah has a sugar daddy. I’ve met him. I like him, though he’s not my type. “Robert” helps Sarah out with a monthly allowance, and she gives him something he wants. Sex? Sure. But much more than that, too.

Sarah respects Robert, and what he’s accomplished in life. She’s interested in how his world works, a world far different than the one in which she spends most of her days. She asks him about that and loves the stories he tells.

There’s an age difference, but it doesn’t seem to bother either one of them.

So why does it bother you? Is it the fact that money is involved? Is it the fact there’s a “soft” contract, an understanding of expectations? An “exchange?” That it’s not a relationship based solely on “love?”

Hmmmm. I’m sure you could find an analog in more than one marriage you’ve observed in maybe the last… day?

Sarah says one of the things she likes best about their “arrangement” is that Robert is respectful of boundaries in ways that boyfriends never were.

“He makes time for me in his schedule. He doesn’t blow me off to go get high, or because he has a hangover. He doesn’t make demands when I want to be with friends, family, or even ask if I have a “boyfriend.” Our time together is “our” time, and when we’re apart, we communicate, but in a non possessive way.

“Yes, he helps me out with expenses. Yes, people will judge me for that. And him. They judge us for our age difference. But I like him, I’m attracted to him, and each of us is free at any time to do something different. What’s wrong with that?” she asks.

“I like helping Sarah, taking pressure off her life,” Robert says. “Some will say I’m trapping her with my money.  I think of it as offering opportunity. Sarah can use my support to go back to school, or buy a bauble. But that’s not for me to say. A trap? What about the trap of those who say ‘marry a rich man’ and pretend it’s about love? I have no wife, too little time, and am cheating on no one. Don’t judge me.”

Marriage is a contract too, only a not very good one by most accounts, because it doesn’t stipulate the conditions under which it will end. Sarah’s “arrangement” with Robert is much more realistic. When it’s over, it’s over. And either can declare it over.

“I think our arrangement promotes a healthy relationship,” says Sarah. “I have attributes and I’m not helpless. If Robert doesn’t treat me with respect, I move on. If I fail to show up, he moves on. He’s an attractive, interesting man with resources. Many women would be interested.”

As I looked at my own bias, I discovered I can be reactively judgmental, without reason. The key was to keep pushing my opinions around until they exposed themselves as … opinions. A point of view. A set of values that often come down to, “This is what’s right for me.”

Which I believe is a perfectly logical and defensible stance.

But personal.

Sarah says she’s not going to fall in love with Robert, because she knows it’s not forever. But in this era, what relationship is forever? Marriage? Snort. Marriage isn’t forever for most of us.

Sarah has to avoid a deep financial dependance that leaves her desperate when it’s over. Robert has to understand that he’s aging, and Sarah still has many more years of vibrant life that she deserves to live. There will be loss, there will be pain.

Many of us have fallen in love with someone we are not with today. Many of us experience soft moments of mourning, a sweet melancholy, for that lost love, too, that can last years if not decades.

Boob envy

At the gym, I was lifting weights close to two women who were on adjacent treadmills talking about a friend of theirs who had just gotten a “boob job.”

“Why why why did she get one?” asked one. “They just sit on top of her chest like a pair of Texas grapefruit.”

“Because her husband is an asshole,” said the other. “She hopes it will  fix everything wrong in their relationship. She doesn’t need bigger boobs. She needs a bigger husband.”

We all laughed, though afterwards, I thought it interesting the “insult” was also related to an assumption about “size.” The husband may be an asshole, and we all know a boob job won’t fix a lousy marriage. Right? But I don’t know if husband bought wife a boob job for her birthday, or if wife got a boob job for his.

Some women get boob jobs without a man around to please. They want to feel more attractive, to fill out clothes or a bathing suit. Perhaps they believe all men like women with bigger boobs, or maybe they don’t think about men, at all.

I don’t know that men can be blamed for this. Not all men find huge breasts attractive. My friend Billy says he’s mostly attracted to slim, small breasted women, and he prefers the touch of natural, regardless of size.

The topic of “objectification” is complicated, and I don’t think it’s well-understood.

Biological entities, we send biological messages when we present with breasts that sag and appear half empty (half-full doesn’t seem more positive, for some reason), and we send different messages with breasts that overflow a “D” cup.

As social entities, we are sending messages when those breasts are completely covered and nearly invisible at a concert, and a different message when a nipple wants to be seen by the room, from over the top or from the side on its own exhibitionist mission.

Because we are both biological and social, we send and receive mixed messages all the time. Our biology may be saying “I’m fertile and ready to bear children, come with me,” at the same time our social message may be saying, “Touch me and I’ll hurt you.”

These communications change over time. Layers of fat used to be the depiction of beauty. Not any more. Hollow cheek models have become so slim that France, of all places, recently “outlawed” the use of seemingly anorexic models in advertising because of the negative influence on “healthy” young women.

What we find “beautiful” changes, and sexual attraction is, by itself, dynamic in a relationship. We are built that way. As one of my favorite author’s once wrote, “There’s no aphrodisiac like a little strange stuff.”

At the same time, we all want to feel attractive, and we all want to be loved for who we are.

If a woman goes through that painful and dangerous surgery to satisfy the whim of a man, there’s a chance he might not be around long after scars disappear. There’s a chance she’s trying to fill a void, but not on her chest.

On the other hand, if a new pair of boobs helps her stand taller, either barefoot or in heels, wearing anything else or not, in public or in private, it’s her choice. That’s what’s important to me: that she made the decision, for reasons of her own.