The settled unsettled

I recently read a news item about a guy with no penis giving great sex advice on Reddit. It may or may not be true because, you know, the internet but what he’s saying sounds real to me, a person who still has a penis but rarely if ever uses it to pleasure his partners.

Belle used to prefer achieving orgasm from being fucked. She needed to be on top controlling angle of penetration, depth, speed, etc., while I concentrated on her nipples. Most women, from what I understand, actually can’t come this way. They need clitoral stimulation instead of or in addition to penetration, but it was how Belle got off. That was then. Now, thanks to the fact that I often have a difficult time keeping my own orgasm at bay long enough for her to get there and, more often than not, I’m locked up, we’ve resorted to fingers and lips and tongues to get the job done. The other day, we tried the old way and she just couldn’t get off. My denial and chastity has retrained her pussy to like it better when the penis isn’t inside her.

This weekend was a good example of how things work now. Saturday she asked if I’d go down on her which I always find funny because, YES, I am always down to go down if that’s what she wants. I’d do it fucking daily if she’d let me. I like nothing more than when she sits on my face and grinds away on my mouth to her heart’s (or whatever’s) delight. It’s been a while since I was able to really tuck in so, once she was sated, I nuzzled into her pussy and savored everything about it. She let me fuck her after and she was incredibly wet and open, almost as though she had already fucked someone else.

The next morning, she was taking a while to get off from my fingers and then the vibrator. She tends to get self-conscious when this happens though I told her I didn’t care how long it took. Getting her off is my sex. I crave it. Her moaning and squirming and the feel of her wet pussy and her hard nipples in my mouth. I’m wired to enjoy her enjoyment. So as long she’s liking what I’m doing, I’m happy to do it forever. After a bit, she did come and it was one of those orgasms that starts low and slow and builds to explosion.

So yeah, you can have amazing sex without a penis. I’ve had the best sex of my life keeping the one I was born with locked in a steel tube. Penises may be designed for one thing, but that thing can be had in so many other ways if you’re willing to try and find them.

So you might think this is all well and good and boy haven’t Thumper and Belle found the Promised Land. At times, I think that’s right, but the issues I’ve been having with my stupid brain lately have left me feeling not so confident. As I’ve written about recently, the darned dent has, at times, become a very large issue for me. Depression and anxiety are not logical things so there’s no need to unravel the illogic of how this has left me feeling at times, but something what is at worst a cosmetic issue has sort of driven a spike down into the heart of what I consider a key element of my sexuality. It makes me question the last seven years of my life and the kind of sex I like and who I think I am. That’s scary stuff.

To be clear, there is nothing functionally wrong with me. The penis works exactly as it always has, it just feels and looks a little different. Why, if denial and chastity have given me such real contentment, should this be a problem? When I’m feeling good I convince myself it’s not a problem. But I’m not always feeling good.

I thought this was settled for me.

Chastity and denial are just as much a commitment to Belle as my marriage vows were so it’s fitting that the two pieces of metal I wear as a result of both should leave me similarly marked. I feel just as weird when either of them are absent. I can’t imagine what life would be like without them and have no intention of finding out.

The dent on my finger doesn’t matter since the ring that made it is nearly always covering it up. The dent on the penis is only apparent when Belle wants it to be. And in those times, it’s a reminder to us both of how my commitment to her has left me altered, inside and out.

I am surprised to find myself bothered by the dent at all. I used to think I had moved on from being so centered on the penis. To really accepting that I am not the kind of man who measures his worth by the length of thing between his legs. In fact, I’m not really the kind of man who thinks his penis is all that important. It is not central to my sexuality. If anything, its absence is. It’s not critical to my sexual pleasure. Or Belle’s. I’ve become so used to it being a deadened, weighty, shiny steel tube that only feels pressure when I get turned on or the occasional pinch from inside. The Steelheart is a really significant part of who I am. Of who I imagine myself to be. I am it and it is me. I suppose it’s no surprise that to have all that challenged would freak me out. It’s why I didn’t want to be locked up when Belle was gone a few weeks ago. It’s why I was not enthusiastic in putting it back on yesterday morning.

I’ve been writing this blog for seven years yesterday. Seven years discovering and learning about who I am. About how I’m different. I hate that these feelings have put that on a shaky table. I will never be normal again, but I wasn’t ever normal before. Not for a single day of my life. I am how I should be, dent and all.

Running from it

I can sort of track my recent descent into funkiness as starting around the time I got back from Boston. While there, I went for a run and got a little lost because they don’t know how to lay roads and ended up having to run up a big set of stairs to get to a bridge to get back to our hotel. I’m pretty sure that’s when I tweaked my knee.

As is usually the case, little injuries like that flare into larger ones and after I ran when I got home (ignoring the tweaky knee because I’m stupid), it hurt enough that I had to stop running. I even had a hard time just walking up stairs. Fucker hurt. That led to several weeks of no running at all and that’s when my mental state went from its usual OKness to pretty bad.

The low point was last week and into the start of this one. But in that time, I’ve run five times and gone about 14 miles and my knee hasn’t hurt hardly at all. And each day, I’ve felt better. Yesterday and today (I ran this morning), I feel really good. The stuff I’m dealing with is still back there. Lurking. I can hear it shuffling around in the shadows. But it’s not in front of me. It’s under control.

As I was pondering the affect running was having on me, an article popped up on my Facebook feed from the New York Times called “Homing In on the Source of Runner’s High.”

[E]ndorphins may be unfairly hogging the credit for making workouts enjoyable, according to an enlightening new experiment with animals. The findings suggest that endorphins have little to do with runner’s high. Instead, that euphoric feeling may be the product of a completely different but oddly familiar substance — the body’s own endocannabinoids, the chemicals that, like the cannabinoids in marijuana, lighten mood.

Apparently, endorphins are too big to get through the blood-brain barrier but these homemade cannabinoids aren’t. In lab studies on mice, it seems to make them less anxious.


On the other hand, my improvement in mood also coincides with writing two posts about it here and having my first visit with a therapist, so I don’t know if I can attribute the difference entirely to my endocannabinoids production, but it really does feel like running, while not solving my problems, goes a long way towards keeping them manageable. I’m going to start paying a lot more attention to the relationship between my cardio routines and my mood from here on out.

Moody 2

Drew asked me if publishing my post yesterday made me feel any better. I have to say…no. It didn’t. No offense. I thought that maybe it would have, but no such luck.

In fact, last night was especially bad. Since Belle’s was gone for most of last week, I really wanted to be with her. Just be with her. But kids have extracurricular activities and she has work and it just didn’t come together until later in the evening. Going to sleep, it was all good. We talked a little. She read the post. She asked a few questions then she turned away from me and I snuggled into her and nearly fell asleep. I can’t really sleep spooned into her, so I had to flip over and that kind of woke me up. Then I laid there and the pillow felt weird and the covers were too warm and I woke more and more until I was fully awake. It wasn’t especially late, but I could only feel sleep moving away from me.

There’s this state I want to get to when trying to fall asleep where my thoughts get all thready and start to curl into themselves. It’s hard to describe, but when that happens I know I’m heading towards sleep. When they don’t, I’m not. When they just kind of flow around and stay pretty linear. Then, in my current condition, they take a turn towards a topic that’s stressing me out or a scenario that’s unlikely but also very stressful and that makes my heart start to thump and that makes me even more awake and pushes sleep further down. Then there’s that moment. When I realize I’m not falling asleep and am unlikely to do so soon. Like a little switch flips inside me and I know I’ll be up for hours. Then that freaks me out on top of all the rest.

About an hour and half after first trying to sleep, I took a Unisom. Those usually work well, but my anxiety fought back. About two hours later, I was totally under the influence of the pill but not asleep. I was dizzy and felt weird. I was, indeed, very sleepy but totally unable to close the deal. That woke Belle up. Waking her up made me feel worse, though she did her best to comfort me. I felt so damned frustrated. And angry. Mad that I didn’t feel like I had control over myself and couldn’t pull my shit together. Mad that I wanted to sleep so badly but couldn’t. Mad at the whole fucked up enchilada of my emotions lately. I ended up crying hard. The kind where you don’t make much noise and can’t breath between jags. Not from sadness. From frustration and anger. From hating how I feel. The only upside is, it tired me out and I did fall asleep shortly afterward.

These issues are not new. If I think about it, I feel as though I’ve been dealing with elements of whatever this is for years. Slowly feeling motivation and confidence ebb away and being unable to complete tasks. Having ideas for things that would have energized me in the past now just demoralize me since I can’t seem to raise the energy to do them. Setting myself up for more pain by making commitments with the idea that it alone would force me to act when all it did was multiply the anxiety over being unable to do so by about 100. None of this is new. It’s just worse now than ever. It’s forced itself into nearly everything I do or think about.

In the comments to my last post, there were some who might have misunderstood my reticence around writing posts like this. It’s not that I think they shouldn’t be written, it’s that I have a particularly difficult time writing them about myself. There’s still a healthy-sized part of me convinced my issues are not “mental health” related and are more about just generally sucking at life. Also, with regard to Drew, clearly I’m not in the best place to be dealing with some of the complications that come from having a multifaceted relationship structure. It’s sometimes a challenge for me to engage with him, but that’s not his fault. It’s just where I am right now.

I don’t know what to expect from tomorrow’s visit to the shrink. I need to temper my expectations that anything can change in the short term. But, it’s a step. Steps are good.


I admit up front I’m not a fan of the type of blog posts I’m about to write. It’s not that I have a problem with them per se, nor do I think they shouldn’t be written by others, but it must be my mother’s stoic Nebraskan upbringing that makes me wince at the thought of writing one myself. I come from the kind of people who don’t talk about their problems and just suck whatever it is bothering them up.

Even now, having just coughed up that first paragraph, I can feel a weight come down on me and an overriding urge to click into another tab to find a distraction so I can stop doing this. I can say (and show) a lot about myself, but some things are more of a challenge than others.

I’ve mentioned before my issues with anxiety. I think I have problems of a larger significance than just that. I think I’m also depressed. But it doesn’t feel like what I think depression is. My image of depression is sad but I don’t always feel sad. When it’s bad, I don’t feel much at all. Or the anxiety shows up and I feel freaked the fuck out. Freaked out about what? Anything. Everything. Usually it’s something I have to do which, when looked at from outside, would appear to be a minor thing. A thing that will take me three minutes to accomplish. But it looms over me and I avoid it and the longer that goes on the more freaked out about it I am.

I found a comic online. It perfectly illustrates (literally) what I feel except it ends on a positive note and I don’t feel positive at all. If anything, this is getting worse. And I can’t keep going on without making some kind of change.

I searched the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists website (AASECT for short) for someone to talk to. Not because I think this is a sexual issue. Not because I have any issues whatsoever with my sexuality or how it manifests in my life. If anything, I’m more comfortable about who I am and what I do now than I’ve ever been. But I recall when Belle and I were seeing a therapist during our troubles and the issue of my kinky predilections was raised (not in a bad way or in much specificity, just in passing) and I didn’t get a good vibe from the therapist about it. Not that she was too negative, just that the first thing she thought of when the word “kink” was used was erotic asphyxiation and she seemed otherwise pretty clueless to my kind of sexuality. When I meet this new person, and assuming who I am sexually comes up, I don’t want to have to spend a lot of time fighting a headwind of sex negativity or ignorance. I don’t necessarily expect this guy to have a deep understanding of my specific proclivities, but I also don’t want to have to deal with any sex negative bullshit.

In my previous writing about this, I speculated that the denial might play a part. I don’t think that now. Belle let me come several times in a week recently and nothing changed. Some days are good, some days OK, some really bad. Even though I was, for that short time, on a normal kind of release pattern, I still woke up one night in a near panic about nothing in particular.

Belle’s on a trip at the moment and I can’t even say how long it’s been since she let me stay unlocked while away like this, but I’m out now. I asked to be because I didn’t want to go in. Not for the typical reasons. Not because I want to play with myself or whatever. I have little interest in that. I little interest in being out or locked up but being locked up when I feel like this is way more demoralizing than being unlocked.

So, it’s taken me like a week to write as much as this. Then I ignored it. It’s like sludging uphill in heavy boots through knee-deep mud to push these words out. I’m not quite as morose as I was when I started but I’m not in the clear, either.

Another reason this is hard to write is because I’m preconditioned to think I’m just being whiny and not trying hard enough. Somehow. It’s the development of the weird panicky anxiety issues that have driven me to finally see a professional. They don’t feel normal. I can’t easily rationalize them away.

I am back in the Steelheart, for those who are interested. I didn’t put it back on because I really wanted to but I thought Belle would want me to and I was starting to feel little urges to play with myself. It’s a testament to how ingrained this denial and chastity dynamic is in our relationship that even in the face of these issues I’m having, it remains. Perhaps we won’t put it aside because to do so would mean something was seriously wrong so we keep doing it. But I don’t think so. It’s not superficial. It’s not a thing we’re just doing. It’s more how we are.

I’ve mentioned before about my dent. My current mood has left me feeling bad about that. Like I’m broken or ruined or…I dunno. I am not broken. Everything is still functional. But I’m not the same. And my anxiousness is very happy to attach itself to that. In a different state, I’d have no issue with it at all. I might even embrace it as I did when I wrote the post I linked to at the start of this paragraph. But now it’s all about worry and fear. It’s far worse in my mind than it really is and I know this but I still think it until I feel it again. But I won’t allow myself to be rational about it.

In any event, I know I may be moderating because I don’t feel as negatively about it as often as I have. I can nearly accept my logical arguments and kind of feel the tendrils of what I used to feel about it. But I’m still not there 100%. Not even 50%. I’m even getting things done at work all by myself. It’s a challenge and much harder than it should be and I’m still nervous more than seems healthy, but it’s progress.

So I’m back in the Steelheart. Not because I crave it. More because it’s a kind of security blanket. A reminder of better feelings and thoughts. And because Belle prefers me in it.

High anxiety

I was supposed to be driving right now. The plan was for me to be leaving on a week long trip into the wilderness (literally — no plumbing, phone, roads, etc.), but I’m not going. The reasons are complicated.

Purportedly, and for all the world knows, it’s a work thing that’s held me back. That is arguably the truth. I can even convince myself that’s what happened too, though I know it’s not the whole truth. To be sure, sticking around would make things better at work (mostly for other people, not me), but had I wanted to go badly enough, I could have made it work. But I didn’t. I mean, part of me really did. But…complicated.

For the past several years, I’ve noticed the idea of leaving Belle and home has made me feel very unsettled. I’d even use the word anxious. Angsty. Nervous. Emotional. All of the above. Nothing about it feels healthy and there’s nothing she’s been able to say to make me feel any better about it. This does not happen the other way around. I don’t like it when she goes away, but if I’m left home, it’s all good. I can handle it. It’s only when I leave, for any reason and for any amount of time (though the longer the time, the worse the anxiety). I’ve been able to recognize the issue but have been clueless about the cause. And, as I said, it’s been getting progressively worse.

So, even though there were people counting on me and the plans for this trip have been set for months and months, I have been really itching to not go. I’d say my mood has been affected for three weeks thinking about it. It just loomed out there sucking in all my energy. When the work issue came up, my mind immediately latched onto it as a plausible reason to cancel. It is plausible, but it’s not insurmountable. But I took it anyway. And now, while I’m greatly relieved to not be going, I feel really bad about letting my friends down and even disappointed that I won’t be there. Nope, nothing healthy about any of this.

It occurred to me the other day that this may be caused by the denial of my orgasms. The brain chemistry behind sex and mating and desire is fucking potent and one of the main reasons to practice denial, I think, is how it motivates one to be so attached and attracted and focused on one’s partner. Belle is more than the controller of my orgasms, she becomes the proxy for most of my real-life erotic urges (not counting the few days each month I see Drew which are simultaneously different but the same in ways I can’t explain). I don’t want to orgasm, but I desperately want to feel the desire to and that desire is totally focused on her (that part is very different with Drew — I never want to come in, on, or around him). Beyond that, she’s the sole arbiter of when I even get to feel pleasure from the penis which is such a basic and foundationally wired thing for a guy. We play with our penises from nearly the time we’re born. But now it’s not there and I’m not allowed and my higher brain does everything it can to control my base urges and live up to that expectation because all that, every bit, is focused on her.

On these trips, which I take maybe three times a year when I’m able, I sometimes stay locked up the whole time, but more often I don’t. I’ve written recently about how I resent external forces making me come out of a device. Anything that, for whatever reason, supersedes Belle’s wishes. That’s at least part of the deal here, but not the whole thing.

So what I’m left wondering is can this go too far? Can all the good forces of denial become so powerful they become problems? An even more interesting question is, do I care? Or, more precisely, at what point does it become such an issue that I have to care?

What I mean by, “Do I care?” is essentially an extension of the risk/reward thing I wrote about yesterday. Everything has consequences, real or imagined or potential. If one of the consequences of being otherwise very happily denied orgasm means I have this ostensibly unhealthy attachment to my wife, is that an acceptable negative for all the good we both feel comes from me not coming? This is the first time I’ve ever felt like I was close to wherever that line is.

Of course, I don’t know the denial has anything to do with my anxiety. One way to find out would be for Belle to let me come like crazy for a few days and see if the anxiety goes away. But I can’t bring myself to propose that (though, in the meta path that leads through blogging about one’s spouse where she can read it, in a way, I just did). Why? Because I don’t come. I don’t ask if I can come. I don’t want to come. I like myself better when my own orgasm is distant, both in memory and potential. Every single bit of me is so invested in this dynamic that I don’t know I’d ever be able to climb over it on my own. And now, by letting my work issues intercede, I don’t need to.

I don’t have a neat conclusion to this and I can’t know the answers to my question. I know that since making the decision to bail, I have felt more than a little depressed because there was no good choice and none that would make me feel better. And I have no idea if any of this is wired into my kinks or not.