Being Ashley

A true account of my life experiences in love, sex, affairs and everything else that comes with it

Domination and Weakness

A few men break some of the rules, some break all of them. Depending where I am weak I see that I am alternately drawn back to these rule breakers, and particularly the ones who approach me with such certainty that it becomes too easy to relinquish, to hand over to them. To relax in their usually brooding confidence. Finally, I won't have to decide, or resolve, or make better. It is a position that I find equally soothing and terrifying.

These men are also sometimes in my angsty man stable (see previous post) but I have put them there. It appears I also don't release them. Often they poke me, nuzzle questioningly, But sometimes, when I'm really low, I poke them. I have pondered why I do this, I have tried deleting them and closing off to them when I'm in a good place, but there are days where everything feels not right. On those days, I want those men, the ones that will tell me how to make it right.

I know what I want when this happens. He also knows what I want. I want him to pull my hair and tell me he has missed my throaty voice and my sexy ass, I want him to tell me what he will do to me. I want that. I want to be drunk on his wanting and steadfastness. I am in awe of his certitude.

It seems the lower I am, the more I want that. The harder it is to follow my own rules. What is it I wonder that makes me want this thing? I know what will happen. It is the same every time. I will awake from this stupor when I have rebalanced or he has pushed a boundary I am not ready to let go, and I will have to coax him back down, back to the stable.

But. In this moment. There is his voice. And I don't have to hear my own. And I feel the bliss of letting go a little.

The Rules

When I joined Ashley Madison I think my friends thought I had lost my mind. In fact, I wondered myself. All I really knew was I was in a relationship I was not yet ready to leave but living in a sexual desert. I needed touch, and words. And to be seen.

There are so many men. At first it's exhilarating, then, Overwhelming, you learn quickly that the female to male ratio puts you firmly in control. Also you learn how much men really want you to look at their cock, seriously. I think it's evolutionary. Look! I have this thing! I can make babies! Come here!

I approached my experience like a mini science experiment. I created rules for physical and psychological safety. I got really good at editing out the rule breakers. I learned early not to wait too long to meet. There is nothing more depressing then when good chat dies after you show up at Starbucks. I got discouraged. There were so many we created nick names and algorithms. Unfortunately we lacked some creativity which led to things like foot guy (I bet you can guess) and car guy (that's where the cops make a brief appearance) and eventually names like chef 2.0 (vast improvement on first), marketing guy (also 1 and 2) and The professor. There was also toilet guy (not what you think), and farmer 1 and farmer 2 (I have learned farming is lonely). And probably a few I have forgotten.

Ultimately marketing guy 2 won the quest for my pussy but not without some casualties. I have learned many things during this experience but probably the key finding is that there is no algorithm for attraction. And ultimately it's very hard to not break rules that exist largely due to your own weaknesses.

No More Feelings

When I met D my whole world paused for the briefest of moments, I think so I could breath. I was 27, he was twenty years older than me, and we were both married. I married young to a man whom was so in love with me I came to believe that must be what love is. He was solid and safe and I no longer had to feel the terror that the idea of love created in me, the panic that arose when I felt anything like it. I was a genius.

In a flash D reminded me of all the reasons I had avoided feeling, but it happened so fast I didn't have time to think, my brain didn't care, my body didn't care. I was awake. I was drugged. I didn't think to ask him, I assumed it was the same for him, I couldn't fathom that it couldn't be. It was a beautiful story I wanted to hear. It should not be a surprise that he broke my heart. Of course he did. We were in entirely different stories.

The gift of our time is that I came to realize that I was capable of loving, even if I was still entirely unsure I could be loved by someone whom really saw me. I imagine that is the worst part, rejection from someone you think actually knew you, had witnessed your broken pieces and seemingly accepted them.

So when I fell in love again I crawled into it, I laid down to nap in its very lap and held my hands over my ears when the warnings came, the harbingers of the hard road this love would be. I often think I am still there on some level. Waiting, blotting out the light that will show me the house of sand I have built.

I watch as the pendulum swings past again, I notice that once again my brain sees feelings as a natural enemy, something to be discouraged or attacked, something I am not meant for. This time I reluctantly agree.

My Stable of Angsty Men

In my head there is a sort of catalogue of the men I have met over the last few years as I experimented first with affairs, and subsequently, an open relationship. Not big and flashy like an Ikea catalogue, more like your local hardware store flyer- New This Week! Brad! He like’s condoms!

There is within that collection, a subsection that I now call My Stable of Angsty Men. I am betting I am not the only woman who has this stable, but sometimes I do wonder. The stable is made up of men who usually follow a similar pattern, they pursue me, often rigorously, then when I turn towards them they panic, and run to the back of the barn. They often don’t actually leave the barn, or head to pasture if you will, they prefer to stay back there, sometimes brooding, sometimes genial, almost always creating angst.

I have spent many hours wondering what it is I do or don’t do that has led me to amass this collection. Is this a type of men who are attracted to me? Or am I somehow dysfunctional in my own way so as to create them? I can understand that perhaps, when confronted with the full force of me, for many a men that could be panic inducing. I think, for some of them, perhaps the pursuit may be the fun of it, and maybe they do not even know they are that way. For several, it is probably the confrontation of guilt regarding their own worlds, not being able to cross the threshold.

The thing that I do know is that with the angsty men, who often do not go away, there is often some element of feeling. They are almost always the ones I miss the most, all the more harder as they rarely ever leave. They just sit in their back stall, chewing the hay, popping their heads over the door every once in a while to see if I will still rub their noses or give them some sugar cubes.

I know, this all got very horsey fast, my apologies. You saw the title, it was bound to happen.

Also, I have come to realize that they almost never see themselves as the angsty men. They would universally decry my description- that’s not me! Let me be clear, it is you. If you are a man who is unsure, here is a checklist:

1) Have you pursued a woman relentlessly only to change your mind when she engaged? Or after you had sex? 2) Do you have women that you keep available for casual flirtation and occasional suggestions of more but not act on it? 3) Do you have a lot of female friends who, to your surprise, became attached to you romantically?

I know this lacks the validity and rigorous scientific testing of say a Cosmo quiz, but I would venture a guess that two out of three means that for sure you are in someone’s angsty men stable. It’s ok, the first step is admitting it… the second step is figuring out whether you really want to be in the barn at all.

Personally, I have grown attached to my angsty man stable, of course, so I guess I will just keep leaving the hay out for them...

Lessons in Not Love

I learned something valuable in my first affair. I learned that I will always probably want one. That there is something in me that will always deeply crave that kind of connection and intimacy, and that I will likely spend my whole life trying to feel fulfilled where I am right now. I also learned that it is very difficult for me not to be overwhelming in my need, even when I am starkly aware of it.

My biggest lesson was that it is so easy to mistake these things for love. Especially when you are trying to still figure out what love means to you. I like to think I am so much smarter now. I can say, this is fun, this isn’t love, this is something I need in my life. However, I have learned that knowledge of how we are broken is not enough to make us different. You may crave crack, or chocolate… I crave this. I have spent so much time trying to know what has made me this way, like if I find the place where it started I will be able to somehow fix it. I have learned it likely does not matter where it started and why, what rich tapestry of environment and nature make me want this. I also know now that opening the gates made me vulnerable, it is hard to turn back a river.

And so, here I am, in a hotel room, talking to a man about what our boundaries are, where we will both go, where we cannot, glimpses of what makes us both this way, tentative steps to reach out towards another human and see if they can provide some solace. I like this man. There is something familiar in the way he talks, and the way he smells, that makes me feel safe and at home. That does not overwhelm me and make me vulnerable in the way another man might. This is both comforting and worrisome.

Sometimes I think trust is the most complex human emotion. What of trust among cheaters? How do you build trust in a relationship that is fundamentally based on being dishonest with the people you love the most? Do I just close my eyes and hope this works? How do I explain to him that we have to be honest in this thing, when we may not be in other places, because it's the only way it will work. How can I possibly believe him?

I close my eyes.

Title: Being Ashley

Scene start; I am inside the cab of a pick-up truck, on a gravel road staring at a sea of sunflowers, my partner in this truck is very vigorously engaging my clit is some very stimulating action, and though I am impressed with his enthusiasm I am distracted by the spectre of being caught out by a grain truck or local family, and I am reflecting on how I find myself, at the present moment, in this rather compromising position.

There was a time, early in life when I bought the fantasy. When I believed one day some guy was going to show up and make me forget everything I ever knew, he would complete me. I believed everything our fucked up society has socialized us to believe about love and monogamy. I also believed once that I may never have that because I existed slightly outside of the standard deviation of normal. A little too thick; a little too loud; a little too bossy; just a little too much.

So when men loved me, or suggested they did, I was grateful at first. I thought maybe I had tricked them somehow, and my job was to keep them hoodwinked so they didn’t figure out that I was… what? Loud? Anxious? Chubby? Broken? I once described myself as like the Colorado River, purposely ravaged by years of drought, so that when it is seasonally flooded it cannot ever absorb enough to salve its cracked dry river bed. And so when I realized the tides had turned and now I seemed to have an endless supply of water, I became insatiable.

I love sex. I love men. I love everything that comes with the wanting and desire of seduction. I am driven to distraction by it. I am wanton. Hence, my current situation, and the focus of this blog, my foray into love, affairs, open relationships, and all the good things, and the bad things, sex can be.

If you caught the last reference you may deduce I am a child of the eighties and nineties, currently early forties, and possibly soundly in mid-life crisis. Well into my second marriage and trying to avoid a third at all costs. This blog will be authored by me, along with three other people, because we thought it might be fun to tell this story from many perspectives. So, though I will ask the other characters to introduce themselves as we go: here is the index:

A: (Me- already explained)

B: My childhood best friend

C: My adulthood best friend

D: My first affair partner

We all very much look forward to exploring my at times deep psychological distress, profound sexual desire, and our collective opinions of the modern state of love and marriage in this public venue. Also, we hope you will in particular enjoy the very amusing calamity that ensues when you are having secret sex online and in cars and often public places… I have learned that police in general frown on this type of behavior and seem hell bent on making sure I never get off.

Let us begin.