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At the risk of portraying the ever so horny Scorpio stereotype, my fascination with sex, pleasure and the potential of the physical form were carried deep within the strong current of my desires since early childhood. I was five when I experienced my first kinky dream -- a witch had tied my wrists and ankles to a metal operating table and proceeded to lay wiggly, wet worms onto my genitalia. My best friend at the time would facilitate similar encounters using these fake sticky fingers we received around Halloween. Now come to think it, I'm not sure which prompted which -- the dream or the play dates. Regardless, my worlds of arousal were entwined and it felt comforting to have someone to share it with. 

I began to acknowledge that privacy was a component in fulfilling these desires, but I questioned the level of concealment necessary. I knew that it wasn't acceptable to fiddle with certain parts of my body in public but at some point I decided to test the waters. I remember discovering the heaters in my grandparent's pool, the steady stream of warm current. My grandfather was a gardner so the backyard was an oasis of color, shapes, and smells. I'd pretend to admire the surrounding flowers while swimming. Suddenly one would "catch my eye" and I'd move in front of the jet stream, pushing my junk up against it, slightly lifting myself over the side as if to get a closer look.  “oh, what nice flowers! Very nice! Very nice!” I’d announce, as if my appreciation for plant life would somehow distract my family from the obvious stimulation I was enjoying. And although my nana's expression mirrored the effectiveness of my tactics, no one ever said anything. I got to be an exhibitionist whenever it served me and I was quite pleased with myself.

Though I obviously didn’t fully grasp the boundary of privacy and pleasure, it felt only logical that loving myself in such a physical way felt good to do around people who loved me emotionally, who provided a sense of safety. But as I grew, I learned to take advantage of privacy, consider it more seriously, understand it's purpose, and its value. When I was around seven years old, I would arrive home from school to an empty house. I had one hour to myself before my older sibling arrived home to look after me. Every day I’d go straight to my parents bedroom, unearth their “back vibrator," and go to town. Afterwards, I'd make myself ham and cheese roll ups and watch an episode of Little Bear. This daily self-care ritual brought me my first orgasm. It was then that I bestowed a great deal of faith and magic in the large, cumbersome, vibrating wand. 

But orgasming so young was complicated. This part of me that I grew to learn was private, unlocked a shift in consciousness so considerable, it felt wrong keeping it to myself. Once I felt the power of an orgasm, privacy became easier to integrate but it's secrecy is what bothered me. I was desperate to confess. In order to deal with what was happening, I decided to try and recreate a familiar environment. The friend I had first mentioned had moved to a different school, so I set out to find recruitments, people my own age who would share the same curiosities and willingness to explore. Unfortunately for me, my friends were entirely uninterested in the methods I offered. Some of them gave it a go but were quickly unimpressed, confused, or bored even! I felt a sense of failure. It was not just the masturbation, but the many shifting parts of my sexuality that needed a space to feel valid.

Looking back on this, I feel how determined my little self was in finding or building a community that would understand me. In connecting to others also harboring this secret bliss, I'd find the support I needed to continue in good conscious. After all, it was a need I had to fill, not a want I could choose to ignore. And I see how I instinctively viewed sexual expression, exploration, and gratification as a communal process, an opportunity to discover the body with sincerity and enthusiasm, all while in good company. Stimulation was an avenue, a deeper recognition, a discovery, a discussion, an intimacy similar to other active joys, like *play*. Working with Braden on this shoot felt like I reawakened that first impression -- the child wisdom of prioritizing and sharing the active joy, intention, and care I've always known belonged in the manifestation and expression of my sexuality. 



{deep love to the sluts, queers, femmes, faeries, butches, movers, shakers, makers, clowns, sex workers and activists that have inspired and informed the relationship I have to my body and how it moves through this world}