Joanne: The Discovery

So, you will see from the previous episode that I can get a bit dark and controlling when talking about men. Better get back to the masturbation.

I had no boyfriends to speak of before the age of sixteen. This is partly because my mother sent me to an all girls’ school, and also I think it was because I was so pretty that none of the boys I knew had the courage to come near me. So, before that time, it was all solo action.

When I hit sixteen, I stopped being a tomboy. The journals I was keeping were longer filled with fantasy islands made for exploration, and drawings of the strange creatures that lived there. Instead, I began to be interested in fashion, and also, in my body, even more than before.

I kept one drawing journal that was about all the clothes that I thought I would design one day. Mostly these were copies of things I had seen in magazines. One, from the year 2000, has lots denim and leather, and the women all have long straight hair, and when I look back, I realise they were all a kind of new age bikie chick, who would probably have to change in order to actually ride a real motorcycle.

Then suddenly, it all changes to vintage dresses. I was sixteen. I was into femininity.

The other kind of ‘diary’ was all online, and in my head, really. I looked on the net, on sexual health sites for teenage girls, I and found a lot of information on what masturbation was about, and how other girls did it, and I checked out what worked and what didn’t. Systematically.

For the record: pillow humping doesn’t work for me. Nor does lying with my pussy under the bath spout. Putting things in my ass doesn’t do anything for me. Rolling my clit hood back and directly touching my clit just makes it feel sore. And, the thing with the hairdryer? What was that about?  Etc. Etc.

In fact, most of the newfangled methods I came across didn’t work out and after twenty minutes of frustration I would end the session as normal, on my back with a home-made dildo inside me and my middle finger on the hood of my clitoris, writhing and straining to come, and thoroughly enjoying it. I thought I was in ecstasy.

Then, around the time I turned sixteen, I came across something else.

I read this post on a website (called The Clit dot com, incidentally), by an older woman, saying that if she just left the tip of her vibrator on her clitoris, and relaxed, she could come over and over again. The first few times, she said she had to push through a little discomfort right after she came, a kind of electric feeling, but after that, she could go straight onto the next one. Once she had gotten used to it, the orgasms just kept coming, like waves. She said she could have as many as forty.

Forty? Christ. I didn’t believe her, of course. Up to that time, I could only have about ten, and that was really unusual. Most of the time I would have two or three, and then my clitoris would get sore. And, I always had to wait a few moments before I could start again. I knew the electric sensation she was talking about, where my clit retracted and just didn’t want to be touched.

But I wanted to check out if what the woman said was possible, so, I got my first vibrator, a thin purple thing, which cost ten dollars, ran on two small cell batteries and had a simple dial to turn it up. (It stopped working after two sessions. I guess the connections must have corroded.)

And that night – in fact it was Tuesday, June the 20th, 2000 – I tried it out, doing just what she said.


And it worked.

It really, really worked.

I can still remember the sense of amazement. It was like waking up. I don’t know how many times I came, because that wasn’t really the point. It was the sense of rolling along effortlessly, from one to the next.

I still sometimes go back to that post and read it, it’s still there. I even sent a reply, years later, thanking her, but she never replied, I guess she had just logged in and posted, and forgotten about it. But it made a huge impact on me. And I wonder how many other girls read it and tried it, and made the discovery.

Older girls at school taught me how to have a few. The older woman online taught me how to have many.

Joanne archive is here

Joanne: Testing

Time to talk about men, again. That’s the pattern of this, by the way. Masturbation, men, and my life as it was last year.

When I go out with a guy, I like to test them out. I partly do it to see if they can defend themselves. But there’s also a few things about sex that I really need to know before I will consider going out with someone.

I went out on a single date with this guy Bill, a barman, earlier on in the year, because he’d asked me out while I was in his pub. We went to another place, a gastro-pub, one of those ones with booths around the edges, and he’d made sure we got one. He was decent looking and confident and quite funny, and I thought I might be interested in him, so I got down to the testing pretty much straight away, as soon as we’d ordered.

‘Can I ask you some questions?’ I asked.

Shoot.’

‘Do you find me attractive?’

He laughed. ‘Yep. You could say that.’

‘Do you want to go to bed with me?’

He laughed again. ‘Wow. You’re pretty direct. Yes, I definitely want to go to bed with you, Joanne.’

‘OK. Do you masturbate? I know that’s direct as well, but I’m just interested.’

‘Um. Yes, I masturbate. Do you normally do this on dates?’

‘Yes, I do. What do you think about when you masturbate?’ I asked.

Now he stopped laughing and lowered his voice. ‘Wow, you really give a guy the third degree, don’t you? Why do you want to know that?’

‘I’m just really curious. You don’t have to answer.’

He puffed out his chest a bit. ‘No. OK, I’ll answer. To be honest I usually think about women, and being in bed with them.’

‘What’s happening in the bed?’

‘This is the most intense first date I have ever had!’ he said. ‘What’s happening in the bed is that, um, the girl I am with is having a really great time. And before you ask, yes, I have thought about giving you a good time.’

‘I wasn’t going to ask that. Do you think about the girl giving you a good time?’

‘Um…no, not as often. Hold on a second. What do you think about? Do you masturbate?’

‘Yes,’ I said, poker faced.  ‘I do it all the time. I did it before you picked me up actually. And I usually think about how good my vagina feels.’

(That last part wasn’t actually true. I think about men all the time. I just don’t think about them giving me a good time.)

eng008779 - Copy

‘Hmmm. That’s hot,’ he said. You’re wild, you know that?’

‘Thanks, I guess. Anyway, do you still want to go to bed with me later?’

‘Definitely,’ he said.

‘I want to give you a blow job,’ I said. His eyed widened for about the fourth time in the conversation.

‘Wow. Great. I’d like to return the favour.’

‘Hmmm. That won’t be necessary. Like I said I already sorted myself out before you came to get me. But thanks.’

His face fell, and I knew I couldn’t be with him. That was confirmed afterwards. I gave him the blow job, and then he started asking me if I wanted to come.

‘No, I already said. Thanks, but no thanks.’

‘You’re sure? You might find that if you tried for a while, you’ll get horny again.’

And there it is. The attempt to take my vagina away from me, and use it to give me “a good time.”

I am definitely not interested in this guy.

Joanne: The Ox and the Fox

At the time of this story, I was working designing graphics and layouts for a large publishing company that specialises in travel and adventure books, and also has an imprint of pseudo-factual kids’ books about Pirates and Zombies and Mummies and so on.

You know when people talk about their career and they say “I know it sounds glamorous, but…”? And then they play it down and tell you about all the bad things about it? You end up thinking, “you actually want us to think it’s glamorous, don’t you,” or, “actually I never thought it sounded glamorous in the first place.”

Well, illustration actually is really glamorous. Even if you didn’t think it was. It is.

To start with, the books we do are pretty cool. The thing I’d been working on that week was a series of maps illustrating Scott’s exploration of the Antarctic, and the main editor Mr Peterson said I could totally go for it with the whales’ tails and other cartouches, which I still love to do. I even did a squid with a beady eye, which made him laugh.

In between working up drafts of those, Mike the Ox would come and show me his layouts for the Werewolf volume we were doing, which had a series of very neat drawings showing exactly how the man’s body got ripped apart by the inevitable full moon transformation. I’d told him they needed to be more colorful and flamboyant and less like something out of an anatomy textbook, and he’d made a rumbling noise, and wandered off back into the fields to eat grass, um, back to his desk to keep working.

I made a mental note to replay the little rumbling noise a few times in my head, when I got home.

I kinda like Mike in that way, you see. I haven’t slept with him. But I do like him.

After that encounter with the Ox, I went into see my boss, Mr. Peterson, the old Fox.

morenas_011 - Copy (3)Mr. Peterson is about fifty five, but very well preserved and quite attractive. He is a talented artist too, but he barely gets to do much of it. He’s too busy looking after the business. I admire that, and I’m grateful. I’m not sure that I’d want to be in his position, though.

‘Ah, Joanna’, he always says, in an avuncular tone. ‘What’s happening?’

I walk into his office and instead of sitting opposite him, I sit down sideways to him with my legs crossed, and drink a glass of water.

His gaze is not drawn to my thighs.

‘Mr Peterson, this isn’t about my work. It’s about Mike’s,’ I said, shuffling forward on the chair a little further. My work attire is pretty respectable up top, but down below, the skirt is short indeed . How is he not looking at me?

‘Ah, indeed. Tell me?’ He sounds intrigued.

I lean forward. ‘Well, John, I just wanted to say that his work has really been great lately. He’s reliable and he’s creative and he’s hardworking. Best on my team, for sure. So…’

‘Yes?’  Mr. Peterson raises his eyebrows and seems almost amused. I have managed to take him by surprise, at least. It’s just not with my legs.

‘So, I’d like to support his application for a promotion to senior illustrator. I know he’s been working on one.  And we used to have two here. We get on very well, I’m sure it won’t be a problem if we are both on the same level.’

‘I agree, that is a good idea,’ said my boss. ‘But, I’m afraid that Michael has not made any such application to me. If he does, it will be favorably received. But it may be the case that whatever he has been working on, it isn’t that. Now, is that all?’

I left his office.

Is that all?

No one ever says that to me!

Mr. Peterson and I have been playing this game ever since I started working here a few years ago.  I’m pretty sure he wants me. And sooner or later, he’s going to slip up. An invitation to work on something with him, alone. A gaping stare at my chest. A moment of hesitation as I raise my arms before I get something from a shelf.

And then I will know.

(Joanne archive is here)

Joanne Goes Out on Friday Night (part 1)

So, my story of masturbation has been going on for a long time, really. Men come into the story a bit later, but there’s been plenty of them, too. But things have come to a head lately and I want to tell you about it. Let’s start one Friday night, late last year, in 2012.

It was an important time for me. I was waiting for a call to see if I got a design fellowship offer in the United States, and it hadn’t come in yet. So I went out to make my mind off things. I did not get to the bar until just after ten, and when I got in my work crew were already well into it. Some of the men would already be starting to calculate how many more drinks they could squeeze in before the bell was rung at eleven.  Some sounded like they had been there since just after five.

bday03I wasn’t in a very good mood when i arrived but I cheered pretty quickly when James, one of the more sober contestants, came over to say hello

I like James. He’s an accounts manger, not an artist, but he is polite and well mannered, and makes decent conversation, and when he’s cocky he usually gets it right. I know he likes to look at my armpits and his eyes went immediately toward them, but he found them covered, and he settled for a good look at my breasts. Then he was back in the room.

‘Um, hi, Joanne. You’re here pretty late. Do you want a drink?’

‘Thanks. VAT.’

He smiled and disappeared into the throng at the bar. That was when Mike from my office came up.

I like Mike too. He’s an artist like me, at a junior level, and technically I’m his boss. I like him because he works hard and never lets me down, and then when he goes out, he always gets very drunk and doesn’t say anything. He just stands there grinning like a big drunk Ox.

While I waited on my drink I poked him gently in the stomach and offered him some chocolate.

‘Thanks,’ he said. ‘You OK?’

I could smell the beer and the cologne and the day’s sweat on him, and I didn’t mind it at all, because that is exactly what I would expect my big drunk work Ox to smell like.

‘Yep, I’m fine,’ I said. ‘Good night?’

‘Oh, the usual.’ He grinned again and sort of faded into the background when James came back.

The VAT was not a double and James did not say “get that into you” when he handed it to me. More points for James. His eyes were quickly back on my chest again.

‘Looking for someone?’ I said.

‘You’re going to do a lot of exercise or you’ll get back problems,’ he replied with a cheeky smile.

‘I should,’ I admitted. ‘But I still feel fine so there’s not much incentive.’

He laughed, and nodded. Still more kudos for James. I thought about asking him to go dancing with me, when everyone else had gone home.

But then, Gareth came over.

Fucking Gareth.

Gareth is my ex-boyfriend and I do not like that fact.

Actually, I dislike it so much that I wish there was such a thing as an ex-ex boyfriend because then he could be in that category; formerly my ex-boyfriend, but now no longer, because of time travel.

That’s right. Gareth is not my ex-boyfriend. I never started sleeping with Gareth. I was never taken in by his charm, and do not have the misfortune of knowing how charmless he is when he is alone with a woman. I have never been on the receiving end of one of his eleven minute power fucks. I do not have that fading memory of the seven rushed, panicky orgasms he gave me. I did not have to go to the bathroom afterwards and hastily finish the job while I pretended to pee. And, I did not have to put up with him questioning me afterwards, about whether I was satisfied.

All thanks to the wonders of time travel.

I do not like Gareth, obviously.

Actually, I don’t really like many of my ex-boyfriends. And I don’t really ‘date’ men any more.  I just pick them up sometimes.

Joanne: Hammock

(First episode is here).

When I was really young, I used to have a dream that my body was caught in a net. I think it was the first sign of my true nature.

As I lay in my bed, I could feel my arms up above my head, held there firmly but gently, and my legs were fastened to the foot of the bed, so that I could move about, but not get free.

I had a lot of flying dreams as a girl, too. My skirt would catch on something as I walked along, and then I’d trip, and somehow I’d fall upward, and find myself floating up over the forested mountains near my home, well away from the world below.

One night when I was about ten, the dreams came together.

I lay suspended above the bed in the net, but this time, it moved upward above my house, and took me helpless into the air, where I floated for what seemed like hours, with my arms pinned fast above me, writhing about in joy.

It was like being tied to a magic carpet.

JJ_GC_sp_ps_24When I was a little older, at the age of thirteen – about a year after I had found out what my clitoris was for –  I went to my friend’s beach house, and they had a hammock.

I lay down in it and instantly had that sense of being on the bed-net again, spread out and floating in the horizontal.

Then my friend came in with me and we lay there together, giggling, idly swinging.

That night, I dreamed of being tied up on the flying carpet again.

This time there was a man on it, controlling it. He was very good at it. He steered us out past the desert and towards some islands over the bay, where we landed, but I remained tied.

I woke up from the dream and it was very early.

I crept out of my room to the hammock on the porch, and I climbed in and lay there with one hand above my head, pretending it was tied. I masturbated with the other hand.

I had never had more than a few orgasms at a time before.

That morning on their back porch, with the sun just rising, I had nine.

I don’t own a hammock right now, but, sometimes, when I lie in bed with my arms up, I can feel myself gently rocking, and the old magic feeling returns.

TBC

Joanne Introduces Herself

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An ongoing series about the life of Joanne Marsh, with illustrations from Giovanna Casotto.

Hello. My name is Joanne. I’m twenty-eight. And I’m going to talk about masturbation. And men.

Men are fascinated by a self-satisfied woman, and intimated too, in almost equal measure. It draws them in, but it bothers them too.

I know this because I am a self-satisfied woman. I have been satisfying myself, most profoundly, since I was a teenager.

I think it must be the look on my face, or something to do with the set of my shoulders, or the tone of my voice. Or it might be pheromones, or some other subliminal signal I give off, that says:

Good things happen to me, boys. Very good things.

Whatever it is, it is powerful.

*****

I started masturbating when I was pretty young (about twelve) and I got good, fast. But even up until the age of about fifteen, I remember thinking that there must have been some kind of mistake. I honestly did not think it was possible that I could find so much pleasure in something that was a normal part of me, something that was always there.

It wasn’t a self-esteem issue – I was always a confident girl. But I suppose when you grow up, you are surrounded by parents and teachers and people who are supposed to know more than you do, and you think that they are in control, and they can tell you what is going on.

So when I found out that there was something very wonderful and important that I could do whenever I wanted, I assumed that someone was supposed to talk to me about it, and make some kind of assessment.

At first I thought it would be my mother. I remember her talking to me when I was really young, maybe still only eleven, and saying something very vague, like:

‘Jo-Jo, you are at an age when you are starting to change. There are parts of you that will start to feel different in the next few years, like your nipples and your vagina. They are yours, and they are private and special. You will know what I mean soon. And if you ever want to come and talk to me about them, you can.’

About six months later, I started to work out what she was talking about, after eavesdropping on some older girls at school.  And indeed, it was very special.

I kept expecting my mother would say more, or ask me how things were going. Wasn’t she going to ask about how I was getting on? I was getting on great, thanks. But she never asked.

After that, I remember thinking that a doctor, a man, was going to find out what I was doing. I even imagined some kind of examination, after which he would tell my parents that somehow my vagina was set “too high”. Then he would use some sort of knob in the back, to turn it down again to the normal level.

Then the next year we had sex education class and I worked out, officially, that all those things I’d been having for the past year were definitely orgasms, and there wasn’t some other even bigger thing waiting for me. I was not disappointed.

I still remember those classes, with all the boys saying ‘gross’ when they saw their first pussy, except for the few ones who had already seen one, and then everyone knew what type of boy was what. The girls just laughed when they saw the pictures of the penis, even the ones who had already seen one, and the boys just looked embarrassed. Like most of us, I had not seen one yet, and didn’t much want to.

After that, I started talking with some of the other girls at school, all giggled whispers in the yard or behind the sports shed. I remember one girl told me that if I got myself close, and then waited, in the end the orgasm would be much bigger.

The orgasm?

This didn’t seem to fit with my experience at all.

Nor did I understand it when someone told me that you couldn’t put anything inside your vagina, because it would hurt and you would bleed. That’s what the girl’s mother had said.

But I already knew very well that this was far from true.

But then, I was always a bit different. I didn’t understand the appeal of boys, or jump rope, or horses.

I was into books about nature, and the history of exploration. I wanted to be an adventurer, and I was only just growing out of the habit of making up detailed fantasy islands in the Atlantic, which I would one day be the first to discover. I had whole exercise books filed with them.

I still have those books, and when I read them, I wonder how I could have been so boyish, without ever having been called a tomboy.

I’m certainly not a tomboy, now…

To Be Coninued