Aroused and Confused: A Letter to the Apprehensive Quean

A woman is lying down in a pale blue tank top. She has an afro, and stares upward into the camera. She is again light sheets, her hand placed on her belly.
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

You’re going to hear me preach for a few minutes…

But it’s positive preaching, pleasure preaching, the you-deserve-all-the-joy-in-the-world preaching.

And it is inspired by ladies who’ve recently reached out to me – all of whom have asked for one simple thing:

HELP!

I’m talking about fellow queans – not necessarily cuckqueans, but women who love sex and feel that deep down they aren’t cut out for monogamy.

This isn’t to say they want to swing to the other side of the pendulum and put on their polyamory capes. At Least not at this stage. Some are just in search of something a little less restricting.

Mostly, they want to have fun with other people and be cool with their partners having fun with other people, in a capacity that works for them. Here’s the issue though…

They. Are. Afraid.

Old Messages in a New World

It’s a pattern I’ve seen since the debut of COTQ.

People want to open the door. They’re dying to open the door. But they are scared to open the door because they may not like what’s on the other side.

Once they open that door, can it be closed?

Once they open that door, will they ever be enough for their partner?

Or their partner for them?

Once they open that door, is their relationship doomed and have they just failed at life forever?

Breathe.

Inhale for four.

Exhale for four.

Listen to me.

If your heart, your spirit, is bucking up against monogamy, I believe there’s a reason for it. First, monogamy is a fairly new concept in the grand scheme of human existence, ageing back to the Roman Empire and early Christianity. It has taken root in our culture and engrained itself as a core belief or mode of operation within most of us.

Sigh.

I know, it’s a lot.

But guess what? 

Our monogamous ways are unique amongst primates. Ya, we are the only “great apes” that practice monogamy. Monogamy is a concept that’s been reinforced culturally over time. This shows how incredible the human brain is – the concept of nature versus nurture. We are adaptable creatures. Even if at some point in history, our species were fucking communally, somewhere along the line we were convinced to refrain. Then we were convinced to stop altogether. Then we renegotiated: 

“If we participate within a union, it’s fine, no?”

“If you must!”

Ergo: Marriage. Aka, monogamy.

Do you see how exciting this is?

Maybe you missed the point, as it was sandwiched between some not-so-fun facts. So, one more time for the people in the back:

Human beings are adaptable. 

Our brains are like computers in the sense that they download certain ideas and messages throughout our lifespan. From the time we’re born until we’re about 7 (sometimes all the way to 14) years old, we build the operating system on which our lives will run. 

What’s great about having a computer-like organ running our bodies is we can do software updates. Sure, it isn’t as simple as clicking a button on our Mac Pro, but it is possible.

Which brings me to this…

I have been writing for COTQ since 2018, and I still have panic attacks about my relationship. I still worry that we will one day wake up and have done so many wild things that we can’t look at each other anymore. And yet, every time we undergo a new adventure, honouring our own individual pace, our relationship comes out stronger.

*

I was raised in a household in southern Ontario, Canada, with a mother and a father who were deeply in love (still are to this day). The messages that were role modelled to me by my parents and other adults were:

  • Communication is key
  • If you love someone, they’re all you need
  • Your body is for your partner only
  • Love is the most beautiful experience on earth
  • Nudity and sex are interchangeable

Here are a few other messages I received throughout childhood and adolescence that were separate from love, but had major consequences on how I live my life:

  • Men only want one thing
  • Generally speaking, men are dangerous
  • If men want you, you’re of value

I share this with you because every time James and I meet someone, or go to a new adult event, I have to remind myself that I am safe and my relationship is safe. These messages create knots in my gut; they’ve created a visceral, survival response to anything that opposes them.

Shall I emphasise this with an example?

At the beginning of August, we went to our first private sex party. That article was an honest recount of the soiree. What I left out, however, was the anxiety attack I had two hours prior to going.

James found a restaurant right next to the building to which the party was being held. The plan was to eat dinner, have a few drinks, and when ready, head over. Before we left the apartment, I began sensing a tightness in my chest. When we entered the restaurant, the tightness in my chest got worse. 

If you are unfamiliar with anxiety, it basically feels like your lungs have been lassoed and no slack is given. Mine comes on without warning. There is no obvious emotional response or thought, rather I suddenly feel like I’ve run a marathon. My chest is tight and prickly, and my breathing is hitched. I have to focus on taking regular inhales and exhales, or else I’ll spiral right into a panic attack.

Fun, right?

Anyway. We’re sitting at the table and we both order our food. James can read me like a book, and starts asking questions, which only makes matters worse. 

“I don’t want to speak about it. If I pretend it isn’t happening, it’ll go away.”

We both know this never works. 

James, being the anti-bullshitter that he is, cut straight to it:

“You’re stressed about the party. We need to speak about it.”

His words hit the emotional bullseye and, in the middle of that crowded restaurant, I began to cry. James didn’t flinch, he just took my hand and said, “Talk to me. Let’s work through this together.”

What came out next is not something I anticipated or even realised before that moment. Here it is:

“Our lifestyle is like a fire. From far away, it seems thrilling and beautiful, but the closer I get, I register how dangerous it is. I don’t want us to get burned.”

As the conversation continued, and James asked the right questions, I came to the following conclusion:

“I am so afraid of everything because of men. I’ve been taught that it isn’t a matter of if I’ll be violently pursued, but when. I feel like our lifestyle increases my chances, adds risk. That,” the tears poured, “going to this party is like walking into the wolf’s den.”

“I’m not surprised by what you’re saying,” James began. He acknowledged that my core beliefs were being tested; that my actions were pushing back against some profound conditioning, and vicarious trauma (and some of my own trauma). “You’re riddled with fear, some of which doesn’t belong to you,” he concluded.

Ugh!

He was right, and I knew it because simply speaking about it began to diffuse the physical discomfort. My anxiety was releasing its grip on me. I was moving through the fire.

“You know that based on experiences we’ve already had, and the amount of research we do, there is no danger tonight.” James didn’t break eye contact, even if I tried. Then he smirked: “It’s just a bit of seaweed…”

Just a Bit of Seaweed

A woman under water, eyes closed, black background.
Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

During a previous session, I recounted a story to my therapist about a near panic attack I had when I went swimming in the sea. 

I wasn’t paying attention, as I front-stroked away from shore. All of a sudden, I was approaching a dark area. I couldn’t make out what it was, and I went straight into flight mode: adrenaline rush, shallow breathing, racing thoughts. 

I couldn’t swim away fast enough. When I reached shallower water, I was able to scan the area from a distance. To my shock and horror, there were people swimming over the dark spot. They were even laughing and smiling as they went! 

Feeling like a complete idiot, I started swimming back out towards it. As I got closer, I could feel my body respond again – I wanted to get the fuck out of there. Luckily, at this point, my friend had made her way into the water. She swam right past me, not recognizing my terror, and over the dark. 

I tried to steady my shaky voice, and asked, “what is that?” To which she responded, “seaweed.”

Seaweed. It couldn’t hurt me, and yet the closer I got to it, the panic kept coming. So, I told my friend:

“This is going to sound crazy, but I’m having a major fear response to the seaweed. Can you just stay there as I try to swim to you?”

Thankfully, I have decent friends. She didn’t tease me until I made it to her. My heart was still pounding, but I was above the seaweed.

Now, whenever I speak about overcoming a fear, my therapist says, “it’s just a little seaweed.”

Naturally, James reiterated this to me. Even if a sex party isn’t just a little seaweed, both seem to impose the same kind of threat on my system. Which, for me, means one thing: I could overcome this fear. I analysed the risk. I analysed the reward. There was a lot more of the latter.

I would grow from this. I would learn to readjust my reactions and trust myself again.

So…

We went to the sex party.

And I was scared, but also excited because the reasonable part of me – the authentic part of me – understood where the fear was coming from, and, as the article stated, I had an incredible time.

What does this have to do with my fellow queans and their apprehension?

Everything.

Filters, Fears, and Core Beliefs

We each navigate our world with our own filters, our own fears, our own core beliefs. Unfortunately, those things don’t always serve us.  Unfortunately, those things weren’t always born from us.

One of my clients, who is also a cuckquean, recently said to me:

“I feel like I’ve given my husband an apple, and just as he’s about to take a bite, I snatch it away from him.”

She, like many others (myself included), find our fantasy – our desires – arousing, but we experience simultaneous apprehension. When there’s finally an opportunity to proceed, we take two steps back.

You see, women are conditioned to compete with one another. We are conditioned to feel threatened by each other, especially when we get close to each other’s men. We are also taught that sex is bad, risky, and reputation-ruining, unless shared within a union (again, Roman Empire shit)… Oh, but that union should not be shared with others!  

So, how are we supposed to respond when the cuckquean fantasy contradicts all of those teachings?

The consequences can feel inevitable. The outcome, terrifying.

Why can’t we just follow the string of our desire and grow in that space to better ourselves, better our relationships, better the world?

Because we’re scared. Because triggers are very real! 

Because as we walk through the valley of pleasure, we experience involuntary recall of those beliefs, of past traumas. In other words, a whole shit storm of anti-pleasure messages greets us at every single turn.

And that’s okay.

Your arousal may come with apprehension. This is where I challenge you to explore the source of that apprehension – journal it out, speak to your partner; do whatever you need to do to excavate it. 

Then, listen to what it’s telling you. Those are most likely the core beliefs you’ve adopted throughout your lifetime or perhaps unresolved trauma. 

Regardless, these are the things that are holding you back.

When you hear the message, ask yourself, “is that my voice or the voice of someone else?”

When you have identified those voices, remind yourself that they are not serving you and your relationship(s). Then, find a counter belief that you can replace it with. 

These counter beliefs should feel authentic to you.

Here are some personal examples:

“Communication is key.” That was the voice of my parents, but I have happily adopted this as it promotes healthy relationships and transparency. It serves me and my relationships.

“If you love someone, they’re all you need.” This is the voice of multiple adults throughout my childhood. This is a belief I adopted, even if it never felt natural to me. It’s unrealistic to think that we will never feel attraction for other people. For me personally, it’s unrealistic to think that James and I will (or can) be each other’s last sexual experience for the rest of our lives.

“Your body is for your partner only.” This was reiterated to me in different ways throughout my life, from family members to friends. I do not abide by this. My body is my own, and I share it with whom I choose, keeping in mind the relationship structure I’m in. I owe my body to no one, including my husband. It is my home, and therefore my priority, my choice.

“Love is the most beautiful experience on earth.” I’ve received this resounding message from most people I’ve met. It is cultural. I do believe in this, but love in this context requires a definition. Love – be it between friends, lovers, partners, family, even strangers – is the most beautiful experience on earth. Love can carry a lot of weight if we let it, but it can also be expansive, multiplying. It comes in many forms, incomparable to each other, yet impactful.

“Nudity and sex are interchangeable.” Growing up in North America, this was definitely reinforced by our prudish culture. Now, having experienced a large part of Europe, I understand that nudity and sexuality are two very different things, and the more humans can grasp these two independent concepts, we will witness a shift in certain types of oppression and shame (i.e., women will feel more at ease breastfeeding their babies in public).

The Three C’s

If you can’t find your own counter beliefs for the ones you have, why not try this on for size:

What if the things you desire are actually a compass trying to pull you back towards your authentic self? What if pleasure is your pathway? What if pleasure is expansive and multiplying?

For the apprehensive queans out there: you are not alone!

Many of us are pro-actively unwinding attitudes and beliefs that never belonged to us in the first place. It isn’t an easy course. But it is a rewarding one.

When I left that sex party, I felt simultaneously grounded and uncertain. I felt I had honoured myself, overcame a fear, but had new things to figure out (like my attraction to that one guy). When I left, I felt more doors opening for me. What would have been terrifying only a few hours prior was suddenly intriguing.

When we take a step in the direction of our fears and decipher their lack of credibility, we gain perspective; we tap into the three c’s: courage, compassion, and curiousity.

❤ Be courageous enough to access the feelings and ask the questions.

❤ Be compassionate with yourself (and your partners) as you metabolise your findings.

❤ Be curious about who you are and where to go next.

I know there will be more anxiety, more fear, more conversations with my husband, more unwinding… But that party was a step I needed at this stage in my journey. 

Turn your fear into the three c’s, and do your best to not be a stranger to your pleasure. Begin to trust yourself again; that part of you that’s bucking up against monogamy or other learned concepts and attitudes towards sex and love.

The Pleasure Path

Pink background, a woman with short hair embraces her face. She has long, yellow nails and a sunflower.
Photo by nappy on Pexels.com

Here are a few questions to think about as you move along your own pleasure path. Write them down, copy and paste them into your phone, keep them somewhere accessible. Revisit them often, as the answers may change throughout the process. 

I promise they will help you:

❤ In theory, what would your ideal situation be with your partner(s) at this time?

❤ To slowly move in that direction, what conversations need to be had? 

❤ What action can you and your partner(s) take to honestly and honourably move towards a more authentic lifestyle for the two of you?

❤ What comes up along the way? 

❤ What preconceived messages are surfacing?

❤ What new (and authentic) narrative can you replace those with?

With each experience you will find clarity. If you feel like you’re off the trail right now, keep going, because a mile from here is beautiful resting ground.

Let pleasure be your compass…

Until next time, 

Fuck well, friends!

Quean Mo xx


P.S. If you’re interested in a roadmap to the cuckquean fantasy, this is the article for you!

P.P.S. If you are a (cuck)quean looking to connect with others like you, join the Quean’s Social Hour today!

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