Feedback (Part 7)

Alright, this is the last group of questions left in my SurveyMonkey inbox. I have had a wonderful time answering these questions. They have really helped me get back in the swing of writing and forced me to analyze my own views more deeply. I am keeping the survey open indefinitely, so if you have a question or comment for me about any issue please feel free to submit it anonymously at www.surveymonkey.com/r/XYRDXHHThank you again to everyone who submitted something and I hope to answer some more stuff soon.

1. Is there any sexual activity between consenting adults that you would never be open to trying?

Hmm, I would have to say no, but only because the word “never” is absolute. I am just not sure enough about my own desires and future to say that there is anything that is an absolute no for me. There are certainly some things that are unlikely at this point, but I can’t guarantee that there isn’t a person or circumstance that exists that would create a desire to do something I’m currently uncomfortable with. Also, what we are interested in changes with time. When I was younger I was all about porn based on babysitters and other scenarios based on a power imbalance, but as I grew older my tastes and desires changed as I became a feminist and more comfortable with my own sexuality.

For me, my willingness to engage in a sexual activity can roughly be quantified using a 0-5 ranking based on two categories: Mental and History

Mental is how interested I am in the activity. A “5” is an activity that is very mentally erotic to me and is likely a regular part of the movie theater of my mind during masturbation and sex. A “0” is something that is actively repulsive to me when I think about it.

History is how much I have enjoyed that activity in the past. A “5” means I really had a good time last time I did it and  “0” means it was a really bad experience. A bad experience doesn’t necessarily mean I won’t do something in the future, but I might enter into it with a bit more caution.

It kind of looks like this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see, in order for something to be completely off the table I need to be both mentally opposed to it and have a history of it being a bad experience. I’m willing to try anything at least once because our minds are kind of terrible at telling us how much we will actually like or dislike something. We mentally work in extremes and make unknowns seem super terrifying or super awesome when the reality is much more moderate.

When you finally have that awesome threesome that you dreamed of it ends up disappointing a bit because the people involved are humans with human bodies. It becomes awkward or funny or uncomfortable. There is queefing and giggling and difficulty getting condoms on and slipping off the bed. You see body hair and sweat and there are odors. Life isn’t a porn set.

Similarly, when you find out your partner has a crush on someone you imagine them to be a greek deity who is better than you in every way. They have perfect bodies and teeth, they make a ton of money and speak 12 languages, they are better at oral sex and have perfectly shaped genitalia. When you meet the person you find out they have “flaws” and insecurities and make mistakes because they are human too. Life isn’t a romantic comedy. Only in our minds are other people supernatural.

I realize that the author may have wanted something more specific and sex-act oriented, so here we go:

Red (will probably say no to if asked): anything involving feces or vomit
Yellow (will start but may want to stop): Basically anything new
Green (will say yes to enthusiastically): Standard vanilla stuff, group sex, erotic massages, tying up or blindfolding, watching porn, voyeurism and exhibitionism, sex outdoors

 

2. What is the least socially acceptable activity that you’ve engaged in?

Hmm, I don’t really know because I don’t have a good idea about what’s socially acceptable. My sex life also hasn’t been that extreme. I’d guess that having sex in the orgy dome surrounded by dozens of other couples is high on the “least socially acceptable” list. Also, my comfort with anal and prostate stimulation is probably a bit taboo. Are threesomes socially acceptable? I really don’t know… but those are the ones that come to mind.

 

3. Is there anything you thought you would not enjoy but did enjoy when you actually tried it?

I was very reluctant to get into any kind of BDSM, particularly as a Dom or Masochist, but I’ve actually really enjoyed those roles a bit. I haven’t explored it too much but it is something I’d like to do more. I think I have been afraid of exercising power, particularly over someone I care about, but I am realizing that it can be incredibly pleasurable for everyone involved within the proper scenarios. Tying someone up, blindfolding them, spanking them, and exercising a degree of control over their pleasure, pain, orgasms, and body can be erotic to me, and I no longer feel like I should be ashamed of that.

Feedback (Part 6)

This post is in response to anonymous questions and comments that I receive via a SurveyMonkey form I set up. If you’d like to send me a question or comment just fill out the form at this website (www.surveymonkey.com/r/XYRDXHH).

  1. I love backpacking but I hate having to save up longer than I get to use that money while exploring. How can I make money while traveling? How did you fund your bike adventure with your partner?

I am not an expert on the best ways to earn money while traveling but I can definitely share our experiences. First, though, I think bike touring (and maybe backpacking a well) can be incredibly cheap. If you’re able to end traditional bills like rent, car stuff, electricity, etc. then you can get your monthly expenses down to almost zero. While traveling you basically only need to meet the bottom layer of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: shelter, water, food, and electricity.

Shelter: If you don’t mind living in a tent then this can be cheap or free, even over long periods of time. Couchsurfing and WarmShowers are great websites to find free shelter for a night or three. They each have different pros and cons and different social norms associated with them, but they are valuable. Additionally, many fire stations and churches will let you set up on their land overnight if you contact them ahead of time. And, of course, you can just stealth camp. There is a ton of land that is easy to sneak onto and set up your tent for the night.

Water: Also free. Churches, schools, parks, libraries, fire stations, and even fast food restaurants often have free water available inside or hoses outside the building.

Food: If you carry your own food and avoid eating out then food can be cheap. It won’t be glamorous, but you can thrive off of peanut butter, jelly, hummus wraps, canned beans, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Or, if it doesn’t bother you, you can dumpster dive and find a ton of fine, free food around the country.

Electricity: Also free most of the time. You can plug in on the side of lots of buildings, in parks, and such.

Okay, on to your question about work. Between my partner and we have three different experiences.

My first bike tour I did not have any income or savings. I took my final paycheck at SFL and just hit the road. I utilized most of the tactics above to keep my expenses low, but I also had a few friends who helped me out when my bike broke.

On my tour with my partner, we ended up with two sources of income but started with only one. When we decided to go on the ride my partner basically told her employer that they could either keep her on part-time as a remote worker or she was going to quit. This is similar to the Tim Ferriss approach. As an employee, often the only leverage you have is threatening to quit (just like your only leverage over your parents is your presence in their life). If you aren’t willing to leave then they have all the power.

I, on the other hand, didn’t have income when we started. While my partner worked I helped take care of logistical stuff like route planning, contacting hosts, bike repairs, shopping, etc. Basically, we were able to specialize. After the first year or so my situation changed. I was given a job offer to work part-time for a firm that a friend of a friend ran. The only reason I was offered the job was because I was on the bike ride. I only needed to work part-time, which is what my employer needed at the time. Basically, by taking a risk, raising my freak flag, and living life as I desired things kind of fell into place.

Some people call this “luck”, but that’s too simplistic. I was in a situation to take advantage of an opportunity because of the decisions I made over a long period of time. I decided not to have kids, I ended a relationship with someone I loved because we weren’t long term compatible, I advertise my views on drugs/sex/etc, I gave up a secure career because I was unhappy in DC, I left a secure job in LA because I wanted to tour around the US, etc…. Luck only comes into your life if you put yourself out there and take risks.

Oh, I just remembered something else. My partner and I actually have a friend who has been traveling around the US for about a year now. She was able to find income by using WWOOF to find farming opportunities and looking for temporary gigs in the cities she stopped in. In fact, she found a job with a traveling circus while in Wilmington and made it a full-time gig and she is currently traveling around the US with them and having a blast.

 

2. I was hoping you could fill me in on what I need for a long distance bike ride. Like what a good bike is, the necessary equipment (I want to travel light), and any insights you might have.

Hmm, a lot depends on your budget and your overall plans. I don’t think you should let your budget stop you though. My first bike ride started on a $100 bike I bought at Target and I probably spent less than $200 on additional equipment. I bought a 1-person hiker/biker tent, a sleeping bag, a bike helmet, and the basic repair equipment. All the rest of my stuff (clothes, food, water bottles, yoga mat, etc) I already had and I just bungee corded to the bike.

That wreck only lasted about 2,000 miles and looked like this:

If you have more than $100 and want something that will probably last longer than half a country then I would recommend spending about $400-$500 on a decent hybrid bike. Any decent bike shop should be able to order you one. When my Target bike broke I bought a Trek 7.1 and used it all the way to the ocean, as a daily commuter around LA for almost two years, and then another couple thousand miles from LA to Montana. I loved this bike and I wouldn’t have upgraded if I was traveling light. In the end, all my equipment weighed about 200lbs and the Trek just wasn’t built for that.

I know you say you are traveling light, but if you decide you want to go heavy or you want a bike that will survive a nuclear apocalypse then you should get a Surly Long Haul Trucker. This is basically the golden standard of touring bikes, but it costs about $1,500 fully equipped. This is what my partner and I have now and we love it. In fact, it has probably saved us money at this point. After about 7,500 miles we have never had any major mechanical issues, just basic maintenance. The bike is a tank and a joy to ride… it isn’t fast, but it’ll get you where you’re going.

So, besides bikes what should you spend good money on? To be honest, there is only one more thing that I think is worth investing in high quality: tires. You are going to get flats, but if you can get high-quality equipment that minimizes flats then it is worth it. Every new tube costs around $7 and every flat can take ~30 minutes to repair (and time is valuable if the sun is setting and you don’t have a camping spot). I can’t recommend the Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tour tires enough. They aren’t the cheapest tires but they will save a ton of time and money.

There are plenty of luxuries that you can get but here are the basics (and again, the cheap stuff will normally be good enough):

  • Bike
  • Upgraded
  • Spare tubes
  • Tools to change and fill tubes
  • Sleeping bag or blanket
  • Tent
  • Water bottles or camelback
  • Bike Lock
  • Bike Helmet
  • Bike lights (front and rear)
  • Bike computer to track mileage, speed, etc
  • Some way to navigate… maps or GoogleMaps on your phone
  • Extra battery system for phone (if necessary), I like the Jackery Giant

That’s about all you need. I hope you get out there and ride. Too much preparation or worry can sometimes prevent people from acting, it is better to step out into adventure unprepared than to sit at home for years waiting for the perfect moment. Perfection never arrives.

I hope that answered the questions, but if the author (or anyone else) has a follow-up question or would like me to clarify something please feel free to message me on Facebook, Snapchat (@pneiger), or using the anonymous SurveyMonkey. Or if you have a completely unrelated question please send it my way.