please bury me in this dress

This is a personal post, so if you’re not here for a long-winded LiveJournal moment, skip it and get back to the frolic.

Comment from a recent post:

deepjunky: I have a hard time imagining you as a painfully lonely person.

Well, I’ve got nothing. I think it will always be like this. There is no “always” or “forever” for me. Even if I want it.

The pain in my chest started tonight. The place in there, it hurts. The place I hope someone might be all the time to make it fluffy and cupcakes and the good kind of sweaty and maybe even love me when I’m cranky, something made of delicious fuzzy, fussy boyness. I do want this. Sometimes I wonder if a girl might fit in this place for a minute, at least to festoon it with gossamer and pretty teacups and soft skin. It’s the place most of you have someone all the time, your people, your blood: family. I am empty there. I never go home for the holidays. I do not know where to go. When it’s time for family gatherings, or people start talking about high school, I imagine myself to be see-through. I want to just not exist and let that empty spot expand until it absorbs me, and I am gone.

But I never talk about this stuff. A couple weeks ago I saw that the anti-porn people had found my pro-porn video, the fun, lighthearted one. I was alone, with no one to talk to. I watched this pour down the screen in silence. Looking from laptop, to window where I can see the Castro, then back to laptop, with a hint of my own reflection in the afternoon light. I quietly read and clicked; I blocked people so oily and toxic, and the detailed nature of their hatred for me was stunning. It had been a long time since someone said that I should be dead. At least since being a Chronicle writer. It will always, and forever, stop a woman in her tracks to see someone call her a cunt who should die, and then incredulously watch their words unfold in nightmare writ bold as they elaborate.

I used to write about this more. I eased up when I attracted dedicated trolls; two have harassed me online since 2008. But even though, I still feel good about what I do. Threats and troll tactics annoy, but actually amuse me most of the time because they are so predictable and clumsy. They are never as smart as they think they are. And my true weakness cannot be exposed because it is on my sleeve.

I spend time with friends almost every day. I go about it alone. There is much love between me and my friends, and people who know me seem to really get attached to me. Protective, even. Sometimes when I’m with my friends, my chest is hurting really bad. Like feeling punched hard enough to bring tears to my eyes. It’s not always like this, just when I have a lot of stress, or long for the other half of my heart and don’t feel whole. I know I should be past that, the not-married-or-whatever thing, after all, I’m that sex writer. I’m the one who writes things that helps couples, makes people feel better about their sex and their genders, the girl who drops everything to get sexual abuse survivors to counselors. A girl who cheers other girls like me who want to own their sexual expression or exploration. The girl who answers the phones and gives teens somewhere in America supportive and warm advice about sex when they are so scared they call a 1-800 number. I might be sexy, even if unconventionally so. I’m a pin-up and a dancer (clothed, even). I’m supposed to have it all together. Because if I don’t, doesn’t that undermine my “sex expert” status?

That’s what I might have thought ten years ago. Until I got sick of seeing all these so-called “sex experts” who made fake personas to present people with an image they thought people expected. It took me about five minutes of observing sex and media to get that people were not connecting with what they were expected (or told) to want by sexual know-it-alls. Imaginary sex advice givers with glamorous sex lives in urban cities. Exploiting tropes for pageviews, sales, viewers. Perpetuating the myth that they had fab (or adventurous) sex lives, so you should buy what they were selling. Porn stars who become accidental sex advisors. Fake. Sketchy advice. So instead of those models, I made my own. I take chances and let myself be seen every once in a while. Vulnerable. Sometimes painfully lonely, even in a roomful of friends. Feeling like a foolish girl who checks her phone too many times.

The thing is, in all my years as a sex educator and writer, one of the things I’ve learned is that the kind of perfection we think might come from the most amazing sex life in our imaginations — having “perfect” mind-blowing sex — does not make you into everything you need to be whole. It can be a big part of our striving for completeness, absolutely. For some it’s the cornerstone of finally having their life be their own. But don’t buy the illusion that magical orgasms or decadent debauchery or puzzle-piece-perfect monogamous sex is that unattainable thing that if you just could unlock its secrets, you would be — whole, happy, made of light and money and love.

There will always be heartbreak. And it will hurt… and then it won’t. The wind is howling outside here in San Francisco with such force that it was making it hard for people to walk down the street outside my apartment. The cat is sleeping in the middle of the bed as if he does not need to share it with me. More deadlines loom as I fuck around writing a LiveJournal post on my professional blog. These things are how life goes on, and will continue to as I breathe around heartbreak. I’ll always have it, until I find that thing that makes it easier. If I do. Meanwhile, the cat will continue to hog the bed, and I will continue to write. Sometimes it will hurt, and sometimes I will forget all about it. Life is bigger than my missing piece.

I changed my IM status to DNR. That should make some people happy.

I’m trying to provide something different here. I put out information about sex and present it in a way that lets people figure things out for themselves. I think that trying to tell someone there is any “right” way to be about sex, or that the key to happiness is having a certain kind of sex life, is bullshit. I just updated one of my sex guides and there wasn’t a whole lot to update in the heart of the book because while people can come along and make new techniques every once in a while, or offer a different perspective, the elements I’ve put down on paper (and pixels) are solid tools. They’re there for remixing and making your own song (or technique, or sexual lifestyle). Or they’re there so you can understand it, and say. “no, thanks.”

I often hope that people come along and write my books differently. Remix. Meanwhile I’ll make more. I continue observing sex culture too, and hope to provide something different with that as well — because I need to see it change, oh so badly. Even if my point of view is not in agreement with yours, I want us to look at how people talk about sex and behave about sex together and give it the critical eye — we deserve smarter conversations about sex. I’m not afraid to ask questions that, for reasons I will never understand, others are afraid to ask. Like, why things are presented in a certain way. Where the data came from. Why are we expected not to question sexual assumptions and stereotypes.

Sex (being sex-positive and tolerant of others, especially) isn’t about doing anything you want. Sex can make us really happy, though. It can also make life’s heartbreak feel like Alien, about to burst out of our chests. Satisfying sex might be the path to happiness for many, while other people will tell you that the opposite should make you happy. Either way you swing, it’s not gonna make you 100% happy. At the same time, sex is not something that is separate from life. I think to believe this might just turn you into someone who threatens women online.

The person who wrote how I was a cunt and should die like a cunt, their missing pieces are pressing up against everything inside them so bad, they can’t function. They have lived their life doing what they think they should, or likely what they were told they should do, and how that would make them whole and happy. They are so bitter and angry they have become psychotic and the cultural glue holding right and wrong behaviors together in their heads has come apart. They resent that the package they were given can’t be returned, and they have to live with it. In it. To them, someone like me is very upsetting and threatening because I’m showing them that there are lots of us who are a few steps closer to that feeling of completion because we stopped buying the illusion which claimed that a perfect life could be achieved if only we did what we were told. About sex. We stopped buying the bullshit, and it’s making people who did really, really mad. For them, women like me must be destroyed. If not, the cost is their soul.

All this over a little sex-positivity.

It takes a lot of work to become who you really are.

People like the guy that wants me dead (the new one) has accepted what society has told him he should be. And I think we see how that’s working out for him.

My heart hurts and I’m really lonely sometimes, but it’s not because of the haters. Compounded: I have lost many, here in San Francisco. I’ve only been able to go to one funeral but there have been many in my life, and some people might think I’m callous for not going. The one I went to, I almost fainted in the church. This road is hard.

But it’s my road. And I’m going to do something with it.

Share This Post

  • I am awed by these comments, absolutely floored.

    thank you. thank you, thank you, thank you.

    I needed a hug and came here to catch up. I’ll come back every time I need another squeeze.

    you are all amazing; I am so lucky you visit me :)

  • I wish I can give you sage advice however I’m going through my own journey. I’m also going through a bout of loneliness at the moment. It helps to stay positive and enjoy the little things that comes your way.

    All I can say is that you are being true to self and putting it out there. Frankly, that scares people. Trolls who spend their times denigrating people do so to project their own fears onto others so that they don’t ever have to be honest to themselves. And lets face it, trolls are nothing more than anonymous bullies. To which I say, fuck them, you or anyone else is not responsible for their shortcomings.

    Being true to self means being honest about you to a fault. It takes tremendous amount of strength and conviction to advice people to follow their own state of bliss. Please don’t despair. There are people who love and respect you for being you, for being human. Continue being you and keep doing what you are doing, because you have touched many people’s lives including my own.

  • “I’m trying to provide something different here. I put out information about sex and present it in a way that lets people figure things out for themselves. I think that trying to tell someone there is any “right” way to be about sex, or that the key to happiness is having a certain kind of sex life, is bullshit.”

    Absofuckinglutely. When I first got out of my marriage and was getting my life back in order, your books were the first ones I read. When I’ve encountered people in similar situations, I’ve unhesitatingly recommended your books.

    There are a lot more bloggers and educators since I’ve been on the scene (2005). And yet you continue to set an example by doing what you’ve always done. I remember my excitement when you first started linking to me, and your kindness to me over the years. As time passes, the ones who are doing the good work will still be around. To paraphrase a dear friend of mine, people eventually figure it out.

    Your chosen family and friends love you, but it can be hard to let them in.

  • I have had people call me crazy, nasty things because I wrote something bad about Apple on my blog. One person wrote a long nasty post about Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer because I had the audacity to express my genuine like. It doesn’t matter what you do the Trolls will find you.

    I am sure it is worse for you because people seem to think they can say anything to somebody who is not intimidated by sex, in particular if you are a woman. I have never written to your blog before but I think you are great. I think what you do is important. I know how being lonely can sometimes punch a hole right through you. I know how it is even worse when you feel like you are surrounded by great friends. Sometimes it just gets a hold of me and I work really hard to shake it loose.

    I hope that the comments above help to reinforce you have friends out here. We don’t always show are face but we are glad you are here.

  • lawn dart

    Sometimes I wonder I really do. Do you need a slap, kiss, or raising shoulder high on a shield by your legions? You have, are, and will stand against the the forces of darkeness that surround us. maybe one person on a million gets close to this.

    You have friends all over this planet. So many of us wish we could find your voice, to say what you say, in the way you say it. I honestly believe you help people like me articulate against hate every day. – in the game of life, you win.

  • A Empathic Appreciative Parent


    I am a honored father, husband, brother, son and person who knows that what you are becoming is god for the world. Your impact goes beyond geography, beyond SF, beyond America, to all beings.

    It does take a lot to become who you are and I include you as one of the many elements in becoming who I am.

    People who are negative may eventually go beyond embracing their negativity, hate and pain to face themselves and turn toward unity, kindness, positivity. Love has many forms. I teach my own and yours is an element of it. My children know you are important and that is what I can offer you as your impact on the world.

  • Curious Genius

    Thank You for sharing all of that & all that you have done in your “work”. I know you wrote this because you needed to. You shared it partially because you needed to, but also with the knowledge that it might help someone else out there to not feel quite so alone.

    I work in a technical/engineering field and use a complex niche software everyday to program and operate machines that measure things very precisely. There are some forums dedicated to the software. I am the only one at my company that does the work I do. I have a nice measurement lab all to myself. Most of the people who do similar work have similar work environments. Consequently the off topic side of these forums see a lot of action. I recently took a couple of the teabrainers to task over the very issue that brought you the fresh hatetroll. I pointed out to them the lopsideness of their argument, how the women who engage in sex work are doing something shameful, while in the same post they admit to desiring them. I told them there are many who don’t see things that way; people who think positively about sex instead of negative and dirty. I named you along with Sasha Grey and Susie Bright. There are others to. Bitchy Jones springs to mind. Collectively you have changed the way I think about sex and my sex life a great deal in the last 10-15 years. For the better.

    Thank You.

    One mind at a time, things will improve . . . at least a little.

  • Thank you for sharing your humanity with the world.

  • Ashley

    My BF knows you IRL and he has sung your praises to me. You really won him over with the Magic posters. I’ve been told that I have no choice in meeting you and I can really think of no reason why I wouldn’t want to. I don’t follow blogs, but I follow you. Don’t let soul-less people get you down.

  • Laurie

    Thank you for all that you do, Violet, & stay strong.

  • Pieter


    I think you are an amazing person. You have chosen a difficult life. People that are different from the norm or from what society expects have a difficult life.

    I hope you read all these comments by people who appreciate what you are doing.
    Go on! Fight. You are not alone. Even people here in South Africa appreciate what you are doing. My gf likes your site as well.

    I hope you find an mazing partner to share your life with.

    But I also think sharing your life with friends is amazing!

    I don’t want to have kids in this world. My friends, my gf, my family and my cat is what is precious in my life. You seem to have a few ingredients of this as well. Enjoy your friends and cat for now :)

    When the time is right you will find someone. You are so amazing I am sure most men would love you! Even I would have if I were single and in the US.

    Cats seem to have a habit of sleeping in the middle of the bed. Remember….it is actually their bed and we are there slaves :)

    Chin up. Enjoy the small things. Enjoy the sunset everyday and your friends laughing.

    Enjoy life.

    Sure you know who this is. Read a Bit of Khahil Gilbran.

    You are an island and, for now, without the pieces that you need.

    But it will come.

    If single still at 50 call me :)

  • Mark

    In the thousands of lines of text we read on the web, there comes a person who has the courage to lay bare a part of themselves as a means of making sense of who they are and what they are about. Sometimes, it’s just to vent the pent-up frustration and anger they may be feeling at the time. When we take the time to read what they have to say, we are left feeling humbled, and, hopefully, they feel a sense of relief and accomplishment from writing it down.

    I hope Violet you don’t let this point in your life get you down and discourage you in any part of life. The courage you have for keeping this blog so you can speak out on matters of sex is an accomplishment of bravery and insight. For this, you have my respect and admiration.

    Have another cupcake. You’ve earned it.

  • K

    I hope you find intimacy, solid and real; roots. Until then, though, just remember that people love and respect you.

    Did I mention you’re awesome?

  • Marni

    I don’t know you but I wish I could give you all the teacups and gossamer I could find now for being so brave. This piece touched me and probably touched a whole network of lonely girls who look to your site for your refreshingly vulnerable and candid perspective. Thank you thank you thank you for being you and for opening up a part of your life to us. Stay strong.


  • Daniel

    Even though it has been written many times before, I wanted to thank you too for your fantastic work.
    I have been listening and reading your work for a couple of years now, and as written before, you really made me think different and more opened minded about many things. You gave me a lot of thought-provocing impulses. And I’m very thankfull for that.

  • Peter

    Bless you Violet. Thank you for showing us this side of yourself. It takes true strength and courage to do so, qualities rarely seen in these times. I know that empty place well, but I do not know what will fill it. Not money, not things, not sex. Maybe no one, either… since we are all falible, limited beings. It is one of the mysteries I hope to understand as I continue on down my own road through life. Whatever you find down your road, know this: you are unique and give so much to so many. So I say again, bless you Violet.

  • Amanda

    Wow. It’s very brave of you to be so open on your blog about something like this. I feel really bad and very sorry that people say those things about you and that you feel that way, I can relate to a lot of what you’ve shared, especially about the loneliness. I wish I knew you personally so I could give you a hug! I know it might not mean much coming from someone you don’t know, but I KNOW that things will work out in the end. Maybe not exactly the way you hope or dream, but eventually, it works out. It took me most of my life to realize that I only felt horrible about myself because of how I’ve been treated and I let it in deep into my heart, that I deserved being treated that way and that my friends must think that way, too. But, finally, I had the epiphany that just because I can be treated badly does NOT mean I’m horrible, and that I have a right to have my feelings heard, to be treated with respect, and to have my needs met. From your post, it seems that there’s something else that’s affected you and helped bring these feelings and allowed them to persist. I know that talking to a therapist has helped me immensely, and (I don’t want to tell you what to do or know more details, it’s your life and your decision and your business) it’s possible it might help you, too. Either way, I’m glad that you decided to share this, and I hope everything works out and that those feelings go away and not make you want to cry! E-hug!

  • Sam

    Thank you Violet, thank you.

  • SageoftheTimes

    Keep looking, Violet. Remember you can be hugely successful at business, but still not be fulfilled, so don’t look away from the hard stuff. Also, you’ve got to get a bit more militant with your enemies sometimes. There might be a real person inside a troll, but unless you’ve got a method to free that person, remember that they’re not acting in a humane way. They are still human, but that doesn’t mean they wont hurt you if you let them. Still, it’s nice to see you care about everyone.

  • I am not a particularly eloquent person, but I will give it a shot for this. Violet you rock! I only discovered you about a year ago, but you have made a difference in the way I look at things around me. I am not going to repeat what the other commenters have said before me, but I agree with all of it. I am also confident that you will find the person that fills that hole in you heart whomever and wherever he or she may be. I know the feeling well and I won’t give up, so don’t you dare. :)

  • Phia Westfall

    Violet – Thank you. I know those two words sometimes grow hollow with too-frequent use, but I hope some of the power I put behind my expression of gratitude will carry through.

    I have only very recently started reading your blog, though I’d heard your name spoken with respect, excitement, and even a touch of awe on many occasions standing in front of various bookshelves.

    Today I need to thank you, to let you know I’m grateful for the tears I shed as that place in my chest cried out, recognizing your words as echoes of my own feelings. I was tempted to write out a point-for-point comparison, but I know it wouldn’t read like much more than “look! we’re cool ’cause we’re exactly the same, isn’t that awesome?”

    Since “awesome” isn’t quite how I’d describe it, and the only other things I might offer are the typical full-of-hope, infinitely-positive, cheer-you-up lines that I’d bet you’ve delivered to far more people than I… I’ll simply repeat one last time:

    Thank you.

  • David

    I don’t think I can say anything that others have not already said better, but I wanted to chime in with my support as well. Yours is one of my “must read” blogs everyday, and has been now for over three years. The level of passion you show in your writing… especially in the work you’ve done with the Our Porn, Our Selves campaign… is more inspirational than you’ll ever know. I think I’ve forwarded more of your links to friends and family than of anything else on the internet (cute kitten videos included) because you articulate the ideas and concepts that I struggle to express so well, that it’s just become easier to link to your writing.

    For the pocket-lint’s worth of good the support of random internet strangers is good for, you have mine. You are a hero of mine, and I’ll be sending as much positive energy your way as I can! Thank you, Violet! *hugs*

  • Carl

    I’ve been reading your blog in secret.

    I’ve kept it there with the unfinished erotic stories, porn scripts and ideas I’ve stocked piled–and slowly these secrets have been eating at me like a slow-acting poison. I know it will one day consume me, unless I “grow up” and face it; as you put it, “become who [I] really [am].” I’ve done things to feed the fire “keeping my ideas close in hand,” literally in my Notes app, but the satisfaction is only temporary. I feel a slight cringe each time someone wants to pass-play “Words with Friends” or asks to check the Internet, only making the weight on my conscious that much more heavier. Ironic enough, I’ve felt this feeling before.

    And I know how to free myself, you’ve pointed it out clearly. If I’m being honest with myself, not afraid of the eventual judging, I’ll be rid of globe on my shoulders. But I am afraid, and I am alone in this. My family isn’t exactly absent, but they’ve been feeding the bullshit to me. My circle of closest friends likely haven’t the slightest idea, so I already feel alienated in the crowd. Would they accept me? I trust them enough to assume they would, but it isn’t guaranteed. What to do… sometimes I wish to have the other half of a whole heart.

    For the time being, I’ll share this anonymously with you and your community.

  • Gomi

    Thank you. I first found you through your podcast, years ago, but I’ve come to appreciate your wit and writing. Informative, activist, insightful and yes, even quite titalating. As a kinky geek, I strongly appreciate the combination of intelligence, openness and glee with which you approach your subject. It’s your road, but you’ve done it well, as far as we readers can see. So I just wanted to thank you.

    As for the trolls, screw ’em. They’re too narrow minded to see the gaps in their own lives.

  • hannah

    Since I’ve been reading/watching/listening to your work for the last four years or so (since I was 18!) you’ve almost come to feel like an older, wiser sister. I’ve learnt so much from you and your everything-positive information always makes me feel happier and more confident about who I am. Its clear from the comments already posted that you affect a lot of lives in this way and I would, also, like to say thank you for putting yourself on the line here. As well as appreciating hearing the sentiments you expressed, this entry is stirring and beautifully written. Thanks.

  • This post shows your true strength. Thank you for sharing.

  • I hope that knowing how much you deeply effect and help others can fill that place in your chest. Its truly significant and meaningful.
    It takes strength to do what you just did, opening up on a professional basis. So often people try to make their lives seem wonderful to the public to show they’ve made it. I’ve been noticing this with high school run-ins, everyone’s life is perfect after high school, apparently. I try to stay as real as possible. And you are a real lady hot mama!
    I also hope I do die like cunt, I want to die like the goddess woman we all are!

    Thank you for always finding who you are even in the tough times, Violet!

  • Nida

    Just wanted to tell you ‘Thank you’ for sharing that ^___^

  • Leafy

    Your blog is always uplifting for me, because it’s such a strong consistent voice for being fully oneself. I’m sorry that you ever have to deal with viciousness and hatred because of that. Please know that what you do and what you say reaches and supports a lot of people.

  • “It takes a lot of work to become who you really are.”
    This is so true.

    I’m thinking of you, Violet.

  • old country redneck

    hey, just quit thinking so much. that’s the problem with the truly intelligent people, they overthink and over analyze too much. sit by the window on a rainy day and watch the raindrops roll down the glass.
    i’ll sit in my office at times and just stare at the patterns in the lampshade on my desk, not thinking just being. just be

  • *BIG HUG*

    I’ve long since stopped boggling at the depths of stupidity and hatred that some people are capable of sinking too, whatever the topic – religion, politics, race, porn, science, the environment, animal welfare, human rights – and doubly so, it seems, online. :|

    Thanks for being so open and honest. Never stop doing what you love, and never stop loving who you love and how you love them. :)

  • Thanks. Thanks for sharing pieces of you in what you do every day. Thank you for putting into words so many things , some of which spin around in my head and I am not yet at the stage of putting to paper or voicing to more than a select few.

    Thanks for being you.


  • Wolf


  • Trickle

    You are a fantastic person. I know you only from your public online persona, but nevertheless, you are fantastic.
    Whichever way life may wind up for you, you have brought much to people who are willing to hear you and learn from you and this is something you can be proud of.
    I want to thank you personally for all the information I found about thanks to you and how these information have helped me feel better or discover new things about my sex life.
    I sincerely hope you find someone to fill that place in your chest. You deserve it. Truly.
    Thank you so much and all my best wishes for whatever’s coming to you.