The Ties That Bind Us

by Madam Stina Rae

The Trending Northwest team believes sexual health is a key component of our overall wellbeing. Because our society can be a bit shy when it comes to the bedroom, we wanted to provide a safe space where you can ask your most burning questions—and feel free to use an alias.

The Ties That Bind Us is a spicy advice column written by Madam Stina Rae, an advocate and mentor in both the queer and kink communities. She can help give insight on your sex and relationship needs and curiosities.

Is your poly triad in rough waters? Do you and your partners want to explore a more taboo experience? Do you just want help asking out that super cute human you’re sweet on? This space is a judgment-free zone where you are welcome to ask some of the most personal questions with total anonymity. Make sure to check back next month to see your question answered!

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Dear Madam Stina Rae, 

“I’ve not had sex in quite some time. I have tried masturbating but nothing ever happens. That has always been the case, sadly. I have only orgasmed twice from masturbating and both were tasks given to me by my dominants. I’ve been learning to explore new kinks on my own too now that I am venturing into the kink community in a new way. I have a hard time focusing on anything when I am on my own except when I am in pup space but that is such a new thing. It gets so frustrating and I don’t always understand what I feel about enjoying pup play the way I do. I feel like it should be wrong to enjoy it the way I do.”

– A Good Boi of Constant Panic

Dear A Good Boi of Constant Panic,

I understand this brain space in so many ways, even if we don’t share the same kink, I have experienced re-learning how to explore my sexuality, sexual preferences, kink curiosities. I’ve also been learning how to advocate and communicate about those needs and wants. Those skills do not come as naturally to some, but that does not mean all hope is lost, nor that you are broken. Learning how to get out of your head, allow your body to feel sensations and stimulations while masturbating is a skill all on it’s own. Writing to me already shows you are open-minded and have a grasp on your sense of self, and that is an enormous step to celebrate!

Because you are active amid exploring your fetish brain spaces and various kinks, I think blending that while masturbating could be a natural starting point. Pup space is a very particular headspace and one that is a blissful escape for those in that lifestyle. It provides a person an escape from the everyday life stresses and the demands of decision making that so many struggle with.

I like to focus on my surroundings when I am treating myself to some self pleasure time. To get out of my head, I need to seduce all of my senses because that allows me to relax and shut down the busy side of my brain a bit. Think about the elements of pup play that intrigue you and surround yourself with things like that. If it is having a hood and collar, having toys around you enjoy, allowing yourself to let go physically and move your body in more primal pup-esque ways or watching videos that involve pup play while masturbating – it’s all fair game. There is no wrong way to be a pup; only what comes naturally to you and excites you to explore, and then try to do so with wide eyes of wonderment and an open mind. 

Sometimes we feel shame for the things that turn us on or when we are tempted to explore it. There is no shame in these kinds of kinks, desires, or fantasies. Try not to focus on the fact that achieving an orgasm is a struggle you have had and turn that energy towards exploring what kinds of things turn on your senses and create a positive and safe space to let go. I find by putting the focus into those aspects and the rest of things become a little easier.

Our bodies are all so different and finding what works best for you can be an exhausting journey, but don’t forget to check out your local adult shops for things that may work for you.

If you are new to the kink community, there are social media platforms that cater to the like-minded and there are local munches (social gatherings) where you can meet others and find a sense of community. Much like adult shops, kink munches all have their own vibe and sense of regulars, so it’s all about where you feel most welcome, safe and accepted, because that puts you on the path for a safe foundation in your exploration.

Be aware that not everyone will understand your kinks, and you may get reactions to them that can cut deep in that moment or make you feel something negative. Remember – that it is on *them*, not you. You are not bad, weird or perverse, at least in a negative way… some of us like to feel a little dirty from time to time. You own a new sense of self and all the kaleidoscopic parts that make you, you. So many people are too afraid to open up and push themselves to accept their hidden desires and often live in shame for them. That doesn’t have to be your story. You can live as an empowered being that owns their sexuality and gains the resulting pleasure from it.

It’s time to let go of that heavy weight if you have been carrying it on your back all along. Free yourself from any shackles that you do not consent to and proudly enter this new place in your life. You are not alone.

I often look to music to inspire my passion, so I send Howl by Florence + The Machine out to you to help spark your primal flame a bit.

Happy exploring, Good Boi!


Dear Madam Stina Rae,

I am happily married and polyamorous, though I am not involved in any other serious relationships. Currently, we have play partners that we like to spend time with. I have been feeling overwhelmed in my work life, home life as a parent and it is effecting my sex life. I feel like I am giving so much of myself in every direction that there is just so little left for myself. I enjoy sex a lot, but my drive has dried up and I just keep beating myself up for it. I feel like I have not only failed my partner, but I become envious of my other play partners that don’t really ever struggle with orgasms during stressful times. I know this doesn’t last forever, but it is so hard not to focus on it all the time and I hate admitting that I sometimes feel bitter towards others when I fall into a rut. What can I do to pull myself out and not alienate myself in my frustration?


– Stressed Into A Dry Spell

Dear Stressed Into A Dry Spell,

First, please know that you are not alone. Please try to be gentle with yourself. The more we stress about not having orgasms, the harder they play keep away. When you are also poly and know your partners are not suffering the same struggles, it is only natural for that to create envy and bitterness within while they are enjoying themselves freely. 

For me, my stress levels strongly influence my sex drive and ability to have an orgasm. I used to fall down these big rabbit holes of insecurity and would beat myself up constantly because my body was letting all of my partners down. It was most definitely not true, and I have sat in these ruts for months where I couldn’t get myself off, and neither could anyone else. I kept telling myself that I was broken and allowed myself to cozy and stay in that depressive space because clearly that is what I deserved. Nothing could be further from the truth, but it became self-punishment, which kept me even further from wanting to reconnect with my partner sexually. It was a self-fulfilling cycle.

It took me a long time to realize that I was wrong. Not only did I not deserve that kind of negative self talk, but I could instead actually do something about it! Not having an orgasm was not the problem, but merely a symptom of a bigger problem. 

Atomic Threads Boutique is the PNW’s first pin-up & alternative clothing and more store that is both size and gender inclusive! We bring in a wide variety of brands that fit a diverse spectrum of body types and offer many styles for the ultimate form of self expression. We are a proud supporter – and part of – the LGBTQ+ community and strives to create a safe haven for everyone.

My stress level was ultimately the problem that needed to be addressed head on. So I started writing my beloved lists of all the things that caused me stress. I began identifying what emotions I was feeling, what brought them on, what I had been holding onto because I thought I had to, then I began letting go of what no longer served me. My partners wanted to help me; I just had to let them. That is not a straightforward thing to do for me because I imagined I should be able to take on all the things and never be affected by it. But, once I started letting these things go, I told myself that for every “thing” I took off my plate, I should explore a new creative outlet for myself. Whether it was in self-care, a new hobby, form of self-expression, or something that benefitted my mental health. By doing this, it was building a new foundation instead of just filling a void and it naturally relieved much of that built up stress that controlled me.

With the envy and bitterness that you are feeling, try talking to your partners openly. Communication is so important, especially in poly! Sitting down and opening up about the emotions you are feeling is a big step. 

I try to think of it as emotions are energy and energy naturally wants to move. When emotion causes stress, it’s the energy asking you to help it move. Allow your partners to hear you and be there for you. Advocate for your needs and know that they are valid. As you gently focus inward, I hope you find some relief from the stress you have been carrying and are screaming in ecstasy soon! 

A song that resonates with me when I am in this space is Bouquet by Ethan Jewell. His spoken word has such a raw emotional punch that I cannot get enough of when I am in a dark place and have nothing left to give. 

You deserve the same love you show to others. Allow yourself the space to feel and heal, too. The rest will follow.

Madam Stina Rae

The Ties That Bind Us is a spicy advice column written by Madam Stina Rae, an advocate and mentor in both the queer and kink communities and the co-owner of Atomic Threads Boutique (@atomicthreadsboutique). She can help give insight on your sex and relationship needs and curiosities. Is your poly triad in rough waters? Do you and your partners want to explore a more taboo experience? Do you just want help asking out that super cute human you’re sweet on? This space is a judgement free zone where you are welcome to ask some of the most personal questions with total anonymity.

read all of Madam stina rae’s articles here.

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