Please welcome Bella to the blog. Bella’s own blog is Sharp Sweet Bella where she talks candidly about her polyamorous life.
What made you decide to start a sex blog?
I’ve had a sex blog in some form or another since 2004 with LiveJournal. I was far more explicit and active there – writing erotica, posting nudes, engaging in relationships, etc.
That blog had been outed by local Republicans in an effort to expose me and undermine the efforts I had been making in my day job as a lobbyist. The media got involved and I was “saved” from embarrassing articles and exposés of my exploits by a bigger sex scandal that same week.
I stopped writing about sex for a very long time (8-10 years) after. It was too traumatic. So much shame surrounding my activities as a blogger and as a sexual woman.
Likewise, as my kids grew older I didn’t want them to accidentally stumble across my blog and be hit with photos and descriptions that weren’t meant for them. I want them to learn the ethics of consensual sex, not be spectators in my bedroom. Likewise, I didn’t have a good method of establishing clear consent and boundaries for what of my partners’ details I can or should share, so my old methods of Sex blogging fell by the wayside.
So when I decided to come back, I chose a path that was less likely to get me fired and violate boundaries with family, partners, followers & professional ethics. My current blog is more quietly sexual. I discuss sexuality topics and weave tidbits of my sexual life into the narrative. My goal with SharpSweetBella aren’t to turn people on, but to help readers confront biases, examine a topic from other perspectives and to apply these ideas into their own lives. I care about addressing the moral, ethical and emotional considerations for all relationship structures more than broadcasting my own life. Maybe that will change after I turn 40, but that is where I feel safest right now.
What, if anything, would you like your blog to achieve?
Oops, just answered that. I want people to be more thoughtful, engaged and aware of not just sexuality, but common relationship mishaps and assumptions. I want them to question assumptions based in heteronormativity and monogamy. I want people to feel courageous in choosing an authentic life and stepping outside the default relationship mode: monogamy with a generous helping of vague assumptions and expectations. I want people to understand both their options and their responsibilities in living an authentic, ethical and sexy life. I also want to reduce the needless shame-based conflict most of us face in relationships that prevent us from living out loud as our true selves.
How much do you protect your anonymity as a sex blogger or are you quite open about writing a sex blog? And if the latter, what kind of reactions have you received?
Not well enough. The damage has already been done. Rumors still exist as to why I left that job (more than 10 years later) and it fucks me up all the time. I am essentially out whether I choose to be or not and I will never forgive those motherfuckers for taking that basic level of agency away from me. It will always be a black cloud of violation, fear and shame that hovers over me.
I’m not ready to be blasting my real name from the rooftops, but I’ve done enough education work out in the community and post enough photos of my face on Instagram and Twitter that it is easy to put two and two together. Probably by 2018 I will be broadcasting my name more often instead of my pseudonym, Bella Rosa (although I’m super attached to that name) especially since some of my credibility rests on my credentials and training as an attorney-mediator.
My public role in my real life is more limited than before, so the political motivation to eliminate my livelihood is less present–but always a thread of worry in the back of my head. I could be “outed” again but the damage would only be with family who I haven’t been able to trust with this information–my family tends toward micromanaging my every move –I can’t take a quick trip to visit a friend without hundreds of layers of interrogation about my finances, my child care plans and chores that I need to do around the house. If I were outed again, I’d have the family’s Shame Patrol on my doorstep trying to stop me from ever speaking up again.
If readers would read only one post from your blog, which one would you recommend (i.e. which is your favourite/most important blog post)?
This is the post that made me cry when I re-read it- one of the body positive posts I was doing this February.
This one is probably most representative of what I’m trying to accomplish with my blog.
Do you have any advice for other sex bloggers?
I see a lot of bloggers out there who play up a super hot, sexy persona or who give you lists like “5 things you should never stick in your ass”. All useful in their own way, but what will keep people coming back is a sense of who you are as a person. We want a personal connection. I have people who have been reading me for 10 or more years because they know that what they see on their screen is pretty close to who I am in real life. They stay because they understand that the words I write are intimate, honest and authentic. They are the real me. The more real you can be about you feelings, your struggles, your sexual life, the more your writing is creating a benefit for others and keep them coming back for years to come.
And finally, why have you decided to join Summer 100 Sex Bloggers Challenge and are you really going to write 100 posts?
I recently switched day jobs – when I started the challenge, I thought I would be going to something easier, with less responsibility and thus more mental time available to work on the blog. Instead, I landed in a job with double the responsibilities and thus far less mental energy. I won’t be able to finish the challenge at this point. There’s no way I can write 100 posts by the deadline – I’ve done, what? Six of them?Considering most of my posts average 1000 words, that would be like writing a whole book over the summer. The challenge has been a great way to find other writers, like you, that I should be following but sadly, I bit off way more than I could chew with this one and I won’t be able to complete it.