Masturbation Challenge – Day 3 (Rd. 2) Defining the Edge

  • Date: 5/3/16
  • Time: 11:43PM
  • Location: Bedroom
  • Duration: 13:15
  • # of Edges (Nearly climaxing and then backing away): 5
  • Pass/Fail: PASS

Like the aspiring Buddhist that I am, I set an intention for my masturbation practice: stay present and become acquainted with the most subtle of sensations. I did this for several minutes. It was quite boring. Shaking my dick just doesn't feel nearly as good as climaxing or having sex. I experimented with various masturbation techniques, still no luck. At a certain point, I was convinced that I would have to start picturing women in my mind's eye in order to reach my edge. But then, out of nowhere, a subtle sensation grew at my root chakra! I held onto the sensation because I knew it could lead me out of the doldrums. Sure enough, I was soon hitting my edge without having to fantasize about women. I was focused solely on my bodily sensations! I could feel myself pulling back way before the finish line because I was very scared about having to restart the challenge. However, I told myself not to fear failure and pushed myself closer to the edge. Eventually I got to a point where I knew that if I went any further, I would completely lose control. That was it! That was the edge! Another day safe! Only 18 to go!

Cameron Poter


Masturbation Challenge – Day 2 (Rd. 2) – Cliff Jumping

  • Date: 5/2/16
  • Time: 10:33PM
  • Location: Bedroom
  • Duration: 10:50
  • # of Edges (Nearly climaxing and then backing away): 3
  • Pass/Fail: PASS

Another day, another dollar. I was officially hired as a birthday clown. My first gig will be on Saturday, and I will be attending the party as Spiderman. I'm experiencing a little anxiety because I've never face painted before (a requirement for the party), but I have five days to learn how to paint flowers, rainbows, skulls and spiders.

In other news, today it became a bit uncomfortable to sit normally because I felt like I was sitting on my overgrown balls. My edging is also gaining intensity and I'm coming closer to...coming. With each passing day, I can feel the internal pressure rising. Before I was approaching the edge of a sidewalk. Now I'm approaching the edge of a cliff. I am worried to see what a cliff can become in 19 days. Here's hoping for some wet dreams.



Cameron Poter


Masturbation Challenge – Day 1 (Rd. 2) – HOLY MOLY!

  • Date: 5/1/16
  • Time: 10:38PM
  • Location: Bedroom
  • Duration: 12:52!!!
  • # of Edges (Nearly climaxing and then backing away): 5
  • Pass/Fail: PASS

Holy fricken moly! I'm not sure if you caught the duration above, but I lasted TWELVE MINUTES AND FIFTY-TWO EFFING SECONDS! Are you fricken kidding me?! I am starting to realize that my orgasm has entirely to do with the thoughts going through my head as I masturbate. If I am just focusing on my own bodily sensations and not fantasizing about pretty women, then I can last a long ass time. It was only when I consciously decided to start thinking about women that I brought myself to the edge. I've already noticed that just in the few days that I've been doing this, I am much more aware of where my edge is. This session I found myself backing away and thinking, "No, your edge is farther than that." And it was! Oh, this is great. And it's actually not nearly as uncomfortable or boring as I anticipated!

One quick side note. Tonight I had a discussion with a friend about his masturbation/sex habits (this challenge has really opened up the communication channels), and he beautifully outlined how I think many men, including myself, approach orgasms. He said that sex feels great pretty much the whole time. The feeling of your penis in a warm, wet place is very pleasurable even when you're not cumming. However, your penis in your own hand doesn't feel nearly as nice. Therefore, during sex he wants to prolong the orgasm as long as possible, but during masturbation, he races to the climax. This is precisely it! If we're not making a conscious effort to enjoy the bodily sensations of masturbation (which is definitely not happening when we're watching porn), then we're pretty much incentivizing ourselves to just cum as quickly as possible. That's no good for when the sex comes around! Without mindfulness, we're screwing ourselves! 

It's not too late to join this challenge, and I highly recommend it if you want to get more in touch with your penis! If you are planning to start, please time how long it takes for you to masturbate and ejaculate before you begin the challenge, so that you have something to compare it to at the end of the 21 days. The hope is that we all learn to take our time with ourselves. As always, please let us know about your experience on the forum tab of the website! Hooray!

Cameron Poter


Masturbation Challenge – Day 0 (Round 2) – STARTING OVER

  • Date: 5/1/16
  • Time: 12:18AM
  • Location: Bathroom
  • Duration: 2:01
  • # of Edges (Nearly climaxing and then backing away): 0
  • Pass/Fail: Fail

Okay, okay, okay. Before you start laughing at my failure, I want you to know that this was a deliberate restart. I spoke with a urologist this morning to clear some of the anxiety I had about the potential ill-effects that this challenge could have on my health. To my shock, the doctor said there was little cause for concern and he was in support of this challenge. He said that there is no scientific evidence to suggest that this practice will work, but it makes sense to him. He even said that by tracking my progression and comparing the duration of my masturbation sessions before and after the challenge, I can potentially be the first recorded study of the effects of this practice. He recommended that anyone trying this challenge record and share their times as well.

Unfortunately, prior to this challenge, I had not timed myself jerking off under normal circumstances. And since I'd like to make a contribution to the scientific community,  I decided I would jerk off tonight as I normally would – without porn, without edging, just racing towards that orgasm like a hog on slop. I lasted two minutes and one second. That was all it took. Granted, I was trying to cum as quickly as possible, so that I could compare my top speed at the end of 21 days. I'm exhausted now. I think that orgasming after three days of blue balls is putting me into a coma. I really hope that this challenge helps someone. Goodnight.

Cameron Poter


Masturbation Challenge Day 2 – Keeping the Streak!

  • Date: 4/29/16
  • Time: 7:29PM
  • Location: Bedroom
  • Duration: 6:41 (12 second gain!)
  • # of Edges (Nearly climaxing and then backing away): 3
  • Pass/Fail: Pass

Today was a weird day. I woke up to a Facebook message from a friend stating, "Just heard about your 21 day challenge. Sounds like guaranteed urethritis. I've had it. It's really bad for you. Look out!" Needless to say, the rest of my day I was convinced that my urethra had swollen to the size of a candy cane.

This anxiety was particularly present during my training to become a birthday party clown. Yes, I've been hired to be a birthday clown. My first birthday party is next weekend. Between birthday clowning and talking about sex with my mother, I'm experiencing a lot of uncertainty as to where my life is heading. Birthday clown training develops four key life skills:  games, face painting, magic, and balloon-making. I struggled with balloon-making, so my trainer sent me home with a pump and a bag of balloons. I practiced for a good half hour before deciding I needed to go to masturbation practice.

The masturbation was slightly better today than yesterday. I felt more present and enjoyed the sensations a bit more. It took me a little to grow erect because I was still quite concerned with the health of my urethra. I did notice that my testicles were larger than yesterday. I have no idea how I'm going to last 21 days. These things will soon be boulders. The jerk off went well, and I felt like I had more control. I probably could have gone longer, but my roommate walked into the apartment with a woman, and I realized that I had left all my balloon-making materials out in the living room.

Until tomorrow,


Cameron Poter


Masturbation Challenge Day 1 - Not Too Shabby!

  • Date: 4/29/16
  • Time: 12:20AM
  • Location: Bedroom
  • Duration: 6:28 (minutes and seconds!)
  • # of Edges (Nearly climaxing and then backing away): 3 - 5
  • Pass/Fail: Pass

First off, I was not excited going into tonight's session. I was brushing my teeth, looking forward to sleep, when I realized and said aloud, "Fuck! The Challenge!" So, I quickly closed up shop and went to my room to work. 

Now, this was an unusual experience. Dr. Nancy had recommended holding off on visualizing women (apparently, that's some advanced level shit), so I kinda just stared at myself jerking off. Honestly, it was quite boring. I was just sitting there, waiting to hit my edge, and nothing was happening. It was about as enjoyable as rubbing my elbow for six minutes straight. I was trying to stay present and experience the sensations. But still, quite boring.

Finally, little edges started to occur. I soon realized that if I had the slightest image of a woman in my mind's eye, I would reach my edge. I was growing tired (I should've been in bed four hours ago) and fantasies kept creeping in. I quickly reached my edge...five times. I was shooting for three, but I hit it five just for safe measure. Now, I'm up and adam. I feel real energized. This turned out to be much less unpleasant than I anticipated. I really was expecting big painful blue balls. Instead, my balls are semi-normal, and I'm just wired and writing about my jerk off session for everyone to read. I'm hoping that I find the beauty in masturbating during these 21-days because it currently feels boring AF. 

With love,


Cameron Poter


21-Day Masturbation Challenge Guidelines!

Welcome to the 21-Day Masturbation Challenge! Regardless of your gender, we'd love for you to join us for the Challenge and participate in the discussion on the forum tab of this website!

The Challenge is first discussed in Episode 33 of the Sex Talk With My Mom podcast with Sexologist Dr. Nancy Sutton Pierce. When we asked Dr. Nancy to outline the most common issues that men and women face with regards to sex, she explained that men often struggle with controlling their orgasm, a.k.a. premature ejaculation, and women most regularly seek to increase their sex drive. She explained that a healthy masturbation practice can improve both of these problems for men and women. She offers different regimens for men and women.

21-Day Challenge Rules FOR MEN:

  • Masturbate daily for 21 days
  • Do NOT use any form of porn
  • Reach your edge three times (Your “edge” is when you come to the point of climax, but back away before you actually orgasm)
  • Do not ejaculate through masturbation during the 21 days. If you do, you must start over from the beginning.

21-Day Challenge Rules FOR WOMEN:

  • Devote 15 minutes a day to be with yourself and masturbate

Now we recognize that this might seem unfair for men, but The Challenge is trying to achieve different goals for men and women. Again, this is to help men with cock control and women with sex drive. Note that we are not suggesting that everyone suffers from these problems or needs this challenge, but if you do, we welcome you to join us. We also do not claim to be doctors and we're experimenting with this challenge just as much as you are! Results and safety are NOT guaranteed!

If you'd like to hear more about how these guidelines came about, please listen to Episode 33 of our podcast. I'll be blogging each day to take you along on my journey, and I'd love to hear about your experiences. We created the forum so Challengers can connect with us and one another. Here's praying this is a worthwhile endeavor!

Cameron Poter


To: Brock Turner’s father, From: A Stanford mother and murder victim

Hi Dan,

I feel compelled to write to you after reading your pathetic letter in opposition to your son’s measly sentencing of six months in jail. “What I know as his father is that incarceration is not the appropriate punishment for Brock,” demonstrates your complete lack of empathy and horrific parenting skills. Nowhere in this letter do you admit to any of your son’s wrongdoing and in fact you minimize a violent, traumatic experience that will haunt the victim for the rest of her life. Your letter hit close to home for two reasons: 1) I have a daughter and two sons, one of whom graduated from Stanford, and 2) Like your son’s victim, I too have been dragged through a needlessly long trial after the murder of my late husband. His death will affect our family for the rest of our lives, and no amount of jail time for the perpetrator can change the devastation; however, his and his family’s lack of remorse is what is noteworthy – just like yours. 

After reading your response, it’s quite apparent that the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree. By writing your letter, it is evident that you’ve likely contributed to Brock becoming a self-centered monster. Your equating Brock’s brutalizing of an innocent woman to “20 minutes of action” is appalling. Why not just say, “Boys will be boys”? 

I’m sorry that your son doesn’t get excited about eating a steak anymore. If either of my sons took advantage of a helpless girl, I’d probably knock out their teeth so they’d never chew on anything other than scrambled eggs. 

Your statement that Brock is “…totally committed to educating other college age students about the dangers of alcohol consumption and sexual promiscuity” suggests that you believe the problem was that your son and the victim just drank and fooled around a bit too much. I have a son who consumed plenty of alcohol at Stanford and although he never took Brock’s substance abuse course, he managed to graduate without ever having raped someone.

Your son isn’t happy-go-lucky anymore? Have you read the victim’s letter about what her life has been like since your son’s digital penetration? It doesn’t sound like she's in the best of spirits either. The difference is that she didn’t ask for this whereas Brock did. Perhaps instead of justifying Brock’s actions, you might’ve suggested some form of treatment for anger management and violence prevention. It’s actually scary that you can't see your part in enabling or condoning his behavior. 

Entitled people like yourself and Brock have also victimized my family. The murderer, who robbed my children of their father, received the undying support of his family during the several years prior to and during his trial. His mother and sister managed to round up thousands of dollars to provide him with the best attorneys and “expert” psychiatrists that money could buy. His defense was similar to that of your son’s, but it had a fancier name. He claimed to have been “involuntarily intoxicated,” and therefore had no recollection of how he entered my husband’s office and repeatedly stabbed him to death in front of several employees. He too had to be pulled off his victim before attempting to run away. During the trial, while his devoted family wiped tears from their eyes, the murderer stated, “If [my victim] were alive today, we’d probably be playing golf together.” He was equally as ignorant and unwilling to accept culpability as your son.

This family had ignored warning signs throughout his childhood, which was full of unaddressed violent outbursts. Perhaps if his parents had gotten him help and not DENIED that there was an anger problem, he might not have murdered an innocent man. Lucky for us, the judge gave him the equivalent of a life sentence with no parole, but that doesn’t help my family’s pain of not having a husband or father. 

So Dan, I hope this gives a mother’s perspective about actions and consequences. I’m not certain what role Brock’s mother played in raising him or her reactions to his sentencing, but your letter certainly explained your style of parenting. You talk about how shattered your lives have become since the verdict, even mentioning your son’s lack of interest in eating snacks after swimming. If you really want to help your son repair his life and learn to be a loving man and father someday, maybe do some self-exploration. Realize that being a “good” father means teaching decent values and taking responsibility, even if it causes one to lose his passion for pretzels.


KarenLee Poter


Can Boys And Girls Be Friends Without Sex? That Is The question!

"You know, you may be the first attractive woman I've not wanted to sleep with in my entire life." - When Harry Met Sally

Can a single man and woman be friends without sex rearing it's ugly head? Of course there are extremes on either end of this equation, but in my experience if both parties are available, the answer is that sex is inevitable. Here's a perfect example; I had a very close guy friend, Gary who I loved hanging out with during my sophomore year of college. Gary and I shared stories about our dates with other people, and confided many secrets that we didn't tell anyone else. Gary made me laugh and was a great listener. We spent a lot of time listening to music, smoking weed, and eating late night pizza together. The following year, he began dating a cute girl, Diane who eventually became his "girlfriend." I didn't date anyone steadily, but went out with several guys still maintaining my friendship with Gary. One night after a party at my sorority house, he came up to my room to get a bandage. He closed the door and started to passionately kiss me. I pulled away and said something profound like, "What the hell are you doing?" He declared, "I've been wanting to do this for a long time." I said, "I'm not up for being a one night stand." Being the suave 20 year old that he was, he proclaimed, "I'll prove to you this isn't just a drunken moment by taking you to brunch in the morning." (No, we didn't have sex!) He arrived the next morning to pick me up as promised. After that we began having clandestine sex since he was still seeing Diane. He remarked that she didn't like having sex and that he looked forward to dropping her off and taking me back to his apartment. It's cliche but I was "the other woman." Many months went by and our relationship blossomed with no sign of Gary and Diane breaking up. I decided to give him an ultimatum. "It's either her or me, make a choice."

What came next was a complete surprise! He said, "I hate to do this to you, but I have to stay with Diane." I was stunned! "Why her?" I demanded. "She needs me more," he replied. I left and vowed to never speak to Gary again. That night I went to a friend's house, smoked a carton of cigarettes and cried in Mark's arms. (Mark and I never had sex, but we did mess around if I recall.)

There is a happy ending to the story. Gary called about a year later and asked me to go with him to his cousin's wedding. He said he had broken up with Diane a while ago and would love to try and make it up to me. I quickly spat out, "No." Eventually I agreed to meet him for dinner and to prove that he was over his ex, in a dramatic fashion, he burned her picture in a candle on the table. A year later we were engaged to be married. 

Bottom line: An intimate friendship without sex between a single girl and guy is very hard. (No pun intended he-he.) 

Love and Kisses,


I Wanna Be Stretch Armstrong!

The heart of intimacy consists of doing two things at once, which on their face seem mutually exclusive: 1) stand your ground; 2) be profoundly open to the other
— My friend Jake quoting his therapist quoting Martin Buber, "I and Thou"

Recently I attended my friend Jake’s grandfather’s housewarming. Why I was there, I have no clue. Wait, yes, I do. Free food. About half an hour prior to this geriatric spectacular, Jake casually informed me that his grandpa, Dick, said that I’m throwing my life away by pursuing comedy. Now, this is not exactly what you want to hear before warming an old man’s house. My initial reaction was to say, Eff Dick in the A, he couldn’t feed me enough caviar crostinis to make me attend this party. But then I realized that I was only reacting in a hostile manner because I was getting swept up into Dick’s worldview. If I truly believed that what I’m doing with my life is worthwhile, Dick’s opinion would be a nonstarter. Who cares if old man Dick thinks I’m throwing my life away? Who is old man Dick anyway?

My yoga teachers often emphasize that strength and flexibility are two often opposing qualities that are best developed simultaneously (Yes, I get most of my wisdom from my yoga instructors – cram it!). If you only focus on building muscle, it’ll be especially hard for your body to become flexible, and vice versa. It requires awareness and practice to develop a body that is both strong and flexible, which allegedly can be achieved through yoga. 

I believe that this concept can be extended to the psyche. The more independent and mentally strong we are, the more steadfastly we hold our beliefs and values. If we cling too tightly to our “truths,” we prevent ourselves from learning from other people’s disparate belief systems. On the contrary, if we remain too open-minded, we can get swept up into other people’s perceived realities and lose our sense of self. As with yoga, it requires a mindful effort to acknowledge where we lie on the strength-flexibility spectrum and determine when it’s best to adopt another’s perspective. 

After being tossed around and walked upon throughout my life, I know that I tend towards the flexible side of the spectrum. I’m the type that could wake up one day only to realize that I have spent the last five years in a new age cult where we spend our money on UFO books and Spirulina. 

Knowing that I tend towards flexibility has emboldened me to sometimes hold onto my truths in the face of old Dicks espousing their shitty belief systems. I’m less of a people pleaser and more satisfied with myself. That said, it is extremely challenging to determine when I’m being appropriately generous or bending too much for someone else. I’m also regularly tempted to just avoid situations in which I would be surrounded by strong personalities. It is a constant effort to stand with others and choose not to edit myself. However, when I flex these muscles, I’m rewarded with a stronger sense of self and a new fondness for caviar crostinis.

Cameron Poter


A Moment of Gratitude


In case you have been wondering, Why the heck is Cam making these semi-depressive thoughts public on his blog about sex? The answer is two-fold: 1) I thought STWMM listeners might want a behind-the-scenes look at the ups and downs associated with pursuing a career in podcasting/comedy (hopefully there will be more posts about the ups). And 2) I hope this blog inspires or makes people feel less alone on their own creative journey. I know your responses have already boosted me along on my path. Even by just reading this blog post, you’re giving my life a bit more purpose and making me feel slightly less like a waste of space. So, thank you!

Okay, enough mush. Onto my hyper-sensitive thoughts…

Cameron Poter


Lose the list, embrace the sparks of joy!

Why is it so hard to "meet" that special person? My theory: People have a pre-conceived notion of who their prince or princess should be and aren't open-minded to thinking outside the box. It's that simple! Do you wonder why the same single friends keep dating the same available men or women in their backyard? They re-circulate the available crop of singles and don't step out of the circle to see who may be an awesome change of pace. When I first became single, I got caught up in that linear thought process. I went right for the available men in my geographical area, same race, same age, same religion, economic status, blah blah blah. But why? Mainly because it's a habit and it's "easy." It didn't work out for me at all. Being a trail blazer I found a man who was from a different part of the country, quite a bit younger than me with several other differences. Guess what? The naysayers (and there were plenty) were wrong! We've been happily (most of the time) together for over 8 years. This could happen to you if you toss out your list of qualifications for that person who you ride off with into the sunset and instead open your heart to the person who "sparks joy." 


Perhaps my greatest anxiety, the granddaddy of them all, is my fear of relationship imbalance (a term that I just invented). Relationship imbalance is when I care more for another person than they care for me, or vice versa. Over the past six months, I had the privilege of training under a comedy guru. He has become a role model for me and I feel myself constantly seeking his affection. My feelz are probably best expressed by Cheap Trick’s “I Want You to Want Me” (My life is the clown version of 10 Things I Hate About You). Unfortunately, he’s a middle-aged man who has no reason for wanting to foster a relationship with me. I’m just one of his many students, and frankly not even one of the best. Still, this one-sided relationship leaves me feeling needy and lacking self-esteem. It puts me inside my head during all of our conversations, so understandably they become stilted and awkward. 

(To be clear, I don’t want to develop a relationship beyond our teacher-student dynamic. I just feel myself caring more for him than he does for me, which is uncomfortable, yet understandable. If you’re reading this…Hi, John.)

When relationship imbalance remains constant and unacknowledged, it can feel like I’m sitting on a teeter-totter with someone much fatter than me. We’re not moving, and we’re pretending as though I’m not suspended mid-air while their fat ass is on the ground. I’m constantly at risk of them jumping off the teeter-totter and leaving me alone, embarrassed, and with a sore ass. I know it would be awkward and unnecessary to compare how much we care for each other, but I can’t stand this discomfort! 

Regardless of which side of the teeter-totter I’m on, I feel anxious AF. When I care more for the other person than they do for me, I feel needy and desperate for their attention. When they care for me more than I do for them, I feel guilty for leaving them to feel unloved and not cared for enough. Yes, I know there will always be imbalance. In fact, it is trusting that we will both remain on the teeter-totter despite its constant motion that makes relationships feel alive and meaningful. The problem is when I let this fear of imbalance push me away from getting on the teeter-totter with potential friends and lovers (I am loving this teeter-totter analogy). If I see the possibility of unreciprocated feelings, I am tempted to pull away before one of us gets hurt.

This anxiety makes me especially hesitant to have casual sex. Physical intimacy can feel like I’m promising that I care a certain amount for the other person (or see the potential to develop a profound emotional relationship). I know that most people say that they have casual sex simply because it feels good, but part of me believes that on some level these people are desiring an emotional connection and are just unaware. I know that I’m probably projecting my own feelings onto innocent bystanders, but I can’t seem to shake it.

Ideally, I would feel confident enough with myself that I wouldn’t constantly question the status of my relationships. It’s an exhausting waste of time. Moving forward, I will attempt to catch myself when I have these relationship doubts. If someone doesn’t care as much for me as I do for them, fuck ‘em! I’ll save my feelings for someone who appreciates them. And if someone develops an unrequited fondness for me and threatens to become a stage-five clinger, I will acknowledge my lack of reciprocity and tell them to take their fantasies of who I am and what we can be elsewhere. Regarding casual sex, I’m still trying to figure it out. Perhaps there is a gray area for how much we care for each other and we can grow comfortable with our incongruent feelings. TBD. Will update upon further experience (which could take up to five years to occur).

KarenLee’s Two Cents on this Blog Post:

Cameron Poter


The Battle

“You have to play a long time to be able to play like yourself.” - My therapist quoting Miles Davis

My Current State of Affairs:

  • I talk about sex with my mother on a weekly basis and release our discussions on a podcast called “Sex Talk With My Mom”
  • I’m grappling with whether to take up famed, 57-year-old pornstar and sex educator Nina Hartley on her offer to mentor me sexually
  • I am happiest and most focused during my weekly clown class known as “The Idiot Workshop” 
  • I did not get into the clown troupe that I convinced my clown teacher to create, which makes me quite literally an Idiot Reject
  • I’m living on unemployment benefits that were granted to me after being fired from a job that I had for the past four years
  • I present my current reality onstage and call it stand-up comedy

My heart, or true self, or whatever the hell North Star thing I have going on inside, has led me down a road that at best could be described as “untraditional.” This untrodden path often does not align with social norms, which leads me to vacillate between fear and exhilaration on an hourly basis. 

I’m most uncomfortable with the simple irony that when I had a job and was doing little of value for myself or society, I got paid a living wage. And now that I’m pouring all my energy into podcasting and stand-up (which seems to be potentially more beneficial to myself and society), I live on unemployment.

It’s the feeling that my beliefs and actions are completely different than those of people around me, even many pursuing careers in comedy, that makes me feel like a lunatic. It takes incredible strength to stand on my own and ignore those who frown upon or dismiss my career or relationship choices. I constantly find myself searching for support in inappropriate places, like from innocent open mic audience members. I often wish my dad would send me a sign telling me it will all be okay. 

I can never seem to find the reassurance to quench this self-doubt. It seems that even if everyone were to support my beliefs, their opinions could never satiate me because they don’t entirely understand my situation. Just as I could never fully comprehend another person’s perspective because I’ve never led their exact life, they cannot understand mine. 

It’s a lonely experience choosing to follow my own way. When I’m well-rested, properly-fed and adequately-socialized, I skip merrily down my road. But if I don’t sleep or eat enough or I spend too much time alone, the path becomes scary and dark and lined with shitty Halloween trees that whisper things like,

“This path is a dead end that finishes with you living in your mother’s basement (without any sex to talk about).”

“Perhaps choose another path where you can actually make a living that doesn’t feed off of other people’s tax dollars.”

“This path is a waste of time, like Highway O.”

Highway O was a “detour” that my dad took on the way back from a camping trip. He insisted it would get us home much quicker despite him never having driven it before. After two hours driving through hay fields, during which my dad made us call him “The Faithful One,” we learned why they named it Highway O. Like an “O,” it’s one big circle. It landed us right back where we started. The detour didn’t get us there faster, but it did give me a memory with my dad that I can laugh about today.

There are no signposts on the road I’m traveling because it has never been walked before. I guess the only thing I can do is follow my heart, or true self, or whatever the hell North Star thing I have going on inside me, and let it lead me to problems that I can learn from, even if they come from Nina Hartley’s bed.

Cameron Poter