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Category Archives: Life, Living and Loving

More Gaming!

As some of you may know or remember, I play Minecraft and I’ve been playing for a while now; those of you who also play this game knows that when you create a new world, there are some basic things you need to do (unless you’re in Creative mode, which makes doing this easier) and in no particular order:

    If you started with a bonus chest, destroy the chest and pick up everything including any torches set around the chest.
    Find some trees and start chopping them down to make wooden tools, a crafting block, and charcoal (I’ve denuded whole areas doing this part)
    Think about a shelter and especially in Survival mode (unless you’ve chosen to start in Peaceful mode so you can do all of this without getting attacked when night comes); my daughter and her hubby have taught me a few tricks about this part, including start digging a mine shaft – then, once you go a few levels down, dig into the side of the shaft and carve out enough space to, at the least, put down your crafting block, a furnace (if you have enough cobblestone), a large chest or two, and space for a bed.
    Begin or continue your mining efforts to collect coal and iron – lots of coal and iron.
    Hunt for food while exploring the area.

Well, after getting the Norse Mythology World pack, most of this was easy since it set me down inside a fortress or keep, filled with buildings and villagers so it was all about raiding the houses for the chest most of them contained – I wound up with more food than I’ve ever had starting a game.I left the fortress/keep and wound up in another village and a really nice house at the coordinates 118, 68, -131; those of you who don’t play won’t understand this and those who do, just wait to see why I mentioned this – it’ll become clear shortly.After chopping down more trees and exploring the houses for more loot, it was time to go looking for coal and iron which means exploring the area. One of the common sense things about this moment in the game – and more so when you won’t have a compass – is to put down torches along the route you’re taking so that you can find your way back to where you began your exploration, which I did and was able to find a little coal and a bit of iron.This Norse pack has some beautiful constructs and I can’t imagine the effort it took to create them so I went to check them out to see what hidden goodies could be found and since one such area was along the path where I’d already laid down torches, not a problem.One of the things I’ve learned to do playing this game is to use the Notes app on my iPad to write down stuff about the world I’m in, like, what I named it, the seed that generates the world and, importantly, the coordinates of my home base and, sometimes, other stuff like villages, etc.. it helps to do this when my son-in-law or daughter drops into my world and they like it enough to create one of their own – hence my noting the seed number.Guess what I didn’t do? Right, just wait for it. At this point, I knew where I was in the area and it was fascinating enough exploring it that I didn’t need to write this stuff down because I could see my house from where I was… right up until I was in the water checking out a wharf that had a chest – in the dark – and fell over the edge of a waterfall.And wound up getting lost for several hours and all because I never bothered to write down the coordinates of my home base; this is what I consider to be a rookie mistake of the highest order. I found a lot of other structures included in the world pack, found a lot of chests and loot I could use – oh, and did I mention that the world opened in Survival/Easy mode so when it got dark, I was getting attacked at every turn? I’d been wandering around the damned place for almost two hours before it dawned on me to set the game level to Survival/Peaceful – yep, that’s how bent out of shape I’d gotten about getting lost.I’m almost out of the food I had on me (that’s when I changed the game mode – duh) but was still nearly hopelessly lost. I could have set up shop in many of the places I found but I was determined to get back to where I started and finally, three and a half hours after I started out, I finally found my way back to my home base.After emptying my inventory (which was full) and writing down the information I should have written down before I started exploring, my first act was to kill all of the villagers where I’d set up my base… that’s how pissed off I was and, besides, they were in my way. Before I got back to base, I saw the entrance to a cavern that had torches in it – and I knew I hadn’t placed them. Once I killed the villagers, I wanted to find this place again so I could see where the torches led, that and when I took a moment to peek in the cavern, there was a lot of iron to be collected.Now, what I should have done was explored that place when I stumbled across it but, no, I figured I could find it again easily enough… yeah, right. I ran around the whole damned area looking for this spot (and, no, it never occurred to me to write down the coordinates when I found it) for at least another hour, talking to myself so much in the process that Linda thought I’d lost my mind or something, which wasn’t far from the truth at this point.What I wound up doing is another thing I’ve learned to do – copy the world I’m in and put it in Creative mode – my son-in-law taught me this one and you do this to prospect the world for things to do in your Survival world. It seems redundant but this actually helps and especially when digging mine shafts. I duplicated the world and flew around for another hour before I found the cavern entrance again; I wrote down the coordinates, went back to the Survival game, and explored the cavern and it had a large chest with some nice stuff in it as well as lots of iron and gold – and was a good place to dig my mine shaft.Oh, and I murdered a nosy villager who kept getting in my way while I was digging down to bedrock in my mine shaft. Once I got down to bedrock, I carved out the area, finding iron, redstone – and I needed both to make my compass – as well as more coal and the reason why mining can be fun, diamonds. Luckily, this time, I didn’t run into any lava while digging, which is what usually happens to me and I don’t even wanna talk about how many hours I’ve spent getting rid of lava so that, when my mine is ready, I won’t encounter it again.Those of you who play the game and like to mine knows exactly what I’m talking about, right? There’s never enough gravel when you need it!By the time I returned to my home base, I was exhausted and still miffed at myself for the rookie mistakes I made in this world.

 
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Posted by on 6 July 2018 in Life, Living and Loving

 

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Let the Games Begin!

I thought I’d take a few moments to remind everyone that I’m a gamer and have been for a long time and these days, I’ve been playing a lot of Minecraft, which has been getting updated to include more features, better graphics and even more bad guys who are more than willing to make you respawn and lose everything you’re carrying in your inventory. I’ve managed to acquire three add-ons – an Egyptian theme, a Norse theme, and one called Chroma HD that has some amazing graphics that makes the deliberately designed 8-bit game look a lot more realistic and, most notably, the chickens – which are everywhere in Minecraft – look more like chicken than ducks.My biggest pain in the ass is a game called “State of Decay 2,” a game where the world has gone to shit and zombies are everywhere and the object of the game is to have people in your collective, establish a home base and other useful outposts, gather much needed things like food and fuel… and while avoiding or eliminating the zombies that are in endless supply. This is another game when going out at night isn’t a smart thing to do and I recently told my son-in-law, I feel safer playing Minecraft at night and on the hard level than I do playing this game.The game, since it’s release, is not without problems that have required a few updates, which is to be expected but the thing that really bugs me is the kind and number of tasks that are to be done while you’re trying to maintain adequate levels of supplies so that the members of your collective do’t get pissed off and leave or starve to death. Doing these tasks can get you killed and turned into a zombie and unlike some games, if the character you’re playing with dies, that character stays dead and gone.It’s kinda hard to develop any real strategy and in a way, the game has a same beginning requirement that Minecraft has: Ya need a place to live and you have to gather supplies and, via mining, establish a source for critical items like coal and iron. State of Decay 2 isn’t very different in this regard but with zombies running in hoards – including one called a juggernaut that you do not want to tangle with (unless you wanna get ripped in half) – maintaining a happy and healthy collective can be rather frustrating.Oh, did I mention the plague hearts? Taking out a plague heart isn’t that difficult… once you can take out the hoard of zombies that gather around one then, if you can accomplish this, beat and band on the plague heart and hope that another batch of zombies don’t overwhelm you and make you dead.For any task – from scavenging for supplies to helping other “communities” with their survival efforts – you can take a member of your collective with you and, at the least, they’ll take on the attacking zombies while you focus on the task at hand. The downside is that the person you take with you can’t help you gather up the supplies that can be at any location; at most, you can have a pack that carries a max of eight items that also includes the stuff you need to keep your ass alive, like meds and weapons. Now, there are vehicles all over the place, some immediately drivable, some that can be repaired enough to drive and those vehicles have a trunk that can store some items – I’ve seen up to six spaces in the trunk but it’s not enough space at times and you wind up leaving stuff behind and, hopefully, you can go back for them if you can.The game has a multiplayer mode where you can invite up to four of your friends to join your quest for survival; they can fight with you, pick up and carry the stuff that you’re unable to, and even share stuff that they have. I play with my son-in-law and that dude is crazy in that we can jump in a car to do a task… and he’s hip deep in zombies and tends to dive right in without carrying any meds, not having enough ammo for whatever gun he’s carrying, or having his melee weapon break. He throws caution to the wind while I’m a lot more conservative about this; if I can avoid fighting off a hoard of zombies, I’m good with that – I just wanna do the task and get the hell out of dodge.At some point you have to grow your collective, which starts out with four survivors; some of them have necessary skills like medicine, gardening, and mechanical already… but some don’t so on top of doing all the other stuff you need to do to survive, you have to search for manuals that teach a skill and those aren’t easy to find. I’ve found that there’s nothing worse than having seven vehicles in desperate need of repair and you don’t have a mechanic in your collective who can go to the workshop you have to build and create repair kits; without them, you’re walking to wherever you gotta go and even though you can sneak past some zombies, ya can’t sneak past all of them and you’ll wind up having to fight them and get injured.It is a fun game to play but it frustrates me to the point where sometimes I have no idea what I need to do or the tasks I do have aren’t so doable under the community’s current state, like, in one community, all seven of my people were sick or injured and in no shape to do anything and I had to gather and use supplies to update my infirmary to a level where I could, with one click, get them all healed.This isn’t one of those games that keeps playing even when you’re not playing it; if you exited out of the game while in the middle of getting swarmed by zombies, when you go back to it, you’re gonna be right back in the situation you left which is very bad, of course. On the other side, if you update one of your facilities – and some updates can take up to thirty minutes – if you leave the game, that update wont keep happening “in the background;” nope – you return to the game and you’re still waiting for that update to finish.One of the goals is to eliminate all of the plague hearts but doing so doesn’t get rid of the zombies and does, in fact, makes even more aggressive zombies to appear and attack you at every turn – and even inside your home base. You’d think that getting rid of all of the plague hearts would end the game but I’ve been told that it doesn’t – it just gets worse, if you can imagine that.In fact, in one community, I got rid of all the plague hearts but at the expense of having my seven member community reduced to three people in short, grisly order. I’ve often found myself at a location and my vehicle destroyed and now I have to return to base on foot and my base can be 2000 meters (1.24 miles) away. In one such situation, I trashed my truck killing zombies – you can run them over and it’s rather messy – managed to avoid the roaming hoards, and I was literally a few feet away from the safety of my base… when a juggernaut (and a hoard) appeared out of nowhere, killing my character and the one following me before I had a chance to react to the attack.At that point, I was ready to quit playing this game and if getting decimated in this fashion wasn’t bad enough, when I told my son-in-law what happened, he thought it was funny.So there you have it. I do have other games that I play, thanks to my Xbox Live and Xbox Game Pass memberships; one gives me free games to play and the other lets me play games without having to pay for them and for as long as I want; if I don’t like a game, I just uninstall it and look for something else.I currently have 12 active games and 72 games I can install and play so it’s not as if I don’t have games I can play that aren’t so frustrating… so why am I playing the ones that gives me fits?Because it’s something to do – why else would you play a game? It is to note that one of the 72 games I can install is the first version of State of Decay and believe me when I tell you that I have better success playing the second game than I have the first! In the original game, every time I go out on my first mission, my character gets killed! I’ve installed the original game six times… and have uninstalled it six times.Sheesh…

 
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Posted by on 5 July 2018 in Life, Living and Loving

 

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Because She Asked

I made a comment on a post written by DDJennifer (https://ddjennifer.wordpress.com/2018/06/22/260-more-mike-jen-kayla-equity-vs-equality/) and she suggested that I copy and paste it into a blog of my own… so here it is:

Methinks some people see the phrase “open marriage” and immediately fear the worst right along with not understanding what this really means. In my first marriage, I went through the “process” from being monogamous to being open to being poly and it was one hell of a trip and experience and while no relationship is immune to the problems inherent in having a relationship, it is about equity more than equality and, as I like to say, being able to adopt a mindset where the relationship is about “us” and not about “me” so much.

And while you can never discount individualism in any relationship, being open is about everyone involved working toward the same goal and with the same shared vision. It’s certainly about the core relationship and the mindset of, “What can we do to make our lives together the best it can be?” and then doing whatever that entails and, importantly, remaining vigilant and determined to make it work.

By the time I got to poly, my god, I learned so much about love, sex, and relationships that it wasn’t funny just as I learned that living and loving like this is actually harder than being monogamous – in this, you only have one person to deal with as opposed to dealing with two or more other people in the mix. I learned that you cannot treat your partners under the auspices of equality – that’s a nightmare waiting to happen that, um, sure, I’d wish that on my worst enemy and it would serve them right for being dumb enough to think that equality, as we understand it, can be easily established. Being open/poly is an investment that requires equity and creating an environment where one and all can flourish and as comfortably as humanly possible.

It’s still not easy to do… but it can be done and once you’ve learned how to live like this, you never want to go back to being monogamous if you can avoid it.

When people would question how and why we were living the way we were, the answer was always, “Because we want to and it just works for us and it makes the most sense.”

Now for the other side of this thing, namely, how people who attempt this get it wrong more often than not.  In previous writing about this topic, I’ve repeatedly said that in order to be in an open relationship, you first have to unlearn everything you’ve ever learned about love, sex, and relationships so you can learn another way to do these things.  Monogamy is mandated and to the point where people who aren’t married carry on relationships as if they were married; the same rules, the same restrictions, and the same problems married folks experience except folks in an unmarried relationship can usually walk away from it without getting any lawyers involved.

One of the other things I learned and, again, said a lot in previous posts on this, is that being in an open and/or poly relationship isn’t for the weak at heart or those folks subject to experiencing and displaying certain negative emotions – jealousy and possessiveness among them; I’ve also said that when considering being open/poly, the rules of monogamy are, in essence, null and void because, duh, you can’t “keep only unto yourself” if you’re considering expanding what will hopefully become what’s known as the core relationship.

And I’ve said that if you don’t think you can do any of the things necessary, don’t even try it.  You see, we barely understand what it takes to be in a relationship with just one person and the tenets of monogamy are hammered into us almost as soon as we are able to understand them and said tenets are assumed to be inviolate and, importantly, the right thing to be done at all times… except, don’t we find out that this doesn’t work as advertised?  I’ve said and asked not to be taken wrong but for many, being monogamous works and works well but for others?  Eh, not so much.

Relationships erode, decay, become stagnant and wind up ending because, seemingly, there’s no recourse or other alternative to breaking up when, in fact, there’s always been another course of action a couple can take:  Open the relationship and more so when it becomes apparent that there are needs that should be taken care of but monogamy (and a few other things) doesn’t allow for any, ah, outside assistance.  People fret over cheating and I’ve read other blogs about this and their authors asking what, if anything can be done to prevent cheating and other than being single and by yourself, the answer is found in yet another thing I’ve said a lot:  It’s better to beg forgiveness than to ask permission… but what if you could get permission?  How does a couple combat the ever-present threat of infidelity?  Remove the mindset that suggests that infidelity is always a bad thing.  The bad part is that getting permission is deemed to be impossible given what we – as a whole – tend to believe.  But getting permission brings a new set of issues, namely, ya just don’t know how to have a relationship that involves more than one person.

But it can be done, as DDJennifer’s blog indicates.  It’s not without some issues but as I said in my comment, it’s about having a shared goal and vision – everyone should be on the same page while doing their best to avoid the negative emotions.  For instance, I read someone’s blog a few weeks ago and the author said that her and her hubby were now in an open relationship (and she asked for it) but there were times when she felt the need to stake out her territory and even admitted that she felt… neglected at times when her hubby and their new female partner would interact. It’s actually a normal kind of reaction, given what we’ve been taught about relationships… but harboring these kinds of feelings can, eventually, slam the door on an open relationship.  You quickly learn some shit that’s hard to process:  The open/poly relationship is about you… but not really and I’ll keep right on saying that in these things, if you are unable to think “us” more than “me,” you’re usually gonna fail in your attempts to find happiness in this arrangement – and an arrangement that’s a lot more involved than just sex, you know, just in case you were of a mind that these things is purely and solely about sex.  Again, it is… but not as a main focus of being open and poly; the purpose of the open relationship is to improve the core relationship or being able to answer this question:

“What can we do to make our lives together the best it can be?”  Sadly, this question is often difficult to answer because we – on the whole – tend to think in terms of what we’re not going to do, even for the sake of love… and as long as your mind is stuck in this place, being open/poly just ain’t gonna work.  I’ve said that being open/poly is even harder than being monogamous and I’m being nice about it when I say it… but it can be done.  As DDJennifer wrote in her blog, being open/poly isn’t about equality – it’s about equity and it’s an investment of the highest order.  I read and know of single folks who are poly and while I’d not say that, for the most part, they’re not successful at having multiple partners, many of them manage their relationships while employing the rules of monogamy and finding that doing this is kinda hard when you don’t have that one person at your side who not only shares this vision but is willing to stick by your side as part of the core relationship.

Which is why it’s my belief that openness and polyamory works best for couples who are already in an established relationship; the core is already present and, importantly, the core partners are secure in their relationship and their love for each other… and even more important, they are dedicated to doing whatever’s necessary to make sure that core relationship lasts as long as humanly possible… and even if that means adding as many other people as they can and implementing a plan that makes sure that everyone involved shares the investment, goals, and vision of the expanded relationship.

Equity… not never equality and I say this because it’s virtually impossible to establish equality when you’re dealing with different personalities as well as different wants and needs and that, my friends, is the really hard part.  You can’t show favoritism and you do your level best to not to try to treat everyone the same way – equally – but according to who they are; if you think communication is important in a “normal” relationship, you can’t begin to believe how very important this becomes when two becomes three or four; if you suck at time management, problem and conflict resolution, um, you’re already behind the eight-ball.

If you’re reading this and you’re thinking that, fuck, this open/poly thing is a pain in the ass, you’d be right – it is and unlike anything you’ve ever experienced.  At the same time, it can be the most liberating thing a couple could do but as I say, you gotta really and seriously be grown up enough to do this.  Like in any other relationship, you’ll have regrets, problems, and other things that make the day-to-day management of the relationship a bitch to deal with and even I’ll admit there were times in my experiences when I asked myself – and a lot – “Why did I agree to do this crazy shit?”  But I’d remember why I did – because it made sense to.

Is there a sure-fire way to do this and have it work?  Uh, no; the bad part is that while there’s a lot of information available as to how to accomplish this, you’re gonna have to find your way in this.  Hell, if I knew the definitive answer to getting it done and correctly so, I’d be rich beyond the dreams of avarice.  What I do know is how not to do this, what the pitfalls are and, if nothing else, what the basics are.

After that, you’re on your own.

So, Jennifer – how did I do?

 
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Posted by on 23 June 2018 in Life, Living and Loving

 

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Eight Years!

It’s that time again – my WordPress anniversary!  It’s been eight years of sitting at the keyboard and emptying my head out!  To everyone who reads, follows, and comments, thank you for coming along on the ride with me and sharing your thoughts and lives with me in your own blogs.

 
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Posted by on 28 May 2018 in Life, Living and Loving

 

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Books Report

I read… a lot. One of my reading loves is science fiction and some time ago, I came across a nine-book series written by Ian Douglas that I just love going back and reading over and over. The nine books are broken down into three trilogies: The Heritage Trilogy, the Legacy Trilogy, and the Inheritance Trilogy. The books – in order per their respective trilogies are:

Semper Mars, Luna Strike, Europa Strike

Star Corps, Battlespace, Star Marines

Star Strike, Galactic Corps, Semper Human.

It’s a series of stories about the United States Marine Corps taking the fight to not only the other planets in our solar system but throughout intergalactic space and the action is very good, like, in one book, the ever-present enemy – The Xul – feels the wrath of humanity and the USMC after they dropped some asteroids on Earth and the Marines retaliated by literally sand-blasting major Xul hub and this, in particular, is one of my favorite moments in all of the nine books.

But as with such books, this isn’t just a story about humanity against [yet another] implacable, xenophobic super race; they are stories that tell the history of the Marines, from their inception 10 November 1775 and, for,the books, covering more than 1100 years and despite politicians trying to disband the Corps for either being redundant or too damned different from the people and government they’ve sworn to protect. If you don’t know a whole lot about the history of the US Marines, well, you’ll find out a few things and, hell, I served in the Air Force and reading these books gives me much respect for the Marines, you know, despite inter service rivalry.

One of the ongoing themes throughout the books reflects real-life attitudes: Men and women, regardless of branch of service and in defense of our way of life, lay down their lives and at the whim of the civilian government only to be dissed when all,the killing is over and these brave souls could use more and better support from those who order them to die if need be.

Just like in these books, politicians seem to forget that our service people make it possible for them to carry on the way they do – including treating those same service people like red-headed stepchildren and tossing them aside like refuse… until, of course, they’re called on once more to put their lives on the line.

These books capture this mindset quite well, just as it captures what it’s like to go through basic training; oh, man, reading the way the Marine DIs jump all over new recruits right from the beginning – and reading their reactions (and one I know all too well). The books take you to the stars but in a very human way and seen through the eyes and lives of certain key characters and their families across the many generations. Many of these families are generations of Marines, from a lowly PFC and including a Commandant of the Marine Corps. At times, the books are a bit hard to follow because you see what will become familiar names – Galloway, Warhurst, Alexander… but hundreds of years have passed since the events of Semper Mars, which shows the meaning of the words, improvise, adapt, and overcome.

These books have been around for a while but I never get tired of reading them and how the Marines, who are usually doomed to do more with a lot less, stick together as a family to carry out their sworn duty. The books speaks to the meaning of Semper Fidelis – always faithful – when the enemy seeks to wipe them and humanity from existence… and Earth politics try to accomplish a similar goal.

If you’re a fan of these kinds of books, find them. Read them.

 
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Posted by on 12 March 2018 in Life, Living and Loving

 

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A Question

Does anyone have any information on how one goes about getting paid to blog?  If ya know how to go about doing it, I hope you’d be wiling to share that with me… and thanks in advance!

 
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Posted by on 4 December 2017 in Life, Living and Loving

 

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This Time of the Year

The one thing that drives me crazy at this time of the year is finding my inboxes overflowing with Black Friday and Cyber Monday shit and from sources that I’ve not heard a damned thing from all year… until now.

 
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Posted by on 27 November 2017 in Life, Living and Loving

 

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