Kink in exile

Notes from a kinky nomad

Diving in, looking out

As nerdy as it sounds, one of my sexual partners and I keep a list of things to talk about.  Things that come up that we don’t have time to address at the moment, or logistical things best addressed later or some such.  It may seem strange to you, but keep in mind I keep a lot of lists: secrets of adulthood, people to socialize with sorted by ideal frequency of interaction, to-do’s sorted by area of life, etc.  One of our bullet items is “how do we avoid [the relationship] isolation/insulation trap?” By which we mean, if I may be so bold as to speak for the both of us, how do we build a relationship (an activity that takes a lot of drive, energy, and time), find joy and satisfaction in that, and still not be blinded to the suffering and needs of others.  This goes from the mundane – how do we schedule kink around work – to the profound – having found the kind of sex we want, how do we ensure that we don’t lose sight of the fact that having the sex you want with the people you love is a necessity not just for us but for others, many of whom lack access to this basic need.

It is never easy to live up to your ethics, or to do the work of making a better world for others, but when you are one of the ones suffering your mission is clear.  When suddenly your needs are met though, it is far easier to settle into comfort.  Furthermore, your work is harder to justify – you found your match, clearly the problem was just imagined or you were impatient with the universe.  It worked slightly backwards for me; I got the boy then had the overwhelming craving, then the realization that the lack of submissive men in the social spaces I occupy is neither coincidental nor my fault, followed by deep and burning anger over what someone clearly so precious to me has been made to suffer.  Fury or not, the desire to hide in the comfort of my own relationship is quite real.  So is the realization of how much I was blinded to the needs of others by the day-to-day trivia (and yes, also heartfelt love, passion, sex, play and Work) of my last relationship.

The definition, structure, and semantics of “relationship” can be precarious, so allow me to interject that what I mean here is: “this person whom I adore, whom I find beautiful, whose body I have completely irrational cravings for and whom I would cheerfully discuss world domination and world politics with in the wee hours of the night.”  That self same person, though not the only one, for whom I would get out of bed in the middle of the night should he need to be rescued from dragons.  And, most importantly to this post, the person with whom I am happy to spend a significant chunk of time and into whom I pour a non-negligible amount of energy.

The lovely @blue_estro offers two solutions: tag team it, or don’t eat the whole cake.  Tag teaming in this context is take over the world together: build together, fight together, join forces/force change.  Maymay refueled my inner activist late this summer, while my other partners reminded me what sex is like when it’s radically different from the only sex I’ve had for two years.  There is no denying the impact my lovers have on my world – in creating chances for isolation, sure, but far more frequently in breaking my world open, kicking my ass into gear, and making me a better, truer, more me version of myself.  I’m grateful, but I am unconvinced that this is true looking out.  Or rather, looking out can and obviously does happen in this context, but it is not naturally set up for such.  Tag-teaming is the kind of heavy machinery you should not operate while taking certain medications including high doses of serotonin.  Hmm, or is it?  Maymay and Blue-estro both challenged the idea that tag-teaming is not true looking out in the draft version of this post, so I thought I should examine the logic of this seemingly common sense argument.

Why the bias against tag teaming?  Maybe it is my own gendered distrust; woman as helpmate not of the movement but of her revolutionary partner.  While images of Cairo’s blue bra girl cement female revolutionaries into our consciousness, I am still very much aware of the social context of, for example, Ingrid Bergman’s character in Casablanca who abandons love and lust to be the good wife of a revolutionary.  She never dedicates herself to opposing Nazi regime, saying instead “he [Victor] needs me.”  And of course this idea of woman as revolutionary helpmate is affirmed a few minutes later with “we both know you belong with Victor.  You’re part of his work, the thing that keeps him going.”  She belongs, not with the cause but with Victor.  Her contribution then is not through her own work, but through being the supporting force of the male protagonist…tag teaming is a solution, but if and only if you trust your place in the world first.

And then, of course it’s trusting yourself. Trusting that you will neither turn your personal woes into a nation-wide chant nor let politics infiltrate your bedroom without your consent.  The ability to tag team well is then a learned skill; how do we learn it?

Not eating the whole cake on the other hand is, well essentially, have some of the awesome, but not too much, cause there are starving children in Africa.  I have no doubt that it will work; if you are depriving yourself of joy so that others may have it, you will not soon forget the suffering of others…but I’m not big on denial.  I’m a have my cake and eat it too kind of girl, and I think goodness, action, and compassion all start with compassion for yourself.

So I’m searching out other tools to achieve the goal of using your relationship to connect you with the universe, not isolate you from it.  Which begs the question as well, is the allocation of time and energy a zero-sum game?  Does it have to be?  Being finite it feels as thought it is, but being determined to build win-win solutions I want it not to be.

Written by kinkinexile

December 23, 2011 at 11:23 am

One Response

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  1. If I may put it succinctly; then you are asking, “How can I lose myself in this person I love, yet remain awake to the human suffering around me and respond in a responsible fashion?”

    I don’t know that tag-teaming would work for me. It isn’t that I have any bias against it. It’s that I know me. I would never tag. I would stay in the fight until my body was broken and my body in shambles. Why? Because I’d rather me suffer than Her. That is, ultimately, the key to understanding me.

    Nor does the half-eaten cake work for me. I could starve to death in America and not a soul in Africa would know. Worse, it would not do a single thing to alleviate any of the torment they endure.

    What works for me is losing myself equally alongside someone. Then I have someone who can match my passion, and challenge my flagging spirits when they fail. I have someone who can tug on my leash and say, “Pass on this battle. Pick this one instead.”

    This, to me, is what a relationship is. It is intimacy that is beyond the mere physical (which is pretty damned good, incidentally). I’ll refer to the words of Granger (spoken to Montag in Farenheit 451): “Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there. It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.”

    It is not NECESSARY to have another with you, touching things just as you do. But it is a lot more meaningful to me when I do.


    December 24, 2011 at 1:55 pm

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