Archive for the ‘advice’ Category
One of the first times ***** made my ideas go was when I was coming up on a birthday. I wanted to have a party, I wanted it to be kinda fancy, but I was shy about spending the money. ***** found the bar, went there with me to check it out, and then offered to buy the first round to make the whole thing easier. Not rocket carpentry, but it was nice.
Since then he’s supported parties and dinners and last minute business trips. He’s done my laundry between business trips when I had less than 48 hour turn around at home, and he’s made sure our house doesn’t run out of milk. Most recently he’s spent the last 8 and a half hours solving a technical problem I thought would take 2 hours…because I wanted it to look nice and be secure and I only knew how to do the look nice part.
So more than the one who makes your heart skip a beat (that sounds unsafe) marry the one who hears your ideas and goes “oh yeah cool” and then helps you make it happen.
Also, this wasn’t an accident. I heard Sheryl Sandberg speak before the whole Lean In thing, and the one thing that stuck with me was her talking about how the partner you choose has the power to make space for, and support, your work; or not. She talks about this in Lean In as well, and I have to agree.
Also also, I went back and forth on what I wanted to say about this here, if anything. I got married earlier in the year. Out of respect for the person now sharing my mailbox and tax forms in addition to my bed I’ll leave the details out, except to say:
- Weddings are full of gendered bullshit. They are stressful and potentially unpleasant, but then they do end and the people do go away as magically as they appeared. If you are going through a wedding that’s stressful or unpleasant, talk to me, I may have maybe learned something.
- Married life is basically like pre-married life if you look back far enough to the pre-wedding-planning-hell. I actually kept forgetting we were married the first few months.
- The one way married life is different is damn do we privilege this relationship and how. It caught me by surprise when I needed to get a refund for something onto “my husband’s” credit card and I was just allowed to do that.
So I read this thing, which actually sounds like a lot of other things I read, and like a lot of things I read it positions the sex the writer enjoys having as “SO MUCH KINKIER” than the sex I enjoy having. And each time I read something about X being kinkier or queerer, or generally all around nicer than Y, I have two reactions. The first gut reaction is one of, hmm, not anger, defensiveness perhaps? “My sex is kinky enough thank you very much” defensiveness. Or if I’m in the so much more group, a reaction of “don’t use me as your banner, person who doesn’t know me.” It’s a gut reaction.
The second, the brain reaction, is twofold: 1) you have just defined More Kinky(tm) as the goal state or more desirable state, why? Is being kinky is personally important to you? Basically, it’s a reaction of “you seem hurt by this game, why are you trying to win by the rules that are hurting you?” And 2) Meh, other people’s gradations of how kinky something is doesn’t matter. I’m not sleeping with them, they can be the most kinky, or the least kinky, or the differently kinky, it’s cool. Ok, also 3) Huh that got my hackles up, I wonder if I have more identity tied in with kink than I’d like to? Probably. This caught me, sorta like a rough nail on fabric, not anything particular, just noticing my own reaction.
It made me think of readers who might feel that way, and what I want to say to that is: have the sex you want with the people you love. Revel in the joy of it and in that coming home feeling of being seen in your entirety whatever that means for you. Don’t apologize for the sex you do or don’t want to have, in fact, if you’re a woman, take stock of how often you apologize for existing in the world, you might be surprised. If it’s important to you to be So Much Kinkier, then you are that. But when you get there, ask yourself why that’s important and what gatekeeper told you you weren’t kinky enough. Be what you need to be, but don’t become the gatekeeper – that way lies madness (and the status quo).
EDIT: Actually, wait, someone went out of their way to write about the sex that is fulfilling and exciting to them. Yay. May it be everything they want and need it to be; hot, loving, radical, or whatever rings true to the people involved.
There has been a bunch of chatter on my social media streams about the Predator Alert Tool for Facebook, so I thought perhaps I should take a look. Oh, and this was largely my first real look – I have let this one completely pass me by in its development. I didn’t preview it or participate in its creation, and so I’m in the interesting position of this being the first PAT tool that’s truly a surprise to me.
The premise is pretty straightforward: automate the process by which (mostly) women warn each other off dangerous men in their social network. And lets face it most rape is perpetrated by someone the victim knows, which means rapists aren’t crazy dudes in a hidey hole somewhere, they’re in our social networks.
The Predator Alert Tool for Facebook is designed for survivors of sexual assault and rape. It allows you to share information about people in your social network who may be dangerous without having to reveal your identity.
Using Predator Alert Tool for Facebook, you can:
Talk about it. Contribute your story with as much or as little detail as you feel comfortable sharing.
Decide who knows. Control who gets to see your story and who doesn’t. Display your identity only to the people you choose.
Get support. Connect with friends who have had a bad experience with the same person you did.
Hear about it. Find out about others’ bad experiences with people you know.
This is an interesting choice of framework, “designed for survivors of sexual assault and rape.” That sounds like designed for sharing, voicing, healing. It’s a valuable framework, but it’s not for me. I’m not a survivor, and when I asked here’s what others said about the word:
“In some ways I think it’s appropriating…survivor is not a word I feel comfortable using abt myself.”
“I was abused as a child, but I don’t think of myself as a survivor.”
“Not a term I’m fond of…”
“We are all survivors”
“I also dislike when people feel that they can TELL me I’m a survivor.”
But there is something for me in this. The much cooler side of this tool for me is designed for hearing, thinking about, comparing notes – designed for active prevention, and ladies, lets be honest, designed for learning more about that guy who bought you a beer. Not that I would ever advocate hijacking someone else’s tool, buuuuut, this is just what the Women’s Information Network needed – way more streamlined than trying to pop into the ladies’ at the same time as his ex’s sister’s roommate :-p
Now the makers of the tool are getting prepared for people screaming about the rumor mill or vigilante justice, and you can read their very well thought out responses here. But let me tell you what actually happens when a woman is thinking about going on a date with a dude: she asks her girlfriends. She engages in the exact behavior this tool would automate, only she does it in analog. “Hey Barbra, do you know Jake from chem lab? What’s he like?”
My coworker once had a crush on the college friend of someone I used to date, we’re all in our late 20s/early 30s, and we still did the “my friend likes your friend” dance. Humans are tribal animals, that’s just what we do.
You know what else women do in the physical world? We warn each other if we see our friends flirting with the douch at the party. Maybe we’re vague about it, maybe we only warn the women we already know not the new girl he’s talking to, but this app is cool specifically because it mirrors existing behavior.
And it scales it.
And that scares the shit out of the douch bags we’ve been talking about all along.
The other thing I really love about this tool is that it’s the first PAT tool I see as truly mainstream. This is not for or about the BDSM scene, this deals with a modality of interacting every western woman I know has experienced. As such, I am really curious to see the response. Frankly, I would love to see a partnership between the creators of PAT-Facebook and college rape crisis centers, and I know the creators are working hard to achieve that.
Still concerned that this will be misused to spread rumors? That will probably happen. Most technology is, sooner or later, used to spread rumors. But tell me, how is it you’re ok with teenagers – scratch that, adults too – having access, to Facebook at all? And what else, aside from opposing this tool, are you doing to combat cyber bullying? Sorry folks, but if this bugs you more than all of Reddit, I’m gonna assume you have some other agenda that’s best served by sweeping rape under the rug.
Please note this is not a technical article, I do not have a tech background and security experts should be consulted if you have pressing security concerns. However, I’ve written layman’s perspective security posts in the past and this post comes out of several conversations I’ve had with folks who care deeply about Internet privacy.
Tor is free software and an open network that helps you defend against a form of network surveillance that threatens personal freedom and privacy. This has a lot of uses in a wider ecosystem of internet security, not least of which being to help people from countries that censor the internet to gain free flowing access to information.
So since I’ve been having a surprising number of conversations about Tor for a non-techie, here are some things to fill in the picture:
I run a Tor relay node. When I am asleep or at work or otherwise not using my allotted bandwidth, I run a Tor relay node which helps people in countries with heavier internet censorship than mine access the internet anonymously. I do this because access to information is important to me, because it lets me more fully utilize a resource I already have with minimal effort, and because I’ve lived in one of those more censored counties and I remember proxy servers being super useful for all my cat video surfing.
I do not run an exit node because I do not want to expose myself to the legal liability and I was advised not to by someone who does.
I use Tor to search for things that I might not want to share with the world or see advertisements for later, while I’m at work. I like the added layer of privacy and I like being able to actively curate my digital persona, so, when I am looking for things I don’t want to have as part of that digital persona, I use Tor. One place you might want to use Tor is when you leave anonymous comments on my, or other people’s, blogs…because even if you don’t sign in with a name WordPress will kindly give me your IP address.
I do not use Tor to log into any service unless I have used Tor to set up the account and each and every time I have logged in since. Facebook knows who I am, where I live, what kind of phone I own, and who my friends are; telling Facebook that I am suddenly in Algeria does not help protect my privacy.
There are arguments for using Tor each and every time you go online, the most compelling of these for me is that anonymity is very important as an option any citizen can choose at any time, saving Tor for special occasions makes it feel like the “overthrow your government” browser when really it’s just as much the “I don’t want to see ads for sexy ladies in my neighborhood” and “get the snooping grandmas of the internet out of my life” browser and so using Tor for all web traffic normalizes it.
Overall, I agree with this argument, but if internet privacy is new to you, I would strongly suggest you spend some time really thinking about the full ecosystem of your anonymity. Again, if you set up a gmail account, say firstname.lastname@example.org from your home computer not using Tor, then added your family to a G+ circle conveniently called “family” logging into this account later through Tor is not anonymous. Your location in that moment in time is protected, but who you are is not.
Here are some more resources on internet privacy:
A Wired thought experiment in which one of their journalists tries to disappear. Spoiler alert: he is eventually found because he posted on a social networking site suggesting he was going to eat Pizza. Because the writer was on a gluten-free diet his pizza options were constrained enough that someone isolated his possible location and found him.
This is one of the most common search hits I get so I figured perhaps I should answer the question. So, dear reader, how to get your boyfriend into a chastity device…
The non-physical stuff:
I’m going to assume that you can’t simply tie your boyfriend up, gag any protests, and lock up his cock if you expect to still have a boyfriend shortly there after. If this is not the case, I have no idea why you’re reading my blog, but does your bloke have any like-minded friends, and when might I meet them?
For the rest of us, by hook or by crook, we have to convince our partners…
So, how do you convince your boyfriend that it’s a good idea to put something somewhat bulky and a little uncomfortable on his cock for your amusement? Good question. I actually have email threads with Maymay dating back to 2009 when I was trying to figure out just how to introduce orgasm control to my then partner. I honestly still don’t know how to broach the topic. If an appeal to frugality has failed (think of the money you’ll save on condoms!) and you can’t make a good case for the CB6000 as a fashionable addition to his biking ensemble, consider what you really want out of having your partner wear this thing and then tell him so. Does the idea of seeing it on him turn you on? Is there an element of power exchange you find appealing? Do you like the fact that you think of him more as you try not to drop the key in the elevator shaft? Basically, my advice for chastity is like my advice for everything else: talk to your partner. If all else fails, an enthusiastic “FOR SCIENCE” has been doing wonders for my love life for years.
The physical stuff:
I actually had the good fortune to start using chastity devices with an enthusiastic and experienced partner (for science!). I’ve only ever played with the CB6000 and the ClubFem MCD, the latter of which I’d categorize as a very temporary play device more than a chastity device. I’ve handled other devices, but with the exception of ones that include urethral sounds (currently beyond my scope of practice) I haven’t been too interested in other options. You can find tips and tricks for the CB6000 here from maymay and over here from thumper.
The CB6000 is a “trapped ball device,” which is just a fancy way of saying it stays on by hanging on to the testicles as opposed to, say, a chastity belt which might have a belt that goes around the hips. The CB6000 website has a flash demo of assembly, but for whatever reason doesn’t include a penis in the assembly instructions. So, if you’d like to flow along here, what’s actually happening is as follows:
- Take the big ring object (actually 3/4 of a ring) and slip it on behind the testicles so the open part is on top where your bloke’s penis meets the rest of his body.
- Find the small curved puzzle piece that fits into the remaining space to complete the ring from behind (note that there are two plastic pieces of the same size but the groves are inverse so you can tell which way to put them on).
- Go ahead and put the two short pins in and line up/connect that back piece
- Set up it’s mirror image on the other side of the big ring piece so you now have a complete circle. The correct order is pelvis -> plastic thing -> testicles -> penis and outside world. You can also put the longer of the 3 pins through the middle hole at the top of your plastic circle now. And this a good time to see if you’ve accidentally trapped any pubic hair and try to shift things around to release that.
- Learn to juggle, you’re gonna need it.
- Put the spacer on, that’s the little plastic widget that fits over the middle pin. Try to hold it in place while you do everything else. Have it fall off a few times. Try not to get flustered. Get flustered anyway. Put it back on and see if you can get a hand from your partner in keeping it on.
- Find some way to lubricate your cage. My favorite methodology thus far has been lots of liquid soap or body wash cause it’ll wash out easily later (see maymay’s post for how to wash stuff out of the CB6000). You can also use a nice hypoallergenic body oil or lube.
- Slip the penis into the cage, where by “slip” I mean “shove in forcefully.” I’m sure this is an individual thing, but I’ve realized from this process that penises are less fragile than I imagine them to be. Gent’s, if your partner is new to this what’s gonna happen is she’s gonna start putting it on, meet resistance, and stop because penises are fragile things. If you want this process to succeed, some well placed “you’ve got it” “that feels fine, go ahead” and various other encouragement would be great right about now. ladies, target fixation is your friend here, push the cage from a little below his pelvis up toward his body aiming the holes at the top edge of the cage onto the pins you’ve inserted into the ring.
- Ok, now you think you’ve got everything on, you got the penis in the cage while holding onto the spacer and aligning the holes on the upper rim of the cage with the protruding pins from the ring and it’s time to lock things up…for some reason this is always a tight fit to get the pin through enough to fit the lock in. I usually have my partner hold the ring and cage together so I can finish up without getting flustered, and for his part, he usually has the good sense to allow as to how he also wishes he had 4 hands when doing this himself to help me not get flustered.
- Lock, rinse out whatever lube you used, and you’re done.
Probably the most important thing I can add to the flash demo on the CB6000 website is: don’t worry, it’s an awkward process, you’re not doing it wrong you just have to be a little more patient and a little more forceful than you expect.
Lets say you have a diverse community with a vibrant grassroots organizational style where anyone can show up and start something cool. Say this community has been organized through loose ties and network affiliations for two decades with various groups using various methods to get the word out about their events.
Imagine, after two decades or more of this loosy goosy organizational system, a new system was available that let all the grassroots organizations funnel all their events through one central place. Sounds well organized and easier, right? But what if that central place was privately owned and operated and the groups, in switching over to this new system abandoned their own websites, mailing lists and calendars?
What if this central system had a financial crisis?
What if this central system no longer supported the events you cared about?
What if it simply wasn’t very good?
The problem isn’t that Fetlife exists, it’s that BDSM organizations no longer support their own calendars, websites, mailing lists and so on – they are completely dependant on Fetlife to maintain their group and publicize their events. Fetlife is owned by one dude, what if that dude gets bored and moves on to other projects? Single point of failure.
And the problem is that Fetlife really isn’t very good. You can search for events in the city associated with your account, but not in the city you’re visiting next weekend. You can search comfortably on your computer, but in 2013 mobile devices will pass PCs to be most common Web access tools and Fetlife mobile sucks. No really, pull out your phone and try to find a cool event on Fetlife. It sucks.
And then there are certain things I expect out of event listings cause that’s how the world rolls in 2013 – I want to import it into my calendar, click on the address, and have my phone provide directions seamlessly. I want to do this without having to manually enter a bunch of events into my calendar line by line.
Sounds nice, right?
Here you go. 🙂
Staring blankly at a list of calendars wondering now what?
If you use iCal simply click on the webcal link, you’ll be prompted to open this with iCal so go ahead and do that, the calendar URL will pre-populate as you can see below so hit subscribe.
Make any stylistic changes you need and *this is important* set that auto-refresh option to something other than “no” if you want to know about cool new things as they’re added. Some other things you might do include renaming the calendar “night life” in case other people might be glancing at your calendar list and you don’t want to have your mom asking “what’s Fetlife,” or change the color so as to not clash with your work calendar.
And then sit back and watch your calendar populate…
Using Google Calendar instead?
Pretty much the same deal…
Open your google calendar or create one, in the “other calendars” area select the “Add by URL” option, paste your calendar subscription URL in the box (in my case it was http://fetlife.maybemaimed.com/icalendar/San_Francisco.ics but you can find yours by right clicking on your city of choice and selecting “copy link address”) and accept.
If you want to be a nice person, and help other kinky people in your area find cool munches and stuff to go to you can also click the “make the calendar publicly accessible” box. Once again, sit back and watch life be convenient.
Just make sure you import this into a new calendar either in gcal or ical so that you can toggle it on and off. Unless of course you like having your phone, computer, and roomba all beep in unison ten minutes before the start of every munch.
Oh, and no set of instructions for something this useful would be complete without the magical step 5: send Maymay a thank you for giving up his weekend to make this. You can buy him a cup of coffee here to help fuel the midnight coding 🙂
Interested in the technical side of things? Didn’t find your city on the list and want to add it? You’ll find what you’re looking for here.
Next week I’m going to Transcending Boundaries, “an annual community conference to celebrate the diversity of gender, sex, sexuality and relationships.” I’m looking over the workshop schedule and find a panel on The Feminist Submissive:
Internal and societal conflicts. How does one reconcile the desire to submit with feminist ideals? How can a relationship based on inequality stand up to modern egalitarian models? How can we, as submissive women, reconcile our desire for submission with our awareness of the hard-won battles and ongoing struggle of feminism? How too, does a male Dominant manage his own conflicts and dominate without guilt? In this talk we plan to discuss how the act of submission can be an expression of choice and an example of “enthusiastic consent” that has been made possible by feminism. The role of D/s in dismantling rape culture will be touched upon, as well as the importance of intentionality and negotiation in developing relationship dynamics. We will discuss what power exchange really means in a relationship and how a submissive holds power within the exchange, how D/s relationships compare to traditional and progressive relationships, and why “different” does not have to mean “unequal” in any relationship.
Ok, “how can a relationship based on inequality stand up to modern egalitarian models?” is a really interesting question, and I remember having conversations about the idea of mixing feminism and submissiveness 5,7, 10 years ago and they were valuable to me, so I’m sure this conversation is still valuable to people for whom it is new. However, I’m surprised at how limited this conversation is…
How to build intentional inequality is a conversation I see related to female submissive and feminism all the time; where is the conversation around building strategic, long-term, non-porn-inspired F/m relationships? And why is this not a feminist issue? Why, when trained gender norms make it that much harder for me and my submissive partner to actually shift the balance of housework (towards them) and the balance of financial decision-making (towards me) are we not having this conversation?
What are some challenges of creating F/m relationships? How do you step past the gender norms you were raised with, which society maybe still expects? For male partners, how does taking a submissive role in the home impact relationships with male friends; do you talk about it? Are you questioned about it? What models do you have for the kinds of relationships you’re building? (My model is 1950’s Father Knows Best types stuff with the genders reversed.) For female partners, How do you build confidence around taking control in your home? Is there a conflict between femininity and control? How do you build intentionally power-imbalanced relationships that fit into daily reality with attention to outside pressure?