Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ 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.
Saying I can’t imagine the belief in god is inaccurate. I can imagine it quite well. I can imagine how comfortable it would be to believe that everything in my life has meaning by default. When bad things happen it’s a test, when good things happen it’s, well, do Jews have an understanding of Karma? But belief in god, for me, would be a daily lie. I would be blaming a made up deity for my own wants and prohibitions, because fundamentally, as comfortable as it may be, I don’t believe in a god or gods. I believe that things happen for a reason and that reason is usually how you set up the situation, or carbon emissions, or geopolitics. On a good day that reason is civil society and connected communities.
So, nu, I’m not the only atheist around, why the blog post? The blog post is because I’m actually pretty religious. I light Shabbat candles, celebrate the major holidays, tell the story of exodus from Egypt. I struggle with the desire to give my children Jewish names in a world that’s seeing a resurgence of anti-Semitism. I find the multitude of rules and bylaws of the Torah fascinating.
My partner and I discovered that we know different tunes for Lecha Dodi and I love this small difference that we have between us that requires so much similarity and shared history to get to. I once explained this to someone as ethnic identity. If I was Native American for example, I wouldn’t believe that a rain dance brought rain, but I would want my children to learn about rain dances anyway. I’m not entirely sure about this explanation, but I wish I knew why religion without god doesn’t seem incongruent.
I’m thinking about the ways I’ve changed, and the things I notice now too. Yesterday I went to a small experimental electronica dance party – it was lovely and perfect. Hope you all are having a good weekend 🙂
I love this article on XOJane about cheating in a poly relationship. I love it because there I was, vaguely following the threads of a blog post about how I’m too tired to be radical about my sex, and this weird, new-found comfort of, well, just having the sex I want. Behind closed doors. Far away from “am I queer enough?” And I’m scrolling through the internet between making dinner and figuring out the password for the renter’s insurance website when I stumble upon this. And suddenly all that stuff at the edges of my mind about how I’ve had a million conversations in the poly scene about how it’s all about communication, and yet there seems to be never-ending complications and miscommunications, comes into focus. It’s nice, like, “nope, I wasn’t nuts, the situation was just nuts and that’s good to know,” nice.
And this relationship, as it’s described, was basically a steady diet of lies, verbal abuse, and gaslighting. Most of my poly experiences were far more honest and respectful. But even with a relatively high hit rate on honesty and respect, I was always impacted by my partner’s other partners. That was ok for a while. It was ok while I wanted to be a secondary for example. And it was pretty great when the other women and I were compatible in our own right – the woman who’s picking me up from airport when I move myself and all my bits of precious cross country for example, we used to date the same guy. He’s great too. But you see, that’s called friendship and that’s built in its own right, not because we’re pining after the same dude. I get to pick my friends. That’s important, I’ll say it again: I get to pick my friends.
I could, in theory, pick my metamours too. People have suggested it, and I’ve thought about it, and you know what, it doesn’t feel ethical. There’s a person on the other end of my partner’s cock. Not a metamour or a member of the poly scene. A person. That person has feelings, needs, wants, birthdays, and Christmas traditions. Precious few people just want to have casual sex with you on the 3rd Tuesday of every month, but don’t care you if you remember their birthdays. Some do, sure, if that’s you, congrats. But most humans bond, it’s what we do, we’re social animals. And when humans bond they get emotional and when multiple humans bond in complex patterns, well, it gets messy. And when all was said and done, it’s the messy that got me, not the sex or the jealousy people talk about.
If the messy is worth it for you, that’s cool – more for you. But the idea of caring about only one person’s emotional state and sexual quirks feels blissful. I want my relationship to be my home base, not my hobby. For my hobbies I have a sex blog, a pile up of random quantified self data, some raspberry shrubs, and I’m learning about meat chickens (apparently different then egg chickens!). For my relationship, I want a stable, interconnected sort of autonomy where I do get to pick who impacts my relationship.
Oh, but I can’t close this post without saying that I still think women having the sex they want, with the people they like, without apology is exactly the kind of radical I’m willing to work for in the world.
P.S. The real question is how am I going to make this possible for other women without being the voice of “you should have your Empowered Radical Sex(tm) like this”?
So I’ve been doing this strange thing. I’ve been explaining, with great relief, how I’m not poly, and then following it up with a hurried “oh but I’m not monogamous!” a few seconds later. At first, I really was worried that my lovers coming across this in an idle tweet would get upset. This change is internal to me, I have no interest in changing my relationships with my partners based on this and that was important. But then I tried to communicate that, to people who needed to hear it, directly. So…why am I still talking about it?
1) I am still testing the waters – I have several things I am not but I don’t have a fully grown story about what I am. Frankly, this story grows organically around relationships and situations, so I believe it’s not fully grown because it’s ever changing.
2) The power of “I’m not poly” lies in the next sentence: “and I prefer X”
Words have power. Words have the power to allow us to express ideas and communicate with others, but they also have the power of being cultural triggers.
When I say these things you have an image in your mind, right? You and I may have different images, but if we come from similar cultural contexts there are probably at least some similarities. Both of our classrooms might have blackboards and desks. The 1950s has, depending on who you ask, two-martini-lunches, poodle skirts, and civil rights riots.
We bring our past experience to the conversation, and what’s more, we probably assume shared experience and understanding for common words and then we act on these assumptions. So, when I say poly, you probably have some idea of what I mean. This might include how many people I’m dating, who they date, how I interact with those people, etc. If we’re in Boston, you might ask if you’ll see me at the Diesel on Tuesday because poly community, like BDSM community, is a community of interest with it’s own 3rd places. In fact, we even get our own jargon.
This is useful. It allows me to take a conversational shortcut: I am poly and therefore we can start by assuming X, Y, and Z are true. But it also means we assume X, Y, and Z are true, and I’m not really confidant right now that they are. So, in one sense, “I’m not poly” is freedom from the poly rules.
Beyond poly rules, spoken and unspoken, I am also looking for freedom from what I’m calling the poly daisy chain. Lets say you’re dating Bob and Bob is dating Sue, and Sue is married to Dilbert and Dilbert lost his job. Dilbert’s job loss impacts Sue, which impacts Bob, which in-turn impacts you (like that Passover goat song, but hopefully with fewer sticks). This is how community works. However, I don’t want this daisy chain of emotional impact in my life (as a mandatory component of my relationships). Or more importantly, I want the freedom to evaluate and select only those intimate and emotional relationships that I want to participate in for myself. As a complete oversimplification, in picking Bob, I don’t want to get married to Dilbert too.
But then why not the simpler option of monogamy? Many reasons. The first and most emotional is that I am blessed with people I love with whom I share emotional and sometimes physical intimacy, they are far too important to me, and if you think I’d cast them aside for a new shiny or less complicated thing you don’t know me very well. But there is a more structural reason that’s internal to me: I value autonomy above all else in this equation. There is something that “not poly” and “not monogamous” have in common: both I and my partner have the freedom to select the types of intimacies that are most fulfilling and desirable to us. I have to prioritize autonomy because it’s what makes me feel safe in my relationships also. And something fun happens here, if I set autonomy as a priority, in fact as my top priority, things click into place. I really, really like priorities because it makes it possible for me to make difficult decisions in times of stress. In this case, it allows me to select my intimate relationships based on my preferences and not my partners’, reminds me that my partner’s autonomy is more important to me than any one decision they make, and returns to me a sense of control over who I am intimate with that I lost in the daisy chain.
Of course this too has problems. We are influenced by the people we love so who my partner chooses to interact with changes them, and my other intimacies, be they sexual or otherwise, change me. I don’t know that I have a solution to this, this is not written in stone. This is written on the internet, it’s written in a medium that came to life with a knowledge of ctrl+alt+z. This feels true now, and I’m trying to live in the here and now, but I also know that being friendly with my partner’s other partners has been hugely important to me in the past. In fact, having no comfortable channels of communication would be undesirable still, and I know that at least recently “do I like who else you’re dating” was something I’d ask myself before getting close to someone. So, it’s an evolution, maybe a new lens to try, or maybe just a case of making space in my heart and in my world for a plethora of diverse and complex experiences.
Today I got this email
I hope you are well.
A while back you reviewed a few products for us and put up some links to Sextoy.com. We’d like to ask you to please remove any links to Sextoy.com including these pages-
And, any other sponsored links you may have on your site that link to Sextoy.com, store.sextoy.com or blog.sextoy.com.
We can send you $50 via PayPal once all these links have been removed.
Please provide your PayPal email when you send us your confirmation that the links have been removed.
Getting these links down as soon as possible is a priority. Your help with removing these links is much appreciated.
Er, 6 years worth of blog posts, that’s how much I’d have to dig through to find individual links and remove them. WTF?
EDIT: Oh, and also, every sextoy.com review I’ve put up over the years had been approved by the person who sent this email and checking link integrity was part of the approval process. Just sayin’.
This morning a friend shared an interesting email they received through a BDSM related site. It read in part:
There are only two kinds of people in this world, those who were blessed with a cock, and those who weren’t. Males are responsible for fucking females; females are responsible for allowing themselves to get fucked.
So for a long time I’ve explained more delicate, gray area, kinks by likening them to a pirate role-play. I might want to be a captured pirate wench, I might even want to be a captured pirate wench for a whole weekend, or every 2nd weekend of the month. I might be totally into how amazingly realistic your pirate impression is. However, if you still think you’re a pirate when you go to work on Monday we have a problem. If one or both of us suffer scurvy, we have a problem. If you still think I’m a captured wench over tea with my family, we have a problem.
Your 24/7 Gor inspired fantasy is no different. If it turns you on, if it makes your partner wet or hard or both, awesome. But if you are incapable of differentiating between your really hot fantasy and socio-political reality, you’ve got a problem. If you think your sexual fantasy should be lived out by the entire country, you might be Fred Phelps.
The alarming thing is that the person who wrote my friend that email was incapable of making a distinction between sexual fantasy and social reality. He applied his fantasy not to his sexual partners but to the world at large. And what should make everyone who participates in the socio-sexual space of kink community outraged, terrified, or both is that we have created a space where this person can hide his psychosis beneath a thin layer of co-created fantasy. You and I will walk into work on Monday as multidimensional people who had an awesome pirate role-play over the weekend; he will walk in as a one-eyed pirate.
Would you still talk to him at that party if you knew he thought he was really a pirate?